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Weighted Down

The Complicated Life of Skip Spence

by (author) Cam Cobb

Omnibus Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2024
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price

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Weighted Down is the first biography of the legendary '60s cult musician Skip Spence.

As a member of era-defining bands Moby Grape, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Jefferson Airplane, Spence played a large part in setting the agenda and aesthetic for many other groups of the era. His only solo album, the hugely psychedelic and occasionally challenging Oar, cemented his reputation, and he has since gone on to be celebrated by the likes of Tom Waits, Beck, and Robert Plant.

However, the musician's life was aggrieved by substance abuse, erratic behavior, and poor mental health. Cobb regards Spence's life as a whole, warts and all, from his visionary recordings, to his idiosyncratic personality and untimely death at the age of 52.

Skip Spence was a soldier, a rockstar, an innovator, an addict, a cult phenomenon, and a ward of the state. The characters in his story include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, B.B. King, Neil Young and many more.

Spence's story is the story of the 60s, and one that has never been told in full. It's the story of San Francisco, the biggest bands in America, Columbia Records, The Hells Angels and rock 'n' roll mayhem.

Weighted Down is a first-hand narrative of Skip Spence, told by his friends, bandmates and family, and includes a trove of never-before-seen photographs.

About the author

Cam Cobb teaches in the Faculty of Education and Academic Development at the University of Windsor. His research focuses on such topics as social-justice issues in special education, co-teaching in adult-learning contexts, and narrative pedagogy in the arts.


Cam Cobb's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Vast and compassionate, offering a nuanced look at Spence's life against a panoramic backdrop of Americana" MOJO

"Cobb has separated the facts from the myths [and] added warmth by involving Spence's children. 8/10" Classic Rock

"Cobb's knack of blending undisputed fact with poetic imagery shines through in this woebegone tale, balancing amphetamine-paced action with the undeniable adoration "everyone" had for the subject." 5***** Shindig!