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On the Road with Janis Joplin

characters On the Road with Janis Joplin

Plin and Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival that June Less than six months later he was on a plane to San Francisco taking a job as road manager for Janis and her band Big Brother and the Holding Company From then on Cooke was Joplin’s road manager amid a rotating cast of musicians and personnel a constant presence behind the scenes as the woman called Pearl took the world by storm Cooke was there when Janis made the difficult decision to leave Big Brother and form a new band He was with her when the Kozmic Blues Band toured Europ John Byrne Cooke is an interesting guy in his own right having played in a se

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One of Parade's Top Ten Rock n' Roll Reads As a road manager and filmmaker he helped run the Janis Joplin show and record it for posterity Now he reveals the never before told story of his years with the young woman from Port Arthur who would become the first female rock and roll superstar and depart the stage too soon In 1967 as the new sound of rock and roll was taking over popular music John Byrne Cooke was at the center of it all As a member of  DA Pennebaker’s film crew he witnessed the astonishing breakout performances of Janis Jo I have been a Janis Joplin fan since I was just 10 years old In fact Myra Fri

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E in the spring of 1969 when they performed at Woodstock in August and when Janis and Full Tilt Boogie took their famous Festival Express train trip across Canada He accompanied Janis to her friend and mentor Ken Threadgill’s 70th birthday party and was at her side when she attended her tenth high school reunion in Port Arthur Texas This intimate memoir spans the years he spent with Janis from her legendary rise to her tragic last days Cooke tells the whole incredible story as only someone who lived it could INCLUDES PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPH The writing was a little dry but interesting overall

10 thoughts on “On the Road with Janis Joplin

  1. says:

    I have been a Janis Joplin fan since I was just 10 years old In fact Myra Friedman's BURIED ALIVE was the very first rock biography I'd EVER read My grandmother recommended it to me during a library visit in 1979 when I was just 10 years old I was a little surprised that she would point me to something so heavy at such a young age I believe she was trying to give me an early warning about the dangers of drug abuse And while this did dissuade me from every even considering using heroin I also became the biggest Janis Joplin fan in my 5th grade class To this day I consider Janis one of these greatest blues rock singers EVER Hearing Summertime never fails to bring a tear to my eye Her delivery was so honest emotive passionate and always moving I was actually uite pleased with John Byrne Cooke's book about his years working as a road manager for Janis Joplin Their time together 1967 1970 actually spanned the majority of her time as a major label recording artist Given this fact John was in the uniue position of knowing the intimate details of her daily itinerary for so many years It was an opportunity that Mr Cooke wisely preserved and has so graciously shared with us in his personal accounting of her glory years and final days My sole criticism of the book would be the author’s decision to spend so much time in the introductory chapter discussing his own experience at Monterey Pop while working with filmmaker D A Pennebaker While I DID find this section to be interesting I can imagine some Janis fans will begin wondering whether the author has all that much to say about Janis The answer is YES but you do have to wait a chapter before he really digs in to his main topic I do think this back story is helpful and does go a long ways towards explaining the important of that festival to her career as well as how they metI found the book to be greatly insightful in explaining her early days with Big Brother the risky transition to becoming a solo artist with Kozmic Blues and her happier final months with Full Tilt Boogie This book also takes this time to refute many allegations about Janis her career death that I've long believed to be true I won’t spoil any of these new discoveries for you here but would instead encourage any Janis fan to rediscover her magic once again in reading this book I was tempted to give this book 5 stars and would certainly award it 45 if Goodreads allowed such a rating One of the main reasons I prefer this to so many Janis Joplin biographies I've read is become it is much matter of fact than dramatic or sensational I would definitely recommend this one and would like to personally thank John for sharing his story with us after so many years It has taught me so much about Janis’ professional career and has also inspired me to relive the magic of her music once again

  2. says:

    Before reading this all I knew about Janis was her nickname was pearl she died young from an overdose and I've heard like 4 or 5 of her songs Basically I didn't know diddly suat Some of the reviews have been unfavorable towards this book because readers feel as if the author talks too much about himself Personally I liked that He validated how he knew Janis and he had an interesting life as well He was her road manager through all three of her bands and he knew her as well as you could know her during the musical part of her life They weren't always best buds but he was there for her through thick or thin and I think this book was an excellent chronicle of her musical life I learned so much about her talent her prowess and her loving freespirited nature I won't lie I even got choked up at then end even though I knew it was coming A life cut short What a shame A great read that inspired to sit on the porch drink and jam out to her music

  3. says:

    First I have to thank First to Read for providing me with a copy of On the Road with Janis Joplin is John Byrne Cooke's first hand account of the rise and gone before her time of female rock legend Janis Joplin In telling about the rock and roll lifestyle of Janis Joplin Cooke also makes sure to share with the reader information about what was happening in the world around them from the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy to the various events of the Vietnam War and of course Janis's performance at Woodstock As Janis's road manager Cooke was there to witness both the good and the bad of Janis's life He tells not only of her well known drug use but also of the life and vibrancy she exuded and her complete and unfailing love for those who were closest to her I really enjoyed reading this book for I truly did learn a lot about Janis Joplin than I knew previously It was amazing to read about all of the various famous people of the time she knew such as Shel Silverstein who was working for Playboy as a cartoonist and writer at the time Jerry Lee Lewis who she got into a physical altercation with after he told her he didn't think her sister was all that attractive and her utter and mutual dislike of Jim Morrison While reading this wonderful insight into what some would deem a tragic life I couldn't help but find myself listening to many of the songs which were produced by the bands that are mentioned throughout the book for not only being popular at the time but also for their interactions with Janis I became not only fully immersed in the reading of this book and Janis's life but in the music of the time Janis Joplin said the following about her life All my life I just wanted to be a beatnik Meet all the heavies get stoned get laid have a good time That's all I ever wanted Except I knew I had a good voice and I could always get a couple of beers off of it All of a sudden someone threw me in this rock n roll band They threw these musicians at me man and the sound was coming from behind The bass was charging me And I decided then and there that was it I never wanted to do anything else Well after reading this book I would have to say that Janis did exactly as she set out to do For those who lived during this time and remember the events of the 60s and 70s who were fans of the music of Janis Joplin and those who want to know about this legendary singer and what was going on around her I would recommend this book to

  4. says:

    I was only twelve when Janis Joplin was found dead from an overdose of heroin I liked her music then but I grew to love it as I got older She was the type of strong woman that you either loved or hated she was way ahead of her time Her life style was very bohemian and she was considered a hippie My parents like most at the time were not fans because of what she stood for which made me love her all the The author of this book John Byrne Cooke was her road manager for most of her short career He has written a moving tribute to this great singer who was often times misunderstood He was a personal friend and confidante He heard her when she first performed at the Monterey Pop Festival A musician himself he recognized her for the tremendous vocalist that she was Through mutual acuaintances and twists of fate he became her manager Their lives were intertwined until her premature death at 27I love this book and recommend it You get a glimpse into the real life of Janis Joplin Although it doesn’t make excuses for either it explains the reasons for her drinking and drug use It humanizes her and makes you realize that she was as insecure and fallible as anyone After I turned the last page I was struck again by the senselessness of her passing and couldn’t help wondering how rock and roll would have evolved if this great songster had lived

  5. says:

    John Cooke has written an interesting account of his brief stint as the infamous Joplin's road manager and friend It's a fascinating trip back into the peace loving free spirit musical times of the mid Sixties and Seventies Cooke shares his vast knowledge of music history with style and class and does Joplin justice by portraying her as an intelligent but flawed musician Cooke describes Janis as a powerhouse with a smart mind and uick wit but also extremely insecure and perhaps some of her insecurities led to her addictions that would sadly claim her far too soonCooke's book brings up a lot of WHAT IF's What if Big Brother and the Holding Company had never played at the Monterey Pop Festival? What if Cooke hadn't been there holding a camera filming Janis' break out moment? Cooke refers early to a ripple effect and a Destiny with a set course It's not hard to wonder What IF Janis Joplin had survived? No doubt she would have had much bluegrass rock to share in that soulful style that Joplin fans grew to love And maybe just maybe Janis could've shared than a few pieces of her heartSpecial thanks to Penguin's First to Read program for a digital copy in exchange for a review

  6. says:

    John Byrne Cooke is an interesting guy in his own right having played in a seminal Cambridge Bluegrass band and been a soundman on DA Pennebaker's film of Monterey Pop before becoming the road manager for Big Brother and The Holding Company and Janis Joplin's last two bands He's since been a writer photographer and filmmaker He tells the story of Janis's rise to fame and tragic death with the close detail of one who knows what he's talking about Probably the most definitive book on the subject that will ever be written A must read for any fans of the San Francisco scene BH

  7. says:

    Written by her former road manager A pity her life ended so soon butshe died by her own choices I saw the infamous pulled groin show and she did not complete the set as he cites She came onstage drunker than drunk drunk and sang about three songs and was gone and this was after waiting through two opening acts one of which was Van Morrison and he threw out vitrol at the audience during his whole show Ahthe good ole days

  8. says:

    The writing was a little dry but interesting overall

  9. says:

    Janis Joplin was clearly and nonpareil simply the greatest white female blues singer to ever have lived To give five stars to this book is maybe to gild the lily as a first hand account from the man who helped keep her on track for gig after gig and the one who discovered her in her LA hotel room dead on the floor with the change of a pack of cigarettes still in her hand There is so much to say about her life I would rather hear it told by someone like this than her hagiographic lover Peggy Caserta's Going Down with Janis or the stories of her childhood seen from her sister's eyes since for the best and most meteoric portion of her life she was always at a remove from the rest of her family No matter This is an excellent book and even if you know how it ends we all d0 there's plenty of juice in it lively giving us the real woman that only someone with a daily rapport like her road manager would be able to tell It's a tragic story but she went out on top knowing she was on top of her game with a great band she was happy about and some great stuff in the can The story of how the album Pearl was produced posthumously in great part is revealing All the stories of the various great accomplishments from Monterey Pop through the Festival Express train tour of Canada are here and all the mise en caricature players are included from ALbert Grossman to Bob Neuwirth and Kris Kristofferson plenty of input from the other members of Big Brother the Holding Co Reading this book you can get to LIKE John Cooke just like you can get to HATE Peggy Caserta One of the best fitting eulogies would that even be the right word? from the era comes from a performance the Grateful Dead were giving at Winterland in San Francisco with the Jefferson Airplane and uicksilver Messenger Service on the night she passed This was Pigpen's version of Good Lovin' whether Pig had heard the news yet or not he really puts his heart into that one Search out a tape of it Winterland 10670and the night she played at Pepperland earlier in the year with Pig the boys for a heartfelt sueeze goodbye

  10. says:

    John Cooke writes very well in that he is clear and descriptive of situations that he experienced So although the first chapter seemed to be about him instead of about Joplin I knew he was laying the groundwork for the atmosphere of the music era of the late 60's and early 70's This gave him credibility to place Joplin in space and time and how her style of music was something completely new There was a fair amount of recounting of individual concerts that Joplin and her bands performed at maybe too many names and inclusion of every single one of their shows I skimmed through a lot of that Cooke was not judgemental in his narration about joplin's use of alcohol drugs and pretty boys The reader is left to draw their own judgement about her rock roll lifestyle Although at the end of her life there is an unmistakable feeling of sadness and attempts at a joyous celebration of her achievement in music by her many contemporary artists Judy Collins Joni Mitchell Kris Kristofferson and others I liked that Cooke included historic events that were concurrent with Joplin's performing life and how they affected the country and her emotional state I lived through much of that time Vietnam Johnson Nixon assassinations and Kent State so it revived many of my own memories of course some that are painful to think about but helps to put current events in perspective

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