ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 16, 1974

Here it is, finally another article from those golden days. Have you missed me? Well, sometimes paid work must take presedence over this little hobby of mine. Today you get an article from one of Bowie`s adventures in America. They were still a little confused over yet another change of direction for him. If they only knew what we know now!
See you later, and enjoy!

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Mr. Bowie has left the theatre

Report: Mick Farren

And yes, we KNOW we`ve used that headline before – but what else could we call it? Funky Dory? The Man Who Souled The World? Just how corny d`you think we can GET?

New York`s Radio City music hall, with its elaborate art deco Thirties interior, must be the ideal place to present a David Bowie show. Unfortunately the decor wasn`t enough to hold up the first two shows.
All reports seemed to agree that the first early stagings in the five night stint were on the abject side of rotten. On the Sunday night, however, Bowie finally pulled it together and staged one of the finest live rock spectaculars that New York has been treated to in years.
In many ways New York is Bowie`s city. It lends itself to the kind of social orchestration at which he really excels.

As early as “Hunky Dory” days, he was courting the approval of the established Gotham Art Gang who have their epi-centre atWarhol`s Union Square Factory.
Later, when his phenomenon burned bright in the sky, New York was, above all, the city where his style and image became the blueprints for the kids who roam the hothouse nightlife of Max`s or the 82 club. Bowie was the mother code for their experiments in the transexual exhibitionism that has never been so successfully exploited by the likes of The New York Dolls and Wayne County.
Of course, Bowie has had an effect on kids throughout all of “Western Civilisation” where rock-and-roll has seeped in, but it`s been nowhere more intense than in New York City.

Despite the adverse reactions to the first Radio City concerts, the effect was still as strong as ever. The crazies in the 82 might vehemently put down the Wednesday-night show, but they still felt constrained to disguise themselves in costumes from various stages of Bowie`s development.
A couple of bad shows weren`t enough to stop the parade of look-alikes and oddities putting on their finery and hitting the the street because David was in town. Hot Tramp was still the signal in the afterhours booze-and-disco joints for the high spots in perverse juvenile display, and the kids from the suburbs – and even the small upstate towns – painted sinister bat-wings across their cheeks, climbed into their glowing spacesuits and Busby Berkley outfits, and headed downtown.
The show they got, however – the experiment that reached its peak on Sunday night at Radio City Musical Hall – showed them a David Bowie who was very different from any previous incarnations.
If you have to find a frame of reference for this new-look Bowie, the closest thing to it would be the James Brown Show, though that`s hardly an adequate description.

The performance opened with the predominantly black thirteen-piece Mike Garson Band, including six back-up singers and guitarist Earl Slick from the previous tour.
They do a swift, choreographed sub-Stevie Wonder, bless-all-the-people-and-don`t-forget-the-children act for fifteen minutes. An intermission follows, and then the slow moody curtain opens with the Garson squad doing a funky, almost “Talkin Book”-style, “Diamond Dogs”.
Finally The Man comes out.
Bowie is a strange combination of Funk, Katherine Hepburn, Dickensian Tweed dyke, and the young Elvis Presley in a blue workshirt, loosely knotted tie and ultra-short, tight tweed jacket.
He swaggers across the stage swinging a W. C. Fields walking-stick. Moves like a cross between Fred Astaire and James Brown.
The phenomenon of David Bowie fronting what amounts to an avant-garde soul show is a strange thing to watch.
It`s also a joy.

David Bowie is, in essence, totally unoriginal. He constantly borrows, steals and adapts.
This is particularly noticeable in his visual presentation. He`s almost like an animated flick-book, moving fluidly from one pose to the next.
The creativity lies in the outrageous juxtapositioning. One moment he`ll hit a bent knee, guitar slung across his back, pointing finger, total reproduction of a classic Elvis Presley photograph – the next he`s instantly switched to the brave little girl, a la Judy Garland. It`s almost uncanny how he can tread such a dangerous path with so much expertise.
The posters out for this tour proclaim the message “David Bowie in a Complete New Show”.
In some respect, the completely new thing about the show is the source Bowie is now borrowing from. He`s discovered the delights of being part of a funky-but-get-down-rock-and-roll band. Of course, it`s progressive stuff, but the British kids` favourite soul mannerisms are all there.

He struts the stage like Otis Redding. He combines with the vocal unit to wring the maximum out of every song.
To the consternation of the loyal and true fans, a few of whom came back to the hotel to show the security guys their 8,000 press clips of their David, the songs do tend to get mangled out of recognition.
Imagine “1984” done in the style of The Temptations, or “Rock `n` Roll Suicide” turned into a soul sobber on the scale of “I`ve Been Loving You Too Long”. The prospect is at once awesome and objectionable. It depends on the conservatism in your heart.
The whole thing has the streamlined professionalism of a chitlin` circuit soul review.
The change-overs, although still slightly sloppy, went like lightning compared to the usual standards of first division rock-and-roll. The curtains are used for dramatic effect, and at the end of the show, after a statutory “Diamond Dogs” encore, a voice announces that “Mr. Bowie Has Left The Theatre”. It kills the kids demanding a Second Coming stone dead. They leave the theatre with a fine sense of quietly hunting for more.

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The party afterwards at the Gramercy Park Hotel gave the New York Glittzers a chance to mingle with the cast and characters of the Radio City ensemble.
Bowie, supping on sturgeon and sipping Dom Perignon, held animated conversation with David Johanssen of the Dolls, Tony Visconti, and Wayne County (sans wig and looking very straight).
Talk ranged over a January `75 tour of Brazil, the Liz Taylor/Bowie silver screen debut shelved till next year, an album recorded in Philly for release in January, and the April/May/June tour of England, Scotland and maybe S. Ireland and the Continent.
Next day the rumour mill tells us that Bowie`s leaving early to drive to Cleveland, the next stop on the itinerary.
This kind of irrelevant information is very important in the incestuous little community that hangs around any major rock tour. Vampirella and chums fade from the lobby, and slink off to their lairs to lurk in wait for the next passing superstar. The rest of us make our own plans for the hop to Ohio.

On the plane to Cleveland I sit next to a character in an expensive brown business suit and cashmere sweater. It turns out that he`s a tour manager for Ringling Brothers Circus.
Ringling Brothers open in Cleveland the same night as the Bowie concert. The Circus has booked the biggest arena in the city. Bowie has the second biggest.
Ringling Brothers are sold out for twenty days. David Bowie and his completely new show are only sold out for one.
Rock-and-roll is put firmly in its place.
It rallies slightly when the circus man remarks that his younger clowns have been warned that, if they sneak off to see Bowie and miss the show, they are liable to be fired.

The Cleveland Public Auditorium is about the size of Wembley`s Empire Pool. Its decor is a little more sprightly, but the acoustics have the same air-hanger rankness that eats even the best P.A. for breakfast. To make matters worse, Bowie is suffering from laryngitis and his voice is failing fast.
He works hard, pulling with every register that hasn`t been burnt out, but it still doesn`t sound right.
The only thing to save the show are the musicians. Behind Mike Garson`s rather overbearing conducting and multiple keyboards, they carry Bowie to, if not a semi-triumph, at least a suitable show for Cleveland.
Cleveland`s a solid, serious industrial town sunk in rain and mounds of pollution.
The audience is for the most part in sensible blue jeans and lumberjackets. A few are decked out in fancy coats and fancy shirts, a few have daubed Aladdin Sane/lightning-flashes on their faces – but lower down are their best Friday night a disco frocks.
One young lady rushes forward and nervously hands Bowie a bunch of white flowers. He holds them for a while and then hands them to Miss Ava Cherry, one of his back-up singers. He explains that it is her birthday. It`s all very polite and homely.

There`s nothing like the gangs of ravening androgynes (a blast from the past) who rushed the stage in New York. The musicians even grin at each other while they play.
Bowie appears tongue in cheek, a little camply outrageous, but basically friendly. Although he cops a few of Jagger`s poses, there is no hint of Satanic Majesty. It`s all so nice that you could almost see him joining Elvis and Tom Jones on the casino circuit.
He also looks incredibly tired.
The show is shortened to an hour and there is no encore. The curtains close and before the clapping and yelling have seriously gained momentum the “Mr. Bowie Has Left The Theatre” booms out. The audience obediently leaves.
The police department herd out the stragglers and it`s all over. Kids walking home in the rain are bitching a little about how short it was, but nobody makes any serious complaint.

Back at the Holiday Inn, things are far more stable than they were in New York.
There are a few grungy Vampirellas in primitive face-jobs and some ladies maintaining they represent local radio stations. The roadies, security men, and journalists move in. They exchange heroic professionalisms, treat the ladies as colleagues and start asking them to come up to their rooms.
Bowie appears and vanishes in a flurry of retainers. He comes back, but again splits.
The drummer and bass player of his band commandeer the local combo who are playing in the bar. Bowie returns for a third time and finally settles in a corner to smile and watch his boys have fun.
In an evening of juxtapositions, one in particular stands out.
On our way out of the auditorium, two posters stare down from the wall. One announces Bowie – the other James Brown for the following week.

The motives behind this odd change of direction can for now remain only as speculation.
It could be that Bowie, having moved as far as he could in terms of rock spectacle, is now re-examining his music. The other alternative is that he is Retreating From The Edge in the basic Bob Dylan scenario.
Either way, Mr. Bowie seems, for the moment, to have left the theatre.

A really strange ad, but very confident!

A really strange ad, but very confident!

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Tangerine Dream, Tim Rose, Bill Bruford, Peter Noone, Jack Bruce, Roy Harper, Hatfield and the North, Dave Cousins, Frank Zappa, Planxty, Andrew McCulloch.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT David Coverdale FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 9, 1974

I have never transcribed two articles from the same paper before. This time I couldn`t help it – I just had to make room for this fairly long but early article from the start of David Coverdale`s career. This is way before he became one of rock`s foremost male sex symbols after his transformation around 1986/7. He is quite open and candid about himself here.
Have a nice read!

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Coverdale – Imperator Rex!

Or, how a totally – unknown chariot-driver broke away from the Plebiscite and succeeded to the Imperial Purple

Scribe: Tony Stewart

DEAR SIR,
I heard that Ian Gillan is leaving Deep Purple and my friends persuaded me to send in a tape. Please excuse the quality but I hope you`ll give it a listen.
My phone number is on the tape box if by some small chance you want to speak to me.
Regards David Coverdale.

Coverdale`s letter of application for the situation then vacant in Deep Purple certainly doesn`t exude an aura of either burning ambition or single-minded self-confidence.
But a struggling semi-pro singer who worked by day in a boutique probably believed it`d take more than a demo-tape, letter and snapshot to bring about an exchange between the drab interior of a Redcar shop and the bright lights of superstardom in the Metropolis. So naturally, there`s a reticent and embarrassed air to the letter.
Whether by mercy of providence or merely in recognition of an Enormous Talent Coverdale`s approach was, as you know, successful. A speculative gambit paid off.
And having just celebrated his first anniversary with the band he is in a position to clarify his intentions behind the letter by comparing it to another missive received recently by Purple.

“There was a guy who sent a tape of `Black Knight` with piano accompaniment,” he tells, “and a letter saying, `Dear Deep Purple, I`m not very good looking but me Mam thinks I am. But I would like to sing with your group because I think it would be great. I`m going to play `Black Knight` now.
“And the band were really touched, although obviously it was very naive. It could have paid off. I sent mine in with the same intention.
“When I came for the job with Purple I didn`t expect to get it,” he continues modestly. “But I would have liked it. I knew they had their own label and their own stable of artistes, and I was hoping for a job as a songwriter. But obviously I would have preferred the job singing with the band, but I didn`t expect that my throat was the one they were looking for. And I certainly didn`t have that sort of image.”
Even now Coverdale is still a little reluctant to forsake his previous anonymity and transform himself into the image of the Famous Mr. Coverdale. And his purpose in being frontman of this, or any other band, has not altered since being just another yob in Redcar.

“I`ll be honest,” he begins, “and I don`t want NME cynicism – but I never considered being a rock and roll star and I never wanted to be, and I don`t consider it now although it gets drummed into me occasionally.
“I wanted to be a purveyor of good music. Like, my record collection is excellent, displaying many tastes, all of which have got something to do with – not soul, but feel. I have things by John Williams, Sergio Mendes, Miles Davis and Otis Redding – anything I can interpret; anything I can identify with.”
Equally so Coverdale can now himself be identified as a stalwart member of Deep Purple, having successfully completed active service on extensive tours and in the studio. A glance at the composing credits of their second album together, “Stormbringer” – which is due for imminent release – shows he has not been idle when it comes to writing either – on this occasion, teaming up with both Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord. In all respects he`s rowed himself in nicely, you could say.

The absolute evidence of Coverdale`s undisputed position was when the rest of Purple apparently elected him their Official Representative to meet the press last week and so grab some publicity for the new album.
With that in mind their publicist rustled up as many journalists as possible, sat Mr. C. behind a desk at Purple Records` West One offices, and, at hourly intervals, gave him a change of face and tape recorder. When we arrived in the late afternoon, he appeared to be bearing up remarkably well, whereas other artistes in his position are usually drunk, harrassed or asleep at a similar stage.
He, however, was very much alert, amiable, talkative and sober. Producing a half-bottle of Teachers he assured us he`d soon remedy the latter misfortune. With the gentleman in such good spirits it would have been an appropriate time to discuss “Stormbringer”, but the PR machinery had temporarily malfunctioned and I`d obviously not had time to hear a test pressing produced only five minutes before my encounter with David. The fact that it was even mentioned at all was purely good fortune.

Had I not attempted to prompt a conversation into the intimate secrets of DP by recalling an anecdote involving Ritchie Blackmore, we might never have discussed it at all.
“I get on very well with Ritchie,” says Coverdale diplomatically, as he cautiously moves us away from a sensitive area.
“I accept him for what he is,” he continues, “and he accepts me for what I am. And it`s very successful when it comes down to writing. We have the same influences.
“I`ve also done some writing with Jon (Lord) this time, and we came up with some good ideas, the majority of which are not on the album. In fact, there`s two.
“There`s a song called `Holy Man`, and a thing called `Hold On`, which Mr. Bowie I believe is interested in recording.”
Eh?
“From what I heard, yeah,” he replies with obvious pleasure.
“He came round to see us a few times in LA and was very nice, and I think he said he was interested in doing that particular song. I`d be interested to hear what he does with it, `cause it seems a little unusual for his taste.

“I`m chuffed with it,” he remarks (about the whole set), “because there`s a lot of new ideas going down, which are very negative to the general idea of Deep Purple.
“It isn`t contrived rock and roll. It`s just that we write what we enjoy and, fortunately a lot of people dig it.
“The thing is it`s so good adrenalin-wise to perform fast rock and roll. It`s a good fantasy to be involved in. Like, ten years ago James Dean was the thing. Everybody had their elbow hanging outside an open topped car. That was a fantasy.

It is in fact his oblique references that causes our discourse to trample pretty thoroughly through his pre-Purple days – and, thankfully, away from any further mention of the album.
No, I still haven`t heard it, but invariably when a set is first released musicians allow their enthusiasm for the recording to by-pass their critical faculties, and it`s only a year later they consider the set objectively.
Would you really expect Coverdale to knock it at the moment?
Anyway, it appears art was the only other worthwhile activity in which he was involved prior to writing his letter. Sadly it was short lived because his romantic illusions of painting and living in a grimy garret were shattered by the commercial realities of art college, which then caused him to consider Graphic Design as a career. But, again, he was disillusioned – and so turned to teaching.
“When I realised the amount of years it would take to get into that particular craft I couldn`t handle it,” Coverdale recounts.

“I just couldn`t envisage all those bloody years of sitting doing the Learning Bit. I`m very interested in learning, obviously, but I couldn`t handle the idea of living on six quid a week for that amount of time.
“It wasn`t immediate enough for my age. I was a young lad, with all the adrenalin and excitement of being young and going round jumping on ladies-`bellies and dancing on them.”
Nevertheless he still harboured romantic ideals and was greatly influenced by the lyrics of the songs of the time, even though he later discovered he`s been duped – again.
“Bolan has a song saying `You Can`t Fool The Children Of The Revolution`, – but unfortunately you can, I think. And a lot of people in my generation have been fooled. I was one of them. I didn`t realise people could get on the road and sing about the streets of Paris and South America only because they were millionaires. They could fly there and live in bloody luxury hotels and find out the street names and make it sound very romantic – for somebody, for instance, who lived in Redcar-by-the-Sea, Cleveland.
“But at the time this was terrific to me. My lifestyle was built around the philosophies of the Yardbirds and all that sort of thing.

“I tried hard to live-for-today, but I developed intellect – or a little more maturity – and got to the point of believing romanticism can certainly be overruled by material realism.
“Like, I love records, but you need a certain amount of sponds (bread) to be able to buy records. To hear records? Well, you`ll need a stereo. I remember sacrificing my little mono record player, courtesy of my mother, which was a Bush – a little bastard, it was grand. It cost £39 and I traded it in for 12 quid on an ITT KB 1250 stereo, which left a lot to be desired, but at the time was ace.”
So what you`re basically saying is you can`t be a hippy without some bread?
“Yeah. You can`t indulge in that kind of philosophy without it. From what I remember the hippy philosophy is to be totally self-sufficient, which you can`t be if you`re dependent on society – for instance, on social security, which I`ve been on as well. One pound and bloody five pence a week I got, mate,” he recalls with bitterness. “Grand, eh? And now they want 98 per cent of my money off me.”
But the beer was cheaper up North.
“It still didn`t pay the sodding flat, I tell you.
“But I had my eyes opened rudely by things happening around me. When I go home now I see a lot of my friends. A lot of them are very depressed. They`ve settled down with wives and started building homes. Which I admire.
“I haven`t got the feeling of wanting those sort of roots yet. Although I dash home whenever I can.”

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At the time Coverdale mentions he was quite obviously living very much in a fantasy world – something he now readily admits, relating it once more to his present position.
“People indulge in fantasies,” he explains. “I`m quite sure you do. I`ve got them. I go and see `Dirty Harry` or `Magnum Force` and I think Clint Eastwood`s hot, and come out feeling a little drab. Or I see Bruce Lee and think `Oooh, I wouldn`t mind having a go at that`. A fantasy is something you create in your mind. I`m very against violence, but I would love to have the power to sort out half a dozen guys if they started pissing about with somebody. You need that fantasy because day-to-day life is dreary.
“What upsets me is people think there`s so much bloody glamour in this business. But it`s about time people realised there isn`t so much glamour”.

Hang on, David, you`d better explain yourself.
“well because the fantasy of that glamour thing, like the old Hollywood, is necessary to a lot of people. I don`t mean the supposed glamour that`s supposed to surround us when we have press receptions or anything like that. The glamour is when you walk on stage and you have thousands of kids going crazy. Audience reaction is the best dope in the world. It`s the greatest high I`ve ever had in my life.
“But I didn`t experience it until Copenhagen last year when I did my first gig with Purple.”
This quest for adulation has obviously been the motivating force to keep Coverdale going. In fact, one reason why he resorted to the hardship of Social Security benefits (“which made me feel like a shit-house as a human being”) was so he could pursue a musical career.
“The last job I had before being unemployed,” he remembers, “was a band leader. Which really meant I led a nightclub trio. But you can imagine there was animosity between me and the people I was asking for money because of this.
“I was living with a lady at the time who had a child – who wasn`t mine, although I felt he was because I loved him that much. So I was supporting a family. And the bastards gave me £1.5 a week. If it hadn`t been for my parents…

“What really pisses me off is for six years I made nothing – yet now they want so much money out of me. But I`m making a crust which might only be for a year, two years or three. God knows! But what the people in this silly tax thing don`t realise is… it could stop anytime.
“Purple is the sort of band that`s got to the top and if there`s any hint of them going down they`d call it a day.”
Really? Now this is worth asking about.
“It`s never been discussed with the band, but I certainly don`t think they`d go down. I don`t think they`d watch that happening. They`d rather retire up there,” he points to the ceiling, “separate and go their individual ways, but leave the name of Deep Purple respected by the fans as it is.
“Each member of the band is very proud, particularly the trio that Glenn (Hughes) and I joined last year. And I`m quite sure they wouldn`t ride downhill.”
“What I mean is, if they felt they couldn`t go any further – as they did with the last Deep Purple and the first Deep Purple – they`d change the band. But if they ever got that feeling with Glenn and I, I don`t think they`d bother again.
“Glenn and I walked in with our bread buttered. It could have fallen on its ass, but fortunately it didn`t. Which I`m very proud of because it was a big pair of shoes I was standing in.”

Coverdale was not without his opportunities before the Purple gig, and he now believes there would have been a strong possibility of his joining Alan Bown when Jess Roden left, or Colosseum before Chris Farlowe joined. Unfortunately, at the time he never considered he`d be seriously considered for either job.
The group which he would mostly dearly have liked to join was the Grease Band when Cocker departed. But then Monsieur Joe is one of the great influences on Coverdale`s vocals.
“I identified with Cocker immediately because he was like Ray Charles. I met him a few times, years ago, and I love him. I would like to line up and shoot the people who put him in the situation he`s in now. Because I see Joe as a tube of toothpaste which has been squeezed. That bloke was so talented.”
“I adapt from everybody who I like and it`s stored in my memory banks, and I use licks from everybody who`s made an impression on me. Which goes from Rod Stewart to Robert Johnson, Bobby Blue Bland, B.B. King, Albert King and so many other black cats. There are not really many white people I appreciate.”

Trying to explain how he is subconsiously affected by other artistes he refers to his writing style as illustrated by the title track of the new album.
“I wrote the lyrics about a mythical creature called Stormbringer who, in a surrealistic story, creates a lot of trouble. It`s similar to the idea of `Burn`.
“But I never even considered Michael Moorcock`s work.”
It was only when he showed the lyric to another member of the band that a comparison to the Moorcock work (“Stormbringer” is the name of a fearsome sword; was made. Then when David arrived home from Munich, where the album was recorded, he discovered some of Moorcock`s SF novels among a trunk of paperbacks.
“In my mind,” Coverdale asserts, “I`d created the character called `Stormbringer`. Which also could have come from my childhood interest in mythology. Thor, the God of Thunder had a hammer called `Stormringer`, didn`t he?” (no – Ed.)
“But mythology was another fantasy for me. I always imagined myself at the Pass of Thermopylae – you know, being a hero like the 300 Spartans who defended Greece or something.”

He does sound rather vague about it all, but assures me that “before I became a rock and roll star I could answer all the Greek mythology questions on University Challenge. Not bad for a 14-year-old, eh?
“It was,” he adds, “a fantasy I could indulge in.
“I was fortunate because I lived in a large house, which was part of a workingmens club, and I had what I called my music room. It was an enormous room in which I used to build all sort of constructions like a Roman galleys. I`d indulge in a terrific fantasy with friends of mine who shared all this.
“Steve Reeves was my hero at one time as well. Do you remember him?”
Ah, so he was into being Hercules?
“At the time, yeah. When I decided I wanted to be a rock singer I was really pissed off that I`d developed shoulders, `cause every pop singer I saw was really skinny.”

One look at David Coverdale`s broad shoulders, the clean cut square jaw line, and the overall physique of a man who appears to have come successfully through a Charles Atlas course, even now would prevent people recognising him as a rock and roll singer. But then, true to the tradition of all well-bred Northerners, one suspects he`d be greatly outraged if one suggests he should slip into some satin and lose a bit of weight. Or would he?
“I`ve never regarded myself with an image and I still don`t,” he tells. “I can`t imagine I ever will, unless my bones change shape and shrink to an impossible degree, and my acne vanishes.”
But David you`re not wearing your spectacles?
“Eh?”
You ain`t got your specs on.
“Because they`re terrible glasses,” he responds with a nervous laugh.
So you haven`t dropped the glasses for the sake of your image?
“No. It`s because when I jump around they fall off. Practical purposes. So I`ve got contact lenses, because that was the first time I could afford them. And then I had to borrow the money to get them.”

Astutely changing the subject, he continues, “Everyone imagined the moment I signed with Deep Purple that I had £100,000 put into my bank account to put me on a social level with the other members. Several rumours say I`ve got a couple of Lamborghinis and Rollses and 21 acres of land.
“I live over a vegetable shop in Redcar,” he admits. “I`ve got a lot of bucks behind me, I`m not denying that, but I grafted for them. And I got myself some contact lenses so I wouldn`t trip over the microphone leads and look like a silly prat.”
Life with Deep Purple has apparently not unduly affected the personality of Mr Coverdale during his first year with the group.

As he puts it: “I`ve been given an opportunity which I`ve grasped firmly with both hands, which anyone would do, for a certain amount of financial security for a certain amount of years, I`d be a fool not to.
“I`m now able to indulge in choices: to eat fish and chips or to eat sirloin steak. Or to go to London for a couple of days and stay in an hotel – rather than sleep on a bench. Which I`ve done, by the way.
“I`m into the material thing because my biggest bloody pain years ago was financial insecurity. How the hell could I fall in love and say to the chick, `Come and live with me at my Mother`s and she and my father will take care of you because I`m a die-hard musician`?
“Fortunately my apprentice-ship paid off and I became a fitter.
“The only way I think I`ve changed is I`ve got a lot more confidence. 101 per cent instead of 99.
“I rely so much on human relationships – male and female. Male for communication and female for physical. And this,” he says in the same breath, “is the best interview I`ve had all day.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Jeff Beck, Beckett, Stan Lee, Alvin Lee, Rashied Ali, Can.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Jeff Beck FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 9, 1974

As I usually get a lot of readers when I print something with Jeff Beck, it is quite tempting to do some of the articles on him when I find them. He is a genius guitarist, revered by musicians and music journalists alike. He never compromises to the point that I imagine he would be a pain in the ass at a party among friends. Not because he is one, but because when you have a guy that can play just about everything on guitar among you, it would frustrate you that he probably would refuse to play those easy sing-along songs that you want to sing when you`re a little drunk. They would be too easy for him to play. And I guess it would be difficult for people to sing along to “Scatterbrain”. Even if it had lyrics.
Enjoy this interesting article!

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Blue-eyed guitar-tormenter JEFF BECK of Egerton, Surrey, lists as his favourite leisure pursuits:
MUSIC AND CARS AND SEX…
– though not necessarily in that order.
CHARLES SHAAR MURRAY likes hamburgers, Marvel Comics, and picking his nose – but BECK talked to him anyway…

A digestive biscuit is poised, somewhat uneasily, a few inches away from Jeff Beck`s celebrated nasty leer.
It exudes paranoia, almost as if it possessed some strange biscuity pre-cognitive factor which enables it to realise that it is only a few micro-seconds away from being engulfed by said nasty leer, never to be seen again in its present form.
The biscuit`s suspicions are, alas, entirely correct.
A few crumbs descend on to Mr. Beck`s Levis, narrowly missing the splendidly battered Stratocaster cradled on his lap as he sits equidistant from the beer-cans and the mixing desk in AIR London`s Studio 2 – where he`s skidding towards the wrap-up on Da New Elpee.
As the journalistic profession sidles in, he`s diddling away on the Strat and peering male-violently at a sheet of paper on which is scrawled a mildly intimidating chord sequence.

“I`ve got to play over that in 5/4,” he moans piteously. “And I`ve lost me bottle.”
He dumps the Strat in a corner, and starts playing back what he`s done so far.
This stuff, as it happens, is not the material that J.B. churned out while holed up in Escape Studios after BB&A splintered into three separate initials. That stuff is still on a shelf, seeing as how it`s extremely souly and requires “some decent lyrics and a wailing singer.”
This is All New Material, and the Mad Axeman is aided and abetted by Philip Chen (bass), Richard Bailey (drums), Max Middleton (things with keyboards on them) and George Martin (production and string arrangements).
All clear? Let us press onwards.

Since BB&A vanished off the face of the earth, Beck has been skulking a little.
Cornered in the Speak, he`d muttered something about his new stuff being “Far more adult than the stuff you`re used to from me” and similar enigmatic crypterama.
What he`s actually into is a Beckified version of the currently ultra-flash jazz-funk stuff that the likes of Billy Cobham and Herbie Hancock are peddling these days.
It`s not so much a new style for Beck as a different context. The settings are yerractual piano-whirlpools and ricky-ticky funk rhythm-section, but there`s scads of widescreen Beckerama in there as well.
To start in the strangest place, there`s a track called “She`s A Reggae Woman”, which is the old Beatles tune “She`s A Woman” done reggae style, with Beck slinging in the album`s only vocal – using The Bag. You know – the bag.
What`s in The Bag, Jeff?
“Awwww…the kids`ve sussed it anyway.”

Beck curls up in his chair grinning fit to split his face, pulling on his cigar and miming to various parts as they come out of the speaker, while Max Middleton leans over the desk plunking away on a kalimba (or “African thumb piano” as it`s sometimes known).
So let`s break the silence and let Jeff tell you all about what he`s currently up to (or “to what he`s currently up”, as academicians would have it).
“It was an accident, really. I never do anything intentionally. The basic structure of the album is an accident. I was playing around with a few lines – I played you one that was in 9/4 time, which was just a finger exercise. It was something that I could play very fast and by moving the figure up and down the fretboard and adding new chords, it became a tune.
“That was the first accident. My whole life has been an accident, but sometimes accidents can be quite productive. I wrote most of the funky things on the album, but three or four of them were written at the time of recording. We went into AIR armed with about three-quarters of the album.

“Max has done a lot of internal work with the album. I`d give him a melody line – like that 9/4 thing – and he`d go home and give it some chords. Or rather he`d lend them to me – they weren`t his to give.
“I`ve known Phil Chen for years. He played with Jimmy James And The Vagabonds, and he`s one of the few bass players from the old days who sprang to mind. I wanted somebody who wasn`t really blowing their own trumpet – as it were – all the time. He sits back and lets you play, which is good. Never interferes. Sometimes he doesn`t play enough, but it doesn`t matter.
“Max knew Richard. There`s a whole family of musicians who`ve been with Gonzales and other funky bands who never really made any noise, but there are a lot of good players there.
“He can play anything, and he never plays the same thing twice. His fills aren`t hackneyed. Some people are great in the studio, but you get it the first time and that`s it. If you don`t like it, you have to get another drummer. Richard listens to everybody else and decides what he can play to it. Most drummers learn the part, and then you have to play what they can play.

“Drums are a bastard thing to play. You can`t bluff on drums. You can bluff with a guitar – like I bluff all the time. Bass and drums are unbluffable. The bluffers in the business died off about eight or ten years ago. Bluff guitarists are going to be out of business soon – so I`m probably going to be looking for a job.”
Awwww, Jeff – modesty becomes you.
“I thought I was good until I tried to learn a part which I need for this album. I couldn`t put it together for the life of me.
“It`s a slow thing in five. I know I can play beautiful over it, but because it`s in five I`m having to think hard. But when you pull off a funny time signature, it`s not funny any more, it`s just natural.
“I wouldn`t want to do what McLaughlin`s doing and set out to baffle the musician: `Now, ladies and gentlemen, we have baffle the musician half-hour`. I`m not into all that – I`m not into surprising anybody. You`ve only got to listen to Billy Cobham to know what can be done with time signatures, and this is very simplified Billy Cobham.

“Jan Hammer is influencing me at the moment. It`s only a very crude imitation, but it is Hammer that I`m copying, because his synthesiser sounds like a guitar should sound.”
Yeah, well – it`s certainly conceptually different from all that kamikaze BB&A stuff.
“Kamikaze is exactly the word – it was the biggest fight in rock-and-roll that you could ever hear. We were grappling with an abysmal lack of material and lack of co-operation all round.
“I wouldn`t co-operate and play what they wanted me to play, because I had finished with that style a long time ago. They wanted me to tear my hair out and play the guitar until it melted. Everybody`s done that, and they do it as well if not better than I do it.
“I don`t want to fight my own instincts – I want to go off and do something that, even if it isn`t that brilliant, is at least different.
“That`s always been my policy: to bring to the attention of the public things that can be listened to and enjoyed.”

Mr. Jeff Beck

Mr. Jeff Beck

When BB&A went to the Great Motel In The Sky, it added mileage to the standard canard that Beck is such an intolerable bastard that he can never keep a band together.
“I have no pretentions about it; I don`t intend to keep any band together. That`s the most boring proposition that I can think of. I`m not hard to get on with, but I get fed up with playing the same old tunes every night time after time. Even if it`s a step down, if it`s different I`ll do it.
“What I`ve just done was a challenge. I`ve never done this sort of music before. I can`t shed my old style completely, because that`s me, but I can put it in a different context, which is exactly what I`ve done here.”
If Beck`s new material can be compared to any previous aspect of his work, it`s the “Rough And Ready” era, which he describes as “an irritating period to reflect on. I don`t like that period. I don`t like the BB&A period – but I played more arse-kicking rock in there than in `Rough And Ready`, although it was far less creative. BB&A rock is uncreative, self-indulgent noise, really.”
Yeah, but I kinda dug it for that very reason.

“The only reason it was valid was that no one else sounded like that, whether it was good or bad. They thrived on excess and over-playing. If you could zero in on the energy, you got the goods. Otherwise, it was a cacophonous nasty horrible noise.”
“It was because of that that I couldn`t go on with it. The noise was hurting me so much.
“It was my decision.
“I`d like to say that it just exploded like a bomb, but it didn`t. I just couldn`t go on with it. As I said, there was a sad lack of material, and that came about twice, when we tried to do two albums.
“Avid BB&A freaks may be interested to know that there are two full albums, which if I have anything to do with it will never be released.
“If you could have a referendum and ask `Do you want the BB&A album out` and 60 million screaming people said, `Yes, please`, then I wouldn`t mind. But it`s old news.”

Look on the bright side, Jeff. The new album could sell to a whole bunch of people who`ve never listened to you before, the quaalude kids`ll buy the BB&A live album, and the basic Beck freaks`ll buy both.
“There aren`t enough Beck freaks to keep me in readies, so I don`t care about them. I`ve got to think about the people who wanna hear music.
“If they`re that much of a freak, they`ll stick with what I`m doing anyway. If they`d dump me because of one album that they don`t like, then they`re not a fan. So I shouldn`t have to worry about them.
“I`m not saying that I don`t care, I`m just saying that I`m not worried about them.”
Referring back to Carmine Pizza`s interview a few weeks back, were there really bad vibes between you and Tim Bogert?
“I must say that when it came to me throwing bottles at Tim, there must be a bad vibe somewhere. That bit of roughness could maybe have been smoothed over. But, like I said, we did two albums, and there wasn`t one piece of music that I could listen to and say, `hey, that`s me`.
“When we weren`t fighting we were playing slush. There was a thing called `Laughalong`, which could have been done better by the Stylistics.
“What the fuck do I want with a Stylistics tune?

“I want stuff that enables me to roast on the guitar, but roast well, and not have to come out with all the old shit that people expect from me.
“You can keep up with the times as well as kick ass, you know what I mean?
“I hate to say it, but Johnny Winter didn`t do anything for me the other night, and I used to rate him. He came on, and I was so ashamed to be associated with that white rock music when he played. I don`t know why, `cuz it wasn`t that bad – it just sounded so old.
“Hendrix did it all.
“He closed the book.
“When he died, that was it.
“I don`t think Robin Trower`s playing valid music. It was nice, if you`re into reliving a bit of Hendrix, when he played Hendrix-style music with a little bit of his own flavour – but I just can`t listen to it.”
Do you miss playing live?
“No, I miss getting myself represented on record. If God walked in the room and said, `this record will be a million-seller here, and do ten million in the States – here you are`, and it wasn`t 100 per cent great, I wouldn`t do it.

“If I got a hit record, it would only mean trouble for me. It would probably elevate me to something I`m not, something that that I`m not capable of carrying out.
“If I had to go out and promote a gold album, the temptation to play every night would be great, and the temptation to go out and whore about and do everything there was to be done to make money and be a millionaire would be so great.
“I`m not into that.
“The thought of having millions in the bank is no security to me. The thought of working with good players is security. It`s easy to hurt somebody by saying, `you`re a has-been`, and it frightens everybody to be thought of as a has-been…
“And I`m not gonna be a has-been. I don`t care if I`m classed as one, I`m not gonna be one.”
Yeah, Jeff… remember those fa-a-a-a-bulous `60s?
“What was all right in the `60s? Nothing was all right in the `60s

“I didn`t have any money – and that`s not a contradiction of my last statement – and now I`ve got the money to exist comfortably. I`m not talking about the kind of money that`ll change your life-style whether you liked it or not. There`s certain things I like to be protected against – like not being able to afford electricity for recording.
“Music and cars and sex are my main driving forces, and that`s the way I`m gonna keep it.”

The charts  - November, 1974

The charts – November, 1974

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Coverdale, Beckett, Stan Lee, Alvin Lee, Rashied Ali, Can.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Thin Lizzy FROM Sounds, NOVEMBER 9, 1974

Finally – here is a short, but nice interview with Phil Lynott. His band, Thin Lizzy, is one of those legendary bands that forever will have a place in musical history. A very gifted lyricist and a fantastic musician that unfortunately left this  world much too young (36 years old), but his legacy will live on for generations to come.
Geoff Barton, the journalist doing this interview, deserves a special mention. He joined Sounds at the age of nineteen and have for most of his life done music journalism. In 1981 he edited the first issue of Kerrang! – my youth wouldn`t have been the same without it as it was one of my only sources to what was going on in the rock`n`roll world. Remember – this was way before the world wide web,  so you couldn`t just go online to find whatever you wanted.
Today, I continue to have a musical relation with Mr. Barton through buying “Classic Rock Magazine” where he works as an Editor at Large.
These days, his son, Caesar Barton, continues the family tradition by working in music journalism.

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Music while you wait

Thin Lizzy`s Phil Lynott has written quite a few good lyrics in his time and now he has a book out “Songs For While I`m Away” with 20 of his songs in it. Here he talks to Geoff Barton about the book and Thin Lizzy Mk. III.

In my mind at least Phil Lynott is a first class, if not a foremost, rock lyricist. Perhaps it`s this which brings Thin Lizzy out of the bag of popular-but-pretty-boring-really bands, sets them a little apart from the rest, and gains them a certain amount of respect from fans and critics alike.
And though I`ve yet to see the new four piece Lizzy line-up, there`s no reason why they shouldn`t continue to be the same old solid, driving and powerful band that recorded “Vagabonds Of The Western World” and notched up no small amount of memorable live performances.
No reason at all…unless Phil abandons his bass guitar for quill pen and sets out to be a poet. Oho – that`s not in the least likely, but nevertheless he does have a book of poems or songs out at the moment, called “Songs For While I`m Away”.

It`s a brief selection of 20 or so of his songs, and most of them have been recorded at one time or another by the band, though not necessarily in the form in which they appear. They can`t really be categorised as poetry as such – they don`t really stand up to the transition on to the printed page – but if you can appreciate them as rock lyrics alone and nothing else, then they become quite superb.
The well-tried and popular rock lyric (i.e.: “Oooh baby, too much, yeah”) rarely says anything at all – no one worries about it that much, and more often than not it`s accepted as a matter of course. But Thin Lizzy lyrics are really the odd ones out. Be they about a juke joint and someone with their cycle outside (wanna try?), or about flagrant fields and schoolboy eyes, the Lizzy lyric invariably means something, tells a story of whatever.
And it`s a refreshing change.

INSPIRES

Lizzy`s management offices were pretty quiet – a typewriter clacked away in the background, and that was about it. Then Lynott & Co arrived, just back from a meeting with Phonogram, their new record company, to disrupt the whole scene. Lynott, clutching a Marvel Comic, strode into the room and caused quite a fracas. “What`s the Hulk`s other identity? Who`s the Silver Surfer?” he quizzed.
The interview, Phil. Oh yes. “…Most of my songs are autobiographical,” he says in rapid, nasal Irish tones, “that`s what inspires me to write. If I experience something, and I think that experience is worth sharing with somebody else – then I write a song. My whole reason for writing songs is to share my experience with…whoever. Maybe the person who listens to our records, or has the book. I hope it`s an experience that they can relate to.”

Peter Fallon, poet and brother to B.P. Fallon, together with artist Jim Fitzpatrick suggested to Phil that he should get “Songs For While I`m Away” together. And so he did. He sent Fallon 50 or so poems from which he selected about 20, and Fitzpatrick chose a couple to illustrate. The above book was the eventual result.
Phil: “It wasn`t my idea at all. But Ireland is such a small place that you can easily get something like the book arranged and on the move. In England you need a reason to do this sort of thing. In Ireland you don`t need a reason. If you get your money back – great. If you lose it all – so what?”
There`s no chance that Phil will lose money on the book, for the first edition sold out quickly and it`s currently being reprinted. It looks like it`s going to be a steady seller for some time.

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PERSONAL

Some of the inclusions in the book struck me as being very personal exercises, notably one about a pregnant girl called “Little Girl In Bloom”, and another about racial prejudice entitled “Black Boys On The Corner”. I wondered if Phil was at all wary in revealing his personal thoughts to a wide audience.
“In the music it`s cool, but in the book it strikes me as being a little different. Recently I`ve been doing a fair amount of interviews concerning the book, and I find it really embarassing to talk about it. Sure I can talk about the book as a book alone – but the minute you sort of go into particular poems, it gets so embarassing, I figure I`ve said it the way I want to say it, so why should I expand upon it?
“But the nice thing about it is that people are looking at me now and saying: `yeah, he writes a decent lyric or two`. They realise that I`m not just a singer in a rock and roll band. So now I know that people are going to be listening to me, it`s definitely going to be harder to write songs. I want to try and make them more meaningful – I definitely want to spend a lot more time on them.
“But what`s really worrying me is that I`m doing more interviews about this book than about the band!”

Okay, so what about the band? The departure of Gary Moore led to the break up of perhaps one of the most visual three-piece bands, but the truth is that Moore wasn`t happy – he considered Lizzy a pop band, of all things. So, now we have Lizzy Mk. III, or thereabouts.

CRAZY

“All those personnel changes – for a while it was really bad, but now it`s beginning all over again. This Lizzy is the best Lizzy that`s ever been.” He pauses, as if expecting some sort of retort on my part, then continues: “When we were a three-piece there was a certain emptiness in the sound, and we couldn`t explore the material sufficiently. But now the current band is playing…well, more like a band should play. With Gary we were like three individuals in one band, it was a crazy line-up, but as a live act we couldn`t fail.”
Gary Moore appears on one track called “Still In Love” on the new Lizzy album “Nightlife”, together with singer Frankie Miller. The rest of it is four-piece Lizzy with new guys Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson.

And before 1975 is out, there should be a Phil Lynott solo album, featuring material vastly different from the band`s usual stuff and showcasing him, if not necessarily in his capacity as musician, then in his capacity as a songwriter.
Phil: “I`m looking forward to the album more as a project than a product.”
And why not?

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This ad would probably be considered too “sexist” today? Not in 1974…

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Elton John, Ken Boothe, Van Morrison, Pink Floyd, Pete Brown, George Harrison, David Puttnam, Mott The Hoople, Bad Company, David Bowie, Phil Spector, Janis Ian.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Queen FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 2, 1974

Here we go again with yet another fairly old and exciting article. This time an early interview with Queen`s Freddie Mercury. Always extravagant, always  a star. Lucky were those who experienced him first-hand, and got to be called “Dear” or “Darling” by this legendary frontman. It is really funny how he hints about his sexuality at this early stage of his career and it is quite interesting in the context of this time in history.
The Sexual Offences Act that Britain passed in 1967 decriminalised homosexual acts between two men over 21 years of age in private in England and Wales. The 1967 Act did not extend to Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, where all homosexual behaviour remained illegal. The privacy restrictions of the act meant a third person could not be present and men could not have sex in a hotel. This was the law at the time of the interview. Only 10 years before this interview was conducted a UK opinion poll finds that 93% of respondents see homosexuality as a form of illness requiring medical treatment. No wonder that Mr. Mercury were a little guarded about this part of his personality.

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The contents of Freddie Mercury`s pants are his alone. They belong to him and to no-one else.

JULIE WEBB relentlessly probes the cut and contour of QUEEN`S Lead Trouser

Funny how times change. Seems like only yesterday that people were taking the mickey out of Queen. Of course, there were some who reckoned they had a genuine talent which would come to the fore, but for many they were merely a flash in the pan.
Two hit albums and two hit singles later, the band can afford a smirk at the expense of their journalistic detractors. This week Queen began their second major tour of Britain. Last time round they were just breaking “Seven Seas Of Rhye” – this time the new album “Sheer Heart Attack” will be featured, but strangely enough not their new single “Killer Queen,” since lead singer Freddie Mercury deems it “not necessary to add to what we are going to do on stage.”

It was Mercury, you may remember, who was so sublimey confident about the band`s chances of success – and he hasn`t changed. “Queen II” may have gone silver, but he reckons “it`ll go platinum” before long. Four months ago, you might have sneered – now it`s about time you listened.
The turning point for the band is really the new single. “A double A side, though no one seems to realise it because they keep playing `Killer Queen`,” interjects Mercury. It`s a turning point in that it sounds nothing like the noisy heavy metal sound to which we are accustomed from Queen, thus justifying their earlier claim of `versatility.` It`s more of a mixture of Beach Boys, early Beatles and 1920`s music-hall. Quaite naice, actually.

Says Mercury: “People are used to hard rock, energy music from Queen, yet with this single you almost expect Noel Coward to sing it. It`s one of those bowler hat, black suspender belt numbers – not that Noel Coward would wear that.”
And you?
“Oh no dear, just a nice little black number.”
It is apparent that success (in any shape or form) has not altered Mercury, who still insists on using the suffix “dear” at the end of many of his sentences. He is also still very much hung up on maintaining the `star` image.
For a start he never carries much money round with him. It`s not that he`s poverty-stricken or even mean – just that it`s difficult to keep cash in your shoes. A star to the last, he wears pocketless trousers and keeps his finances close to his feet.
“I hate pockets in trousers,” he stresses. “By the way, I do not wear a hose. My hose is my own. No coke bottle, nothing stuffed down there.”
Of course, Freddie.

However, sticking rigidly to the star image has its drawbacks. Satin trousers aren`t that durable (“I split a pair last week”) and velvet and sequins have a nasty habit of dulling in the rain. Still, they create the desired effect of getting people to stare. Mercury still adores the stares, of course – he`s insisted all along he`s a star and thinks he should dress accordingly. But for all the high camp, he`s got some grey matter in that head of his.
It was, after all, Mercury who wrote six of the thirteen cuts on the new album and being artistically inclined it was he who provided the idea for the album sleeve.
“God, the agony we went through to have the pictures taken, dear. Can you imagine trying to convince the others to cover themselves in Vaseline and then have a hose of water turned on them?”
Sheer agony, Freddie. The end result is four members of the band looking decidely unregal, tanned and healthy, and as drenched as if they`ve been sweating for a week.

“Everyone was expecting some sort of cover. A Queen III cover really, but this is completely new. It`s not that we`re changing altogether – it`s just a phase we are going through.”
But won`t Queen devotees be a trifle worried by this new image?
“They will love it. We`re still as poncy as ever. We`re still the dandies we started out to be. We`re just showing people we`re not merely a load of poofs, that we are capable of other things.”
The album, as detailed above, boasts 13 tracks – most of them a mere three minutes in length.
“Not a collection of singles, dear – although we might draw another one off later for a single. I`m not absolutely sure about that, though. No, not all the numbers last for ages. There were just so many songs we wanted to do. And it makes a change to have short numbers. It`s so varied that we were able to go to extremes. I only had about two weeks to write my songs so we`ve been working (expletive deleted) hard.”

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It should be noted that the BBC seem to have taken “Killer Queen” to their collective bosom, since they`ve been flogging it to death. I wonder if they would be so keen if they realised the true story behind the single.
Mercury elucidates: “It`s about a high class call girl. I`m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That`s what the song is about, though I`d prefer people to put their own interpretation upon it – to read into it what they like.”
The British tour is their first live manifestation since their ill-fated American bonanza, when they played support to Mott The Hoople and returned early after guitarist Brian May contracted hepatisis.
As if that wasn`t bad enough, May was later informed that he had an ulcer. Currently he still has a certain air of frailty surrounding him, but he claims to be feeling “better than ever.”

Mercury advises: “Brian has got to look after himself in future. We all want to make sure something like that never happens again. So he`ll have to eat the right things and steer clear of hamburgers.”
Most inopportune, one would have thought, quitting their first US tour halfway through. Mercury however is as confident as ever of the band`s chances in America.
“We did what we had to, anyway. Sure, a whole tour would have helped us a bit more, but there`s no such thing as `we lost our chance.` I still believe that the time is right for us there and we`re going back pretty soon. We really did it – cause when we came back you should have seen the write-ups. They were beautiful and they just want us to come back as soon as we can. They are just waiting on new product.”

One particular review from the US sticks out in Mercury`s mind since it was, in a sense, on a personal level.
“We played a theatre in New York with Mott and this particular chick (well, they notice everything down to the pimple on your arse, dear) wrote that she noticed that when I did a costume change I changed even my shoes and socks. She also added she was so close she could tell what religion I was, and that I wasn`t wearing any knickers. She also pointed out that Ian Hunter had knickers on. Ian`s going to die…”
Indeed.

Since the American market is taking such an interest in Queen, it appears Japan is not very far behind.
“Queen II” was recently voted album of the year and all members of the band came up highly in the musicians` awards. “Quite a change for a country which has of late been apparently obsessed with the likes of ELP and Yes.
“We`re planning to go to Japan in the New Year,” states Mercury “Can`t wait, actually. All those geisha girls…” (he laughs) “and boys.”
Seems the Jap market have twigged quite early – even now they send presents to the band. At EMI Mercury received a Japanese wooden comb “for your birthday, please come over soon.”
Before the British tour, the main priority has been rehearsing. This time round, the sound should substantially improve, since they will be playing larger venues than before, which are more suited to their vast sound system.
“We`re just hoping to have a whale of a time. We are going to have to put across all three albums. The repertoire will be built around them. But the main thing is to put across the energy of the band and hopefully the versatility. I`d hate to just do hard rock all the time, dear. It should be good because we`ve got better lights, better everything.”

Part of this interview was conducted in a local hostelry which sold liquor. Beforehand, Mercury seemed a bit nervous about what kind of establishment it was.
“Is it working class?” he asked, in what sounded like an elitist manner. No, it wasn`t particularly rough. Even so, people did tend to stare when he entered.
“I love it, really” he commented, looking distinctly uncomfortable trying to avoid the stares of an old man nearby, whose eyes were attempting to leave their sockets.
“I just wanted to know what kind of place it was because I don`t want a load of cut-throats round me. I just wonder what they think. I mean when we walked in that man`s eyes did nearly pop out of his head.”
Does he ever get strange comments walking down the street?
“No, not really. I`ve had people try to pick me up once or twice, but I`m not intending to change into jeans because of it. I tried that a few weeks ago and people I knew remarked on that far more than my satin or velvet.”

Somehow I have enough confidence in Mercury to feel that he could carry off any occasion with typical aplomb. Just a short time ago he found himself in a somewhat embarrassing situation and miraculously escaped. But let him explain that:
“We`d had a hectic day at “Top Of The Pops” and our promotion man Eric Hall invited us out for a meal. Unfortunately the others in the band couldn`t come as they had to go back to the studio. Anyway, I had rather a lot to drink and I seem to remember at some point in the evening that someone removed my shoes and socks and hung them on a lampshade. Then I said something along the lines of `well, if you`re going to take everything off I shall remove my trousers…”
Picture this. Our hero, half under his table at a rather trendy nitespot with trousers akimbo, when the big white chief of the establishment approaches.
“I thought he was going to throw me out, but instead he said `I hear you`ve got a gold disc.` He meant to say silver. And then he presented me with a bottle of champagne.”
Now if Mercury can handle a situation like that with such style, think how easy it is for him to get everyone else convinced that he is a true star.

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Fashionable girls in this ad from 1974.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own  webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Peter Gabriel, Fruupp, Leslie Richard McKeown (Bay City Rollers), Steve Harley, Johnny Winter, H.B. Barnum.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, October 26, 1974

A really big fan of Uriah Heep made contact with me through my Facebook page, we had some coversation and before I knew it, he tipped my page off to several of the guys that have played or are playing in Uriah Heep. And I know that two or maybe three of those childhood heroes of mine have read this blog. Really fun and exciting stuff for me, so in honour of the band and their superfan from Norway – here is yet another article from those days long ago!
Have a nice read!

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Is it hostilities in the Heavy Metal Zone?

Like this guy KEN HENSLEY wants to go melodic and mellow man… when the rest of URIAH HEEP wanna keep on makin` like pneumatic drills. It looks like a serious case of metal fatigue – but all is not yet lost.
TONY STEWART reports.

Being in this particular Bristol audience is pretty much like being under a labourer`s armpit.
There`s a nauseating reek of stale sweat and a fine spray of dandruff flicked from the kids` hair as they toss their heads from side to side in the customary tradition of the heavy metal freak. And there`s an awful humidity, akin to that of a Louisiana swamp, which creeps up your nostrils.

A glance across the Colston Hall reveals people lined up regimentally, row upon row, hands clasping the seats in front as though they`re trying to retain control over pneumatic drills. And the visual effect is completed by the violent, stilted movements of their frames – as if the whole audience is in the throes of a congregational epileptic fit.
It`s all a sure sign that Uriah Heep are once again on a British tour.
By some miracle this audience aggression was restrained, causing only superficial damage in the way of loosened seat bolts. But even so it was symbolic of a stage act which is becoming disturbingly violent.

Singer David Byron stalks manfully from one side of the stage to the other, at times screeching into the microphone like a demented and tormented town crier. Gary Thain curls his sinewy body around his bass, and contorts his face, his chin almost touching his nose, to look like a grotesque and sinister carnival mask.
Guitarist Mick Box is as equally brutal in his playing style. He stretches his legs wide, with the guitar slung between, whipping the neck as though performing some perverted form of masturbation.
Lee Kerslake (drums) and organist Ken Hensley seem at a disadvantage in this context, because most of the time they`re both seated – and are therefore only able to bring their hands down as if pounding an enemy into the ground.
This quaint, but overtly savage ritual in which group and audience participate is commonly known as getting it on.

Of course, it would be easy to be cynical and ridicule Uriah Heep and their strange stage show. But I won`t do it – because strange as it may appear, their brash, methodic pumping of abrasive riffs seems to be sufficiently musically-based to attract a large audience. And anyway it`s been done in the past.
Those creatures who occupied the Colston Hall left not only with a headache and/or a few loose teeth, but with a sense of fulfillment.
Heep do actually attempt to make their gigs into occasions providing an ostentatious but delightfully dramatic light show for an act which erupts in a blaze of multi-colour glory and dry-ice effects, building through most of their favoured numbers to climax in an incomparable pitch of excitement.
But is it enough?

Apparently Heep are reluctant to entice new devotees into their substantial, but not enormous, fold. After all, their show is geared to the converted and has certainly not changed significantly over the last couple of years, apart from the addition of what are, I feel, token numbers such as “Stealin`” and “Suicidal Man” in acknowledgment of the existence of their last two albums, “Sweet Freedom” and “Wonderworld.”
True, their act has not regressed – but nor has it progressed. To my mind they`ve been running on the spot for too long. And it would appear Ken Hensley has similar views.

Seated behind the wheel of six grand`s worth of BMW engineering, we`re on route along the M5 from Bristol to the next gig in Birmingham. And it proves a rare opportunity to talk to Hensley about the band, although his long and detailed explanations are interspersed by a series of driver`s expletives directed at other motorists and a few groans of pain as he rubs his bruised ribs – an injury he apparently sustained after falling out of bed.
Basically, Hensley feels there`s a rift within the Heep ranks, causing a division in their musical ideology. It came about, he indicates, because of complacency, lack of communication, and too much time spent worrying about the business side of the band.
“It`s been like this for about a year – ever since we started getting involved with the Inland Revenue. And unless it`s corrected it`s going to have its ultimate effect. And that`s a really sad prospect.
“It stunts your growth…just like smoking.
“But I don`t know what`s going to happen now…because we`ve reached the situation where there`s the possibility that a clash of musical opinions will put us on the spot when it comes to recording another album.

Hensley`s discontent stems from his own wish to change the band`s musical direction and – on stage – bring Heep more into line with the progressions evident on their recent albums.
And he claims that the songs which have more musical merit, being at the same time uncharacteristically mellow and melodic, are not treated with favour by certain other members.
“I really think that`s wrong. And if people aren`t convinced that songs like `Wonderworld,` and `The Shadows Of The Wind` are right for the band…without ever saying they`re not convinced…they`ll play them without conviction – and therefore the songs never come off properly.
“But when you get a song that`s crash, bang, wallop and tread on the gas, everyone gets into it and it comes off.
“It`s because there are two schools of thought. One says, `We should be just playing out and out noisy rock and roll,` and the other – which I admit is my own – says we should be doing something a bit different.
“What we`re doing at the moment is not only easy, it`s also not very futuristic – and it certainly isn`t progressive. It doesn`t really single us out from all the other bands. It just brands us as being another noisy group.

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From the way Hensley says all this it`s pretty clear he hasn`t yet detailed his complaints to the rest of the band, although he intends to.
“But I believe in making these analyses, which have sometimes been described as too self-critical, and I`ve arrived at a solution as to exactly what we should be doing.
“Before too long I`m going to present these ideas. I`ve got pages of notes on them. And I`ll see what the reaction is. Because if we`ve reached a stage now where the general consensus of the band is that we`re running the right way, then…” he hesitates.
“Then I`m going to have a very serious think and a very serious chat to everybody about whether I`m any use to the band anymore.”
He pauses, curses a motorist taking his time in overtaking, and then collects his thoughts.

“Being the main writer – right? – I don`t know whether I can sit down and write anything other than what I`m writing at the moment.
“If I`m responsible for the music failing to get through to the masses, then it`s because involuntarily I`m going off on a musical tangent to the rest of the group.
“And IF that is the case, to be absolutely realistic and practical about it, either somebody else in the band has got to start writing the songs which they claim they should be doing. Or else they`ll have to get somebody in to do the writing.
“I`m glad,” he continues, “that `Wonderworld` didn`t work out successfully, because it`s meant a re-examination period has started, which has been missing for 18 months. For a change everybody`s sitting around wondering if we are making mistakes.”

For a change is very much the operative phrase, inferring the possible existence of a complacent attitude within the band – perhaps because they believe there`s nothing further to attain.
I ask Hensley about this, but he hedges and will discuss the subject only generally.
“It`s a side effect of having a slight degree of success. It`s very easy to be like that when you have a few quid in the bank and you`re driving a nice car. Especially if you`ve been brought up in an entirely different environment.
“A few gold records on your wall…a few quid in the bank…and it`s really easy to see why some people just sit around and think there`s nothing left to do. But it depends on what your attitude is, and what you`re in the business for.
“You`re either in the business to make money, to be a star, or because you chose music as a career. Therefore you`re interested in furthering your career and contributing something to this work you`ve got so much out of.”

One common symptom of success and its financial benefits is a sense of independence, allowing group members to move away from each other socially and – too frequently – musically as well. Which might have happened with U. Heep.
If it has, Hensley isn`t saying. He answers my question in general terms – as though talking about the syndrome in another group – not necessarily Uriah Heep.
“Unfortunately that`s absolutely true. There`s no longer the need for everybody to live in the same area; there`s no longer the need to share hotel rooms, or even stay in the same hotel; there`s no need for you to travel in the same aeroplane or same car.
“Once that sets in you realise how fragmentated you`re becoming socially, and that in turn has its effect on your performance. It must do, because you`re not in contact, mentally or physically with any of the people you`re working with. The only time you see each other is on stage.

“But I know bands who make that work. I mean The Who don`t live together or party together all night long. They`re still going after ten years though.
“When you see somebody with an achievement like that,” he elaborates, “it makes four-and-a-half years and a few gold records look pretty puny.”
Now on the subject of Heep:
“I think the reason we haven`t really made it is because we`re right on the top of the fence now. We`ll either go on, and if we do we`ll probably keep on going for a good long time, or this whole thing will collapse. Which will mean we haven`t got that magic ingredient which keeps bands going for ever and ever, like The Who, the Stones and Led Zeppelin.
“I just think it`s wrong to sit back after four-and-a-half years and say `We`ve done enough`. Because when you choose music as a career and you`re eager to take all this money, success, fame and glory that it can give you, it`s unfair to sit back. It`ll just backfire, and sooner or later you`re going to realise the decision was premature.
“Complacency is like dry rot. In this case it`s not your doors and window frames that are eaten away…it`s your bloody life; your career.”
I could have sworn his accelerator pedal touched the floor at that moment.

“Kenny gets very paranoid,” David Byron explains, “and thinks we`re in a crucial position.”
Byron, Mick Box and I are comfortably seated in the cocktail lounge of Birmingham`s Holiday Inn discussing the U. Heep situation from their point of view.
It`s quite obvious from the start they don`t feel the situation is as critical as Kenny makes out.
“But,” continues Byron, “I`ve seen so many bands go up and down. One minute everybody says they`re finished, and the next minute they come back with the biggest album of the year.
“It really is irrelevant. You don`t know what is going to happen. The only thing you can do – and it`s my whole philosophy on life – is to do what you enjoy doing.
“Kenny gets really worried though. Like every night on the American tour he kept saying: `It didn`t happen! It didn`t happen!` I said: `Kenny, there were 12,000 people there, it was sold out, everybody was standing on their feet and clapping and we came back and did a 20-minute encore. How can you possibly say it failed?`
“`I know that,` he said, `but they always do that.` I said: `But they wouldn`t do it if they didn`t want to.`
“If you do fill a hall,” Byron comments, “and you do get good applause and you do get encores, then there isn`t anything badly wrong with you.”

Later that evening the same kind of response Byron had described was witnessed at the Town Hall Birmingham. Both visually and musically the show was a success, for Uriah Heep and Their Audience. But as I stated earlier, it`s an act which appeals very much to the Converted, and the attitude Byron expresses is not likely to increase their following.
It is no doubt because of such enthusiastic receptions that he`s able to declare unequi-vocally: “Kenny may want to try and push the band in another direction, which he tries to do, but he`s wrong. He`d be making a very, very wrong decision if he did that, and that`s why he`s never been allowed to do it.”
Isn`t it eventually going to come to a clash if Kenny and the other members of the band insist in following their own separate directions?
“It could come to the crunch,” responds Byron, “and if so he`d have to leave and do his own stuff. That`s the obvious finale.”

Box is less concerned and so quite naturally plays down the conflict.
“The most it`ll come to is a heated discussion which will then be sorted out.”
And bring with it something of an anti-climax to our story.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bad Company, Faces, Wishbone Ash, Robert Wyatt, Dave Quincey, Slapp Happy, Mike Mantler, Johnny Winter.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT The Who FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, SEPTEMBER 21, 1974

Time for an article with The Who, one of the most influential bands from the 60s and still going strong today. They have a musical heritage that few others can match and I recommend the younger generation to check them out – listen to  “My Generation” for example! Have a good read.

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Totally unbiased reviewer appraises new Who collection. (Would we lie to you?)

Words: Pete Townshend

While Roger Daltrey was groping round the “Tommy” film set playing (rather masterfully) the part of the deaf, dumb and blind kid himself; while Keith Moon was dressed in a dirty raincoat drinking Guinness with a raw egg and flashing at passers-by; while my fairly good self was ensconced (as usual) in its studio, fast asleep but very convincingly pretending to work, John Entwistle, with a little help from his friends, was rooting about in the mountain of unmarked tape boxes at Track Records in Windmill Street.
He came up with this remarkable collection of unreleased oddities, impulsively labelled “Odds and Sods” by Roger. And I`m going to tell you all why they were never released (What a load of old rubbish it is).
Joking aside, it`s all perfection! Are THE WHO (pause for reverent head-bowing and hand on collar bone, etc.) capable of anything less?

“Postcard” is a John Entwistle song about touring on the road. He describes in luscious detail the joys and delights of such romantic venues as Australia (pause to fight off temporary attack of nausea), America (pause to count money), and of course that country of the mysterious and doubting Customs official, Germany. (Pause, whether they like it or not, for “God Save The Queen”).
Listen out for the field sound effects actually recorded in the countries we toured.
“Postcard” was originally recorded in my house for a maxi-single, as they came to be known here. Maxi-singles were EPs that only cost as much as a single. Unfortunately, ours never got released! We realised at the last minute that we wouldn`t make a profit doing stupid things like that.
I engineered this one with one hand on the controls and the other on the guitar. That`s why I only play one chord throughout the whole song. If John`s bass sound is a little distant, it could be because his speaker cabinet was in the house next door.

“Now I`m A Farmer” is from the same bale of hay, recorded at home for the EP. It`s a drug song, all about the good life out in the fields growing those fantastic phallic ornamental gourds that you can use to…to…to make gorgeous fruit bowl arrangements.
See if you catch the immensely subtle reference to the “Air” in this song. This track is from the period when The Who went slightly mad. We put out several records called “Dogs”, and at least one about finding “one`s inner self”. Gourds mate, that`s the secret to life…gourds.

“Put The Money Down”…is one of the tracks recorded for us by the illustrious Glyn Johns. Terrific sound, beautifully recorded. Wonder what group he used?

“Little Billy”: Now, if I may take the liberty…this is A Masterpiece. Written and recorded for the American Cancer Society in exchange for worldwide success and fame, it ended up, not saving lives, but mouldering unheard in some fat-assed executive`s office for six years.
“It`s too long,” he said in a slimy East Coast accent of the nastiest possible kind.
Actually he was quite nice – used to take me to lunch at the Russian Tea Room. Had baseball bats embroidered on his Y fronts. Oh! What a give-away! I really hate him because he jilted me, the swine. But, as you can hear, Little Billy is doing fine, just fine.

“Too Much Of Anything”: A song about temperance in all things. The insidious horror of excess. Did you hear about that poor chap who died because he drank too much carrot juice? I dedicate this ditty to him.
It was recorded during the “Who`s Next” sessions by Glyn Johns for the Life House film – which never happened. We felt this summed up just what too much of anything can do to a person – too much sex, drink, drugs even rock and roll or nasty blues music.
Realising at the last minute how totally hypocritical it would be for a load of indulgent face-stuffing drug-addicted alcoholics like us to put this out, we didn`t.
Of course, today we`re all different; more mature, less greedy. Anyway, why waste a good money-spinning number like this? I`m being a bit too honest now, aren`t I?

“Glow Girl”: I`m really glad – and amazed – that John found this one and put it on. It`s a rock and roll airplane crash song with a real Pop Art plane crash and a happy reincarnation ending.
I wrote another song with a similar title, “Glittering Girl”. Both ended up on the cutting-room floor. To be honest, I think it was a good job, because better material came along.
And also Kit Lambert was “practising” record production at the time. He used to take us all down to a studio called City of London Studios, which at the time was mono. Yes, absolute mono. It was small and poorly-equipped, but it had something no other studio in Britain could offer at that time – an engineer who could understand what Kit was saying.
This track reveals a lot about the way I write. I rarely leave any good idea unused; Real Themes crop up in “Tommy”, and also in the last lines of this. Only, of course, Tommy was a dear little `boy`. He`s got to be a great big cumbersome oaf these last few years, but he was such a nice baby.

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“Pure And Easy”: You may know this one from my solo album. This is the group`s version. Not all of the group`s versions of my songs are as faithful to the original demo as this one, but as usual the `Oo make their terrible mark. Another track from the abortive Life House story. It`s strange, really, that this never appeared on “Who`s Next”, because in the context of stuff like “Song Is Over”, “Getting In Tune” and “Baba O`Riley”, it explains more about the general concept behind the Life House idea than any amount of rap.
…Not released because we wanted a single album out at the time.

“Faith In Something Bigger”: God, this is embarrassing! I don`t know where to hide. Well I mean, the whole thing about Him is that He is Everywhere, isn`t He? A modest beginning to the musico-spiritual work of the irreligious Who.
This reminds me of The Bee Gees.
The guitar solo is the worst I`ve ever heard. They`re great lads you know, the rest of the boys in the band. Do you think anybody else would`ve put up with this nonsense? Anyway, the whole idea is preposterous – something bigger than US? US! THE WHO! A quick listen to this, lads, will bring us quickly down to size, I can assure you.

“I`m The Face”: Quite simply our first record. Words by Pete Meadon, mod miracle man with desert boots, blue beating, and randy female pop writers on every page of his address book.
Music was lifted from “Got Love If You Want It” by Slim Harpo. Pay your royalties, Meadon! Superb jazz guitar solo from somebody I don`t recognise, fast piano from some pilled-up lunatic who probably made more in session fees that day than we did from the ensuing year`s work. Best of all on this (for me) is Jack the Barber`s handclapping and John`s amazing “Zoops” on the bass…is this really the Who? Wo! Wo! Wo!

“Naked Eye”: Another track from the EP. This was written around a riff we often played on stage at the end of our act around the time we were touring early “Tommy”. It came to be one of our best stage numbers.
This was never released because we always hoped we would get a good live version one day. But then we`re such a lousy live group…

“Long Live Rock”: Well, there are dozens of these self-conscious hymns to the last 15 years appearing these days, and here`s another one. This was featured briefly in the film Keith did the music for – That`ll Be The Day. Billy Fury sang it.
This is most definitely the Definitive Version.
I had an idea once for a new album about the history of The Who called “Rock Is Dead – Long Live Rock”. That idea later blossomed into “Quadrophenia”.

All of these tracks have been part of bigger ideas, or at least grand dreams that didn`t see the light of day. At a time when each one of us in the band is, in a sense, looking at the future wearing a blindfold, it`s great to look back at a time when
we were able to make mistakes without worrying too much. Prepare yourselves people! For the Who`s next mistake! Meanwhile, content yourselves with this little lot.

The full page ads were cooler in the 70s.

The full page ads were cooler in the 70s.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Mike Oldfield, Brian Protheroe, Jerry Garcia, CSN&Y, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Ravi Shankar, Rufus Thomas, Joey Covington, Johnny Copping, ELO.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Bad Company FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, September 7, 1974

It very rarely happens that a “supergroup” succeeds at the level that Bad Company did. Coming from their former bands of Free (Rodgers and Kirke), Mott The Hoople (Mick Ralphs) and King Crimson (Boz Burrell).
In my opinion their two first albums were their strongest and I recommend everyone who isn`t familiar with Bad Company to listen to them. Great music from great musicians! Enjoy.

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B Company on the march

They`re autographing LP`s for the kids, and the businessmen are gibbering with glee. Yep, it looks like this could be the start of something big…

By Lisa Robinson

The red, mimeographed sheet sent to 100s of radio stations across the country reads: “BAD COMPANY: `Can`t Get Enough`. Rockin` smash. Huge album. Will be a monster single. New 30-13`q, kliv, werc, 25-WAYS, KTLK, 24-WDGY, WBBQ, KZOK, Debuts: 40-WBSR: 28-WVLK (`big LP`); 25-Q105; 26-WSGN; 23-WPGC: 30-WFLB; 40-KILT. 14-10-WIXY; 14-12 KJRB; 25-20-WSAI (`should do well`); 26-KJR. On WMAK, WHHY, WKIX.”
What does it mean? It means that Bad Company are perhaps the biggest group to break out in this country this year, something I was told again and again during the week I spent with the band in Los Angeles.

Honest, straightforward, funky, gutsy, straight ahead, no gimmicks, right on, teenage, powerful, lusty, heterosexual, hard on, down to earth, rock and roll.
All this and more has been said about Bad Company. So I`ll attempt to describe what happened with them without resorting to one of those adjectives…

MONDAY. I arrive in L.A. after a nightmare flight where one engine blew out and we had to return to JFK to refuel.  And because my L.A. home, the Beverly Hills Hotel, was overbooked that night I had to spend an evening in the alien Beverly Wilshire – where Ringo, Ron Wood, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Tony de Fries and Mick Jagger all stay while in town.
None of them were there that night, and Bad Company were at the Hyatt House.

TUESDAY: Mick Ralphs` room at the Hyatt is the neatest hotel room of any rockstar I`ve ever seen. (Paul Rodger`s comes a close second, although he`s got a few clothes dripping out of opened trunks and stuff.)
Simon Kirke, down the hall, has the distinction of being the only rockstar I`ve ever seen who has BOOKS neatly lined up on what David Johansen would use for a make-up shelf. They`re mostly science fiction, porno and John Steinbeck.
Mick Ralphs seems quietly confident about the band`s success here.
“You know,” he smiled, “one reads so much in the British Press about how this band or that band comes to America and is STORMING the place. But when you actually get here you realise that most people haven`t even heard of them…well, it all gets to be a bit of a hype, doesn`t it?”

This obviously is not the case with Bad Co. however. Their album was Number 6 on the charts that week and the single rapidly climbing.
“Well, we were very confident when we put the band together,” Mick continued, “we sort of had a good feeling about it. But it was really a case of whether or not everyone else would do their thing. Like the record company is really behind the band which is very important; you just can`t make it doing good gigs.
“And we are reaching a lot of people with this tour. I`ve never been in this position before – on tour with a successful album. It`s always been that you`re on tour and you have an album out but the two aren`t really connected.
“It`s all really come together for us. That`s the really great thing about having Peter as a manager. We`re lucky to have him with us.”
“Also we`re really a completely new band, and we`re opening the shows we`re on, so we have to go out there and make a good impression wherever we go.

“We weren`t scared at all really – we were excited to come here. I was used to headlining. So was Paul. But being the opening act gave us a chance to try and blow other people off the stage!
“There`s been a sort of friendly competition on stage; Dave Mason and Jo Jo Gunne – we`d watch them try that much harder after we`d gone off and the show as a whole would be that much better for it.
“The drawbacks, of course, are that when you do open the show the PA system and lights and all aren`t your own. You don`t have time for a proper sound check – all those little technical things that audiences don`t and shouldn`t know about, but would give us more control over it all.
“I`d like to think that the next time we come over here we`d be able to headline. I know we could pull it off in terms of the act. We certainly could play an hour and a half or two hours, and here we`re reduced to forty-five minutes.”

Paul Rodgers walks into the room draped only in a towel, fresh from the shower, looking for his shoes.
Mick Ralphs says, he likes touring America.
“What gets me is the bigness of it all, the wealth here – you know? Especially coming from England because it`s such a poor country now.”
What about all those rich British popstars? “I don`t know, right now I haven`t got much money. But for the first time in my life I`m in a position where I can buy a house, and it`s sort of incredible to me. Because by the British standard, this is the sort of thing you go for – the goal.
“When you`re young you have your ambitions and this is always one of them, to own your own house. I sort of forgot about that while I was with Mott and everything. It was a struggle just to keep our heads above water, let alone think about things like that.”

Down the hall Swan Song Vice-President Danny Goldberg is talking relentlessly on the telephone. “It`s Number six with a bullet on the Billboard charts this week, and we know it`ll definitely go to Number Five – it`ll be top five and we fully expect it will be Number One.
“Everyone has been working really hard on it, I mean we`re all working really hard on it, but listen – you know, the group are really good, they`ve been doing it themselves.”

“You know what`s so good about Paul,” Mick continued, “is that after the Free thing he could have played with anybody because he is so well-respected in the business. He could have put together a band of amazing musicians, and he had offers to do LPs in Muscle Shoals and places like that, but he wanted to be part of a unit, and that`s great.
“We`re both slightly old-fashioned – but we do believe in the idea of a group…we all dig people like the Stones who can put over a total image rather than a solo artist like Bowie or something.”

People keep calling Paul Rodgers, and from the sound of the phone conversations, it seems as though the majority of them want tickets to the various gigs in the L.A. area.
Between the calls, we talk about his band.
“I`m having a great time,” Rodgers says, “because it wasn`t really happening for any of us with our bands before and this tour has been a joy to do. I really see it as a band, and I`m the singer, but it`s a band and I`m part of it. We all see it that way, and we all do our little movements and things, but we do it together.
“I play piano onstage during a few numbers now, and I`d like to do some more piano and some more guitar. But I am a bit limited at the moment because I have so little experience.
“When I do play it`s really a set piece, and I`d like to be able to ad lib freely. At the moment I have to work out everything that I do. I used to play bass – a long time ago, when I was about 13. And I wasn`t very good, so they said `well – why don`t you sing?` So I sang.
I sang `Long Tall Sally` and it was pretty good. I surprised myself really.”

I asked him if he thought the band would get so big – like Zeppelin or such – that they`d do more tours here than in Britain.
“Well, I don`t know…we`ll never give up on England – no way.”
Talking about how he got together with Peter Grant, Rodgers said, “I just phoned him up, because there wasn`t any action coming out of Island at the time. And I didn`t want any more flash in the pan situations. You know – where the band sort of folds after six months. I wanted it to be solid. So I thought, well – who`s the best manager in the business” – he smiled – “and this was before we knew anything about the Swan Song label.
“Peter was just great. I said, `I`m getting this group together and would you like to come hear it with a view toward managing it`, and he said sure. He came down to hear us and we didn`t even have Boz at the time. But he saw the potential and got behind us.”

 

 

Paul Rodgers

Paul Rodgers

Peter Grant, Bad Company`s manager, has just arrived in L.A., and since he got to the Hyatt too late to take the bus to San Bernadino with the band, we`re travelling in the Mercedes limo made especially for Elvis – with fur on the floor, reclining back seat, tv.
Grant had been picked up earlier at the airport by a gold Lincoln Continental.
It`s a two-hour ride to San Bernadino where the band will open for Edgar Winter at The Swing – supposedly the first place the Stones played in America. (San Bernadino is also the home of the Hell`s Angels, although I`m not implying  anything.)
The Swing looks like an airplane hanger, Grant warns us. He`s been there before.
We talk of other tours, of other halls – halls and arenas that Zeppelin never played in this country because Peter Grant never felt right about them, and then he says, “You know, it`s been nice being with Bad Company on this tour, especially at the beginning when we were staying in all those Holiday Inns.
“You tend to lose your perspective sometimes when it`s all private planes and big hotel suites. It`s nice to get back to a simpler thing once in a while – it reminds you of where you`re coming from.”

The band are overjoyed to see Peter. They hug him. There`s a lot of obvious closeness in the dressing room.
Boz, however, is lying down. He doesn`t feel well. Mick is deciding which shirt he should wear onstage. Simon and Paul and Peter talk, then disappear into the bathroom and then return; Paul fools around with “Midnight Hour” on the guitar, and soon it`s time to go on.
The first thing I`m struck by is that Bad Company have perhaps one of the few rhythm sections one can actually write about. You know how it is with bass and drum players…often all you read about them is that they kept up a good, steady, solid beat – often that`s all there is to say.
But Simon Kirke and Boz Burrell are really like a Memphis rhythm section. There`s a lot of Al Jackson and Duck Dunn influences there.
(When I mention that to Simon after the show he smiles and says, “Ah, Al Johnson – he`s the guv`nor.”)

They go into “Deal With The Preacher” – one of the songs not on the album, and Paul is up front, wearing a patterned white and beige shirt and white leather trousers bought just that day at North Beach Leather. (The pants were too long, and since there was not time to have them fixed, he bought higher shoes.)
Rodgers actually looks better onstage than photos suggest, if you know what I mean, and he certainly is in total command.
Mick moves around more than I was led to believe, but there isn`t any of that corny “lead guitarist” bullshit.
Boz, despite his not feeling well, plays well. (“You have to,” he said later, looking decidedly grim.)
Simon Kirke must be the most physically expressive drummer in rock. He thrashes about – even more so than Bonzo or Moon, and the faces he makes are terrifying. He sweats a lot too. It`s a good show.

“Rock Steady”, “Ready For Love”, “Little Misfortune”, “Bad Company”, “Easy On My Soul”…and the audience is properly receptive. But it`s on the final number (the rapidly-climbing single, “Can`t Get Enough”) that Paul really wants to get the audience with him.
In fact he seems a bit hung-up on audience response – with all this “LEMMEHEARYASAYYEAH!” stuff. He screams out to the audience and they do as they`re told. Which is more than I can say for Slade`s early gigs here.
“PUTYERHANDSINTHEAIR-AND-LEMMEHEARYASAYYEAH!” and, well – they do it.
That`s all – and it`s not too hokey. The audience also sing along with him on “Can`t Get Enough Of Your Love”.
Of course there must be an encore, and they come back to do the old Free song “The Stealer”, and leave the place cheering. (This is for real – it`s not any of that “UK group storms America” stuff. It just happened that way.)

Back in the bus for the two-hour ride to the Hyatt House; in between beers and general horseplay, Paul says, “One interviewer asked me if I minded glitter, and I said, `no – not really. Well – actually, I bloody hate it!”

WEDNESDAY. The band visit a record store in West Los Angeles to autograph albums.
Boz still isn`t feeling well, so he`s back at the hotel. “I`d never have had the nerve to ask them to do it,” Peter the Gee mutters earlier. But they go, and are in quite good spirits.
I have a copy of NME which shows their album to be at no. 18.
“That means it`s going down,” groans Simon.
“Yes but it`s Number Six on the American charts.”
We arrive at the record store and there are a respectable number of actual Fans waiting to buy signed LPs. The Bad Co. LP (natch) is playing in the record store, and then the hippies behind the counter prove just how hip they are by playing old Mott and Free discs.
This evening the band are to tape Don Kirshner`s Rock Concert out at the Long Beach Auditorium. Also taping for several different airings are Curtis Mayfield, Edgar Winter, and the Natural Four. Bad Company are supposed to tape around 9.30 pm but it`s somewhat later by the time they do go on.

Danny Goldberg and Steve Paul and other industry insiders are in the room where the tv monitors are and they are talking about – you guessed it. “Well,” says Danny, “it`ll peak in a few weeks and then the single will start it all over again and keep the album in the top ten. It`s already top 25 on the top 40 station in Cleveland,” he continues. “They were treated like the Rolling Stones in Cleveland…”
I am amazed and confused by this kind of conversation. I wonder if anyone will remember the Billboard charts ten years from now, although I feel sure that the good music will remain. It`s extremely strange to hear grown men talking about the strategy surrounding pieces of plastic with intense love and/or enthusiasm.
Don Kirshner, now hosting his own show, takes a few of us into the control truck where we can see five monitors, and the directors choosing of what goes down on tape.
Rodgers looks terrific on TV, especially on close-ups when he`s singing solos. Boz is obviously feeling a bit better and moving around the stage more. Other than that, the band seem a bit uncomfortable in the bright lights and TV-studio-like atmosphere.

Afterwards Peter G. is not thrilled by the way some of the best shots of Paul and/or Mick were missed on the final tape.
Nonetheless, I`ve seen other shows and this has been done far more professionally than most.
On the way back to Sunset Strip the boys are weary. But Mick and I manage to sneak in some talk about Bowie, Main Man, et al.
“Yeah, one good thing about this tour,” Mick asserts, “there aren`t all those poseurs about. You know – all those manicurists and hairdressers and all. We got REAL KIDS coming to see us.”
We`re back in the Red Roulette Room of the Hyatt House and Lucky Young is singing, wearing what looks like a rug on his head and a white safari suit on his body. He`s singing “Drift Away” with Mick and Boz singing along.
BORING! shouts someone in our party…others are trying to make arrangements to go to a Joni Mitchell party in Laurel Canyon (never materialised), and Boz wants to go and see Chick Corea at the Troubador but can`t get anyone to make his arrangements for him.

THURSDAY is the big date – the L.A. Forum. Elton John has sent the band two bottles of Dom Perignon along with his regrets that he can`t come and see the show.
He`s just flown into L.A. for two days to do a session with Ringo.
Steve Weiss, legal whiz and charmer supreme is on hand for this concert, and the backstage area is decorated with some special people: “16s” Gloria Stavers with Lenny Bruce`s daughter Kitty, Rick Springfield, Shaun Cassidy, Steve Paul, Mickie Most and Liz Derringer.
The set is definitely the best of the week. Paul is strutting and prancing around more than ever.(“I don`t care what he says,” someone close to the group whispers, “he likes Jim Dandy…”), tossing and whirling with the mike, and his voice is fabulous.
Boz, apparently totally recovered from his earlier-in-the week illness, moves slowly, sexily towards the microphone – he and Mick join in on harmonies, the audience is extremely responsive.
Thank goodness there are no firecrackers in Los Angeles (Well, just a few at the end, but nothing like New York…) although there is a thunderous roar for an encore.
They`ve certainly “warmed” up this crowd for Edgar.

The charts that week.

The charts that week.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own  webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Roger McGuinn, Black Oak Arkansas, Fleetwood Mac, Annette Peacock, Woodstock (the festival), Jimmy Cliff, Toots & The Maytals, Greenslade.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, June 8, 1974

What a strange article this is. The journalist strikes me as a pompous, arrogant, self-righteous guy that the other kids probably beat up when he went to school! I am really impressed with Hensley`s self-control in this interview as even I, the reader, 40 years in the future, wants to slap this interviewer around.
Have a good read!

 

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So tell me, Ken, why is it Uriah Heep drive rock critics to suicide?

Chris Salewicz fearfully puts the question, remembering adverse album reviews and also the murderous bottle-throwing devotion of Heep`s fanatical supporters.

“It gets on my tit when people start talking when I`m listening to music, so when I`m at `ome I always turn the sound right up loud so that it`s impossible for anyone to try and hold a conversation.”
And the entourage grins sycophantically at the chortling Ken Hensley, and I begin to wonder what I`ve let myself in for.

The point is that hardly anyone I know exactly gets off on Uriah Heep`s music. Yet all over Europe, North America and the Far East the band helps maintain the scarcity rates of precious metals by picking up silver and gold albums each time they clear passport control.
And then, of course, there`s the blind allegiance of their followers – loyal, dedicated, murderous (remember their maniac Lord Of The Flies bottle throwing at Alex Harvey at Alexandra Palace last year?).
So this has become something of a voyage of discovery – an attempt to discover the answer to “Why Uriah Heep?”

Already, though, I`m beginning to fear the worst. The setting – the King Henry VIII hotel in Bayswater – epitomises that kitsch opulence that often seems associated with the band: plexiglass habitatty chairs, portraits of the Tudor ruler and his various ladies, and the obligatory swimming pool with green and blue surround.
This obviously ain`t no place for any rock`n`roll confessional. So the Uriah Heep keyboards player and myself are ushered through the hotel to one of the bedrooms where we can sprawl on burnt ochre bedspreads (what else?) with nothing to disturb us but the distant rumble of the Circle line.
In my experience, heavy musicians tend to be somewhat lightweight mentally – I once spent the most awkward hour of my life attempting to discuss the philosophical and sociological ramifications of their music with a member of a very popular and very heavy band – and so I take my time letting Ken get comfortable. There comes a point, however, when small talk can be carried beyond the bounds of decency, and, from the way he`s shuffling about inside his denims, it quickly becomes apparent that he knows I`m procrastinating.

Alright, then. No point in holding back any longer. Why is it, Ken, that rock writers seem, shall we say, not too keen on Uriah Heep? After all, when Melissa Mills reviewed your first album in Rolling Stone she wrote that if the band ever made it she would commit suicide.
“You asking me this on tape?” he mutters quizzically.
Well, yes, I am actually genuinely interested in this loathing or, at best, total apathy that mention of Uriah Heep tends to generate. I mean, how do you react to it all?
He considers this for a second or two, and then: “I think it was because we dropped a bit of a cobbler when we first got going.
“See, what we did was to try and advertise our product before we took it on the road and it was just about the time people were getting tired of hypes.

“But I didn`t regard it as a hype because I was too busy. Mind you, we were very, very rough when we first got going and I think that some of the criticism was right. But it didn`t just apply to the critics, y`know – it applied to the public as well.
“The only criticism I didn`t like was the stuff that just rejected it out of hand and that didn`t attempt to make any constructive remarks but was just totally destructive.”
And he cites that initial Rolling Stone review.
“We`re still waiting for her to do it.”
Am I to take it, therefore, in the light of what you`re saying about having been very rough, that you`re not exactly satisfied with some of your records?
“If you`re ever totally satisfied with any of your records then you might as well give up.

“But on those first three albums – well, we were just thrashing about trying to find a direction. You should just listen to a couple of cuts of any of them and it`ll indicate just how much out of our depths we really were.
“Our feet were right off the ground!
“In some ways, though, it seemed to help us. We were good and aggressive in our early days and not very much else. And when we went out to Germany they seemed to like that and went out and bought a lot of copies of our first album.”
Okay, you`ve said some of what you think about Uriah Heep and its problems. Now let me say that I tried to understand your music by playing “Sweet Freedom” several times, but I just felt that it churned on and on and on.
In fact, the only moments that I faintly enjoy were when the structuring reminded me of the early Vanilla Fudge.

For once I seem to have got Spot The Influence right on target.
“Being totally honest I think that Vanilla Fudge is the strongest influence on the band – that first album they did was such a totally original heavy album.”
But what of my feelings that “Sweet Freedom” does just churn on?
“Oh. I felt that too.”
What?
“In fact, I felt the same about all of them – this sense of emptiness. There`s a lack of achievement. But after I`d heard `Wonderworld` (Uriah Heep`s new album) I thought that we had actually achieved something at last, because we seem to have got so much more dynamics on it.”

Ken Hensley

Ken Hensley

Now I`ve already been told that Ken Hensley drew the majority of his inspirations for the lyrics on “Wonderworld” from dreams. Which gives me a chance to make the point that his lyrics often seem at odds with the relatively violent sounds of the music.
His reply surprises me, to say the least.
A thoughtful swig on his scotch and coke and: “I think this comes as a result of the inevitable – but hopefully minute – interpretation loss that comes from presenting something to four people who then have to listen and present something in their own way and then present it as a group.
“But for the most part the music and lyrics are sympathetic with each other.”
Hmmm.
Well, how do you see your lyrics? Do you see them as short poems or just as lyrics – because I really can`t see they stand up without the context of the songs?

“Sometimes I write lyrics first, but the songs I`m happiest with are the ones where the music and the lyrics all come together at the same time. I was talking to this bloke in Norway who`d listened to my solo album and he`d interpreted it as being space rock because the first line goes:
`I`d travelled across the universe on wings of space and light.`
“And I said `No. You`ve got it completely wrong. All that that is is just a poetic way of saying I`ve been all round the world and I like coming home again`.”
Thank Christ someone else has suggested it.
Ahem. Er, actually, Ken, that guy was saying what I feel, that your lyrics are rather Ladbroke Grove spaced-out. But you`d claim they`re not?
“I`m only learning to write songs. While I`ve been given this licence to write songs, then hopefully people will accept that my songs will improve.

“But I happen to be the proud owner of a very, very dangerous piano – a very large Steinway. And when I`m writing I can sit there and play it for hours and hours, y`know.
“And I just vanish into some place where I can`t be contacted at all. The phone can ring for hours and people can bang me on the shoulder but I`m just lost in this kind of…wonder world.”
(N.B. Plug for album).
This is all going a whole lot better than I expected. No moodies or incoherent mumblings when I criticise the music or his lyrics.

However, Uriah Heep suddenly made it in America about eighteen months ago. What happened? “The American thing was a freak thing of very, very good luck. We happened to do our first tour with Three Dog Night, which meant that in one month we got to thousands and thousands of people – they liked us and we`ve just gone from strength to strength.”
But wasn`t there a tale or two of strange gentlemen latching on to the band in the States?
A long and thorough mouthwash with the remnants of his drink and Ken Hensley wryly rubs his face with his hands. He shakes his head.
“People really got the wrong end of the stick about the `Demons And Wizard`s` album. And we followed it up with `Magicians Birthday` – that`s when we got the diagrams for space ships and all the weirdos decided to come and visit us in the hotels. Probably didn`t do us any harm though. It`s nice to get away from life for a moment and get into your imagination. I like it. I like going off into fantasies and things. I enjoy it…I find it stimulating. Then when I come down to the real world I`m ready for it.
“Bit like going to a football match really.”

Well, considering all that, what is Uriah Heep`s music really all about?
“Our music now is just about five people who`ve taken rock`n`roll and tried really hard over the five years we`ve been together to make it our kind of rock`n`roll – to establish our own kind of identity and make it in some way original.
“We work very, very hard at it, y`know, and it`s honest music – that`s one thing I can say for sure – because it`s music that`s intended to try and entertain people and take them away from everyday life just for the period they`re listening to it, whether it be an album or a show.”
And can you truthfully promise me that if I`d come up to you after your third album and said that I just couldn`t understand or appreciate your music that you would have maintained your cool and not have given me any misunderstood artist bullshit? That you would have been as up front with your replies as you have been today?
No hesitations whatsoever?
“Look, if you`d said that to me then i`d have probably said okay and gone away and thought about it.
“The trouble is that now it sometimes seems to happen the other way round and we get a good review of something that we know has been lousy.
“When that happens it`s really the end, it`s rockbottom. It was better the way it was before.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Cassidy, Deep Purple, Slade, Slapp Happy, Russell Harty, PFM, Black Oak Arkansas, Black Sabbath, Showaddywaddy, Lou Reed, Marilyn Monroe, Tim Buckley, Donald Byrd, Duke Ellington, Inez Foxx, Warhorse.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.