Andy Summers is best known as the guitarist with The Police - a group that had its fair share of success on both sides of the Atlantic. His memoir could just as well be titled 'One man and his Guitar' for his story is that of a life devoted to music, and in particular to the instrument that was first given to him by a caring uncle at the age of 13.
At times Summers does get over-technical in expressing his delight in playing around with various chords and marvelling at the latest models, but don't let this put you off. His story is a well written, highly detailed and witty account of a journey towards fame and the many stops en route, each one as enlightening as the next.
As a journeyman musician in the early 1970s, Summers found time to jam with Jimmie Hendrix and Eric Clapton, as well as doing stints with The Animals, Big Roll Band, and, most surprisingly Neil Sedaka.
A chance meeting with Stuart Copeland on a train lead to the formation of The Police. In keeping with the tone of the memoir, Summers resists the temptation to give a warts and all account of his fellow band members. His depiction of Sting as self-obsessed, and of Copeland being a loud mouth is the nearest we get to something scandalous. Instead he focuses on the mammoth world tours: the cultural awakening that was Japan and his flirtation with the Yakuza; the military dictatorships in Australia and Chile; and the lack of opportunities that pervaded life in Eastern Europe.
There were drugs, too, in the company of one John Belushi. Yet, it's the love of his craft that strikes the strongest chord. Growing up in Bournemouth, Summers was heavily influenced by the American jazz sound of the 1950s. It was this sound that characterised The Police at their pomp, and differentiated them from punk, and the new romantic wave that followed.
'One Train Later' is enjoyable travelogue, and you can't help but feel that Summers lived through interesting times. His words give full expression to what it was like to be a celebrity in an era when such a term actually meant something.