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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review: Road Rat's Tips. The musician's guide to keeping comfortable, safe, sane and employed on the road - by Pete Cook.

(Review by Lance)
As well as having been a pro sax player for 20 years, Pete Cook is also Head of Jazz at London College of Music. With such a pedigree it's little wonder that Cook is able to mix in a wealth of anecdotes alongside a host of practical advice on the day to day existence of the gigging professional musician.
It's all here - such as what to do if you've lost your passport in a foreign land or how to charm the caterer's into feeding the band at a society wedding..
A friend was quoting a few sentences to me from Road Rats Tips before I'd actually started reading it.
"Well," I said somewhat pompously, "That's just common sense."
"Oh yes? How many musicians do you know who can apply common sense?" she cuttingly replied.
I had to admit that Django Reinhardt could have counted them on the fingers of one hand - either hand.
Which is the whole point of the book. Muso's, like any other creative artist, prefer not to bother themselves with such mundane matters as getting from A-B in X number of days with Y pairs of socks.
With Road Rat's Tips it's done for them and I must confess I found few, if any, situations the author hasn't covered.
To sum up, a useful, practical, often funny, easy to read guide to survival on the road; and if it seems more geared towards the globe-trotting pro than the journeyman club-date/function gigster the lessons learned and the knowledge gleaned can still be applied to the individual's own situation.
As a matter of local (north east) interest, one of Pete Cook's former pupils - pianist, composer and now Doctor (mus), Paul Edis - is quoted. But perhaps the best quote comes from their mutual friend and well known Greek sax player Vasilis Xenopoulos who of course is no stranger to the north-east.
Asked what items he considered essential to take on the road he replied "Your instrument, paracetamol, immodium and condoms!"
Sums it up really!
To find out more about this book check out www.roadratstips.com where you can read a sample chapter for free and purchase - post free - from Amazon (£9.99).
To find out more about the author click here.
Lance.

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