13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Hugely Disappointing!, 4 Mar. 2008
As an avid reader of rock biographies, in particular bands from the 60's/70's California/San Francisco/LA scene, I was severely disappointed by this book.
Alarm bells rang when I read the back cover which states that (Jeff Tamarkin) "having worked closely with Jefferson Airplane for more than a decade, had unprecedented access to band members, their families, crew members....etc. etc.) Uh oh! This could go one of two ways.
Sure enough, having been close to the band, this book is nothing more than a puff piece in which Grace Slick alternates between being either ravishingly beautiful and/or a lyrical/musical genius, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady are likewise musically superb and Marty Balin is.........actually I have no idea what Marty Balin is as he seems to flit anonymously through the book like a ghost.
Aside from Slick who, despite the authors best intentions, is without doubt a nasty piece of work, I still know absolutely nothing about the rest of the band whatsover. Information on inter-band relations (platonic and sexual), the individuals political ideals, musical influences, involvement in the counterculture, thoughts, feelings, personal lives in fact everything you would expect in a biography, are all either missing completely or covered on the most superficial level.
The whole book runs from start to finish on a..........and then Grace did this, and then Paul wrote this, and then Marty left the band........sequence.
And quite how Tamarkin gets JA to be the biggest band in the world at the time that The Beatles were releasing Revolver/Rubber Soul/Sergeant Pepper is anybody's guess. My understanding is that they weren't even the biggest band in San Francisco.
Anyway, if you're a fan and are looking for insights into your favourite band then forget it, this is not the book for you. And if you're looking for some insights into the west coast 60's music scene, again give it a miss as there are other books that wipe the floor with this one.
One interesting point though, but you don't need to buy the book to have a laugh about it, is the repeated stupidity of bands signing on with crooked, money grabbing managers. Matthew Katz stitched up the Airplane goodstyle and, to be frank, a book about him would have to be more entertaining than this one!