A new Janis Joplin biography, simply titled Janis: Her Life and Music, is set to be published Oct. 22 by Simon & Schuster.
The book is authored by Holly George-Warren, a two-time Grammy nominee whose previous books include bios of Alex Chilton and Gene Autry, as well as The Road to Woodstock (with Michael Lang).
The bio is “based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives and long-lost interviews. In a back-cover blurb, Rosanne Cash says, “I’ve been waiting for the right person to write the definitive biography of Janis Joplin! All fans should be grateful it’s finally here. Janis lives and breathes freedom and soul, and Holly George-Warren captures that spirit perfectly.”
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… And I decided then and there that that was it. I never wanted to do anything else.’ (Telegraph)
“I put up with 23 hours of the day just for that one hour on stage,”’ Cooke remembers, ‘“because I get to get up there and feelJ
Janis’s lover Peggy Caserta said in an interview she’s been blamed for Joplin’s death since revealing in her ghostwritten memoir she and Joplin would shoot heroin constantly and that she and Joplin’s fiancée stood up the singer for a planned threesome. Caserta said, “I saw her foot sticking out at the end of the bed. She was lying with cigarettes in one hand and change in the other. For years it bothered me. How could she have overdosed and then walked out to the lobby and walked back? I’ve overdosed, and you crumble on the floor like how they found Philip Seymour Hoffman. I let it go for years, but I always thought, ‘Something is wrong here.”
About Christmas,’ she writes in one letter, shortly after arriving in San Francisco in 1966. ‘The only thing that I can think of that I want is a good, all round cookbook, Betty Crocker or any good one. Also could use a couple of pairs of tights – if they still sell them… And what is this $20 check for? I think I can afford to buy everyone presents.’ ‘Haven’t heard any word from you yet,’ she writes later, ‘but presume we’re still speaking.’ She goes on to say that ‘everyone seems very taken w/ my singing’ and, ‘Don’t worry… haven’t lost or gained any weight and my head’s still fine.’
‘She wrote lengthy letters, and after she made enough money she made lots of telephone calls,’ Laura says. But for her parents the transformation in their daughter was clearly bemusing. Laura remembers, when Joplin first became famous, the family driving to San Francisco to watch her perform. ‘And I remember one of my parents telling the other, “Dear, I don’t think we’re going to have much influence any more…”
The closest she came to marriage, towards the end of her life, was to a junkie who became a drug dealer and pimp, and later served time for armed robbery. ‘I don’t think she ever identified with the feminist movement per se,’ Berg says. ‘She didn’t wear a bra, she didn’t shave her armpits; she gave men and women, black and white, equal treatment across the board, but she didn’t identify with labels. She just embraced the idea that women can do whatever they want to do and that she was going to follow her own path.
. ‘I might be going too fast,’ she told a New York Times reporter in March 1969. ‘That’s what a doctor said… I don’t go back to him any more. Man, I’d rather have 10 years of super-hyper-most than live to be 70 by sitting in some goddam chair watching TV.’
‘After you reach a certain level of talent, and quite a few have that talent, the deciding factor is ambition, or as I see it how much you really need – need to be loved, to be proud of yourself… I guess that’s what ambition is; it’s not all a depraved quest for position and money, maybe it’s for love. Lots of love.’
On September 18 Hendrix died. ‘Goddamit,’ Joplin told friends, ‘he beat me to it.’ Two weeks later, on October 3, following a recording session at Sunset Sound studios in Los Angeles, Joplin returned to the Landmark motel, where she was staying. The following day Cooke found her dead in her room from a heroin overdose.