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Old 03-04-2007, 10:59 PM
bagelsgirl bagelsgirl is offline
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Default I never "got" the Grateful Dead ...

I'm just sitting here watching a Grateful Dead performance on public t.v. I don't know, any Dead I ever heard always sounded like pretty average music and a really loose jam session.

I know there was a lot of drug use among the listeners. I never was into drugs - but I have to say that I can't imagine what kind of drugs they would have to be ... to make what I'm listening to right now sound like great music!

The band members all look pretty stoned, that's for sure. Bob Weir has a running nose and I'm wondering if he wasn't doing coke. Jerry Garcia and all the other guys (I don't know any other names or even if they were always the same) look kind of stiff and yet really loopy at the same time ... I'm just thinking maybe they've all dropped acid...

sigh .... I guess I just can't understand, because I didn't take acid ... ???
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:37 PM
roadking roadking is offline
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I never quite got it either, although not necessarily for the same reasons as you. But, that doesn't mean that some good stuff didn't come from them. Check out the collaboration between Jerry Garcia and David Grisman and you just might find yourself some new listening material.
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:47 PM
lotech lotech is offline
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I like the Rolling Stones, but they were the absolute worst act I've ever paid money to see. Yet I've talked to some of the other 80,000+ people who were there that night, who are expound on what a brilliant performance it was.
I visit a Jazz forum that often has threads by people asking if anyone else has trouble learning to like certain kinds of Jazz.
I think it has to do with self-image; people see themselves as part of a "hip" crowd that likes certain things, thus, they themselves must like those things.

I'm getting loopy from lack of sleep. My point, if I had one, is there's nothing wrong with not liking the Grateful dead; it means you have a mind of your own.
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:52 PM
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I liked some of their music (the Dead) if I heard it on the radio, but I can't name one song. I avoided all concerts like the plague because of all of the drugs and stupidity that went on. I've only gone to two concerts in my life - Led Zeppelin when Physical Graffiti came out and once to see Eric Clapton (and I fell asleep - boring) about 20 years ago.

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Old 03-05-2007, 12:17 AM
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As to the Stones, well, every band can have a bad night (fortunately, none of them happened on the ones I attended). As to the Dead, well, every band can have lots and lots of bad nights........with fans too stoned to notice. They've always sounded better in the studio to me. Never saw them in concert, but I've heard dozens and dozens of their concert recordings. Garcia was a brilliant guitarist, but the band never seemed to be able to tune their guitars and their attempts at harmony were painful (I love "Uncle John's Band" but it is impossible to sing along in tune when harmonizing with the record). When "In the Dark" came out in 1987, especially the song "Touch of Grey," I thought it was a quantum leap in production values and musicianship, and wondered if their stage performances got tighter too. (Jam bands always put me to sleep--that is, when they are in tune and don't set my teeth on edge to boot). Always regretted that I never got to see the Dead in concert once they "grew up" sonically. Ironically, hardcore Dead fans hated the album because they thought it was too slick.

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Old 03-05-2007, 05:56 AM
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What did one Deadhead say to another at the Greatfull Dead concert, when their drugs ran out?

"Hey! This music SUCKS!"
"It is said, 'Go not to the elves for counsel for they will say both no and yes.' "
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Old 03-05-2007, 07:04 AM
System6ix System6ix is offline
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Couldn't agree more. I've never been able to listen to the Greatful Dead. I must admit as someone who made the choice NOT to ever get into drugs, that was one of the huge turnoffs to me about the The Greatful Dead, as I was completely biased before even hearing one song. When I did finally hear a song, I was utterly amazed that people flocked to this and gave up their jobs to follow them around... uhh... that gets back to the drug thing, doesn't it? lol.

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Old 03-05-2007, 07:44 AM
GCWaters GCWaters is offline
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Well, I never did drugs either, but I thought American Beauty and Workingman's Dead were great albums, along with the two live albums from the late '70's/early '80's....and I also loved Garcia's work with Grisman...
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Old 03-05-2007, 07:46 AM
SouthernCelt SouthernCelt is offline
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The "Dead" was one of several bands/performers that I never "got" or understood the popularity of over the 60s, 70s and 80s. After that point I pretty much stopped listening to anything current in the popular music (rock) market. Most everything that Garcia did acoustically either solo or with other acoustic artists was pretty good but I never saw any real "genius" as some like to describe it in his playing with the "Dead". I'm the same way with the Band, sans Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen/E St. Band insofar as their overall performing although all of these had one or two relatively good songs that got popular air play.
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Old 03-05-2007, 07:52 AM
bjay540 bjay540 is offline
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I saw the Dead twice (69-70) in San Diego. both shows were very bad.
I left early at the second one; not in tune with each other, not on the beat. The first was an outdoor show that also had Canned Heat and Santana and a couple other San Fran. bands. I had just gotten back from Viet Nam so I was music starved. What I remember is how bad the Dead were and how good Santana was.
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:25 AM
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Besides the drunk-n-high thing (the same could be said for ZZTOP fans in a lot of ways, IMO) I think the appeal was that tendency certain people have to associate times in their lives with certain music. And when that time was a carefree, party atmosphere they tended to overlook how bad the music was. They turned themselves inside out trying to find meaning and make excuses for the bad music and it was kind of a 'cult' thing like all the Dylan-worship. At least Dylan seemed to have some deep thoughts and poet's talents but anybody who tells me that Bob Dylan is a singer needs a Belltone. (That's a hearing aid for the uninitiated )

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Old 03-05-2007, 09:04 AM
StringFive StringFive is offline
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I was a marginal Dead head back in the day. The thing about the Dead is that they were a representation of a specific place (SF) and point in time (60's). They were a unique cultural aspect of the era and never strived to be a "hit" making type of band. To be honest, if you've never done won't really understand the significance of the group. Looking back without this frame of reference or context, I agree that it is hard to "get" the Dead. We can thank them, however, for expanding the boundaries of rock music in ways that invited experimentation and rubbed off on many other more popular and accessible groups like Santana, Pink Floyd, The Who, etc.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by roadking View Post
.... Check out the collaboration between Jerry Garcia and David Grisman and you just might find yourself some new listening material.
Big ditto on that. Check out the So What record!

To me the Dead peaked with Europe 72' ( and all the bootlegs there abouts). If you check out the long metamorphous in (I think) Truck’n, you get a cool glimpse of a group truly improvising both in harmony and form. But still not such a big deal compared to the free jazz movement that had influenced them (I think it was Jerry that acknowledged Ornette Coleman) a few years before.

But most of all the Dead were a lot of fun. The live shows- particularly the scene in the parking lot- was a wonderful interactive museum of the late 1960’s, or at least of a very brief period of the 60’s to a few people in the Height.
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Old 03-05-2007, 02:05 PM
flyingace flyingace is offline
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There were a lot of psychedelic bands in the 60s I really liked, but the Dead was not one of them. Saw them once in the late 60s - worst thing I've ever seen - just awful. How they could generate such a following speaks to the power of drugs, not music.
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Old 03-05-2007, 02:53 PM
Feedback100 Feedback100 is offline
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The Dead were like Black Licorice. You either hate them, or you love em. I do think its far to easy to write them off using the same tired cliches like drugs or "stuck in the sixties."
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