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A Long Strange Trip: The inside History of the Grateful Deadby Dennis McNally
Synopses & Reviews
If you want to know what happened, why it happened, how it happened, and what it was like in the Grateful Dead, A Long Strange Trip is for you. No other book on us comes close to it. -Bob Weir
Was it important to history? I'm not sure. Was it important to life? I know it was. A great read for those needing to know what happened between the cracks. . . . -Bill Kreutzmann
McNally has presented an evenhanded treatment of what is arguably the most complex and multifaceted phenomenon in the history of American music. I highly recommend it to anyone who really wants to know what we are all about. -Owsley Bear” Stanley
“It's a simple tale, really. A band of misfit guys fall in love, stumble blindly onward and defy gravity, then try to kiss the face of God This truth is better than fiction. I hope you all enjoy this odyssey as much as I have. -Mickey Hart
Dennis McNally knows the Grateful Dead as intimately as they know themselves. His historian's eye, his immersion as a Dead ‘family member,’ and his crazed hippie heart have made this the book to read about the life, times, and twisted, double-helix road of the band's evolution. It’s a great read. -Peter Coyote
As I read Dennis's book, I knew he is the one person who could tell the history of the Dead, and why this band survived as it attracted everyone from the so-called hippie generation to those of us firmly in the establishment. It is a well-written and valuable history. -Senator Patrick J. Leahy
No novelist, sane or otherwise, could have invented the ethereal saga of the Grateful Dead. Dennis McNally's backstage portrait of the world’s most liberated rock band is full of unforgettable images, wild and funny and fascinating. -Carl Hiaasen
The Dead has been an inspiring source of light for countless people. Dennis McNally's riveting tale of the longest strangest trip will take you on a high-altitude training course and leave you prepared for the next lightning bolt of social and spiritual revelation. -Bill Walton
This is McNally's view of what went down. It’s more often right than wrong and done with love, not a grudge, which goes a long way toward excusing another damned book about the Grateful Dead. Any view of us is necessarily a limited interpretation, like an aerial photo of Ground Zero. What Dennis loves and hates about us bears more weight than most interpretations because he took twenty years to get his facts straight. I'll miss him when we kill him. -Robert Hunter
From the Hardcover edition.
An authorized portrait of the Grateful Dead documents its early explosion on the 1960s roots and folk scene, complicated relationships between band members, intricate stage setup, and most noteworthy tours and performances. Reprint.
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
DENNIS MCNALLY graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and received a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Massachusetts. After being selected as the Grateful Dead’s official historian in 1980, he assumed the band’s publicity duties in 1984 and has been running that post ever since. He is the author of one previous book, Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America. He lives with his wife in San Francisco.
From the Hardcover edition.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Power. The stage as alembic (mid-1980s) — Children of the American decades (1940-1960) — Roots (1961-2/62) — A fine high lonesome madness (3/62-12/63) — Interlude: a meeting of minds (company meetings, 1984) — Something new (12/31/63-10/64) — The warlocks (11/64-6/65) — A very loud bar band (6/10/65-11/12/65) — Interlude: Albert Hofmann's discovery (the psychedelic world) — The bus came by (11/13/65-2/5/66) — Hollywood and home again (2/6/66-5/1/66) — Psychedelic Indians (5/1/66-9/29/66) — The hippest city hall ever (9/30/66-10/31/66) — The San Francisco scene (11/1/66-1/29/67) — Before the fall (1/30/67-5/31/67) — The prodigals (6/1/67-9/15/67) — Interlude: the crew — Dark anthem (9/16/67)-12/31/67) — Interlude: purifying the elements (setting the stage) — Independence and its price (1/1/68-6/30/68) — Interlude: the promoter — Forward into the fog (7/68-2/15/69) — Interlude: the circus is in town (the first set begins) — No turn left unstoned (2/19/69-6/20/69) — Interlude: "When the music plays the band" (the Dead talk about playing music) — If my words were gold (6/20/69-8/15/69) — Interlude: "Eastbound and down" (end of set one) — Bethel to Sears Point (8/16/69-12/4/69) — Trouble all around (12/5/69-3/70) — Interlude/Intermission: "Waits backstage while I sing to you" (1980s) — Might as well work (3/70-7/70) — An American beauty (8/4/70-12/31/70) — Interlude/intermission II: Uncle John's children — Dreams and all (1/71-7/71) — Dealing solo aces and the new guy (7/71-3/72) — Interlude: the home front: money and management (1980s and beyond) — Bozos abroad (3/72-12/72) --Megadead (1973) — Interlude: into the zone (second set begins) — The wall (1/74-10/20/74) — The hiatus (10/21/74-6/76) — The monster revives (6/76-8/78) — Interlude: the rhythm devils (drum break) — Shakedown (10/78-10/80) — Interlude: beyond the zone (end of second set) — After heaven (11/80-7/86) — A suitable touch of grey (8/86-12/89) — Interlude: "Noble but lame" (the Grateful Dead on the G. D.) — A deadicated life (1/90-9/92) — Interlude: "Can't stop for nothin'" (Encore/New Year's Eve) — Interlude: packed and gone (load-out) — "I guess it doesn't matter, anyway" (10/92-4/96) — Finale: metaphysics and other humorous subjects.
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