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Grateful Dead FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Greatest Jam Band in History (Faq Series) [Paperback]

Tony Sclafani
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 15.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Dec 2013 FAQ Series
The Grateful Dead rose out of San Francisco's '60s underground rock scene with an unprecedented sound and image. Its members, steeped in rock, folk, classical, and blues; their instrumental prowess; and their refusal to bow to commercial conventions helped originate jam band music. Unapologetic in its advocacy of drug use as a means toward mind expansion, the Dead helped catapult psychedelic music. After performing at the Monterey International Pop Festival and Woodstock, the group became iconic without ever scoring a hit single. A large, devoted fan base - Deadheads - began to follow the band everywhere. The group suffered a tragedy when bandleader Jerry Garcia slipped into a coma in 1986, but returned the next year with a top-selling album and surprise hit single, Touch of Grey. By 1993, the Dead was the top-grossing live act in the United States. The band ended when Garcia died in 1995, but the music lives on with a stream of live releases. In Grateful Dead FAQ, Tony Sclafani examines the band's impact and influence on rock music and pop culture. This book ventures into unexplored areas and features a host of rare images, making it a must-have for both Deadheads and casual fans.

Frequently Bought Together

Grateful Dead FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Greatest Jam Band in History (Faq Series) + Aces Back to Back: The History of the Grateful Dead (1965 - 2013) -- 20th Anniversary Edition
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (30 Dec 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617130869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617130861
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 326,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

TONY SCLAFANI is a journalist and a regular contributor to NBC online (formerly MSNBC/Today Show.com). He has also written for the Washington Post and its free daily, Express, as well as Relix, the Village Voice, Harp (now Blurt), the Washington City Paper, Hittin' the Note, Pop Matters, Record Collector, and DC Magazine. He is a longtime fan of '60s psychedelic music and the Grateful Dead.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book. 2 July 2014
Format:Paperback
An excellent book for Deadheads and 'ordinary' folk alike. Full of interesting info and insights, well written and entertaining. A must for anyone who enjoys the music.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not great... 2 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I guess there's not much left to write about the Dead, so the material is stretched a bit thin. Not a bad read, but there are better books about the band. Obviously written by a hardcore fan out of love for the band and their music.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Tony Sclafani has succeeded where many others have fallen by the wayside. This really is an interesting book about the Grateful Dead. Their story is so well known and because of their larger than life members and fan following, the music can sometimes play second fiddle to the image. Sclafani writes convincingly about the pioneering role of Donna Jean Godchaux and he champions their oft derided studio output. He pulls no punches either with an interesting assessment of the bands most catastrophic mistakes. He also pinpoints on several occasions the destructive error the band made when they temporarily sidelined Bob Weir and Pigpen in the early 70s. Something that stalled the bands inertia yet fired Weir's determination to up his writing and performing chops and sent Pigpen down an avenue of self-destructive behaviour. Fascinating stuff about the most important and enjoyable American band.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Far Exceeded My Expectations!! 29 Jan 2014
By Cornish Deadhead TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The title of this book did not appeal however I considered it might be worth a punt and add it to my GD library, and I'm so glad I did. It is quite different in format to other books dealing with the history of the band as it breaks it down to 39 sections (a more appropriate description than chapters to me), where the authors examines a particular area of the band such as "Friends Of The Devil; Who's Who In Deadland", a brief description of the folk associated with the band. Another is "That's When It All Began; The San Francisco Scene Of The 60s" which gives a brief description of the many bands playing at the same time. There's a couple of sections looking at the studio albums with in depth reviews that agree with about 90% which is saying something!

One section which might cause some debate is number 24 where Sclafani lists the most important gigs out of the 2318 they performed. The good thing is he includes the whole of the Europe 72 tour and my personal favourite 8/5/77. Another interesting one is one which deals with unreleased live video footage.

Whilst there will be little information in this book that cannot be found elsewhere in some form, the way it has been compiled is excellent in my opinion and should be an enjoyable read for an "old hand" Deadhead, and would also be a very easy way for a newcomer to get a mass of background information on the band.

If you love the Dead or have an interest in West Coast/rock music then this would make a great holiday read on a beach!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Deadheads and beyond... 30 Oct 2013
By Asher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you thought everything that could be written about the Grateful Dead has already been put into print, this book will prove you wrong. There’s lots of insight into some previously unexplored areas, like what made the band grow from a cult group into a major force in rock. Also enjoyable are the chapters on studio albums that never were and what made this band so unique in rock. Deadheads won’t be disappointed and rock fans in general should find the chapters on the Dead’s influences and forgotten ’60s contemporaries intriguing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh, insightful look at The Dead 28 Oct 2013
By Jason Penick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've been a fan of the Grateful Dead ever since high school and have always considered myself relatively well informed when it came to the band. But in reality there exists a not-so-fine line between "fan" and true Deadhead. While I've seen the group in concert post-Jerry a few times and am relatively familiar with both their back catalog (I currently own about ten of their releases) as well as their story vis-à-vis a handful of bios and articles, thanks to this book I know now that I was really only scratching the surface when it came to my enjoyment of The Dead.

In a way the entire Backbeat FAQ series is perfect for people like myself who enjoy certain artists and are knowledgeable when it comes to the basics but who crave more understanding, and Tony Sclafani's entry on The Dead is the best I've read so far of the FAQ books. The author writes with an obvious passion and deep understanding of the band and their music, and he also conveys a tone of both humor and objectivity amidst all of the copious research he has performed.

At over 350 pages (and printed in small font) The Grateful Dead FAQ is rich with information on America's premier jam band. Yet the content is so compelling that I eagerly read my way through the entire book in under three days. The highlights for me were the chapters dedicated to the group's less talked about members Pigpen, Donna Jean and Tom C., the extensive examination of the band's oft-maligned studio work (which the author does a good job of defending while still maintaining critical distance) and first-hand insight from the likes of Bob Weir, David Lemieux, Toni Brown and others.

What really put this book over the top for me though was the author's own humor and personal insight. He's not afraid to poke holes in the Dead's legacy as the list of their ten biggest mistakes proves, and he also offers up his own personal philosophies in regards to topics such as why the band has remained consistently popular through the years. Perhaps my favorite chapter is the one where Sclafani discusses the Deadhead "invasion" of his hometown of Columbia, Maryland via the firsthand accounts of people who actually lived in Columbia at the time. It's content like this that you are unlikely to find in any other book on The Grateful Dead.

Overall, whether you're a casual fan of The Dead or a full stop Deadhead, you really can't go wrong with this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT GD FAQ 27 Nov 2013
By drs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent and very informative! Very well written! I have been researching the Grateful Dead/Pigpen for an independent film for two years now. Tony Sclafini truly did a most excellent job covering so many facts and lingering questions! Completely and highly recommend Grateful Dead FAQ... Kudos Tony! WELL DONE!!! ~ diana sainz - Producer: (Pigpen... a blues singer)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT "just another" book on The Dead 29 Nov 2013
By Eric Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Grateful Dead FAQ is a very cool volume ,for the most jaded or the complete neophyte Dead Head.

Tony Sclafani's book seamlessly flows from Grateful Dead discography, in depth reviews and articles, story telling adventure and just good, hard ,yet amusing ,analysis of numerous aspects of the "world's greatest jam band in history" . the approach to critique and the history of the Dead is expressed from a different and unique perspective that makes reading fun and interesting no matter what you know , or think you know about The Grateful Dead.
Plenty of photos make it even better. and at close to 400 pages, covering numerous chapters of all different sides and scenes of the Dead, the book is jam packed . i was very skeptical about another "corporate fluff book" on my favorite band but was happily surprised by the integrity and attention and obvious knowledge and appreciation for the Dead by the author. I look forward to reading more from Tony and more from the FAQ series (which i disregarded as corporate fluff books ) on other bands, but if this is the norm for the FAQ series i would plan on seeing a few more of the shelf
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just Not Exactly Perfect 28 April 2014
By T - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Essentially, this book should have gone through one more phase before publishing....a proof read by a knowledgeable Deadhead.....there are just too many inaccuracies.

Newbies or main stream folks may find this useful to purchase, but Deadheads would be better served by first checking this out in their local public library before committing any doh-ray-me.
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