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Captain Trips: A Biography of Jerry Garcia

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Avid Dead fan and chronicler Sandy Troy probes Jerry Garcia's personal and professional life through childhood and adolescence, Summer of Love acid tests, drug busts, three marriages, a brush with death, and his comeback. Troy also traces the Dead's highs and lows and Garcia's musical relationships with songwriter Robert Hunter and other musicians in the Grateful Dead.


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Avid Dead fan and chronicler Sandy Troy probes Jerry Garcia's personal and professional life through childhood and adolescence, Summer of Love acid tests, drug busts, three marriages, a brush with death, and his comeback. Troy also traces the Dead's highs and lows and Garcia's musical relationships with songwriter Robert Hunter and other musicians in the Grateful Dead.

30 review for Captain Trips: A Biography of Jerry Garcia

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    "Captain Trips- A biography of Jerry Garcia" by Sandy Troy gives a full, complete lifeline of Jerry Garcia. Troy has this ability, that captivates her reader. It almost sucks you into a vortex, spitting you out right in the midst of the 70's. In comparison to "Garcia: An American Life" by Blair Jackson, "Captain Trips" leaves it dead in the water. Garcia: An American Life is a good outline of Jerry's existence, but "Captain Trips" gives you a overload on every Garcia. Throughout this book, you "Captain Trips- A biography of Jerry Garcia" by Sandy Troy gives a full, complete lifeline of Jerry Garcia. Troy has this ability, that captivates her reader. It almost sucks you into a vortex, spitting you out right in the midst of the 70's. In comparison to "Garcia: An American Life" by Blair Jackson, "Captain Trips" leaves it dead in the water. Garcia: An American Life is a good outline of Jerry's existence, but "Captain Trips" gives you a overload on every Garcia. Throughout this book, you will be taken to a variety of stages in Jerry's life. Some areas will nearly bring a tear to your eye, others will make you laugh and want to dance. While reading this book, I had to take a break and listen to a classic Dead riff, such as "Sugar Magnolia" or "Touch of Grey", only to relieve the overload. Jerry Garcia is name that goes hand-in-hand with rock n' roll. He was there when Dylan went electric, or when a generation danced naked at Woodstock. Although Garcia's life was mainly lived on the road. Drug use was always mentioned in each segment of the book. Jerry started at age 13 smoking Marijuana, when Ken Kesey started experimenting with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), Garcia was sucked into the drug use lifestyle. Because of Jerry's obsession for Marijuana, LSD, and other harmful drugs, he was appropriately nicknamed "Captain Trips." Troy definitely carries out the use of drugs throughout the book. I understand that drugs were the foundation for the 70's and 80's, but I noticed that she continuously brought it up. Towards the end of the book it almost got annoying to hear about the same LSD tests repetitively. There's no two ways around it, I really like this book. It really took into perspective the craze of the Grateful Dead. The book buried itself into Jerry's life. Captain Trips gave full detail, almost too much detail. Troy really emphasized parts of the book that I feel didn't have to be highlighted. Four stars is a fair rating for this book. Sandy Troy knew what she was talking about, especially when she used exact quotes of Jerry. But she definitely talked about Jerry's early ages way more than needed. The book is about 300 pages, but It wasn't until the last 175 pages that she talked about the Grateful Dead being a major impact to Rock n' Roll. I want to hear the Grateful Dead being a heavy-impact band. In the beginning, all she talked about was their road to success. The focus just wasn't there. However, If you have any interest in classic rock, if you wish to learn about this historical time period, or even if you just like music, you have to read "Captain Trips: A biography of Jerry Garcia." This book explains thoroughly how Jerry Garcia was a talented and gifted musician. If it wasn't for him, our society wouldn't the same!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I am really into a Grateful Dead re-discovery these days, having spent 5 months commuting from L.A. to the Bay Area weekly for a job. Lots of time to go through the CD collection; I would bring a couple of handfuls of discs to keep me company on the drive. Somehow I fell into a Grateful Dead re-appreciation and thoroughly enjoyed that. So I was interested in delving into the band bio's, what made them tick, how they got together, etc, and in particular Jerry Garcia. So I found this book and it wa I am really into a Grateful Dead re-discovery these days, having spent 5 months commuting from L.A. to the Bay Area weekly for a job. Lots of time to go through the CD collection; I would bring a couple of handfuls of discs to keep me company on the drive. Somehow I fell into a Grateful Dead re-appreciation and thoroughly enjoyed that. So I was interested in delving into the band bio's, what made them tick, how they got together, etc, and in particular Jerry Garcia. So I found this book and it was a good start. Captain Trips was written by a long-time friend of Garcia's and seems to follow the guitarist's life moves pretty well. It seemed to leave me wondering about other things, such as his relationships with the other band members, girlfriends and others, but overall it was a good peek into Jerry's life, especially the early years when he played, along with Robert Hunter, Phil Lesh and other key players, in the Palo Also coffee houses and bars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    John E

    An older book by a long-time fan of Garcia and the Dead. It wasn't a really interesting read; many times it seemed like a long list of the various musician configurations that Garcia played with a lot of names dropped of sidemen in each grouping. The early book up to the mid-1960s was the best part; the latter part seemed like a long Dead-inspired improvisation on a theme of years and people. After the mid-1960s the highs and lows were compressed into a much shallower life than lived by Garcia a An older book by a long-time fan of Garcia and the Dead. It wasn't a really interesting read; many times it seemed like a long list of the various musician configurations that Garcia played with a lot of names dropped of sidemen in each grouping. The early book up to the mid-1960s was the best part; the latter part seemed like a long Dead-inspired improvisation on a theme of years and people. After the mid-1960s the highs and lows were compressed into a much shallower life than lived by Garcia and his co-workers. Quick read however.

  4. 5 out of 5

    5 Track

    Refreshing, in that this was written when JG was still alive. So, a somewhat light-weight tho often insightful portrait of a man with both comedy & tragedy in his life, who grew up to do what he loved most in the world: play the guitar with other intelligent creative musicians in front of crowds of people looking for a good time. :) Refreshing, in that this was written when JG was still alive. So, a somewhat light-weight tho often insightful portrait of a man with both comedy & tragedy in his life, who grew up to do what he loved most in the world: play the guitar with other intelligent creative musicians in front of crowds of people looking for a good time. :)

  5. 4 out of 5

    J.C.

    didn't love it but then again I read it when I hated reading and probably wasn't very good at it (still not, by the way). I've debated picking it up and reading it again, but haven't had the courage yet.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Ward

    Captain Trips: a Biography of Jerry Garcia by Sandy Troy (Thunder's Mouth Press 1995)(Biography). Another Deadhead's take on the great Jerry G. Lord, we miss him! My rating: 7/10, finished 2011.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Quick, fun, positive read. The author seemed to have good insight into the early years which is what interests me the most about Jerry. The book was published in 1994 so it's obviously way outdated since Jerry was still alive at the time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elijah

    If you like the Dead, this is a fair and fun read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nate Calzetoni

    I chose 5 stars because it is a very detailed look at Jerry's life and what he accomplished during it. It's probably the best biography I've read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cale

    This was an awesome book and provided a lot of information not only about Jerry Garcia but also his band The Grateful Dead.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Biographies are really my favorite types of books to read - especially musical biographies. Jerry was one of my favorite artists and this is one of my favorite books about him. I've read it twice.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    This was an interesting biography of Jerry and The Dead. I learned a lot and would recommend it to any Dead Heads out there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Saw this book at a booth during Dead and Company June 26, 2016

  14. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Well written. However, it was a little to positive for me. There are other biographies that don't paint such a rosy picture about Jerry.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Blaise

    A history book of a music that asked the mind to come along.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Will Albers

  17. 5 out of 5

    John

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christina Johnson

  20. 4 out of 5

    DavidO

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael Vitone

  22. 4 out of 5

    Micah Issitt

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pat Rouleau

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bayard

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Palmer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bob Parkes

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ted Konopka

  29. 5 out of 5

    Colin Waldschutz

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Hursey

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