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You Can't Always Get What You Want: My Life with the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Other Wonderful Reprobates Paperback – February 23, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll play strong supporting roles for headliners the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead in this straight-dope, tell-all account of Cutler's years managing road shows for "the yin and yang of bands." A dissatisfied schoolteacher in 1960s London, Cutler turned his involvement with the music scene into a career as "a sort of production honcho, doing all the dirty work on site" that others wouldn't. His work with the Stones began with their 1969 appearance at Hyde Park, and continued through an entire U.S. tour, ending with the Altamont disaster in California. After that, Cutler took up with the Grateful Dead, managing finances and tours (including Europe '72). Cutler's memoir is populated by a fascinating range of rock stars, gangsters, and international drug lords, but his insider position doesn't always penetrate the chaos; one important exception is his account of Altamont, the massive, free, outdoor Stones concert overtaken by violence (among other record-setting details, Cutler reports that "police had done nothing in the face of serious violent crime... other than bravely towing away hundreds of cars"). Of certain interest to anyone who recalls the music scene of the early 1970s, this fast-moving narrative of rock-n-roll excess should also absorb music fans of any age.
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A riveting rock read.” Sun-Herald
"A fascinating historical snapshot not only on the life and heady times of the Stones, the Dead and Altamont, but of the Sixties themselves. As such, it is not to be missed." blogcritics.org
"[Cutler's] memoir of his time with first the Stones and then the Grateful Dad brings to life hippie-era delights (lots of acid) and an encroaching darkness . . . he unleashes one killer road tale after another." Rolling Stone
"Thoroughly impossible to put down." ABORT MAGAZINE
"Effortlessly readable, packed with entertaining, sleazy, behind-the-scenes tales." Portland Mercury
"A quintessential addition to any die-hard rock and roll fan's bookcase." Daily Vanguard Online
"Entertaining, eye-opening memoir . . . the book hits a particularly colourful stride with the Stones’ arrival in LA to finish Let It Bleed and rehearse for the dates ahead." Uncut Magazine (U.K.)
Top Customer Reviews
Cutler's tome doesn't solely focus on his role of tour manager, but starts prior to his career in rock 'n' roll, when he was illegitimately born in a stately home in Hertfordshire during World War 11. He was consequently placed in an orphanage and was adopted when he was three, but didn't discover his true parentage until he was fifteen. His natural mother was Irish from a gypsy family who had been abandoned by his father, a Jewish mathematician who then died on active service in the Royal Air Force.
'In the blood of my veins, I was Irish, Gypsy, and Jew!' Cutler exclaims, thankful he wasn't English but was a mixture of 'three persecuted races', and not of pure English stock like the Cutlers, his adoptive protestant parents who renamed him Sam (his birth name was Brendan Lyons).
`All I could think was how grateful I was that I wasn't English and named Cyril, ' Cutler quips which illustrates what a droll writer he is.
His adoptive Communistic parents always had music in the house and Sam was raised on 'union songs and paeans to Stalin and the Red Army.`
'One would reasonably think that after countless acid trips and the experiences of the drug-fuelled sixties, the words of obscure political songs would fade from my mind, but to this day they remain eerie reminders of that distant country which is my past,' Cutler reminisces.Read more ›
Throughout the book you hear tales of Cutler's friendship not just with the Stones and The Dead, but with Jimi Hendrix, Syd Barrett and Janis Joplin. You hear tales of his job sometimes as just a glorified baby sitter to a bunch of high rock-stars as he helps them through the land-mines of groupies, drug dealers and mobsters.
The book reads as if you are talking to Sam Cutler as the events happened. Although with so many tales of his own drug use, I kind of wonder how he could remember any of it. You will read wonderful stories about his wrestling match with promoter Bill Graham or the acid laced birthday cake for Janis Joplin that was shared with the off duty police that were working security.
Before reading this book I didn't know if it would have much appeal to me. I like the Stones okay, but my musical taste seems to skip the period of time he is talking about. I was happy to find a book that discussed this era in such a conversational manner written by someone who while he regrets some of the things that happened (see Altamont) you can still tell was having the time of his life. I really learned a lot about this middle period in rock history and am glad I read it.
Highly recommended reading to whomever would like to know the truth of the times and the politics that "killed rock and roll" that gruesome December night in 1969.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. Sam Cutler and Joel Selvin in the bay area tonight talking about Altamont.
Should be interesting.
An outstanding, riveting, can't put it down book from someone who was, not only at Altamont, but there before, during and after the 1969 tour. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kimberley R Burke
It's pretty rare when a rock n roll memoir is written by a real writer and natural storyteller. Besides the musicians, I've always admired the people who made live music happen —... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brian Hassett
very fun read..Sam makes it very interesting as well as funny
he can write!
I was a senior in high school when I went to the Altamont free concert with the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Santana and others. Read morePublished 10 months ago by The Amazing Fezziwig
Love Sam C. Such a brilliant story teller. This book is wonderful. His newest book "Penography", is no where to be found on Amazon, or anywhere else. Read morePublished 12 months ago by M. Penrose