Genuine JawboneHarry Saphiro : Jack Bruce : Composing Himself -book- (UK,2010)***
I was hesitating whether I should check, read and review Jack’s Bruce biography or not, but I realised that my starting point must have been very much like the average music lover, knowing Cream, loving their wildest moments*, but having lost track of Jack Bruce’s other albums, almost tending to preconceptions regarding the post-Cream years, and towards the less effective R&B-scenes and influences in their lives. I also wondered if the career of such musicians wasn’t too much about depending on genre-based music, being addicted to music itself as a field on its own rather than being able to develop as a composer on a distant with visions to express from beyond or outside music, or even with new sounds and composition. But after all Jack Bruce has shown certain technically gifted visions as a musician so the book was another way to find out more about it. I also personally never understood the over-attention given to Eric Clapton, only because he gave a white expression to blues, used a wa-wa pedal as one of the first in the UK, and wasn’t Cream a bit more a Jack Bruce thing ? So it seemed. Thanks to the book I found out a lot of answers to my personal questions.
There’s a foreword by Eric Clapton. I found myself lucky to understand he didn’t want all the attention to him for the reasons invented by critics, as if he reinvented the blues or as if he was such a good guitarist because of that. After all, Rolling Stone wanted headlines with guitarists. After all, they’re still a bit more a magazine looking for the mainstream hero than being completely in a choice of music as it is. Knowing very well music scenes from Germany, Italy, Belgium and Holland, this book, describing the lifestyle of Cream and beyond gives the impression that in the UK music in the rock world was less an adventurous world as always presented (especially when dealing with its its circumstances), but had a lot more involvement in a survival of the fittest, trying to convince with a popular song effect on the public so that musicians could survive. And did they ? Cream and Jack Bruce obviously suffered from crooked and cooked management (their manager once said “give the kids their toys, but never tell anything about the family money”), probably supporting them with drugs and gain even more money, while charging them again, and when the bands return from gigs they still come with the idea they only owe them less now.
For the rest there hardly is said anything about Eric Clapton. Much attention goes to the love and hate relationship between drummer Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. About the amazing stories of fights, also with the public, described with a portion of humour, but I would never like to have been in their place, hearing all these incredible stories, from Mafiosi invitations to a public trying to kill them (Glasgow) or steal their equipment. You can hear all the side projects, like with Graham Bond or John McLaughlin of which the description of some tracks made me curious to check these out. Of course, there’s also honest talk about the heroin addiction. We wonder how much life and music might have been without it. Before all that there’s a good description on the setting, socially, politically and in the family where Jack Bruce grew up. But the blurring fragmentation of the post-Cream years I still find confusing, a labyrinth, while the story did prove me the fundaments from before, at and after Cream has parallels and evolutions, first of all because that’s where Jack Bruce very much was involved and showed his signature. Luckily before too much confusion becomes apparent the last few paragraphs goes thematically over a certain emphasis, before describing the last few years. I’m sure the musicians gave themselves 100 % from beginning to end. But in the end I would never like to switch lives with the lives and falls of what here still is that of a rock star.
*(even though I prefer it much heavier and creative, like what was done in Danmark or Sweden)