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Let the Good Times Roll: by Kenney Jones

Let the Good Times Roll: by Kenney Jones

Probably of the greatest interest to Who obsessives. The rest of us will have to enjoy the records and use our imaginations.

Let the Good Times Roll: by Kenney Jones

2 / 5

Kenney Jones did something that none of us will ever have to do: He succeeded Keith Moon as drummer of The Who. Before that, he’d drummed in Small Faces and the Steve Marriot-less but Rod Stewart-positive Faces in addition to assorted other gigs along the way. This new autobiography follows the stick bearer from his youth to his current status as a polo-playing rocker who will never again get behind the kit with the musicians he’s most famous for being behind the kit with. Strange, that. A little sad too. It’s hard to tell why, reading these pages. Jones seems affable enough and, honestly, maybe too affable at times.

Sure, he’s gotten drunk and irritated the missus when he came home late, sleeping half in the entryway and half out. Sure, he’s been stingy with Who money and had the odd disagreement with one bare chested singer or another. But there’s not much in these pages that suggests Jones is a strong enough personality to gin up such discord. Again and again the anecdotes raised in these pages suggest that if you don’t like Kenney Jones or have a problem with him, you must be a real mean so-and-so because the dude is so absolutely affable that to dislike him is to dislike puppies and newborns.

Maybe that’s the case. It’s interesting to note that he was mates with Moon before Moon shuffled off his mortal coil. That, in part, made him an obvious choice for The Who and his arrival, as told in Let the Good Times Roll, happened with his predecessor’s body barely having gotten cold. Things seemed to be bubbling along just fine when he came in but a cock up or two with Roger Daltrey soon made him percussionist non grata and arguably hastened the end of the beloved group’s initial run.

Jones’ assessment of his time in Who-land is meager. We learn that John Entwistle was a nice enough bloke, the kind of guy who didn’t give a toss about rock stardom in the end, even if he did like its trappings. Pete Townshend is, curiously, something of a specter considering that he and Jones apparently had a bond. The drummer’s assessment that “Eminence Front,” culled from 1982’s It’s Hard, could never really rise to the status of a classic because it sounds dated suggests that maybe he was a little out of touch with what even casual fans loved about the group.

There are little tales here and there about a love triangle with producer Ron Nevison, what it was like being in one of the most underrated rock bands of all time (the aforementioned Small Faces) and one of the hardest partying ones (Faces) and the loveable nature of the late Ronnie Lane. But none of it ever seems enough to hold together a book and one’s interest quickly dissipates as there’s not enough drama for this to become one of those tawdry rocker-tell-alls nor a clear-eyed memoir about sobriety or a player’s ability to stand next to giants and hold his own.

If you’re looking for a blow-by-blow of drum fills on such-and-such an album or information about how Jones was secretly responsible for anyone’s late-career hit, you won’t find it in these pages. Although it’s commendable that Jones doesn’t attempt to make claims he can’t support, it’s also disappointing that he’s such a nice guy, one too nice, perhaps, to have written a rock ‘n’ roll autobiography.
Probably of the greatest interest to Who obsessives. The rest of us will have to enjoy the records and use our imaginations.

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