I don't get Grateful Dead. Really.

Yooper

Member
Messages
855
If you strip away EVERYTHING from the Grateful Dead except the recorded studio music - The drugs, the personalities, the deadheads, the scene, the imagery. I mean strip away EVERYTHING - except the music, you're left with a band that left us behind a handful of medium-quality songs. Good enough to recognize, not nearly good enough to justify their popularity. They'd be on par with Squeeze or 10cc or maybe The Outlaws or something. A decent song now and then, nobody's favorite band.

But you CAN'T strip away all of the noise and hype, the history and imagery and the scene - so instead they're huge. Kind of like what happened with the Macarena or Achy Breaky Heart. It became bigger than it should have.

So let those who want to love it do so. They like those tunes, the hippie atmosphere, the spectacle, the t-shirts, the other dead-heads, the history, the scene.


But if you're looking for deep musical genius or skill that you're somehow missing, that you think everyone else is hearing but you're not, it's just not there. Give it up and move on to something you like.
"Macarena or Achy Breaky Heart". Yeah. No fooling the critical listener. Same level as the Grateful Dead.

Right. Now tell that to Bob Dylan, Duane Allman, Santana, Peter Green, Branford Marsalis and Ornette Coleman and dozens of other great musicians who loved playing with the Dead.

Next: "I don't get jazz".

"Coltrane: Over-rated noodling?"

"Miles: Out of touch? Can't settle on his sound?"
 

amigo30

Member
Messages
7,587
"Macarena or Achy Breaky Heart". Yeah. No fooling the critical listener. Same level as the Grateful Dead.
I did not say that the Macarena was musically on the same quality level as the Grateful Dead. I merely used them as an example of something musical getting big, beyond their musical merits.

There's a big difference. It's an obvious difference. So please don't build that sad strawman.

The harshest criticism I have for the Grateful Dead is a recognition that their legacy and the size of their popularity was largely built on factors other than their songwriting or relative virtuosity. If that's just too much for a dead-head to handle or hear, well - then go ahead and get all bent out of shape.

Next: "I don't get jazz".

"Coltrane: Over-rated noodling?"

"Miles: Out of touch? Can't settle on his sound?"
So you're trying to say the Grateful Dead are musically on-par with Miles Davis and John Coletrane. Are they also on par with Bach and Beethoven?
 
Last edited:

Suave Eddie

Member
Messages
11,206
"Macarena or Achy Breaky Heart". Yeah. No fooling the critical listener. Same level as the Grateful Dead.

Right. Now tell that to Bob Dylan, Duane Allman, Santana, Peter Green, Branford Marsalis and Ornette Coleman and dozens of other great musicians who loved playing with the Dead.

Next: "I don't get jazz".

"Coltrane: Over-rated noodling?"

"Miles: Out of touch? Can't settle on his sound?"
This is what I'm talking about.

Don't take the bait. Do you think your response will change his mind?
You and I can appreciate the depth of the songwriting and musicality.
Using Jerry's licorice analogy, would you ever try to persuade someone that licorice tastes good?
 

PedalFreak

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,049
If you strip away EVERYTHING from the Grateful Dead except the recorded studio music - The drugs, the personalities, the deadheads, the scene, the imagery. I mean strip away EVERYTHING - except the music, you're left with a band that left us behind a handful of medium-quality songs. Good enough to recognize, not nearly good enough to justify their popularity. They'd be on par with Squeeze or 10cc or maybe The Outlaws or something. A decent song now and then, nobody's favorite band.

But you CAN'T strip away all of the noise and hype, the history and imagery and the scene - so instead they're huge. Kind of like what happened with the Macarena or Achy Breaky Heart. It became bigger than it should have. Something that had momentum driven by factors other than the quality of the music. It was got big because it was big.

So let those who want to love it do so. They like those tunes, the hippie atmosphere, the spectacle, the t-shirts, the other dead-heads, the history, the scene.


But if you're looking for deep musical genius or skill that you're somehow missing, that you think everyone else is hearing but you're not, it's just not there. Give it up and move on to something you like.
There are a lot of HUGE bands that would fit your description. All the additional "stuff" that goes along with bands is what makes a band.

I may be in the minority, but a lot of the Dead's "scene" I do not like. I don't like drug culture, I'm not into the skeletons and skulls, I dg the bears though :) But I love their music. I love Jerry's playing, I love the majority of their songs. I even really like Dead & Co too.
 

Suave Eddie

Member
Messages
11,206
So many people believe that just because they say something it makes it true.

Why do so many people take it personally when someone else doesn't have the same tastes in music?
They don't react the same way regarding tastes in food.
 

PedalFreak

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,049
Absolutely true. Kiss would be a great example.

So I could have compared the Grateful Dead to Kiss. That probably still would have gotten a few dead-heads riled up.
I'd even argue the Beatles as well. That'd really get people in a tizzy though :roll
 

Drowned Rabbit

Black Beauty Beats Burst
Messages
2,732
I don’t get “I don’t get” threads. How are you a musician and not understand? A bunch of hippies mixed bluegrass with rock and then stretched the songs out live like free jazz so girls on drugs could dance to ‘em. It’s not rocket science. I think what you mean to say is, “I don’t like them.” fine. But who cares?
 

Scott SG

ember
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,231
Good point. The Dead seem to attract a bizarrely loyal following, so criticism of the band is an attack on the fan.

People saying things like "If you don't like the Grateful Dead then you won't like me" is just weird.
you're making my point!
 

Yooper

Member
Messages
855
I did not say that the Macarena was musically on the same quality level as the Grateful Dead. I merely used them as an example of something musical getting big, beyond their musical merits.
I see. You're talking about "musical merits" rather than "quality level".

Maybe you excluded live performances for a reason. It's still a judgement of song writing that misses the mark. Their songs have lasted far beyond the Macarena for a reason.

My examples of Miles and Trane were not comparisons to the Dead. They were comparisons of those who don't get either.

I'm saying great musicians disagree with you. Nobody's bent out of shape. Some just have better ears for live music. And we all know the Dead took chances and sometimes failed. Nobody "gets" the failures, or success, like Deadheads do. Unlike most detractors, they listen more.

This is why I don't get musicians who don't get music of any kind. Getting it isn't the same as liking it. I get polkas. I just don't like listening to them. But anything that gets people to dance is good. Even the Macarena. And nobody in pop music made more people dance for as many years as the Grateful Dead and their many offshoots.
 
Last edited:

WIshbones

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
234
Why do so many people take it personally when someone else doesn't have the same tastes in music?
I never take it personally when another person doesn't have the same tastes in music.

I never take it personally when another person doesn't have the same tastes in wine.

However, when a person attempts to justify their subjective dislike for either based on erroneous objective "facts," I tend to call BS on said person. That has little to do with taking it personally. It has everything to do with the fact that some people need to be called out on their BS.
 




Trending Topics

Top