Twenty Years on the Bus with Garcia and the Grateful Dead
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 Interesting drugged-out memories from the original manager of the infamous hippie rock group. Scully was introduced to the Dead by LSD guru Owsley Stanley and became the band's manager-by-default, helping to shape this group of ``crazy-looking guys, high on acid, who had come together higgledy-piggledy'' into the ultimate San Francisco trips band. He is at his best describing, with Dalton (coauthor of Faithfull, not reviewed), the early days of the Dead, when they lived communally in the famous Victorian house at 710 Ashbury Street. With considerable good humor and irony, he recreates the hippie dream of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, along the way describing a memorable cast of characters. An obvious devotee of Jerry Garcia (who emerges as the hero of the group and the book), Scully is harder on the other band members, including Bob Weir, whom he describes as a pitifully inept rhythm guitarist who longs for mainstream pop success; Mickey Hart, a talented drummer, but an opportunist; the eternally drunk and musically limited Pigpen (who is the band's first casualty); musically pretentious Phil Lesh; and stingy Bill Kreutzmann. The book offers valuable insight into the making of the Dead's albums, showing why they have always been better live than in the studio. Memories of the '70s and '80s are less fully realized, as the authors resort to reproducing unedited tour diaries. Scully portrays Garcia's (and his own) early '80s descent into heroin addiction with painful honesty, showing how the rest of the band labored to keep the act alive, even at the price of Garcia's health. The book ends with a brief epilogue written after the news of Garcia's death. An American epic, if not exactly an American Beauty. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1996
ISBN: 0-316-77712-9
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1995


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