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Bill Bruford - The Autobiography

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adam525 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote adam525 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Bill Bruford - The Autobiography
    Posted: April 09 2015 at 18:57
This will be a review of Bill Bruford's autobiography.  I ordered this book off of Amazon about 6 months ago and I keep reading it.  I'll flip to different sections and even read parts that I've already read before.  This is to say that to me, it's interesting.

I will say up front that I haven't read many artist biography's.  I read Jeff Beck's, Eric Clapton's, Ozzy Osbourne's, and Motley Crue's - I know the last two may considered "cheesy" by some, but they were "fun".

Bruford's is nothing like those.  You get the sense that (and he confirms this in his book by saying it) that he needed to write a book to bring closure to his career. 

On to the review...

He wrote the book as answers to some of the questions that he's been asked OVER and OVER throughout his career such as "What's it like working with Robert Fripp?" or "Why did you leave Yes?".

The book is well written and well thought out.  One can tell that he wasn't just trying to "cash in" by putting out a book.  It really seems like it was something that he felt he needed to do and the book is that much better for it.

There are a few funny stories and anecdotes in the book, but not as many as I would like.  That's really my only complaint with the book is that there could have been a bit more of that type of stuff.

Other than that, you feel like it's a Sunday evening and you have the chance to sit down and share a few pints with BB and hear about the high and low notes of his career and learn several valuable lessons while doing so.

For aspiring drummers (and musicians alike) there are several tips and tricks that deal with the music business in general that I would encourage anyone to read if they were about to try and play music for a living.  There is plenty of sound advice on that topic indeed.

As I said, there are a _few_ funny stories from his career, but not many.  It's more of a "This is what it was like for me, and I did it for over 40 years".

If you are a BB fan, get the book as soon as you can.

If you are not a BB fan, but are thinking about playing music for a living, get the book as soon as you can.

If you are a drummer, get the book as soon as you can.

If you are just a fan of music and want to read some interesting material, avoid this one.

Adam
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moshkito View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2015 at 09:43
Hi,
 
This is next for me, btw ... it's on the radar.
 
Finshed Wyatt's, Cousins, Zappa's and working on "Comfortably Numb" on PF ... but Bruford is next
 
(ED. Later)
 
Got sidetracked by Luis Bunuel's book!


Edited by moshkito - April 24 2015 at 09:18
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rednight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2015 at 10:01
I sampled three or four pages of the thing on some book web site, and Bruford's writing appeared to suffer from being a tad over-flippant for its subject matter. I mean just tell the story already (I do want to read it in its entirety though).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NutterAlert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2015 at 10:06
personally I did not enjoy this book, and I don't like the way he is so dismissive of his time with Gong and the ethos of that group...Bruford is a bit too much up his own derrier for my liking...
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 30 2015 at 10:25
Originally posted by Rednight Rednight wrote:

I sampled three or four pages of the thing on some book web site, and Bruford's writing appeared to suffer from being a tad over-flippant for its subject matter. I mean just tell the story already (I do want to read it in its entirety though).
 
Smile


Edited by moshkito - May 16 2015 at 16:11
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Moogtron III Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 30 2015 at 14:44
I love the book. I have it a few years now, and I already read it three times.
A book you read over and over again.
Wonderful intelligent observations, and often he's painfully honest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rednight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2015 at 11:43
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by Rednight Rednight wrote:

I sampled three or four pages of the thing on some book web site, and Bruford's writing appeared to suffer from being a tad over-flippant for its subject matter. I mean just tell the story already (I do want to read it in its entirety though).

 
I am not sure that "flippant" is the right word for it. There is no major artist out there, that does not study and stand up for their work, and while Bill has not been a "major" artist in terms of the success derived from millions and millions of sales, he has, for the most part simply learned to play his own music.
 
I do think that it takes guts to do what he did. But sometimes, there is a side of life that is not all wine and roses, similar to the Hollywood "fame" and "star" thing. And not a whole lot of "biographies" discuss anything but the Juicy Lucy stories that we have a thirst for.
 
His takes on a lot of the art and its "definition" is a MAJOR institution in Europe in Germany, France, Italy and even Spain, and other parts of the world, but unfortunately we think that someone that started out playing in a rock band, has to remain a bum the rest of his life.
 
That is not fair!
 
However, this part in the book, is something that I imagine a lot of American folks will not readily appreciate, and not necessarily in a bad way, and even Bill suggests that many times when discussing the differences in the audience in the US and Europe. In America, they don't want "music". It's almost like, they want the "hits". You can see this by YES touring America continually, where they will probably get boo'd in Paris these days! But it is a very valid document, with specific details about things that you need to be aware of, if you want a career in the most damaging place there is! The world of music! Or even the arts! Where today you are competing with others for attention and the media that owns its own "artists' and you are supposed to like them!
 
One thing we're missing here ... is that this is as honest as honest is. And he admits his own faults, including the image and idea that a song can be played perfectly ... when that is one of the most insane evaluations, since you are ever comparing it to an idea and your idea changes minutely every day and every hour! .

Call in Scotland Yard for the detection of some kind of a point, I'm afraid.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 06 2015 at 13:17
Excellent book, but the 2nd half becomes very sad to me as he describes losing his passion...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Angelo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2015 at 00:35
Now I want this book...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Moogtron III Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2015 at 02:58
Originally posted by The.Crimson.King The.Crimson.King wrote:

Excellent book, but the 2nd half becomes very sad to me as he describes losing his passion...

He's so self-conscious and so intelligent that it makes him insecure.
I feel sorry for him in that respect.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 24 2015 at 14:35
Hi,
 
A couple of months later, I'm STILL not feeling as bad about this book, as I originally thought. My concern was that I had conflicting views within myself to be able to write a decent review ... and these days, I'm looking at it, and find that somethings have not changed ... or improved.
 
Reminds me of a short video that he had about drumming, and he was demonstrating a few things on his drum stix and ... he said ... this is the same thing, just done slightly different ... and sometimes, I think that some of his work, was the same thing, but, that's like saying that no one else's is the same thing ... it usually is, specially a drummer! There are not, in my book, that many completely original drummers that do it completely different than anyone else, and no one has the courage to even try what they do. Pierre Moerlin was one, Keith Moon another, Mani Neumeier another ... people that are so different and independent  that it makes the music stand out ... but I am not sure that Bill Bruford was any more important than the rest of the YES membership at his time.
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blacksword Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 08 2015 at 14:10
I went to 'an evening with Bill Bruford' event at a local jazz club when this book first came out. I met him when he signed my copy. Very nice chap.

It's a very interesting read.
Ultimately bored by endless ecstasy!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote deafmoon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2015 at 11:02
I bought this book when it first came out. But truth be told, could not get past a few chapters. I got into Bruford with Yes back in 1972 and followed his every move in and out of bands all along the way til he retired. So for me the book was just a regurgitation of what I already knew. I do owe it a comeback around though to try to get to some nuggets I never read or heard about along the way. 
A more interesting book for me would be Phil Collins - The Drummer Autobiography; only because there is so much on his vocals out there that I stopped following Phil over 30 years ago. Just too damned boring as a singer and never had the lyrical finesse of Peter Gabriel for me. 

Deafmoon
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaldFriede Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2015 at 16:59
Hm, I always give the counter example of "Squonk" and "Ripples" when the lyrics of Genesis after Gabriel are criticized. Both are highly sophisticated lyrics.


BaldJean and I; I am the one in blue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fxdregs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2015 at 11:49
I am on my 5th reading of this informative and entertaining book and recommend it very highly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 29 2016 at 11:48
Hi,
 
I'm planning on reading this book again ... I really want to do a review, just have no idea how to start it, or end it ... soooooo Bruford'ian, it ain't funny!
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rednight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 29 2016 at 13:39
Turn your computer on.
"It just has none of the qualities of your work that I find interesting. Abandon (?) it." - Eno
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2016 at 10:30
Originally posted by Rednight Rednight wrote:

Turn your computer on.
 
Not the issue ... there are 4 of them on! (2 for fun and play and 2 for music playing and such!). I think that the book has more "levels" in it, than I saw at first, and it might have confused me some, and I think reading it again, might give me a better idea.
 
I have the same issue with Marianne Faithfull's book. It is a very nice and very honest book, with a little too much Ajax for me in it, and that is not to say that she could easily discuss the sex and drugs in it a bit more, but she might have been way too ripped to even know there was that much sex around, for example. I do not think that a salacious book is required, but in many ways, it would have represented the whole scene and her involvement in it a lot better.
 
And she does not discuss the theater and later films a whole lot. Bill does the same thing, kinda trying to say something about Red/Starless, but in essence ... saying nothing ... which is a bit strange.


Edited by moshkito - February 05 2016 at 11:45
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote resurrection Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 19 2016 at 02:51
Does Bill mention Harry Hughes (Clouds) in his book? He should do - Harry gave him lessons, and included a contribution by him in his book "UK Rock Drumming" by Premier Drums. Hughes also did the same for Carl Palmer - I don't know if Carl has credited him either. Harry Hughes was revered by his peers as THE drummer. As stated by Billboard Magazine, Hughes was "surely the most technically-brilliant drummer of the early Rock era". 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote socrates17 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2017 at 22:27
Thanks, Adam.  I hadn't heard about it so I just ordered it, thanks to you, from Amazon.  Next up I'm reading Different Every Time.  I report on and review my books (60% SF/F/H, 20% Crime fiction, 20% various non-fiction) on Goodreads, btw, under my real name: Bill Reynolds, if anyone is curious.
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