Back in October, I wrote about the impending release of Paul Shaffer’s autobiography.
Since then, I received the book as a Christmas present, promptly devoured it and have failed to write my intended review for it.
Why Paul Shaffer? Why would I want to read a book by the guy who has been David Letterman’s band leader/foil since the early 80s?
Simple. I think the guy is a genius.
This is the man who recently brought Robert Downey, Jr. to the desk playing Baker Street. Why is that funny? Downey was promoting Sherlock Holmes at the time.
Or, my personal all-time favorite, the time he brought Jenna Elfman to the desk playing Don’t Fear the Reaper. That one even had Letterman stumped.
So he asked.
Shaffer told him that the cat who played guitar for Blue Oyster Cult was named Buck Dharma.
Elfman was then appearing on Dharma and Greg.
You can’t get more genius than that kids.
The story opens with Shaffer preparing to play with Bob Dylan on Saturday Night Live. Shaffer laments Dylan’s conversion to Christianity with his tongue firmly in cheek.
Flash back to Thunder Bay, Ontario and Shaffer begins to lay out his life. From his early days as the prodigy son of a pair of Canadian hipsters, to playing piano in a strip club, on to Toronto and Godspell and then to New York, Shaffer’s holy land.
Along the way Shaffer meetins Martin Luther King, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Harry Shearer, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, John Belushi and, of course, Gilda Radner.
Shaffer is a raconteur in the old school showbiz fashion. He’s got a story about everyone he’s ever met and never a bad word to say.
Not even Greg Evigan.
As I was reading I was constantly amazed by Shaffer’s ability to be at ground zero of so much of the groundbreaking comedy work of the 70s and 80s.
- He was in Godspell.
- He was in the original SNL band.
- He was the original piano player for the Blues Brothers.
- He wrote It’s Raining Men.
- He played keyboards on Scandal’s Goodbye to You.
- He was offered the role of George Costanza on Seinfeld.
And Shaffer sprinkles the book with a lifetime’s worth of musical knowlegde, from the mainstream to the obscure. He’s a bluesman in a pop cover band. The World’s Most Dangerous cover Band, but a cover band nonetheless.
To paraphrase Hank Snow, Paul’s been everywhere.
We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives is an entertaining insider’s look at show business from a guy who is genuinely happy to be there day in and day out.
I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you’re a fan of Saturday Night Live, SCTV, David Letterman or Schaffer himself pick this book up. You’ll be glad you did.