Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Book Review: Eric Clapton's Autobiography

Book Review
Title: Clapton, The Autobiography (of Eric Clapton)
Writer: Rick Galusha

In a spate of high profile rock n’ roll autobiography’s Eric Clapton’s book leans on stark honesty including his now twenty year sobriety. With three inductions into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Clapton’s musical history is long and storied: he has a lot of ground to cover in a relatively short book. Unlike the meticulously documented ‘Shakey’ biography on Neil Young, Clapton’s book relies on memories and his diaries. Compared to Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s tome, Clapton’s book is too short for this reader.

Due to his lengthy career Clapton is forced to briefly deal with his historic past including playing a pivotal role in the Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & the Domino’s, Bonnie & Delaney, and his solo career. While I’ve never considered myself a Clapton fan(atic), I find I have numerous albums - so there must be something to this guy. What’s most interesting about Eric Clapton’s career is his resiliency; the ability to pen &/or perform tunes that embed themselves into rock’s lexicon while being a member of a myriad of successful bands. Virtually any band he’s been a part of would have guaranteed his position in rock history but to have been a significant member of at least six bands as well as building a platinum solo career is a staggering feat.

In many ways Clapton’s life can be boiled down to three facets that impacted the other; music, substance abuse and miscarriages of love. As the bastard son of a Canadian airman, young Ric Clapp is raised by his Grandparents in post-war Britain unaware that his “Aunt Pat” is actually his mother. A youthful incident regarding sex and his mother’s apparent rejection of him seems to lead Clapton to an unsettled life pursuing rejection while walking away from stability – exemplified in his shifting band memberships and vast myriad of women.

The book is filled with woeful recollections leading to heroin addiction which is replaced with alcoholism, a relapse and eventually love and sobriety. Freshly sober Clapton’s only son, two year old Conor dies tragically in a fall out of a skyscraper window. Clapton recounts the numbness of his son’s death and the struggle to find balance in his life. While mourning for his son he writes his only (to date) self penned number one tune, ‘Tears in Heaven’ about his loss. Clapton shares that his best selling album, ‘Unplugged’ was perhaps due to fans wanting to express their shared grief in his son’s death.

He recounts the decision to open ‘The Crossroads’ treatment center in an effort to offer sobriety to other addicts including the concerts and guitar auctions which raised nearly $13,000,000 for the clinic; his albums with BB King and then JJ Cale. Clapton also shares his close friendship with the late George Harrison with readers including marrying his wife. With a life filled with significant events and people there is a lack of depth and detail in the book; however, as Clapton’s own life defogs his recollection and sharing becomes stronger. He states his primary purpose in life is remaining sober and helping others in their struggle. He shares the dilemma of being ‘an old dad’ with a young wife and raising three daughters. The book leaves you sharing a hope for the future and a feeling that you know a bit more about an otherwise private person and the events and obstacles in his life. It is a quick and entertaining read.

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