Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Pure Drop: The Life of Jeff Buckley Hardcover – February 1, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Discover what to read next through the Amazon Book Review. Learn more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
' - a tragedy delicately handled.' Record Collector '[Jeff Apter] resists mawkishness or sentimentality in this decent account of Buckley's life and death.' Q --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
The former Music Editor of Australian Rolling Stone, Jeff Apter is the author of the critically and commercially successful books, Fornication: The Red Hot Chili Peppers Story, Never Enough: THe Story of The Cure, A New Tomorrow, The Silverchair Story, amongst others. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children and a heft music collection.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Apter obviously is familiar with the music scene, hailing from Australia's Rolling Stone magazine. The reader benefits from the author's relevant background. Discussions about Jeff Buckley's interactions with fellow musicians and acquaintenances during his short career, from L.A. to New York; the burden of having to deal with his dead father's musical legacy; his being thrust into the paws of the media monster, AKA Columbia/Sony, and how he endeavored to foster his career yet remain true to his professional principles, all make for extremely interesting reading.
On the enticing, but very problematic and subjective topic of Jeff Buckley's frame of mind, his psychology, Apter succeeds in refraining from unsubstantiated melodrama. Unlike Browne in Dream Brothers, he avoids drawing inferences based on hearsay, he refuses to exploit the sensational for the sake of selling more books. Based on what Jeff's closest friends have said, there is absolutely no reason to conclude, or suspect, that Jeff Buckley was ever on the verge of a nervous breakdown or that he ever contemplated suicide. Yes, even as a young adult he can be accused of immaturity, though his prolonged Grace tours seem to have propelled him to emotional maturity towards the very end. He can accurately be suspected of not being professionally focused, though I never would have thought that this constitutes a psychological pathology. Yes, he resented the fact that his biological father, Tim Buckley, abandoned him. Yet, who wouldn't harbor resentment over abandonment by one's parent? Nothing bizarre or pathological about that. And again, yes, Buckley suffered from a writer's block. But that is hardly what most of us would consider a pathology. Apter provides some very good insights on the topic of Jeff's writing inertia. The author draws a portrait of a very talented young man, who is essentially honest, caring and loyal to his friends to a fault. Yes, he had some emotional baggage. But don't we all? I wouldn't mind being the type of person Jeff Buckley was. Not at all.
Apter shows considerable courage in raising the topic of just which parent ultimately may have done Jeff Buckley more harm: his deceased biological father or his still very much alive mother, Mary Guibert? He informs the reader about how Jeff constantly moved from one location to another while growing up. We learn that Buckley was ashamed to apply for a job upon graduation from High School because he never spent more than a few months in any one school and would have had to list the reams of schools he attended within the space of a few years in any job application. He lets the reader know that Jeff as an adult deliberately kept minimal contact with his mother. This topic is quite relevant to the masses of Jeff Buckley fans who very much want to benefit from and enjoy the products of Buckley's genius, and to show their respect for this phenomenal musician, but run into the brickwall known as the Jeff Buckley Estate, controlled by Mary Guibert, its executor. In the coda of the book, Apter provides a short but meaningful discussion on just how the Estate has managed, or exploited, the development and release of Jeff Buckley's musical legacy.
A Pure Drop is a well-written and researched biography. It treats its subject with respect and impartiality. It portrays Jeff as human like the rest of us, but doesn't exploit his foibles to the extent that his undeniable genius and basic humanity are overshadowed. Bravo, Jeff Apter, for a work well done!
His research is solid and comprehensive. His insights are right-on. His appreciation for Jeff Buckley's struggles and accomplishments is above reproach. His understanding of Jeff's domineering mother, Mary, is unmatched for accuracy, insight, and mature judgment. Five stars for Jeff Buckley, five stars for Jeff Apter, and five stars for A Pure Drop!
My only slight misgiving is the way he describes Mary Guibert (Jeff's mother). I completely agree with the author, and many Buckley insiders and fans, that some things she did after his death were questionable and certainly would have been against Jeff's wishes (releasing the underwhelming, and unfininshed, 'Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk'). Apter even says the reissue of 'Live at Sin-e' was "too much" and "uneccesary." As a big Buckley fan, this 'Live' reissue is one of my favorites, and something I think Guibert and Sony got right. It went from a 4 song EP to 34 wonderful songs (minus the talking parts). The expanded 'Live' version is wonderful, hearing 'Grace', in addition to his wonderful covers, that perfectly capture those early Sin-e days. The other posthumous releases, i can see why she gets criticized for. However, I got a little turned off at the way Apter portrays Guibert as a mother. First of all, he includes an obviously very unflattering picture of her with the photos. He "hints" throughout the book at her being a bad mother ("She tended to 'experiment' with drugs"; "She had 'open' relationships with men") Things like that, he just throws in at litte asides and jabs at Guibert in the middle of something that has nothing whatsoever to do with what he was just talking about. He also, throughout the book, alludes to Jeff's 'issues' with his mother, but that's all it is-allusions. We are never given anything to show really that she was a bad mother to him. Sometimes, it seems as if he's harsher with her than with Tim Buckley, who abandoned his son. A few times, we read about Tim insiders who try to make excuses for what Tim did-saying he didn't leave Jeff, he left Mary because he couldn't stand her. He still left, and stayed gone even after he supposedly 'found out' he had a son. No such excuses are made for Guibert for things she may have done. And that's all we're left with in the end. Mentions here and there and questions about her role as a mother, but nothing concrete to say. He seems way more forgiving of Tim Buckley who abandoned his son, than of Mary Guibert, who at 18 was left pregnant and alone. Maybe she deserves the break from the author, not Tim. The author is fair regarding Jeff, which disappointed me that he took this curious route when it comes to his mother.