I don't get Grateful Dead. Really.

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by eddie101, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. hank57

    hank57 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have been in a thread just like this thread. Or maybe this is the thread after all
     
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  2. Duffy Pratt

    Duffy Pratt Member

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    No, the thing is that it takes almost no effort at all. Using it as a criteria for which groups not to like could make it difficult to find anyone to listen to.
     
  3. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    Here is the trick to getting into the GD.
    The Dead isn't like listening to Zeplin, you don't get into a car on a nice summer day and crank it up. It isn't like Beethoven or Yes, you don't sit down to listen to it intently. You don't have a juke box by your swimming pool with GD music on it, that is for CCR and 50s music and Motown. And you really don't want to go see a bar band and hear Dead songs.
    The Dead isn't like the rest of rock era music. It is too groovy for that.
    The best way to listen to the GD is to not pay any attention to it, put it on as background music while you are doing something.
    It is great because you don't really need to pay close attention to it but every now and then you catch something in it that draws your attention and you realize what is cool about them.
    I find it great for when I am working on instruments or working in my wood shop or other stuff in my shop. It is most often nice flowing hypnotic music that has interesting things here and there that stick in your head. It isn't distracting and isn't so deep that you have to be giving it full intention to get anything out of it.
    It is most often meandering melodies and movements that go from the somewhat mundane to breathtaking, and if you are listening to it intently you miss the breathtaking parts. They are best when they catch you by surprise.
    It might even be good to have on when driving home from a gig at 3 a.m.
    Try it some time.

    Think of it as elevator music for stoners.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  4. cruiserman

    cruiserman Member

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    Good on the Dead for embracing the drug culture and tying it to their music, whether or not it was just some back-office scheme to make money. It worked.

    Also before widespread acceptance or legalization of soft-drugs, the Dead had to be a way for fans to not only find each other but rationalize taking drugs (NO! I'm not a degenerate druggie from a bad neighborhood! I'm a Deadhead college student, so it's OK!) Something to think about is in the past 50 years how many college students bought the drugs from dropouts and openly used them while the dropouts are probably in jail for selling it to them. Not very cool and I'm a conservative. This is probably overwhelmingly true of its older fans attitudes. I'm sure a lot of people still use this "its all about the music...man!" excuse ...rather than just saying drugs feel good, esp as your body ages.

    However, if you don't like the songs, you can find a lot of Dead music with just the instrumental parts on YouTube. Without the lyrics it is much more pleasing/tolerable. Totally can see why people, esp non-musicians, would not be into them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  5. Sp8ctre

    Sp8ctre Member

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    I'm not a fan. My theory is; They gave away LSD at all their shows and that's where the following developed. I could never listen to them without
    some chemical or plant based enhancement...My brother made a ton on $$$ following their shows and selling tye dyes in the parking lot...
     
  6. dwk302

    dwk302 Member

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    I tried to like them, but The Dead is objectively bad. It sounds like a bunch guys just noodling around.
     
  7. tonewoody

    tonewoody Member

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    'What a long strange thread it's been...!'
     
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  8. MrAstro

    MrAstro Member

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    I like how they had a member of the band that was a duck...

     
  9. SDB

    SDB Member

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    One leg's both the same....
     
  10. daacrusher2001

    daacrusher2001 Silver Supporting Member

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    For the record, not all people that like The Dead are "Deadheads". I'm not. I just like their music. I've seen them a bunch of times with Jerry, and several versions of them since. I really liked Dead & Co. when I saw them two years ago at City Field. I saw them with Warren Haynes and Joan Osborne one time too - fantastic show.

    If I'm being honest, some of the post-Jerry versions were much tighter bands and I greatly prefer the in-tune backup singers over that screeching Donna Godchaux.
     
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  11. JRC4558Dude

    JRC4558Dude Member

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    I don't get this mentality at all.

    If you (or anyone) doesn't like the Dead, then nothing I will say is going to change that, but the idea that "embracing the drug culture" was a "back-office scheme to make money" is just downright comical.

    The Dead were (and are) so successful because of immense talent and lots of hard work. Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow are/were uniquely gifted writers who just happened to hook up with some uniquely gifted musicians and create some truly compelling and enduring music.

    Yes, it is certainly true that the band were recreational drug users, and that several members had serious substance abuse problems. Heck, there are millions of Deadheads who wish that Jerry (or Pigpen, or Brent) had embraced a more healthy lifestyle so they'd still be with us today. But that wasn't in the cards. They made the choices they made, and suffered the consequences.

    For me, and many others, it doesn't diminish the beauty and the value of the music that they made.
     
  12. Seth L

    Seth L Member

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    I love that people are acting like the Dead and their fans were the only people using drugs.
     
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  13. Ramboorider

    Ramboorider Supporting Member

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    I'm not a regular around here but check in from time to time and just stopped by to see a THIRTY FIVE PAGE thread on my favorite band.... I read a bit of it. Just like every other thread ever started on every other forum by and for Dead haters with some lively defenses penned by Dead lovers. I'm not gonna waste my or your time responding to the stuff I think is BS or chime in on the stuff I think is poetry.

    I'll just say I loved 'em from the first time I saw them (77) until almost the last time, a month or so before Jerry jumped off. At the end, from about 93 on, it was clear we were attending a wake, and I was happy to be there just to say goodbye, but a good deal of the music did rightfully suck. Although there were still those moments when Jerry would come to life for a few songs and sing something (his playing was awfully limited by then) so beautifully soulful it could make you cry. I'll never forget a So Many Roads from the Spring of 95 that was among the most lived in and deeply felt vocal performances I've heard. We all knew he was dying, I'm sure he was more acutely aware of it than anyone. And he was pouring it out.

    I loved em, high or straight, on tight nights and loose nights. If you didn't, I don't care - you're not liking something is your problem, not mine. I don't come around and start threads about the stuff I hate. Then again, there's not much I do hate. Almost every kind of music has some good and some bad and mostly mediocre. I find most metal really pointless wanking and I actually rather hate those nameless faceless "rock" bands from the late 70s, early 80s that had approximately zero blues in their influences, but were just playing cloying pop songs behind a few arpeggiated power chords. You know the stuff, Supertramp, Kansas, Little River Band, Styx, Foreigner, Journey (after the first couple albums), Starship. There were others. But, hey, if you liked 'em, I'm glad. I didn't, but that's not your problem, it was mine when I was forced to sit through some of that crap. I got thrown out of a Little River Band concert for standing up and yelling about how much they sucked while the other several thousand people there sat politely. I was there for Jay Ferguson, who opened for them and who was damn good, and because a friend got really good tickets through some promotion. Yeah, I could be a dick when I was a kid too...

    -Ray
     
  14. screamingduck

    screamingduck Member

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    Back in the late 70's my older brother, who was constantly listening to the Dead in his bedroom next to mine, talked a friend and I into going to see them at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Santana opened with 45 minute scorching set and we were fired up big time. Then the Dead came out..... and between every song spent around 5 minutes smoking cigarettes, tuning their guitars, and apparently discussing what song to play next. For my friend and I it was a huge letdown after watching Santana and his band's tight, energetic set. My older brother and the rest of the crowd loved it though. To each his own, I certainly respect the Dead however I was never motivated after that concert to go see them again. Santana I actually got to meet years later backstage at the same Fox Theatre but that is another story. :aok
     
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  15. aiq

    aiq Supporting Member

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  16. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Silver Supporting Member

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    You can't hate something you don't, deep inside, actually care about. ;)
     
  17. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

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    Agree, or if I may add, really pay (even a little) attention to...

    What I mean is those who make generalized statements about the GD's music like " no dynamics", " every tempo is the same", and " mindless never ending jamming..."

    If anyone were to listen to a full set of GD ( it doesn't matter the era/personnel, but you DO need to listen for more than a few minutes...) you would just hear how untrue/inaccurate this is.
    They shaded their music with dynamics/volume, changed tempo rhythm, and their jams ( or at least the spaces for them) were always worked out, they arranged their music.

    Granted, this doesn't negate someone just not liking their music, that's OK.

    Just dont attribute characteristics to their music that are just not true.

    To me the Grateful Dead mean complete musical FREEDOM, or permission, to play whatever the hell you want to.
     
  18. sergv

    sergv Member

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    Please, you can the same about anyone who goes to any bar/club to hear ANY band. Do they go just to rationalize smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol (THE two most dangerous and lethal of ALL drugs, which just happen to be 'socially acceptable')? Alcohol and nicotine are used openly, then there are all other drugs that are also used but not so openly. Get real.
     
  19. cdarwincole

    cdarwincole Member

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    Beauty is half what your mind brings to the scene. You had to be into what the Dead were doing to appreciate it fully. They never played a song the same way twice, and that was deliberate. I didn't like everything they played, but the crowds were calm and friendly, and sometimes the music became amazing and beautiful things. That said, the Dead were a band best seen live while high. (An astute colleague will soon force me to retract that last statement.)

    Most bands live sound just like their records. That's great, but why not save the cost of a concert ticket and just listen to the records? Each Dead performance was a work of art in its own right, like a series of Jackson Pollock paintings taking shape before your eyes, morphing into Mandelbrot fractals, opening wormholes to other dimensions. That's without the LSD.

    I was not into them until 1972, when a friend of mine (bass player in my band) got me high on some hash and played a few songs from the "Skull and Roses " album (1971). He wanted me to get some Garcia into my playing style. I was 19. I knew how our band struggled for tone and balance. He pointed out how clearly each instrument could be heard and how beautifully the musicians played off one another, making amorphous jams seem orchestrated. I was primed and ready when "Europe '72" came along, and I loved it.

    I saw them live only twice. Their sound system was beyond state-of-the-art, really drew you in: clean, distinct, three dimensional tone without ear piercing or crushing volume, like you were in their home listening to the best stereo system ever, but they were inventing the music for you as they went along. And because each performance was unique, you felt a part of it, and you could sense how the band was feeding off the energy of the audience and being influenced by it.

    If you can't bring those sorts of associations to the albums, you might not find much to love about the Dead. But just for fun -- and realizing that each time they played the song it was significantly different -- listen to "The Other One" on the "Skull and Roses" album. You can skip the first 4 or 5 minutes if you don't like drum solos. I little medicinal product is not necessary, though it might be interesting if you want the full experience. I'd also recommend, oh, let's say, "Wharf Rat." Check out "The China Cat Sunflower/Know You Rider" meld on "Europe '72." They did a lot of that sort of segging live, spinning out one song after another. And from Jerry's solo album, check out "The Wheel."

    Or maybe you'll just never like licorice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  20. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    I'm not sure what all of this has to do with the Grateful Dead or my post, but my point is that the Dead is something to be in the right frame of mind for, it isn't highly intellectual and is just nice flowing simple music that makes nice background music.
    You certainly don't have to be whacked out of your mind to appreciate it.
    I would think they appeal more to non-musicians, being as their music isn't exactly Beethoven. Musicians would be far too likely to pick them apart for all their flaws and over simplistic approach to music.
    Being an old hippie who has had plenty of experience with being stoned, I can say it isn't as if being stoned is a requirement, and you don't have to be someone who lives for that next buzz to appreciate the Dead, no matter what kind of stereotype is heaped on their fans or what kind of stereotype some of their fans try to live up to.


    Also, the bottom line with the Dead is that it was a jam band that pretty much had band practice live on stage in front of audiences, and people liked it. They would loosely play around basic song structures and pretty much, like improvisational jazz only far more simplistic, would just all meander on their instruments in the same key in the same timing signatures and sometimes it would sound good, sometimes not so much.
    There wasn't anything deep, mystical, spiritual, or intellectual in what they did. The just had fun without working too hard at it and their audiences had fun listening to them do it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019

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