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One Train Later: A memoir


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Andy Summers is a Grammy Award winner, an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Guitar Player Hall of Fame, and was the guitarist for The Police. He lives in California.


Summers a musician best known for playing guitar in the seminal 1980s band the Police recounts the details of his time in the spotlight and his circuitous and fantastic journey toward fame in a memoir that is just as generous (and sometimes meticulous) in providing details as it is in exploring the human toll of living out the "collective fantasy" of being a "rock god." There are many great rock moments that dazzle hanging with Clapton, jamming with Hendrix, hallucinating with John Belushi but the less extraordinary memories make for a more compelling narrative: he recalls his childhood in England, where, after an "immediate bond" with the guitar, "the spiritual side of life slowly fills with music." Narrated in the present tense and with occasionally vivid language (Summers recounts "the familiar backstage" as "the taste of Jack stuck on a Wheat Thin"), every rock clich? is described (drugs, sex, ego), but, refreshingly, little is romanticized. This is a stage-side account of the birth, rise and dissipation of the Police and fans of the band will not be disappointed but it is also an honest travelogue of a British kid who, subsisting "on a diet of music and hope," traversed the most coveted landscapes of pop culture and lived to write about it. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

A consistently droll read [Summers] freely acknowledges the many idiocies and falsities of the rock'n'roll life but is equally assured of music's redemptive, unifying force. - Q - A Joy to read One Train Later should sit happily between those other life-in-a-band classics, Ian Hunter's Diary of a Rock'n'Roll Star and Julian CopeSummers leaves no stone unturned, even at the risk of casting himself in a less than flattering light. Truly great. - Record Collector

Summers is best known as the guitar player for the Police, one of the best-loved and most enduring bands of the 1980s. But he was also part of the British rock scene of the 1960s and 1970s-friends, in fact, with icons like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Burdon of the Animals (with whom he shortly played). In this finely written memoir, Summers details growing up in 1950s England; discovering the guitar, jazz, and Zen Buddhism; rambling around the London and Hollywood drug scenes of the 1970s; and his playing with the Police. The narrative ends six months after their last performance together at New York's Shea Stadium, following the band's decision to split up at the peak of their popularity. Readers curious about the dissolution will find lots of insight, at least from Summers's point of view. This terrific book should be in demand in public libraries. For academic libraries collecting rock'n'roll history, it is essential.-Todd Spires, Bradley Univ. Lib., Peoria, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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