From Publishers Weekly
One expects a rock n roll memoir to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing if not the inflamed passions, tortured egos, precipitous climb and calamitous descent of its subjects. Emerson, composer and keyboardist for the Nice and, later, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, gives readers all this: from flag-burnings to overeager groupies, from musical mishaps to drunken, drug-addled excesses, as well as a host of backstage celebrity interactions. (Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart and a wonderfully catty portrait of Leonard Bernstein as a supercilious old perv are just a few that dot the books landscape.) Wildly theatrical onstage, Emerson played Norman Bates to his organs and keyboards, hacking away at them with knives and swords, often leaving them ruined and smoldering in his wake. The problem is that, as narrator to his own life, Emerson seems too, well, nice to rev the engine needed to drive such a book properly. He pulls back when he should barrel full-speed, and his writing lacks the killer incisiveness of his keyboard play. Slow to start, often clumsily overwritten and self-serving, Emersons memoir shows little sense of the narrative arc of the authors life, and so the book trudges on in a litany of events, happenings and episodes that ultimately dont add up to more than a series of pictures at an exhibition. Emerson seems too self-absorbed to be an acute observer of others, neither does he appear reflective enough to cast light on the shadows of his own life. Fans of Emersons bands will relish the scenester details anyway, but others may find themselves wishing he could write with the same brilliant abandon that he applied to his music.
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“Unputdownable! A hysterical, intriguing, and important musical memoir.” -- The Sunday Times
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