inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #26 of 93: Jim Klopfenstein (klopfens) Tue 2 Dec 03 11:08
    
I just bought the book last night and have read through Part One. 
Based on the first third of the book, I'd recommend it to anyone who
appreciates serious fiction in the vein of Stone, Kesey or Kerouac.

I wonder, Max, if the ties to "going on tour" will limit the audience
for such a deserving book.  Did your editor or publisher ever suggest
reworking it to make it just a "road" book without the explicit link to
the Deadhead subculture?
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #27 of 93: Max Ludington (maxludington) Wed 3 Dec 03 09:16
    
Thanks for all the words folks.

Thanks Adam for your kind note. I agree that the Dead’s music and
scene was more setting than subject for the book, which is what I
intended of course. I’ll try to answer your questions. I haven’t read
Narcissus and Goldmund, but I like the ideas you bring up.

I did almost no writing at all back in my Deadhead days. I was always
reading, but not always writing—yeah a few poems here and there, really
awful stuff, but not much more. I have, thank God, been blessed with a
very vivid and compendious memory (despite the decimation of brain
cells I engaged in) which is really what saved me.

My last Grateful Dead shows were in Chicago, in 1992. Then I saw a few
JGB shows in 1994 at the Warfield, and that was the last time I saw
Jerry. I have gone to a bunch of the new Dead shows, and have really
enjoyed myself. A few of them have been smoking shows—when they’re hot,
they’re still hot, I think. I am a Jimmy Herring fan, and love that
he’s not trying to be Garcia. Phish? I never got into them. Maybe I
haven’t given them enough of a chance, but I haven’t felt drawn to them
at all. They seem to have a very different esthetic—less serious in
some sense, no ballads or sadness or history mixed in with the
craziness, that I have heard. But then again I don’t know their music
very well.

I guess there will always be a new frontier, someone just has to find
it. Maybe they already have. I’m not at all sure anything could have
stopped Jerry from his slide, but you never know—there are a lot of
what ifs.

Okay Steve: (Yes there was one negative review, and a few mixed ones,
but a preponderance of overwhelmingly positive stuff, which was great).
I guess I haven’t focused on any particular thing that people have
missed. It’s cool how different people catch different things, and the
stuff that jumps out and ends up being important to different people.
It’s interesting and gratifying. I guess I wish more people had
remarked on the character of Harry, who I worked on very hard and was
deeply involved in.

--Thanks again Izzie.

--And Jim, no, the publisher never tried to get me to take out the
Dead. And I think they did a great job of trying to make sure the book
wasn’t pigeonholed as a “Dead” book, though a certain amount of that
was probably inevitable. Over time I hope the audience for it
grows—maybe with the paperback release next year…
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #28 of 93: Adam Perry (adamice9) Wed 3 Dec 03 11:44
    
I'm even more impressed now because because I felt so much Hesse
flowing through your book and you havent read "Narcissus and Goldmund."
Cant wait to read what you write next...

And Max, we've got to get you a really great, deep, dark Phish show on
disc! I was down on them for a long time (and for the same reasons)as
well, until I gave them a chance.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #29 of 93: her thing is jade and mine bamboo (sd) Wed 3 Dec 03 12:46
    
My daughter, Chantal, and I discussed Harry's character some. We both
liked the way he provided counterpoint to the deadheads, kinda like
reverse comic relief. The way his role matured along with the unveiling
of the backstory worked really well for me,too.

The description of throwing up on junk was a favorite bit.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #30 of 93: Jim Klopfenstein (klopfens) Thu 4 Dec 03 08:32
    
I finished the book late last night, and my very high opinion of it
<26> didn't change.

There was one thing I didn't get.  Can someone fill me in on the
meaning of "Good morning, Mr. Benson"?
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #31 of 93: weird and conflicted and all resentful and shit (izzie) Thu 4 Dec 03 09:23
    

Isn't Mr. Benson doing fine?  and if I had me a shotgun, wouldn't I want to
blow him straight to hell?
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #32 of 93: A Rocket and a Bomb (tinymonster) Thu 4 Dec 03 09:25
    
And if I had a rocket launcher--

No, wait, that's somebody else.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #33 of 93: David Gans (tnf) Thu 4 Dec 03 09:43
    

Jim, it's from this verse of CANDYMAN:

 I come in from Memphis where I leant to talk the jive
 When I get back to Memphis, be one less man alive
 Good morning, Mister Benson
 I see you're doing well
 If I had me a shotgun, I'd blow you straight to hell
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #34 of 93: Jacques Delaguerre http://www.delaguerre.com/delaguerre/ (jax) Thu 4 Dec 03 10:06
    
But ... but ... who's Tennessee Jed? :-)
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #35 of 93: Gary Lambert (almanac) Thu 4 Dec 03 10:11
    

http://jed.com/tennjedradio.htm
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #36 of 93: Jacques Delaguerre http://www.delaguerre.com/delaguerre/ (jax) Thu 4 Dec 03 10:12
    
You've ruined my day! :-) That was one of my favorite rhetorical
questions for almost two decades. Now I can't use it, knowing that
there actually is an answer to it ...
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #37 of 93: Jim Klopfenstein (klopfens) Thu 4 Dec 03 11:20
    
Thanks, all.  I actually knew that song once--it wasn't a
favorite--but probably haven't heard it in many years.

I googled the phrase, and it was interesting how various the hits
were.  I expected to see it somewhere in a GD lyric, but if it came up
that way, it wasn't obvious.

I strongly feel this is a book for the general literate reader, so the
fact that the phrase was a lyric probably should have been made
clearer.  That it was from a GD song was my guess, but I discounted it
because Ted (who is in the lot at a Dead show) apparently doesn't get
it either (I don't have the book with me, so I may be confusing the
character's name or the context).

Or has the phrase made its way into the culture like "what a long
strange trip it's been" and somehow I just missed it?
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #38 of 93: David Gans (tnf) Thu 4 Dec 03 11:26
    
I'd say it's a solid reference for anyone who really knows GD music, but it's
not something a civilian would catch.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #39 of 93: David Dodd (ddodd) Thu 4 Dec 03 13:23
    
Civilian! Wonderful.
Max--chiming in late here, but I want to say how much I like your writing.
Also: did you read Philip Baruth's The Millennium Shows? Also a fine piece
of fiction utlizing the touring scene.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #40 of 93: Adam Perry (adamice9) Thu 4 Dec 03 15:17
    
For lack of a better phrase, The Millenium Shows is some crazy shiznit
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #41 of 93: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Fri 5 Dec 03 02:31
    
Amazon has posted a generous set of pages from this book to browse.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0385507046/ref=sib_dp_pt/103-9247880-4917452#r
eader-link

There must be other gateways for this (my general opinion of Amazon is
mixed)...but Amazon also offers digital download of this title.

The chapter Amazon has on it's page is a grizly description of
an Acid tripper getting busted.  The description is brutal 
as real life, Ludington captures the astonishment and evil
of such an occassion with remarkable clarity.

My copy of 'Tiger in a Trance' is on order (not via Amazon though).
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #42 of 93: Max Ludington (maxludington) Fri 5 Dec 03 08:43
    
Thanks again to all who've chimed in. It's great to see the "Mr.
Benson" line getting some play. I thought about making it clearer, but
figured there should be one or two Deadhead insider references-- I mean
hell, so many books and poems have literary and biblical references
that only scholars would pick up on fully.

And Adam, I have read some Hesse (Steppenwolf and Siddhartha), just
not Narcissus. So maybe some of it crept in as those things do.

I have not read The Millenium Shows, but did read the excerpt from it
in the Grateful Dead Reader, and liked it. I couldn't find a copy, but
I guess if I looked a little harder maybe. 
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #43 of 93: Steve Silberman (digaman) Fri 5 Dec 03 09:12
    
Max:  One of the things that always bothered me about media coverage of 
the Dead scene that insisted that the whole thing was a "throwback to the 
'60s" was that it seemed clear to me that the younger generations of 
Deadheads were having a very different experience of their relationship to 
the Zeitgeist than the original hippies.  You express the nuances of this 
very well in your book, and one of my favorite passages in it -- so 
virtuosic it's hilarious -- is your riff on the Converse brand of 
sneakers.  That kind of capitalist eros would have been unimaginable or 
offensive to the original Deadheads.  What cultural differences between 
First Generation Deadheads and later generations are generally overlooked 
in mainstream accounts of the scene?
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #44 of 93: beneath the blue suburban skies (aud) Fri 5 Dec 03 09:33
    
I don't know, Steve, but I bet plenty of "original Deadheads" wore Converses
as they were (are) cheap and comfy.

Max, if you don't mind my asking.  how much of what you wrote was gleaned
from personal experiences?  I always knew that the drugs of choice changed
dramatically with the years...but by '85 I was long past hanging out much
pre
and especially post shows, with the exception of the cruise around looking
at t-shirts before the show.

Did you live on the road at all, like your main character?
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #45 of 93: Steve Silberman (digaman) Fri 5 Dec 03 11:10
    
It wasn't wearing the Converses;  it was thinking of them as an expression 
of idiosyncratic personal virtue, which would have been anathema to the 
first hippies.  Max expresses this very wittily in a kind of rhapsody on 
the psychological resonances of the brand name.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #46 of 93: No hablo Greenspaņol (sd) Fri 5 Dec 03 17:51
    
birks otoh...

but, i'll cop to being a converse guy in the 68-72ish period, a red
pair until they wore out then a green pair...occasional return to boots
in the winter but i recall the feeling of sliding over an ice covered
gravel road in all-stars and on little orange barrels.

i thought the mr benson thing was punched pretty hard but guessed it
was  point it out to folks who didnt recognize it as part of their
second language.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #47 of 93: Max Ludington (maxludington) Sat 6 Dec 03 09:40
    
I don't really know, Steve, exactly what those differences might be,
but I'm sure they paralleled societal and pop-culture changes somewhat.
It's funny thinking about that Converse thing, now that Nike has
bought Converse. Hmmm... I do recall overhearing, years ago, an
argument between an older former hippie and a young somewhat jaded
Deadhead--the hippie saying "you think you know what it was like back
in the 60s, but you don't and never will." and the head saying
something like, "I don't really care. I don't live for the past, if
that's what you think." Anyway...

In answer to the question about my Deadhead life, Yes, I did live on
the road, on tour, for about 2 years straight, then doing on-and-off
tour for a few years after that. There's a lot of fiction in the book,
but even the fictional elements are drawn from truthful raw material. I
did not write about drugs I hadn't done-- I experienced all the
chemical journeys my narrator did, many of them in greater depth than I
wrote about.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #48 of 93: David Gans (tnf) Sat 6 Dec 03 10:14
    

I was stunned when I started hearing about heroin on tour in the mid-'80s.  I
don't know why I was surprised, but I was.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #49 of 93: beneath the blue suburban skies (aud) Sat 6 Dec 03 10:25
    
I was never surprised about that, seeing as how Jerry goes (went) so go
(went) a lot of his followers...

Max, I'm glad you're still around to tell tales.

I found so much of what you wrote fascinating, since despite going on tour
for years, I never "lived" on tour.  I took vacation time; stayed in motels.
 Never sold a thing in a parking lot.  Never bought drugs in a parking lot,
either.  There's a lot of that whole on-tour experience I never got into,
and am still glad I never made it about anything more than the music.  But
am still fascinated by it all, as I was then.
  
inkwell.vue.202 : Max Ludington: Tiger in a Trance
permalink #50 of 93: David Gans (tnf) Sat 6 Dec 03 10:34
    

> I was never surprised about that, seeing as how Jerry goes (went) so go
> (went) a lot of his followers...

Yeah, I know.  Lord knows, we all felt it was okay to do mounds of blow...
  

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