LIFE IN DOUBLE TIME by Mike Lankford


Confessions of an American Drummer
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 A witty, often endearing throwaway memoir of a young musician's professional coming-of-age in the '60s and early '70s. Lankford discovered his vocation at age 13, upon seeing his first live rock 'n' roll band. Soon he had managed to persuade his baleful mother to let him take out a loan and buy a drum kit, and after the standard period of godawful-racket-making, he joined a succession of garage bands in his Oklahoma hometown. Lankford captures the ludicrous joys and irrational woes of membership in a rock band. In one very funny set piece, the author describes in devastating detail his disastrous first and only attempt to sing lead: ``Dancers became paralyzed and clumsy, faces rigid. A certain wide-eyed unfocused look swept the room like a fog. Suddenly, everyone was just going through the motions, pretending to dance, pretending to smile, pretending to be there.'' After a stint in a band with significant local renown, Lankford got a call from a tiny blues combo passing through town whose drummer had quit suddenly. He wound up touring the country with the two veteran musicians for two years, playing invariably ratty dives and reaping the benefits of his bandmates' decades of musical and life experience. Lankford tells some excellent road stories, from hauling a wounded pheasant into the van (``I'm going to eat him,'' explains Dennis, the organist and driver) to breaking down during a South Dakota blizzard while searching for a town called Deadwood. In addition to witnessing much drunkenness and one murder, the author tried heroin once under the tutelage of the group's guitarist. The emotional and physical wear of this kind of touring drove Lankford out of the business entirely by age 23. Very likable, but essentially a string of anecdotes that don't cohere into anything larger.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8118-0683-9
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1996