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The singer, guitarist, and songwriter—best known for his work with Wilco—opens up about his past, his songs, the music, and the people who have inspired him. Few bands have encouraged as much devotion as the Chicago rock band Wilco, and it's thanks, in large part, to the band's singer, songwriter, and guiding light: Jeff Tweedy. But while his songs and music have been endle The singer, guitarist, and songwriter—best known for his work with Wilco—opens up about his past, his songs, the music, and the people who have inspired him. Few bands have encouraged as much devotion as the Chicago rock band Wilco, and it's thanks, in large part, to the band's singer, songwriter, and guiding light: Jeff Tweedy. But while his songs and music have been endlessly discussed and analyzed, Jeff has rarely talked so directly about himself, his life, or his artistic process. Until now. In his long-awaited memoir, Jeff will tell stories about his childhood in Belleville, Illinois; the St. Louis record store, rock clubs, and live-music circuit that sparked his songwriting and performing career; and the Chicago scene that brought it all together. He also talks in-depth about his collaborators in Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, and more; and writes lovingly about his parents; wife, Susie; and sons, Spencer and Sammy.


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The singer, guitarist, and songwriter—best known for his work with Wilco—opens up about his past, his songs, the music, and the people who have inspired him. Few bands have encouraged as much devotion as the Chicago rock band Wilco, and it's thanks, in large part, to the band's singer, songwriter, and guiding light: Jeff Tweedy. But while his songs and music have been endle The singer, guitarist, and songwriter—best known for his work with Wilco—opens up about his past, his songs, the music, and the people who have inspired him. Few bands have encouraged as much devotion as the Chicago rock band Wilco, and it's thanks, in large part, to the band's singer, songwriter, and guiding light: Jeff Tweedy. But while his songs and music have been endlessly discussed and analyzed, Jeff has rarely talked so directly about himself, his life, or his artistic process. Until now. In his long-awaited memoir, Jeff will tell stories about his childhood in Belleville, Illinois; the St. Louis record store, rock clubs, and live-music circuit that sparked his songwriting and performing career; and the Chicago scene that brought it all together. He also talks in-depth about his collaborators in Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, and more; and writes lovingly about his parents; wife, Susie; and sons, Spencer and Sammy.

30 review for Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc.

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Heneghan

    It’s not often my husband reads a book and hands it to me saying, “this book says things about myself in ways that I could never explain.” I was intrigued... I like Wilco and Jeff Tweedy... Well, Jeff Tweedy can write. This a a beautifully written book about how his life turned out so far flaws and all. This is a passage that I think speaks to my husband and all musicians. (Note, the guitar is not my thing.) “Learning how to play the guitar is the one thing I always look back on with wonderment. It’s not often my husband reads a book and hands it to me saying, “this book says things about myself in ways that I could never explain.” I was intrigued... I like Wilco and Jeff Tweedy... Well, Jeff Tweedy can write. This a a beautifully written book about how his life turned out so far flaws and all. This is a passage that I think speaks to my husband and all musicians. (Note, the guitar is not my thing.) “Learning how to play the guitar is the one thing I always look back on with wonderment. I’m reminded of ‘What ifs?’ every time I pick up a guitar. Where would I be? I have sort of a survivor’s gilt about it that makes me want it for everyone. Not the ‘guitar’ exactly, but something like it for everybody. Something that would love them back the more they love it. Something that would remind them of how far they’ve come and provide clear evidence that the future is always unfolding toward some small treasure worth waiting for.” As my husband sits in his office with his guitar, I guess this book does make me get it. The odd part is that I think books are my guitar, so in a weird way Jeff Tweedy connected an understanding in each of us.

  2. 5 out of 5

    natalie

    Everyone who knows me knows that I hate Wilco with the passion of thousand burning suns (or whatever the expression). That's because I once loved them with the same passion. There it is on page 197. Jeff acknowledges us. Those who loved Jay Bennett's Wilco. Even before I got to that passage, I had already fallen in love with this book. Jeff is genuinely likable, thoughtful, funny, and charming. I can relate to how he thinks about life. I'm sorry that I can't listen to Wilco anymore. This book wo Everyone who knows me knows that I hate Wilco with the passion of thousand burning suns (or whatever the expression). That's because I once loved them with the same passion. There it is on page 197. Jeff acknowledges us. Those who loved Jay Bennett's Wilco. Even before I got to that passage, I had already fallen in love with this book. Jeff is genuinely likable, thoughtful, funny, and charming. I can relate to how he thinks about life. I'm sorry that I can't listen to Wilco anymore. This book won't change that. But I will give the new solo album a listen. Thanks for writing this, Jeff.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jay Gabler

    Self-aware even about his self-awareness, Jeff Tweedy seemed like he might be either the worst or the best guy to write a memoir. In fact, the answer is much closer to the latter. Like a Wilco song, Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) breezes past, but is full of moments of acute insight, wry humor, and surprising poignancy. As music memoirs go, this is just the kind of book a lot of fans are looking for: neither a comprehensive catalog or an indulgent ramble, at a very reasonable 292 pages, Let's Go Self-aware even about his self-awareness, Jeff Tweedy seemed like he might be either the worst or the best guy to write a memoir. In fact, the answer is much closer to the latter. Like a Wilco song, Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) breezes past, but is full of moments of acute insight, wry humor, and surprising poignancy. As music memoirs go, this is just the kind of book a lot of fans are looking for: neither a comprehensive catalog or an indulgent ramble, at a very reasonable 292 pages, Let's Go has only the parts you want. I reviewed Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) for The Current.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Blew threw the last third in a couple hours this morning, and had to put it down twice because lines made me tear up out of nowhere. The lines involved his sons and his dad. I've read dozens of musician memoirs at this point, and Tweedy is the only one I can recall that features practical, process-oriented philosophies on songwriting and/or general creation--he also delineates between art and creative expression in a way that allows both to have meaning and positive purpose. I love that--as a per Blew threw the last third in a couple hours this morning, and had to put it down twice because lines made me tear up out of nowhere. The lines involved his sons and his dad. I've read dozens of musician memoirs at this point, and Tweedy is the only one I can recall that features practical, process-oriented philosophies on songwriting and/or general creation--he also delineates between art and creative expression in a way that allows both to have meaning and positive purpose. I love that--as a person who spends a huge amount time creating meaningless non-art to satisfy an everpresent desire to be putting something into the world, that sentiment meant a lot to me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    I've been to one Wico concert and enjoyed it. Its founder and lead singer Jeff Tweedy writes a funny, irreverent, and honest memoir. I like his discussions about how his family is the glue that keeps him together through his opiates addiction, depression episodes, migraine headaches. His songwriting sections are fascinating. Plus, I'm now a fan of his first rock group, Uncle Tupelo. I've been to one Wico concert and enjoyed it. Its founder and lead singer Jeff Tweedy writes a funny, irreverent, and honest memoir. I like his discussions about how his family is the glue that keeps him together through his opiates addiction, depression episodes, migraine headaches. His songwriting sections are fascinating. Plus, I'm now a fan of his first rock group, Uncle Tupelo.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Liz Amilkavich

    Total babe/badass/cool dude. I already knew Jeff was a great songwriter, and reading his memoir has let me appreciate his talents as a writer in long form as well. He’s funny and cynical yet accessible. Liked the book an awful lot and will always love Wilco.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    In my opinion, this should win a prize for best memoir of 2018. No, I haven't read them all but this is a wonderful book. Jeff Tweedy, for those who don't know, is a musician and lead singer of a couple of different bands, most notably Uncle Tupelo and Wilco. I know his name because of a Dylan cover on the soundtrack for the Todd Haynes movie about Dylan, I'm Not There, but have never really got to know Wilco's music. I heard Tweedy interviewed and was so taken with him that I got the book. A ha In my opinion, this should win a prize for best memoir of 2018. No, I haven't read them all but this is a wonderful book. Jeff Tweedy, for those who don't know, is a musician and lead singer of a couple of different bands, most notably Uncle Tupelo and Wilco. I know his name because of a Dylan cover on the soundtrack for the Todd Haynes movie about Dylan, I'm Not There, but have never really got to know Wilco's music. I heard Tweedy interviewed and was so taken with him that I got the book. A happy choice--and the audio version is especially good, as narrated by himself. The story Tweedy has to tell is honest, funny, sad, revealing (what is it like to be a rock musician, what is it like to make a record in a recording studio), thoughtful and insightful--about being creative, navigating a potentially rejecting world, dealing with demons and your very own self, in all its complexity. I--a woman, older, not a musician, not mid-western--have little in common with Jeff Tweedy, but so much of what he rights is so fundamentally true that I saw myself again and again: we were both weepy kids, is just one example that knocked me over with recognition, and understanding as he explored that aspect of himself. Jeff Tweedy is not the biggest rock star in the world, but he is and has been for decades a working musician, singer, lyricist. He has had serious troubles with drugs and illness. He has been blessed with good parents, a wife and two sons. They are all interesting characters in their own right. And (this maybe is a spoiler--it came as a surprise to me) one of the most unusual and effective aspects of the audio book was the participation of Jeff's wife Susie and elder son, Spenser, in the narrative. This was seamlessly done and there was something so gratifying, so real, so... joyful almost. Having finished the book, I now turn to getting to know the music of Wilco and related projects. Because a guy this bright and devoted to his craft will not, I think, disappoint me musically.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex Gordon

    I took the GRE a few days ago, and before the exam I spent a couple months studying vocab. One of my favorite newly learnt words is raconteur, n. "a person who is skilled in relating stories and anecdotes interestingly" (Dictionary.com). Jeff Tweedy is a raconteur. He's got a good story to tell, and he tells it really well. Reading this book I laughed out loud maybe ten times, I cried once, and I also felt lots of emotions that didn't manifest so physically. I found myself going back and listeni I took the GRE a few days ago, and before the exam I spent a couple months studying vocab. One of my favorite newly learnt words is raconteur, n. "a person who is skilled in relating stories and anecdotes interestingly" (Dictionary.com). Jeff Tweedy is a raconteur. He's got a good story to tell, and he tells it really well. Reading this book I laughed out loud maybe ten times, I cried once, and I also felt lots of emotions that didn't manifest so physically. I found myself going back and listening to each record as he talked about it. Considering I wasn't a big Wilco-listener until circa The Whole Love, I discovered most of their music long after it was released. Rediscovering the music along with the context and story behind it gave me a better understanding of the evolution of the band and Tweedy and everything else, which I appreciate a lot. The moments that stuck out to me most were the transcripts of conversations between him and Susie or him and Spencer- they were a powerful, insightful, meta, grounding addition. There were plenty of bits and pieces of Tweedy's life I already knew about and plenty I knew absolutely nothing about; either way I thoroughly enjoyed going along for the ride.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Richard Noggle

    As a Wilco fanatic, y'all are lucky I don't give this eleven stars. Tweedy's early chapters seem to struggle a bit to find the right voice (it's a little aggressively quirky early on), but once he finds his groove the book is a very satisfying and often moving look into the big picture issues that fans want to know about (namely, the fallings out with Jay Farrar and Jay Bennett and Jeff's own opioid addiction). I'd have liked a bit more focus on the specifics of making each album and a few more As a Wilco fanatic, y'all are lucky I don't give this eleven stars. Tweedy's early chapters seem to struggle a bit to find the right voice (it's a little aggressively quirky early on), but once he finds his groove the book is a very satisfying and often moving look into the big picture issues that fans want to know about (namely, the fallings out with Jay Farrar and Jay Bennett and Jeff's own opioid addiction). I'd have liked a bit more focus on the specifics of making each album and a few more anecdotes of life on the road (like the great story about the time Tupelo ends up headlining a show for Johnny Cash), but it's a solid rock memoir for fans.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    4.5 stars. In perhaps the most literal action I’d ever taken in my life, I listened to “Via Chicago” the moment I first arrived in the city I now call home as a full-time resident. It was totally by design, too, which in retrospect makes it even more insufferable. “Look at how introspective I’m being!” I likely said to myself as I crossed the Skyway, my car packed to the gills with Michigan mementos and a trunkful of pot. Thing is, the end refrain of “Via Chicago” was too perfect not to relate wi 4.5 stars. In perhaps the most literal action I’d ever taken in my life, I listened to “Via Chicago” the moment I first arrived in the city I now call home as a full-time resident. It was totally by design, too, which in retrospect makes it even more insufferable. “Look at how introspective I’m being!” I likely said to myself as I crossed the Skyway, my car packed to the gills with Michigan mementos and a trunkful of pot. Thing is, the end refrain of “Via Chicago” was too perfect not to relate with. After all, it aligned with where I was at that point and time of my life: searching for a home and doing so via – or more accurately, by moving to – Chicago. Would it provide the solution I’d been seeking? It was unclear. But what was clear was that it couldn’t be any worse. For years, I’d been unhappy in Detroit, had wanted to jettison and in 2009 finally saw my chance. Where I’d land was unclear, but the Windy City was the most desirable (and logical) choice. I just didn’t know at the time Chicago would be the home I’d been searching for all along. It made perfect sense, though. I’d been visiting the city damn near twenty years, knew its geography better than that of the Motor City. It had a Midwestern vibe to it similar to that of my hometown. What’s more, my wife and I knew so many people who already lived there we had a social life practically built-in already. It was a perfect fit. Suffice to say I was hopeful this would be a long-term, if not permanent, resolution. Listening to “Via Chicago” as I entered the city limits represented this hope full-stop. It certainly wasn’t the first time Jeff Tweedy’s lyrics would provide such an effect; for years the Wilco frontman had been tugging at my heartstrings like a master puppeteer. It started with my old roommate, Mark, a dude who’d gotten me hip to many bands throughout our collegiate days (and vice versa). As freshman he’d loaned me his copy of AM, a record I first liked and later grew to love. The same would go for Being There, Wilco’s second record, a couple years later. I loved the sound of each, but it was the lyrics I resonated with most: heartfelt, poetic, at times abstract, each time poignant. He wasn’t Dylan, but Jeff Tweedy was arguably my generation’s closest comparison. Both critically and personally, his – and Wilco’s – legend only grew as the 90’s ended, and the new millennium began. In 2002 I started dating my wife soon after Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the band’s 4th and best (argue it) album, was released. It became our record, constantly spun and sung along to. We forced it upon anyone else who would listen, building a small family of friends who took to the record as we had. We must’ve seen Wilco a dozen times on the tour in support of Yankee; Tweedy solo, too. I hadn’t been so obsessed over a band since Radiohead. It resulted in a full-blown immersion into the band’s previously material. And while these recordings were not unfamiliar to me, they sounded fresh, new, different than before. Lyrics that had spoken to me in the past took a backseat to newly discovered verses. It was as inspired as it was inspiring; it was why I loved music so damn much, and why it continues to be so important to me today. So why did it take me the better part of two years to finally dig into Jeff Tweedy’s excellent and entertaining memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)? That’s a helluva question. It’s also one I don’t have a great answer for other than I knew I’d eventually get around to it (not to mention the stack in which it found residence since its release). To paraphrase, maybe I just couldn’t find the time to read Jeff’s mind the way he’d written it. Rewind to last summer, when Tweedy’s band announced a deluxe reissue of their 1999 masterpiece, Summerteeth. Naturally I preordered my own copy with plans to start Tweedy’s memoir around the time I’d procure and subsequently enjoy my new copy of Wilco’s classic 3rd record. Unsurprisingly, both delivered the goods. But I already knew what to expect from Summerteeth having listened to it hundreds of times over the last 20+ years. I couldn’t say the same for Let’s Go, although expectations were high. After all, Tweedy had been one of my favorite lyricists during the most formative time of my life; I assumed such aptitude would translate well. I assumed correctly. Let’s Go is just as much a confessional work as it is a conversational one. Tweedy lets it all hang out, whether it’s his relationships with family, with friends, with bandmates, or with drugs. And yet he does so in such a naturally informal tone you’d swear you were having coffee with the dude – so much so it inspired me to make a cup whilst reading as though it would bring this fanboy fantasy to life. While it takes a couple of chapters for the singer/songwriter to find his voice, once Tweedy rights his ship the memoir takes off. He comes across as humble, endearingly self-deprecating, funny as hell and entirely flawed. To say he’s relatable would be an understatement, even despite his relative fame. He’s never not honest; in fact, he’s often too honest. He’s also never not charming or warm-hearted, his Midwesterness resonating with every word written. Much of why I fell so head over heels for Wilco is demonstrated throughout the memoir. Which is to say Let’s Go will satisfy others who share in my adoration for Jeff Tweedy and the great groups he’s helmed. Not just because of the brilliant musical output of which he so lovingly depicts, but for the candid honesty that inspired its creation. It’s on full display here, front and center, beneath a bright, shining spotlight. It’s as if Jeff Tweedy were searching for a home of his own. He found it in Let’s Go, and I’m happy to say I did as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I don’t read biographies because, but I will read this one again. Because.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    In retrospect, it shouldn't surprise me that Jeff Tweedy is a grood writer (that's great, with reservations for ya). I've been a fan of Wilco for some time now. Rather, I've been several different Wilco fans. Near the end of the book Tweedy talks about how different fans look for different things in the band. There are the ones who only like a certain album. That's the type of fan I was for a while. I loved Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. But then I kind of fell off the wagon, thinking tha In retrospect, it shouldn't surprise me that Jeff Tweedy is a grood writer (that's great, with reservations for ya). I've been a fan of Wilco for some time now. Rather, I've been several different Wilco fans. Near the end of the book Tweedy talks about how different fans look for different things in the band. There are the ones who only like a certain album. That's the type of fan I was for a while. I loved Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. But then I kind of fell off the wagon, thinking that their newer sound wasn't as exciting. But then several years ago, a wiser older me decided to listen to newer Wilco and I fell in love with them all over again. Yes, their newer stuff isn't as knob-twiddly, but I actually like it even more than their early breakout albums. Now I've become the fan that he describes in his book as ones who kind of expect change, and is along for the ride no matter what they do. Part of what's exciting about the band is how they continue writing deeper into their experiences, into who they are. Listening to Wilco is like getting to spend time with a friend. I feel like my relationship with their music has grown along with them, and I appreciate all their artistic decisions as you would appreciate a friendship growing into different phases. Another thing that surprised me about this book (and that shouldn't have) is how funny Jeff Tweedy is. I already knew he was vulnerable, smart, kind, sensitive. And I thought he was funny too, through his songs... a kind of humor (sometimes lyrically sometimes purely musical) that's just oddball enough to make me chuckle and think "did he mean that to be funny? or is he just weird?" But for some reason I didn't think it would translate into his writing. But it did. I loved that this book doesn't linger. He starts the book immediately in media res, and often chapters start in the middle of already telling you a story. He hits all the highs and lows that are important without being too self-important as to think you'd be interested in the boring parts of his life as well. It's a book mostly about his life... childhood, growing up, how he got into music, his band, and his family. The rockstar life is also talked about (meeting Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, playing shows, etc), but it's not the focus here. In fact, the more you get to know Jeff Tweedy, the more he just seems like a normal dude who has his problems, but learned from them and conquered them (and continues to work at them), and values what he now has in life all the more for it. He is down to earth, and constantly works to disabuse the reader of the notion that many have of art... i.e. the myth that you have to suffer to create art. Or the myth that inspiration just comes to artists instead of coming from sustained hard work, etc. Of course all Wilco fans also want an exclusive look at the inner workings of the songwriting, and Jeff doesn't withhold in that department. I was especially fascinated when he talked about how he came up with his lyrics... being a poet myself and not musical at all, I often wondered if musicians write the music first or the lyrics first. I've heard some say one and others say the other. Apparently Jeff Tweedy writes the music first, with a mumble track. Then he listens to it and lets his subconscious do the work of filling in what he thinks he heard himself singing in those early demo tapes. It makes sense as his lyrics are sometimes nonsensical but also makes a sort of sense. And it is also validating, even in my own artform, because I often try different strategies to catch myself unawares... to get to that subconscious place before my conscious mind muddles it all up into something that makes too much sense. I think you'd like this book even if you aren't a huge Wilco fan. But then again I'm biased. Also, if you stopped listening to them after YHF, might I suggest listening to Sky Blue Sky. And Sukierae by Tweedy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    I knew I would like this book, but was truly surprised by just how much I loved it. What a wonderful memoir <3

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Really lovely, charming, and warm-hearted. His writing is very much of a piece with his music. A++

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Arnett

    :) I like this book so much :)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    I truly appreciate Jeff’s discussions about the creative process, loss, addiction, and interpersonal relationships with difficult people. I leave with more respect than I thought I could have, even as a longtime fan.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    I work at a library, and as a result of that, the books that I own often sit on my shelves, gathering dust as I read the many books I take home and have due dates that make them more urgent to read and return by a certain due date. I love the books I own. I want to own them. I want to read them. I just...don't often get around to it. I asked for Jeff Tweedy's memoir for Christmas, along with some other books. I got excited every time I saw Jeff Tweedy sitting there in particular, and yet I conti I work at a library, and as a result of that, the books that I own often sit on my shelves, gathering dust as I read the many books I take home and have due dates that make them more urgent to read and return by a certain due date. I love the books I own. I want to own them. I want to read them. I just...don't often get around to it. I asked for Jeff Tweedy's memoir for Christmas, along with some other books. I got excited every time I saw Jeff Tweedy sitting there in particular, and yet I continued reading the things I took home from work. BUT, when Dan and I went to Lake Geneva for the weekend, I was fresh off of my latest read as we prepared to leave, and I decided I was only going to bring books with us that I owned. Then I couldn't decide which, of three, I was going to read. As you can tell by the fact that I am writing this review right now, Jeff Tweedy won. (Wow, I've had a lot to say in this review so far, huh? And yet so far not any of it is about the book. Prepare yourself: even when I end this parenthetical, I'm pretty sure I won't start talking about the book right away, exactly). One of my best friends introduced me to Wilco when I was in college, I think. They're one of her favorite bands, and she decided I needed to listen to which was a good call on her part. I've been with her to see Wilco at least once (I think maybe twice?), and I've watched the documentary, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. One of my favorite things on the walls of our home is a Wilco poster that was gifted to Dan by an ex-girlfiend. So, yes, I'm on the Wilco train -- but not, like, HEAVY on it? I like Tweedy's voice, I like that they are hometown dudes, and I think I've listened to all their CDs at least once. I'm a fan, but not hardcore. But man, oh man, I think after reading Let's Go... I'm going to be listening to a lot more Wilco (and Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples and Uncle Tupelo) in the coming days. Because I just kind of want to drown myself in Jeff Tweedy (but not in a creepy way). I loved this memoir. Like, a lot. Tweedy is crazy smart, and really funny, and seemingly unafraid to admit when he is wrong, or could have done better, or just straight up f***ed up. His voice is interesting and refreshing and unique. His adoration for his wife and sons is obvious and endearing. His love of what he does and how much of that need to be creative is just at the core of who he is as a human is also clear. I appreciate how candid he is about his family, his life growing up, and how that impacted who he became - in both good and bad ways. I think one of the things that made this so enjoyable was the fact that it felt real. I didn't get the impression that he was putting on airs, or trying to sugarcoat some of the tougher things in life. Does that mean that everything here is 100% accurate? I mean, probably not. Tweedy is human, and this story is told through the lens of his experience. But I do think it's true to him and how he sees things, and that he makes a stronger effort than most to provide as objective a take as he can on what he's been through, and what he's done. The music and the various albums and phases of it play a role in this story, but not in the way I expected. They are there in the background, serving as his way of remembering what was going on in his life at the time. The experience of making the album is talked about, more than any particular songs, for the most part. And that's okay. Because it still somehow all makes sense. At the end of the day, Tweedy just feels like a guy. As fallible and human as any of us. I mean, also, one who has had a pretty prolific career that is still going pretty strong, and has created his own FESTIVAL centered around his band. But other than that, you know, just a typical dude who loves his family and does his best. And I love the crap out of that.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Passman

    Way funnier than I expected it to be. Come for the Wilco stories, stay for the jokes about circumcision and murdering Dave Grohl.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Dunn

    I didn’t want this book to end. It’s so special, so perfect. I mean, I’ve been a Wilco fan from the beginning so I expected this book would be FOR ME, but what I didn’t expect was how hilarious, touching, honest, sincere, and profound Jeff Tweedy would be in telling his story, and in tandem, Wilco’s story. I always know a book is excellent when I can’t stop myself from reading passages aloud to my husband. I do it because I NEED TO SHARE THE BRILLIANCE IMMEDIATELY. I read a lot of passages aloud I didn’t want this book to end. It’s so special, so perfect. I mean, I’ve been a Wilco fan from the beginning so I expected this book would be FOR ME, but what I didn’t expect was how hilarious, touching, honest, sincere, and profound Jeff Tweedy would be in telling his story, and in tandem, Wilco’s story. I always know a book is excellent when I can’t stop myself from reading passages aloud to my husband. I do it because I NEED TO SHARE THE BRILLIANCE IMMEDIATELY. I read a lot of passages aloud from this book. I was so impressed throughout by Jeff’s writing style, humor, and candor. There is heavy stuff in here. And light stuff. And love. And music. I wish I could read it again for the first time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peter Colclasure

    "If you picked up this book looking for wild, druggy stories about my addiction to opiates, you're out of luck. I want to put those years behind me. And frankly, there isn't much to tell. When you take a lot of Vicodin, your life is not a nonstop Algonquin Round Table . . . That last part was a joke. Jesus, of course I'm going to write about the drugs. I'm pulling your leg. Would you have believed Keith Richards if he'd started his memoir with "Listen guys, the less said about my experiences w "If you picked up this book looking for wild, druggy stories about my addiction to opiates, you're out of luck. I want to put those years behind me. And frankly, there isn't much to tell. When you take a lot of Vicodin, your life is not a nonstop Algonquin Round Table . . . That last part was a joke. Jesus, of course I'm going to write about the drugs. I'm pulling your leg. Would you have believed Keith Richards if he'd started his memoir with "Listen guys, the less said about my experiences with heroin the better. I'd rather just write about what it's like to be a grandfather?" Jeff Tweedy is a perspicacious guy. Midway through his autobiography, he calls me out, when he writes that there is a certain kind of Wilco fan who lost interest after Jay Bennett was fired. If I'm being perfectly honest, that's me. As far as I'm concerned, the Wilco trifecta is Being There, Summerteeth, and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Those albums were a huge part of my youth. I saw Wilco three times in the period from 1999 to 2002, twice with Bennett and once shortly after his departure. The shows were great. If you like Wilco, you should absolutely read this book. Even if you don't like Wilco, you should probably still read it. Tweedy is a great writer—wry, engaging, sincere. And incredibly honest. What's amazing is how forthright this book is. Tweedy holds nothing back. You get all the dirt about his relationship with Jay Farrar, the dissolution of Uncle Tupelo, the drama behind the recording YHF, being dropped by their label, kicking Jay Bennett out of the band, packages of pills being FedEx'ed to the recording studio, puking backstage at an R.E.M. concert in Milan, his rehab, his family turmoil, his wife's battle with cancer, his experience of being sexually assaulted when he was young, and his eventual recovery, his bond with his children and parents. It's all in the book. You hear about his midwestern upbringing, in a southern Illinois river town where his dad and older brothers worked for the railroad(!). How on the nose is that? I mean, if this was fiction, no one would buy it. You hear about his childhood love of The Minutemen, and going to see X and The Ramones as a teenager. After all the previously mentioned dirt, you get the reflections on life from a middle-aged rock star who's found balance, cranking out moderately well-reviewed albums every few years, writing and recording with Mavis Staples, touring with Bob Dylan, etc. This book made me think maybe I should give late-period Wilco a second chance. I really like half the songs on A Ghost Is Born. Never got into the three albums that followed. Their most recent, Ode To Joy is decent. Also Star Wars is kind of fun in a weird, spastic way. I haven't listened to much of his solo record, but I really liked "Having Been Is No Way To Be." Great title. Here are some quotes: "Too much ambition gets a bad rap in my line of work. If you grew up in the late twentieth century loving or wanting to be a part of the punk or indie rock scene, you were expected to at least give the appearance of not caring and giving the least possible amount of effort. Of course, it's a lie. Does anyone think Devo just happened with minimum effort?! The Ramones?! Pavement?! I'd be willing to bet every band you've ever heard of worked hard and had crazy ambition. Maybe it went away at some point or they got content to coast, but trust me, at some point they worked their asses off and dreamed grand and triumphant dreams. Listen, it's a cop-out to hide ambition and pretend aspirations are shameful. It's a way to protect yourself. Preemptive sour grapes." "When I started being able to get my guitar to make sounds resembling what I was hearing on records, it wasn't just a sense of accomplishment; it was bigger than that, a naive feeling that I was the first person in the world to do this. Maybe that's a character flaw, but it was a huge part of it for me, elemental to why I wanted to do this at all. It would've been so much harder to keep at it without that feeling . . . I remember when I figured out how to do the standard da-da-dada Chuck Berry riff, it was like I'd split the atom. It was that monumental. It was never just, "Oh, a lot of people know how to do this, and now I do too." It was "Holy shit, I just invented rock and roll!"" "I fired Bennett from Wilco because I knew if I didn't, I would probably die. That sounds like hyperbole, but it's really not." “If there’s one thing that’s 100 percent true about every intoxicated person in world history, it’s that you shouldn’t believe them when they say they love you. The only difference between you and that slice of cold pizza back at their apartment is that they haven’t met the pizza yet.” “The Chicago historian Studs Terkel asked Bob Dylan in the sixties about how he went about writing a song and trying to outdo himself, or at least being as good as the last song he wrote, and his response was pretty damn perfect. “I’m content with the same old piece of wood,” he said. “I just want to find another place to pound a nail . . . Music, my writing, is something special, not sacred.” If the songs Bob Dylan wrote aren’t sacred, then nobody’s songs are sacred. Nobody’s. No one has ever laid on their deathbed thinking, “Thank god I didn’t make that song. Thank god I didn’t make that piece of art. Thank god I avoided the embarrassment of putting a bad poem into the world.” Nobody reaches the end of their life and regrets even a single moment of creating something, no matter how shitty or unappreciated that something might have been." “I’ve heard people complain about my guitar when I play solo shows. “Why does he insist on playing that guitar? It sounds like it’s strung with rubber bands.” To which I say, Um . . . Shut the fuck up, get your own guitar and ring like a silver bell for all I care. I need a guitar with strings that don’t sound like a twenty-year-old who wakes up at five a.m. and has a venti iced Americano and is ready to seize the day! I need strings that sound like me, a doom-dabbling, fifty-year-old, borderline misanthrope, nap enthusiast.” “Every time somebody asks me, “How ’bout the Cubs?” I want to respond with “Yeah, the Cubs, they’re going to die someday. Do you ever think about that? All of them. All of them. Rizzo. Bryant. The one with the goatee. The other ones. The entire team. Some of them probably soon, you don’t know. They could be dying right now while we’re sitting here making conversation about baseball. Death is lurking.” Susie always wants me to come with her to these type of gatherings and she almost always regrets it.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

    There is so much to love about this book. First, I thought Jeff Tweedy's discussion of his mental health journey and experience with addiction was incredibly moving. He talks about his struggles with the insight of someone who engaged with therapy for a long time and worked really hard at getting to know his own self, and it's such a refreshing and honest series of reflections. Additionally, he addresses his privilege as a white, straight man often, still recognizing that even wealthy or privile There is so much to love about this book. First, I thought Jeff Tweedy's discussion of his mental health journey and experience with addiction was incredibly moving. He talks about his struggles with the insight of someone who engaged with therapy for a long time and worked really hard at getting to know his own self, and it's such a refreshing and honest series of reflections. Additionally, he addresses his privilege as a white, straight man often, still recognizing that even wealthy or privileged people in some ways can experience profound trauma, simply as the result of brain chemistry. He never seems overly defensive or insensitive about what goes well or poorly for him; instead, he just seems like someone with an incredibly wide range of emotions, and I really related to that. Secondly, this book is REALLY funny. He is super witty, and again, his ability to make even heavy topics seem light is really special, and it gives me hope for those who I know who struggle from dark times. Also, I think he talks about parenting, his creative process, and grief from his parents' passing in ways that really, really touched me. This is a book I'd REALLY urge readers to experience on audio. The emotion in his voice is unmistakeable at times, and there are cameos from his wife and son, which I thought was a really special touch. I couldn't wait to return to this one once I had to put it down, and I cannot recommend it enough!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mrshawn10100

    Just a very interesting story by Jeff Tweedy about his life, his musical development over time, Wilco, and where he is at now. For me, this started strong - loved the part about growing up and his childhood. The middle part lacks focus and wanders a bit, and lacks a deep dive in some areas that I would be very interested in hearing much more about. That may be the downside of taking over the project and making it a solo autobiography effort, that there is no external author saying what readers wi Just a very interesting story by Jeff Tweedy about his life, his musical development over time, Wilco, and where he is at now. For me, this started strong - loved the part about growing up and his childhood. The middle part lacks focus and wanders a bit, and lacks a deep dive in some areas that I would be very interested in hearing much more about. That may be the downside of taking over the project and making it a solo autobiography effort, that there is no external author saying what readers will be interested in hearing more about and directing it. In addition, my sense is that he goes easy on others, or simply does not want to get into situations where it would encompass saying bad things about others. (He does not go easy on himself.) Of course, without the control of doing it himself, we may never have seen this book, which would be a shame. The last part of the book finishes strong. This is a story of addiction, how it effects his life, and how he overcame or continues to deal with addiction. His compelling description was sobering, no pun intended or wanted. I would recommend this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    This is probably the best memoir I've ever read. It was funny and sincere. Jeff Tweedy told an awesome story here and answered the questions many fans have on their minds. He put his life and struggles out there, so readers could relate. I'd probably read this again and would definitely recommend it. This is probably the best memoir I've ever read. It was funny and sincere. Jeff Tweedy told an awesome story here and answered the questions many fans have on their minds. He put his life and struggles out there, so readers could relate. I'd probably read this again and would definitely recommend it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angie and the Daily Book Dose

    AMAZING. I need some time to process. My vote for best non-fiction book I’ve read in 2018!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Latkins

    This memoir from Uncle Tupelo and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy is an excellent read if, like me, you’re a fan. I was intrigued to read about how he writes his songs, and the dynamics and history of his bands, and found his writing style warm and entertaining. There was a lot about his family – both his childhood home and the one he’s made with his wife Susie (who has the patience of a saint) and his two sons Spencer and Sammy. He also provides an insight into his much-publicised addiction to paink This memoir from Uncle Tupelo and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy is an excellent read if, like me, you’re a fan. I was intrigued to read about how he writes his songs, and the dynamics and history of his bands, and found his writing style warm and entertaining. There was a lot about his family – both his childhood home and the one he’s made with his wife Susie (who has the patience of a saint) and his two sons Spencer and Sammy. He also provides an insight into his much-publicised addiction to painkillers, and how difficult it was for him to admit he needed help and go into rehab. You probably do have to be a fan of his to enjoy this, but you probably wouldn’t read it anyway unless you were!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nick Hardy

    This is the only way autobiographies should be written. I ended up reading this alongside A Promised Land and found myself wondering what Barack Obama’s story might sound like told with Jeff Tweedy’s self-effacing, often painfully personal self-reflection. His honesty is palpable. It’s what makes writers the best auto-biographers, and if Wilco’s lyrics left any doubt, this book shows that Jeff Tweedy is first and foremost a writer. Ironically, this was a favorite excerpt, with Tweedy weighing in This is the only way autobiographies should be written. I ended up reading this alongside A Promised Land and found myself wondering what Barack Obama’s story might sound like told with Jeff Tweedy’s self-effacing, often painfully personal self-reflection. His honesty is palpable. It’s what makes writers the best auto-biographers, and if Wilco’s lyrics left any doubt, this book shows that Jeff Tweedy is first and foremost a writer. Ironically, this was a favorite excerpt, with Tweedy weighing in on the lyrics vs melody music debate: “Melody is king. Songs are ruled by melody. I believe hat melody, more than lyrics, is what does all the heavy lifting emotionally. When I write lyrics, or when I adapt a poem to a song, my goal is to interfere as little as possible with whatever spell is being cast by the melody. At the same time, I hope - at best - that the words enhance the somehow, add meaning, or clarify and underline what the melody is making me feel.” Ps thanks Al ♥️

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ron S

    A funny, charming, self-aware look back by the Wilco front man, from growing up in SW Illinois to present day. You really needn't be a fan of Uncle Tupelo, Wilco in any of its configurations, or have even heard of Jeff Tweedy to enjoy this book (although of course that would help). Read it if you enjoy memoirs by interesting people with the ability to tell a good story well. (I'll admit that I've seen him in concert probably a dozen times, but not for almost two decades, and haven't engaged with A funny, charming, self-aware look back by the Wilco front man, from growing up in SW Illinois to present day. You really needn't be a fan of Uncle Tupelo, Wilco in any of its configurations, or have even heard of Jeff Tweedy to enjoy this book (although of course that would help). Read it if you enjoy memoirs by interesting people with the ability to tell a good story well. (I'll admit that I've seen him in concert probably a dozen times, but not for almost two decades, and haven't engaged with his music since Mermaid Avenue Vol. II was released in 2000. Doesn't matter: it's a great read.)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Blue Kaufman

    Reading this book, in many ways, was like looking in the mirror. The most impactful moments are not sensationalized Wilco achievements nor glamorized tales of rock and roll. No, they are the small, seemingly insignificant self reflections—the instances and ideas that somehow imprint on the subconscious and shape perceptions of the world. Many biographies are self deprecating (no exception here) but few feel as honest as Jeff Tweedy’s.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Books have pretty much taken over my listening life, so I have neglected my love of music, although it still beats strong, in my inner depths. That said, I still adored this memoir by the leader and founder of one of my very favorite rock bands, of the past twenty years, Wilco. Since Tweedy is such an excellent songwriter, I am not surprised how beautifully written this book is. The audio is narrated by the author, with the help of his family. 4.5 stars

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Prior to reading this book, I had heard of Wilco but wasn't familiar with its music or band-members. I did something I rarely do... chose to read it based on its title. Tweedy's memoir is very thoughtful and moving. He describes his upbringing, introduction to music, bands, and later, his depression. What struck me most about Mr. Tweedy? His humility. Recommended. Prior to reading this book, I had heard of Wilco but wasn't familiar with its music or band-members. I did something I rarely do... chose to read it based on its title. Tweedy's memoir is very thoughtful and moving. He describes his upbringing, introduction to music, bands, and later, his depression. What struck me most about Mr. Tweedy? His humility. Recommended.

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