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On the Road with Janis Joplin by John Byrne…

On the Road with Janis Joplin

by John Byrne Cooke

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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 squat. 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. ( )
  ecataldi | May 23, 2017 |
Very good, very solid account of Janis' career from the pov of her road manager which was kind of a unique perspective. I've always been more focused on her work with Big Brother and found a new appreciation for what she did with the two later bands, especially the relationship she had with Paul Rothchild, her last producer.

And even though I knew it was coming, I was still so sad at the end. So much promise,a life cut short much too soon.

Would love to give this another half star. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
I read about a third of the book. I liked it for the in depth look at the Janis and the first band getting started. There is quite a lot of insight into her character, but I'm just not interested in the bulk of the nitty gritty. I enjoyed the author's style of writing present tense and with the jargon of the day. Very nice pictures of her were also a plus. Even so, I don't feel to invest more time in reading it, because I have to wade through all the details that I'm not that interested in. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Feb 24, 2016 |
In his role as Janis Joplin’s longtime road manager, John Byrne Cooke came to know and understand that often out-of-control blues and rock star as well as anyone has ever managed to do it. A relationship that started out simply as one between an employer and her employee soon evolved into one of mutual respect and love. Janis Joplin needed someone like Cooke on her team, and in a way, Cooke needed someone like Janis in his life. Even though saving Janis from herself was probably an impossible task from the beginning, it is easy to see that his failure to do that still eats at Cooke to this day.

In On the Road with Janis Joplin, Cooke shares the intimate details of the role he played in the life of Joplin right up to when she died in Los Angeles. It is not always a pretty story, of course, but that will not surprise longtime Janis Joplin fans. What might surprise them is how deeply her story and her loss can still impact their emotions.

Janis was destined to be a misfit; it just had to happen. Born into what can accurately be described as a “redneck” community (I can say that because I was born there, too), by the time she reached high school her biggest ambition was to live her life as a beatnik. That was not going to be easy in the Port Arthur, Texas, of the early nineteen-sixties. After emotionally suffering her way through high school at the hands of most of her classmates, Janis moved to Austin, a more liberal environment for sure, but still one that was not ready for her. How else to explain her being voted “Ugliest Man on Campus” during her brief stint at the University of Texas?

It was in San Francisco that Janis Joplin finally found her people. There she caught on with a group of musicians of average skills and Big Brother & the Holding Company was born. John Byrne Cooke arrived just in time to help Janis reach the peak of a promising career that was cut tragically short by her drug abuse, a habit attributed by most who knew Janis to the emotional insecurities formed early in life.

The Janis Joplin story is a sad one, and Cooke tells it here the way he saw it and experienced it with her, including an inside look at the terribly sad tenth high school reunion appearance Janis made in Port Arthur. But, despite all of her emotional pain, Janis Joplin was a groundbreaker. By becoming the first big female rock star - and opening the door for all those female rockers who would follow her- she forever changed the face of rock music.

Her fans will not want to miss On the Road with Janis Joplin. ( )
  SamSattler | Jan 12, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 042527411X, Hardcover)

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  D.A. Pennebaker’s film crew, he witnessed the astonishing breakout performances of Janis Joplin 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 Europe 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:43 -0400)

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