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I’m about 200 pages in and am shocked no mention of Gary Louris or Golden Smog ! Am I missing something? Still great read so far and I laughed at his meeting of Michael Stipe

 

Agreed, especially as I feel like I've read elsewhere that Louris/Smog helped Tweedy find his footing and musical confidence after UT. The book is great and I am really speeding through it enjoyably. But it feels as if Jeff has written long answers to a list of questions he was presented with, and somehow no one thought to ask about the Smog. Seems that Louris just doesn't come up among Wilco fandom as much as Jay/Jay/Billy Bragg have.

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Agreed, especially as I feel like I've read elsewhere that Louris/Smog helped Tweedy find his footing and musical confidence after UT. The book is great and I am really speeding through it enjoyably. But it feels as if Jeff has written long answers to a list of questions he was presented with, and somehow no one thought to ask about the Smog. Seems that Louris just doesn't come up among Wilco fandom as much as Jay/Jay/Billy Bragg have.

 

That's a fair critique.  I just finished it last night, and it does read that way.  I enjoyed it a lot, but it was basically a long form bio written in Jeff's voice.  I don't think most people who use this forum will be surprised by any of the content.  But I will say, if you've already read the rehab chapter that Rolling Stone published last week, don't skip over that chapter in the book.  The Rolling Stone version was incomplete, and left out what, in my opinion, are some of the most moving parts of the book.

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I just finished the book. It was a great read but there was tons about family while other music things were completely missing. Still it was interesting reading about the family dynamics but here is what I thought was missing..

 

1. Louris and Golden Smog

2. More about John .. I mean really he hardly mentioned him!!

3. Nothing about Bob Edgan and so little on Pat, Mikael and Nels

4. Nothing on Wilco the album, the whole love, loose fur (just a blurb) would liked a deeper dive into Being There!

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I just finished the book. It was a great read but there was tons about family while other music things were completely missing. Still it was interesting reading about the family dynamics but here is what I thought was missing..

 

1. Louris and Golden Smog

2. More about John .. I mean really he hardly mentioned him!!

3. Nothing about Bob Edgan and so little on Pat, Mikael and Nels

4. Nothing on Wilco the album, the whole love, loose fur (just a blurb) would liked a deeper dive into Being There!

 

I felt there were some topics left out, too.  In addition to your list, I was hoping to hear a little about Jeff's guitar lesson with Richard Lloyd, which was a gift Sue gave him.  Richard refuses to talk about it, saying that "private" lessons are private.  Fair enough, but if I have my timeline correct, Tweedy's playing changed markedly after that lesson (as noted by the exponentially greater amount of lead playing he did beginning on AGIB), so it would have been interesting to hear his thoughts on how that lesson changed his approach to guitar playing.  One could argue that's something more appropriate for a Guitar Player magazine interview, but guitar paying is a major part of his art, and his art is the reason he has a book, so I see it as a worthy topic to discuss.

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I just finished the book. It was a great read but there was tons about family while other music things were completely missing. Still it was interesting reading about the family dynamics but here is what I thought was missing..

 

1. Louris and Golden Smog

2. More about John .. I mean really he hardly mentioned him!!

3. Nothing about Bob Edgan and so little on Pat, Mikael and Nels

4. Nothing on Wilco the album, the whole love, loose fur (just a blurb) would liked a deeper dive into Being There!

 

I'll agree with that too. John's been playing with him by far longer than anyone else, I've always been curious about their relationship and what's kept them together so long. Though, I guess there's less drama there. Honestly, while it was great to finally have Jeff's takes, the Jay Farrar and Jay Bennett fallouts have been written about so much and so well documented, that I'd love to hear about post-2004 Wilco a little more. 

I fully recognize I'm a hardcore fan and most people want to hear about the Jays, drug use, record label tomfoolery, etc.

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I just finished the book. It was pretty good. I thought it started stronger than it finished. The farther along it went in the timeline, it seemed the less was said. A little rushed. 1 notable exception was the stuff about Mavis Staples (& Dylan a little). Overall I'd recommend it but it wasn't quite as compelling as say the Keith Richards & Bruce Springsteen autobiographies.

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I just finished the book. It was pretty good. I thought it started stronger than it finished. The farther along it went in the timeline, it seemed the less was said. A little rushed. 1 notable exception was the stuff about Mavis Staples (& Dylan a little). Overall I'd recommend it but it wasn't quite as compelling as say the Keith Richards & Bruce Springsteen autobiographies.

 

That's true, and I have found that to be the case with virtually all musician memoirs I've read.  Almost like there's a template in the book publishing world that all artists must follow.  I suppose Tweedy has had more time to think about and gain perspective on the distant past than the recent past/present.  But I'm equally, if not more curious about the current experience of being in Wilco as I am about other periods of his life/career, and it would have been interesting to read more on that.

 

On the plus side, at least we didn't have to slog through 150 pages about six generations of distant relatives, which is also a common feature of books like this.

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It’s interesting to read everybody’s take on the book. Personally I loved every minute of it, but I know I’m an inveterate fangirl. I can understand the criticisms about his not covering details that would be of interest to us. But I didn’t think Jeff was trying to write an autobiography, so I really did not miss hearing details about his relationship with everybody or every phase of his career. I think what he achieved with this book was throwing open the shutters and giving us a breathtakingly honest and insightful view into his personal evolution and creative process, just what he wanted to share with us. And I’ve appreciated it more than I can say on that level. As he said in the epilogue, “I’ve imagined you sitting across from me, interested in what I might have to say.“ He could have gone on and on, as far as I’m concerned, for another 300 pages, but I was more than satisfied with what he did give us. I feel like I know him much better now.

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I get that a lot of people dig the Golden Smog records, but I think if you put them in the context of Tweedy's entire story they're like a cool thing he worked on with some cool people he knew for a couple days where he offered a couple songs (which we all love). I don't think they're a major narrative landmark in his life. If he barely had time to talk about John Stirratt how would he have time to talk about his buddy from the Jayhawks?

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I get that a lot of people dig the Golden Smog records, but I think if you put them in the context of Tweedy's entire story they're like a cool thing he worked on with some cool people he knew for a couple days where he offered a couple songs (which we all love). I don't think they're a major narrative landmark in his life. If he barely had time to talk about John Stirratt how would he have time to talk about his buddy from the Jayhawks?

Agree - in the grand scheme of things, Golden Smog is likely more important to us than it is to Jeff.

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If he barely had time to talk about John Stirratt how would he have time to talk about his buddy from the Jayhawks?

From that perspective I can see why it wasn’t mentioned but one page would have been nice :)

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Finally finished this tonight. I originally got about 2/3rd though and then had to put it down with some work / life stuff popping up this past week.

Honestly it's been hard for me to find the time and (mental) energy to read in recent years but this was an easy read and felt like Jeff just sitting talking about his life. It felt like a conversation, at the end when Jeff starts talking about getting in to the minutiae of hi-hat sounds, I wish I could have told him how much I relate to that (for the record; hard panned, prominent but not too bright, kind of... crunchy) and how getting that into the weeds with things (or, as he said, up my own ass) kind of ruined music for me for a long while, or at least broke the magic. But alas, books are a one way street. The end was really great. It was nice reading Jeff's thoughts about working with Mavis, Solid Sound, recording Sky Blue Sky (as an aside, I really hope Wilco records a record like Sky Blue Sky again soon, I didn't appreciate it enough at the time but hearing the band in the same room together just gives that record a real timeless quality). The bits about John, while limited, I think tell a lot about him, like John stepping up with the band when Jeff was in rehab. I always suspected John is a reliable as all hell guy, good to see it confirmed.

Anyways, poked around with the audiobook tonight. Has it been mentioned that the audiobook features a song called Life Story, which appears to not be on Warm? Apparently Ultra Orange Room is also featured, I'm assuming that's what the background music is when Jeff's reading the copyright stuff at the end (??)

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I've now listened to, and read, roughly 10+ interviews with Jeff around the book and the record, and there are still so many questions I wish interviewers would explore. I've always gotten the sense that interviewers sorta bow to Jeff, instead of digging in and asking tough questions. A few that spring to mind:

 

-Have you listened to Son Volt? What do you think of Jay's work, both in SV, solo, etc.? 

-What do you think is Jay's best work?

-Are you and Jay back in touch? Think we'll ever see an Uncle Tupelo reunion/show?

-Do you have any regrets with the way things were handled with Jay Bennett?

-What is your favorite Wilco record? 

 

 

 

 

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AGIB has always been my favorite Wilco record. Reading the book and listening to interviews gave me a whole new appreciation (again!) for that record - I typically listen to live stuff but the recorded version of that album is just mind-blowing to me, especially if you listen in the mindset of someone clearly struggling with addiction. What a masterpiece.

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I was surprised to find the book on my local library's e-book site yesterday. There are very few music related e-books on there. Even more surprising - there is a wait list. I will get to read it at some point this winter. 

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I also haven't been reading books much in recent years (the internet has killed my attention span, I swear), but I finished Let's Go in just a few days. It was probably the right length for a book of this nature, but I also could have kept reading. I felt like there was much in there I didn't know, or added details that fleshed out stories I only knew part of. I didn't realize, for example, that the incident with Jay Farrar's girlfriend took place four years before Son Volt broke up.

 

Jeffs's typical stage banter humor pays out well in the book - there were many laughs throughout. Jeff will be discussing something quite serious and then finish the paragraph or story with a deadpan crack. Like his section on how people converse and communicate, and how he feels he isn't on the same wavelength with most other people. "How 'bout the Cubs?" "Yeah, the Cubs, they're going to die someday. All of them... They could be dying right now while we're siting here making conversation about baseball." LOL. I really relate.

RE: one of the questions posted above, I think Jeff is clear about his feelings on the handling of Jay Bennett's departure from Wilco. Jeff didn't tell Ken Coomer personally that he was being fired, so he made sure to tell Jay. And as for his reasoning, Jeff stated that "I fired Bennett from Wilco because I knew if I didn't, I would probably die." I think Jeff was/is sad that it didn't work out with Jay, or rather moreso that Jay didn't get the help he needed to get clean. I don't think Jeff has any regrets about his own part in handling the situation.

 

And that story leads in to what I think is the key takeaway from the book:  "There are only three people I've committed myself to completely for the rest of my life: Susie, Spencer, and Sammy." In other words, Jeff doesn't want to be defined by Wilco, or by Son Volt, or by who is or isn't in Wilco. He describes the concept of a band consisting of permanently-fixed band members as an impractical fallacy, and something that no musician needs to be bound by. That so much of the book is about Jeff's family tells where his true priorities, and legacy, are to be found.

There was also some unintentional humor in the book. When Jeff talked about going into rehab, he mentioned that he was put into the "Pride Wing" (section for "fragile" patients who wouldn't be best served in the parts of the rehab center that were "a little rough." In reading that passage, I somehow missed a letter and read "Pride Wig." And I am thinking, why they hell did they make poor Jeff Tweedy wear a rainbow wig at rehab? Like, that was the celebrity disguise of choice? It wasn't until I read more on the next page and figured it out.

There are so many other parts of the book that I enjoyed, from his recollections of Belleville to his work with Mavis. Even if Jeff didn't cover all the bases as in-depth as we all might have wanted, I appreciate that he was able to dig deep into those stories that meant most to him to share, that he thought would best illuminate who Jeff Tweedy is.

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I also haven't been reading books much in recent years (the internet has killed my attention span, I swear), but I finished Let's Go in just a few days. It was probably the right length for a book of this nature, but I also could have kept reading. I felt like there was much in there I didn't know, or added details that fleshed out stories I only knew part of. I didn't realize, for example, that the incident with Jay Farrar's girlfriend took place four years before Son Volt broke up.

 

Jeffs's typical stage banter humor pays out well in the book - there were many laughs throughout. Jeff will be discussing something quite serious and then finish the paragraph or story with a deadpan crack. Like his section on how people converse and communicate, and how he feels he isn't on the same wavelength with most other people. "How 'bout the Cubs?" "Yeah, the Cubs, they're going to die someday. All of them... They could be dying right now while we're siting here making conversation about baseball." LOL. I really relate.

 

RE: one of the questions posted above, I think Jeff is clear about his feelings on the handling of Jay Bennett's departure from Wilco. Jeff didn't tell Ken Coomer personally that he was being fired, so he made sure to tell Jay. And as for his reasoning, Jeff stated that "I fired Bennett from Wilco because I knew if I didn't, I would probably die." I think Jeff was/is sad that it didn't work out with Jay, or rather moreso that Jay didn't get the help he needed to get clean. I don't think Jeff has any regrets about his own part in handling the situation.

 

And that story leads in to what I think is the key takeaway from the book:  "There are only three people I've committed myself to completely for the rest of my life: Susie, Spencer, and Sammy." In other words, Jeff doesn't want to be defined by Wilco, or by Son Volt, or by who is or isn't in Wilco. He describes the concept of a band consisting of permanently-fixed band members as an impractical fallacy, and something that no musician needs to be bound by. That so much of the book is about Jeff's family tells where his true priorities, and legacy, are to be found.

 

There was also some unintentional humor in the book. When Jeff talked about going into rehab, he mentioned that he was put into the "Pride Wing" (section for "fragile" patients who wouldn't be best served in the parts of the rehab center that were "a little rough." In reading that passage, I somehow missed a letter and read "Pride Wig." And I am thinking, why they hell did they make poor Jeff Tweedy wear a rainbow wig at rehab? Like, that was the celebrity disguise of choice? It wasn't until I read more on the next page and figured it out.

 

There are so many other parts of the book that I enjoyed, from his recollections of Belleville to his work with Mavis. Even if Jeff didn't cover all the bases as in-depth as we all might have wanted, I appreciate that he was able to dig deep into those stories that meant most to him to share, that he thought would best illuminate who Jeff Tweedy is.

 

I guess that's what really turned me off to Wilco and Tweedy after the firing of Coomer and Bennett.  They both worked hard to make the band successful and, just as the band was on the verge of becoming something and their hard work could start to pay off, Tweedy fired them.  Just my two cents.  

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Ok - I like this book. It reminds me of the Neil Young book. Except - Jeff isn't talking about some doomed music system every few pages. Also - I bought my first record in 1974. It was The Jackson Five - Stand. I still have it. The first Blondie album I ever bought was Eat To The Beat. Which is still my favorite album by Blondie. Nice to see my home state get mentioned. 

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 And as for his reasoning, Jeff stated that "I fired Bennett from Wilco because I knew if I didn't, I would probably die." 

That's one of the heaviest things I've ever read here. My mind is blown.

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I’m sure this has been discussed so I apologize for missing it. Can anyone tell me the name of the bonus song that’s on the audio book version of the book? Thanks in advance.

The extra music on the audiobook:

 

"Ultra Orange Room"(working title)

 

and

 

"Life Story"

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There seemed to me to be a bit more of a rasping edge to JTs voice on that Kimmel performance than I’ve noticed for some years. Used to love it from the ciggie days and very glad it’s back.

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Just started the book last night. Just the introduction. I can't believe no one has posted the amazing video he references in it. Watch it all, but focus on the bassist at 1:35.

 

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I've often thought someone should write a history about those bands and the time period they thrived in. Many years ago - I knew someone who played in a band like that. 

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