Married Caroline Leavitt (a novelist); children: Max.
Music historian, journalist, and author. Goldmine (magazine), editor for fifteen years; Global Rhythm magazine, editor.
Billy Joel: From Hicksville to Hitsville, Cherry Lane Books (Port Chester, NY), 1984.
David Schreiner, Grateful Dead Comix, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1992.
Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including Pulse, Mojo, Billboard, and Discoveries; author of recording liner notes.
Jeff Tamarkin has been a professional music journalist for over twenty-five years. In addition to editing the magazine Goldmine for more than half his career, he has also contributed to many other music-related magazines, including Billboard and Pulse. In addition to his work as editor of Grateful Dead Comix—a combination of Grateful Dead song lyrics and underground comics—Tamarkin is the author of Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane, a project he undertook after penning over two dozen liner notes for the band's compact discs and becoming acquainted with Airplane musicians.
Got a Revolution!, based on five years of intense work, describes the band's monumental contribution to psychedelic rock during the 1960s and 1970s. The book was inspired by Tamarkin's love of rock and roll, and hearing the band's Surrealistic Pillow album for the very first time in the summer of 1967. Beginning with Jefferson Airplane's formation in San Francisco, California, in 1965, Tamarkin chronicles the band's early successes and the pitfalls caused by infighting and excessive drug use, to its eventual decline and demise. He draws from interviews with band members as well as their families, friends, crew members, and fellow musicians like Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Paul McCartney, and the Rolling Stones. In addition, Tamarkin delves into the creative differences that made the early Airplane so innovative but ultimately contributed to its downfall. As a long-time fan, he weaves personal interpretations of songs within his chronological narrative, and includes a comprehensive discography as well as a look at what band members were doing at the time of the book's publication. He describes his inspiration for writing Got a Revolution! on Gotarevolution.com, noting that "Jefferson Airplane was one of the great rock bands of all time, hugely successful and influential, highly creative, beloved by millions—truly one of the major bands during rock's classic era. And yet their story has never really been told. There are hundreds of books on the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, etc., but none on the Airplane. So I elected myself to tell their tale. Also, of course, because I love their music."
Reviewing Got a Revolution! for Publishers Weekly, a critic stated that "Although Tamarkin's hagiographic portrait of the band is hardly objective, his friendship with the complete access to the players in this story certainly makes his account the definitive one." Joe Hartlaub, writing in Bookreporter.com, criticized the author for occasional incorrect facts, but ultimately praised the book, noting that "A history of Jefferson Airplane was overdue; that the first one should also be the definitive one is a tribute to Tamarkin and his work." A Kirkus Reviews critic also lauded the book, noting that in Got a Revolution! Tamarkin presents fans with "a lively, detail-strewn history of the legendary band and how it took, with a vengeance, to the electricity of San Francisco in the mid-1960s."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 15, 1992, Gordon Flagg, review of Grateful Dead Comix, p. 1796.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2003, review of Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane, p. 599.
Publishers Weekly, April 28, 2003, review of Got a Revolution!, p. 57.
Pulse Web site,http://pulse.towerrecords.com/ (October 12, 2003), "Jeff Tamarkin."*