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Phil Lesh
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Searching For The Soundmy Life With The Grateful Dead

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4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  1,889 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
In time for the Grateful Dead's fortieth anniversary, Phil Lesh offers the first behind-the-scenes history of the Dead. Lesh chronicles how the Dead's signature sound emerged, flowed, and swelled to reach millions of devoted fans, from their first gigs at Frenchy's Bikini-A-Go-Go for an audience of three, to the legendary Acid Tests, to packed stadiums around the world.
Published 2006 by Recorded Books (first published April 1st 2005)
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Jon
Mar 21, 2012 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Grateful Dead and the Acid Wave
As a biography of sorts, it's a wonderfully written and quite expository book. As a story it's a complete tragedy. Despite how good it was, I couldn't help but be heartbroken when it ended. There was a band that had so much talent, so much potential, and their story arc only ever curved down from their high and mighty start. In those first few years they wrote some of their most iconic tunes, and had things gone differently, they may have changed music more thoroughly and lastingly. Unfortunatel ...more
Sandy
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An old maxim states that if you can remember the 1960s, then you probably weren't there; a sentiment that suggests, I suppose, that if you really were an active participant in that frenzied decade, with its recreational and psychedelic drug use, then your brainpan should be too sizzled to recall any of it. Putting the lie to this old adage is Phil Lesh, in his 2005 autobiography "Searching for the Sound." If there's any survivor of the '60s who should have his cerebrum toasted well past the poin ...more
Duffy Pratt
Jan 02, 2016 Duffy Pratt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
My college roommate flew back to Connecticut from Texas in 1978, and because of some mix-up, they bumped her for free into first class. She sat next to a tall, blonde guy, who started a conversation with her and was very interested in everything she was doing, a great listener, and insightful. He didn't talk much about himself. When she asked where she was going, he said he was flying to a job. As the flight ended, she asked him what his work was, and he said his name was Phil and he played bass ...more
Mickie
Jan 19, 2016 Mickie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ANY and EVERY Dead fan.
I listened to this on CD in my car while commuting to work and it blew me away. Not only is it read by Phil, himself, but I never knew what a poetic and spiritual soul he is!

This band and its music has played such a starring role in my life that I can't help but be drawn in to their story and Phil's philosophy, spiritual perspective and beautiful musical metaphors echo feelings I have when I listen that I have never really been able to articulate.

I spent most of the last CD trying to drive whi
...more
George Bradford
Feb 29, 2008 George Bradford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rock-n-roll
Phil Lesh is an extraordinary musician. And he had the good fortune to be part of an amazing musical enterprise. But Phil Lesh does not pat himself on the back or brag or self promote. He simply tells his story. And in doing so what this book reveals (in addition to some entertaining stories and fascinating history) is a man with a good heart and sweet nature. I'm not the "hugging type", but after reading this book I wanted to hug Phil Lesh and say "Thank you for sharing that with me." This book ...more
Rod
May 12, 2016 Rod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of Phil Lesh's bass playing - especially in his Phil Lesh And Friends gigs. Right now I can't get enough of Phil's gig at the Warfield (San francisco 2006) with Joan Osborne and John Scofield: amazing concert and DVD.

This book seldom mentions Phil's side projects. Actually, I would rather read a book about Phil's life after Jerry Garcia. it seems Then it might be all about the music, family and just playing music with friends.
I came to appreciate Phil when he played on Gov't Mule
...more
Michael Fishman
Apr 02, 2015 Michael Fishman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A labor of love. This is the only autobiography written by a member of Jehovah's favorite band, the band beyond description, the one and only Grateful Dead.

I first got on the bus to never-neverland in 2002. The Grateful Dead is one of my favorite bands ever. They combine blues, rock, jazz, country, bluegrass, folk, ragtime, and whatever else they wanted with trippy spaced out jams. From 1965-1995, they endured a long strange trip one show at a time. Although they achieved minimal commercial suc
...more
Barbikat60
Oct 23, 2009 Barbikat60 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, Phil Lesh is a great writer!!!!! I'm not that electronically savvy so a lot of the sound parts baffled me but his music history and the relationship of the Grateful Dead family was powerful. I especially admired his intelligence, wry sense of humor and honesty.
Eric
Dec 31, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its pretty simple, really. If you like, and I mean really like, the Grateful Dead, then you are going to really like this book. If you are a casual fan, or merely interested in rock and roll, then you may find parts of this book interesting. If you are looking for a tell-all, dish all of the dirt book about the slow, drug and alcohol addled decline of Pigpen, Keith, Brent and Jerry (the book was published before Vince died), well, here's an idea of what you are going to get - "At the end of the ...more
HeavyReader
I was at a used bookstore yesterday and I found this book on the very skimpy music shelf. I decided I had to have it, even though it cost quite a bit more than I usually pay for a book. (Well, I usually get books free, so more than a dollar is quite a bit more than a usually pay for a book.)

I started reading it immediately. (Phil Lesh's stories of his life with the Grateful Dead sends everything else lower on the to-read pile).

I'm about halfway through it and it's incredible. I should probably
...more
Oren
Sep 24, 2007 Oren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've not ever held much interest in the Grateful Dead's music, as it just never grew with me. Friend's have tried and so have I, but it just never has been the life affirming and changing experience other music provides.

Still I respect very much what the Grateful Dead brought to music and agree strongly with views I've heard Jerry Garcia and others espouse in interviews.

I'm glad to have learned much more about the and reading this book. I've read a good many band biographies and thought that Phi
...more
Dan Hogan
Jul 09, 2007 Dan Hogan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
granted the writing, for the most part, is sub-par, i really enjoyed this book. being a huge fan of the dead since i was younger, i was completely fascinated by lesh's insight on the band's development musically and spiritually. my favorite period of the band's career was it's inception in '65 until about 1973, when wake of the flood< was released. While the remainder of the music from the 70s was good, I think that their earlier period was most interesting (as is often the case), mainly due ...more
Tano
Mar 23, 2009 Tano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of course I'm interested in the material, but Lesh has a surprisingly strong voice and sense of story. And he's refreshingly frank about a lot of sensitive issues: drug and alcohol problems in the band, the decline of the music in general, personal gripes, etc. What struck me the most was how much of a fanboy he sounds like when he talks about Jerry Garcia. Just like anyone else in the crowd, he would get excited just by Jerry looking over at him and winking. All in all, a decent read, but maybe ...more
Chris
Oct 31, 2009 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good! Not a comprehensive history of The Dead, but an interesting look into the inner workings of the band by one of its founders (and, arguably, its most interesting and multi-faceted member). I wish he had spent a little more time talking about the group's improvisational dynamic, and a little less on re-hashing the usual road stories, but it's a worthwhile read, especially if you're just getting into this band's music for the first time (as I was last summer).
Nick
Jul 22, 2008 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly fast-paced and compact (from a member of the Grateful Dead), this book gives an awesomely trippy account of the band's heady early days, the peak of their musicianship in the early 1970s, their drug-fueled decline and resurgence during the 1980s til Garcia's death. A must-read for fans and an interesting read for those not on the bus.
Craig
Feb 23, 2009 Craig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a dead head I finally got around to reading about the bass player that defines my style. Wonderful book. I wanted to add that I am a bass player that looked at Phil as the bass player I wanted to be. So I am more inclined to like this book than the average reader. But if your a dead head and you want to know Phil's thoughts on his life with the Dead, this is the book for you.
Erik
Nov 18, 2014 Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this book for its inside look at the Grateful Dead. I would, of course, have preferred more detailed recollections of some of my favorite parts of the history, but with 50+ years to cover, I completely understood why not everything was completely discussed. All in all, a very informative and interesting read.
Staci Lawrence
Mar 13, 2009 Staci Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a fan, you'll love it. Can't imagine why you'd read it otherwise...actually, it's great for musicians...there are parts that are very musically technical...and probably interesting to any musician and live performer...Phil Lesh is just awesome...personally I love reading Grateful Dead books because you get the different perspectives from everyone on the same stories...
Jon
Feb 07, 2008 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot about the beginings of the Dead and the scene in San Francisco in the 60's and 70's.

Probably the best book about the real journey of the Dead from the perspective of a band member. Starts in Phil's childhood and ends Phil & Friends and the Dead Reunion at Alpine Valley.
Timothy
Sep 13, 2007 Timothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very earnest but enjoyable memoir. I've always liked the Dead, but their fans drive my nuts. It was interesting to get more inside info from one of the founders who was not Jerry. Lesh's positive attitude is infectious.
Paul Nonni
Nov 15, 2007 Paul Nonni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Get Phil's POV of this iconic bands trials and tribulations. This is the only Grateful Dead memoir I've read so far, but it was a great read. I think even all you non-heads out there will find this book entertaining.
John
Feb 27, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A first-hand account of the Grateful Dead world from the inside. A well-written book by an incredible talented and intelligent musician. This is a must read for all who are interested in Rock and Roll and the Dead. It really is a Box of Rain.
Elyssa
Sep 29, 2007 Elyssa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, music
Interesting biography from Phil Lesh about his development as a musician and his longterm gig with The Grateful Dead.
Lorena Drapeau
May 14, 2008 Lorena Drapeau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: music lovers and deadheads
even if you aren't a deadhead this book is worth the read. very insightful in regards to music and life and what it means to be part of something larger then yourself.
Stacy
Oct 18, 2007 Stacy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since Phil Lesh is my hero - of course this book is amazing! Phil is scary smart and surprisingly funny! Gotta read it if your a Deadhead.
Brandon
Aug 28, 2007 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great read. very fast. what impacted me the most from this book was the love that phil has for his family and his bandmates.
Kevin
Jan 06, 2009 Kevin marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Reading this in slow bursts right now. It's not a throw away, and it's not gossipy crap. Pretty engaging so far.
Stephanie Teek
Great autobiography by Phil Lesh containing his life before with and after the Grateful Dead. Luckily I got to meet Phil on his book tour at UCLA.
Dot Lenhart
Jan 13, 2008 Dot Lenhart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Deadheads
I loved learning what happened behind the scenes with the Grateful Dead. Phil writes quite well, too. Fun to read for an old Deadhead.
Robb
Jul 10, 2008 Robb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love the grateful dead this book will interest you. Phil Lesh does a great job of retelling his experiences and life with the band.
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“If, as some savants of consciousness suggest, we are actually agreeing to create, from moment to moment, everything we perceive as real, then it stands to reason that we're also responsible for keeping it going in some harmonious manner.” 10 likes
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