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Home > Author > Michael Spörke
Michael Spörke

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Member Since: Nov, 2009

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Background Information

Dale Parsons: "An outstanding piece of rock scholarship."

Rob Espinosa: "I've read it.... Michael has written a great book!!"

Robert Altman (Chief-photographer for Rolling Stone magazine): “I read from cover to cover your wonderful book. I couldn't put it down. You did a masterful job. I really became immersed in your book."

Joyce Greenholdt, Goldmine Magazine, October 28, 2009:
”In the minds of many people, Big Brother and the Holding Company is overshadowed by the figure of Janis Joplin. In fact, Big Brother was already an established and important band in San Francisco’s psychedelic scene before the members welcomed Joplin into their ranks. Big Brother’s accommodating ways gave Joplin the freedom to develop her musical style — and while reviewers raved about her vocals, many dismissed Big Brother as amateurish and unprofessional. This book tells the band’s story from its inception, through the years with Joplin, and following the path of the band and its individual members after Joplin departed. Author Michael Spörke interviewed the members of the band extensively for the book and provides a wealth of background detail on each member, clearly demonstrating in the course of the book that Big Brother was more than just a backup band.”

Hammond Guthrie (Artist and Author of “AsEverWas: Memoirs of a Beat Survivor”) : "A very entertaining and informative read, the history of Big Brother & the Holding Co. offers a detailed musical analysis of some of their most famous compositions from the players themselves, along with intriguing anecdotes about their individual playing styles, the times on and off the road, and of course how they all felt about Janis in the beginning and at the end of her tenure with the band. As with any book about the 60s era there are bits of fabulous nostalgia and yet this is more than a look back in time, in point of fact it ends with the future staring back at us - awaiting the next concert from Big Brother and the Holding Co. Until then, Living with the myth of Janis Joplin - The history of Big Brother & the Holding Co. will keep you more than occupied."

Craig Morrison (Canadian ethnomusicologist and author of “American Popular Music: Rock and Roll”): “Although the author was born after Big Brother and the Holding Company had splintered and its most famous member, Janis Joplin, had died, the affection that Michael Spoerke has for the band and the San Francisco counterculture from whence it emerged has fueled a tremendous project. Interviewing a host of participants and with full cooperation of the band's gentlemen, he has written a detailed, well-researched, sympathetic and well-reasoned account. It covers the entire history, from the formative years of the members to the band's inception, evolution, stardom, tribulations, disintegration, and reformation, all the way to the present.”

Netta Gilboa (Publisher of Gray Areas Magazine): "Not until Michael Spoerke’s book came along in 2003 (with the English translation, reviewed here, in 2005) were Big Brother given their due and given the chance to really speak out about the history of the band, their work after she left the band and their careers, individually and together, in the 39 years since she has passed. Spoerke’s approach was to interview people who had known both Janis and the members of Big Brother, and to let them speak about their earliest memories, set the framework for events in the Haight and of the 1960s in general. Some of the people he interviewed are no longer with us either like Chet Helms, and others rarely speak and do interviews at all and/or have never gone on record before about knowing her. The members of BBHC also were interviewed extensively, and it’s a testament to the credibility of the book and Spoerke’s research that guitarist Sam Andrew agreed to translate the book from German to English himself. Andrew was the musician who played with Janis the longest so there is no better source. ... he brings so much love and respect to his subjects that this is both an easy read as well as a major contribution to both the history of the 1960s and a book about the hardships of rock ‘n’ roll. Almost all of the information and material in this book is both new and original, not simply a rehash of other articles like so many such books. The average reader well versed in the history of the Haight, the Monterey Pop festival, and/or who has read other books about Janis will learn things reading this that have never appeared in print before."

Greg Shaw † (Founder of the Mojo-Navigator magazine, : “Though written in German, this is the only existing work on this seminal band, covering in depth their history before, during and after Janis Joplin. Based on countless interviews and the full cooperation of all surviving band members, and written by a longtime music expert.”

Randy Patterson : "With incredible research and exhaustive interviews, Spörke has put together a definitive history of this legendary band and its members. Unlike other books that mention the band as being in the shadow of Janis, there are no lurid details that cater to certain people’s prurient and voyeuristic interests. Just great, insightful information about the major players in this bands history is offered up. It’s a great, clean “read”. What turns out to be an incredible touch and brilliant stroke of genius, Spörke worked with founding BBHC member, and expert linguist, Sam Andrew, to translate the book from German into English for publication in the U.S. Andrew’s expertise with languages and the turn of an English phrase adds additional depth and insight into this must have book for BBCH and Janis Joplin fans. If you're a Baby Boomer or just someone who loves and appreciates the music of the 60's and 70's, you'll want to buy two of these books. Why? Because, undoubtedly, you know someone who will also enjoy this incredible book." This article written by Randy Patterson. All rights reserved and cannot not be used without written permission, which can be obtained by writing

Allen Tepper (Rockmagazine Eclipsed, Germany): “Linguistically outstanding, Spoerke describes the atmosphere of the Sixties and the disillusionment of the following time. Spoerke’s publication is a highlight on the German book market.”

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