What I do know is that over the years immediately following Stan’s death, there arose a cottage industry surrounding his music, and a closely managed version of what was supposed to have been his life. It turns out it is easier to market a carefully crafted and maintained legend than a real person.
It was frustrating to watch from the sidelines.
As time went by, the brother I had grown up with, and the complex and kind and frustrating man I knew and loved, and with whom I worked for nearly 10 years had been made into another person entirely, a caricature, and a man I never knew. And all trace of the part I had played in the music, and the part our parents had played in supporting and financing the whole operation had been erased.
So, I did begin to write the stories down, starting one night in Grande Prairie, Alberta, sitting backstage waiting for the sound crew to return from dinner.
Being in a band is a bit like running away to join a low rent circus, or a badly organized pirate ship.
The band develops its own language and rules and strictly controlled and ritualized behaviour.
Any outsider is viewed with suspicion and hostility if they attempt to breach the inner wall.
Within the band, loyalties shift and morph, and hostility develops. Even something as simple as the way another chews his food is an excuse for a fight and a death grudge that can last for years, and a different person at any given time becomes the butt of all the jokes that day or week.
As a result, even a few months on the road will turn the closest and most well intentioned of friends into a small band of ragged savages, and the jokes are no longer funny. And your glasses are permanently broken, and you’ve lost control of the conch shell. And your former friends are now advancing towards you with sharpened sticks.
As a result some of the behaviour in this story will be inexplicable by any decent person’s standards.
All I can say is we got away with it mostly, because the first rule was to always have the other guy’s back when outsiders were present, even if you had plans to kill him later.
This is a really long book. I was horrified to see just how big it was the first time John printed it out, and I did my best to edit it down. I removed most of the “F” words. That lost 50 or so pages. I then took out all the sex scenes, which took care of a paragraph. (We were after all, a folk band.)