ARTICLE ABOUT Patrick Moraz (Yes) FROM New Musical Express, April 17, 1976

Due to the amount of readers on Yes-related articles, I chose to print this one ahead of two long articles about Sweet and ELO in the same issue. Readers are king! Enjoy!

IMG_0580

`Flying Saucers landed on my turntable`
– Exotic musician`s amazing claim

Patrick Moraz has dreamed a great dream. Soothsayer Steve Clarke doesn`t like the sound of it.

“What did you think of the album, by the way?” enquires this sweet-tempered European called Patrick Moraz – he of those perfectly (too perfectly?) contoured Latin features.
Yikes! – the question I was most dreading. And own up, Patrick, there`s no bloomin` “by the way” about it. He`s been itching to ask me that question right from the moment his housekeeper ushered me into the Moraz pad, a third floor job on the Bayswater/Notting Hill Gate border, just a nose away from colleague Jon Anderson`s own villa in the Gate itself.
The pad`s spacious, well-furnished in a lived-in way, and positively reeks of coffee. I`m sitting in, rather than  on, a comfy sofa in the lounge. Nearby there`s a hi-fi set, on the turn-table of which squats Moraz`s pride and joy, his first solo album, “I”.
That`s right, “I”. Not “I Ro” or “U Roy” but just “I”.
There are reasons why Patrick called this piece of now dormant vinyl “I”, and he`ll be glad to tell you all about them a little later on.
There`s also a whopping great grand piano in the room, and a couple of pairs of cans (headphones to you), and assorted tapes scattered on the floor.
The Man is a little overdressed considering it`s just turned noon and this is, afterall, His Pad. He wears a lot of leather, semi-denimed white leather pants, white boots and black leather jacket. There`s a cluster of heavy jewellery around his neck, and the Moraz wrists are not naked either.

The first time I met Patrick I was struck by his charming, courteous manner. Today is no exception, and rather than going for a quick `In and Out` interview, Moraz insists that I relax and take it easy. He asks me how I`ve been, organises some coffee, shows me some photographs he took of Chick Corea`s band when they visited Chez Moraz. He tells me there`s some projected plans for a joint-keyboard album which would feature himself, Corea and Herbie Hancock.
Time passes, the coffee is brought, Moraz really looking the part as he re-enters the room, tray in hand.
But to business. I ask a fairly unprovocative question about whether the rapid succession of Yes solo album releases is damaging to sales.
No, that doesn`t bother him. “We don`t do albums for sales,” he says with a knowing laugh. “The sales are record company business. Of course it`d have been better if the releases were more spaced. But as long as the record is out, I think whoever is interested…” the sentence fades.
And then, the Big Question, “By the way…”
That`s where you came in.
Moraz joined Yes midway through `74 and his playing has beefed up the band`s live performances no end. It`s been claimed that Moraz is a better player than either Wakeman or Emerson, and certainly Moraz doesn`t consider these two his peers, although he appreciates what they do. He has in fact jammed with Emo.
But give him players like Corea, Hancock, Oscar Peterson. For Moraz, they`re the real masters.

When it comes to Patrick`s own musical vision, outside the context of Yes, I`m not so sure. Before talking to him I`d only played side one of “I”, just once. It completely by-passed me.
To answer his question honestly and diplomatically, I tell him it confused me.
“Confused you?”
“There was so much going on.”
“Really?” he queries, coming on all concerned and earnest.
I tell him I`ll have to sit down and listen to it under more suitable conditions. He agrees.
“I think probably some of it is very instant. But did you find it confusing?”
Diversionary tactics are called for. How long did it take to record? He`s not interested in the question.
“Not long when you consider how much went into it. Have you heard it on a good system?”
Fairly good.
“Because you could listen to it on mono – even on a cassette recorder, and I think you`d get the message, the spectrum of sounds. I mixed it at a very low volume so that really anybody can listen to it.
“It`s the first time I`ve been told it`s confusing. It surprised me, you know, but as long as it`s objective.” He uses “objective” a lot – “funky” too.
The inevitable comes. “I`d like to play it to you.”
Sure.

Stylus hits vinyl, loud electronic noises emanate from the stereo speakers. Moraz becomes animated, talking his way through the album`s first side – though much of what he says is inaudible because of the loudness of the music.
We drink more coffee. It is, unsurprisingly enough, a concept album, and a cosmic concept album at that. Stall your groans. You haven`t heard half of it yet – where Moraz got the inspiration from, i.e. the story which motivated the music. The story itself is written out in flowing prose, by Patrick, on the album`s inner sleeve.
A quick precis goes like this; `I` is a building, a hotel and all who enter this building have to ascend its 900 floors (Patrick will explain about that later) and jump from the top. If, however, one discovers the key, love itself, the Big Jump is the take-off for infinity. Or something like that.
The story is, of course, an allegory for life itself. Over to you, Patrick:
“I believe so much in love,” says he, looking a shade embarrassed, “It`s so important to… It`s the message in the end.”
He tells us where he got the idea for The Story. “It came from a dream and various situations in the States when I was touring with Yes. In different hotels I was staying in, I realised a lot of situations people were in. Then I went down to South America and the story developed, more and more.
`It was a very, very strange dream which is very vivid indeed.”
Describe it. “There was the building, and going down from that building there was a bridge. Under the bridge there were some very icy waters. On the other side of the bridge there were a lot of markets with thieves and prisoners and so on. I was at the same time trying to help the people who needed help and also trying not to get conned by the crooks and thieves.

IMG_0581

“And then I arrived at the bridge and I was taken by… it`s crazy to say this” – Moraz breaks even, looking even more sheepish – “I was taken onboard this flying saucer…”
Streuth! Must be something in the brown rice…
“It was so vivid. It appears very crazy, but it was so strong in my mind and I had that dream a long time ago.”
Well, what can I say, man.
Wakeman was never like this.
On with the show, “I chose I because it`s the ninth letter of the alphabet which is also a symbol for life and reincarnation, and love. The building is meant to have 900 floors,” he says, laughing at the seeming absurdity of it all.
“But also I found the number nine very attractive. You know, when I joined Yes I was their ninth member and I did their ninth album, and their ninth American tour. And all these nines coming at the same time… You probably think I`m talking crazy.”
You should hear Jon Anderson sometimes…
I ask him howcum all you boys in Yes think in these, er, cosmic terms?
“In fact the way we think is very natural. We don`t search for it. That kind of dream I had was very natural.”
Were you the same before mixing with the rest of Yes?
“Yes. I had communication with people who thought in that kind of bracket. When I came to South America to do the backing tracks for this album I had very cosmic relationships with people.

“They`re very influenced there. They`re very illuminated, in a way. I think South America is a very important ship of civilisation. I can`t find the right word for it. It`s a very important… How do you say when a little child is born, you put it in a…?
Cradle?
“When he is born and you go and walk with him?”
Pram.
“Something like that. It`s a pram of civilisation and the civilisation there didn`t stay in that pram. They have a great evolution. The people are very aware and very cosmic.
“Whenever I can, I always go and live in the mountains for two or three days to get nearer to nature. I don`t attach any kind of importance to material things as such.”
Hang on, this is `76. Surely Patrick old son, you wouldn`t be able to lig about the world without…? He cuts me off, guessing my question. “No. No. No. That`s not what I mean. Beyond the needs I don`t attach much importance to material things.”
Surely “I” cost a lot of bread to produce?
“It cost more energy than it cost money,” he says typically. And I soldier on with the fact that people like drummer Andy Newmark (who appears on the album) doesn`t work for the proverbial peanuts, and that the two villas he hired in Switzerland for the duration of the recording weren`t paid for by hot air.
The question is evaded. “I`m a very economic person. As I was the album`s executive producer I watched the expenses very closely. I put an emphasis on the people participating in the album being taken care of very well. Anyway, if ever it`s money spent, it`s my money. It`s not record company money.”

As things turn out, Moraz himself doesn`t come from a wealthy family. His father was an entertainer – of just what nature Patrick never told me, although he does get to tap dance some on “I”. In fact, Moraz says his family are one of the poorest living in Switzerland, and if it hadn`t been for a Hungarian concert pianist taking the fledgling Moraz under her proverbial wing when he was just nudging his teens, he wouldn`t be where he is now.
Just delving into the man`s background a second or two, let`s say that it`s an eclectic one to be sure. On leaving his family at 17 he worked on building sites. Coming to England, he worked as a school cook and somewhere between then and now his job list takes in – and wait for this – being a male model in Hong Kong, inspecting military planes in Turkey, selling carpets, working as a photographer in Japan and Hong Kong, running an African safari, and being an import/export man.
It`s not as if Patrick Moraz has led a sheltered life.
Ah, the album. Somewhere between all this, Moraz has played me “I” in its entirety. And “different vibes,” I guess, is one way of putting it, since “I” includes everything ranging from the customary electronic wizardry, pastoral piano, more accepted rock forms, Brazilian percussion and a group of Swiss schoolkids singing an endearingly innocent theme.
While one doesn`t doubt Moraz`s sincerity for a second, my final feelings on the whole thing are (a) Moraz is putting together things which don`t belong together, (b) the vocal sections just don`t make it because the singer`s voice (John McBurnie) isn`t suitable and, (c) most importantly, Moraz is attempting to bring off something he isn`t yet capable of, and while some of the themes are attractive enough there is no over-all identity.

If only these undeniably talented players wouldn`t plunge right in at the deep end.
Still, “I” has picked up good reviews and is selling like hot cakes.
I tell him perhaps I`m not qualified to give a `valid decision` in that my knowledge of classical music is zilch. He tells me he hasn`t got much more background than I have – the point of which I don`t see, because after-all Moraz is a classically trained musician.
Not surprisingly, he says he`s trying to break the barriers, “As I`ve had the luck to be classically trained, I want to give people who haven`t had the chance to enjoy some sounds they`re probably not aware of in the context of something they are aware of.
“I`m following a movement in that respect, and my role in the music business or whatever is to give whatever I can to people. I could have done a pure, simple rock record and indulged in very simple kind of things, but there are a lot of people doing that who are very good at it – although I could do it as well cause I love to play, I love to jam, I love to communicate with people.
And finally, Yes. He says the solo albums have brought the group closer together. He describes their relationship as “very funky”. In fact as the interview comes to an end, he looks at his watch and realises he`s already late for a Yes rehearsal. The group are working on a set which will include material from all five solo albums, plus older material and new group songs.
Because of tour commitments there won`t be a Yes album until late summer at the earliest. Even Moraz thinks that would be a little too much on top of five solo elpees.

IMG_0585

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Radio Luxembourg, Frank Zappa, Sweet, Third World, Wings, Pavlov`s Dog, Hello, Joe Walsh, ELO, Wilko Johnson, Bill Evans, Michael Pinder, John Denver.

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 15 $ (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 Frank Zappa FROM New Musical Express, April 17, 1976

Just a short one with Zappa today as he is almost always entertaining in one way or the other. Some interesting accusations in there too.

IMG_0580

At last the truth can be told
Frank Zappa has no underwear

By Cherry Ripe

“Wanna see the best thing I got?” Yes my friends, it`s Francis Vincent Zappa talking about his clothes.
“Now this item was given its stage debut in Hawaii – I haven`t seen any reviews yet, but I`m sure the only thing they`re gonna write is what this sucker looks like under the lights.”
It`s a skin tight tube that branches into two, which would rate as a skin-tight jumpsuit.
And you don`t wear underwear, huh?
“I don`t own any underwear.”
“Then,” he continues “for casual wear, I have these brown harem pants..” into which he casually slips for what has now turned into an impromptu private fashion parade (eat your heart out Lisa Robinson!).. “They tie at the ankles. And I have some type of impressive S & M large belt – with a large buckle, no studs. It`s understated, all sort of brown. (Aside) That may not go over in England.”
But I thought you were never going there again? “Eventually all these things go into a clip book. Then at a press conference in Bilbao somebody`s gonna pick up on something that was transmitted from Fiji… and I`ll have somebody ask me what I`ve got against black leather. The problem is they go to a clipbook and get things that were written by people like them, who went to a clipbook. There`s a bunch of these things – that I stomp on baby chickens, have a fetish about poodles.

True enough, the Police Chief in New Zealand (where he`d just come from), did go along to the show to make sure about the chickens.
“If they think I have a fetish about dogs, they are sadly mistaken. It`s not profound – it`s entertainment. Poodles serve as a convenient mechanism for conveying certain philosophical ideas that might otherwise be more difficult.
“It`s like that old saying. `Shoot low! They`re riding shetlands!`” I never heard that before. “See how old it is?”
Francis Vincent Zappa has just finished up a tour of the antipodes, with yet another incarnation of the Mothers without Beefheart. The line up is Roy Estrada, Napoleon Murphy-Brock, keyboardist Andre Lewis, and drummer Terry Bozzio. “I`m only fourteen I`m sickly and thin, trying to grow me a chin… it popped out once, my dad pushed it in. Why did he hurt me? He`s my next of kin, a Mexican!”
“The song was constructed using every kind of cliche that folk-rock brought to the world – all those stupid bass lines. And it`s sung by the drummer who has a squeaky little teenage voice. He sings on about four other songs: everybody sings.”
Yes, it certainly has a different feel from the last Mothers line up he toured with in `73. “I think the overall impact of that group would be that it was between pseudo-jazzette and cranial. And the people who were in the band at the time – with a couple of exceptions – were genuinely boring people. I mean – I don`t appreciate a band that likes to play chess in their off-stage hours. If you have to spend a lot of time with people who are interested in their chess boards and little card games and shite like that, it can drive you nuts. Eventually, in order to homogenise with the rest of the group, you gotta lay back so far that you`re walking like this..” Doing a limbo?
“Yeah. It`s the Chubby Checker Look – under the limbo bar!”

IMG_0582

There are three things that are important to me right now. The forty-piece-orchestra album. The guitar album. And the ten record set. The problem with that – we got the five thousand orders – is that if you deliver a double album, that still counts as one album. But if its a ten record album? I don`t feel that its right to count that as one album. Warner Brothers aren`t even sure they want to count it as a single album against my contract etcetera… that it`s maybe not commercial.”
Any chance you`d work with Flo and Eddie again?
“No!” Categorically? “Yes.”
“The means by which they chose to promote their careers at my expense, while I was sitting in a wheel chair trying to help them get a job and a record contract. I believe to be despicable, and will always think so, even though I regard Howard as a fine singer, and Mark as a great tambourine player and fat person.
“It`s like a tried and true formula for someone who`s not in the band anymore to go to a newspaper, or go on a radio station, and say how bad a person I am, because there`s someone always waiting to hear that, print it, pat the poor little bastard on the head.
“I was hearing things like I supposed to be stifling people`s careers. Flo and Eddie did that and still continues to do it. Beefheart was doing that when he was on his rampage. Alice Cooper did it to a certain extent. Wild Man Fischer did it, a girl named Sandy Hurvitz did it in New Musical Express…” Oh no..
“I have an expression I use.. It`s not as good as `Shoot Low – they`re riding shetlands,` but I try and remember this all the time – you can use it yourself – like a mantra:
“People suck.”

IMG_0583

You don`t see ads like this  anymore. 

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Radio Luxembourg, Patrick Moraz, Sweet, Third World, Wings, Pavlov`s Dog, Hello, Joe Walsh, ELO, Wilko Johnson, Bill Evans, Michael Pinder, John Denver.

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 15 $ (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 Mott The Hoople and Black Sabbath FROM New Musical Express, April 10, 1976

This is one of those “double” reviews of albums that I`m personally not very fond of. But here you have it. Two albums reviewed for the price of one or something… Personally I find the Sabbath one a great collection of tracks even today, but Mr. Murray wouldn`t agree with me. Enjoy!

IMG_0574

You too can have a legend like mine

Takes only two minutes a day – in your own home!

Mott The Hoople: Greatest Hits (CBS);
Black Sabbath: We Sold Our Soul For Rock `N` Roll (Nems).

By Charles Shaar Murray

A cornucopia of aspects: Compilations seen as examples of the Gentle Art Of Putting Compilation Albums Together, compilations as someone`s idea of the best and most important aspects of the artist in question, compilations as distillations of the essence of the artist and thereby lynch-pins for discussion of the artist`s Galactic Importance, Social Significance, Role in the economic exploitation of the rock-sensitive sections of the populace and occasionally New Jersey.
The Mott album was put together by the current incarnation of the band with the assistance of Stan Tippins, tour manager and close associate of the band since Year Dot.
It covers the CBS years: i.e. from “Dudes” (1972) to “Saturday Gigs” (late `74); the period from the entry of David Bowie to the departure of Ian Hunter.
It contains all the hit singles – that`s “All The Young Dudes”, “Honaloochie Boogie”, “All The Way From Memphis”, “Roll Away The Stone” and “The Golden Age of Rock And Roll” – the last two singles, which didn`t catch public interest too tough (“Foxy Foxy” and “Saturday Gigs”), and a clutch of album tracks: Pete Watts` big moment “Born Late `58” and Ian Hunter`s two melodramatic chest-beating keynote speeches “Hymn For The Dudes” and “Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (March 26, 1972, Zurich).”

Which is fair enough, obviously. “Born Late `58” is no cultural triumph, but it provides continuity with the current Hunterless Mott (who, after all, compiled the album). “Hymn” and “Ballad” are both crucial tracks, but the inclusion of both at the expense of equally crucial (and far more dynamic) pieces like “Sucker” and “Violence” balances the album far too heavily towards the portentious end.
“Saturday Gigs”, whatever its merits/demerits in its original incarnation as a single – the overly self-centred autobiography-of-Mott latter verses blow it for the far more universal opening verses – was just tailormade to be the last track on a Mott The Hoople bestof.
Still, those are individual quibbles with an individual view of the music of what was certainly one of the best and most important British bands of the first half of the `70s – and while we`re on individual quibbles, I still think “Honaloochie Boogie” sucks – and it should go without saying that anyone who wasn`t Hoople-conscious at the time owes it to his/her rock and roll soul to get this album.
On a trivia level, however, it would appear from the packaging that various old wounds dating from the Mott/Hunter/Ronson hara-kari of a year or so back are still more than a little septic.
The cover photo has Hunter – undeniably the group`s Heavy Duty Figure during its hey-day – unobtrusively stashed away behind Morgan Fisher, while Pete Watts in all his glory holds sway front`n centre.

IMG_0576

On the back liner spread and the photo insert, there ain`t one single pic of Mick Ronson – who for better or for worse was a member of Mott The Hoople for a while, even though none of the present Motters have any cause to remember him with any affection – and the unfortunate Ronno is simply listed as having played guitar on “Saturday Gigs”, just as, say, Andy Mackay is listed as having played saxophone on “Boogie” and “Memphis.”
He`s also conspicious by his absence from any mention in CBS`s PR chief David Sandison`s liner note.
It may seem petty to go into all this, but it was a lot pettier for Tippins, Watts, Fisher, Griffin et al to turn Ministry Of Truth and attempt to re-write history like this.
Ronno was in Mott – no matter for how short a time and no matter how unhappily – so give the dude his due, boys. An album of this nature is supposed to be a picture of what went down, not a means of avenging old grievances. Be British about it, f`Chrissakes.
The Sabs` album, on the other hand, is beset by no such problems. For one thing, they`ve had the same line-up all along, so there`s no danger of the album being turned into a battlefield by warring factions. For another, they`ve only ever had one hit, so there`s no need to worry about conflicting identities as a singles band vs. album/concert band.

What it is – fanfare please, maestro – is A Monument To The Work Of A Great Group.
Wisely enough, it concentrates on the band`s early material; working on the principle that the Sabs` current young audience will be more likely to have, say, the last three albums as opposed to the first few. Therefore, the first two albums, “Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid” are re-presented virtually in toto, and its various successors are represented proportionately on a sliding scale (i.e. the more recent, the less tracks).
Mind you, it don`t make that much difference because apart from the reactionary intrusion of strings, pianos, synthesisers and other softening/broadening devices introduced to vary the monolithic belabouring of guitar, bass and drums, it all has remarkable internal consistency (when I was a snob – i.e. before I Saw The Light – I would`ve said that it all sounds the same). “We Sold Our Soul For Rock `n` Roll” – I think I`ve seen that slogan somewhere before, like on NME tube-card ads – is wall-to-wall pneumatic-drill riffing in wide-screen Skullarama, heavy as two short planks and monomaniacally psychotic/obsessive rock and roll.
I`m proud to say I love every beautiful braindamaged crushingly obvious moment of it. Cross my heart and hope to…
YaaaaaAAAAaaaaxhgghhhhhhhhhh….

IMG_0578

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Woody Herman, Howard Schuman and Andy Mackay, Man, Roy Wood, 50`s Rock and Roll, Boxer, Al Jarreau, Bill Wyman, The Bothy Band, Mike Dorane, Billy Connolly, Fats Domino, Led Zeppelin.

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 15 $ (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 Led Zeppelin FROM New Musical Express, April 10, 1976

This is a masterclass in how you slag off an album. Even if you like this album, you must admit that the trashing done by Mr. Murray is utterly great. If I made an album of music that someone didn`t like – this is how I would like to be told. Almost a piece of art this one. Have a nice read!

IMG_0574

How a stampede of rogue elephants missed me by inches

By Charles Shaar Murray

Led Zeppelin: Presence (Swan Song)

Zep albums are like Sherman tanks or platoons of charging elephants: stand in front of one of those, baby, and you best believe you`ll know that something`s just run you over.
“Trampled Underfoot” wasn`t just one of the Zep`s most psychotically irresistible wrecking-ball riffs; the title was the keynote to the entire Led Zeppelin experience.
With “Presence”, the hand-brake`s off the steamroller again and someone`s just chewed through the rope that keeps the rogue males corralled; only this time instead of being right behind the eight ball waiting for the apocalypse to come and swallow you whole, you`re sitting pretty up on a nearby hill with a Thermos flask and a bunch of sandwiches wrapped up in wax paper watching the carnage below in relative comfort and worrying about the ants in your socks.
In other words, I thought my razor was dull until I heard this album, and that reminds me of a comparison that`s so specious I`m ashamed to even think of it myself. Lemme explain.
If – strictly for the purposes of argument – we accept the analogy of hard rock as musical incarnation of feisty rough`n tumble streetfighter, then Led Zeppelin are beginning to bear an increasing resemblance to some hard-as-nails ex-Commando unarmed combat instructor who could undoubtedly take out our imaginary street-fighting yobbo in four seconds flat and be calmly picking his teeth by the time his adversary stopped twitching.

In terms of all matters relating to expertise, and even “feel” in its primary sense – for reference, check out all those funk bands who`ve mastered every single known “funk” device but are so well-oiled and precise that they`ve long ago ceased to be funky in the real as opposed to formalised sense – Led Zep can, quite effortlessly, piss from a great height over any competitors within a Marshall stack`s range of them – not that there are that many to begin with.
I mean, nobody has the orgasmic macho bit down anywhere near as well as Mr. Plant. There ain`t a drummer alive with John Bonham`s pace, time or shoulders. I can`t think of a single bass player who could hold down John Paul Jones` gig without fumbling the ball by either trying to get flash or failing to carry the weight.
As for Mr Page… sheeeeeiiiiit! He`s as near to absolute storm centre as you can get without being either a genius (vide Hendrix), a dangerous loony (Beck) or a musical kamikaze pilot (James Williamson of the Stooges, Wayne Kramer and Sonic Smith of the MC5).
The capacity for organisation which is one of Led Zep`s greatest collective strengths – i.e. when it allows them to marshal their admittedly awesome resources to the utmost – carries with it the seeds of their greatest failings:
the radiation of an unmistakable aura of calculatedness which mars totally the spontaneity – or, to be more precise, the illusion of spontaneity – which is essential if a piece of rock and roll is to be anything more than mere weightlifting, if it`s going to transcend calisthenics, or even gymnastics, and achieve the dimension of dance or sex or violence – anything as long as it provides an analogue of something real.

First the good news.
“Presence” is solid, non-stop, copper-bottomed, guitar-bass-and-drums Led Zep rock and roll.
No mellotrons, no acoustic guitars, no boogies-with-Stu, no-hats-off-to-Harper, no funk or reggae piss-takes: just mercilessly methodical two-fisted pounding Led Zep for the entire duration.
Now the bad news.
There ain`t one single candidate for the Led Zep All-Time Killer Hall Of Fame in the whole caboodle.
Right from the beginning the Zeps have been hauling irresistible cranial lightning bolts from out their grab-bag.
From hats of seemingly infinite capacity they`ve conjured sixty-ton rabbits like “How Many More Years”, Communication Breakdown”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “Dazed And Confused”, “Moby Dick”, “Thank You”, Immigrant Song”, “Black Dog”, “Rock And Roll”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Trampled Underfoot”, “Kashmir”, etc., etc.
There`s nothing on this album that leaves any residue after the first play.
The album`s best stroke is “Nobody`s Fault But Mine”, with a waving forest of overdubbed phased guitars, muscular jostling bass and drums and Plant alternately howling over the band and moaning in the pauses – a la “Black Dog”, he added as an afterthought.
It`s credited to Page and Plant, which would come as a considerable surprise to Blind Willie Johnson, who was under the impression that he wrote the song in 1928.
Nick Kent told me one time that when he did his first-ever Jimmy Page interview he raised the point that many alleged Page-Plant songs – notably “Whole Lotta Love”, “Bring It On Home”, “The Lemon Song”, “Black Mountain Side” and “In My Time Of Dying” – are either traditional or else straight lifts from the likes of Willie Dixon; Page got extremely defensive.

IMG_0575

As well he might – if Blind Willie were still alive and had a good lawyer, he`d be along to collect his dues.
The royalties that Skip James got from Cream`s “I`m So Glad” – Clapton not only gave him his full composer credit but personally made sure that he got the bread – enabled Skip to die in relative peace and comfort, a fact attested by his widow.
Any rock and roller who steals from a bluesman is an asshole.
I hope Elvis Presley had a few sleepless nights after Arthur Crudup died in poverty without ever seeing one penny in royalties from “That`s All Right Mama”, and I would think that by now Jimmy and Percy could afford to pay Willie Dixon his dues for “Whole Lotta Love” and “Bring It On Home”.
(Anyone desirous of checking out these assertions need look no further than Sonny Boy Williamson`s “Bring It On Home” and a Muddy Waters track called “You Need Love”, which is “Whole Lotta Love” with a slightly different beat, but the same lyric and melody and almost the same riff.)
Anyway…
“Achilles` Last Stand” (presumably a reference to Plant`s temporary cripplehood at the time of writing and recording) gets its head down and charges remorselessly ahead, “For Your Life” is a grunt`n-stutter job in both the vocal and riff depts, “Royal Orleans” is short and sharp, “Nobody`s Fault But Mine” has already done bin dealt with, “Candy Store Rock” hustles and stabs, “Hots On For Nowhere” is vaguely swing-ish (i.e. what Glenn Miller would`ve sounded like if he`d been a murderously heavy four-piece rock band), and “Tea For One” has the pace, feel and licks of a slow blues but isn`t.
Sha da da da da yip yip yip yip mum mum mum mum sha da da da da…

“Presence” falls into the back row of the Zep canon (“Led Zeppelin”, “Led Zeppelin II”, “Led Zeppelin IV” (the runes album) and “Physical Graffiti” being the front-runners and “Led Zeppelin III” and “Houses Of The Holy” being the runners-up).
It represents yet another demonstration of the band`s mastery of form and an all-time low in the content department. Someone (I can`t remember who, but my mother used to keep quoting it to me) once said that genius is ten per cent inspiration and ninety per cent perspiration.
“Presence” is the proverbial ninety-nine and forty-four hundredths perspiration.
Mitigating circumstances: I don`t think anybody else could do anywhere near as well with this material, and I`m sure that Zep can slaughter any rock audience that you or Peter Grant or any promoter currently functioning can assemble with this stuff.
But the sad fact remains that despite the excellence of the playing, singing and production, “Presence” never gets any higher than simply being a demonstration of capabilities and an exercise in style.
However, let`s look on the bright side.
Zeppelin are rock and roll`s greatest ground-to-ground tactical nuclear missile, so let`s not listen to any more cry-baby whining about Britain being a second-class military power.
After all, if the Russkies start any hoohah, we`ll just beam this mutha at Moscow and we`ll have `em begging for mercy before the end of the first side.

IMG_0577

A double-page spread for the ad of the album severly shot down by Mr. Murray

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Woody Herman, Howard Schuman and Andy Mackay, Man, Roy Wood, 50`s Rock and Roll, Boxer, Al Jarreau, Bill Wyman, The Bothy Band, Mike Dorane, Billy Connolly, Fats Domino.

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 15 $ (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 Paul Kossoff (Free, Back Street Crawler) FROM New Musical Express, March 20, 1976

A quite sad article today, remembering one musician who died way too early. Kossoff died from a pulmonary embolism,  after a blood clot in his leg shifted to his lung. One thing is when a man like Lemmy dies in his 70th year, many people would say that even 70 is too early these days, but at least he was allowed to live a full life. That was not the case for Kossoff and so many other people, famous or not, who died way before their time. May they all rest in peace and let us hope there is some kind of heaven that they and the rest of us will go.

IMG_0569

Paul Kossoff: a tribute

By Steve Clarke

There wasn`t even an inkling of the tragedy to come when Paul Kossoff and the rest of his band, Back Street Crawler, boarded the night flight from Los Angeles to New York just 13 days ago.
They`d just completed a two-month American tour, a new album had been recorded, and for the first time in five years it seemed Paul was set to re-live the kind of fulfilment he had experienced with Free in the late `60s.
But it was not to be.
When the plane was about to start its descent on John F. Kennedy airport, attempts to rouse an apparently sleeping Kossoff were unsuccessful. Oxygen was administered and a general panic ensued. And on landing, his colleagues – including his manager of seven years, Johnny Glover – were forced to leave the plane with Paul still on board, unaware that he was in fact dead.
This tuesday, Koss – as he was affectionately called by close friends and fans alike – was buried, just 25 years old.
The results of an autopsy will not be known for a week or two, but it is well known that he suffered a serious physical breakdown involving a stay in hospital some 12 months ago, and also that his condition at that time was related to an earlier heavier involvement with drugs.
Paul Kossoff had not been a particularly healthy man since the demise of Free, one of the great English rock bands, but it wasn`t until last year that matters came to a head. He had to be kept alive artificially for half an hour after his heart, lungs and kidney had packed in. He spent his 25th birthday in hospital recovering from this almost fatal illness.

Koss`s drug problem can be linked directly to the break-up of Free in 1970. In two years the band, one of a galaxy of blues-based bands coming out of this country in the late `60s, had shot from being a club attraction to one of Britain`s major groups.
Prior to Free, Koss had played with a more orthodox blues band, Black Cat Bones. And his life seemed clearly focused around music.
At the peak of their admittedly short-lived success there wasn`t a member of Free who was over 20. And when Paul Rodgers and Andy Fraser (the group`s major composers) decided to split the band in 1970, Koss and Simon Kirke wanted none of it.
When I talked to him last February, he had this to say about the break-up of Free: “I didn`t start all that drug stuff when I was with Free – that came afterwards. I just came to a standstill and got swept up by something else.”
Glover agreed with the guitarist`s opinion, “Simon and Koss would have been happy to play in Free forever. The split hit Koss worst of all – it took his life away”.
Koss and Kirke did in fact continue working together outside of Free to cut one album, “Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit”, but in terms of a working band nothing materialised from this union. When Free reformed in `72 the major reason for the re-union was the guitarist`s growing drug problem.
“I really didn`t want to do it,” Kossoff said last February. “Or rather I wanted to do it, but I couldn`t take it. There was a lot of pressure on me – Paul wanted to get me well and he believed that if he got me up and playing that would do it. And there was pressure from Island (Free`s record company). I didn`t stand a chance. I had to do it. They sort of dragged me out of my pit.”

Glover put it stronger. “I conned him into coming back into the band. It was done almost to get Paul out of the drug thing. If we worked all the time we thought we would get him out of it.”
The reformation was only a partial success and differences between Fraser and Rodgers couldn`t be patched up and it wasn`t long before Fraser quit the band, to be replaced by Tetsu and Rabbit; it was Kossoff who later turned The Faces on to Tetsu.
A British tour was cancelled after Koss fell over and broke his foot during a sound-check at Newcastle City Hall. And when Free undertook a Japanese tour, they had to leave Koss at home because he was in such a bad state. For Free`s last ever gigs (supporting Traffic in America at the beginning of `73) a replacement guitarist was brought into the line-up and Kossoff doesn`t appear on all of the band`s last album, “Heartbreaker”, released around this time. One of Rodgers` songs, the hit single, “Wishing Well,” was in fact inspired by Kossoff`s problem:
Thrown down your guns, you might shoot yourself / Or is that what you`re trying to do / Put up a fight you believe to be right / And someday the sun will shine through / You`ve always been a good friend of mine / But you’re always saying farewell / The only time when you`re satisfied / Is with your feet in the wishing well.
Kossoff`s career as a guitarist stagnated between `72 and early `75 – when he returned to the stage, jamming with acoustic guitarist John Martyn – apart from his making a solo album, “Back Street Crawler”, released in `73 and recorded over the previous two years.
Despite its hotch-potch nature, anybody interested in Kossoff`s musical vision should have this album in their collection.

IMG_0570

In these “lost years” there were constant stories of Paul being admitted to various clinics to be straightened out, and while it`s difficult to sort out fact from fiction, there was probably a lot of truth in them.
Over a three-year period I`ve interviewed Koss three times. The first time was when he released “Back Street Crawler”, and then he was in extremely poor physical condition, his speech slurred and his manner distant. The second occasion was last February and the change in the man was radical. While it`s untrue to say that Paul was fresh-faced, his physical condition and mental attitude seemed much improved.
I remember him telling me during the first interview that he was sick of waking up and looking at “A sack of shit in the mirror”. Eighteen or so months later and he`d certainly come a long way beyond that miserable condition.
Moreover he was interested in playing again. No, that`s an understatement – he was just itching to play again and I remember him telling me what a buzz he got from appearing before an audience, and how he`d missed it. “Because I`ve started playing again I`m happy. I just feel happy. It seems that possibilities are opening up again in front of me and I`m looking forward instead of back.”
Koss was true to his word and months later he`d formed Back Street Crawler with a bunch of Texas musicians introduced to him by Rabbit.
When the band played in Newcastle last summer the reception which greeted the once-again dumpy little Koss was genuinely staggering. He obviously loved the adoration, and played up to it continually, coming on fierce and strong.
But again events overtook him and by August he was again in hospital, for the second time in just over a year.

Later, when we met him on the first (or was it the second?) day after he`d been discharged from a nursing home, he wasn`t in altogether bad shape. He told me that he hadn`t been doing an awful lot of dope prior to the illness, just the odd bit of this and that. There was no reason for him to lie since months earlier he`d confessed the sordid details of his Mandrax fits to me, and how for a short period he`d shot up heroin.
What did bother me at that meeting was that certain people seemed to be encouraging him to drink – and this was after doctors had warned him not to. I`m not saying that alcohol was being poured down his throat, but his wine glass was frequently filled. And this was a guy who`d just come out of hospital and had narrowly escaped death.
Considering what had gone down, Koss was soon back on the road, playing British dates in the autumn. A two-month American tour opened in the New Year, and it was from this series of gigs that Paul was returning when he died.
During his ten-week stay in the States, a second Back Street Crawler album was recorded. Called “Second Street” it`s out on Atlantic within the next few weeks.
When I asked Kossoff`s loyal manager, Glover, whether perhaps it had been early for him to be gigging again, he pointed out that the American tour was a relatively easy work-load with no more than three or four consecutive gigs. He also pointed out that Paul`s only interest in life was playing.
So what sort of shape had he been in recently? Fairly good, according to Glover, although he did say there`d been a fair amount of drink in Kossoff`s life recently, particularly before gigs.
“He was a very sensitive guy and he gets very nervous before playing.”

As fate would have it, Koss jammed with his old Free colleagues while in LA recently. And Glover says it`s Bad Company`s Simon Kirke who`ll be most cut up about Paul`s death. In the days, when Bad Company were being formed, there was actually talk of Paul joining Mick Ralphs on guitar within the band, but owing to his health, it just wasn`t on.
As a guitarist, Kossoff was a very special player indeed – as a listen to any of the Free albums will show. His licks were always charged with a vivid intensity, immediately recognisable, and he had the ability to build a solo from something relatively low-key to a raging torrent of sound.
Check out his solo on “Going Down Slow” from the first Free album, “Tons Of Sobs” and you`ll see what I mean.
Clapton once asked Koss how he achieved his unique tremelo sound, and while Koss doesn`t rank in the same peer group, he`s not all that far beyond – if only he`d been able to direct his talent in a better way.
Moreover, he had genuine stage presence, a lion`s mane of hair falling half way down the back of his stocky frame, his right arm crashing down mercilessly on a helpless Les Paul, mouth agape and energy pouring from his speaker stack.
So what went wrong with his personal life?
The answer Glover gives is the Free break-up. Kossoff himself though, put it like this: “I`ve been asking myself a long while, why? I think it`s something to do with my make-up as a person for a start-off… Escapism… to heighten things… masochism even – certainly main-lining is that.
“Once into drugs you get fairly morbid trains of thought – morbid interest in death and dead people. It`s quite horrific at times. I got into all that with Hendrix. Also the feeling of being in slight danger was like a romance. It`s very strange… I started to identify with Hendrix for instance.
“See, it was an escape from playing as well, `cause that`s a big responsibility in itself…”
Whatever, Koss is dead. He gave a lot of people many a buzz. Next time someone glamorises hard drugs, remember him.

IMG_0571

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bonnie Raitt, Kevin Ayers, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gary Glitter, Rod Stewart, Donald Byrd, Shel Talmy, Neil Young, Man.

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 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.