Some really interesting stuff here but sometimes the structure is a little loose. Like when McDonough asks interview questions and simply records pageSome really interesting stuff here but sometimes the structure is a little loose. Like when McDonough asks interview questions and simply records pages and pages of responses. He also sometimes goes a bit too far out of topic. Still I am learning so much about NY. It's amazing to see what he had to overcome to get where he is. His first band in L.A.(Buffalo Springfield--or Stephen Stills in particular)would not let him sing his own songs because his voice was too weird. I am glued to it in fascination except for the times my eyes glaze over when McDonough name drops record execs and hangers on for pages at a time that I know nothing about and care even less. Just give me Neil! He's hilarious (there is also extensive quotation from him and his voice is incredible) and such a survivor.
May be spoilers...
So many things I thought I knew were wrong. He talked about Southern Man and Alabama, also Sweet Home Alabama. He loved the line "I hope Neil Young will remember, southern man don't need him around anyhow." Here I spent years indignant whenever I heard that song and Neil says it's a better song than Southern Man. He apparently does a mash up of the two songs live. He admired Lynryd Skynerd and heard that when one member died he was buried in an old Neil Young concert t-shirt he loved.
I love all that insider stuff. It's called "Shakey" because of Neil's epilepsy, another thing I did not know about him. When he was in Buffalo Springfield, he'd invariably have a fit during their closing song and someone would have to hustle him off the stage. Strobe lights could also set off a fit. He is a weird character but in a really interesting way. I do hate "A Man Needs a Maid" (So does a woman, Neil), and "Down by the River"--I always thought that was an old blues song so I let Neil off the hook. But nope he wrote it. And he says it is not about murder but a break up. "Dead, I shot her dead" is apparently a metaphor. (Way to go with imagery, Neil!)
He took far less dope than his cronies and never did heroine, while I thought he'd been a junkie for a while. We find out who he was referring to in "The Needle & The Damage Done."
Lots more to come. I'm not even half way in.
At about 80% this book is becoming a bit of a slog for me, mostly because Young is so prolific that there is a lot of his music I didn't even know about. I really wanted to know how Rust Never Sleeps came about and that was a great section with some real insights but now I'm onto a period of the "Country" Neil, his fights with Geffen Records, his love/hate relationship with CSN, Crosby's drug issues. Stills' drug issues. Neil's flirtation with cocaine and tequila which didn't last too long. There is some interesting stuff (or as Young would say) "innaresting" about Young's reaction to his two sons from two different women being born with cerebal palsy, all he went through, the dark nights of the soul, and just the heavy sadness of that. Young's wife Pegi seems to be (finally) the "one" but other reports of Young go from sweetest/meanest guy in the world. He could be a real jerk, and he could be a real sweetheart. Let's just call him human.
I think in the end, I will be glad I read this book, even though it is really for more hard core fans than I am...that or else it could have used a good edit and cut of about 25%. Young, however, never likes to cut out anything. He likes rough drafts, he likes leaving in the mistakes, and although he is not the author of this book, it is very much in his style. Much to my dismay. And yet I read on because I want to know what happens next. Where I'm at now he has done 4-6 bad projects in a row, so I want to get to the Silver & Gold times:)
The book ends abruptly sometime in the 90s before Neil's "Silver & Gold" album or tour when his wife Pegi joined the band! In the end, I liked it very much despite that. I feel like I know Young inside and out. As for the writer's structure, it is much like Young's career with its ups and downs.
I may change my rating as I read this book. Only 5 chapters in so far, and the writing is just okay. The story is moving a little slowly for me as sheI may change my rating as I read this book. Only 5 chapters in so far, and the writing is just okay. The story is moving a little slowly for me as she fills us in on backstory. How they met, where they met, and some other interesting things. Her view of herself as a life coach/spiritual teacher strikes me as odd and out of alignment with her actions, but I am willing to suspend disbelief at least for now. I do have some sympathy for her...I upped my rating on this book for one reason: I could not stop reading it. I am a not so secret pop culture junkie and to hear her side of this story fascinated me. No excuse for her bad behavior with Edwards but I do know about how a sexual pull can overcome common sense. I learned a lot from a new POV. You might too. Warning: she is very hard on Elizabeth Edwards. John comes off as a little nutty too. I tend to believe her (and John) on the financial end of his spending campaigne funds on her. The jury believed Edwards, too. Now I know why. Not saying I believe every thing she writes, or that she's right to feel she deserved a free ride, just saying her version fits....more
I love books about artists discovering themselves and Colvin's memoir is no exception. What's even more fascinating is that she seemed to stumble intoI love books about artists discovering themselves and Colvin's memoir is no exception. What's even more fascinating is that she seemed to stumble into her career because she really wasn't good at anything else. She had a huge substance abuse problem, which will limit how much and what you can do, but she always found the energy for her guitar. She loved playing guitar and came from a musical family. She had some natural talent for melody. She could listen to a song on the radio and then play it. But writing her own material was an uphill climb and she spent so many years playing in bars covering other singers. She has a beautiful voice, but she doesn't seem to know that. She says something like "I can carry a tune, I can stay in tune, I have a sturdy alto with decent octave range." And I am thinking "Don't you know how pretty your voice is?" That didn't seem to matter to her. She just loved the music. Playing it and singing it and gigging with friends. And also drinking. A lot. And falling in and out of love. A lot. Sounds fun, right? She put a rag-tag sort of life together singing and trying to write songs for a long time before she got a record contract. I was surprised at how difficult songwriting was for her. She mostly did lyrics and found a collaborator for the music. Somehow, from this, she forged a brilliant career. I won't spoil it by saying how. It sure was fun to read about. Why 4 not 5? Her writing skills are not great. Not terrible, and it's a terrific story, but at one point she says something like "I have never attempted to write something of this length. You probably guessed that." She's funny and honest and gives quite a bit of insight into one artist's meandering path to success beyong her wildest dreams. And I love those happy endings:)...more
When I first bought this book, I bypassed my regular "try a sample" approach and just bought it. Love memoir, love writer's memoirs, love Eloisa JamesWhen I first bought this book, I bypassed my regular "try a sample" approach and just bought it. Love memoir, love writer's memoirs, love Eloisa James, buy! Then I started reading it and discovered that instead of a narrative, it was instead a book of blog posts from her year in Paris with her family. So, vingettes. Some were really short. I didn't feel a "through line" like in most memoirs. It was a little bit random. Then, not to far into it, I fell in love with the book. And I thought, wow, if I'd just grabbed the sample first, I'd have missed a terrific read. I'm not done with it yet...will add more. But really, really, love this one....more
I just started this last night. I read the sample and had to buy it. I adored Carole King's Tapestry, one of my favorite albums as a teen. And I loveI just started this last night. I read the sample and had to buy it. I adored Carole King's Tapestry, one of my favorite albums as a teen. And I love memoir, especially memoir of someone who has a talent and tries to make it with their art. I love that moment when, wow, they are on their way to supporting themselves by their art. And then superstardom. So far, I like it will add more when I finish. Okay, finished. Most of the time, King gives all the answers. I don't think she spent enough time on the Tapestry section. For example, who wrote the song lyrics? (I didn't know before but she writes the music and usually her partner writes lyrics). She was brave in other parts, especially about an abusive husband. Fame brings a lot of users out and as much as she tried to be smart, sometimes men used her. At the end of the book she hinted at another memoir. But for me, this one covered the bases. Most of the time....more
I grabbed the sample of this for my Kindle and loved it so I bought it. So far, so good. Will say more after I finished.
Okay done. What a great book.I grabbed the sample of this for my Kindle and loved it so I bought it. So far, so good. Will say more after I finished.
Okay done. What a great book. I had never even heard of the PCT before I read Strayed's memoir about her hike over three mountain ranges. She walked alone for 1000 miles. It took months. And many adventures that would all be spoilers so I'll say no more about those.
There is something about a good redemption story. Strayed had been seriously messed up before she decided on this trip. She wanted to straighten out and see what she was made of...Wow. Wish there were 6 stars because that's how good this story was....more
I’ve been reading Life by Keith (his friends call him Keef) Richards. I recently finished Clapton and I gotta say the two books, by two great guitar pI’ve been reading Life by Keith (his friends call him Keef) Richards. I recently finished Clapton and I gotta say the two books, by two great guitar players who led similar lives (rock star) at the same time (60s London) and had the same addictions (heroin & alcohol), treasures (country mansions), and pleasures (blues music by black Americans), the books are really different.
I liked them both for their own reasons. Clapton describes the scene in London in the 60s, just the sheer numbers of rock and roll bands who started up and played together and supported each other and gigged together–from Hendrix to the Beatles–that was really fun, to see Clapton become a part of that.
Both Keef and Eric worked hard at the guitar, but Keef goes a bit more in depth about how he developed his songs (Mick wrote lyrics, Keef wrote the music and came up with the original spark, often the title or first line). Keef gets really technical about open chords and early recording methods and acoustic vs. electric. I played guitar ten years so I find it fascinating but I think anybody who isn’t a guitar player would be a bit lost, frankly.
What I love most about Life is its sound. A friend asked me if I thought KR used a ghost writer. Really, I don’t. He includes letters he wrote to relatives early on (in one he says “I met this guy named Mick Jagger…”) and the voice and tone has the same irreverent irony as the rest of the book.
*Note added 12/14: At the end of the book, in “About the Authors” a guy named James Fox is mentioned. I didn’t see his name on the cover, and I am reading a Kindle edition, which typically takes you to the first page of the first chapter. Now that I searched through the opening pages, it does say on the inside cover page in tiny letters “With James Fox.” Turns out Fox interviewed Richards extensively and then wrote the book. He maintained the flavor of KR’s voice IMO ...more