Remembering Reading – Musician Autobiographies


Reading is a refresher to writing. Reading is learning structure and style. In a sense, reading can feel like a relaxing kind of work.

Of the many books I have read over the last few years, most have been autobiographies about musicians whose artistic output I have enjoyed immensely. In most of these kinds of books, the artists are writing them with the help of someone else who gets to have their name on the cover with their subject.

Those kinds of books tend to be quick reads for me. I want to get to the heart of their careers and where they went at certain times. What was happening during the recordings of a particular album, song, and so on. These kinds of books do offer great insight into how stories are told from the musician’s point of view.

One particular favourite book by Guns N Roses bassist Duff McKagan really took me by surprise. Duff himself has evolved into a remarkable writer with weekly columns to his credit. He tells his stories with such flawless flow that you can see how dedicated he was to honing another craft. From a book like this I have learned to let go more as I am telling a story and worry about the edits later. As someone with a lifelong addiction to revising, Duff’s book offered me a refreshing look at my own writing.

There are a few others on my shelf that were written with the help of another writer. Those books have offered the same kind of refresher course that I sometimes need. You have someone sitting with the subject and having them tell the stories for later transposition to screen and page. Occasionally, there are books where the subject is told to go and write a few suggested memories themselves. They then give it over to their co-author for professional polishing.

Regardless of your preferred genre of reading, consider reading as part of your work ethic. Sitting with a book not only offers an escape to writers. It offers insight for anyone in this business to look at ways to constantly learn and improve on their word delivery.



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