Talk about what a long strange trip it's been. Author/tour manager Sam Cutler not only survived life under the thumb of the Rolling Stones but went on to cover 1,000 psychedelic miles with the legendary Grateful Dead. From Jagger to Jerry, from Keith to the Summer of Love in California, the illegitimate son of an Irish gypsy and Jewish mathematician covered a lot of ground both figuratively and literally speaking when he become a cog in the machineries of these two groundbreaking groups.
Cutler has had a long fascination with music - he ran a folk club and even played guitar - but he finally found his niche when he sort of stumbled into the gig of becoming tour manager for the Rolling Stones. He worked on their legendary concert in Hyde Park where the band introduced new guitar player, Mick Taylor. He'd later become part of the planning committee for the infamous appearance at Altamont, and his accounting here represents some of the most thorough reporting ever made public.
Following his work with the Stones in 1969, Cutler took on a similar gig with the Grateful Dead. He talks about dealing with the "family" of hangers-on, friends and groupies that continually surrounded the group and what it took to turn around the group's dismal financial outlook and point them in a profitable direction.
There are some terrific insights here about working with the band's leaders - Mick Jagger and Jerry Garcia - but you can tell Sam is holding back;
he walks right up to the line in describing Mick and Keith as the ultimate prima donnas and the way they regularly mistreated him. And he dives into Garcia's flowery and not too realistic view of the world,
but he doesn't dive too deeply.
Still, only someone with Cutler's unique seat could provide even this much information. He worked for virtually minimal wages, but he did see the world and sampled the best drugs and partook of the most beautiful women
- and lived to tell us about all of it.