on 29 October 2006
Rock biographies are not known for their literary excellence.Usually ghost written they are often vain and self absorbed and good only for the bargain buckets.
This then is a remarkable achievement.In "One train later" Andy Summers tells the tale of a struggling musician with such verve and clarity that you are willing him to be the success he ultimately was.
As a teenager I was a huge Police fan and Summers was my favourite-even then he appeared to be taking the fame with humour and good grace.
The highs and lows are well documented, the madness of the 60's highly evocative but it is the story of The Police which will touch readers of any generation.
An astonishingly well written book and recommended to anyone who thinks they might want to be in a band.
on 23 October 2006
This book is an absolute treat , if you love music ,guitars i highly reccomend this book for those reasons alone but it gets better the book is written with such passion you will enjoy reading it even if you have never even heard of andy summers , somehow the iconic author manages to pull off one of the best musical memoirs ever written its laced with nostalgic childhood memories and rich in musical history , it really is a fascinating journey documenting the life and career of a passionate man ,without the usual pontificating typical of many biographies , you actually learn something its very informative ,emotional and there is no shortage of humour , i simply couldn,t put the book down , i enjoyed it from cover to cover .*****
on 29 August 2007
I always knew Andy Summmers had had a bit of a history before joining The Police but I never knew it was so long and fascinating. From being a perenial nearly man of rock, he alighted from the same train as Stewart Copeland and the rest ........
In 'Book 1' he describes his early jazz and psychedelic period including encounters with Clapton, Hendrix (relegating him to playing bass) and Burdon. Some of his andectotes are so incredible, you have to wonder how much license he's employed but the stories are great and the vision of a teenage Summers chasing Hank Marvin down the street had me in fits. 'Book 2' looks at his career to 1983 with The Police and documents the decadent excesses that cost him his marriage.
In telling the tales about his guitars, including his iconic 'telestratocaster', he gives a great insight to his influences, his techniques and his choice of 'weapon'.
As well as a guitar player, Summers displays his skills here as a good writer whose style compares well with many a good fantasy / fiction author. This was a can't put down book for me. Massively recommended for guitarists, Police fans, romantics and anyone who likes a good tale told well.
on 13 July 2010
Having just finished One Train Later, I am both nostalgic for The Police and their music, and simultaneously left feeling that this thumping big book (444 pages) could have been more carefully put together. I don't blame its excellent author, the great Andy Summers, but suspect rather that this work may have been put out in a little bit of haste, in order to raise awareness of the band before the (then) forthcoming Police reunion tour.
It's a great read, let down slightly by some glaring errors and typo's. :
For example, although he is a bit vague on actually stating the year at various points in the early part of his book, Mr Summers gives his age next birthday as "23" when he would have been several years older than that (end of the 1960s). At no point does he mention being born in 1942 although this is common knowledge and nothing to be concealed in any way. In a later chapter, Slovenia is called a "Baltic" state, when it is, of course, a BALKAN state! A little later still, and we have the cheerful translation (albeit in a jestful mood) of "The Police" as "EL Policia", when it should be "La Policia". Picky? Maybe. But in an otherwise fine work, it's a shame that someone, not necessarily the author, let these howlers through. Perhaps the proof-readers had the music turned up too loud or something.
Similarly, there are rather a large number of typographical errors, too numerous and tedious to reproduce here.
However, DON'T BE PUT OFF! I've given this book 5 stars because it's an insightful revelation of Andy Summers the man, not just the rock guitarist and he's a really interesting man. Like any rock personage, he's been through the usual temptations, regrets, rages, habits, etc., but there's a happy ending - so please don't turn to the last chapter until you get there! Along the way this book will entertain you with personal history, great anecdotes and hearty humour throughout.
All in all, thoroughly recommended, especially if, unlike me, you can turn off your pedantism and ignore mistakes. Enjoy!
on 25 December 2012
Although not a huge fan of The Police,as a guitarist myself I'd always liked some of the sounds Andy Summers could get from the instrument that differed from the usual rock/pop cliches.Also,as someone born in 1942,his apprenticeship started at the dawn of the rock/pop era so he is also a real voice of experience.On the whole,it's a decent read.What I like about Summers is that the entire motivation for his career is simply a love of music rather than money/fame/women(these would arrive eventually)and when you read his descriptions of the crappy venues,filthy digs and occasionally hand-to-mouth existence,I for one wouldn't begrudge him the odd groupie or 3!Here is someone who has paid his dues several times over and kept going when many wouldn't.The book is written with refreshing honesty and a fair bit of humour..his description of a post Police gig in Slovenia in the early 90's is both funny and disturbing in equal measure(ditch that agent mate!).The one thing that lets it down for me is the absence of any decent photographs.As Andy was/is an enthusiastic lensman,I assumed that there would be plenty of pics from down the years but all we get is the odd fuzzy black and white print scattered sparcely through the book which is a shame.Just one last observation..at the point where his marriage breaks up amidst the sex/drugs/rock n'roll cliches,it's worth mentioning that Andy Summers was touching 40 years old..not exactly a spring chicken!But the phrase 'old enogth to know better' doesn't often apply to the music biz.If someone is chucking chemicals into themselves and screwing around at that age then they don't deserve a missus so his words of woe over his divorce ring hollow to these ears..the fact she took him back is maybe a last pay-off for all those fart filled nights travelling in a crappy van to those awful gigs!Feel lucky Andy...
on 15 March 2013
I read this tome to gain some insight on AS's earlier years, which was all there really.
He was present through rock's formative years, having met many famous figures on his way.
What was quite unexpected, was the nightmare that was his eventual success & fame.
My interest in the Police years is limited, but for any Police fan, much can be gleaned from these pages.
Don't much care for the "Americanisms" that pop up now and then, from an English viewpoint . .
(ie, how we speak English this side of the pond)
I found "trunk" for "boot" quite distracting for instance, in the era before he went west,
more so perhaps, because AS himself is English.
I have nothing against an American tale or two, but the "language" mix is odd in places.
A minor gripe.
Overall, AS has made a fine job of surviving.
Buy it and be entertained.
on 9 June 2015
A right good read this. As a massive Police fan I was interested to read the truth about the rise (and fall) of this pop phenomenon. This book doesn't disappoint. Summers tells us, warts and all, and it's fascinating stuff. I would highly recommend.
on 20 March 2013
When I got a copy of the Regatta de Blanc LP by the Police, the guitar work of Andy Summers led me to change the way i played, reading this book over thirty years on is as inspiring in its own way.
Frank and unvarnished, the book tells the story of his 60's band work, Police and personal life, it is one of those books you cannot easily put down. if you are a musician, it resonates with you, you know the score, you've been there with the tensions, anxieties and moments of glory of being a performer, I think that this is one of the best books written by a musician about being a musician.
Although most known for his playing in the Police, Andy Summers is a truly multi-dimensional player, not bound by any one genre.
on 15 January 2007
Well I nearly didn't get past page 20 but I'm glad I persisted. At first I thought Andy Summers had swallowed a thesaurus and was determined to cough most of it back up. I don't know if he thought he needed to introduce obscure words ("fuliginous vinyl" anyone?) or clunky phrases ("he makes the purchase of" - what's wrong with "buys"?) to establish his literary credentials, or what, but it put my teeth on edge and nearly drove me to give up on the book. As it turns out this would have been a shame because he has a great story to tell and after a while manages to relax into just telling it. So we get to hear about trading guitars with Clapton, jamming with Hendrix, living in Laurel Canyon with The Animals, and that's before the Police days which are the highlight of the book. And the book's most endearing qualities are a lack of bitchiness towards those whose path he crossed, and an honesty about his own personal shortcomings. Ultimately, then, a highly enjoyable read if you can get past the early pages. Oh and "fuliginous"? Sooty or soot-coloured. Waddya mean everyone knows that?
on 21 April 2014
As someone who was never a particularly big fan of The Police, I was surprised by what a good read this was. I got through it in a couple of sessions. I was also surprised at how much Andy Summers had been around prior to being in The Police. This is a must read for anyone interested in bands.