"If you tell the Truth, you don't have to remember anything"
-Mark Twain
"You realize, of course, that everything I say is horseshit." -Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Brent Mydland Meltdown

Certain jobs don't allow for the occasional mental health day. I know as a kid, faking sick to stay home from school every once in a while was a necessity. Recharging the battery helped to get myself together and get me back onto the road to the place I needed to be to coup with the daily stresses. Musicians and athlete's work around gigs and games so they are not allowed to call in sick for a scheduled event.
On this date in 1986, the stress of an on going divorce and the fear of losing the relationship with his young daughter boiled over on poor Brent Mydland. In a show that featured some very energetic the depressive situation causes Brent to lose it during the final version of "Maybe You Know." 
The audience feels the different type of vibe when Brent doesn't leave the stage for "Drums." Instead he stays on playing off Billy and Mickey, before skipping "Space" and rekindling a haunting "Maybe You Know" for the first time since 4/26/83. Brent struggles to keep the song together and ends up pretty much confusing the drummers for the direction of the song. Pulling the final verse out he sings, "maybe you don't know how I'm fucken feeling, but maybe to you it don't seem so real" as he starts to breakdown. His bandmates sense his distress, and Garcia quickly tries to change the mood by infusing a lively "Going Down The Road," which Brent barely plays keys on, although he does chime in with "Feeling bad bad bad." Jerry then turns to "Morning Dew" to speak to Brent. Singing "I thought I heard a young man cry today" and "I guess it doesn't matter" are directly sung to him. Brent is pretty despondent the rest of the show. He doesn't play keys after "Going Down The Road," though he sings on this and a little on "Not Fade Away."
The next night the band's opener seems to address this Brent meltdown. For the first time the boys open a show with the Phil Lesh classic "Box of Rain." Download the Aud of Brent meltdown show HERE. Below is a picture of Brent and his daughter at the keys from Shoreline in 1990. Him and Barlow penned "I Will Take You Home" for his little girl, and it was a favorite song of my son to fall asleep to as a baby. This song is also Barlow's favorite Grateful Dead song he wrote.
I: Half Step, El Paso, Row Jimmy, Esau, Cumberland, Desolation Row, Ramble, Let It Grow
II: Touch, Estimated, Eyes*, Drums, Maybe You Know, Dew, Around, NFA E: Don't Ease*
*with Jose Lorenzo


  1. Wow, what a way to wake up this morning, Brent has always been my favorite. The way he could touch those keys in the way he does, the way he could rip out songs w/ such power & you could just feel it, right into through your bones & into the heart. Today being its been so long w/ out this man in all our lives, I still get chuckled up myself &. Often meltdown just hearing him sing the way only he could. Yeah pig pen was great as well, one must love the harmonica but being I was an eighties dead traveler & spent my days w/ the community during these days & the early 90's. I think the magic of both the shows & our great community often just actually hurt me from that point on & I did few shows being a Va, Beacher I did the Maryland,Dc., Va., Nc, etc say our local shows but it really hurt to see the love light almost blowing out to say, but regardless every time the boys got on stage their was always the magic that had been created & w/ us for so many years, guess ya had to " shake it around just a Lil bit" more. Indeed NFA & how beautiful for Jerry to come on over & say I thought I heard a grown man cry. Been there & still think of her to this day, but truth is even when one is in love, theirs still A FOOLISH HEART. Much love to both Brent & Jerry today & always, never will they fade away, we love you & and bid ya goodnite

  2. wow, nice job man. those "blow aways" were pretty intense at times.