top of page

I don't trust to nothing...I'm just playing in the band

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

Liner Notes: I'm using the Grateful Dead's "Playing in the Band" to reply to a Facebook post that asked the important question, "Who are we to trust?"

A former associate pastor and musician posted the following during this time of pandemic virus and pandemic hatred (June 2, 2020):

Original Facebook post

As I laid my head down to go to sleep the chorus from an old Andre Crouch song keeps running through my head...

"Jesus Is The Answer

For The World Today

Above Him There's No Other

Jesus Is The Way."

We all would do well to take this to heart and tell all who will listen. There is no other solution.

"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, (and some in politicians); But we will remember the name of the LORD our God" Ps 20:7

"Jesus Is The Answer

For The World Today

Above Him There's No Other

Jesus Is The Way."

Thus ends his post.


I added the following comments to his post and then attached a link to the post on my site.

My FB comments

I'm taking your recommendation to continue to keep before everyone the important question you raise - "Who do we trust?"

I'm doing it via a deep dive into a Grateful Dead song - "Playing in the Band" - that addresses the same fundamental inquiry.

"Some folks trust to reason Others trust to might I don't trust to nothing But I know it come out right… " And before a reader accuses me of heuristic heresy, I've even included some Stones in my post...

But first they have to pass the test...

"If a man among you Got no sin upon his hand Let him cast a stone at me For playing in the band"

That ended my comments. Now, on with the post...


This post - continued

The psalmist (and the pastor’s addition - I italicized it) surely call it accurately.

Re: the pastor’s addition of “and some in politicians”

In my first post, Theophilus, I wrote about leaders who mis-lead - "Out on a Limb: Of Cherry Trees & Presidents & Pinocchio’s." It had as its starting point a 2007 Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem entitled “Pity the Nation Whose Leaders Are Liars” which was based on a similar 1938 poem by Kahlil Gibran.

Now for the overall question “who do you trust?”

After reflecting on his post about on whose might are we trusting, I created this post as a reply.

In the Judeo-Christian scriptures we are exhorted to:

· Hear AND do

· Pray AND act

· Reflect AND respond

· Contemplate AND act

Full disclosure: I prefer the action half of the pairs. I continue to have to practice, like Mary and likely John, the Beloved, to sit at the feet of the Master – unveiled face-to-unveiled face; or, as one of my early teachers, Thomas Keating, says, “Mouth-to-mouth.” Divine intimacy! Contemplative practices that are helping include: centering prayer, meditation, mindfulness and mindful music.

That said, let’s look at how we can put into practice active trusting.

As I read the pastor’s post and the mention of Psalm 20 with its reminder not to yield to the temptation to “trust in might,” I was reminded of another song with similar references – “Playing in the Band” – by one of my still-favorite bands – The Grateful Dead.

My friend Steve said once that there’s a Grateful Dead song for nearly every occasion – so let’s get truckin’ on…and join the show already in progress…because “the music never stopped…”

Playing in the Band

Some folks trust to reason

Others trust to might

I don't trust to nothing

But I know it come out right…

From Jericho to Mexico

Observing one of the first campaigns to tear down a wall – Jericho - I’ve noted that music is a great non-violent method of protest and warfare. Musicians need a lot of courage and trust as they are on the front lines – in the case of Jericho - literally; they went ahead of the army.

Other art forms serve a similar function. “Brahms not bombs.” Uh, a classic but not exactly classic rock.

So, as Jerry sang in “Ripple”, “Let there be songs (not rocks and bullets) to fill the air.”

Excavating sacred texts

The following reflections on whose might are we trusting began at the site that I often use when I’m working with the sacred texts of the Dead – and I don’t mean the Tibetan Book of the Dead…or do I? Could the Dead have had former lives?

I began my research here, continued to make some observations of my own and have combined both in what follows. FYI – There are many biblical references in GD lyrics and many folks have written about this fact. I am also writing a blog post on this subject – stay tuned…

The “Annotated” site was an interactive project started by a University of California at Santa Cruz research associate named David Dodds. David got the big wheel turning (couldn’t resist : ))), then opened the project to those who read his work. He then posted their input.

OK, ‘nuf preamble – let’s play the song…let’s lay some track, Casey Jones

The Lyrics – Trusting is just the beginning of this song…and our journey…

Some folks trust to reason

Others trust to might (Psalm 20:7 – “Some trust in chariots and some in horses…” [1])

I don't trust to nothing (no thing…things are passing away…Love isn’t)

But I know it come out right (‘cause Love never fails)

[1] Dave Klampert: this is the very verse you mentioned in your post. A reader sent this addition to Dodd’s first draft of his annotated version of the song and Dodd added it to the site.

Say it once again now

Oh I hope you understand

When it's done and over

Lord, a man is just a man (Messrs. Hunter, Hart & Weir, I respectfully disagree – please see Psalm 8 about man’s worth)


Playing in the band

Daybreak (“Behold, I may all things new…” Like a new day)

Daybreak on the land (2 Peter 1:19) [2]

[2] “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

Some folks look for answers (sincere seekers – “What must I do to find wholeness (be saved)?”)

Some folks up in treetops (Zacchaeus)

Just look to see the sights

I can tell your future

Look what's in your hand (weapons? Bible as a weapon? An offering of loaves and fishes that can feed 5,000?)

But I can't stop for nothing (no thing…things are passing away…Love isn’t)

I'm just playing in the band


Playing in the band


Daybreak on the land

Standing on a tower

World at my command (Matthew 4:5-9 – The devil took Jesus to the highest point of the temple…”)

You just keep a turning (“You” could be the “devil” – see [3] below)

While I'm playing in the band

If a man among you

Got no sin upon his hand

Let him cast a stone at me (John 8 & indirectly, Matthew 7)

For playing in the band (soldiers armed with musical instruments – click here to see “Brahms not Bombs” in my post entitled "A Groovy Kind of Day."


Playing in the band


Daybreak on the land


Playing in the band

Daybreak Daybreak on the land

[3] “You (the ‘devil’) just keep a turning”

…with old lies and tricks – illustrated in the following classic…


Please allow me to introduce myself

I'm a man of wealth and taste

I've been around for a long, long year

Stole many a man's soul and faith

I was 'round when Jesus Christ

Had his moment of doubt and pain

Made damn sure that Pilate

Washed his hands and sealed his fate


Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name

But what's puzzling you is the nature of my game

I watched with glee while your kings and queens

Fought for ten decades for the gods they made

(don’t need no explanation – there are too many examples)


This meditation describes “demonic” as anything we believe is beyond questioning, is too big to fail…often because our lifestyles, our comforts depend on it.

As Casey sings, “We have two good eyes but still don’t see…” – might be ‘cause we don’t want to…

More to come in another post.


bottom of page