Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Postcards from a Rock and Roll Tour

I'm not exactly sure what I was doing at the time, but I was on Amazon looking for something, and I stumbled across a link to the above titled book. Postcards from a Rock and Roll Tour is a book length series of vignettes written by Gordon Marshall, the backing drummer for the Moody Blues, and covers a summer and fall tour of the US and Great Britain in 2010. Given my love of the Moody Blues, I ordered a copy and devoured it in a couple of days.

It was a very interesting book, and a good read in its own right, but was a little disappointing in some ways.

Marshall first toured with the Moodies in 1991 in what was supposed to be a nine-week stint as a second backup drummer while Graeme Edge, the drummer, played through and recovered from an injury. Things went well, and Marshall has been touring with the band ever since. His journal-style recollections from this particular tour are a fascinating insight into the life of a traveling musician, if a bit repetitive at times. Varying quality food, some sightseeing, familiar venues, jogging for exercise, exhaustion, planes (rarely) and tour buses (generally). The Moodies have been touring for the last bunch of years with three original members as well as four secondary musicians to fill out the sound. Marshall paints a picture of the main guys being nice and down to earth, but recognizes that even after 20+ years touring with the band, there is a difference to being with the band versus in the band (not with any bitterness, just matter of fact). Things like playing a show in one city one night, getting in the tour bus at midnight for the eight hour overnight ride to the next city, while the three main guys hop a lear jet and get there in an hour and a half. As you would expect, being a superstar means you ride the bus some of the time, but not all of the time...

The only minor disappointment for me was that the amount of content specific to the Moody Blues was less than I had hoped for. Presumably in respecting the privacy of the others (his employers), there is little sharing of any kind of personal insight into any of them, and much of what Marshall writes could be true of touring with any band, not just one of my favorites. That is a quibble though of a hard core fan; this is a quick fun read that would be good under any circumstances, and had enough Moodies material to keep me happy.

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