It’s taken me three or four weeks to get through Al Kooper‘s “Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards.” Not because it’s a difficult or boring read, but because I tend to droop off if I read a book in the mid-to-late evening. It’s also a mild annoyance to read a dead-tree paperback. I’m pretty much a Kindle guy.
Kooper can write. His sentences are plain, unaffected, semi-humorous or sardonic. He conveys a confident, unpretentious, no-skin-off-my-ass attitude, which feels relaxing for the most part.
The first chapter I read covered the formation and break-up of Kooper’s version of Blood, Sweat & Tears (Nov. ‘67 to April ‘68). Kooper was the lead singer and designated artistic honcho, but he was soon ganged-up upon by drummer Bobby Colomby and guitarist Steve Katz for not having a strong enough voice. Which, if you listen to “Child Is Father To The Man,” was a fair criticism. Kooper was Odd Man Out-ed and and vocally replaced by David Clayton Thomas, and the second BS&T hit it big.
Kooper: “Like the monster who killed Dr. Frankenstein, they ousted me from a band I had envisioned and christened. I had lived my musical Camelot. [But] it only lasted eight months, shot down from a grassy knoll by ‘Lee Harvey’ Colomby.”
I’m sorry but “Bobby Colomby was a bad guy” is now and heretofore stuck in my mind.