From Publishers Weekly
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 cliché 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.)
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The guitarist of the Police begins his entertaining, highly readable memoir of superstardom near the end, on August 18, 1983, at Shea Stadium, when the band became the first to play there since the Beatles. It was one of the band's last concerts. Thereafter, Summers discusses, quite eloquently, the Faustian pact fame seemingly involves, which in his case entailed divorce and estrangement from his daughter. He also spends a good portion of the book on his earlier life: his English seaside childhood in Bournemouth, his parents' difficult marriage (he and his younger brother were placed in an orphanage for six months), the first inklings of musical talent. He reports years of struggle, later moderate success in nationally known bands, and stints in the internationally known Soft Machine and the Animals before the Police. By his lights, life on the road with the Police was one hotel room in a strange city after another. A candid appraisal of the cost of celebrity. June SawyersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved