Only Half There by Devin Townsend
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Devin Townsend is a musician/songwriter whose career started in the early 90’s fronting Steve Vai’s band. He later went on to form the industrial metal band, Strapping Young Lad, as well as numerous incarnations of his solo work; Devin Townsend, Devin Townsend Band, Devein Townsend Project.
The book methodically looks at different aspects of his life and career; from first learning guitar and wanting to form a band, to his days with Steve Vai up until his recent Devin Townsend Project and Casualties of Cool work. Through each chapter, he discusses his motivations and reasons for producing the music he did as well as how he has grown as a person, not just a musician. He also discusses more personal aspects, such as his experiences with drugs and alcohol, his family and personal views that drive his wish to move forwards.
The chapters are written in a way that is very reflective of Devin. Anyone who has been to a show or watched interviews will know that he has a unique way about him and this is reflected in the writing. It may be a bit difficult for some people to follow as he does have a habit of talking a lot about a single topic, but it’s his way and the book is all the better for it. More honest, more Devin.
Included with the book is an 8 track CD containing acoustic versions of songs from his Devin Townsend/Band/Project albums. These are beautifully produced tracks of Devin singing with an acoustic guitar. Stand-outs for me are Ih-Ah and Deadhead.
As a fan of his work, I found this a very interesting and inspirational read. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the music that Devin creates, as well as anyone who is interested in music as a career or serious hobby, as he not only discusses the creation process but also the management of his bands and relationship with record labels.
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