My cousin Tony Sclafani recently published a book, Grateful Dead FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Greatest Jam Band in History (Backbeat Books, 2013). Here’s a summary of it:
The Grateful Dead rose out of San Francisco’s 1960s underground rock scene with an unprecedented sound and image. The group’s members were steeped in rock, folk, classical, and blues, and their instrumental prowess and refusal to bow to commercial conventions helped originate jam band music. Unapologetic in their advocacy of drug use as a means toward mind expansion, the musicians also helped usher in the era of psychedelic music. After performing at the Monterey International Pop Festival and Woodstock, the group became iconic without ever scoring a hit single. A large, devoted fan base, called Deadheads, began to follow the band from concert to concert. Bandleader Jerry Garcia slipped into a coma in 1986, but returned the next year with a top-selling album and surprise hit single, “Touch of Grey,” which led to the band becoming more popular than ever. By 1993, the Dead was the top-grossing live act in the United States. The band ended when Garcia died in 1995, but the music lives on through the constant stream of live releases that continue to this day. In Grateful Dead FAQ, Tony Sclafani examines the band’s impact and influence on rock music and in popular culture. This book takes a fresh look at what made the band unique but also ventures into unexplored areas, making it a must-have for both Deadheads and casual fans.
My mom, the sister of Tony’s mom, bought me a copy of this book for my birthday. Looking forward to reading it!