[ read online books ] This Wheel's on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the BandAuthor Levon Helm – Freepe.co

In The Tradition Of The Bestselling Hammer Of The Gods And Fleetwood, Here Is The True Story Of The Legendary Rock Group The Band, Related By One Of Its Members Levon Helm Rips Away A Year Veil Of Secrecy In A Classic Rock Parable Of Artistic Survival Spanning Five Decades

15 thoughts on “This Wheel's on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band

  1. says:

    This had been on my personal to read list for a while, just as my goal of attending one of Levon s Midnight Rambles had I d gone as far as to decide that this year, 2012, would be The Year I would make it happen , when the possibility of experiencing either while Levon s smile raged on suddenly vanished.It was a few weeks after he d died before I was finally able to open to the first page, sitting on the L train on my way to work I don t think I will ever forget the experience of reading those first handful of pages It is overwhelming, because it is not that you are reading the first few pages, it is that Levon is there, just behind you, speaking to you, recalling, rehashing He lives in those pages so honestly and so vividly and so much that as I read, reality seemed to stretch, to pull at threads, some even snapping, to let him back through.I cried silently and leaned back and leaned back in my subway seat, as though maybe if I leaned back just enough, and in the right way, I might feel the heat from his breath near my ear as he spoke.Read this book It will touch you, in some way or another, and I hope it will change you too, as it did me We need men on this earth like Levon, today, and always.

  2. says:

    I ll always take Levon s word over Robbie s.

  3. says:

    I was listening to The Basement Tapes today and remembered that I read this one a few years ago Helm goes into his early life and time with Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan and of course the Band I can t imagine someone being a huge Ronnie Hawkins fan in 2014, but the people who are into Dylan s legendary folkie infuriating 65 66 shows tours see the Electric Dylan controversy and the solo Band albums should seek this out, as it s a valuable resource Most of the other dudes in theBand come out looking pretty good with the obvious exception of Robbie RobertsonHelm makes the case that the guy was an asshole egomaniac who took credit for way too much of the creation of Band songs I remember he makes the valid argument of and I m paraphrasing here When you think about a song like Chest Fever , do you remember the lyrics or the organ part Definitely the organ part That s some majestic shit.The stuff about The Last Waltz was great Even before I read this I remember thinking This couldn t look like the Robbie Robertson band Scorsese s cinematographic sidelining of Band greats Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson was fucking lame Instead of some shots maybe illustrating the depth of their contributions we get extra shots of fucking Robertson with his stupid gilded guitar and fuckingopen chested jacket and scarf hamming it up Horrible Helm s castigation of the whole thing was awesome The whole thing was probably a bad ideaalthough it does make for great rock movie mythos, what with Neil Young having to have a blob of cocaine removed from his nose in post production and the weird story with the room backstage specifically designed for cocaine use, with fuckinga recording of sniffing sounds playing over speakers and a bunch of plastic noses everywhere or something To be honest, I could be misremembering some of this shit but it was utterly bizarre and over the top, and did not jibe with the totally unpretentious Band approach to music.So yeah, if you are one of the people like myself who are into the Band and wonder what their whole deal was, this is a good place to find out It s hardly an objective, unbiased look at things but you re not gonna get one of those from a dude who disgruntedly parted ways with one or of his former bandmates Still, Helm s writing I don t remember if he had a ghostwriter on this one is easy to read and predictably unpretentious and there s some very moving stuff, a lot of it centering around the tragic end of the great Richard Manuel I m pretty sure that it also contains a glossy picture section containing some very nice images of the Band and the people they played with and some awesome shots of them in the semi legendary Big Pink writing songs and hanging out This is probably not the definitive Band book as it s hardly objective, but it s worth checking out for fans.

  4. says:

    I enjoyed this book Helm said he had the best seat in the house as drummer for the The Band and his memoir shows it Helm had a southern upbringing and was steeped in music and cotton farming The Band always seemed southern to me, but I learned they were all Canadians, except for Helm But Helm has enough southern boy to make up the balance You get a good sense of how the band developed, the ups and downs, the personalities Bob Dylan comes off as something of a strange, almost mythic figure and I ve yet to read anything about him that didn t leave me wondering, what the F is up with this guy Can t he walk a straight line from one human to another It always has to be half spoken, half understood You think a guy like Helm would beat the shit out of him but he seems to genuinely respect Dylan s talents and what he did for their careers You are left in no doubt how Helm feels about Robbie Robertson betrayed , though he does show the important force Robertson was to the band The description of Richard Manuel s dissolution and eventual suicide is heart breaking Almost all the band members are hit by one kind of tragedy or another The music is the life force Surely one definition of joy would be Rick Danko dancing and playing the bass, bobbing and weaving like a little boy lost in happiness Just puts a smile on my face.

  5. says:

    One of the best music memoirs I have read Levon Helm has a great attitude about the ups and downs of his career with The Band The biggest mystery is if he truly did spend so many years drinking and using drugs and travelling on the road, carousing, and staying up until all hours every night playing music with The Band, how in the world can he remember so many details going all the way back to the late 50s Perhaps he was an obsessive diarist, although it does not seem to be his nature Well, it shall remain a mystery.Nonetheless, here is a guy with a passion for music, an extroverted ability to relate cordially with other musicians, and a sort of country gusto that allows him to pour on the aggression when necessary for self defense, but also to be kind, gentlemanly, and loyal.He wrote this book with a co author Most of it is first person, but from time to time he pulls in quotes written or spoken by bandmates, old friends, and old girlfriends This is useful, such as when he allows Libby Titus and his eventual wife, Sandy to describe the moment they fell in love with him and relate what a handsome gentleman he was He could hardly describe this himself However, I suspect a little bit of fudging may have occurred During the preparations for The Last Waltz, around 1976, he notes that he and Libby mutually decided to split up, which was what we both needed But then, in 1978, Sandy mentions that Libby found out about us and immediately instituted a support order It is so hard not to get caught up in reconstructing a musician s personal history, especially once they open the door.Another trait that comes through repeatedly is Levon s loyalty to musicians he has known and respected for years During an account of the financial skullduggery that went on during the planning of The Last Waltz, at one point an accountant tries to convince Levon to cut Muddy Waters from the lineup, citing time constraints In probably my favorite moment in this story, Levon unleashes the wrath of Moses on this poor bean counter and drives him from the room, saving Muddy s slot, and thank goodness it was one of the best parts of the movie.Like many autobiographies, this one gets sad at the end Not only do revered fellow musicians die Richard Manuel, who committed suicide on the road or go their own way Robbie Robertson was the only one who wanted to break up the band, and he got his way , but the unfair business practices of managers and record labels are revealed most egregiously, the crediting of virtually all the songs on the Band s first two wonderful albums which were co written in workshop fashion by the entire ensemble to Robbie Robertson Apparently of all of them, he was the one with the most ambition and business sense, and his alignment with manager Albert Grossman enabled him to cut some corners All very sad Nonetheless, it was a pleasure reading Levon Helm s accounts, hearing his voice, and learning so much about the culture of music that the whole band made the air they breathed A warning, though if the film, The Last Waltz has always been a favorite of yours, this account may disillusion you somewhat.On a happier note, the book was written in 1995 Levon survived another 20 or years or so his daughter Amy with a music career of her own produced one of his last albums, and his last 2 recordings both won Grammy awards.

  6. says:

    I was not expecting this to be a page turner, but it totally was I couldn t put it down once I got started Levon is hilarious and very heart felt.

  7. says:

    Levon Helm was truly a national treasure when he died this past spring Born into a cotton farming family near Turkey Scratch, Arkansas, he found that music could be his ticket out of this tedious work As a young teen he and his sister Linda earned cash and renown playing and singing at local venues While still a teen, local legend Ronnie Hawkins took him into his band, the Hawks, and through him Levon discovered the lucrative Northern circuit of Ontario, Canada It was here that Hawkins put together the famous group that would come to be named simply The Band Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson When Bob Dylan shocked the folk world by plugging his guitar into an amplifier in the mid sixties, The Band backed him In the process they found critical acclaim and a loyal following In this rich memoir Levon traces the demise of the group to Robbie Robertson s actions leading up to The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese s film of the group s final concert in 1976 One of my most treasured memories was attending one of Helm s fabled Midnight Rambles last July in his barn studio in Woodstock, NY Joe Purdy, special guest performer, played an opening set, and then Levon and family and friends played for almost three hours to a small 100 or so , but appreciative audience, ending at midnight with The Band s famous song, The Weight As they finished, Levon climbed down from his perch on the drums and proceeded to shake hands with the fans in the front row Since my husband and I were in the second row, I was concerned we would not get such an honor, but before he left the room we somehow made eye contact with him, and he reached over to shake our hands The adrenaline generated by the show and the handshake fueled our hour and a half ride home to NJ It was an amazing experience that I will treasure always.

  8. says:

    Definitely to be read with a grain of salt This is 100% Levon Helm s take on The Band, and his schism with Robbie Robertson really comes through I got frustrated with Helm s self flattery a little bit but when it comes down to it he really is one of the best out there, and this book is pretty much requisite for any Band fan.

  9. says:

    The only downside to this book is that it sort of ruins watching The Last Waltz for me But the rest is upside.Turns out Levon Helm is the most American person the 20th century has ever had the decency to spew out He s basically a personification of the Heartland, writing in the same voice he sings in Helm has stories to tell, plenty of them, but I fell in love with this autobiography as soon as I realized he didn t have a story to tell no agenda, no pretentious theme, just a guy who was getting older and realized that a lot of people would get joy from hearing what he had to say That format IS the story If I had to choose a story to tell about the American 20th century, it s how a country of farmers and factory workers became one of salespeople and consumers Helm s life and philosophy contradicts that American identity He was a person so clearly in love with life and fun and equality, and a consummate lower case c christian, despite the ordeals and money of the rock n roll lifestyle.I absolutely recommend Helm s autobiography to anyone interested in The Band or American rock music.

  10. says:

    I decided to read This Wheel s on Fire after having read Robbie Robertson s Testimony The two pieces work as interesting counterpoints While Robertson comes off as the ultimate hero in his story, Helm has a different story to tell.I thought Helm s writing was entertaining a real backwoods, country style of story telling It made for an enjoyable read I enjoyed learning about the early parts of Helm s life in Arkansas, working the cotton fields.He definitely has a chip on his shoulder regarding Robertson as he should and I enjoyed that he didn t hold back on taking swipes at him Overall a quick, easy and enjoyable read Definitely worth reading alongside Robertson s Testimony Some stories Helm glosses over are explained in further detail in Robertson s telling and vice versa.

  11. says:

    Ever wonder who those people are hanging around with Bob Dylan on the cover of the John Wesley Harding album Levon has the answer, along with a number of other puzzling tidbits, such as what the hell was Neil Diamond doing at The Last Waltz, anyway The writing in This Wheel s On Fire is fairly uneven, not that there s much writing in it to begin with Most of the text seems to consist of the transcripts of tape recordings cobbled into a narrative These quotations tend to be lengthy at times so lengthy, in fact, that it s easy to lose track of the person speaking Still, this is a must read for anyone who s ever been a fan of The Band, Bob Dylan, or Levon Helm And the pages in which Helm himself is the obvious voice come through loud and clear.

  12. says:

    I really liked this book I liked how it felt like Levon was talking right to you about his life and The Band Some parts were a little slow for me, but ultimately it was fun to read his life from beginning to end I also really liked the updated ending Levon seems like such a happy go lucky country boy and I really liked how humble he was Most rockers aren t He wasn t the best writer of all time, but I enjoyed knowing the story of The Band.

  13. says:

    I loved the opening and the beginning chapters of Helm s story His descriptions of his childhood, that community and the shared life those farmers led, was gorgeous and real I could see it And I was learning, after a lifetime of being half in love with Helm s voice and his band, who he was.The story of him discovering music worked for me, too The anecdotes felt like stories you d share with friends in the middle of the night, while the world slept around you His steps into the world that would transform him were telling.And then it became all about the telling Whole chapters seemed to contain little beyond song titles and stars names There was very little movement We played XXX with XXX until XXXX He was no longer painting a picture of his life he was instead recounting the who and where, but very little of the what and how I wasn t looking for gossip, but Helms and Davis were missing the details that made the beginning.He only opens that window again with the filming of The Last Waltz Again, we could see what he saw only it wasn t as picturesque and folksy as his childhood But it was real A story again Makes me wonder if, after all this mess, he was so pissed off that he couldn t see The Band the way he saw his fam, though he d clearly lived that with them, once.Really need to watch Waltz again with this perspective in mind And plan to spend this lazy Sunday with The Band as my soundtrack Cause if I learned anything from Helm, it was that the music matters.

  14. says:

    This is a fantastic read I ve never been a rabid The Band fan, but Levon Helm s book made me want to hear all of their music If you like music or just want a great read I highly recommend this.

  15. says:

    Well I read both this and Robbie Robertson s book Liked both This was simpler and chronologically told the history better Based on Levon s style I suppose He also went forward to 2013 and covered the deaths of the Band members unlike Robbie I understand the issues he had with Robbie and the Last Waltz but at the same time he didn t put in any effort to writing where Robbie did Was Robbie stat struck and a name dropper no doubt but at the same time Levon left The Band himself for years so to give Robbie grief for forcing the ending seems hypocritical.Both of these books give a great history of the Band and of their tine period.