39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very much one of a kind
This is possibly the best rock autobiography I have ever read.
Erudite, articulate and well-informed, Bruford's prose is in many ways an extension of his drumming - smart, sharp and possessing of a wicked sense of humour. His tales of frustration at the jobbing musician's lot, and the apparently perennial inscrutability of Robert Fripp, are wryly funny, his...
Published on 1 April 2009 by Manir Donaghue
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but.............
I was really looking forward to this biography. Bruford has been at the centre of, as far as I am concerned, some of the most interesting and innovative bands of the last 40 years and has known and played with countless significant musicians. I was looking forward to a revealing insight into those experiences and of Bill's life in the incredible piece of musical history...
Published on 14 May 2009 by Paul B
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life well played,
This review is from: Bill Bruford: The Autobiography: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks and More (Paperback)This is, I think, the best book (of many) I have read in 2009 and one of the most interesting and intelligently-written autobiographies of a creative in any field that I have come across. I was lucky enough to know Bill for a while at the beginning of his career and hang out at a few gigs. What he was then, is what he seems to be now - honest, witty, smart, gifted, dedicated, disciplined and grounded. To see the life and career he crafted since is inspiring and personally, I am deeply respectful of it. In this book are the truthful and understated opinions of an English gentleman impelled down the path of a true artist. It is a book of self-disclosure, intelligent synthesis and interpretation, full of questions, stories and paradoxical dilemmas. This 'thick-skinned self-doubter' has gifted through his life's work musical treasures, compelling lessons and personal examples. After reading this I felt like trying harder and persisting with my small efforts. Thanks Bill.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent and entertaining,
This review is from: Bill Bruford: The Autobiography: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks and More (Paperback)I have loved and respected Bill Bruford's drumming ever since I first heard him on Red (my first King Crimson album) back in 1976.
The appearance of this autobiography has been very welcome. As a professional musician I fully understand and respect Bruford's decision to "hang up the sticks" and go into retirement. Peering into the pages of this fascinating book will make it obvious that he is fully entitled to have made that decision a year or so short of his 60th birthday.
The style of the book is blunt and honest to a fault, albeit without falling into gratuitous coarse language, unlike so much "rock biography". As a long-time King Crimson enthusiast I was, naturally, very drawn to his views on the inner workings of that band. The rest of the book is, however, equally interesting, not least Bruford's ruminations about the jazz world.
Besides being highly entertaining, informative and often funny, the book contains a great deal of erudition. Although this aspect of the book tends to be so involved as to become occasionally muddy , it does not detract from the very satisfying whole.
Particularly endearing is Bruford's modesty regarding his achievements. He is widely regarded as one of the world's great drummers, yet he is highly self critical.
I would happily recommend this excellent book to any music lover, particularly to one who has a love of great drumming.
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the Best Rockography there is....,
This review is from: Bill Bruford: The Autobiography: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks and More (Paperback)OK - so 5 starts, a grand headline. It actually doesn't come better than this. The book is a great easy read, riddled with humour including the self deprecating type, and the English Irony. The book is assembled with "most asked fan questions" as chapter headings which mostly holds the whole thing together, although I must confess sometimes the chapter contents versus chapter title do streeeetch things a little.
Bill's knowledge of himself, his surroundings, and his peers is supreme. There is no sensationalism, and the few "digs" at other are done with kind humour. There is no hate or jealousy in the text, and no self aggrandisement. If you are interested in the quality music of the last 40 years, then this is simply a must. For those of general interest, get it for your next holiday, long plane journey, And anyone else with any interest in music or just a plain good read, buy it for your loved one - birthday or christmas - yup! Kill two birds with one stone, once they have read you can have it all to yourself to read!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Bill of writes,
3.0 out of 5 stars Why Give Up Bill?,
The latter half of the book has a recurring theme that Bill has decided to call it a day before he gets found out. He shares with the reader that kick in the gut experienced by drummers who attend drum clinics and hear kids rattling out incredible rudiments before blazing around their kits with their hands and feet creating an amazing visual and aural blur. We've all been there and it is quite shocking (to drummers at least) that a man with Bills skill should give up so easily.
Ask yourself this question Bill, why havent Ringo and Charlie Watts given up?
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and tedious,
Because so much of it was quite diverse, I was looking forward to reading about the origins of his inspiration, interesting tales from the bands he played with etc.
However I found his dry world-weary style grated and The end resuly pretty tedious.
4.0 out of 5 stars well-written, informative but bitter, and even hateful,
I couldn't resist quoting this (below) from p. 326 though. I, Alan Partridge anyone?:
'I was well rewarded in the publishing and performance credits for a King Crimson improvisation called ''Trio'' of 1973, and rightly so, although my only contribution had been silence. Had I played, I would have materially altered the composition, so my silence spoke eloquently enough to warrant a royalty share.'
4.0 out of 5 stars This is not sex, drugs or rock and roll,
The first half covers the first 20 years of his career primarily as a member of Yes and the Mighty Crim (as he refers to King Crimson). He covers the tortuous process of putting music together when struggling to combine multiple conflicting and large egos. I found this half of the book somewhat "cooler" than the second half that covers his endeavours (largely successful) to move into a more artistically variable jazz environment. The second half also touches on the dynamics of trying to balance family life with the demands of striving to stay on the top of his game.
It is very clear that BB has approached his artistic "job" with a huge amount of responsibility and dedication, the results of which we should all be grateful.
The book ends with a somewhat academic analysis of the history of the "music business" and is somewhat depressing in its conclusions. The winding down and ultimate end of his live playing is also rather melancholic.
A very honest book about the man and his life in music that I imagine is of interest to general music listener (me) and practitioners alike.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting in part,
As an autobiography it has some great and interesting moments, with insights into the early days of Yes, the nightmare of King Crimson and his conversion to the joys of jazz. We learn a little about his technique (but not much - I would have liked to know more about how he learnt his formidable technique, which is dismissed in a few lines of "just banging about on practice pads"), and there is some discussion of how tunes get it together in the studio.
But large parts of the book are quotes and extracts from "learned" and "academic" treatises - not sure I really wanted pages and pages of other people's ideas in the story of Bill Bruford's life...
So, I am afraid 5 stars for the interesting bits and 1 star for the boring bits - an overall score of 3 stars.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for drummers,
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Bill Bruford: The Autobiography: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks and More by Bill Bruford (Paperback - 6 Mar 2009)