Jim Gordon Biography, ‘Drums & Demons,’ Coming From Author Joel Selvin

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Derek and the Dominos (l-r): Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon and Carl Radle

Jim Gordon, the legendary drummer who performed with some of music’s biggest names but ultimately died in prison in 2023 for brutally murdering his mother decades ago, will be the subject of a significant biography. Drums & Demons: The Tragic Journey of Jim Gordon, is being written by best-selling author Joel Selvin. The book will be published on Feb. 27, 2024, via Diversion Books.

Gordon is considered by some to be the greatest drummer of all-time, beginning with his days with the legendary Los Angeles studio musicians Wrecking Crew to his recording and touring work as a member of such landmark rock bands as Derek and the Dominos, Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, and Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. “Despite his musical genius,” notes the publisher’s blurb, “his uncontrollable madness… ultimately led to the most shocking crime in rock history.”

More from the publisher’s announcement: John Lennon, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, and many more, knew Gordon for his superior playing, extraordinary training and technique, preternatural intuition, perfect sense of time, and his “big fill”―the mathematically-precise clatter that exploded like detonating fireworks on his drum breaks. And as award-winning journalist Selvin reveals, the story of Jim Gordon is the most brilliant, turbulent, and wrenching rock opera ever.

This riveting narrative follows Gordon as the very chemicals in his brain that gifted him also destroyed him. His head crowded with a hellish gang of voices screaming at him, demanding obedience, Gordon descended from the absolute heights of the rock world―playing with the most famous musicians of his generation―to working with a Santa Monica dive-bar band for $30 a night.

With full cooperation from Gordon’s family, and based on his trademark extensive, detailed research, Selvin’s account is at once an epic journey through an artist’s monumental musical contributions, a rollicking history of rock drumming, and a terrifying downward spiral into unimaginable madness that Gordon fought a valiant but losing battle against. One of the great untold stories of rock is finally being told.

Selvin is a San Francisco–based music critic and author known for his weekly column in the San Francisco Chronicle, which ran from 1972 to 2009. Selvin has written more than 20 books covering various aspects of pop music—including the No. 1 New York Times bestseller Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock with Sammy Hagar and Altamont: The Rolling Stones, The Hells Angels and the Inside Story of Rock’s Darkest Day. He has written liner notes for dozens of recorded albums and appeared in countless documentaries. His most recent books are Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History and Hollywood Eden: Electric Guitars, Fast Cars and the Myth of the California Paradise.

Related: Our interview with Selvin about his Altamont book

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  1. Ann
    #1 Ann 14 May, 2023, 10:53

    I’m really looking forward to this book.
    Hopefully, Joel can set the record straight on some stories about jim that’s been floating out there on the internet. I already pre-ordered my book.

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