39 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Eric C. Calderone
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Allow me to lay my biases on the table: I am a dyed in the wool Jeff Buckley fan. If I could reshape the world, there would only be one biography about Jeff, and there would be no such thing as rumor mongering and gossiping, for no one would be prone to commit, or listen to, that sort of thing. But this is the real world: I have lost count of biographies written about my hero; and they keep on coming. They have spread so much innuendo, smut, over the Jeff's legacy. With this in mind, I salute Apter's biography: it is factual, generally avoids exploiting gossip or sensationalism. It more often than not demonstrates a dispassionate examination of the subject. When it draws inferences, or throws its weight in one direction, in my opinion it comes fairly close to the truth as a reasonable person with the facts would perceive them.
Apter obviously is familiar with the music scene, hailing from Australia's Rolling Stone magazine. The reader benefits from the author's relevant background. Discussions about Jeff Buckley's interactions with fellow musicians and acquaintenances during his short career, from L.A. to New York; the burden of having to deal with his dead father's musical legacy; his being thrust into the paws of the media monster, AKA Columbia/Sony, and how he endeavored to foster his career yet remain true to his professional principles, all make for extremely interesting reading.
On the enticing, but very problematic and subjective topic of Jeff Buckley's frame of mind, his psychology, Apter succeeds in refraining from unsubstantiated melodrama. Unlike Browne in Dream Brothers, he avoids drawing inferences based on hearsay, he refuses to exploit the sensational for the sake of selling more books. Based on what Jeff's closest friends have said, there is absolutely no reason to conclude, or suspect, that Jeff Buckley was ever on the verge of a nervous breakdown or that he ever contemplated suicide. Yes, even as a young adult he can be accused of immaturity, though his prolonged Grace tours seem to have propelled him to emotional maturity towards the very end. He can accurately be suspected of not being professionally focused, though I never would have thought that this constitutes a psychological pathology. Yes, he resented the fact that his biological father, Tim Buckley, abandoned him. Yet, who wouldn't harbor resentment over abandonment by one's parent? Nothing bizarre or pathological about that. And again, yes, Buckley suffered from a writer's block. But that is hardly what most of us would consider a pathology. Apter provides some very good insights on the topic of Jeff's writing inertia. The author draws a portrait of a very talented young man, who is essentially honest, caring and loyal to his friends to a fault. Yes, he had some emotional baggage. But don't we all? I wouldn't mind being the type of person Jeff Buckley was. Not at all.
Apter shows considerable courage in raising the topic of just which parent ultimately may have done Jeff Buckley more harm: his deceased biological father or his still very much alive mother, Mary Guibert? He informs the reader about how Jeff constantly moved from one location to another while growing up. We learn that Buckley was ashamed to apply for a job upon graduation from High School because he never spent more than a few months in any one school and would have had to list the reams of schools he attended within the space of a few years in any job application. He lets the reader know that Jeff as an adult deliberately kept minimal contact with his mother. This topic is quite relevant to the masses of Jeff Buckley fans who very much want to benefit from and enjoy the products of Buckley's genius, and to show their respect for this phenomenal musician, but run into the brickwall known as the Jeff Buckley Estate, controlled by Mary Guibert, its executor. In the coda of the book, Apter provides a short but meaningful discussion on just how the Estate has managed, or exploited, the development and release of Jeff Buckley's musical legacy.
A Pure Drop is a well-written and researched biography. It treats its subject with respect and impartiality. It portrays Jeff as human like the rest of us, but doesn't exploit his foibles to the extent that his undeniable genius and basic humanity are overshadowed. Bravo, Jeff Apter, for a work well done!
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Jeff Apter really has written a good book. If you're a Jeff Buckley fan, I suggest you get this book more than any other, as Apter is fairly accurate. He talked to many Buckley insiders, those who knew him best--his lifelong friends, band mates, and (few) friends of his at Columbia. The book does not try to make something of Jeff that he's not--he was media antagonistic. He was terrified of being "marketed," of being lumped in the MTV generation, and Apter does a great job of letting us see Jeff's turmoil about this, and his attempts to avoid this. Jeff was aware early on what the record label's intentions were, and we see in this book the pull between him being increasingly famous and wanting to just walk into a cafe and perform there, crafting his songs by first working them out live. Apter gives us examples (Jeff's insistence that 'Forget Her' was to be left off "Grace", knowing full well it would have been a radio hit, showing up to the 'Grace' cover album photo shoot wearing the gold glittery jacket to the dissatisfaction of Columbia- Columbia wanted to market him as the "grunge boy with a angel voice".) I think with this book, you'll get the most accurate and FAIR portrait of who Jeff Buckley really was, because Apter is not depending on speculation or People magazine-like interviews of Jeff. His info came from those who knew Jeff best, plain and simple. His death isn't treated as some romantic, mysterious death. It's fairly handled--it was a horrific accident that is treated delicately but fairly.
My only slight misgiving is the way he describes Mary Guibert (Jeff's mother). I completely agree with the author, and many Buckley insiders and fans, that some things she did after his death were questionable and certainly would have been against Jeff's wishes (releasing the underwhelming, and unfininshed, 'Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk'). Apter even says the reissue of 'Live at Sin-e' was "too much" and "uneccesary." As a big Buckley fan, this 'Live' reissue is one of my favorites, and something I think Guibert and Sony got right. It went from a 4 song EP to 34 wonderful songs (minus the talking parts). The expanded 'Live' version is wonderful, hearing 'Grace', in addition to his wonderful covers, that perfectly capture those early Sin-e days. The other posthumous releases, i can see why she gets criticized for. However, I got a little turned off at the way Apter portrays Guibert as a mother. First of all, he includes an obviously very unflattering picture of her with the photos. He "hints" throughout the book at her being a bad mother ("She tended to 'experiment' with drugs"; "She had 'open' relationships with men") Things like that, he just throws in at litte asides and jabs at Guibert in the middle of something that has nothing whatsoever to do with what he was just talking about. He also, throughout the book, alludes to Jeff's 'issues' with his mother, but that's all it is-allusions. We are never given anything to show really that she was a bad mother to him. Sometimes, it seems as if he's harsher with her than with Tim Buckley, who abandoned his son. A few times, we read about Tim insiders who try to make excuses for what Tim did-saying he didn't leave Jeff, he left Mary because he couldn't stand her. He still left, and stayed gone even after he supposedly 'found out' he had a son. No such excuses are made for Guibert for things she may have done. And that's all we're left with in the end. Mentions here and there and questions about her role as a mother, but nothing concrete to say. He seems way more forgiving of Tim Buckley who abandoned his son, than of Mary Guibert, who at 18 was left pregnant and alone. Maybe she deserves the break from the author, not Tim. The author is fair regarding Jeff, which disappointed me that he took this curious route when it comes to his mother.