A tell-all biography of the epic in-fighting of the Grateful Dead in the years following band leader Jerry Garcia's death in 1995
The Grateful Dead rose to greatness under the inspired leadership of guitarist Jerry Garcia, but the band very nearly died along with him after his sudden death in 1995. So long defined by Garcia's artistic vision, the surviving "Core Four" were reduced to conflicting agendas, strained relationships, and catastrophic business decisions that would lead the iconic band into utter disarray for the next twenty years.
Acclaimed music journalist and New York Times bestselling author Joel Selvin was there for much of the turmoil following Garcia's death, and in this book, he offers a never-before-explored insider account of the ebbs and flows that occurred in the decades that followed. Culminating in the landmark tour bearing the same name, Fare Thee Well charts the arduous journey from Garcia's passing all the way up to the uneasy agreement between the Core Four that led to the series of shows celebrating the band's fiftieth anniversary-finally allowing for a proper, and joyous, sendoff of the group revered by so many.
The San Francisco Chronicle's pop music writer Selvin offers an exhaustive, warts-and-all story of how the Grateful Dead battled through the rough two decades following Jerry Garcia's death. The narrative begins in 1995 with Garcia's death and the surviving four Dead members trying to right their ungainly hippie enterprise. The messy relationships that had developed between the members of the quartet over the course of the previous three decades collapsed after losing the band's "father figure." Without Garcia's nonconfrontational Zen attitude, bassist Phil Lesh, guitarist Bob Weir, and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann descended into a thicket of business disagreements and personal irritations. Each took to the road independently, playing to dedicated crowds of Deadheads, with constantly revolving lineups. The soap opera battles achieve epic heights in this telling, such as one night when Lesh's "mean, deliberate power play" forces fans to choose between his band and Weir's. The narrative pays microscopic attention to each concert and every argument, but Selvin livens it up in sunnily composed passages, such as the triumphant 50-year celebration at Chicago's Soldier Field: "it was not the Grateful Dead, only an earnest facsimile. To the audience, however, it was enough." This is an enthusiastic but clear-eyed and enjoyably gossipy piece of modern rock history.
There are liars, and then, there is Joel Selvin
Selvin gets the general vibe and feel of what the final chapters were like, but gets other things just completely wrong, “loose with the truth” so to speak, mischaracterizing or misattributing statements, fails to fact check, heck, even spell check in some instances. His characterizations of Vince Welnick are abysmal. He has actual facts wrong consistently about VInce’s final days, moments, events, and so much more than I can detail here. It pains me to read it. It will pain his widow more. Do you think Selvin cares if he got things wrong? Hey, he got my money, so he wins anyway.
Joel knows better, but I knew Vince.
Enjoy the overall message here, or not… that the life of this band post-Jerry was messy, and at times, downright mean. But take a lot of this with the dramatic rocks of salt Mr Charlie gave to Selvin to shoot you with.
Kind of pointless...
Entertaining if you like gossip. Repetitive writing style and has incorrect facts. If I, as a mere fan, can recognize these basic inaccuracies then how do we take the other stuff seriously?
Book from a bitter man
The topic of the Dead brings it worthy of a read, but it mainly comes across as an angry author who has an agenda to spend the book bashing Phil & Jill Lesh. Phil is a crotchety old bastad and his wife is controlling, but come on, no journalistic sense of telling a story. Pretty much a collection of accusations of Phil from an angry man.