Friday, November 19, 2010

Phil Lesh: Searching for The Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead

Phil Lesh's autobiography is certainly a book with extreme cult popularity much like the Grateful Dead themselves. I had heard good things from members of groups I perform with; most notably the bass player (duh) from Spidergawd, a Los Angeles based jam-band- named after the spacey Garcia improvisational track from his 1972 solo debut "Garcia"- that specializes in playing many Dead tunes along with other classic rock, country, funk, bluegrass, etc. , and original music in similar veins. I have seen multiple documentaries on the Dead including "From Anthem to Beauty," "The Grateful Dead Movie," "Grateful Dawg," and the BBC documentary "Can't take it with You," on the debacle and litigation involving Jerry Garcia's estate after he passed in 1995, but this was the first tell all I'd read. Phil Lesh is certainly one of the most important voices on the Grateful Dead that survive today. Sure, I'd be just as happy to hear Billy the K's take or Bobby's, and I'd be very interested in Robert Hunter's, but Phil is the member of the band who has fought the hardest to keep the music alive all of this time. A main organizer of The Other Ones, Phil Lesh and Friends, The Dead, and now Furthur, Lesh has championed the Weir song title turned mantra that "The Music Never Stopped." The background on Lesh's musical beginnings and the slow formation and reformation of the band which would eventually become The Grateful Dead is intriguing to say the least and by the time we get to Jerry's death and the infinite sadness, fighting, and struggle that would occur post I was ready to start over and get back to the happy times. Recommended to Dead Heads, bass players, sound engineers, and roots music lovers.

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