Engaging memoir by the guitarist for megaselling rock band The
Police.Summers's account of his eventful career as a journeyman
musician focuses squarely on his devotion to music and the process
of mastering his instrument; those hoping for a lurid,
behind-the-scenes tell-all will be disappointed. For the record, he
paints Police front man Sting as self-involved and high-handed,
drummer Stewart Copeland as motor-mouthed and overbearing-but he
doesn't dwell on these traits. Nor does he dwell on drugs consumed
and groupies enjoyed, describing such diversions as mundane aspects
of the itinerant musician's life. More interesting is his life as a
perennial cusp-of-fame British Invasion utility man in a career
that included stints with the Animals; Zoot Money's Big Roll Band;
and Neil Sedaka. He rubbed shoulders with Clapton and Hendrix,
toured relentlessly and practiced, practiced, practiced, finding
himself at the end of it broke and giving guitar lessons to survive
for an extended period in the 1970s. But then he met Sting and
Copeland. The author analyzes incisively the unique sound of The
Police, which benefited greatly from his past forays into jazz and
classical guitar, bringing an unprecedented degree of musicianship
to the era's requisite "punk" sound. The most arresting passages
here describe the group's mammoth world tours: He sharply observes
the cultural strangeness of Japan (where he runs afoul of the
yakuza) and his experiences in Eastern Europe and the military
dictatorships of Argentina and Chile-simultaneously terrifying and
surreally amusing, as are his adventures as John Belushi's drug
buddy. Summers is refreshingly endearing, with a self-deprecating
wit, brisk pacing and elegant turns of phrase.A pleasant journey
through some of pop music's more interesting times. (Kirkus
In this remarkable book, world-renowned guitarist Andy Summers
provides a revealing and passionate account of a life dedicated to
music. From his first guitar at age 13 and his early days on the
Bournemouth music scene, to his relationships and encounters in
London and the US with Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, Jimi Hendrix,
Eric Clapton, John Belushi and Eric Burdon, among others, Summers
proves himself a master of telling detail and dramatic anecdote.
But, of course, the early work is only part of the story, and
Andy's account of his role as guitarist for The Police - a gig he
almost didn't get, despite the wishes of bassist/singer Sting,
until a chance encounter with drummer Stewart Copeland on a London
train - is the first full inside story of the band ever published.
The heights of fame that The Police achieved have rarely been
duplicated, and they were rivaled only by the personal chaos that
such success brought about, an insight never lost on Summers in the
telling. With never-before-published photos from Summers' personal
collection, One Train Later is a constantly surprising and poignant
memoir, and the work of a first-class writer.
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