One Train Later
Andy Summers
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Buy *One Train Later: A Memoir* by Andy Summers online

One Train Later: A Memoir
Andy Summers
St. Martin's Griffin
368 pages
May 2007
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Andy Summers plays guitar in The Police. That would be more than enough fodder to write a book. But he is also a composer/songwriter in his own right; he has had close relationships with Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton; he's an accomplished photographer; and he's survived over four decades in the business of rock and roll. And that is certainly enough to write about.

What makes this such a terrifically readable autobiography is that, besides all of the unbelievable things that happened to him, Summers is able to write about those events in a truly literary fashion. He's erudite, self-deprecating, funny, and a very clever wordsmith.

Here, he talks about selling Eric Clapton his own Gibson Les Paul guitar:

"Eric records Fresh Cream with my Les Paul, becomes a guitar hero, is identified with this guitar - the terms Les Paul and Clapton become synonymous - the star of the '59 Sunburst begins to ascend. What if I hadn't sold my guitar to Eric? Maybe it would all have turned out differently, and the Les Paul would have been merely another interesting historical clunker rather than a cultural icon. But possibly because of our little interchange, it becomes a Stradivarius of rock guitars."
Honest. Beguiling. Well-written.

The entire book is laid out this way. There are great Police stories, of course - dealing with Sting ("In the studio the tension is so high that you can hear it twanging like an out-of-tune piano"), groupies, drugs, and fame - and, of course, the band's split in 1986. The dirt is here, but when you've finished One Train Later, you'll realize that's not why you read it. And that's not why Andy wrote it.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2008

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