Posts Tagged ‘books’

Grateful Dean on TIAADWD

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

From the Grateful Dean blog:

I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of the latest Grateful Dead book that will be hitting the market next Tuesday.

This Is All A Dream We Dreamed, An Oral History of the Grateful Dead by Blair Jackson and David Gans is The Grateful Dead Story as told by those that were actually part of it. For many of us, Blair Jackson and David Gans have been the link between the inner circle and the outer circle of our community for several decades. They’ve combed through thousands of hours of interviews and conversations they have participated in, with those closest as well as those in the band, to convey a first hand look at the history of our favorite topic. Instead of guessing what Garcia might say in regards to any given topic, this book gives you plenty of things he really did say instead of assuming. While many bits and pieces that make up the book have appeared elsewhere before, it’s packed with new stories and conversations that have yet to be seen. The book takes pieces from the stories told by the characters that make up Our Community and places them within the proper context and time period from which they came. Since the book is largely comprised of short pieces by different individuals, even the most burned out meatheads can navigate their way through the adventure without losing steam. This approach seems to make reading large chunks of it just as easy as picking it up for a minute or two. That is a tremendous accomplishment when your book is aimed at a community with a good deal of members that have absolutely no clue how to pay attention. I think the ladies will be happy that there is a lot more input from the significant women in and around the scene. Blair and David obviously felt like this was an important piece of the picture that has been limited in other historical perspectives. You’ll definitely hear more from the women at the center of it all than you have before.

Many of us are currently spending a little more time than we have in a while on planes, trains and automobiles. A little more time than usual in hotels, motels and parking lots, if ya know what I mean. It’s great to have something new to read while flying, travelling or waiting for show time. This book will keep you engaged from the minute you pick it up. As a collection of stories told by others, there are really no parts that are difficult to get through. It’s a story we all know, full of characters we all love. What could be better than having all of those characters tell it to US, all in one place? That’s exactly what happens in this new addition to any Deadhead’s required reading list for winter. Whether you grab it on Tuesday or put it on your Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa list, I guarantee you’ll have a blast as you learn and relive the days that make up the history of The Greatest Live Band the earth will ever know. Nothing is better than a history book that’s told by the people that were actually creating it! David Gans, in his humility, downplays the role he’s played for many of us throughout the years but for me, he has been a bridge between the Center of Grateful Dead Land and its inhabitants. I appreciate how Blair and David have taken the pieces of our past and arranged them for us in a way that is both extremely enjoyable and easy to read. It’s a scrapbook you can read and a highlight reel from decades of interviews and conversations. My attention span is shorter than the line for the women’s bathroom at Phish Shows and I am completely sucked into this book. Pick it up on Tuesday or put it on your holiday gift list! You’ll be glad you did.

book and audiobook
(Ordering info and all can be found here)

Coming soon: an Oral History of the Grateful Dead

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

This Is All a Dream We Dreamed

Publication date is November 10.

Here is the Goodreads page for the book, and here is the publisher’s page. Both include links to several purchase options.

Publisher’s Weekly gave us a good review:

This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead
Blair Jackson and David Gans
Flatiron, $32.99 (528p) ISBN 978·1·250·05856·0

This epic oral history of the 50-year-old band is timed to coincide with five massively hyped “Fare Thee Well” concerts. The straightforward approach by Jackson and Gans (who collectively boast almost 80 years of Grateful Dead journalism) uses multiple perspectives to tell the story of a group that began as a San Francisco jug band of penniless hippies, morphed through multiple musical incarnations, and created a colorful psychedelic subculture. The more than 100 voices here include members of the Dead – including deceased guitarist/ de facto leader Jerry Garcia, and keyboardists Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Brent Mydland – and their collaborators as well as business partners and fans. Jackson and Gans relied on new and archival interviews, as well as other published and unpublished sources. To their credit, the authors focus as much on the creation, recording, and marketing of music as they do on the ingestion of hallucinogens. The result is a solid, engaging chronicle.

Kirkus Reviews: also quite favorable!

THIS IS ALL A DREAM WE DREAMED [STARRED REVIEW!] An Oral History of the Grateful Dead
Author: Blair Jackson
Author: David Gans

Review Issue Date: September 1, 2015
Online Publish Date: August 15, 2015
Publisher:Flatiron Books
Pages: 528
Price ( Hardcover ): $32.99
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-250-05856-0
Category: Nonfiction

Coming on its 50th anniversary and just after the band’s farewell tour, an engaging, near-comprehensive oral history of the Grateful Dead. If “the Grateful Dead” and “disco” are not phrases that go together, it’s not for want of their trying. As Jackson (Grateful Dead Gear—The Band’s Instruments, Sound Systems, and Recording Sessions, from 1965 to 1995, 2006, etc.) and musician Gans (Conversations with the Dead: The Grateful Dead Interview Book, 1991, etc.) — collectors and archivists who know as much as nearly anyone alive about the storied band—chronicle, midway into the 1970s, with albums such as “From the Mars Hotel” and “Wake of the Flood” under their belts, the Dead were enough under the sway of Saturday Night Fever to attempt a disco-ish take on “Dancing in the Street.” Chalk it up to Mickey Hart, one of the many thorns in this thorny narrative hide, whose return to the band wrought big changes. “We had to tell him [what to play],” said guitarist Bob Weir in 1977, “which means we had to be thinking about it, which means while we were thinking about it, we might as well rethink things in general.” As fans already know but will further note, the superficially peace-and-love demeanor of the Dead disguised all sorts of tensions, from personality clashes to money worries and differences over musical direction. But it all worked, despite Jerry Garcia’s drug use and increasingly erratic behavior. Says sound tech Bob Bralove, “The energy around [the last tour with Garcia] was kind of confusing, because there was this really positive energy coming from the band, but it was missing a key ingredient.” For all that, there’s plenty of peace and love here and lots of smoke and psychedelia, as well as the usual Altamont regrets, all voiced by people in and close to the band. Worthy of Studs Terkel and an essential addition to the books of the Dead.

Interview with the Starburst Commander

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Ten-minute interview with the Starburst Commander, author of Confessions of a Dead Head. From the 12/9/09 Dead to the World.

It’s a wonderful book, a quick read (under 100 pages) but loaded with color and soul.

Also please see my previous post, which includes a nice excerpt.

Gary Greenberg’s “A Noble Lie”

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Just got this email from Gary Greenberg – a good friend, a soulful psychologist, an excellent writer, and a damn fine musician to boot:

As if there weren’t already too many books in the world, now I’ve gone and published one. It’s called The Noble Lie, and it’s about what happens when doctors try to diagnose away our moral confusion. You know, like when they say that a person whose brain has stopped working, but who is still breathing and still has a beating heart, is actually already dead, so it’s okay to remove his organs. Or that a person who is miserable has a brain disease, so it’s okay for her to take drugs that make her feel better. Or that a man who falls in love with a man ought to be able to marry him because he was born that way rather than because in a life that will drive you to your knees with alarming frequency, love is rare and should be encouraged in all its forms.

The idea–to the extent that there is one–is that these diagnoses are myths that we live by, and like all myths both indispensable and fragile, hard to live without and nearly impossible to sustain. But mostly the book is a series of strange stories–about people who come back from the dead and people who think they will never die, about a serial killer who wants to be thought of as evil rather than sick and a convicted drug kingpin who wants to cure drug addicts by giving them a dangerous hallucinogen, about straight people who become gay and gay people who become straight. It’s got sex and drugs and, if you read it with your ipod on, rock and roll, and you’ll get to see me beg for an audience with the Unabomber, weasel my way into a clinical trial, and get into a life-threatening situation with a guy who thinks he will live forever. You’ve seen some of these stories before, in places like The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Mother Jones, but there’s plenty of new stuff, including my visit to the Wet Spot, one of America’s best sex clubs.

Publisher’s Weekly called The Noble Lie “muddled,” which makes sense, since the point is to re-muddle what should probably never have been un-muddled in the first place. New Scientist called it “impressive and fascinating“. The book hits the shelves today. Read it and decide for yourself.

Here is the publisher’s catalog page for the book.

I have ordered my copy and will report back when I’ve finished reading it.