Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Andy Powell has been the driving force behind seminal '70s guitar band Wishbone Ash for over 45 years, and Eyes Wide Open-True Tales of a Wishbone Ash Warrior, is an honest and fascinating telling of the long story from the man himself, along with co-author & music scribe Colin Harper. Practically everything you ever wanted to know about Powell or his legendary band is included here, but more importantly, you'll get a history lesson on just how tough the music business can be on not only a young band, but a veteran one as well.
Andy takes you all the way back to his childhood, his initial interest in music, the first guitar, how those classic Gibson Flying V's came into play, and of course the formation of the original line-up of Wishbone Ash. For the longtime fans, much time is spent discussing Argus, considered by many (including Powell) to be their masterpiece, and it's interesting to see the author go back to that album so many times throughout the book, not only comparing it to other releases, but also as the best 'representation' of that classic Wishbone Ash sound, something he's strived to achieve with the many line-ups of the band throughout the years. Speaking of the line-ups, you'll get in- depth information and stories on the comings and goings of Ted Turner, Martin Turner, Laurie Wisefield, Steve Upton, and the various other musicians who have been a part of the band over the years, but Powell also states not only the importance of the original group, but how solidified the current incarnation of the band is, together now for 8 years. Guitar styles & personalities of the many guitarists who have played alongside Andy is of course discussed, as well as many 'life on the road' stories, many of which show that while touring can be fun at times, but it's not all as glamorous as many people think. For those who have followed Wishbone Ash closely, it's the time spent on the relationship breakdown of the four original members, and the eventual court case over the rights to the band name, that's the most heartbreaking and tense, as Powell describes with great detail this very difficult and emotional time for all those involved, especially for himself as it further drove a wedge between himself and others who he once thought of as not only bandmates, but friends. You do get the feeling however that Powell's relationship with founding bassist/vocalist Martin Turner was never really that great, and the recent court case basically has rendered whatever was there in the past as irreparable.
Through it all, you'll see history through the eyes of a talented musician as his band tastes a good deal of success and stardom for a few years, but slowly starts to see it all fade away with the exception of that constant love from the fans who have followed the band through thick and thin. This is the story of a loyal family man, who loves living out in the country, enjoys his vintage guitars, and is driven by keeping the flame of the music alive. The book is written in a style that gives you the feeling that you are sitting next to Andy Powell himself as he tells these intriguing stories to you over a glass or two of wine. At times it's humorous, others emotional, and occasionally sad, but throughout it's consistently fascinating. Whether you are a longtime Wishbone Ash fan, or perhaps any of the many 'twin-guitar' groups that were greatly influenced by them, if you read one rock biography this year, let this be the one.
Final note: there is also an EXTENSIVE listing at the back of the book, containing all the discography, live recordings, DVD, and live dates history of band that you will ever need!