Grateful Dead

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Hal R's picture
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Joined: Jun 13 2007
Beats and the Dead on The Road

leadbelly 27: It is cool that you got exposed to both On The Road and Live/Dead when you were 14 and got it. Both are works of magic for me. It was Dylan that hit me first and altered my sense of the world when I was 14 and listening to his Greatest Hits Volume 2, it blew me away and then Bringing It All Back Home. I lived on a farm in Iowa...music and literature kept me from going crazy in the midst of a time when the Vietnam War was on tv every night.. I did have fellow spirits in high school....

Started to listen to the Dead at age 16 and reading Beats at age 19. After I read On The Road and Dharma Bums I took off one summer, driving and hitchhiking with friends along the Mississippi River and then from the Midwest to Wyoming and Montana and 2nd real back backpacking experience. Then to California, San Francisco, Big Sur - I crashed near the beach for a whole week, Los Angeles. In San Francisco I stopped at City Lights - it was a Mecca for me probably as the Vatican is for others. I bought lots of books and mailed them back to myself in Iowa because I had never seen anything like these books there - The First Third, Maggie Cassidy and other Kerouac, big volume of Patchen and and the two Collected Short and Long Poems of Rexroth and others. When hitchhiking I was carrying books of Snyder’s poetry and Goddard’s Buddhist Bible - the one Kerouac read.

It was my trip of a lifetime. Lots of strange, wonderful experiences which could fill another book.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman-Song of Myself

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Joined: Jun 4 2007
re: Beats and the Dead

Hal R-
the Beats and the Dead pointed me toward a different way of looking at things. They were my first exposure to literature and serious "Rock" music, and my gateway to literature, art, philosophy, and culture. I still remember first listening to Live/Dead and reading On the Road when I was 14. I don't think I've fully recovered, lol! I've kind of outgrown the Beats over the years, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for those writers. On a side note, Kerouac's idea of "bop prosody" is almost identical to the approach the Dead took with their music.
I guess I've always had a faculty for language and writing, so I just sort of followed that path (it's been a crooked path, a long strange path, but it's been pretty interesting). For me, the best thing in the world is guiding students toward that moment I had when I was 14; the literature or the music needn't be the same, but that recognition they see in literature that attempts to relate human experience, using the inadequate tool of language (and the students actually getting it!), or that flash that the world is wonderful and terrible at the same time, is really something. I get to spend (most of) my days in the world of ideas, literature and writing. the same world that completely blew me away at 14. How cool is that? I consider myself extremely lucky to have finally found something I'm really good at and enjoy (mostly).
Yo Soy Boricua!

Hal R's picture
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Joined: Jun 13 2007
Beats and the Dead

Leadbelly 27- How are the Beats and the Dead responsible for pointing you in your career direction?

Here are some of the major lessons I got from them

1. To hell with the system .
2. We create ourselves.
3. Follow your Bliss (actually Joseph Campbell - Beats and Dead lived it)
4 Experiment, try something new.
5. It's OK to be a freak, it's OK to be weird.
6. Be yourself
7. Don't sell out

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman-Song of Myself

Joe B. Jones's picture
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Joined: Jun 5 2007
A Shameless Plug for My Brother's Book

Though I realize you might assume some bias in my recommendation, I can heartily recommend the novel my brother got published a few years ago called "After Lucy." And honestly, I wouldn't have any problem NOT recommending it if I didn't think it was a good read, in spite of it being something he wrote. It's very well-written and kind of a page-turner that sucks you in, and it's got a fairly heavy dose of GD-related content (no pun intended). Even better, it sold well enough that it's now generally available in paperback. If you're looking for a good summer beach/airplane/camping book to read, check it out. Oh yeah, the author's name is Daniel Jones.

c_c
c_c's picture
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Joined: Jun 4 2007
for non-mysterious myteries...

light reading with a bit of wry humor, I have always dug Robert B. Parker's Spenser series...

'Spenser with an S, like the English poet'

especially Double Deuce, Pot Shot, A Savage Place... etc etc.

marye's picture
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Joined: May 26 2007
well, if you have...

they're REALLY OLD!

but I hope you liked 'em... The Tonga one led to grand adventures.

I don't read much "serious" stuff these days. On the other hand, I love good mysteries. Margaret Maron and Donna Leon, love 'em.

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Joined: Jun 4 2007
Reading

Nice list Hal R! The Beats and the Dead are responsible for my pursuing a degree in literature and my desire to become an English teacher. I've read so much over the years, a mere rote list would be too long and boring, so I'll try to list a few books that have really stood out for me, and that I think you all might enjoy:

--"Contemporary" Lit--
The God of Small Things- Arundati Roy
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay- Michael Chabon
And You Shall Know Our Velocity!- Dave Eggers (Also anything by McSweeny's)
Collected Stories of T. C. Boyle
Little-- David Truer

--A few "Classics" I love--
One Hundred Years of Solitude-- Gabiel Garcia Marquez (possibly the greatest novel ever written)
Blood Meridian-- Cormac McCarthy
The Things They Carried- Tim O'Brian
Collected Works of Franz Kafka
Catch-22 Joseph Heller
Edith Hamilton's Mythology
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man-- James Joyce
Good 'ol Shakespeare!

Some Non-fiction:
History of Western Philosophy-- Bertrand Russell (He's bias and sometimes unfair, but you'll never read a more accessible and concise explanation of the great philosophers of the western tradition from one of the great philophers of the 20th century. Hey the guy popularized the peace sign).
The Elegant Universe-- Brian Greene (String Theory explained for novices!)
The Old Weird America-- Greil Marcus
No Logo-- Naomi Klein
Bill Moyer's interview with Joseph Campbell on PBS (Book titled: Masks of the gods)
Baseball Encyclopidia

I also enjoy reading websites like (this one!), Truthdig, and Salon.com. Actually, I think I've even read a few of Marye's articles on Salon!

Yo Soy Boricua!

Hal R's picture
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Joined: Jun 13 2007
while listening to the Dead

I love to read and I love to listen to music especially the Grateful Dead.

Here are my favorites to read when listening to the Dead.

1. The Beats and their poetic descendents - the direct literary forefathers of our band
2... Tom Robbins
3. Other poetry besides the beats; Charles Bukowski, Robert Bly, Rilke, Blake,Vallejo, Neruda, Whitman
4. Herman Hesse
5. Henry Miller
5. Zippy the Pinhead commix
6. Ken Kesey
7. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
8. Zen, other Buddhist and Taoist works, Chinese poetry during Dark Star and other Jams
9. Magazines. - Parabola, The Sun, Heron Dance, Orion, Revision
10. Philip K. Dick

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman-Song of Myself

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