In Depth With John Byrne Cooke

John Byrne Cooke & Janis Joplin

John Byrne Cooke joined Life Elsewhere recently to talk about his new book, On the Road with Janis Joplin, chronicling his time as Joplin‘s road-manager from 1967 until her untimely death. That brief preliminary interview went so well, John and Norman B agreed they needed to talk again, so an in-depth conversation was arranged. In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, John Byrne Cooke talks candidly with Norman B about his background and growing up with his celebrated father, Alistair Cooke;the early days meeting Janis Joplin and the band in San Francisco; drugs and booze and sex; Janis encountering Bob Dylan at Clive Davis’ apartment in New York and a host of names and intimate memories from his days, On the Road with Janis Joplin. In the interview, John Byrne Cooke explains why this quote from Joplin illustrates his deep fondness for a talent who tragically died too soon: “All my life, I just wanted to be a beatnik, Meet all the heavies, get stoned, get laid, have a good time. That’s all I ever wanted. Except I knew I had a good voice and I could always get a couple of beers off of it.  All of a sudden someone threw me in this rock-n-roll band. They threw musicians at me, man, and the sound was coming from behind. The bass was charging me. And I decided then and there that that was it. I never wanted to do anything else.”

John Byrne Cooke is a fascinating, engaging man, he’s an award-winning author of four previous books, a performing musician with decades of experience, a photographer, and a filmmaker. 

Life Elsewhere airs Monday at 9.00am ET 

WMNF 88.5fm

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