Sam Cutler is a rather interesting guy. I talked to him from his home in Australia (isn’t Skype a wonderful invention?). Sam has a new book out called “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” where he chronicles his time as tour manager for two of the greatest rock bands of all time, the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead.
His tenure as road manager for the Stones was brief; he handled one tour of America in 1969, which went well until the Altamont free concert, which turned incredibly ugly, resulting in several deaths.
The thing is, history has it wrong, according to Sam: everything written about Altamont usually involves Hell’s Angels, the Stones and a racially-motivated murder. Cutler explains his side of the story (he was actually there at the concert) and points the blame at some rather unusual suspects, including some young, Hell’s Angels Wannabees, and the FBI.
He also talks about the similarities and differences between the Stones and the Grateful Dead. Sam also had a chance, while living in San Francisco, to become good friends with Janis Joplin. He talks candidly about what kind of person she really was. Of course, touring with the Stones and the Dead, there’s plenty of the rock n’ roll lifestyle; stories of partying, drugs and women. Surprisingly, hallucinogens haven’t seemed to affect his memory one bit; he remembers these occurrences like they were yesterday.