Phil Lesh – Searching for the Sound


Phil Lesh first met Jerry Garcia in 1959 in the clubs of Palo Alto, California. At Garcia’s suggestion, Lesh learned to play the electric bass and joined him in a new group that blended R&B, country, and rock ‘n’ roll with an experimental fervor never before heard.

In time for the Grateful Dead’s 40th 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.

In San Francisco during the Summer of Love, at Woodstock, Altamont, and the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Grateful Dead have been at the center of some of rock’s defining moments. Phil Lesh recounts what it’s been like to live at the heart of this whirlwind, impressing Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, sharing the stage with Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and the Rolling Stones. Lesh describes what it was like to storm heaven night after night, and the price he and others have paid. Bad management, drug addictions, depression, and insecurities persistently plagued the band members and would culminate with the most tragic blow of all, the death of Jerry Garcia.

Searching for the Sound is a ruthlessly honest look inside one of the greatest American bands.

Author: Phil Lesh
Narrator: Phil Lesh
Duration: 5 hours 33 minutes
Released: 5 Nov 2004
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Language: English

User Review:

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Great story, written by and told by Phil Lesh. From the author’s childhood – growing up playing trumpet and violin in bands, through his failed entry into the Army, flunking out of college and being down on his luck, this is chalked full of great stories. The time Phil first hears Jerry Garcia play, stories about Neal Cassidy, Woodstock, Altamont, jamming at the Egyptian Pyramids. It’s all great, and it’s all firsthand stuff (from the guy that was there). There are heart wrenching stories about the demise of the Dead – alcohol, drugs, women. The best stories, though, are about the music. The way the Dead invented the “jam band” sound. How they would play off each other through tension/resolution and call and response. It’s a must read for musicians, deadheads, and fans of the 60s.