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Interviews with music legends provide some insight into offstage personalities



Published: Sat, August 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The interviews by Anthony DeCurtis have been compiled into a compelling book.

By SCOTT BAUER

ASSOCIATED PRESS

"In Other Words: Artists Talk About Life and Work" by Anthony DeCurtis (Hal Leonard, 485 Pages. $24.95).

Noted rock music critic and interviewer Anthony DeCurtis says in his introduction to "In Other Words: Artists Talk About Life and Work" that he expects readers to hop, skip and jump throughout the book to read about artists they know and like.

That certainly is tempting.

But the real fun comes from reading his interviews of musicians, authors and others who are less familiar.

It is in those passages you are likely to learn something new, or revelatory, about celebrities you may know little or nothing about.

Saying it well

As DeCurtis himself says, "I can often enjoy an interview even if the subject doesn't particularly interest me, as long as he has something to say and says it well."

To be sure, there are plenty of captivating moments in these interviews, which DeCurtis has done during the past 25 years for publications including Rolling Stone and The New York Times.

His introductions, especially the updated ones, put the Q & amp;A's in the proper context, and in some cases are more interesting than what follows. His deft description of meeting former Beatles George Harrison and Paul McCartney is particularly gripping, especially in how it sheds light on the difference between the two.

And then there's the taciturn Van Morrison, whom DeCurtis ranks as his least enjoyable interview.

"Morrison turned out to be a bitter, defensive guy, by far the biggest disappointment of any of my idols," DeCurtis said.

Rock stars make up the bulk of the book's 39 interview subjects, which include Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Allen, David Bowie, Eminem, Keith Richards and Martin Scorsese.

Thoughtful answers

DeCurtis has a knack for listening and for drawing out thoughtful answers.

Many of the interviews are expanded from their original publication, including some personal interchanges that wouldn't have fit the original audience but make both DeCurtis and his subjects more human as they talk about such ordinary things as home, children and daily life.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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