I attended a literary event at a bookstore (Clayton Books) nearby me in Clayton, California the other night - Ben Fong-Torres was in conversation with the noted guitarist Greg Kihn about The Grateful Dead Scrapbook. Ben wrote a 25,000 word history of the band that he first began covering in 1968 when he was a young reporter for Rolling Stone. The new Rolling Stone was headquartered in San Francisco and Ben and a team of writers covered all the Bill Graham shows at the Fillmore and the Chet Helms shows at the Avalon during the late 60's and 70's. The text wraps around some never before seen before photos and removable posters from the Grateful Dead archives at UC Santa Cruz.
The Grateful Dead Scrapbook is all about the band and the San Francisco Rock and Roll scene they more or less began playing gigs for Ken Kesey as described in the Electric Kool Aid Acid Trip by Tom Wolfe. By the time the Human Be-In of Jan 1967 took place the Dead had already been playing for a while. The Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Country Joe and The Fish were all creating the huge psychedelic tidal wave that washed over San Francisco in 1967 and which then washed across America and the world.
This book is a history of the emergence of the Grateful Dead and the San Francisco sound, the Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, the ballroom scene in San Francisco, especially the clubs and big dance-Concert halls like: the California Hall, Avalon, Fillmore, Carosel Ballroom, and Fillmore-West. Among the many great removable posters in the book is a St. Valentine gig with the Grateful Dead&Country Joe and The Fish at the Carousel Ballroom. There is also a letter from Hugh Hefner thanking the band members for appearing on "Playboy After Dark." There is really quite a variety of rare memorabilia throughout the book and each chapter is the name of an important Dead tune.
Of course this book will be of interest to Deadheads worldwide, but it is also for anyone interested in the counterculture and what a creative place San Francisco was in the late 60's and well beyond. It is a history of the Dead and as well as a history of the times. I can think of no one more tuned in on the music and no one more qualified to write it than Ben Fong-Torres.
Causes Ron Cabral Supports
National Wildlife Federation, California State and National Parks, Arf, Paralyzed Veterans, National Film Preservation Foundation, California Historical...