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Spörke’s biography narrates, from the beginning in 1965, each Big Brother member’s life story. Where they each came from? What are their roots? How they see their time with Janis Joplin? What they experienced after their Janis time? Michael Spörke wrote this biography with the close participation of the musicia ns themselves.
The Book is based on Interviews with the following Persons:
Peter Albin, Bill Andrew, Sam Andrew, Ed Bogas, Todd Bolton, John Byrne Cooke, Peter Coyote, Ed Den son, Joe McDonald, Kathie McDonald, Dave Eskesen, Bob Flurie, Myra Friedman, David Getz, Mic Gillette, Nick Gravenites, Wavy Gravy, Richard Green, Richard Greene, James Gurley, Dan Hicks, Chet Helms, Julius Karpen, Bill Laymon, Lisa Law, Taj Mahal, Barry Melton, Stanley Mouse, Tim Murphy, Muruga, Mark Naftalin, David Nelson, Tary Owen, Cathy Richardson, David Schallock, Bob Seidemann, Greg Shaw, John Simon, Gregg Simpson, David Smith, Mike Somavilla, Jay Thelin, Linda Waldron, Peter Walsh, Baron Wolman
"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 your20book." Robert Altmann (Chief-photographer for Rolling Stone magazine.)
“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.” Craig Morrison (Canadian ethnomusicologist and author of American Popular Music: Rock and Roll)
"This is the only existing work on this seminal band, covering in depth their history before, during and after Jan is Joplin. Based on cou ntless interviews and the full cooperation of all surviving band members, and written by a longtime music expert.” Greg Shaw † (Founder of the Mojo-Navigator magazine)
Chapter 1: American Society in the Sixties
How and why the Sixties counterculture began in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, political issues —the Kennedys, the New Frontier program, and the Viet Nam war—and the role of such figures as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, and Ken Kesey in the growth of the counterculture.
Chapter 2: Blue Yard Hill - Rock & Roll is King
Founding members Peter Albin and Sam Andrew, their origins and musical formation, the Haight-Ashbury beginnings of the band in an earlier configuration calle d Blue Yard Hill, Chet Helms’ role, and how James Gurley joined.
Chapter 3: Big Brother and the Holding Company: A Legend is Born
The origin of the band’s name , the development of the San Francisco psychedelic scene, the world’s first psychedelic rock concert, the founding of the Psychedelic Shop, the band’s init ial musical style and its first gigs, how Dave Getz joined, and the relationship between Chet Helms and Bill Graham, the two main concert promoters on the scene.
Chapter 4: Janis Joplin
How and why Janis Joplin joined, the impressions she made on the others, their first rehearsals and first concert together at the Avalon Ballroom, their first international performance (in Cana da), the band’s communal living phase, first band problems, disastrous experience as a “hippie band” during an engagement in Chicago, the capital of blues music, and their first record deal.
Chapter 5: The Monterey Pop Festival
Their breakthrough at the Monterey P op Festival, fighting with their manager about being filmed there, and the release of the first album.
Chapter 6: Big Brother/Big Business
Why they changed management from Julius Karpen to Albert Grossman, how success brought more problems, their first concert in New York, recording their second LP Cheap Thrills, and the fact that Janis Joplin is loved by the press but the band is not.
Chapter 7: The End of the Big Brother Family
Why and how Janis left the band and how the others dealt with this difficult situation.
Chapter 8: After the Fall from Rock Olympus
What each member did after the band broke up.
Chapter 9: How Hard It Is To Be A Brother - the First Big Brother Reunion
How the band reunited in 1969 and was joined by Kathi McDonald and Nick Gravenites and others to record two new albums that were acclaimed by critics but not big sellers. After a second spli t, the story again traces each member’s path.
Chapter 10: 1987 - 2005: Big Brother Redux
How the 2 0th anniversary of the Summer of Love led to the band reuniting, how they dealt with its history and initiated new projects, including recordings and touring all over the world to the present.