Bill Bruford: the Autobiography : Yes, "King Crimson","Earthworks" and More, Paperback

Bill Bruford: the Autobiography : Yes, "King Crimson","Earthworks" and More Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Bill Bruford - once called 'the godfather of progressive-rock drumming' - has been at the top of his profession for four decades, playing with Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Earthworks, and many more.

This is his memoir of life at the heart of prog rock, art rock, and modern jazz.

It is an honest, entertaining, well-written account of life on the road and in the studio - rubbing shoulders with the famous, the less famous, and the infamous, and creating an impressive tally of great music.A rock musician with the temperament of a classical musician who became a jazz musician, Bruford defies all the cliches about drummers.

He says: 'You write what you have to write, you play what you have to play, because you can't sleep at night.

If you can sleep at night, you shouldn't be doing this anyway'.

From time to time, at polite dinner parties, someone will ask Bill what he does.

He replies that he is a musician. 'Yes, but what do you really do?' retorts the enquirer.

This unusual, funny, and insightful music memoir answers the question.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages, 20 colour and black and white pictures in plate section
  • Publisher: Outline Press Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Rock & Pop music
  • ISBN: 9781906002237



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

It's typical of Bruford -- and of this book -- that he eschews the temptation for some natty play on words involving sticks or skins or some such and chooses the title "The Autobiography". If you're looking for tittle-tattle about the personalities of 70s rock and 80s/90s/00s jazz, this is the wrong place. Instead the book starts off with an honest attempt to describe the challenges, rewards, and everyday struggles of a musician who, over 40 years, has chosen to play to audiences of 20,000 and also to audiences of 200. It ends with a good 50 pages explaining how, after all those years, Bruford has had enough -- in fact, more than enough. He's fallen out of love with his profession and seems genuinely ill at ease that he can't impress (and I'm not making this up) a Wimbledon Estate Agent at a party. What drives him, he says, is the gaining the respect of his peer group, which includes other professional drummers, but also, bizarrely, home counties airheads. I was disappointed, too, that he made no comparison between his experience and that of his 30-year-old son, also a professional drummer. Evidently he wanted to protect the family's privacy.

Review by

Bill Bruford came to fame early as the drummer for progressive rock band Yes before leaving to strike out into more challenging musical territory with King Crimson and then various jazz and jazz-rock groups.This is a bittersweet autobiography, as it was written at the point at which Bruford had decided, after forty year's active service, to retire from being a professional musician. Bruford is very much a thinking drummer, and this is a thoughtful autobiography. Much of what he says about the problems of maintaining confidence in one's abilities, and of dealing with a rapidly evolving (devolving?) industry, I could identify with from my own (much more modest) writing career.There is at times a slight whiff of "you young people today don't know how lucky you are" at which I suspect the younger Bruford would have taken umbrage - but this is still well worth reading for those interested in Bruford's musical career or in what it's like to try to maintain a meaningful career in the creative arts.

Review by

Bill is one of my favorite drummers, but it took me twice to get throught this book.

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