I’m very proud about my new Ebook, Reckoning: Conversations With the Grateful Dead and hope that you will check it out.

The book includes interviews with Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Phil and Trey Anastasio together,Robert Hunter, Bill Kreutzmann, Warren Haynes, Dick Latvala, John Kadlecik, Steve Kimock and Mark Karan and many more.

It also includes wonderful photos by Kirk West and Bob Minkin – and it costs $2.99!

Great Dead scholars like Dennis McNally, David Browne and Peter Richardson dig the book – and you will, too.

“I suspect that it is his intimate association with another band, the Allman Brothers, that has given Alan Paul his knowledgeable but balanced view of the Grateful Dead. He’s been one of the leading G.D. observers for years, as this collection proves – connected but not caught up in the mythology. Anyone who wants to know the post-Garcia Dead should read this book.”

-Dennis McNally, Grateful Dead publicist and historian, Author of A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead

“From how songs were written to how disagreements were settled, Alan Paul asks the type of questions every Deadhead wishes he or she could ask of their favorite band. And even better, Alan elicits the honest answers every fan wants to hear from the Dead.”-David Browne, author So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead

“I’ve read hundreds of Grateful Dead interviews and the ones Alan Paul has collected here as a smart, fresh, honest, and musically astute as any I’ve seen. His exchanges with Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Robert Hunter, and Bill Kreutzmann complement and update earlier collections and enrich our understanding of the Dead, their project, and their legacy. Insights from Trey Anastasio, Steve Kimock, Mark Karan, John Kadlecik, Warren Haynes, Jimmy Herring, and Dick Latvala only sweeten the offering. Required reading for Deadheads–and for anyone who still harbors doubts about the Dead’s achievement.”

-Peter Richardson, Author, No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead

“Alan Paul is the rarest kind of music journalist….one who hears beyond the supposed barriers of tradition, style, era, and genre, and perceives the connections and archetypes at the root of all great and innovative music.  And then he succinctly lays his discoveries at our feet, so that we may hear beyond the illusions too.”
-Reed Mathis, bassist, Billy and the Kids, Tea Leaf Green

Photo by Adrian Boot/www.urbanimage.tv – Featured in Reckoning

The book begins with a new essay, The Music Never Stopped. The intro to the intro:

This story begins at the moment when it seemed that it was ending: August 9, 1995. Every interview in the pages that follow was conducted after Jerry Garcia died. After it seemed inevitable that the long, strange trip was over. A Grateful Dead without Uncle Jerry was unthinkable – most importantly to the band members themselves.

“We had a meeting where names of people who could step in for Jerry were being discussed, and I just said, ‘No way,’” drummer Bill Kreutzmann says in a 2015 interview that opens this collection. “My feeling was that I didn’t make this decision; Jerry did.”

Bassist Phil Lesh also thought that not only was the band done, but so was his time playing the music of the Dead’s rich, 30-year catalog. “I thought I was done with it and with rock and roll,” Lesh told me in 2002. “I had this idea that I would find closure with the music by composing a 45-minute symphonic canvas utilizing Grateful Dead song themes, melodic hooks, rhythmic grooves and chord sequences.

“Then I went out and played a benefit concert with these Bay Area musicians who had continued to be so influenced and sparked by the music. I was blown away realizing the vitality that remained there and I thought, ‘Maybe there’s not supposed to be closure.’”

Lesh’s search then pivoted 180 degrees to the very opposite of closure: an open-ended exploration of the Grateful Dead’s music that has not let up in the ensuing years. Every surviving member went through a similar process of discovery, of realizing and coming to grips with the impact that their music had and the vitality it retained.

Please click here to download and read the rest.

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An Interview with Leon Russell

by AlanPaul on February 8, 2016

Photo by Jay Blakesberg

When Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi first began working together as the Soul Stew Revival in 2008, Kirk West gave them a copy of Mad Dogs & Englishmen and suggested that was the kind of rock and roll circus they should aim to create. I really don’t believe Susan or Derek had ever listened to the album. They took it to heart and the album and movie of the raucous 1970 tour became a prime inspiration behind the SSR and the subsequent creation of the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen was a band put together by pianist/guitarist/bandleader/mad scientist Leon Russell to back Joe Cocker on his 1970 tour.

Over the past year, the connection became more explicit, as the TTB began to perform more and more MDE songs. Last summer at the Lockn’ Festival, they paid tribute with a jamboree of a show, featuring Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge and other surviving members of the Mad Dogs tour. Video of the entire show is at the bottom of this post.

I interviewed the elusive, mysterious Mr. Russell by email from his Nashville studio.

 Leon, how did you find the experience of working with the Tedeschi Trucks Band? Did you offer them any guidance or thoughts on performing with a large band?

LEON RUSSELL: Tedeschi Trucks is my favorite new musical discovery.  In general, I am painfully unaware of practically everyone in show business, so it was a rewarding and unexpected surprise to meet them. I was pleased when they told me that the “Mad Dogs” movie had an influence on the formation of their band.

Mad Dogs & Englishmen found a balance between the orchestration necessary for a large band to function and a degree of improvisation. Was that hard to achieve.

It’s been my experience that large bands are somewhat easier to form than small ones;  unless of course, you happen to live next door to Paul McCartney or Eric Clapton.
Derek has become a more visibly forceful bandleader in recent months. Did you discuss that with him at all?

I mentioned that I read somewhere that blues music was invented so that strangers might play together at rent parties.  As a result, everybody kind of played the same way except him and Jimi Hendrix, but it was still the blues.
Susan and Derek both said that they felt profoundly moved working with you guys and that a torch was passed. did you feel that way?

They are very kind and beautiful people.
What do you think is the strength of the Tedeschi Trucks Band?

Talent and soul.


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Derek Trucks 2006 interview: “It’s really nice to get away from the kid thing.”

January 26, 2016

In honor of the release of the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Let Me Get By, which I believe not only represents a quantum leap in the band’s development but is the great Derek Trucks studio statement we’ve all been waiting for, I present this 2006 Guitar World interview. It has never been published, as it got turned […]

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Remembering Glenn Frey

January 21, 2016

The following piece is written by Bob Lefsetz. I did not write it! Bob writes a great newsletter to which I have subscribed and suggest you do as well. Check it out here, along with his archives. Glenn Frey – by Bob Lefsetz He lived the American Dream. You know, wherein your wits, smarts and […]

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RIP Glenn Frey – isolated vocals, “Take It Easy,” “Hotel California”

January 19, 2016

Glenn Frey (November 6, 1948 – January 18, 2016) Well,this has been a hard week. David Bowie, now Glenn Frey. Glenn and the Eagles were not without their controversies and they sure had plenty of critics, but the music was the soundtrack for so much for so many of us. If you want to understand the […]

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Honoring Dr. King with Gregg Allman’s haunting “God Rest His Soul”

January 18, 2016

Please pause to remember Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) today. Today is the 30th time that we as a nation have taken a day off to officially celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. anyone my age or older remembers what a struggle it was to get that law passed – eventually signed by […]

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Photos of David Bowie in Russia, 1976

January 11, 2016

How awful to wake up this morning to learn that Dvid Bowie has died at 69. He did a masterful job keeping his illness secret, right through a flurry of press attention for the release of last week’s Blackstar album (which features Tedeschi Trucks Band bassist Tim Lefebvre). Two years ago, I wrote the following […]

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Jimmy Rogers, 1924-1997

January 6, 2016

Jimmy Rogers was a seminal guitar player -whether or not you’ve ever heard of him. I never did a massive interview with him, which is endlessly annoying, because I was supposed to do so several times. Circa 1995, I spoke with him several times and even set up a photo shoot with Danny Clinch, who […]

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Allman Brothers at American U. 12/13/70 Review

December 19, 2015

I reviewed the Allman Brothers Band at American University 12/13/70 for Guitar World when it was released by the band in 2002. **** THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND American University 12/13/70 The Allman Brothers Band Recording Company Though he died at the tender age of 24, Duane Allman left a tremendous mark on the musical world. In […]

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Derek Trucks on Joyful Noise

December 18, 2015

From the archives and just dug out. I wrote this article for Guitar World in 2002. Enjoy. Joyful Noise (Columbia) is Derek Trucks’ third album but  the first that he could bear to listen to by the time it was released. “My first two albums were pretty good but they didn’t seem to represent what we […]

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RIP Dolph Schayes – an interview with the big man

December 11, 2015

Dolph Schayes died yesterday at age 87. He was one of the great early NBA players and a bridge to the modern game. He was also bright, reflective and analytical – all of which is apparent in this 2002 interview I did for Slam. RIP Dolph, and condolences to Danny and the Schayes family. * […]

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