The untold story of life on the road with the Grateful Dead, written by an insider who lived it from the early days to today.
Steve Parish was never one to walk the straight-and-narrow, even during his childhood growing up in Flushing Meadow, Queens. Busted as a teenager for selling acid in the summer of 1968, Parish landed in Riker's Island. The experience changed him and after getting out he did his best to stay out of trouble, securing a job moving music equipment at the New York State Pavilion. The first show he worked was a Grateful Dead concert in July of 1969 and Parish was captivated by the music. A life seemingly headed nowhere had suddenly found its calling as he fell in quickly with a band of likeminded misfits who formed the nucleus of what would be the greatest road crew in rock 'n' roll history.
Parish traveled to California where his apprenticeship began. Working for the band for free and learning his craft, Parish got to know Jerry, Bobby, Phil, Billy and Mickey and through the years their relationships forged an unbreakable bond. He became very close with Garcia in particular, acting as his personal roadie and later manager for his solo performances and Garcia Band shows. He was there during times of trouble (like when a pimp held Garcia hostage at gunpoint in a New York hotel room), spending hours by his bedside when Garcia was in a coma in 1986, and performing the duties of best man at his wedding. He was also the last friend to see Garcia alive.
Throughout the Dead's historic run, there were parties of biblical proportion and celebrity run-ins with everybody from Bob Dylan to Frank Sinatra--but there was a dark side to life on the road and tragedy didn't just strike the musicians.
But Home Before Daylight is a story of friendship, of music and redemption. It is a piece of music history, one that reflects the American spirit of adventure and brotherhood. Seen through Steve Parish's eyes and experiences, The Grateful Dead's wild ride has never been so revealing.
The life of rock band roadie would hardly inspire the likes of say, Emile Zola. But Steve Parish's 30+ year tenure with the Grateful Dead, the Jerry Garcia Band, and its survivors makes for compelling reading, even if his low-key, often self-deprecating reportorial style can't hope to begin to unravel the complex psychology that drove the symptomatic excesses---and all too many tragedies--of the 60's most enduringly emblematic American band. There's more here than sex, drugs, and rock and roll, even if Parish's writing struggles to encompass the meaning of it all. And make no mistake; The Dead and their coterie were, in the estimation of unlikely Deadhead Joseph Campbell, nothing short of potent modern mythology evolving before his very eyes. In the fallout of one memorable backstage incident, the author even found himself parodied by John Belushi in an SNL skit written by Deadheads Al Franken and Tom Davis. Parish casts little judgment on the oft-debauched actions of his cohorts here, though he often stops to note the brightness of their humanity. A paradoxical marriage of unrestrained hedonism and radical Christian social conscience, The Dead's world seems to still baffle Parish. His continued wonderment at it all is one of the book's charms; his tortured sense of helplessness in the addiction-fueled decline and death of Jerry Garcia, its spiritual and musical leader, its most tragic mystery. --Jerry McCulley
Never before has a true insider, a member of the Grateful Dead family from the band's early days through today, told the story of life on the road with the Grateful Dead. From San Francisco to Europe to Egypt and back again; from wild parties and horrible tragedies; from laughter to heartbreak--this is the inside story of the most legendary American rock 'n' roll band of all time and the tale of a man who lived it, from roadie to manager and brother.
"The Grateful Dead was all about improvisation, and Steve spoke that language with flourish...Steve was a central figure, often in the lead of what was going on backstage, in the hotels, on the airplanes, busses, boats, or whatever. If ever I get around to writing a book, you'll be reading plenty more about Steve."
--Bob Weir, from the foreword
From the Back Cover