Well, I was going to just keep quiet about it, but since you asked
[EDIT: On reflection, I went off a bit about personal stuff that I usually know better to keep to myself. So let's just leave it at this.]
I finally read it, and I can sum it up in two words: Purdu University. That's just one of the misspellings that should never have gotten through. Larry Coreal, The Blue Magoos, Belleview Hospital (which he even spells correctly a couple times), Johnny Carviotto... just obvious stuff that any of us would have caught.
Then there are all the things that got left out. The word "schizophrenia" doesn't appear anywhere in the book - there's your first warning sign. No mention of the specific lawsuits over the years - it's not as if Katz could sue him or slap an injunction on it if he just stuck to what's on record. No mention of the later reunions, just a couple photos from the Melvilles era. No mention of the four surviving members reuniting one last time to attempt recording an album, and the reasons why it fell apart. At least that would help resolve the story on a personal level.
I didn't read the whole thing (Matt Wilson loaned it to me), because it's a page-turner for the wrong reasons. Aside from a few Jerry quotes that made me chuckle, there wasn't much relavatory about it. It was mostly this guy's "personal journey" with the music, which is okay (barely) for a blog, but it's his
story, not theirs
. He just goes through the first five albums, remarking on each song whether or not he actually has anything to say about them. Bob initially refused to partcipate, but he eventually gave in, although his responses seem pretty unenthusiastic. Peter also declined to participate because he's been working on his own memoirs, which have evolved into a 100-year family history, dating back to his grandmother moving to Los Angeles with her kids in 1916, his childhood, his mom's childhood, his private years in the 1980s, the various band reunions over the years, then onto the present with him making music with his daughter.
I love a good floating narrative (Peter's memoirs take huge leaps across the decades), but starting with the 1971 reunion was pointless. So I started reading Part 2 first, which didn't help. To top it off, whenever the guy tried to get florid with his writing, it just fell flat. One example, from when he's interviewing Don:
Looking out of the window, I notice that the traffic on Eglinton Avenue has thinned out and the line of cars is gone. Each of those cars is heading to a different destination. And this exact configuration of cars will never again form a traffic line in front of this cafe.
Well, no fucking shit. And this guy is 46 years old?
There's a great story here to be told, but it's not in this book. I'm actually surprised it got picked up. It doesn't do the band any favors, and it's not exactly something a budding writer should want on his resume. We're better off waiting for Peter to finish his book. He's not going to shop it around until he's done, so the only deadline he has is his own. I've been helping him with the proofreading, and the story is in much better hands with him, as he was there every step of the way. It wasn't all lawsuits and misery either, there were some genuine good times, some of which are hilarious. At the rate he's going (450 pages so far, and the Grape saga has only gotten as far as Monterey Pop), this may turn into a series of books. He has tons of great stories, his recall is excellent, and he's a brilliant raconteur. AND he knows how to spell Purdue!