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Paul Liberatore

Award winning music, entertainment and feature writer.

Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ gets Marin twist

It’s sad but true. You can be a really good band, but if no one knows you or your music, then you’ll be playing in a lot of empty clubs and concert halls. And that’s why, short of selling out completely and becoming a tribute band, some of the more resourceful original musicians are coming up with themes for their shows, covering classic rock hits that people know and remember and love so much that they’ll buy tickets and come out to hear again and again. In today’s fragmented music business, th

Tragedy of a Revolutionary Enigma

Mr. Liberatore has new information that fills out the story with enriching detail, even if it does not answer all the questions that remain about the George Jackson case. But ''The Road to Hell'' brings us just about as far as the verifiable information allows us to go in this troubling story, along the way providing a portrait of an era that is so intrinsically fascinating that even with the author's sobriety and care, it is a difficult book to put down. Mr. Liberatore hangs his narrative on t

Paul Liberatore’s Lib at Large: Grateful Dead and other stories that rocked Marin in 2015

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, music fans. As I look back at Marin music and entertainment in 2015, I still can’t get my mind around the fact that the year’s biggest story was the good old Grateful Dead, a band that hasn’t even been a band since Jerry Garcia died in 1995. By popular demand, the Dead’s four surviving bandmates celebrated their 50th anniversary anyway by putting aside their differences and reuniting for five Fare Thee Well concerts that raked in more cash than any live act in

IJ's Liberatore honored as a Marin 'cultural treasure'

Marin Independent Journal reporter Paul Liberatore, who has covered the local music and cultural scene for the past 25 years, has been awarded the 2014 Marin County "Cultural Treasure Award." Liberatore is the eighth person to receive the annual Marin County Cultural Service Commission honor, which recognizes long-term cultural contributions to the county. "You're the voice of the arts, especially music, in Marin County, and have been for many years," Jim Farley, director of the Department of

Paul Liberatore’s Lib at Large: Jerry Garcia on Jerry Garcia

Most music fans would agree that Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995, was one of the all-time great rock guitarists. His solos were instantly recognizable, and I can only say that about a handful of guitar players. What isn’t so well known about him is that the charismatic Grateful Dead patriarch was a sparkling conversationalist. He also had an admirable ability to listen, a virtue that served him well in his interactions with others as well as in his improvisational excursions with the Dead. I had

Grateful Dead documentary details deification, downfall of Jerry Garcia

The first interview I ever did with the Grateful Dead was in the summer of 1973. They had just returned to Marin after playing with the Band and the Allman Brothers for a massive crowd of 600,000 at Watkins Glen, a racetrack in upstate New York. That festival was bigger than Woodstock, and the young musicians were still awestruck by the size of it and their growing Deadhead fan base. But Jerry Garcia, the band’s charismatic lead guitarist, was already sick and tired of being famous. I don’t rem

Paul Liberatore: Some of the biggest names in rock come out to honor the late Norton Buffalo

Next weekend, some of the biggest names in rock gather at the Fox Theatre in Oakland to honor a special person in Bay Area music, the late harmonica virtuoso Norton Buffalo, a consummate musician, an all around good guy and an absolutely unforgettable character. I spoke to three of Norton's musician friends - Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis and slide guitarist Roy Rogers - about their memories of him. They will all be on the bill of the sold-out memorial concerts, Jan. 22 and 23, both benefits for Buf

Zydeco Flames still on fire three decades later

How many local bands can you think of that have been active for almost 30 years? Let’s narrow it down even further. How many bands that have been around that long still have all their original members? The only one I’ve heard of that fits both those criteria is a long-lived quintet called the Zydeco Flames. Since they were formed in January 1990, they’ve recorded and released seven albums and have won awards from the West Coast Blues Society and the West Coast Cajun and Zydeco Association. In

Joe Satriani sheds persona in documentary by his son

Just when we were still reeling from one catastrophe, along comes another. I’m talking about the nightmare last week in Las Vegas and the terrible death and destruction of this week’s Wine Country wildfires. Those of us fortunate enough not to be victimized or threatened by the rampaging blazes have been worried about friends and family and the thousands of people who have had to flee for their lives, not knowing if the home they left behind would be there when they get back. I interviewed sta

Country Joe McDonald, fixin’ to retire

Country Joe McDonald, whose 1967 anti-Vietnam War protest song “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die” made him a voice of his generation, is fixin’ to retire. The 75-year-old rock legend figures he’s played something like 3,000 gigs in a career spanning more than 50 years. His July 28 show at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley will be one of his last. He’ll certainly never play on this side of the bridge again. “I’ve had a great career,” he says, speaking from his home in Berkeley. “I’ve done 25 al

Huey Lewis and the News, Pablo Cruise bring back multiplatinum memories

In the 1970s and ’80s, a nondescript house on East Blithedale Avenue in Mill Valley was one of the hottest spots in rock ’n’ roll. Behind its doors, Bob Brown, a former wunderkind stock trader, managed the careers of the bands Pablo Cruise and Huey Lewis and the News during their multimillion-selling heydays. For the past 18 years, Brown has focused his energy and vision on building his West Marin Roadhouse, Rancho Nicasio, into a respected roots music venue and restaurant with a new celebrity