Worst Idea Ever: 24 Hours of the Grateful Dead on WXPN This Friday
Apparently, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the “legendary” band The Grateful Dead. (What, you didn’t know?) And to commemorate this sacred occasion, Philadelphia radio station WXPN is offering 24 hours of the Grateful Dead. They’re calling it the Day of the Dead. (Creative!) And they even have a hashtag: #XPNDeadDay. All of which has us ready to puke.
Listen, you can argue all you want about how awesome Grateful Dead shows used to be, and we will admit that the experience of a live Grateful Dead performance was most definitely a thing (yes, we have been to Grateful Dead shows over the years, and one staffer—this one—was even at the final performance of the Grateful Dead at the Spectrum), and we can debate until we’re blue in the face about whether that thing was a good thing or a bad thing.
But one thing is for sure: There is no reason to relive this “magic” with live recordings or, God forbid, studio cuts, which were the biggest waste of vinyl, magnetic tape or CD technology until the advent of Milli Vanilli. The meandering, drugged out, frequently unintelligible sounds created by this “iconic” rock band are best left to the acid-wrecked memories that they inhabit.
If WXPN is going to use up a 24-hour slot of radio signal and the online feeds to broadcast one thing, why not broadcast 24 hours of Philadelphia artists—from Marian Anderson to Chubby Checker to the Hooters to Schoolly D to Hall & Oates to Low Cut Connie to the Roots? Why devote a full Earth day to the Grateful Fucking Dead?
The Grateful Dead is very much dead and should remain that way.
Here’s the full announcement from WXPN, a station that we used to have some respect for:
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead. Few bands in rock’s great history have had the unparalleled impact and influence on pop culture as the Dead have. WXPN is celebrating the music of the band, solo, and Dead related musical projects with a 24 hour tribute to their music starting this Friday, April 17th at 6 a.m. Friday’s highlights will include a Free At Noon featuring two Philly local bands covering complete albums; Mason Porter will be performing Workingman’s Dead in its entirety, followed by the Chris Kasper Band performing American Beauty album in its entirety.
Helping us set the scene for the day are two long time local Dead Heads and aficionados who will act as DJ’s; Ike Richman, who has probably seen as many Dead shows in Philly as they’ve played, will be on with Dan Reed from 4 to 7 p.m., while former XPN host Jack Barton, currently an editor at music trade mag Friday Morning Quarterback will be on from 7 p.m. to midnight. From midnight to 6 a.m., Grateful Dead Hour host David Gans will curate a marathon of classic Dead Hours.
#XPNDeadDay starts this Friday, April 17th at 6 a.m. for 24 hours with Mike Vasilikos on the XPN Morning Show.