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Grateful Dead FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Greatest Jam Band in History (FAQ Series) Paperback – September 1, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"For those fans out there who want to really dive deep into the reality and nitty-gritty of everything there is to know about this historical musical collaboration, you can't get much better than this." - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Sclafani offers plenty for well-read Deadheads and still more for normal folks who want to know more...FAQ is jamband-packed with with little-known facts and trivia that will enlighten even the greyest of Deadheads." - Hittin' the Note

"Longtime music journalist Tony Sclafani engagingly breaks it all down in 39 easy-to-digest chapters, each packed with bite-sized nuggets." - Chico News & Review

"Sclafani does an obsessively nice job of filling in the basics for newcomers while delving deep enough into biographies, discographies, and theoretical discographies (an excellent overview of an unreleased album's virtual tracklist) to make get into Deadheads' heads." - Rocktober Reviews

"Kudos to the author of Grateful Dead FAQ for not indulging in the fan-boy mentality that afflicted similar titles;Tony Sclafani refuses to drone, preferring to maintain a light touch in keeping with the instrumental approach of the band at hand." - Glide Magazine

"It's like a Wiki-Dead-a-Pedia." - BlogCritics

"This is a wonderfully researched book that tells the story of one of the most iconic rock bands of all time. That the author has been able to dig deep and find new facts on a band that has been chronicled for decades now is a testament to his dedication and skill." - Curled Up With a Good Book

"The Grateful Dead FAQ really does deliver all that's left to know about the group, as far as I can tell. Tony Sclafani has come up with so many fascinating insights about this cultural institution that I found the book to be a joy to read. The Grateful Dead FAQ takes the  good old Grateful Dead story to a whole other level, and is recommended." - Blinded By Sound

About the Author

TONY SCLAFANI is a journalist and a regular contributor to NBC online (formerly MSNBC/Today Show.com). He has also written for the Washington Post and its free daily, Express, as well as Relix, the Village Voice, Harp (now Blurt), the Washington City Paper, Hittin' the Note, Pop Matters, Record Collector, and DC Magazine. He is a longtime fan of '60s psychedelic music and the Grateful Dead.
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Product Details

  • Series: Faq Series
  • Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (September 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617130869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617130861
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #757,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jason Penick on October 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of the Grateful Dead ever since high school and have always considered myself relatively well informed when it came to the band. But in reality there exists a not-so-fine line between "fan" and true Deadhead. While I've seen the group in concert post-Jerry a few times and am relatively familiar with both their back catalog (I currently own about ten of their releases) as well as their story vis-à-vis a handful of bios and articles, thanks to this book I know now that I was really only scratching the surface when it came to my enjoyment of The Dead.

In a way the entire Backbeat FAQ series is perfect for people like myself who enjoy certain artists and are knowledgeable when it comes to the basics but who crave more understanding, and Tony Sclafani's entry on The Dead is the best I've read so far of the FAQ books. The author writes with an obvious passion and deep understanding of the band and their music, and he also conveys a tone of both humor and objectivity amidst all of the copious research he has performed.

At over 350 pages (and printed in small font) The Grateful Dead FAQ is rich with information on America's premier jam band. Yet the content is so compelling that I eagerly read my way through the entire book in under three days. The highlights for me were the chapters dedicated to the group's less talked about members Pigpen, Donna Jean and Tom C., the extensive examination of the band's oft-maligned studio work (which the author does a good job of defending while still maintaining critical distance) and first-hand insight from the likes of Bob Weir, David Lemieux, Toni Brown and others.

What really put this book over the top for me though was the author's own humor and personal insight.
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Format: Paperback
If you thought everything that could be written about the Grateful Dead has already been put into print, this book will prove you wrong. There’s lots of insight into some previously unexplored areas, like what made the band grow from a cult group into a major force in rock. Also enjoyable are the chapters on studio albums that never were and what made this band so unique in rock. Deadheads won’t be disappointed and rock fans in general should find the chapters on the Dead’s influences and forgotten ’60s contemporaries intriguing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent and very informative! Very well written! I have been researching the Grateful Dead/Pigpen for an independent film for two years now. Tony Sclafini truly did a most excellent job covering so many facts and lingering questions! Completely and highly recommend Grateful Dead FAQ... Kudos Tony! WELL DONE!!! ~ diana sainz - Producer: (Pigpen... a blues singer)
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Format: Paperback
Grateful Dead FAQ is a very cool volume ,for the most jaded or the complete neophyte Dead Head.

Tony Sclafani's book seamlessly flows from Grateful Dead discography, in depth reviews and articles, story telling adventure and just good, hard ,yet amusing ,analysis of numerous aspects of the "world's greatest jam band in history" . the approach to critique and the history of the Dead is expressed from a different and unique perspective that makes reading fun and interesting no matter what you know , or think you know about The Grateful Dead.
Plenty of photos make it even better. and at close to 400 pages, covering numerous chapters of all different sides and scenes of the Dead, the book is jam packed . i was very skeptical about another "corporate fluff book" on my favorite band but was happily surprised by the integrity and attention and obvious knowledge and appreciation for the Dead by the author. I look forward to reading more from Tony and more from the FAQ series (which i disregarded as corporate fluff books ) on other bands, but if this is the norm for the FAQ series i would plan on seeing a few more of the shelf
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Grateful Dead history and lore is one of the most mined subject matters available. This group has been subject to more intense scrutiny than virtually any other cultural entity in history. That appears to be an outlandish claim, but those immersed in this subject matter would undoubtedly agree with this perspective.
At this stage of the game, writing about the Dead is like picking over an abandoned diamond field looking for what's been overlooked.
Thus, it is notable that even more details are emerging this late in the game. This book contains extensive rehashed material (not a criticism, it's good to see all this data condensed in one source), but succeeds gamely in winkling out a small treasure of previously unearthed factoids.
I say buy it!!
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Format: Paperback
A must-have for anyone who loves the Grateful Dead or rock history. Author Tony Scalfani is an artful writer and a thorough researcher, who delves deep into the Dead's history to present little known facts that even the most die-hard fans may have missed. It's a fascinating look into the band that includes both triumphs and missteps, with chapters ranging from "Ten Places the Dead Left Their Mark on Popular Culture" to "The Dead's Ten Worse Decisions."

Music fans will enjoy it for the breadth of the information, illustrations, and photographs. Deadheads will nod their heads knowingly as Scalfani tackles a number of long debated questions, such as, why didn’t the Dead create a mid-1970’s super studio album after Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty?, or why did so many of their most popular songs never make it into a studio album?

Drawing on a number of the most dedicated minds who study and archive Grateful Dead history, such as David Gans and David Lemiux, Scalfani builds a strong case to answer these and other questions, in a book that truly chronicles "All that’s left to know about the greatest jam band in history."
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