Harrow author Harry Shapiro discusses his new biography of Cream bassist Jack Bruce with LAURA ROBERTS
ERIC Clapton , Jimi Hendrix and Alexis Korner are just some of the high-profile subjects Harry Shapiro has written about in his career, and his new release, which focuses on legendary musician Jack Bruce, is no exception.
Harry, of Longley Road, Harrow, recounts the life and career of Jack Bruce, the renowned bass player in the 1960s blues-rock 'super-group' Cream, in Jack Bruce: Composing Himself: The Authorised Biography, published on March 1.
Harry, 57, has already established a reputation throughout the music scene as an insightful and passionate biographer, and his new book, which was written with the co-operation of his subject, maintains the high standards his readers expect.
Over the course of two years, Harry spent time with Jack and developed a relationship that would enable the music biographer to reveal the man behind the music.
"Although Cream was a very important band, it was only two years out of Jack's 40-year career as a professional musician," he said.
"I just wanted to introduce people to the rest of his remarkable career and, if anything, to get them to go away and dust off their records and rediscover him."
Previously, Harry's subjects were no longer alive and so the co-operation of Jack was a new experience.
"He's had a pretty turbulent life too and the book is full of astounding stories. Jack said he found the process incredibly therapeutic."
Harry, who has written numerous books, articles and essays on music and drug use and addiction, decided to move into music journalism after realising the humdrum of the nine-to-five office job was not for him.
Writing the biography of Jack Bruce was a privilege for Harry, who first met Jack 30 years ago when researching his first biography, on Graham Bond - considered the man behind the English rhythm and blues boom in the 60s.
The writer has been a lifelong fan of the bassist. But writing the book also required personal sacrifices as Harry, a father of two, works full-time as director of communication and information at the charity DrugScope . He was often scribbling away through the night, on most weekends and during any holidays.
"I had a strange feeling when I finished the book: relief, yes, but also a sense of detachment, as though I couldn't comprehend that I had completed it."
Cream guitarist Eric Clapton provides the foreword to the biography, and fans will be keen to hear the inside story about the legendary feud between Jack Bruce and the third band member, drummer Ginger Baker.
Harry said: "The feedback has been excellent and Jack's loyal fans have all expressed their approval.
Most importantly, Jack has too."
* Jack Bruce: Composing Himself: The Authorised Biography is published by Jawbone and costs £14.95 (ISBN 1906002266).