×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead
     

Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead

4.6 9
by Peter Conners
 

See All Formats & Editions

Told against the backdrop of the American landscape of the late '80s to the mid-'90s, Growing Up Dead is the story of Peter Conners's journey from straight-laced suburban kid to touring Deadhead. Peter discovered the Grateful Dead in 1985, at the age of 15, through friends who exchanged bootleg tapes of live Grateful Dead concerts. A teenager living in the

Overview

Told against the backdrop of the American landscape of the late '80s to the mid-'90s, Growing Up Dead is the story of Peter Conners's journey from straight-laced suburban kid to touring Deadhead. Peter discovered the Grateful Dead in 1985, at the age of 15, through friends who exchanged bootleg tapes of live Grateful Dead concerts. A teenager living in the suburbs of Rochester, New York, he became exposed to an entirely new way of life, and friends who were enjoying more freedom and less parental guidance. At the age of 16, he attended his first Grateful Dead concert on June 30, 1987 - he was hooked. Between 1987 and 1995, Conners would attend Dead 'shows' all over the United States. He traveled with a makeshift 'family' of other Deadheads in a Volkswagen camper, selling drugs and whatever else would provide gas money to the next concert. His hair was a wild, unkempt bush and baths were infrequent. In short, he had progressed from suburban kid, to Grateful Dead fan, to full-blown Deadhead. Chronicling this progression, which culminates with the 1995 death of Jerry Garcia, Conners reveals the truth behind Deadhead culture and history. The result is a riveting insight into the obsessive fandom that made The Grateful Dead the most successful touring band of all time, as well as a cultural phenomenon.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Publishers Weekly, 1/26/09
“Offers a perspective often missing from other Dead chronicles: that of one of the suburban teens who dropped out of high school and/or college to follow a band…Earnest and often hilarious…What really went on at a typical Dead show in the 1980s.”

Kirkus, 2/1/09
“Insightful and entertaining.”

Dennis McNally, author of A Long Strange Trip
“The hardest part of being the Grateful Dead’s publicist was convincing the media that Deadheads were diverse, thoughtful, and not infrequently accomplished. If I’d just had a copy of Growing Up Dead, I could have simply handed it out. The Deadhead subculture was rich and fascinating, and this book is a terrific documentation of it.”

Publishers Weekly

Poet and editor Conners (Emily Ate the Wind) offers a perspective often missing from other Dead chronicles: that of one of the suburban teens in the late 1980s and early 1990s who dropped out of high school and/or college to follow a band whose members were 30 years their senior. Unlike most Dead fans (and rock critics) from the 1960s and 1970s, the band's music wasn't the most important thing to Conners and his Gen-X companions-the focus was on "becoming and living as a Deadhead outside the Grateful Dead concert." So while Conners offers some earnest and often hilarious chapters about his teenage stoner life ("One of the problems with teenage drug abuse is that you never get to know what your adult brain would be like without it"), his most inventive chapters offer second-person accounts of what really went on at a typical Dead show in the 1980s. "You are thrilled. You score acid. You smoke the Indica. You eat some mushrooms.... The situation is post-verbal." (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Poet Conners begins this part memoir, part social history with his middle-class upbringing in upstate New York and his allegiance to the high school stoners. After a 1987 Grateful Dead concert, he became addicted to the band as well as the Deadhead trappings of LSD, marijuana, tie-dyed shirts, Volkswagen campers, and good karma. He finished high school; attended, dropped out, and then re-entered college; sold drugs; and worked odd jobs-always focusing on the next Grateful Dead concert. After 1992, Conners became progressively disenchanted with the scene, turning to jam bands such as Phish, playing his own music, and beginning a writing career. Beyond his engrossing personal story and breezy style, Conners never explains his motivation to embrace the hippie ethos and follow a band that had defined an era, 20 years earlier. His quest for an alternative countercultural family, which eventually turned sour, seems anachronistic and simply the result of a misspent youth. Recommended for Dead followers and rock music fanatics.
—Dave Szatmary

Kirkus Reviews
Poet Conners (Emily Ate the Wind, 2008) revisits his eight-year odyssey following the Grateful Dead around America. The Dead's three-decade career, which ended with Jerry Garcia's 1995 death, was partially divided into two notable periods, pre- and post-MTV. In 1987, the video of their midlife anthem "Touch of Grey" spawned a renaissance and a new generation of Deadheads. That same year, 16-year-old Conners jumped "on the bus," making the Dead a way of life. Here he details his journey as a diehard fan, reading Beat literature while consuming LSD, smoking pot and hopping from show to show. Descriptions of concerts and the bazaar-like parking-lot scenes are interspersed with memories of the author's small-town upbringing in Pittsford, N.Y. Conners was a witness to the end of the Dead's golden years. By 1990, the band had moved from playing relatively intimate venues to selling out huge stadiums, attracting an undesirable element looking for kicks rather than music that soon outnumbered the tight-knit caravan of traditional Deadheads. By 1995, it was all over, forcing the author to search for alternatives. A decade later he finds himself with wife and kids, working in an office, weighing his past. Much of that weighing is self-indulgent self-glamorization. One scene shows Conners tripping on acid and getting his thrills by laughing in people's faces; the author's ex post facto explanation that he was an all-knowing trickster teaching those unaware people something about themselves rings hollow. Paragraph-long bios of each band member, plus CliffsNotes-style treatise of the Beat Generation, the Merry Pranksters and Woodstock, may be useful for neophytes but will likely annoy his principalaudience of nostalgia-seekers who have been there and done that. Insightful and entertaining at times, but frequently, aggravatingly hipper-than-thou.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306817335
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
03/30/2009
Edition description:
None
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
633,849
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Conners is author of a collection of prose poems, Of Whiskey and Winter, and a novella, Emily Ate the Wind, as well as editor of an anthology of avant-garde writing, PP/FF: An Anthology. He is founding co-editor of the online literary journal, Double Room: A Journal of Prose Poetry & Flash Fiction. His writing appears regularly in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. He lives with his wife and three children in Rochester, New York, where he works as Editor and directs marketing for the non-profit literary publisher BOA Editions.

www.peterconners.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Rev_Stick More than 1 year ago
Growing Up Dead is the most accurate depiction of Deadhead culture...Family!...I have ever read. As a big part of that scene for so many years myself, I can honestly say that Peter Conners has not written fluff here. Every page tells it exactly like it was and, to some degree, still is. For me, this book had profound effects on all levels. I could read a chapter; close my eyes and BE THERE once again! The vivid imagery, smells, tastes, emotions...they're everywhere throughout this work. Any book that can cause a person to laugh, cry, smile, reminisce, be inspired & have their life truly validated is one that MUST BE READ. Growing Up Dead just so happens to be that book! If you never went to a Grateful Dead show but were always curious about what really went on, this is the book for you. If you went to 1 show or 100 shows, this book is for you. As a longtime Deadhead, I am so grateful to Peter Conners for telling his story...our story...for the world read, see and FINALLY understand. The "Long Strange Trip" continues....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Peter conners told my story. Right on and thank you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago