As the former frontman for the Canadian rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, David Clayton-Thomas is no stranger to the spotlight. He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and been given a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. As if that weren’t enough, Clayton-Thomas can now add memoirist to his list of accomplishments.
Clayton-Thomas opens his book with an introduction that prepares readers for a raw and honest account of his life. What follows is a highly personal and passionate description of child abuse, prison, poverty, artistic longing, and the price of success. His rise from the depths of Canada’s prison system to centre stage is an incredible story, one he relates in a voice that is sensitive and, at times, quite funny. Readers will also be drawn into the turbulent 1960s milieu, with its tales of drug binges in artists’ enclaves and shared moments with musical legends.
While the memoir succeeds on that level, however, it fails entirely on another. Throughout the book, Clayton-Thomas takes the opportunity to settle decades-old scores with family, former business partners, and current members of BS&T. While readers should never expect a memoir to be wholly objective, many of the vitriol-laced rants in this book distract from the story and leave a bitter aftertaste. The book is also laden with contradictions, as Clayton-Thomas embraces his own life choices, then vilifies others for making similar choices.
For fans of BS&T or Clayton-Thomas’s solo work, this memoir delivers the rawness and honesty that it promises. It sheds light on the darker side of the author’s life and the inspiration behind some of his music, but for casual readers, the enjoyment of the story is mitigated by the narrative’s anger and contradictions. The story of a nuanced character battling internal conflicts can make for fascinating reading, but watching Clayton-Thomas wrestle with his demons on the page is a lot less enjoyable than listening to him sing them out.
A great read. I now have more respect for the guy who performed at a school dance back in the sixties. I had no idea of the life he had up until that time.Published 22 months ago by Dunk20001
Always having liked his music, David Clasyton Thomas was always an enigma. Great book An easy read while being factual and explanatoryPublished on Dec 30 2012 by Mel Stark