Conversations With The Dead: The Grateful Dead Interview Book

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A collection of interviews—some vintage, some recent, and some brand-new—Conversations with the Dead is the first (and only) book in which the Grateful Dead speak in their own words about their music and their lives. David Gans, a self-professed Deadhead and host of "The Grateful Dead Hour," asked Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and the rest of the band the questions their fans would have asked if given the chance. And Gans reaches far beyond the musicians, talking with such often-overlooked key players as the recording engineer, sound man, and road crew—those who have had the coveted opportunity to witness the Dead's decades of music-making. This updated and expanded edition includes a rare, never-before-published interview with Seastones composer Ned Lagin and a new introduction by the author. With a readable combination of intensity, inquisitiveness, and candor, Gans has created an unprecedented portrait of a band who, after more than thirty years of music-making, has earned a unique place in American culture.
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About the author

David Gans is a musician, author of Playing in the Band, and host of the nationally syndicated radio show "The Grateful Dead Hour." He has also produced three albums, including the Grateful Dead's gold-record-winning boxed set, So Many Roads (1965–1995). He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Da Capo Press
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Published on
Apr 27, 2009
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Pages
420
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ISBN
9780786730957
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In This Is All a Dream We Dreamed, two of the most well-respected chroniclers of the Dead, Blair Jackson and David Gans, reveal the band’s story through the words of its members, their creative collaborators and peers, and a number of diverse fans, stitching together a multitude of voices into a seamless oral tapestry. Capturing the ebullient spirit at the group’s core, Jackson and Gans weave together a musical saga that examines the music and subculture that developed into its own economy, touching fans from all walks of life, from penniless hippies to celebrities, and at least one U.S. vice president.

This definitive book traces the Dead’s evolution from its humble beginnings as a folk/bluegrass band playing small venues in Palo Alto to the feral psychedelic warriors and stadium-filling Americana jam band that blazed all the way through to the 90s. Along the way, we hear from many who were touched by the Dead—from David Crosby and Miles Davis, to Ken Kesey, Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Garcia, and a host of Merry Pranksters, to legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, and others.

Throughout their journey the Dead broke (and sometimes rewrote) just about every rule of the music business, defying conventional wisdom and charting their own often unusual course, in the process creating a business model unlike any seen before. Musically, too, they were pioneers, fusing inspired ideas and techniques with intuition and fearlessness to craft an utterly unique and instantly recognizable sound. Their music centered on collective improvisation, spiritual and social democracy, trust, generosity, and fun. They believed that you can make something real, spontaneous, and compelling happen with other musicians if you trust and encourage each other, and jam as if your life depended on it. And when it worked, there was nothing else like it.

Whether you’re part of the new generation of Deadheads who are just discovering their music or a devoted fan who has traded Dead tapes for decades, you will want to listen in on the irresistible conversations and anecdotes shared in these pages. You’ll hear stories you haven’t heard before, possibly from voices that may be unfamiliar to you, and the tales that unfold will shed a whole new light on a long and inspiring musical odyssey.

The complete history of one of the most long-lived and legendary bands in rock history, written by its official historian and publicist—a must-have chronicle for all Dead Heads, and for students of rock and the 1960s’ counterculture.

From 1965 to 1995, the Grateful Dead flourished as one of the most beloved, unusual, and accomplished musical entities to ever grace American culture. The creative synchronicity among Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan exploded out of the artistic ferment of the early sixties’ roots and folk scene, providing the soundtrack for the Dionysian revels of the counterculture. To those in the know, the Dead was an ongoing tour de force: a band whose constant commitment to exploring new realms lay at the center of a thirty-year journey through an ever-shifting array of musical, cultural, and mental landscapes.

Dennis McNally, the band’s historian and publicist for more than twenty years, takes readers back through the Dead’s history in A Long Strange Trip. In a kaleidoscopic narrative, McNally not only chronicles their experiences in a fascinatingly detailed fashion, but veers off into side trips on the band’s intricate stage setup, the magic of the Grateful Dead concert experience, or metaphysical musings excerpted from a conversation among band members. He brings to vivid life the Dead’s early days in late-sixties San Francisco—an era of astounding creativity and change that reverberates to this day. Here we see the group at its most raw and powerful, playing as the house band at Ken Kesey’s acid tests, mingling with such legendary psychonauts as Neal Cassady and Owsley “Bear” Stanley, and performing the alchemical experiments, both live and in the studio, that produced some of their most searing and evocative music. But McNally carries the Dead’s saga through the seventies and into the more recent years of constant touring and incessant musical exploration, which have cemented a unique bond between performers and audience, and created the business enterprise that is much more a family than a corporation.

Written with the same zeal and spirit that the Grateful Dead brought to its music for more than thirty years, the book takes readers on a personal tour through the band’s inner circle, highlighting its frenetic and very human faces. A Long Strange Trip is not only a wide-ranging cultural history, it is a definitive musical biography.
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