Peter Erskine: No Beethoven

While drummer Peter Erskine is best known for his years during the halcyon days of Weather Report, this book shows his work with the pen is almost as good as with the drum sticks. He chronicles his time with the legendary band as well as giving his life before and after.

Like the excellent drummer that he is, he approaches this book by keeping a steady beat throughout. Like his solos, the chapters are concise and to the point, changing patterns and dynamics as needed. He uses his brushes deftly as he goes through his reflections on relationships and family, riding the cymbal on his early days with Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson. He hits the snare hard and keeps at it on his insights on Joe Zawinul, Jaco Pastorius while the sizzling high hat of  his days with the iconic fusion band fade in and out during various parts of the book, never quite leaving the relentless pulse.

From a drummer’s viewpoint, every other musician is out if front for observation, and that’s how Erskine approaches the musicians that he’s worked with. He includes invaluable insights on life and music from friends, teachers and of course Joe Zawinul. He gives  glimpses of his post Weather Report days with comments on  Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Steps ahead and others, with an appreciation of his journey that is refreshing.

This book is able to be enjoyed by fans of Weather Report, drumming or just wanting to see how to succeed in the tom toms of life.

Leave a Reply