Friday, January 27, 2012

"You Can't Always Get What You Want" by Sam Cutler

In a real close-up look at the darker side of Rock and Roll, Sam Cutler, former tour manager for the Rolling Stones 1969 tour; which ended in complete disaster at Altamont Speedway in California; asks the hard questions, and provides some of the harder answers to the "how's and why's" behind the disastrous killing of a gun wielding young black man at the hands of the Hell's Angels in December 1969. The resulting furor over the killing, coupled with the trial of Sonny Barger, heralded the end of the Woodstock Nation, which had been born only 4 months earlier in upstate New York.

Mr. Cutler examines the differences, and egos, which formed the disaster, and then simply vanished, leaving him to face the legal issues. With a keen eye for detail, and just enough sex and drugs thrown in to make it interesting, he has covered all the bases, from the security concerns to ticket scalping. The madness of touring with the Stones is apparent in the whirlwind pace of the author's writing.

Also, there is an added bonus for those who did not know, or like me, were unaware of Mr. Cutler's connection to the Grateful Dead. He became, on the strength of their connection through the Altamont Speedway concert, at which the Dead never played, tour manager for the Grateful Dead for decades to come. His accounts of Jerry Garcia, and what the man was really like, are very revealing, and will definitely be of interest to his fans. Although not a huge Dead fan myself, the business end of the Grateful Dead empire was really a fascinating thing to watch grow. It simply happened, which is, of course what that band is all about. Happening.

A great quick read for fans of either band, and illustrated just enough to make it interesting, this is one memoir which will not disappoint the reader.

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