Thread: "Clapton - the Autobiography"

Rusty - 12/25/2017 at 10:37 PM

First of all - Merry Christmas to the famABBly!

I recently found a copy of Eric Clapton's autobiography, "Clapton (the Autobiography)" at a church yard sale - for the tidy sum of a quarter. I typically do not read rock star biographies (including those about the Allman Brothers) unless they're given to me as a gift - or if I find them used for a low price.

There were a lot of interesting details about Eric's personal life (if this is your kind of stuff). But what I found most interesting was the total omission of Chuck Leavell.

He gives detailed minutia of the "Unplugged" period - mentioning the CD, DVD and mentioning pretty much every musician involved by name. But there is no mention of Chuck.

I remember reading somewhere (possibly in one of Chuck's books - also a gift ) that Chuck questioned why he and the other musicians didn't receive residual payments for sales of the CD/DVD of the "Unplugged" project. Did this line of questioning lead to Chuck's non-mention in Eric's book?


berkhath - 12/26/2017 at 06:37 PM

Perhaps, and EC seems like he just might be a bit of a dick!!!

Merry Christmas, Rusty, and Roll Tide!!!


DeadMallard - 12/27/2017 at 03:59 AM

I couldn't stand the book. Clapton's and Gregg's book did neither one of them any favors in my opinion. Both came across as insecure and not someone I'd particularly want to emulate.

Both are 2 of my all-time favorite musicians.

Just my opinion. I'm sure many will differ.

I've read other bios of rock stars that I really liked. I think both Petty & Springsteen's books were wonderful. I read both last year.


JimSheridan - 12/27/2017 at 03:40 PM

It’s been a while since I read EC’s autobiography, but at the time, I found it surprisingly dry, detached. For a man who has had a colorful music career and encountered so many characters and conveyed so much passion through his music, it was surprisingly flat.


Charlesinator - 12/27/2017 at 04:41 PM

After reading Clapton's autobiography, I seriously wondered if playing music was his sole redeeming quality. His depiction of himself as a horrible drug addicted narcissist downright harmful to those around him has colored my opinion of him ever since. Dead Mallard, I would disagree with you slightly on Gregg's biography. It appeared to me that Gregg took great pains to avoid looking like Clapton. However, Gregg's book isn't without stunning omissions and subtle ax grindings either. I found it truly disappointing that Gregg didn't, couldn't or wouldn't acknowledge Kirk West for starting the Big House Museum. This makes the fan wonder what was behind Kirk's firing there at the last. Also from reading the book it would also appear that Gregg felt that Willie Perkins stole from him and held a grudge. That truly was a shame when it appears from all accounts and purposes that Willie kept Gregg alive during the 80's and is partly responsible for his resurgence in popularity i.e. "I'm No Angel." I haven't read the Petty Bio yet. So thanks for the suggestion.


jparadise - 12/27/2017 at 05:27 PM

Which Petty book are you guys talking about? I'm curious to read that actually.


ABBDutchFan - 12/27/2017 at 05:42 PM

quote:
Which Petty book are you guys talking about? I'm curious to read that actually.


Ditto. Big Tom Petty fan and i loved the "Running Down A Dream" DVD/CD boxset and book but i'm definitely interested in a well researched biography. So any info / review of that book is very welcome.


allbrosca - 12/27/2017 at 07:02 PM

quote:
First of all - Merry Christmas to the famABBly!

I recently found a copy of Eric Clapton's autobiography, "Clapton (the Autobiography)" at a church yard sale - for the tidy sum of a quarter. I typically do not read rock star biographies (including those about the Allman Brothers) unless they're given to me as a gift - or if I find them used for a low price.

There were a lot of interesting details about Eric's personal life (if this is your kind of stuff). But what I found most interesting was the total omission of Chuck Leavell.



I read Chuck's book "Between Rock and a Home Place" a few years back and if I'm not mistaken, Chuck speculates that he and Eric had a bit of a falling out somewhere along the way and he was a little mystified about why. I'm a little foggy on details but I do remember the book to be a good read, so you may want to seek that one out too.


stormyrider - 12/27/2017 at 07:25 PM

A different take on these things - when I read a musician's autobiography (or biography) I'm not reading it to find out how wonderful the person is or how much of an **** they are. The drug problems and womanizing are known facts.
I'm more interested in some of the stories (or a version of them) about how the music was made, what was it about, how the bands were formed, etc. There were some cool stories in both of those books, they both exposed something of their inner demons. I wouldn't let either one of them date my sister.
I'd recommend both books


hotlantatim - 12/27/2017 at 10:59 PM

I'll have to pull the book out again.

Leavell said he was amazed there was no acknowledgement to the band, no final back stage celebration at the end of an extremely successful tour/album. Chuck is such a positive guy that he nothing bad to say about anyone's character except possibly EC. (and did very little juicy kiss and tell storytelling in his book).

And they apparently kindled no friendship as he said they never spoke again.

And that album, which was a huge deal in Clapton's career, doesn't hit it as big without Leavell. Chuck was just gold on that record. Possibly his best front to back contribution to any record he's ever been a part of.


CanadianMule - 12/27/2017 at 11:35 PM

quote:
I'll have to pull the book out again.

Leavell said he was amazed there was no acknowledgement to the band, no final back stage celebration at the end of an extremely successful tour/album. Chuck is such a positive guy that he nothing bad to say about anyone's character except possibly EC. (and did very little juicy kiss and tell storytelling in his book).

And they apparently kindled no friendship as he said they never spoke again.

And that album, which was a huge deal in Clapton's career, doesn't hit it as big without Leavell. Chuck was just gold on that record. Possibly his best front to back contribution to any record he's ever been a part of.


I agree completely. In many ways, I see that album as being as much about Chuck as Eric.


rmack - 12/28/2017 at 12:03 AM

My take on Clapton from his book was that he had more fun than any miserable person in history.


The_Newt - 12/28/2017 at 04:20 AM

quote:
A different take on these things - when I read a musician's autobiography (or biography) I'm not reading it to find out how wonderful the person is or how much of an **** they are. The drug problems and womanizing are known facts.
I'm more interested in some of the stories (or a version of them) about how the music was made, what was it about, how the bands were formed, etc. There were some cool stories in both of those books, they both exposed something of their inner demons. I wouldn't let either one of them date my sister.
I'd recommend both books


I read musician's autobiographies for the same reason you do, to hear about how the music was made, how or why songs were written, recorded, which other musicians inspired them, etc.

I never read the Clapton book but I wish that Gregg's book and Alan Paul's book/collection of interviews went into how the Allmans and Gregg created their music more, instead of the stories about sex, groupies/hookers, drugs/addiction, etc. which basically anyone who is a fan of the Allmans and/or Gregg already knew about or would not be surprised to hear about.

[Edited on 12/29/2017 by The_Newt]


DeadMallard - 12/28/2017 at 06:15 AM

Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes (2015)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_4?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&a mp;field-keywords=petty+the+biography&sprefix=pett%2Cstripbooks%2C229&a mp;crid=1HXOSCTPPYC1V




Springsteen:


https://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Bruce-Springsteen/dp/1501141511

I loved both. Could not put them down. Borrowed both from my local library and had them back within 3/5 days.



DeadMallard - 12/28/2017 at 06:18 AM

I enjoy the opinions given on Clapton & G. Allman's books.

Agree strongly about more content involving the music and less about the R & R lifestyle.


DeadMallard - 12/28/2017 at 06:22 AM

Another music bio I really enjoyed was Backstage Passes by Al Kooper. What a career that guy has had. Awesome read. Unfortunately, my local library did not have the revised version that came out (I think in the 80's) that dealt with his relationship with Skynard.

https://www.amazon.com/Backstage-Passes-Backstabbing-Bastards-Survivor/dp/0 879309229/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514441958&sr=1-1& keywords=backstage+passes+and+backstabbing+bastards


ABBDutchFan - 12/29/2017 at 05:49 PM

quote:
Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes (2015)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_4?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&a mp;field-keywords=petty+the+biography&sprefix=pett%2Cstripbooks%2C229&a mp;crid=1HXOSCTPPYC1V

Springsteen:


https://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Bruce-Springsteen/dp/1501141511

I loved both. Could not put them down. Borrowed both from my local library and had them back within 3/5 days.




Thanks for the info. Gonna put that Petty book on my wishlist.


WarEagleRK - 12/29/2017 at 07:50 PM

Warren Zanes' Tom Petty book is one of the best biographies that I have read. I'd put it up there beside Bob Mehr's book "Trouble Boys" about the Replacements as maybe my top two biographies.


WarEagleRK - 12/29/2017 at 08:00 PM

quote:
quote:
First of all - Merry Christmas to the famABBly!

I recently found a copy of Eric Clapton's autobiography, "Clapton (the Autobiography)" at a church yard sale - for the tidy sum of a quarter. I typically do not read rock star biographies (including those about the Allman Brothers) unless they're given to me as a gift - or if I find them used for a low price.

There were a lot of interesting details about Eric's personal life (if this is your kind of stuff). But what I found most interesting was the total omission of Chuck Leavell.




If I remember the passage from Chuck's book correctly, I don't think the fallout was with Eric, but with Eric's management. I think his disagreement was with how his management handled the royalties for the Unplugged album.

I love Chuck, but to say that album is as much about Chuck as it is Eric is using a bit too much hyperbole. That albums success was mostly based of tragedy and recovery over the performance. Chuck's performance was great, but in the end it was Clapton's interpretations of those songs and the tragedy that he had just faced that created the success of that album.

I do agree that Clapton's book is a very dry detached read. However, I find it admirable when someone does admit their faults and mistakes and shows the impact of bad decisions. He didn't make excuses or cover things up.

I also agree, that I wish more of these biographies and autobiographies would go into more detail on the music. There is a book on Van Halen that their former manager Noel Monk wrote that I found to be awful because it was all dirt and almost no musical content at all. The best part of any of those biographies for me are the musical related stories and the inner workings of the band stories vs who took what or who did what to who?


pops42 - 12/29/2017 at 08:49 PM

I believe it was clapton who blamed his manager [roger forrester] for screwing Chuck out of royalty money. clapton is a weasel.


Charlesinator - 12/30/2017 at 03:10 AM

Also if an album/performance is as much about a sideman as it is the band leader/namesake, then there is a problem.


WarEagleRK - 12/30/2017 at 03:21 AM

quote:
I believe it was clapton who blamed his manager [roger forrester] for screwing Chuck out of royalty money. clapton is a weasel.


From his book:

"Eric was good to me and good for me. I can't say the same for his manager."... "When the issue of a video came up, the band was told there wasn't much hope that would be a hot video out of it, but it probably would be released. I said to his manager Roger Forrester, 'well that's fine. But if it does do well, can we discuss some further compensation from it.' He said 'sure, if anything else happens with it... you'll be looked after.'"

"I did what my better judgement told me not to do. I signed the contract without that being spelled out"...

"In any case, Eric was good to me, and I always felt at home with him."


It was Chuck who blamed Eric's manager and had nothing but nice things to say about Eric. The only thing close to a negative was that Clapton was aloof (which almost everyone knows about him) and that the band just ended abruptly at the end of the tour.

Clapton likely knew or knows nothing of the contracts the band signed. Most artists don't keep up with that kind of detail, nor should they.


pops42 - 12/30/2017 at 03:26 AM

quote:
Also if an album/performance is as much about a sideman as it is the band leader/namesake, then there is a problem.
Chuck just wanted what was due,him. Is that a problem?


cmgst34 - 12/30/2017 at 03:36 AM

quote:
quote:
Also if an album/performance is as much about a sideman as it is the band leader/namesake, then there is a problem.
Chuck just wanted what was due,him. Is that a problem?


Honest question here: I don’t know how the industry really works. But do band members for-hire, as opposed to a full-fledged band’s “members,” get residuals? Seems they’d get a contract rate and that’s that. Unless the contract has a clause calling for a share of sales?

And, yeah, Chuck slays it on Unplugged. But let’s be real, he had two solos the entire album. Not saying his playing throughout wasn’t stellar, but he wasn’t the star or reason for success.

As much as people rag on Bobby Whitlock on here, it’s funny that we are now sounding like him for this album.

[Edited on 12/30/2017 by cmgst34]


Charlesinator - 12/30/2017 at 03:47 AM

I was responding to CanadianMule’s comment and I quote: “In many ways, I see that album being as much about Chuck as it was Eric.” As far as Chuck he said, (again I quote) “I did what my better judgement told me not to do. I signed the contract without that being spelled out ...” As for Clapton ... Chuck wouldn’t be the first musician that Clapton has screwed; however, unlike the others Chuck has continued to be in demand as a musician. He is basically indispensable to the Stones as their de facto musical director. Of course behind his work on Brothers And Sisters, Unplugged would be his next best recorded performance.


StratDal - 12/30/2017 at 03:52 AM

quote:
I couldn't stand the book. Clapton's and Gregg's book did neither one of them any favors in my opinion. Both came across as insecure and not someone I'd particularly want to emulate.

Both are 2 of my all-time favorite musicians.

Just my opinion. I'm sure many will differ.

I've read other bios of rock stars that I really liked. I think both Petty & Springsteen's books were wonderful. I read both last year.


It's been my experience reading biographies about Rock musicians is to take them for what they are and don't expect much. Hopefully one will be entertained some but in the long, they're nothing to take seriously.


cmgst34 - 12/30/2017 at 04:37 AM

quote:
I was responding to CanadianMule’s comment and I quote: “In many ways, I see that album being as much about Chuck as it was Eric.” As far as Chuck he said, (again I quote) “I did what my better judgement told me not to do. I signed the contract without that being spelled out ...” As for Clapton ... Chuck wouldn’t be the first musician that Clapton has screwed; however, unlike the others Chuck has continued to be in demand as a musician. He is basically indispensable to the Stones as their de facto musical director. Of course behind his work on Brothers And Sisters, Unplugged would be his next best recorded performance.


Curious, who else had EC screwed over?


Charlesinator - 12/30/2017 at 05:11 AM

Perhaps “screwed” isn’t the correct term. Clapton’s modus operendi has been change although sticking to his blues based roots playing. John Mayall, Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and Dominos, various incarnations of his bands over the years. There’s a lot of musicians left in his wake whose claim to fame will forever be heretofore “played with Clapton.” Let’s pick one ... how about ... Bobby Whitlock ... actually let’s pick somebody more sympathetic ... how about George Terry, an integral part of the 461 Band and touring foil for Clapton only to fade into obscurity after being released. Think about all the rest ... I mean it is what it is and has always been that way in the music business. Clapton picks people to play with because they are useful to him. After they serve their purpose, they are let go. Some of those folks go no further.


JimSheridan - 12/30/2017 at 05:43 AM

WarEagle wrote "Warren Zanes' Tom Petty book is one of the best biographies that I have read. I'd put it up there beside Bob Mehr's book "Trouble Boys" about the Replacements as maybe my top two biographies."


Jeez, WarEagle, I will have to check it out. "Trouble Boys" is really excellent. Two signs of its excellence: it has lead me to revisit it over and over again, and it has also led me to listen to that music with much more attention and fervor.

"Trouble Boys" is so thorough, in a good way. A lot of books leave you wanting more; they feel like they skim over some eras or albums or issues. This book is patient and thoughtful. It is "warts and all" in the sense of showing band members' flaws without being a big expose of dirt. Best of all, it really does get into the music, the music, the music.

Plus, its style and intelligence make it a compelling read and re-read; it is not just a laundry list of factoids and events.


WarEagleRK - 12/30/2017 at 06:02 AM

JimSheridan,

I agree with everything you said about "Trouble Boys".

Where I think "Petty" lines up with it, it is written by an outsider who remains objective on the subject despite the subject being fully aware/somewhat supportive of the venture.

Since Tom Petty, the ABB, Led Zeppelin and the Black Crowes are my favorite artists Petty's book gets a bump for being someone I am greatly interested in reading more about. However, even without that bump, I'd put it just below the "Trouble Boys" book.


cmgst34 - 12/30/2017 at 03:22 PM

quote:
Perhaps “screwed” isn’t the correct term. Clapton’s modus operendi has been change although sticking to his blues based roots playing. John Mayall, Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and Dominos, various incarnations of his bands over the years. There’s a lot of musicians left in his wake whose claim to fame will forever be heretofore “played with Clapton.” Let’s pick one ... how about ... Bobby Whitlock ... actually let’s pick somebody more sympathetic ... how about George Terry, an integral part of the 461 Band and touring foil for Clapton only to fade into obscurity after being released. Think about all the rest ... I mean it is what it is and has always been that way in the music business. Clapton picks people to play with because they are useful to him. After they serve their purpose, they are let go. Some of those folks go no further.


Gotcha. My thoughts on that are just different than yours. I don’t have a problem with him changing lineups all the time if that’s what he wants. He’s the bandleader, for lack of a better term. And I don’t think he owes these guys anything after it’s over. Frankly, guys like Whitlock and Terry wouldn’t be anywhere near as known as they are without their time with Clapton. That time was career reward enough I think.


porkchopbob - 12/30/2017 at 03:55 PM

quote:
Gotcha. My thoughts on that are just different than yours. I don’t have a problem with him changing lineups all the time if that’s what he wants. He’s the bandleader, for lack of a better term. And I don’t think he owes these guys anything after it’s over. Frankly, guys like Whitlock and Terry wouldn’t be anywhere near as known as they are without their time with Clapton. That time was career reward enough I think.


Exactly. This argument comes up all the time regarding sidemen - integral to any album or tour, but if they can't find work after that is over, it's not the artist who hired them previously who is at fault. I know guys like Clyde Stubblefield and Butch Trucks never would have dreamed they would get sampled in hit singles decades later, but any artist is lucky to make money doing what they love to do in the moment and shouldn't expect it to be a meal ticket for their golden years.

Not every supporting actor, conceptual artist, or grip is going to get residuals from a blockbuster movie, and if they are good they will continue to find work. Should the guy who installed your toilet get a nickel every time you eat beans?

Also, you have personalities to deal with - two musicians might make beautiful music together but not really want to work together again (sound familiar?). Maybe some musicians didn't want to work with Clapton? Especially in the early 1970s when he was a smacked out or drunken mess shouting racist rhetorical onstage. I'm sure there were musicians onstage thinking "they are not paying me enough for this".

And then you have artists who let their managers make all of the decisions. Once Elvis stopped touring with Scotty Moore, he saw and played with him exactly one more time at the 1968 TV special before touring with James Burton on guitar for his final decade. Life happens, music is still a business and anyone is damned lucky to find people they can work with for decades on end.


Charlesinator - 12/30/2017 at 07:59 PM

Excellent post Porkchop and your plumber and beans analogy had me spitting soda on my screen.


DeadMallard - 12/31/2017 at 01:52 AM

Regarding my favorable impression of the Petty, Springsteen & Al Kooper bios:

I had a very elevated view of all 3 after reading the books. Much respect for them as human beings. I read the bios on G. Allman & Clapton years before and had the opposite impression.

I'm sure this may have biased my view of all 3 books.

In any event I hope those that choose to read them enjoy .....


lespaul58 - 12/31/2017 at 04:07 AM

quote:


And then you have artists who let their managers make all of the decisions. Once Elvis stopped touring with Scotty Moore, he saw and played with him exactly one more time at the 1968 TV special before touring with James Burton on guitar for his final decade.



That is a common misconception. Scotty (and DJ Fontana) played on Elvis' soundtrack albums and singles throughout the '60s.


CanadianMule - 12/31/2017 at 04:44 AM

Sorry I guess I mislead you guys and wasn't as clear as I thought.

I was responding to Tim' comment about his contribution. When I mentioned him being equal to Eric, I meant from a playing standpoint and to the songs. Would be a very different album without him and as Tim mentioned - his playing from start to finish is top notch.

Didn't mean to take away from Eric - just that he picked very well for that album.


JimRudge - 1/8/2018 at 04:45 PM

I agree with the sentiments about Clapton's autobiography - boring with little or no insight as to who or what influenced him. Gregg's was similar - did not enjoy either.

Costello, Springsteen and Townshend have all produced excellent autobiographies with insight and reverence to those who have influenced or played with them.

Seen Clapton 3 times and do not remember him introducing any of the supremely talented musicians (including Derek) in the band to the audience. Produces great music but a bit of an arse. So is Townshend (The Who are my all-time faves), but at least he acknowledges it and has grown more gracious as he ages.


The_Newt - 1/8/2018 at 06:08 PM

quote:
I agree with the sentiments about Clapton's autobiography - boring with little or no insight as to who or what influenced him. Gregg's was similar - did not enjoy either.

Costello, Springsteen and Townshend have all produced excellent autobiographies with insight and reverence to those who have influenced or played with them.

Seen Clapton 3 times and do not remember him introducing any of the supremely talented musicians (including Derek) in the band to the audience. Produces great music but a bit of an arse. So is Townshend (The Who are my all-time faves), but at least he acknowledges it and has grown more gracious as he ages.


I feel bad for all of Clapton's ex girlfriends/wives as he was extremely abusive to them both physically, psychologically, and sexually abused/raped Pattie Boyd.

Clapton admitted that he beat Boyd and raped her during the marriage, stating, “There were times when I took sex with my wife by force and thought that was my entitlement. I had absolutely no concern for other people.”

Pete Townshend is a pedophile/hebephile, which is disgusting. He can make up all the excuses he wants but he was visiting and downloaded illegal porn that showed people who are not legal adults. If you are really getting help for sexual abuse, or want to do actual research about the effects of it you read a book, or see a therapist or counselor you don't download illegal pictures/videos like he did.


Joe_the_Lurker - 1/8/2018 at 07:08 PM

Chuck Leavell is also great in the new David Gilmour Live at Pompeii Blu Ray. He even gets to do some of the vocal on Comfortably Numb. It's currently the best sounding concert Bluray I own.


pixielf - 1/8/2018 at 08:29 PM

quote:
It’s been a while since I read EC’s autobiography, but at the time, I found it surprisingly dry, detached. For a man who has had a colorful music career and encountered so many characters and conveyed so much passion through his music, it was surprisingly flat.


I agree 100%!! I was so disappointed that his book lacked any type of emotion. For a man who sings and plays the blues so eloquently, I was surprised.


jszfunk - 1/8/2018 at 10:57 PM

I have been wanting to read this,but maybe I will hold off.


This thread come from : Hittin' The Web with the Allman Brothers Band
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