Scott G Shea Releases The Book All The Leaves Are Brown #HeliumRadio
While three of the band’s four members (John Phillips, Michelle Phillips, and Denny Doherty) have told their side of the story, Shea sorts through the fact, fiction, and finger-pointing to tell us how the artistic and commercial success of the Mamas & the Papas was often fueled by the unending interpersonal drama and sexual liaisons that nearly sunk the group before it even started. Front and center is the tragic story of “Mama Cass” Elliot, whose incredible talent gave the group an iconic sound that set it apart–and who John Phillips never wanted in the group. Shea draws on new interviews with former bandmates, session musicians, family members, and many others. A new interview with Jill Gibson (who briefly replaced Michelle when John discovered that Michelle was having an affair with Gene Clark of The Byrds) sheds new light on the group-and a short, but meaningful London meeting in 1966 between the group and three of the Beatles and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Readers of popular music biographies by Peter Ames Carlin and Jonathan Gould (among others) are sure to admire Shea’s ability to balance his unflinching account of the band’s history with a true understanding and appreciation of their music. Like Carlin and Gould, Shea tells the story as narrative nonfiction. We’re thrust back into the era of the Mamas & the Papas, connecting with the emotions of the band members as their story unfolds and unravels. It’s one of the reasons why ALL THE LEAVES ARE BROWN has already been optioned for film and TV.