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Way Down: Playing Bass with Elvis, Dylan, The Doors and More - The Autobiography of Jerry Scheff Paperback – March 1, 2012


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Way Down: Playing Bass with Elvis, Dylan, The Doors and More - The Autobiography of Jerry Scheff + My Life Before, During and After Elvis Presley + Once Upon a Time: Elvis and Anita
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781617130328
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617130328
  • ASIN: 161713032X
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

UK author, JERRY SCHEFF spent his early life in Vallejo, California, moving to Sacramento when he was fourteen. In the early 1960s, after a brief spell in the Navy and time spent building his chops in Southern California, he took the leap to move to Los Angeles, where he quickly rose to the top among the droves of pro session players. In the late sixties, he began his work with Elvis Presley. He has played with countless artists and continues to tour with the TCB band.

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Customer Reviews

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This gives "Way Down" a skimming feel like you're auditing 1960's session music.
Jym Cherry
What is most impressive about Scheff's story is that he doesn't come across as trying to take credit for key events in music history.
Boomerocity
Music historians, musicians, Doors fans, Elvis fans...you'll want to get this one.
Robbie L Rhodes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jym Cherry on March 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
For most of us the 1960's is the golden age of Rock `n' Roll complete with its own pantheon of Gods and heroes, some of those names bring instant recognition and we know their place and mythology in this modern iconography. Names such as Elvis, Dylan, Jim Morrison and Jerry Scheff knew and played with his fair share of them.

In "Way Down Playing Bass with Elvis, Dylan, The Doors and More" Jerry Scheff, one of the most sought after bass players and session players in Los Angeles gives us anecdotes from his life of playing with the legends of Rock `n' Roll. Scheff starts right at the top, with "The King" Elvis Presley and how he went on an audition for Elvis' 1969 TCB (Takin' Care of Business) Band on a lark, never really expecting to get the job or even sure he wanted the job with Presley, but ended up playing with the TCB Band even after Presley's death. Scheff introduces us to other members of the band, what it was like to work up Presley's Vegas act, what it was like onstage with Presley and even some pretty cool stories of going over to dinner with Elvis and Priscilla.

From there Scheff back tracks a bit and tells us of his formative years learning to play music, on the tuba, getting into bass guitar, his mother taking him to blues clubs when he was underage, it should be noted that this was in an era when blues clubs were all if not predominately black clubs. Then his years in the Navy where he met a lot of musicians that he would bump into again and again over the years and they were also an informal musician's network recommending each other when another player was needed for a band, this network got Scheff into the early L.A.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robbie L Rhodes on May 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book really does a great job exuding the feel of the times. Mr. Scheff is truly one of the quiet but highly influential bassists in rock and roll history. Although each section could be expanded to be separate books, the insights given throughout the journey are priceless. Music historians, musicians, Doors fans, Elvis fans...you'll want to get this one.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Boomerocity on April 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Some of the most unsung heroes in the music business are the hired gun musicians who have played on a bazillion songs. Unless you're a back-story geek like me or a musician who loves recording details, these guys and girls go largely unnoticed.

If there are any exceptions, they would largely involve Elvis's TCB Band. As a kid (and adult), I listened to Presley's Aloha From Hawaii and Live From Madison Square Garden countless (and I do mean countless) times. I always loved the blues riff that the band was playing as they were being introduced by the King. I was always intrigued that he always said, "On the Fender bass, Jerry Scheff". He didn't say, "On the Fender guitar, James Burton" or "On the Gibson guitar, John Wilkinson". But, with Mr. Scheff, it was always, "On the Fender bass . . .".

Enough of my childhood observations of musical minutiae.

Jerry Scheff recently laid down his bass for a keyboard (sorry, I don't know what brand but I'm sure it was a good one) to write his autobiography, Way Down: Playing Bass With Elvis, Dylan, The Doors & More. Mr. Scheff says of the book, "This is not written as a reference book, a history book, or a work of fiction. It is my life as a musician in the culture and counterculture of the music business."

However Scheff intends us to receive his story, one does gain insight into the musical (and sometimes personal) world of Elvis, John Denver, Neil Diamond, another Elvis (lf the Costello kind), Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, The Doors and many, many others.

What is most impressive about Scheff's story is that he doesn't come across as trying to take credit for key events in music history. He doesn't even try to claim status as a close friend of this celebrity or that.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Linda Roberts on June 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know first hand about the author. I was married to him. While he paints me as a "singer he had a few flings with" we were actually legally married and had two children together. I found the book to be interesting because of my knowledge of the author and what he did after our divorce. He didn't mention any of the three wives he was married to, including me, Vivian or Diane and he only mentions his fourth wife Natalie, by name, in one paragraph.

His life as a musician, with the people he played with, was often tragic and the closure of this book leaves a less than uplifting message for the reader. He "puts down" many of the people who hired him, including Elvis Presley.

I am in the process of completing my own book, which includes the period of time I fell in love with Jerry and married him. As with all of his previous wives, he didn't stay married long, although his life with Diane lasted many years. She went through hell and back with him, remaining steadfast while he went in and out of alcohol and drug issues, as he discusses in this book, but she is not mentioned. For those interested in Jerry's background, growing up, getting involved in music, this will be an interesting book. Jerry, as you may know, is a gifted musician and my early memories of him are good ones, like the day we drove to Las Vegas. He was starting a new job. We moved into an apartment with two infants and no electricity. He jumped on the phone and got the electric company to help us out. There were a lot of circumstances in this book I knew nothing about, taking place after our four year marriage. If you're a fan of Jerry, or enjoy reading about music, this book is for you. It is well written and easy to read.
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