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Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite - Roger Daltrey autobiography

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  • Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite - Roger Daltrey autobiography

    Received this as a Christmas stocking stuffer. Terrific read, clear and concise. After reading this, it confirms the notion if I could have ever sat down for a drink with a member of The Who, it would be with Mr. Daltrey.

    Hard working, smart, thoughtful, tough, grounded... just a few adjectives to describe one of the greatest lead singers in popular music.

    Growing up up in the 60s in the USA and reading about post-war Europe is always a stark reminder of what others suffered and endured. This autobiography’s jumping off point rightly starts there, and it affects everything that follows.

    Roger might not have written the songs, but it’s clear there would never been anything resembling The Who if not for its driven front man.

    Dealing with those egos in the group and those egos in management, Daltrey deserves a medal.

    I never knew the financial tightrope he walked (through no fault of his own) lasted for as long as it did.

    Interesting what albums he chose to talk about and what albums he did not even reference.

    His wife Heather is clearly his life partner and it’s so rare to read about marital longevity anywhere, especially in rock and roll.

    As 2018 comes to close, I saw Roger Daltrey perform this past June, enjoyed his new solo record shortly after that, and just finished his insightful book. I find myself a bigger fan now if that’s even possible.

    Thanks A Lot Mr Daltrey

    PS, my only criticism on the book was its length. Could have, should have been longer. Curious what others’ thoughts are on the book.

  • #2
    Thanks for asking! :) It's nice to have a thread about the book itself, which I've read, instead of the promotional events, which I couldn't get to. Have been sort of letting it settle for a while after reading, to see what stands out, and wasn't really sure how to approach a post about it. Mostly when I write about encounters with Roger, it's a concert and I can go song by song. Hard to do that with a book! As always, this is more reaction than review, so take it for what it's worth.

    The publishing world runs on genre just as much as the music industry, so when the book came out I headed to the Celebrity Bio section of a local bookstore. It wasn't there! After several conversations with multiple puzzled employees--the computer showed they had it, but they didn't recall seeing it--we finally converged on the new arrivals table, where a more seasoned clerk said it would be. And she remembered the author's name, not the title; in what I can only imagine was a hard-fought compromise with the publisher, Roger's name is printed on the cover much larger than the title. But that title tells you right away, if you didn't already know: this guy doesn't like being put in a box.

    What's stayed with me most after reading it is, appropriately enough, the voice. Writers have voices on the page just as singers do onstage/in studio; and of course we all have distinctive speaking voices. Celebrities of Roger's magnitude also have a sort of in-between voice, used for interviews; given the writing process used here, of transcribed then edited interviews, I wondered if that's what we'd get. Instead, it's something much more fun--a written version of the storytelling voice he uses onstage. Like at a show, where I'm there not only for the songs themselves but for the voice they're sung in, it makes all the difference. I loved sitting down to spend some time with him this way, and it had as much to do with the tone of the book as any details.

    That said, there were a lot of moments I especially liked, including some things about how the narrative was put together. Starting out with the cancelled show in Tampa in 2007, for instance, then working back over four short pages to the real starting point. The general delicacy of handling on certain topics; not refusing to talk about groupies, or Keith's rougher side, but talking about them in a way that's both honest and protective of all involved, general readers included. It's a good illustration of the difference between the self-editing in a good way and self-censorship; just putting a story into words edits it, but some circumstances call for a little more care. While this is definitely a sanitized version in some ways, it never feels false. As a reader I felt included, and never got the impression of being sold anything; the guy is definitely telling his side of things, but he's not out to prove what a badass and/or a saint he is.

    As a reasonably knowledgeable fan, a lot of the stories were familiar, but as I'd hoped, here each aspect of his life shed light on the others: the band, childhood, acting, Heather, family, the farm. I knew a lot of the bits and pieces, but now they fit together in a charming, cohesive self-portrait, in a way that's highly personal without being selfish. I love how he talks about Heather, beginning with the book's dedication and including the photo of her that he took himself--as close as any audience ever will, we get to see her through his eyes. Beyond words.

    And then there's the way Pete just naturally shows up all throughout; the way Roger talks about Heather is touching and true, but his references to Pete are almost like references to the weather, or even some sort of alternate self. Pete, of course, needs no introduction; he's simply[I] there[/I], a necessary part of Roger's story in a way no one else could be. It's not just the weird, not-at-all-social sort of closeness that happens when folks play music together, even intensified by circumstance and multiplied over fifty years. Maybe it's all that plus spending those years getting inside Pete's songs, inhabiting something that came from another person's head. Sort of like what actors do, but more so; lyrics aren't a script.

    Speaking of acting, it's nice to know where Rude Awakening and Extreme History fit in, even though that was a difficult time. I appreciated that he could talk about the bad times without a lot of drama or bids for pity, but in a way that let you know he's been there. I have too; reading about those long walks around the farm after coming home from the '79 tour (Cincinnati) reminded me of a time when I took a lot of walks in the woods. Very different stories, but similar emotions. Not fun to live through, but part of the story if you're honest.

    Another part that spoke to my own history was the meeting with a grown daughter he hadn't known about. Having been given up at birth myself, I appreciate the way Roger handled this.

    It was also good to hear the other side of the management change situation, especially after seeing the film Lambert and Stamp.

    Not just the voice, but the perspective makes this a good read; not only tying the stories together, but showing them from a different angle. For instance, Keith as a kid who got to live a version of his childhood surfer fantasy, until it turned on him. That fresh angle isn't just a matter of standpoint, it's about the way Roger's mind works; flashes of that come through in the writing, like calling his private life his "little life." The insight here isn't so much into the workings of the band or celebrity itself, though there's a good amount of that; it's into the person speaking. For someone already a fan, there's a sense of confirmation here. I like that he talks about the moment when the sun came out from the clouds at Jazzfest; I was there and saw it happen, and still sometimes I've wondered if it were real. Glad to be reminded.
    Last edited by suzanity; 12-31-2018, 07:45 PM.
    "Maybe there is no sublime; only the shining of the amnion's tatters." --Galway Kinnell

    Comment


    • #3
      I bought the audio book version on CD is pretty good too but the book has the pictures in the middle as well. They had a stack of the books at BJ's Warehouse a few weeks ago and all are gone now, so it must sell pretty good I guess. Yeah the book looks kind of thin for a Bibliography but the publisher probably limited it to a certain page count being Townshend's book was much bigger and didn't do as well as Keith Richards book by comparison etc. There again Roger Daltrey probably didn't want to reveal too much either.

      Comment


      • #4
        [QUOTE=suzanity;n136391]Thanks for asking! :) It's nice to have a thread about the book itself, which I've read, instead of the promotional events, which I couldn't get to. Have been sort of letting it settle for a while after reading, to see what stands out, and wasn't really sure how to approach a post about it. Mostly when I write about encounters with Roger, it's a concert and I can go song by song. Hard to do that with a book! As always, this is more reaction than review, so take it for what it's worth.

        The publishing world runs on genre just as much as the music industry, so when the book came out I headed to the Celebrity Bio section of a local bookstore. It wasn't there! After several conversations with multiple puzzled employees--the computer showed they had it, but they didn't recall seeing it--we finally converged on the new arrivals table, where a more seasoned clerk said it would be. And she remembered the author's name, not the title; in what I can only imagine was a hard-fought compromise with the publisher, Roger's name is printed on the cover much larger than the title. But that title tells you right away, if you didn't already know: this guy doesn't like being put in a box.

        What's stayed with me most after reading it is, appropriately enough, the voice. Writers have voices on the page just as singers do onstage/in studio; and of course we all have distinctive speaking voices. Celebrities of Roger's magnitude also have a sort of in-between voice, used for interviews; given the writing process used here, of transcribed then edited interviews, I wondered if that's what we'd get. Instead, it's something much more fun--a written version of the storytelling voice he uses onstage. Like at a show, where I'm there not only for the songs themselves but for the voice they're sung in, it makes all the difference. I loved sitting down to spend some time with him this way, and it had as much to do with the tone of the book as any details.

        That said, there were a lot of moments I especially liked, including some things about how the narrative was put together. Starting out with the cancelled show in Tampa in 2007, for instance, then working back over four short pages to the real starting point. The general delicacy of handling on certain topics; not refusing to talk about groupies, or Keith's rougher side, but talking about them in a way that's both honest and protective of all involved, general readers included. It's a good illustration of the difference between the self-editing in a good way and self-censorship; just putting a story into words edits it, but some circumstances call for a little more care. While this is definitely a sanitized version in some ways, it never feels false. As a reader I felt included, and never got the impression of being sold anything; the guy is definitely telling his side of things, but he's not out to prove what a badass and/or a saint he is.

        As a reasonably knowledgeable fan, a lot of the stories were familiar, but as I'd hoped, here each aspect of his life shed light on the others: the band, childhood, acting, Heather, family, the farm. I knew a lot of the bits and pieces, but now they fit together in a charming, cohesive self-portrait, in a way that's highly personal without being selfish. I love how he talks about Heather, beginning with the book's dedication and including the photo of her that he took himself--as close as any audience ever will, we get to see her through his eyes. Beyond words.

        And then there's the way Pete just naturally shows up all throughout; the way Roger talks about Heather is touching and true, but his references to Pete are almost like references to the weather, or even some sort of alternate self. Pete, of course, needs no introduction; he's simply[I] there[/I], a necessary part of Roger's story in a way no one else could be. It's not just the weird, not-at-all-social sort of closeness that happens when folks play music together, even intensified by circumstance and multiplied over fifty years. Maybe it's all that plus spending those years getting inside Pete's songs, inhabiting something that came from another person's head. Sort of like what actors do, but more so; lyrics aren't a script.

        Speaking of acting, it's nice to know where Rude Awakening and Extreme History fit in, even though that was a difficult time. I appreciated that he could talk about the bad times without a lot of drama or bids for pity, but in a way that let you know he's been there. I have too; reading about those long walks around the farm after coming home from the '79 tour (Cincinnati) reminded me of a time when I took a lot of walks in the woods. Very different stories, but similar emotions. Not fun to live through, but part of the story if you're honest.

        Another part that spoke to my own history was the meeting with a grown daughter he hadn't known about. Having been given up at birth myself, I appreciate the way Roger handled this.

        It was also good to hear the other side of the management change situation, especially after seeing the film Lambert and Stamp.

        Not just the voice, but the perspective makes this a good read; not only tying the stories together, but showing them from a different angle. For instance, Keith as a kid who got to live a version of his childhood surfer fantasy, until it turned on him. That fresh angle isn't just a matter of standpoint, it's about the way Roger's mind works; flashes of that come through in the writing, like calling his private life his "little life." The insight here isn't so much into the workings of the band or celebrity itself, though there's a good amount of that; it's into the person speaking. For someone already a fan, there's a sense of confirmation here. I like that he talks about the moment when the sun came out from the clouds at Jazzfest; I was there and saw it happen, and still sometimes I've wondered if it were real. Glad to be reminded.[/QUOTE]

        This should be [U]the[/U] New York Times book review. If the book gets a reprint, a forward should be added and look no further on who could write it!

        Comment


        • #5
          [QUOTE=905;n136416]

          This should be [U]the[/U] New York Times book review. If the book gets a reprint, a forward should be added and look no further on who could write it!
          [/QUOTE]

          Well, thank ya, thank ya very much... (blushing and doing my best Elvis voice--which, btw, isn't very good.)

          :)
          "Maybe there is no sublime; only the shining of the amnion's tatters." --Galway Kinnell

          Comment


          • #6
            I did read the book during a weekend. Its is very well written and has a solid storyline. Enjoyed very much. But having read many books about the band and Pete, Keith, John and Doug Samdom and Kenney Jones autographies, all fall short to tell more about each album, recordings, songs or special concerts. I mean, they rarely mention how they worked with producers, the unreleased albums, forgotten songs, demos that weren't recorded. Roger hardly mention his solo tours, working with Leo Sayer and Russ Ballard, about each album, the films he did. I think there is more for a second book.
            Last edited by luile; 11-02-2021, 05:51 PM.

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