I think the difficulty I have in all of this is that, though I appreciate E's music and such, and I'm a fan if nothing else, I still think about him as a biographical curiosity, much the same way people take an interest in, say, Churchill or Hawkings or whoever. And I don't mean to come off like I feel entitled to the man's secrets, but it's natural to want a clearer image, you know?
I totally agree; I am completely the same. I think one of the main reasons his biography interests me so much is the fact that, more than most artists, his lifeis
his work -- from the albums themselves, to the "This Is Your Life"-style tours, the work of Eels has been the work of E explicitly documenting and making sense of the events of his life.
It is a shame, therefore, that Grierson's attempt to find out more about the man -- and, accordingly, his work -- has been hampered by the very subject of his enquiry. E's music and his life are both extremely interesting subject matter, but as a biographer you can't do the best job possible with this great material if one of your editors is the man you are writing about. I doubt Behind the Shades
would have been quite so compelling a read if Dylan had looked over every proof and highlighted the stories he wanted to stay and those which needed to be removed.
Still, I don't want to be too down on the book. It really is a decent read -- even for fans who know most of the story like us. Grierson should be credited for giving a fairly detailed account of Bad Dude in Love
, even if it is slightly bizarre that he seems to think it is a great piece of work. Indeed, his account does contradict E's own assessment of the record. E claims it is just "one of many recordings he made during those years, and that this recording just happened to be pressed onto vinyl." He seems to suggest it is another home-made, four track deal, whereas Grierson's interview with the album's producer and his account of E's committed attitude in the studio reveal Bad Dude in Love
to be much more than that which E claims it to be.
Moreover, the new interviews with collaborators such as Tommy, Jim Lang, and Huxley are very illuminating.