KPFA Radio 94.1 FM & presents:
Jonathan Taplin + David Gans
The Magic Years: Scenes From a Rock-and-Roll Life
Thursday, September 9, 2021, 7PM
“The Magic Years remarkably shares how Jon Taplin was on the front lines of so many pivotal and historic events. He has a helluva story to tell. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen a lot of it with my own eyes.” —Robbie Robertson
Jonathan Taplin’s extraordinary journey has put him at the crest of every major cultural wave in the past half century. He was tour manager for Bob Dylan and the Band in the ’60s, producer of major films in the ’70s, an executive at Merrill Lynch in the ’80s, creator of the Internet’s first video-on-demand service in the ’90s, and a cultural critic and author writing about technology in the new millennium. His is a lifetime marked not only by good timing but by impeccable instincts—from the folk scene to Woodstock, Hollywood’s rebellious film movement, and beyond. Taplin is not just a witness but a lifelong producer, the right-hand man to some of the greatest talents of both pop culture and the underground.
With cameos by Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Martin Scorsese, and countless other icons, The Magic Years is both a rock memoir and a work of cultural criticism from a key player who watched a nation turn from idealism to nihilism. Taplin offers a clear-eyed roadmap of how we got here and makes a convincing case for art’s power to deliver us from “passionless detachment” and rekindle our humanism.
“The Magic Years reads like a Magical Mystery Tour of music, loss, beauty, family, justice, and social upheaval. It contains true magic, and true inspiration, as do the years, the people, and the story Taplin recalls.”
Jonathan Taplin is an author and director emeritus of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Taplin’s book Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy, was nominated by the Financial Times as one of the Best Business Books of 2017. Taplin has produced music and film for Bob Dylan and the Band, George Harrison, Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Gus Van Sant, and many others. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and currently sits on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Americana Music Association, and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti’s Technology and Innovation Council. His commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, Medium, the Washington Monthly, and the Wall Street Journal.
David Gans, a guitarist, songwriter, and music journalist known for incisive, literate songwriting. He is the co-author of the book This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead.” He is also host of the weekly syndicated radio show The Grateful Dead Hour, and currently co-hosts a radio show with Gary Lambert on Sirius XM’s The Grateful Dead Channel called Tales from the Golden Road.