Shelf Awareness Review of No Simple Highway
The Grateful Dead's long, strange trip has influenced several generations of music lovers around the world. Peter Richardson (A Bomb in Every Issue) takes a cultural viewpoint to the 30-year musical career of this lasting group of misfits and druggies, revealing them as intelligent, thoughtful, passionate individuals.
The Grateful Dead is more than a band, it's a community of likeminded musicians, stage crew, sound experts and incredibly loyal fans that remains vibrant today, nearly 20 years after the group's official disbanding when reluctant leader and lead guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia died in 1995 (and as the surviving members of the group plan a reunion concert this summer). Richardson delves deep, showing the band and its various musical and business enterprises as truly revolutionary endeavors. No Simple Highway concerns itself with the relevance of the band's jam-based, best-heard-live musical style, looking at the group's 1960s inception in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, its country-music-influenced middle period, and its final massive success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Richardson avoids romanticizing Garcia & Co., preferring instead to offer a story in vivid detail and let the reader make up his or her own mind about the drugs, the parties, the communal living and the anti-authoritarian, audience-focused stance the Grateful Dead held throughout its career. No Simple Highway offers a complete look at why this influential group was able to become one of the biggest rock bands of all time. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor
Discover: An exhaustively researched and entertaining cultural history of one of the most successful yet resolutely iconoclast musical groups ever.
Labels: Grateful Dead