When the first Volume of the Alvin Gibbs story came out during lockdown I was delighted to sit out on the patio and absorb his wonderful words as fast as I could and reading that it would be spread out over several books was even better news.
Now I make no secret of my admiration for the guy’s musical talent I also have waxed lyrically about how good his books are especially when I first read ‘Neighbourhood Threat’ about his time spent as the bass player on the Iggy Pop Instinct tour alongside Andy McCoy. I absolutely loved that tour and the shows I saw and would put ‘Live At The Channel’ right at the top of my favourite live albums ever. The energy the band had was spectacular and reading Alvin’s account from inside the beast was a joy, the excesses, and musical highs were wonderfully described by someone who knew exactly how to attack such a tome. When he spoke about his memories and getting it all down on paper as it should be was something I was always going to look forward to.
His “Clang!” moments of meetings and dalliances with some of Rock and Pops royalty is almost on every page of this fast-paced memoir so much so that Alvin must have a sore back picking up all those “Clangs” – meetings with Everly Brothers, Working with Steve Jones, Iggy, chats with Bowie to name a few, it’s all in there and the period of Alvin returning to the UK with Cheap & Nasty coincided with my moving to London and chasing my dreams with the soundtrack and backdrop of London town in the early 90s and attending many of the shows Alvin alludes to in this volume of his life.
If you read the first book then you’ll know what to expect and this should be a no-brainer if this Autobiography is new to you then jump in you won’t regret it. One of the most talented people of his genre Alvin plays like a giant and writes like a pro. With the benefit of hindsight Alvin is respectful to the people he fondly writes about and some of his antics he rightly goes into detail but never excuses them but does explain them and that matters. The pace is excellent, his use of the English Language is second to none, and (I wish I could write with his style and panache) Often with a smile and a cheeky grin you turn the pages and get the feeling that you are right there by his side as he indulges us often in great detail and it’s the small attention to detail that gives the pages their beating heart. I didn’t think it was possible to give this man any more respect than I already do but again I doff my hat to him and his skills and give me volume three asap, please! Two just isn’t enough. volume 2 of Alvin’s work is a cautionary tale of the indulgences of the business but also a window into a world most of us can only dream about living – Book of the year? Hell yeah! 83-94, for the most part, Alvin lived the dream and when he wasn’t he was still on some bizarre journey as his downtime was spent with some real corpses not just of the Rock and Roll variety.
In a life that seemed to be a series of sliding door moments and opportunities that were too good to resist Alvin has seized his moments and grasped the nettle and held on for dear life it would seem, it’s an amazing journey and as far as Rock and Roll autobiographies go this is, without doubt, one of the finest (Again) bring-on volume three, I can’t wait.
Author: Dom Daley