Books

Musican’s Autobiographies

terry playing bass guitar

Me playing with our band Invisible Airwaves.

Being a bass player, I’ve been fascinated with how other musicians got their start playing, who their influences were, how life on the road was, and so on. Rush’s drummer Neil Peart’s first book, The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa was an introduction for me as an musician autobiography reader and him as a published author. It was interesting to get into the author’s head, learning about his adventures biking with a tour group across the continent.  Before that I had read autobiographies from pilot Chuck Yeager,  Carl Karcher (Carl’s Jr. Restaurants) and Walmart founder Sam Walton.  Not musicians, but definitely good reads.  Of course there have been other non-musician’s books since I’ve started my musician autobiographies such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s autobiography, which is a good one too.

I’ve read a couple biographies and have been underwhelmed by most of them. Jack Bruce’s authorized biography was okay, not exceptional. He was definitely an interesting guy, but I wasn’t a fan of the writing. Maybe it was the style of writing, but it seems a little more exciting to hear of stories in the first person rather than some dude compiling the happenings of someone else. One thing I will say for autobiographies is the author is definitely going to put their own spin on it–the way they want you to hear the story–rather than a 3rd party who may put a different (maybe more truthful) spin on it. That can be good and bad I guess, but so many of the musician’s autobiographies feature their reformed addictions, so hopefully a sober writer will highlight all of their shortcomings in a truthful manner. Isn’t that part of the 12 step program, being honest (step 4)?

Maybe my love of autobiographies made the interviews I’ve done seem more interesting. While I’m not big on small talk with people I don’t know, I’m happy to listen to people tell me stories of their own lives as long as I don’t have to do much except listen. Either way, I will continue to read these special books and hopefully find some gems.

Below is a partial list of some of the books I’ve read, one that’s in process of being read and another that’s on deck. The book images on the page are linked to my Amazon affiliate store, so if you buy from it, I receive part of the proceeds, which funds my website. 🙂 Lately, reading them digitally is the way I prefer, so I recommend the Kindle option. -Terry

AuthorMy RatingLink
Bruce, Jack

Bass player

Cream
3/5
>Cain, Jonathan

Keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter
The Babys, Journey, Bad English
>
Clapton, Eric

Guitarist, vocalist
Cream, John Mayall and Bluesbreakers, Yardbirds,
4/5
Dickinson, Bruce

Vocalist
IIron Maiden, Samson, Tribe of Gypsies, Sack Trick
5/5
Hughes, Glenn

Vocalist, bass player
Deep Purple, Black Country Communion
5/5
Mason, Nick

Drummer, Pink Floyd
4/5
McKagen, Duff

Bass player, guitarist
Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver
5/5
Mustaine, Dave

Guitarist, vocalist
Metallica, Megadeth
4/5
Osbourne, Ozzy

Vocalist
Black Sabbath, Blizzard Of Ozz
3/5
Paul, Les

Inventor, innovator, guitarist,
4/5
Peart, Neil

Drummer, lyricist,
Rush, Buddy Rich Big Band
4/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
Simmons, Gene

Bass player, vocalist
Kiss
3/5
Slash

Guitarist
Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver, Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators
5/5
>>Stanley, Paul

Vocalist, guitarist
Kiss
>>
Sting

Bass player, vocalist,
The Police
4/5
Taylor, John

Bass player
Duran Duran
4/5
Thompson, Ahmir "?uestlove"

Drummer, band leader,
The Roots, Tonight Show Band
3/5
>My current book
>>On deck (next book)