Mr. Erskine obviously can write. As a writer he has the same sense of rhythm he has as a drummer.
Problem is, referring to the caption under the title, this is an “autobiography” allright, but it certainly ain’t a “chronicle of Weather Report”.
So what do we get here?
In his not-strictly chronological account (and that is a good thing) we get a lot about his formative years and his early gigs with the Kenton and Ferguson big bands; an endless chapter (well, it’s only about twenty pages, but it did seem endless to me) about Mr. Erskine’s endorsement and/or association with drum brands and drum manufactures, which possibly might be of some interest if you’re a drummer (and even so, I’m not sure).
And there’s a lot about life-after-WR and the multitude of musicians and bands he played with, about his solo records, his personal life, his teaching at the University.
So is there anything here about WR?
Yes, interspersed across the book there are the inevitable tales from the various tours, quite a few anecdotes about Joe Zawinul (each and every one of them just reiterating the cliché of the genius disguised as a megalomaniac macho), some moving portraits of Jaco Pastorius. Wayne Shorter is mentioned about three times in the whole book. There’s a two-page chapter devoted to Mr. Shorter (yes, two pages) – which ends up talking about Zawinul anyway.
Wayne Shorter is indeed Mr. Gone in this book.
There’s hardly anything at all about the musical process, about how WR operated as a band, in the studio and on stage. In this respect we get more information from Mr. Erskine’s 16-page booklet accompanying the recent (and recommended) 4-CD box “The Legendary Tapes” (same cover picture by the way).