Thursday, May 05, 2005

Searching For The Sound

Kevin’s Corner

The battle to get well continues. Strep has laid siege to this family and while the kids bounced back really fast, the wife and I haven’t. Among other things to have fallen by the wayside the last couple of weeks was my writing schedule. That wasn’t good especially with the fact that in two more weeks, my boys will be home for the summer. Yep, mid- May and they are out. Theoretically, they go back in August but that decision isn’t final thanks to the Sate Legislature, which is fumbling around with the issue of school finance. They can’t get anything done there but they seem to have figured out that some cheerleading routines are obscene. The only thing obscene to me is the fact that they are still messing with school finance and haven’t got the job done yet.

I haven’t managed to do much but read a few books. Some of those reviews you will see elsewhere and I hope to make that announcement I have been promising real soon. In the meantime, I have an offering from the vast world known as non-fiction to offer. I don’t do reviews on very many non-fiction books but this one is definitely worth it.

Searching For The Sound: My Life With The Grateful Dead
By Phil Lesh
Little, Brown And Company
April 2005
ISBN # 0-316-00998-9
338 Pages
$25.95 US
$34.95 Canada

In non-fiction, the literary voice of the person who actually lived the life rings truest. While outsiders may scratch and pick at the surface while writing thousands of words on the subject, there is nothing like the story told from the inside. That certainly is true in this book written by the bass player for the band.

While the book does open with background on his early days and long before joining the legendary band, the primary focus of the work is on his experiences on stage and off. He details the inner workings of the band from an economic standpoint as well as his personal relationships with the band members. Along the way he not only explains what it was like to make music but the background of the songs and what they really mean. He takes his personal life story forward to the tragic death of Jerry Garcia as well as his own critical health problems. As such, the book becomes a retrospective look at the highs and lows of one’s own life and the role one played, good and bad, in the end result. He articulates in great detail the day-to-day experiences of the band, which ultimately shaped its sounds for nearly forty years.

For fans of the band, this book provides a detailed and honest look written in the way only a true insider could. Covering the highs and the lows, the author explains all in an easy confessional style that enlightens but never talks down to the reader. Instead, it is almost as if he is sitting beside you in some small club somewhere as he tells what happened and why. Humor and compassion for himself and his band members make this work by Phil Lesh one worth reading.

A big thank you to Renee Supriano of the Time Warner Book Group for providing a review copy. It is appreciated!

More next time and as always feel free to drop me a note at with your comments, observations, and suggestions.

Thanks for reading!

Kevin R. Tipple © 2005


Megan said...

My sympathy re: strep. When I was in middle school, my mom and I would pass it back and forth several times a year. After a while the doctor gave us our prescription without bothering to do a throat culture. We got to be pros. We knew it when we saw (or felt) it.

A statement that can be applied to cheerleading routines as well, or so I gather....

Kevin R. Tipple said...

That it can, Megan. But, I had no idea I had strep. And apaprently, the Legislature figured out they didn't know cheerleading stuff either. The law was weakend into a resolution with no teeth in it and passed both houses and we await the Govenor's signature on that.

And of course, what they went there for, the primary reason of being, the school finance deal, remains unsolved with nothing done.