Bill Bruford is a one of a kind in the sense of the fact he has been employed willingly to either be a member or a hired hand for some of Progressive Rock’s most well known bands, names like YES, King Crimson, GENESIS should paint the picture that Bill was a very busy man!
The Auto biography starts with a copy of the press release from Summerfold Records in which it is announced to the world that Bill Bruford is to retire from Drumming.
Yet the Auto biography covers Bill’s life differently although the way he tells his life story is informative there is no real depth to his insights you get the impression that the majority of the book is about Bill’s view of the world and his opinion!
There are no chapters or pages dedicated to dishing the dirt, which is quite refreshing and professional, At the same time it leaves you thinking that in places the book is rather sanitised. Although Bill is not shy when discussing people like Brian Lane except that Bill is quite polite enough to just scratch the surface with such characters.
As with popular trend with Biographies’ of recent Bill has written this Auto biography in the very way that people remember the past, it does in places flit from say the early 70’s to the early 90’s and then off to the mid 80’s whilst clawing its way back to the early 70’s again which could be confusing for the reader.
For those people who are Genesis fans whom wanted a lot more information about Bill’s short time with Genesis as a hired hand you do not get much, but what you do get is interesting,
(1) When Bill was employed by Genesis from March 1976 to July 1976 Bill was getting paid £500 a week.
(2) Bill became social friends with all the members of Genesis, although he was not required when he left to form UK, Bill even moved to Surrey to be closer to the Genesis social scene.
(3) Bill is quite light on the details of how he joined the group suffice to say that he mentions he was playing percussion in Brand X and he and Phil were chatting about “The Situation” in Genesis.
BUT If your into YES or King Crimson then bill has plenty to say, although I doubt in some respects it is much more than the average fans of such groups wouldn’t already know. Bill goes on to talk about his Masterworks record label and the early days of Earthworks etc Bill’s involvement in Simmons (Electronic Drums) is no more than a page if that which is a shame when you consider he efforts whilst promoting their equipment and Bill well documented use of Simmons drums!
That said the Book is not boring in places Bill shows a dry humour that seems to carry the reader through the parts that you’d otherwise skip.
Bill has been insightful of times and places as well as experiences that we can no longer revisit but if you had bought the book thinking that you were going to get the full story on his involvement with Genesis or King Crimson and Yes you would be disappointed.
But you do get a wealth of information as to how Bill became so skilled at drumming, with Bill practicing and setting up rooms within rooms to keep his drumming quiet, as well as Bill learning different styles, his 70’s drumming was very different in the 90’s as he had shifted from Prog to Jazz!
I do believe the book was worth the money I paid for it, there are a sufficient amount of photos within the book but it’s the words that count.
For more information about Bill Bruford please visit his official website at www.billbruford.com