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Life in Double Time: Confessions of an American Drummer Hardcover – January 1, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A musician's life on the road may not be most people's ideal holiday scenario, but Mike Lankford offers a raucous and poignant perspective of America's Midwest. From the teen club in Oklahoma where at 13 he first saw a live rock-and-roll band and learned to distinguish between two camps of drummers to two years drumming as the "salt" in "Salt & Pepper," a Chicago blues band, Lankford's stories ring true while they entertain.

From Publishers Weekly

Lankford, who was born in Oklahoma in 1951, isn't famous, nor does he know anyone who is. Like legions of teenagers before him, he fell in love with rock and roll and chose to play the drums. He pestered his mother for a kit, practiced in his garage, dealt with kids of disparate ego and ability and eventually toured the country with two weirdly charismatic black musicians from Chicago in a dilapidated truck, playing anything and everything the audience requested. Then he quit for 15 years. He recently returned to pound the bass pedal behind all kind of musicians and to write this memoir, which has an off-kilter kind of charm. The chronology occasionally falters, the prose veers alarmingly from lyrical to workmanlike and Lankford, when he isn't being droll, isn't shy about touching on drug use or terminal boredom. At the end of the book, he deals in a frustratingly truncated manner with his decade and a half of exile?graduate school in Iowa plus years spent "making friends" with Shakespeare, Faulkner et al.?and his sudden return to drumming. Before that Lankford is far more expansive. There are choice moments of panic, fear, elation and abject terror. There are a few stabs at romance along the way, and one memorable night when his crash cymbal took on a life of its own as a burst of gunfire prematurely ended one set.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811806839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811806831
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,042,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By tteacher@avalon.net on July 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Lankford's memoir is the best book ever written about life on the road as a musician. Not the glamorous life of the superstars, but the daily grind of living out of a van and dodging beer cans in a redneck honky-tonk. His story begins like all musicians' stories begin: practice practice practice in somebody's garage and then high school band contests, all in preparation for the big time with groupies and stardom. But Lankford takes us on the road traveled by most musicians: long drives, cold nights, minimum wage pay. His description of the time he spent as the white drummer in a black trio is rendered in prose that is both meta-physically insightful and descriptively physical. Lankford's journey is laced with violence and drugs and sex, but his language is brilliantly funny as well as graphically disturbing. If you know any kid who is beating on a drum or strumming a guitar, this is a MUST gift book. For anybody interested in the real life of a musician, this is also a MUST book. Buy it, read it, tell your friends. Lankford deserves the notice. He also has his email address listed on the cover. Write him and share your own road story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By chester on July 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Finally a book comes along that tells the REAL story of how 99% of the musicians in this world live! Oh joy! This is not another dribbling ode to the "genius" of some stupid adolecent drunk who got famous too fast and couldn't understand that what he was "creating" was making him rich because it was simply a marketable product. How refreshing not to read yet AGAIN about how the "purity" of the music is tainted because someone was (gasp!) making money at it. And, Mr. Lankford, you spared us from the cliche of cliches: "O.k. kid, even though it's NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE, we're gonna let you try it YOUR way. We'll probably all get fired for this, but go for it kid..." Thank you Mr. Lankford for helping the rest of the world see through all the romantic [junk] of the entertainment business and show them for what it is...a business. Those of us who work in the music industry appllaud you for enlightening readers that his is our JOB. We could be pumping gas or working at burger king, but we'd rather do this. And yes, we (gasp!) make money doing it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Trying to get a drummer to open up is always difficult, if not impossible. This is a "behind the beat" story about a regular guy who whacks on skins. If you are a musician or If you have ever had a dream about being one, this book will help you appreciate your life as an accountant or police officer - it will also make you wish that you could go on the road with a band. Just once. Read it and chuckle through.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Loren D. Jones on November 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My son, a sixteen-year-old drummer, was assigned a book report based on a biography. He has never been a big fan of reading and the thought of having to plow through a dry, boring biography was almost overwhelming to him, so he sought my help to find something interesting. I suggested we look for a biography of a musician, since that's his passion, and with any luck maybe we'd find a drummer. Early on in our search Amazon served up this book and we immediately ordered it.

I think this is probably the first book that he actually read from cover to cover. It is very well-written, and hilarious to boot. The author perfectly captures the angst of the early teen musician. My son related to the early portion of the book on so many levels. I only recently wrestled it away from my son and am thoroughly enjoying the book myself.

Kudos to the author for helping my son to actually enjoy an English assignment! I hope he has more books about life as a musician or any other topic he wishes to write about. He truly has a gift.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Ferrie on October 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mike's book is a triumph, a deliciously honest look at life behind the traps. Because he spares himself nothing, Mike puts us smack dab in the middle of the energy and time he spent in garages and on the road. The writing is marvelously alive (some compare it to Kerouac, Exley, Mailer), but there isn't a wasted word here. The cumulative effect is to put in your hands one of those unfortunately rare books that speed you through an experience that's painfully and gorgeously real. You'll never be quite the same after your time spent with Mike Lankford.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tony Hughes on October 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can only echo the sentiments of other reviewers when I beg Mike Lankford to write some more.

Even if you have no interest in the subject matter, Lankford's fluid style will thrill you to the end. We start with his love affair with rock music & drumming, the numerous bands he was in as a youth and conclude with a series of anecdotes regarding his time in a small touring every-band with a couple of ageing yet highly-talented black guys who needed a drummer. Brilliant!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By fluffy, the human being. on February 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
along with bob dylan's "chronicles volume one," this is one of the two best music books i have ever read. mr lankford writes about his experiences on the road as a white drummer in an otherwise black blues band with great skill and wonderful narrative sense. this is a completely enjoyable book that i would recommend you best read soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Starhead on November 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
I almost never read a book twice, but I went back to this one and enjoyed it so much that I'm hanging onto it and I'll read it again. I'm not a drummer but I'm a musician and this book is one of the best about being on the road. Great fun.
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