Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Reading: 10 Key Bay Area Music Books

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 11:40 AM

A summer reading list should be about more than Steven King and Jackie Collins. The Bay Area's growing canon of local music history books takes many twists and turns beyond straight-up non-fiction narratives, including even poetry and cookbooks. Not only is this collection of titles a wide-ranging look at our sonics, they are almost all suitable for the short attention spans of a perfect summer, when a book may just be a lazy dalliance that gets picked up now and then.

Cooking With the Dead: Recipes and Stories From Fans on the Road by Elizabeth Zipern

More than a cookbook, it's the most insightful look at the Deadhead culture and how so many people sustained themselves and each other both gastronomically and financially.

The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur

To see the sensitivity behind the Thug Life persona, look no further than this poetic justice, written while he lived in the Bay Area.

Static: My Tupac Shakur Story by Chopmaster J

While ostensibly about Shakur, this is also a biased but admittedly colorful look at his mentoring group, Oakland's Digital Underground.

Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive and Occasionally
Pointless History of Bay Area Punk From Dead Kennedys to Green Day
Jack Boulware and Silke Tudor

Two veteran SF Weekly scribes compile an oral history that, even in its occasionally pointless moments, is fascinating.

924 Gilman: The Story So Far by Brian Edge

What if every cool venue in the Bay Area had a book detailing its influence? This book is six years old, so there's still more of the story to tell, but it captures the early days of East Bay punk bands that would later become huge, such as Rancid and Green Day.

The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, The Music, The Seventies in San
by Joshua Gamson

An essential tome for those of us who continue to worship the mirrored disco ball, this is a vivid peek into the hedonism of a bygone era.

The San Francisco Tape Music Center: 1960s Counterculture and the
Avant Garde
by David Bernstein

An anthology chronicling the quiet yet significant technological achievements of S.F.'s early electronic music pioneers, including Mills College instructor Pauline Oliveros.

To Live is To Die: The Life and Death of Metallica's Cliff Burton by
Joel McIver and Kirk Hammett

Metallica's lead guitarist remembers his fallen bandmate, the original bassist who laid an indelible foundation for the group's success.

I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly and the Family
by Jeff Kaliss

The most recent look at the inimitable artist and group, Kaliss' book includes the first (predictably random) in-person interview with Stone in 20 years.

Love, Janis by Laura Joplin

A loving look at local legend Janis Joplin from her sister -- a person who is in many ways the singer's opposite.

Follow us on Tiwtter @SFAllShookDown and the author @teemoney415

  • Pin It

About The Author

Tamara Palmer


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"