So Many Roads

The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead

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Regular Price $17.99 CAD

Regular Price $13.99

Regular Price $17.99 CAD

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On Sale

Apr 28, 2015

Page Count

496 Pages




Fifty years after they first came together and changed the sound of rock ‘n’ roll, the Grateful Dead remain one of rock’s most beloved bands — a musical and cultural phenomenon that spans generations and paved the way for everything from the world of jam bands and the idea of independently released music to social networking. Much has been written about the band, but nothing quite as vibrant and vivid as So Many Roads.

Drawing on new interviews with surviving members and people in their inner circle — along with the group’s extensive archives and his own research from years of covering the group — David Browne, longtime music journalist and contributing editor at Rolling Stone, does more than merely delve into the Dead’s saga. By way of an altogether unique structure — each chapter centered around a significant or pivotal day in their story — he lends this epic musical and cultural story a you-are-there feel unlike any other book written about the band.

So Many Roads takes us deep into the world of the Dead in ways that will be eye-opening even to the most rabid Deadheads. Readers will find themselves inside their communal home in Haight-Ashbury during the band’s notorious 1967 bust; behind the scenes in the studio, watching the Dead at work (and play); backstage at the taping of the legendary “Touch of Grey” video and at their final shows; and in the midst of the Dead’s legendary band meetings. Along the way, readers will hear not only from the Dead but also from friends, colleagues, lovers, and crew members, including some who’ve never spoken to the press before.

The result is a remarkably detailed and cinematic book that paints a strikingly fresh portrait of one of rock’s greatest and most enduring institutions and sheds new light — for fans and newcomers alike — on the band’s music, dynamics, and internal struggles. “There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert,” read the legendary bumper stickers. Similarly, there’s nothing like So Many Roads, which explores all-new routes on the band’s long, strange trip.


"So Many Roads is everything Deadheads could want and more. In a deeply reported portrait of the band in good times and bad, David Browne answers all of our questions and poses a few of his own. As Deadheads celebrate the band's fifty years, this book will prove a companion that makes that long trip a little less strange but no less fascinating.”—Eric Alterman, author of It Ain't No Sin to Be Glad You're Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen and What Liberal Media?: The Truth about Bias and the News

"Browne presents the ultimate road map of the life and times of a band that has always been a unique American cultural phenomenon."
Robert Greenfield, author of Dark Star: An Oral Biography of Jerry Garcia and Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out

"I'm a well-read Deadhead, and I learned new things even about shows I was at. (Englishtown, New Jersey, 9/3/77!) Browne braids tales of America's greatest rock band like melody lines in a primo jam, tangents looping back to the narrative, always pulling it forward. It's a wild, beautiful ride."—Will Hermes, author of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever
"The Grateful Dead have entered the realm of myth. The triumph of So Many Roads is animating both the music and the musicians into something very real indeed."—Alan Paul, author of One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band

"The Grateful Dead are as classically American as Count Basie and Frank Sinatra, and David Browne has written the ultimate book about them: interviewing everyone and bringing us into their lives in the changing decades through which this quintessentially '60s band miraculously increased its mythos, stardom, and relevance. Legendary music gives our world back to us, and specific people, coming together as bands, give us the music that gives us that world. With his wise assessments, ace reporting, and close and long lenses, Browne gives us that world and those men.”—Shelia Weller, author of Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon—and the Journey of a Generation

Kirkus Reviews, April 2015
“Righteous testimonial to the anarchic goodness that was the Grateful Dead...[Browne is] right about most everything. He also appropriately places emphasis on things other biographers have overlooked…One of the better books on the band and welcome reading in this 50th anniversary year.”
Bureau of Arts and Culture Magazine, June 2015
“David Browne has written a grand opus of a book on, of all things, the greatest rock & roll accident that has ever occurred: The Grateful Dead…Mr. Browne has fashioned an exhaustively researched book into an easily readable tome of sorts. The writer for Rolling Stone magazine has taken an original and interesting approach and given us a portrait of the band through a very straight forward concept that fits well with his style, his experience and his day job, writing about music in digestible amounts…Its a complex story, told with an exacting style….by the fifth page of The Prologue, the reader is hooked. I personally cannot think of a more easy reading style, chocked with so many actual facts, insights and observations in a very long, long time. …a nice read that newcomers as well as hardcore fans will surely dig…Worth every dollar spent on the 482 pages it offers readers.”

San Francisco Chronicle, 6/16/15
"Refreshingly, the ups and downs of the '80s and '90s get as much attention as the glory days of the '60s."

Dallas Morning News, 6/28/15
“Browne, an editor at Rolling Stone, proves particularly adept at cutting through the Dead bread and circuses to engage the sound.”
PopMatters, 6/30/15
"Far and away the best of the volumes published this year on the matter. ... One of the more skilled biographers of our time ... Browne has a fiction writer's knack for continuous revelation such that the pacing and details allow us to see the significance of related events for the first time—there's a humanness to the reporting that immerses us deep into the land of Garcia and Co. and keeps us clamped to the edge our seats ... His words seem to fully capture the tone and timbre of each decade chronicled here, so much so that we almost feel as though we are living through those times once again."

Best Classic Bands, 6/1/15
"Browne gets at the truth – or as close to the truth as you can get given that most of the participants were high on one substance or another – through broad and scrupulous research ... If you want to find out how they got there, or just celebrate the band's 50th anniversary, So Many Roads is a smart and satisfying read."

Ventura County Reporter, 7/23/15
“A comprehensive and definitive chronicle of one of the greatest bands of American musicians whose influence continues unabated and undimmed, So Many Roads is like a family album filled with those whose spirits are undying.”, 8/15
“[An] excellent and rich new Dead biography.”
Record Collector, June 2015
“David Browne does a grand job….to create a tale that almost functions as a novel.”

Magnet, May 2015
“An all-encompassing narrative portrait of the iconic mid-20th century band The Grateful Dead…Much has been written about the band, but nothing quite as vibrant and vivid as So Many Roads.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “100 Books for Summer Reading,” 5/31/15

New York Journal of Books, 5/31/15
“A genuine fan of the band, Browne creates a mix of the familiar and the new that will appeal across the boards.”

Houston Press, 5/20/15
“Excellent…[A] highly skillful, well-written, and comprehensive book…Perhaps better than any other Dead book, Browne's offers a clear and deep picture of the members' interpersonal relationships and stature (both real and perceived) within the group…Of the spate of Dead-related biographies, memories and musical appreciations that have appeared in bookstores recently, the informative and evocative So Many Roads is the best. And it now stands alongside the McNally book as the two must-reads for fans.”
The Washington Post, 5/17/15
“Like a live bootleg, each chapter digs deep into the band's state of mind during one particular moment, and Browne enriches that moment with broader context and significance…It's a wild trajectory, perhaps unrivaled by that of any of their contemporaries.”

Father's Day pick, Parade Magazine, 6/21/15, 5/10/15
“A page turner… feel like a beautiful and intriguing documentary… gives fans who could only dream of being backstage an intimate novel-like story of how things played out on stage and behind-the-scenes before. Browne's interviews with insiders and surviving members enabled him to create a three-dimensional portrait of the complex band.”

San Francisco Book Review, 5/15/15
“[A] fascinating telling of the history of The Grateful Dead…This book is a great way to understand them.”

TheDailyCaller, 5/9/15
“There have been many books chronicling the Dead's five decade career, but David Browne's…might be the most ambitious effort yet.”

People Magazine, 5/25/15
“An exhaustive, entertaining history of the Grateful Dead's long strange trip. Timed to the iconic band's 50th anniversary—and just in time for Father's Day.”
Billboard, 3/7/15
“Expect a flood of books for the Dead's 50th anniversary, but this one stands out thanks to new interviews and access to the band's extensive archives.”

Hartford Courant, 3/20/15
“An engaging read.” , 5/5/15
“The new book weaves an engrossing tale that takes readers onto stages and into recording studios, the group's communal home in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, band meetings, stints in rehab…and always, into the music…In addition to a fan's dedication and a critic's discerning ear, there are two things that make So Many Roads special…unimpeded access…[and] the book's architecture allows the author to piece his story together in a most effective way…It's this kind of detail that makes So Many Roads such a compelling read…He also writes with confidence about the intricacies of composing and recording songs…There's also lots of joy in these pages, and more often than not the music is the fountain from which it springs. So Many Roads couldn't get you closer to the Grateful Dead if it came with a free tab of blotter.”, 11/17/15
“Takes readers into the never-visited worlds of the Grateful Dead: Backstage babble in groupie-laden dressing rooms; recording studios; legendary band meetings; the group's communal home in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district during the band's notorious 1967 bust; even stints in rehab…Much has been written about the band, but nothing quite as vibrant and vivid as So Many Roads. Readers will hear not only from the Dead but also from sundry crew members, friends, colleagues and lovers, including some who've never spoken to the press before. The result is a remarkably detailed and cinematic book that paints a strikingly fresh portrait of Garcia and Company and sheds new light—for fans and newcomers alike—on the band's music, dynamics, and internal struggles.”

Rolling Stone, “Holiday Gift Guide 2015”
“Fifty years after the dawn of the Dead, is there anything left to learn about the band? Actually, yes – fresh interviews with surviving members and a unique approach.”

Huffington Post, 12/16/15
“If you want to give a book to a Deadhead (including yourself) the 50th anniversary has yielded a veritable cornucopia. The best narrative I've come across is that by my friend, David Browne.”
Billboard, 5/30/15
“An all-encompassing narrative portrait of the iconic mid-20th century band The Grateful Dead…Much has been written about the band, but nothing quite as vibrant and vivid as So Many Roads.”

Library Journal, 05/1/15
“Browne is to be commended for telling the Dead's story completely and not just focusing on the band's glory years of 1969–74 (or 1977, depending on whom you ask)... It's hard to imagine a better book for a Dead neophyte to start with.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 04/24/15
“Whether you're a tie-dyed Deadhead, late-arriving "Touch"-head or merely curious, Browne's So Many Roads offers an engaging account of an idiosyncratic American musical institution.”

"David Browne has come up with a completely unique way of telling the Grateful Dead's story, deftly moving back and forth through time from various chronological pivot points, weaving the intricate tale the way the Dead would open up, explore, and close a great '72 ‘Playing in the Band.' It's filled with little (and a few big) things I didn't know, and his evocative prose really brings out the band members' personalities in a way that few books have.”—Blair Jackson, author of Garcia: An American Life
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