Barbed Wire Whipping Party

Lyrics: Robert Hunter/Grateful Dead
Music: [almost none]

This bit of madness was recorded during the sessions for Aomoxoa, using tape loops, feedback and all sorts of wierdness. The lyrics (such as they are) are spoken or chanted - I've only transcribed fragments, which are often repeated incessantly and on top of each other

Oh yeah
Stay in the general area (area, area, area)
Stay in the general area [etc]

What's the name of this stuff?

Meat, meat, gimme my meat
Meat, meat, gimme my meat
Meat, meat, gimme my meat

Hello, talk
Talk, talk, talk

Stay in the general area

[Robert Hunter]
The barbed wire whipping party in the razor blade forest
Sweet live meat, my fangs could unravel you
Back, hand, whip, lash, [eskers], sange froid, leather picnic
Duty, cold blood, barbed wire, naked on the table, laughing
Feet stained wine and eyes smoking
No is permitted
There's more freedom than you could choke down in ten thousand years

The other day I went to Mars and talked to God
And he told me to tell you to hang tight and don't worry
The solution to everything is death
The version recorded for Aoxomoxoa has not been released, and does not seem likely to be. Eric Levy asked David Gans, Blair Jackson, and Steve Silberman about this in an interview for Relix Magazine about the "So Many Roads" box set:
Levy: David, when I asked you about the contents a few months ago, "Barbed Wire Whipping Party" was going to be included at the time.
Jackson: Vetoed very close to the last moment by Robert Hunter.
Levy: Really! Is he on it?
Gans: Oh yeah, he's on it. He and David Nelson were major stars in "The Barbed Wire Whipping Party." Nelson was all in favor of it, but Hunter exercised his veto power exactly once, and we were not going to argue with him about it.
And a recent (June 2001) exchange on the Grateful Dead Hour mailing list:
I think someone asked this already, but is there any chance "Barbed Wire Whipping Party" could be a bonus track on the Aoxomoxoa remix that will be coming out?
Gans: No. David Lemieux told me he asked about it and was told NO in no uncertain terms.
Robert Hunter himself commented on this during a concert on 11 June 2003:
"The barbed wire whipping party in the razor blade forest."

That was my addition to Aomoxoa but when I listened to it (I suppose you all have heard tapes of it by now) I decided it was blasphemy and I wasn't sure I wanted to live with it for the rest of my life, so I decided it shouldn't go on. That was when they realised I was a chicken and a coward and I couldn't be in the band. "Here, Hunter, take a pencil, you asshole. You realise how good that is?" Hey man, I could have been the next Kurt Cobain.

"The other day I went to Mars and talked to God. And he told me to tell you to hang tight and not worry. The solution to everying is death."

I mean, would you want that on your conscience for the flower-power generation, man? No, no. I mean, it's true in its own way, but ... well the part about going to Mars is true, the rest of it's not.
David Gans played this on Grateful Dead Hour 421 on 14 October 1996:
"Nelson also treated us to a rare bit of studio weirdness called 'Barbed Wire Whipping Party,' a very high experiment conducted with the aid of the 16-track recorder in the San Mateo, California studio where the Dead were working on Aoxomoxoa.

"Hunter said, 'I want you to get some people for voices, and I want you to read these lines like chants - say them over and over again, and we'll make tape loops out of them,'" Nelson recalled. The chants included:

'Push it and pull it and push it and pull it,'

'Meat, meat, gimme my meat! Meat, meat, gimme my meat!'

'Riding along on my Ps and Qs, riding along on my fastback hog.
Riding along on my Ps and Qs, riding along on my fastback hog.

'Hump, snip it, hump, snip it, hump, snip it.'

"Hunter had this idea to make loops of all this stuff and fade them in and out, and read this poem, 'Barbed Wire Whipping Party.' You can barely hear it - it's an odd mix. Oddly enough, it's an odd mix....

'The barbed wire whipping party in the razor blade forest!
No is permitted...
The other day I went to Mars and talked to God,
and he said, "Hang in there"

"Betty Cantor set up a microphone and Matthews had rigged the recorder so that anything that goes into this microphone is repeated 16 times. Three or four of us were standing there with headphones, and Betty says, 'Stay in the general area.' And we heard, 'area area area area.' So we start chanting, 'Area area area area, stay in the general area...' And the rest is chaos."

Further Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography


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