Jesse Jarnow

Hi! I’m Jesse. I’m a writer and a DJ on WFMU. The Frow Show airs live late-night every Monday from midnight to 3am on WFMU–91.1 in NYC, etc.–and wherever in time-space you are through the archive. You can follow along with whatever I’m currently doing by way of Twitter.

My newest book, Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America, came out in 2016 through Da Capo and is out in the universe now. You can read more about it (and order it) here. You can find out about all upcoming Heads events (and get psychedelic news and history) via the good ol’ @HeadsNews Twitter account. Heads Talks hit the road in June 2016, a traveling and rotating symposium on psychedelics, psychedelia, the Dead and more, recapped in Heads News #12, #13, #14, & #15Get in touch if you’d like to bring a Heads Talk to your town.

I’m currently at work on a new book, Wasn’t That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the American Soul, scheduled for publication by Da Capo in 2018.

I’ve also launched a more personal newsletter, to be dispatched judiciously, with book news, recent articles, Frow Show updates, links, and other ephemera.

Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock came out in 2012 via Gotham Books. You can acquire it via Powell’s or other fine book purveyors. A Spanish translation by music journalist Ignacio Julià is available through Sones. Follow @big_day_coming for rare YLT/indie nuggets, current setlists, playlists, ephemera, deep cuts, and book news.

I’ve got a highlights reel of favorite articles and miscellaneous writing here. All episodes of the Frow Show are archived. I’ve written liner notes for the Grateful Dead, Numero Group, RVNG, and others, and talk about that and related/unrelated topics in an interview I did with

A few years ago, I helped assemble and wrote lots of notes for a DVD of my father’s animation, called Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow, produced by the truly excellent humans at Numero Group, collecting the films he made for Sesame Street and elsewhere.

Some pieces I’ve done have been featured in collections. I’ve also done a bit of educational writing. There’s lots of material scattered around this site, mostly under the category headers on the right-hand column.

I play in a band. We have an album called Useless Smile. You can follow our adventures on Twitter.

Which is also where I’m at most of the time.

Some recent work (less than usual until new book is done):
13 Shows. No Repeats. Trey Anastasio on How Phish Pulled Off the Baker’s Dozen (plus outtakes) (New York Times, 8/17)
Phish’s Baker’s Dozen: Part 1, Part 2 (, 7/17 & 8/17)
Cornelius, Mellow Waves (Pitchfork, 7/17)
James Elkington, Wintres Woma (Pitchfork, 7/17)
Guerilla Toss, GT Ultra (Pitchfork, 7/17)
The Beach Boys, 1967: Sunshine Tomorrow (Pitchfork, 7/17)
The Grateful Dead: A Guide to Their Essential Live Songs (edited this & wrote several entries) (Pitchfork, 5/17)
Man Forever, Play What They Want (Pitchfork, 5/17)
When the Grateful Dead Came to Town: The Grateful Dead in Minnesota (City Pages, 5/17)
Grateful Dead, Get Shown the Light (Pitchfork, 5/17)
Ned Lagin, Cat Dreams (Relix, 4/17)
Transcribing Audio Sucks – So Make Machines Do It (, 4/17)
How Jerry Garcia’s Alligator Strat Earned Its Teeth (, 4/17)
We Shall Overcomb: Music as Protest at the Women’s March (Pitchfork, 1/17)
Flaming Lips Talk Work Ethic, Taking Ayahuasca with Miley Cyrus (, 1/17)
Shintaro Sakamato, Love If Possible (Pitchfork, 1/17)
Best of 2016, new music & more (Google Doc, 12/16)
Pink Floyd, The Early Years, 1965-1972 (Pitchfork, 12/16)
Bob Dylan, The 1966 Live Recordings (Pitchfork, 12/16)
Why Psychedelic History Matters (VolteFace, 12/16)
Why Two Scientists Have Developed an Extraordinary Way to Extend DMT Trips (The Influence/Vice, 8/16)
The New Golden Age of Guitar (Relix, 7/16)