Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead

Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead

by Phil Lesh
4.5 11

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Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead by Phil Lesh

In this ruthlessly honest bestseller, the bass player for the greatest improvisational band in American history tells the full, true story of his life, Jerry Garcia, and the Grateful Dead.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316027816
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/03/2007
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 334,443
File size: 8 MB

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Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Chazz More than 1 year ago
Reading Phil Lesh's book gives one a sense of being there as the Dead were doing their iconoclastic thing to American rock music. The candor, obvious credibility that the Dead's one and only bass player brings to the table, and interesting historical and musical anecdotes that had not made it to print before Searching For The Sound, makes this a necessary read for anyone interested in the American artistic scene at mid-century. The Grateful Dead occupy a place of importance in the cultural history of American contemporary art just as the great Be-Boppers, the Abstract Impressionists and Pop artists, the literary artists of the era such as Kesey and Kerouac, and the newly-awakened American/world citizens who were eager to shed the thinking of the past and forge new pathways to new levels of understanding. Phil Lesh's account of the band's inception through it's final sad days is the most complete and non-sensationalized history of the band that has seen print to this point. Phil Lesh has an understanding of the musical underpinnings of the Dead's sound that is at once credible and cogent. As a trained musician, Lesh brings an understanding of musical mechanics to his book that few if any (with apologies to Bob Weir and Bill Kruetzman) people alive - or Dead - could ever do. The writing style, though readable, is a bit overblown with the author appearing as a person using a vocabulary stash fresh from the thesaurus - kind of like a kid trying on new clothes with his mom in the mirror. To his credit however, one must give Phil points for writing the book himself and not relinquishing his authorial duties to a ghost. In a way, the book is a bit like attending a Dead concert - exhausting but riveting to the very last chord.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I write, I have as my backdrop the sounds of the Summer Solstice 1989 in the speakers of my stereo...'Goes to show, you don't ever each card you play, and play it slow' sings a gleeful, but very warm Jerry Garcia. It was a hot night, both for music and temperature in Mountain View California that night. A fact that Phil Lesh commented on between sets as darkness finally fell, commenting that it was 'just below boiling'. 1989 was about as good a time as there ever would be in the career of the Grateful Dead, still riding out the success of 1987s 'In the Dark', with legions of new fans and sold out shows. Lesh was in fine form this night, pumping out his crisp and explorative bass lines as if he were a lead guitarist. Answering the call when the `We Want Phil¿ roar went up, chanted by the masses. Lesh delivered with his staple 'Box of Rain' to the delight of the crowd and band. The phenomenon of the Grateful Dead is difficult to explain to anyone who did not experience it. A band that was as much about its fans as it was ever about itself. Almost like baseball, with each game the masses sitting on the edge of their seats hoping to see a really great play at the plate- periods of musical anticipation waiting to be injected with a sudden moment of excitement either via a sharp improvised musical crescendo, a song transition, or an unexpected and rare song thrown into the mix. The sort of excitement that existed in equal parts on the stage as it did in the crowd. An experience that had to be felt to be understood, and the reason that someone sitting near you at the next desk may still admit when prodded- 'Yes, I am a Deadhead'. 'Hi, my name is Jon and I'm a Deadhead'. Just like the friends of Bill W. (except in this case it would be longtime Deadhead and basketball legend Bill Walton), there is no escaping it. Once you are a Deadhead, forever a Deadhead you shall be. There is no recovering. From the kids in the broken down microbus on the side of the road, all the way up to Al Gore- We are everywhere. Searching for the Sound is the first testament to the history of the Dead written by a member of the band, the title coming from the somewhat lesser known, but acclaimed Lesh composition Unbroken Chain. Lesh is known to be one of the more cerebral members of the band. Throughout the book, Lesh¿s recollections are prominently colored by words that will have many dashing for the nearest dictionary, yet with a conversational and warm approach. It is his ability to still be able to tell the story of the bands¿ early years with such clarity that will reel-in readers. Setting up the story are memories of his earliest years discovering music, an obsession with the story of Charles Ives, and also Lesh¿s mastery of his first instrument, the trumpet. As the tale unfolds, we watch the prototypical school band nerd grow into a key element of the subculture of 1960s San Francisco, and launch into a journey that would last over forty years to the present. Much attention is given to serious musical matters, such as the influence of postwar avant garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio. The latter of which Lesh and eventual band member Tom Constanten would unsuccessfully attempt to pursue personal study with after auditing a class taught by Berio who was visiting Mills College. It only involved raising enough money to get to Europe, but it never materialized. Lesh also reflects on aspects of improvisation that would forever change his views on music when first coming across a place in the music marked `ad lib¿ as he worked through a jazz trumpet piece early in his musical life. As expected, drug experimentation is a large part of the story, but for Lesh it wasn¿t about a wild party of sex, drugs, and rock `n¿ roll (in fact that was never what the Grateful Dead was about). For Phil Lesh, his first night on pot was spent listening to a recording of Stravinsky¿s The Rite of Spring all by himsel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading this story about one of the best American rock bands of all time written by one of its founders and members makes this story truly touching. Its a perfect start to knowing and understand the Dead and its community. If you want a great in depth book with more stories and based on Garcia's life please read Garcia by Blair Jackson which is also very informative and touching
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a read! I enjoyed every page of this book. It is a collective history of the acid test scenes, San Fran, the bands, and the names of those who helped create the very essence of an incredible era and sound. But more importantly it allowed me to sup at the dinner table of each of the band members of the Grateful Dead, and to taste of their respective personalities and histories. Wow! Many thanks to you Mr. Lesh for such a historical trip.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written & very entertaining, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh provides a detailed look at the formation and early years of the Grateful Dead. The latter half of the band's career is provided in less detail, but still remains fascinating to a read. Of all the biographies/autobiographies of rock & roll figures that I've read, Lesh's is the best. There is a tendency in the genre to go tabloidesque in the writing, clamoring over the excesses of sex, drugs and alcohol that often permeate the industry. Lesh acknowledges the presence of such factors in a very down-to-earth manner without obsessing over them or glamorizing them. Highly recommended to Deadheads & to fans of rock & roll biographies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Head to 'my life' res kicked from here with my nook.
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