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Book Review: Growing Up Dead


I’ve referenced Peter Conners’s Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead in several of my posts of late. There’s good reason for that, the obvious being that I was reading it at the time. Why it became such a reference point for me is thanks to the vivid and extensive portrait Conners paints of life on tour with The Grateful Dead, particularly for anyone who wasn’t fortunate enough to experience it for themselves. From his personal accounts of Dead shows and mornings on ‘The Bus’ to the woes of awkward teenage life and confusing young adulthood to historic CIA-ran acid tests, Conners takes us on a full circle experience with the Grateful Dead. And just when you’re wondering, ‘where is he now?’, Conners welcomes you into his present day life where the Grateful Dead seem absent but are never really gone.

On June 30, 1987 Conners began his journey by stepping into the Kingswood Music Theatre and forever exposing his mind and soul to the Grateful Dead phenomenon. He would continue touring the country until the early 1990’s as the scene was changing. During this time Conners swept across America with an adopted family and experienced the world with open arms. Every step of his journey is marked by the Grateful Dead and the people he surrounded himself with. His story is a wonderful look inside the unique Grateful Dead culture and the audacious American spirit.

Whether you share a similar experience or have never heard of the Grateful Dead or fall somewhere in between, you’ll be drawn to this story of adventure and discovery. After the first read, you’ll be compelled to read it again to soak in every detail you missed the first time around. As I’ve said before, I encourage you to pick up a copy, read, and share your thoughts here at Becoming Dead. I’ll be reading it along with you… again.

Be sure to check out Growing Up Dead‘s website at

Here’s a repeat, but it’s for Peter Conners:

“Midnight on a carousel ride
Reaching for the gold ring
Down inside
Never could reach it, just slips away
But I try”

Crazy Fingers

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Thyme permalink
    05/18/2010 4:59 am

    While a lot of the author’s story does involve his use of drugs (that’s what he did, so how could it not!?), his experiences in discovering the music and the whole scene is spot on. His personal revelations and self-discoveries mimic those of both myself (I wasn’t interested in the drugs), and the many people that I toured and listened with. It is a fascinating read, because it’s not just about the band and the music, it’s about how the music and the touring scene changed and influenced HIM. And isn’t that what it should all be about in the first place?


  1. Psychedelic Readings for the Psychedelic Curious « Becoming Dead

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