TONY ALLEN: MASTER DRUMMER OF AFROBEAT is the focus of a forthcoming autobiography co-written with saxophonist/writer Michael E Veal.
Tony Allen: An Autobiography Of The Master Drummer Of Afrobeat is out in September and Tony has got together with saxophonist/writer Professor Michael E. Veal, who played and toured with Fela and penned the excellent Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon,to produce this wonderful insight into the life and times of Africa’s most influential and innovative modern drummer.
“My goal was for the book to feel like a continuous, relaxed session of Tony telling stories. This was essentially how we conducted the interviews, and this kind of narrative flow I have tried to preserve here.”says Veal adding that his aim is make the pages “speak” to the reader.
As Tony Allen: An Autobiography Of The Master Drummer Of Afrobeat is essentially an “academic” publication Veal’s approach is a wayward and unorthodox and for that we have to give thanks. This is not a slice of dry academia, what we get in this incredibly fruitful collaboration is 160 pages of rich revealing narrative that is so engrossing that I missed my stop on the tube.Considering that Tony has been a devoted herb smoker since his teens his memory is remarkable. He is a brilliant story teller and from the moment he decided to pick up a pair of drum sticks he regales us with anecdote after anecdote from the pre-Fela era to beyond. As such he gives us a detailed insight into how the Nigerian music scene works. He deals with the bandleaders, the clubs, the rivalries, the payments (or in Fela’s case how he’d come back to Tony to borrow money he’d just paid him!), the tours (amid the civil war and to the USA), and the musical influences that shaped his drumming and the evolution of the music.
Basically, I couldn’t put the book down and it had me sifting through the records to provide a soundtrack to the narrative. Loved it. It’s out in September order your copy today.
Tony Allen: An Autobiography Of The Master Drummer Of Afrobeat – Tony Allen & Maichael E Veal (Duke University Press £16.99)