photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
ever since discovering PREMIER GUITARS' HOOKED series I have been totally enamored with it. the series, mostly shot at home during the pandemic, follows prominent guitarists talking about the song that got them interested in GUITAR-BASED MUSIC as a kid. its a great concept as it lends itself to juxtaposing CLASSIC ARTISTS with MODERN PLAYERS that you normally wouldnt associate with one another (such as JADE PUGET of AFI and his DIRE STRAITS choice). just goes to prove that music in universal.
the series also inevitably makes one self-assess what their choice would have been given the opportunity to participate. in my case the most memorable childhood memory i have of being swept up by a guitar sound was ANDY SUMMERS echoing and reverb-drenched opening guitar riff in "WALKING ON THE MOON." likewise the song that made me want to pick up a guitar in first grade was R.E.M.'s "SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE," which ironically was a mandolin being played by PETER BUCK i believe. at the time he was apparently over guitars in general.
regardless, this is a great concept and such a gift for musicians and fans of GUITAR-BASED MUSIC. i look forward to watching more of them as they are published online.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
i knew going into this book that renowned drummer STEWART COPELAND of THE POLICE fame was a bit of pretentious asshole, but man, his book STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN: A LIFE WITH THE POLICE, POLO, AND PYGMIES (IT BOOKS, 2010) really only confirms it. what drew me to his story in part was his upbringing abroad in LEBANON as a state department brat (actually his father worked for the C.I.A.). when youve grown up abroad as a THIRD CULTURE KID, as i have, you kind of seek out others as well. i was curious what effect being an AMERICAN abroad had on his cultural education and to what extent it informed his (admittedly phenomenal) drum skills.
sadly the structure of this book is rather jagged and arbitrary, small awkwardly worded vignettes about different experiences in his life that don't follow a specific timeline or present coherent a coherent narrative. this unfortunate structuring also makes it seem that things just happened around him, that he had no sway in his life's trajectory. what's worse, none of these stories are particularly "strange" in the least. moreover they just showcase his inflated sense of importance and privilege.
for instance he goes to KENYA to the touristy MASAI MARAI region cavorting with giraffes and lions to film some shitty movie. he hangs out with pygmies and is involved with a group ritual that he fails to explain the significance of, outside of his own awkwardness in the procession. like i care about how he felt. what's worse is that he waxes poetic about his journey to AFRICA to discover roots of AMERICAN music. this really annoys me because, with all due respect, that tradition is rooted sub-Saharan WEST AFRICA, places like GHANA, NIGERIA, TOGO and CAMEROON were the slave trade was rooted for centuries. going to the most tourist-friendly part of AFRICA and then talking about roots is just pathetic.
this book is a hard pass and i wouldn't recommend it to anyone, even if they are a fan of THE POLICE. im looking forward to ANDY SUMMERS memoir. hopefully he doesn't have his head nearly as far up his own ass as COPELAND. good grief.