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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 16 August 2012
This book was a gift from an Irish friend who sent me the hardcover version with the orange-y photo. Trusting that there is no material difference between this Jawbone paperback version and the one I read (other than the cover), I have written my review for anyone who is considering buying this book.

When I read that Mike Scott was going to publish his autobiography, I was intrigued. As well as being one of my favourite musicians, his refusal to play the media game has made him a figure of mystery and unexplained contradictions. Also, rock star memoirs tend to be a very mixed bunch, but it's not often that we get the straight goods from the pen of the concerned individual and, as in this case, from someone who seems born to write.

This book is a fascinating read. The style is charming: introspective, intense, lyrical, humorous, self-deprecating but with a kind of proud integrity. The structure is intriguing: each chapter begins with a flash-back in the present tense. Imagine flipping through a photo album, looking at a snapshot (or perhaps a short video-clip) of a particular occasion and then reading about the circumstances surrounding it. This is not a continuous narrative and each episode is deliberately selected but I felt Mike did not shy away from prickly subjects, such as the logistics of taking a band on the road, the difficult decisions he had to make involving contracts, other band members, managers, booking agents, musical choices. It's amazing to see how much influence some of these support players have on the success of a musical release.

I really enjoyed the glimpse we are given into the passion which drives the music, often to the obliteration of everything else. It was fascinating to read the story behind some of the songs: the lengthy evolution of "The Whole of the Moon" from a look at the sky for inspiration and a couple of lines on the back of an envelope to a charismatic, unforgettable musical creation; or the tensions building to boiling-point and erupting in the first draft of "Fisherman's Blues"; or how personal turmoil produced the most exquisite compositions about love and its dramatic demise. The Spiddal sessions and the months in Galway read like a true otherworldly adventure then the book becomes a page-turner. An unexpected bonus: as I progressed through the book, I listened again to the songs mentioned and found that the knowledge gleaned from the stories added so much to my enjoyment of the music and helped me appreciate its deeper layers.

During the promotional drive, Scott gave numerous readings and interviews, and emphasised that this book was all about the musical journey that started with him at a very early age and continues to shape his destiny to this day. I was, therefore, surprised by the personal nature of the narrative and the honesty with which Mike bares his soul in recounting salient points in his life, even when this candour doesn't flatter his image. I think he actually relished the chance to shed some light on his personal spiritual journey and to dispel the misconceptions that inevitably arose. However, there are limits to the disclosure. Mike Scott is clearly a private person and respectful of the people in his life, so it's not surprising that there is none of the usual gossip about kiss-and-tell groupie romps. His two wives, naturally, make an appearance but are not discussed in tabloid-style detail. Tucked in the middle are a few (too few!) black-and-white photos and at the end, a quirky appendix.

For me the disappointing aspect is that the book ends around 2000, leaving a substantial portion of his story untold. While this could point to a possible sequel, Scott himself has been non-committal, saying only that these missing years are still too raw to become book material. Perhaps he wants to wait and see if there is something sensational to write about after he moves back to New York later this year. After all, he has said in interviews that the current Waterboys are hungry for recognition, so perhaps with a fire still burning in his belly and his creativity apparently in full flood, his mature self will manage that most elusive of musical miracles, the come-back with new material. Already his "Appointment with Mr Yeats" has been remarkably well received by critics and public alike. The Waterboys in their new incarnation could well be the breath of fresh air that the currently dismal music scene so badly needs.

Meanwhile it will be interesting to see what kind of havoc this fun-loving, but formidably-focussed master of his trade can wreak with the wind back in his sails. Because one thing is clear: for Scott the music always came first and his perception of what his Muse required to manifest herself has shaped his life and philosophy. If you enjoy a fascinating real-life story, exquisite prose, original turns of phrase and vivid pictorial descriptions, as well as an insight into the mind of one of the most gifted and unorthodox musicians of our times, this book will not disappoint.
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on 24 August 2012
I preordered this book when I came across it on amazon and then immediately forgot about it. Two months later, and the morning before taking a road trip through france, minus children, with my honey, it arrived. My road trip had got off to a good start.

When ever my partner and I get some quality time together we always read a book together. Three days in a windy shack in Cornwall two months earlier we had read Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray and this trip we had D.H Lawrence warmed up as we headed down to Dover. I started reading Mike's books when the misses was off doing her own business but soon suggested to her that we might take a quick break from Lawrence to read Scott.

I've been a fan of The Waterboys since 1990 when I discovered a song called Golden Age on the back of a Whole of the Moon 12 inch. I soon had a collection of albums which I played to death. My closest friends also got involved. It was Fisherman's Blues that taught me and my mates how to play guitar.

A few years past and I was listening to James, Hothouse flowers and the Saw Doctors and living in a Bethnal Green commune. Cycling to Uni one day I cam across a poster which stopped me in my tracks - Mike playing solo in Hackney. I readily informed the others and off we went.

The solo stuff became a backdrop to my experience during the nineties - bring em all in and still burning mirrored what was going on in my own inner life. I found myself in Findhorn workshops via these albums.

The impact Mike's music and lyrics have had on me as a person have been immense. And I should imagine there are thousands like me, who found something common to them through these songs. And so, of course, the book gives you insight 'behind the scenes' of these lyrics ans melodies.

Reading the autobiograpgy with my partner as we camped through France was a highlight of the trip. Of course whilst I was able to pick up on text lifed from lyrics ("I knew she was the one for me, 'I could feel it in my guts'") for both of us it was primarily an engaging read about someone's experience in the world. My partner and I had suggested we might go through the book and highlight similies and metaphors - there are hundreds, practically every sentence has one attached to it! But we found this amusing and perhaps suggestive of the songwriters art.

The thing I got from the book is that the music has always come first in the life of Mike and the Waterboys. His musical experience in Ireland is articulate and profound - although references to looking in a mirror and seeing Pan will make some people's arse twitch. And there's personal tragedy here too. Broken friendships and marriages. The fall and rise of the person of Steve Wickham and the remake of their friendship is moving.

It is a shame it finisihed in 2000. I wanted to read on and on.

I saw The W'boys in Luton in May this year and everything has been transfered to my ipod since.

As Alan Mcgee says of Mike's music 'beatiful and genius'.

Long may it continue...xxx

R
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on 27 March 2013
Following his inner musical and spiritual instincts rather than the road to commercial gain, a personal account of the career of Waterboys mainman Mike Scott was always going to be a fascinating read. Quite a lot has already been reflected upon and revealed in the sleeve notes of reissued albums as well as an excellent unauthorised biography by Ian Abrahams though none of this is a substitute for a summation by Scott himself. And what a fantastic and fascinating autobiography he has produced.

Mike Scott is an avid reader and has always been considered as one of the more intelligent rock stars so it's no surprise that Adventures Of A Waterboy is extremely well written. An excellent mixture of imaginative and more factual chronology works well in a very honest and revealing read about Mike's musical and personal relationships, the highs and lows of his career and his machinations with the music business - despite his instinctive, often spiritual musical moves, his drive for success and uncompromising dealings with those not part of his vision also comes through. Even so, most of the musicians and managers he's spurned at various times don't have lasting bad words to say about him.

Back to the book itself, Adventures Of A Waterboy is episodic for the earlier years before becoming a more continuous biography for the mid-period from third album This Is The Sea (1985) onwards - mid-period only though as the book finishes in 2000 as Mike is still trying to assess the later years himself. Focussing at times on some of the lesser-known parts of the Mike Scott story, AOAW is an excellent read, highly recommended for fans or anyone interested in the workings of the 80s and 90s music business. Always destined to be a fascinating read, the great Scott has surpassed all expectations with this highly literate and honest musical story. Brilliant and well worth the wait.
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on 19 August 2012
Mike has a way with words and writing that I find very engaging. His reflections on the challenges that face the frontman of a band are insightful and honest and reveal a man who clearly has grappled with these on many an occasion. It's fascinating to learn some of the origins of his songs, and to take in what it must mean to have music in your head from a young age and be guided by that so strongly throughout your life, as Mike has. I imagine most people who would be interested in this book will already be a fan of his songwriting, music and live performances, as I am, and I think this book shares with us even more of the inside/outside world of a man who continues to break new ground with his work, with intelligence, warmth, humour and sheer aliveness. I loved this book and highly recommend it.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 6 October 2015
When I read that Mike Scott was going to publish his autobiography, I was intrigued. As well as being one of my favourite musicians, his refusal to play the media game has made him a figure of mystery and unexplained contradictions. Also, rock star memoirs tend to be a very mixed bunch, but it's not often that we get the straight goods from the pen of the concerned individual and, as in this case, from someone who seems born to write.

This book is a fascinating read. The style is charming: introspective, intense, lyrical, humorous, self-deprecating but with a kind of proud integrity. The structure is intriguing: each chapter begins with a flash-back in the present tense. Imagine flipping through a photo album, looking at a snapshot (or perhaps a short video-clip) of a particular occasion and then reading about the circumstances surrounding it. This is not a continuous narrative and each episode is deliberately selected but I felt Mike did not shy away from prickly subjects, such as the logistics of taking a band on the road, the difficult decisions he had to make involving contracts, other band members, managers, booking agents, musical choices. It's amazing to see how much influence some of these support players have on the success of a musical release.

I really enjoyed the glimpse we are given into the passion which drives the music, often to the obliteration of everything else. It was fascinating to read the story behind some of the songs: the lengthy evolution of “The Whole of the Moon” from a look at the sky for inspiration and a couple of lines on the back of an envelope to a charismatic, unforgettable musical creation; or the tensions building to boiling-point and erupting in the first draft of “Fisherman's Blues”; or how personal turmoil produced the most exquisite compositions about love and its dramatic demise. The Spiddal sessions and the months in Galway read like a true otherworldly adventure then the book becomes a page-turner. An unexpected bonus: as I progressed through the book, I listened again to the songs mentioned and found that the knowledge gleaned from the stories added so much to my enjoyment of the music and helped me appreciate its deeper layers.

During the promotional drive, Mike Scott gave numerous readings and interviews, and emphasised that this book was all about the musical journey that started with him at a very early age and continues to shape his destiny to this day. I was, therefore, surprised by the personal nature of the narrative and the honesty with which Mike bares his soul in recounting salient points in his life, even when this candour doesn't flatter his image. I think he actually relished the chance to shed some light on his personal spiritual journey and to dispel the misconceptions that inevitably arose. However, there are limits to the disclosure. Mike Scott is clearly a private person and respectful of the people in his life, so it's not surprising that there is none of the usual gossip about kiss-and-tell groupie romps. His two wives, naturally, make an appearance but are not discussed in tabloid-style detail. Tucked in the middle are a few (too few!) black-and-white photos and at the end, a quirky appendix.

For me the disappointing aspect is that the book ends around 2000, leaving a substantial portion of his story untold. While this could point to a possible sequel, Scott himself has been non-committal, saying only that these missing years are still too raw to become book material. Perhaps he wanted to wait and see if there was something sensational to write about after moving back to New York in late 2012. After all, he has said in interviews that the current Waterboys are hungry for recognition, so perhaps with a fire still burning in his belly and his creativity apparently in full flood, his mature self will manage that most elusive of musical miracles, the come-back with new material. Already his “Appointment with Mr Yeats” has been remarkably well received by critics and public alike. The Waterboys in their new incarnation could well be the breath of fresh air that the currently dismal music scene so badly needs.

Meanwhile it will be interesting to see what kind of havoc this fun-loving, but formidably-focussed master of his trade can wreak with the wind back in his sails. Because one thing is clear: for Scott the music always came first and his perception of what his Muse required to manifest herself has shaped his life and philosophy. If you enjoy a fascinating real-life story, exquisite prose, original turns of phrase and vivid pictorial descriptions, as well as an insight into the mind of one of the most gifted and unorthodox musicians of our times, this book will not disappoint.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 6 October 2015
When I read that Mike Scott was going to publish his autobiography, I was intrigued. As well as being one of my favourite musicians, his refusal to play the media game has made him a figure of mystery and unexplained contradictions. Also, rock star memoirs tend to be a very mixed bunch, but it's not often that we get the straight goods from the pen of the concerned individual and, as in this case, from someone who seems born to write.

This book is a fascinating read. The style is charming: introspective, intense, lyrical, humorous, self-deprecating but with a kind of proud integrity. The structure is intriguing: each chapter begins with a flash-back in the present tense. Imagine flipping through a photo album, looking at a snapshot (or perhaps a short video-clip) of a particular occasion and then reading about the circumstances surrounding it. This is not a continuous narrative and each episode is deliberately selected but I felt Mike did not shy away from prickly subjects, such as the logistics of taking a band on the road, the difficult decisions he had to make involving contracts, other band members, managers, booking agents, musical choices. It's amazing to see how much influence some of these support players have on the success of a musical release.

I really enjoyed the glimpse we are given into the passion which drives the music, often to the obliteration of everything else. It was fascinating to read the story behind some of the songs: the lengthy evolution of “The Whole of the Moon” from a look at the sky for inspiration and a couple of lines on the back of an envelope to a charismatic, unforgettable musical creation; or the tensions building to boiling-point and erupting in the first draft of “Fisherman's Blues”; or how personal turmoil produced the most exquisite compositions about love and its dramatic demise. The Spiddal sessions and the months in Galway read like a true otherworldly adventure then the book becomes a page-turner. An unexpected bonus: as I progressed through the book, I listened again to the songs mentioned and found that the knowledge gleaned from the stories added so much to my enjoyment of the music and helped me appreciate its deeper layers.

During the promotional drive, Mike Scott gave numerous readings and interviews, and emphasised that this book was all about the musical journey that started with him at a very early age and continues to shape his destiny to this day. I was, therefore, surprised by the personal nature of the narrative and the honesty with which Mike bares his soul in recounting salient points in his life, even when this candour doesn't flatter his image. I think he actually relished the chance to shed some light on his personal spiritual journey and to dispel the misconceptions that inevitably arose. However, there are limits to the disclosure. Mike Scott is clearly a private person and respectful of the people in his life, so it's not surprising that there is none of the usual gossip about kiss-and-tell groupie romps. His two wives, naturally, make an appearance but are not discussed in tabloid-style detail. Tucked in the middle are a few (too few!) black-and-white photos and at the end, a quirky appendix.

For me the disappointing aspect is that the book ends around 2000, leaving a substantial portion of his story untold. While this could point to a possible sequel, Scott himself has been non-committal, saying only that these missing years are still too raw to become book material. Perhaps he wanted to wait and see if there was something sensational to write about after moving back to New York in late 2012. After all, he has said in interviews that the current Waterboys are hungry for recognition, so perhaps with a fire still burning in his belly and his creativity apparently in full flood, his mature self will manage that most elusive of musical miracles, the come-back with new material. Already his “Appointment with Mr Yeats” has been remarkably well received by critics and public alike. The Waterboys in their new incarnation could well be the breath of fresh air that the currently dismal music scene so badly needs.

Meanwhile it will be interesting to see what kind of havoc this fun-loving, but formidably-focussed master of his trade can wreak with the wind back in his sails. Because one thing is clear: for Scott the music always came first and his perception of what his Muse required to manifest herself has shaped his life and philosophy. If you enjoy a fascinating real-life story, exquisite prose, original turns of phrase and vivid pictorial descriptions, as well as an insight into the mind of one of the most gifted and unorthodox musicians of our times, this book will not disappoint.
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on 27 January 2013
I absolutely loved this book. In the last 6 months I have read autobiographies by Keef , Eric , Ozzy, Mark E Smith and Peter Hook. Mike Scott's is the only one which is a fantastic piece of writing as well as a rock piece. The really interesting aspect of the book is Scott's spiritual journey as a man as well as the trials and tribulations of a muso. Having watched them deliver a brilliant performance on Jools last year, I was really looking forward to the section leading up to the present, but alas the book finishes at about the turn of the century. I really hope that the next volume is in process.
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on 24 March 2015
I really liked this book, though knowing very little about either Mike Scott or The Waterboys, some of the details of tracks and musicians were lost on me.

I liked it because of:

(1) His detailed description of the process of creativity.
For example:
“Soon I began to notice that rather than making decisions about a song’s content I was following instructions; the music was telling me what to do. It was like being tuned into a wavelength containing the DNA of the song, and the wavelength was informing me.”

(2) His evocative descriptive prose. He really manages to convey something of the magic of experiences that truly move him.
For example: the West Coast of Ireland.
“And I became aware of a subtle presence, a lingering sense of the past, which cloaked the west of Ireland like another dimension as if older times were here simultaneously, overlaid one on another like wavelengths. This presence acted on my imagination like a drug and made everything look huge, as if Ireland was as psychically vast a country as America was huge.”
And: a gospel church in Chicago.
“I could feel it affecting me, making my chest hot, raising goose bumps on my neck and arms, drawing from me a response of profound but inarticulate emotion that made me want to cry, jump, hide and fall on my knees all at the same time.”

(3) His genuine warmth towards his friends. This is particularly evident when writing about his colleagues in The Waterboys, Steve Wickham “the fellow who fiddles” and Anto Thistlethwaite “the human saxophone”. I note that these relationships also clearly had their ups and downs, and that Mike seems to have been the employer and the others the employed.

(4) His vulnerability. This is mainly evident in reading between the lines throughout the book, but is most apparent in his relationship with the (presumably) pseudonymous Kate Lovecraft.

(5) His account of the kindness of Patti Smith when he blagged his way successfully into her hotel as a young fan in 1978.

I bought the book because a year or two ago I went to a Waterboys gig promoting the Fisherman’s Blues box set. I’d never heard them before and knew nothing about them, but they were so good that I got hold of the original Fisherman’s Blues CD. When I looked them up on Wikipedia I saw that Mike Scott had spent time in the Findhorn Community. I wondered what he made of this experience and this prompted me to buy the book.
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on 25 December 2013
This is a wonderfully written book. Unlike most rock autobiographies, Mike has an inspirational turn of phrase so reminiscent in his lyrics. Rain isn't just rain but some mythical experience bathing the Earth from Heaven, heralding the birth of a new life. Almost poetry.

Mike Scott has long attempted to impart a new age way of beliefs in his music. This is a central core to his music as he travels from Scotland to London to Ireland to New York and back again, discovering his life journey. What surprised me most was just how ruthless someone so interested in spirit and community Scott could be. Colleagues, band members and even close friends could be jettisoned at the drop of a hat if it wasn't right for Mike. How it affected others wasn't really part of the equation. I felt especially sorry for Anthony Thistlewaite. Anto wasn't just a band member but a founder, every bit as much as Mike. He contributed songs, ideas and direction - so much so, that Mike talks about an almost telepathic bond. Yet, Mike ditches him when he feels he doesn't think Anto can contribute to the next album. Yet, Dream Harder features saxophone, mandolin and all the other instruments in a direction reminiscent of the pre-Fisherman's Blues Waterboys - a direction that Anto had a direct hand in.

The book's entitled Adventures of a Waterboy and that's really what it is. Mike's personal life isn't mentioned much. How did he meet his wife Irene? Where did he propose? What were their shared interests? Did she go to New York with him? What was her reaction to Findhorn? There's little mentioned. Witness the majority of his other relationships too.

As others have said, it's frustrating when the book ends. Steve Wickham gets just about in on the reunification (and the Fellow Who Fiddles makes Mike brutally aware of what he thought of his ditching) but what about Anto? I know they still play together but as friends? As a business? Now that the charts are pretty much dead, where does Mike see his future direction (i.e. from 2000 on)? I'd love to know.

All-in-all, a compelling book but it does show a side to Mike Scott I never knew existed. Still one of my favourite music writers and a superb telling of a journey from the cutting edge of rock to a step back in time, then back again.
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I'm not in the habit of buying books about, but especially by, musicians (though there are always exceptions) because they usually aren't very well written and most so-called autobiographies are ghost-written. Scott, however, is an exception because he happens to be very literate and an good writer. He's also, I believe, quite honest about himself (mostly).

Scott is, of course, a Scot who was given an acoustic guitar and a Rolling Stones album for his tenth birthday by his father who didn't see him again for over thirty years. From a young age, Scott has been making music in his head and this book really is all about him trying to get it out of there and into the world. He became a punk, started a fanzine and wrote a letter to Patti Smith asking for an interview. Smith invited him to London, paid for his hotel room (in her hotel), gave him the interview, and, either in person or with another band member, looked after him there and at the theatre, an act of completely unexpected kindness from her to a 19 year old kid.

Time passed, Scott formed the Waterboys and what happened next takes up the bulk of the book from thunderous rock in to rootsy Celtic folk style and out again and... He's generally honest about himself, telling stories which don't show him in too good a light, and also about other people. He's also the first to give praise to the musicians and other people he's met and worked with where it's due and criticism where it isn't.

Perhaps he may be a little coy about his relationships with various girlfriends but then this isn't a kiss and tell story. He does go into detail about his traumatic relationship with a needy decade-older alpha New York woman, but is more tactful about his first wife. The story of how he met his second wife is rather sweet and it happened when he retreated to the humanist mystical community of Findhorn which he portrays as a fascinating and open place. To me, Findhorn sounds like a place for those, too intelligent to be suckered in by traditional religions, but who seek varying paths to uncover some form of transcendent truth though I have to say that what Scott discovers is rather appealing even while the cynical side of me thinks it's mystical bullshoot for intellectuals. Be nice if they were right though. Anyway, he finds himself attracted to a young dance teacher and after some deep thinking decides she is the love of his life and invites her out. She accepts but doesn't realise it was for a date and confesses she hadn't really thought of him in that way. A little while later, she asks to go out with him again and admits to doing some deep thinking of her own and has decided that she does like him in that way and over twenty years later it looks as if all the deep thinking arrived at the correct conclusion. Nice.

Scott is a good writer, he's an interesting person, and I really enjoyed reading this book. My only grumble is that it stops around the time of the millennium thereby omitting the next ten years of his life.
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