Relix: The Book – The Grateful Dead Experience

This deluxe publication charts 35 years of Relix magazine as a unifying catalog for discerning Dead Heads.
    In what will prove to be an excellent addition for the true Dead Head's collection, Toni Brown, Lee Abraham, and Ed Munson have compiled "Relix: The Book - The Grateful Dead Experience."  This book begins with an introduction by Jorma Kaukonen, founding member of San Francisco's Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, and from there charts the development of the magazine as it catalogued an uncertain time in Grateful Dead history.  The band had gone on "hiatus," leading to lots of belly aches and concern from the band's fanatical base of followers, wondering what the future would hold.  Relix came to life during this period and served as a great source of information for Dead Heads all over, back in the days when there was no Internet.  Originally intended for Dead tapers and the like, the magazine soon catered to other bands in the scene, perhaps an unintended consequence of the Dead's hiatus at that time.  The magazine was originally created by Les Kippel, who was then joined by the author of this book, Toni Brown, in pushing Relix to a higher level of prominence within the community.  Due to the enthusiastic response received in the publication's early years, Kippel and Brown then formed a marketing business and a record label (Relix Records).  This record label distributed many albums and gave audience to recordings that might have otherwise gone unnoticed, further establishing them as seminal, important players in the recording industry of the day.

    As we all know, Relix now covers bands all over the current musical scene, but this book is focused on the Grateful Dead and the sociological phenomenon associated with them and their followers.  The magazine itself went through growing pains in the late 70s, and several issues featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Joan Jett, and other less "jam-worthy" recording artists incited the passionate Dead fan base.  In order to regain the support of the core readership who had vaulted Relix into the public eye, Toni Brown refocused the magazine back towards them, even putting the name "Dead" back into the name of the publication.  These sorts of historical details can be found throughout the book and will prove interesting to the seasoned Dead Head.  Featuring lush art throughout the book (sampled from past Relix issues) and editorial comments from the book's authors, the book is visually stimulating and full of noteworthy information.  "Relix: The Book" features historical interviews from all the main members of the Grateful Dead as well as snippets concerning the Dead's "extended family."  Within the pages of this book, one will find reference to the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jefferson Airplane, Merl Saunders, Bob Dylan, Phish and the myriad other bands who either sprung from the wake of the Dead, or were influenced by them.  This attractive package is a definitive collection of information, and will make an excellent contribution for the discerning Dead Head's coffee table. 

- By J. Evan Wade