ARTICLE ABOUT The Troggs FROM New Musical Express, December 10, 1966

I am going way back here – I know. This is probably one of the oldest music magazines that I have. Even if it is, there is some worthwhile reading in these ancient papers. Some of you may never have heard of this band, but I am sure that a whole lot of of you know their songs – like “Wild Thing” and “Love Is All Around”.
A very special setting for this interview done in Germany, only about 20 years after the second world war.
Read on!

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Troggs caged in Berlin zoo

Special by Keith Altham

BERLIN, WESTERN SECTOR, MONDAY—

ERIC BURDON, who is so devoted to the birds in London’s St. James’s Park, would love it here on the twelfth floor of the Berlin Hilton. I am awakened by the sound of the pelicans in the Berlin Zoo below, the scene of the Troggs’ Press reception yesterday. Troggs are pop giants here, creating the kind of fan fervour that the Rolling Stones experienced in their early days.
Their manager Larry Page and I arrived on Saturday to find the group already installed in the hotel, where the big attraction was listening to the local AFN broadcasts beamed to U.S. Servicemen.
These include interruptions like “When you phone your girlfriend don’t talk about your work. She may not be a spy, but the man listening-in is!”
This kind of unhappy comment is a constant reminder that we are staying on an island — a city divided in half in the centre of East Germany. It’s a grim grey city of cement. Ultramodern office blocks dominate and a huge skyscraper is surmounted by a blue-and-silver neon symbol for Mercedes cars, revolving halo-like about us (you can see it in the film, “Quiller”). At night red, blue and green flickering lights cut into the blackness but something seems wrong as you look out toward the horizon.
Reg Presley drew my attention to the fact that from a line parallel to the Reichstag building and beyond, the lights went out almost to the point of a total blackout. This is the dark Eastern sector.
“Frightening, isn’t it?” said Reg. It was chilling.
The Troggs had just completed their Swedish tour with mixed feelings. They had their amplifiers changed to receive continental voltage but it transpired that Sweden is one of the few countries that retains a European system. The amplifiers blew up on the first night!
“Audiences and fans were great,” said Reg. “In Stockholm we played a club and later the manager said it was the first time in four years he had heard screaming there.”

Saturday afternoon was spent chatting in the hotel and apart from Pete Staples and I being politely ejected from the bar for not wearing ties there were no major international incidents.
The evening provided an interesting excursion to the Eden Playboy club, a lively scene where young people dance and let rip.
An interesting variation in “go go girls” was provided by the dancing frauleins, who plunge into a swimming pool (in swim costumes) as the finale to their act. They are joined almost immediately by the more well-lubricated German lads who dive in — in their suits!
The Troggs were well-feted and as guests of honour invited to throw the girls into the pool! This they did with such enthusiasm that everyone shared in the dip!
During the course of the evening Larry Page was announced as their manager and credited with composing “I Can’t Control Myself”, which amused Reg (who wrote it). A German interpretation of “Wild Thing” was played, called “Lisbeth”.
The Sunday morning Press reception in the Berlin Zoo provided onlookers with free entertainment as the Troggs posed in an animal cage while a zoo keeper offered them a hunk of raw meat!
One four-year-old young fraulein was torn to distraction between the relative merits of a grizzly bear and Pete Staples opposite, who appeared to be wearing the animal’s mother!
Pete’s new full-length fur coat (see picture) is the subject of much amusement in the group and his version of Bud Flanagan’s “Underneath The Arches”, dressed in this ensemble and strolling down the Budapest-strasse, has to be seen to be believed!
After a short meander among the zebras, monkeys and seals for the benefit of photographers, we returned to a hot meal, provided in the grounds by our hosts, the Hansa Record Company, which issues the Troggs in Germany.

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Delicacies

Over a lunch which included such delicacies as kanoodles (dumpling-like objects of unknown origin) and goulash, Chris Britton stressed the need to keep a sense of humour to relieve tension while on these never-rest tours.
“We’ve worked up a number of good routines,” he revealed. “Pete’s `Long John Silver’ is now nothing short of a masterpiece and Ronnie does a nice ‘Wilfred Pickles’, while Reg has developed a genius for relieving moments of sheer terror — like when the amps blew up! — by underestimating the situation with a camp ‘Whoops!'”
From the zoo we shot off to the huge Deutchlanderhaller, which seats 10,000 people and is a striking contemporary version of our own Wembley Empire Pool.
“The Germans are well organised,” said Reg. “We’ve come up against same bungling in certain parts of Scandinavia, but here they get things done. We ask for something and it’s no problem. There’s no discussion, no fuss, just action. And Hans Blume, from Hansa Records, has chaperoned us about like we were his own babies.”
Also on the concert was Graham Bonney, who got to No. 1 in the German charts with “Super Girl” and stayed in for over six weeks. He had some interesting things to say about his new single as he signed pieces of paper, bare limbs and photographs thrust at him by those lucky and enterprising enough to get into rehearsals.
“I’ve just recorded a Bruce Johnston composition, `Thank You Baby’,” Graham told me.
“There’s naturally a lot of Beach Boy influence in it and Bruce himself helped produce the session for me. It should be out about the second week in January. I’m knocked out about it.
“Bruce and I became friendly while on tour here in Germany about a month ago and he agreed to help me with the song. Such a modest guy, isn’t he?” I agreed.
The concert was a storming success, with Graham Bonney, ably backed by the Remo Four, giving a swinging performance.
Then the Hollies presented their usual slick brand of musicianship and well-balanced programme — “Taste Of Honey”, Chuck Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business”, and the Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” (Which Graham Nash informed the 9,000 audience they were thinking of recording before finding it at. No. 10 in the British charts after returning from the U.S.) and “Stop, Stop, Stop”.
Next we got a group called the Boots, who stamped about a bit, with one fellow dressed up as a Martian, sporting an antenna!

Frenzy

Opening up with “Louie Louie” to a clap that sounded as if it had been stolen from the World Cup final — only the shout was “TROG-GUZ” and not “ENG-GLAND!” — our Troggs had the audience greeting their “I Can’t Control Myself” and “With A Girl Like You” with frenzied delight. After other songs, they ended with ” Wild Thing,” which made the crowd just that!
An announcement by a back-stage official declared that British groups were unfair to them because they request the lights dimmed. 9,000 fans voiced their disagreement and so did manager Larry Page — and that was enough to ensure the lights went down.
They went up again with any movement in the crowd and had it not been for that and poor sound balancing, which prevented the vocals reaching the back, the Deutchlandhaller would have had the kind of scene on their hands which had only previously been experienced by the Beatles and the Stones.

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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 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 John Lennon (The Beatles) FROM New Musical Express, December 13, 1969

Yes, I know it wasn`t long ago since my last reprint of a Lennon interview, but this one was unavoidable. They absolutely were on the brink of splitting and they did make some very good albums solo after the Beatles. In a lot of ways that was a good thing as we got to have more great albums to listen to, but you always ask; “What if…?”
Read on!

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Beatles are on the brink of splitting

One group is just not big enough for all this talent

By Alan Smith

I MAY be wrong, and I hope I am, but these are dark days for the Beatles. I begin to wonder how much longer their association can stand the strain of their own individual talent.
JOHN LENNON pulls toward Peace and his Plastic Ono Band; RINGO Pulls toward a bigger and better film career; GEORGE HARRISON jumps toward his own prolific songwriting; and PAUL McCARTNEY pulls himself away to Scotland, his own songs . . . and silence.
Certainly, John and Paul are on opposite sides of a heavy wall of difference and self-inflicted gloom. And the bond between them can hardly have been more weak, or their opposing interests more strong.
A few days ago John and Yoko and I talked in a one-hour fifteen minute exclusive interview for NME (partly filmed for BBC-1’s look at the world of John and Yoko Lennon in ” 24 Hours”), and during that time he gave me frank answers to this mental rift with Paul and the present state of the Beatles.
He was pleasant, together, straightforward, mellow and resolute, and only in references to Paul did his voice drop in doubt.
He told me: “Paul and I both have differences of opinion on how things should be run. But instead of it being a private argument about how an LP should be done, or a certain track, it’s now a larger argument about the organisation of Apple itself.
“Whether we both want the same thing from Apple in the end is a matter of opinion. But how to achieve it — that’s where we digress.
“Mainly, we disagree on the Klein bit. But you know, I don’t really want to discuss Paul without him here. It’s just that as far as I can see, Paul was always waiting for This Guy to just appear and come and save us from the mess we were in.

Pull out

“And we were in a mess, and only my saying it to the Press that time enabled Klein to hear about it and come over.
“I’m a quarter of this building, and it became a question of whether I should pull my money out if I could — which I probably can’t.
“I did say I wanted out at one time. It was just that all my income was going in to Apple and being wasted by the joy-riding people who were here. In fact, that was just the minute bit of it. I just wanted it to stop.
“It’s no use pretending we can be here all the time when that kind of thing is going on. We needed a business man. No Beatle can spend his days here checking the accounts.
“There was also the question of the four of us holding different opinions on different things, and the staff not knowing where they where or who to listen to.
“I know that’s what’s going on all the time. People come to me and say `Paul wants this done, what do you think?, `and they know damn well what I think and they say `alright,’ and then they go to Paul and say John wants this done, he’s off again.

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Instuctions

“The result is that we kept sending in different instructions and nothing was being done. Like people anywhere, they were getting away with what they could. We were naive and stupid.
“What I want is for the freeloading to stop, but the old Apple spirit to remain. The spirit will be there, because if Apple is not a problem to the Beatles — which it was — it just can’t help but get better.
“Our job is to put the creative side into Apple. If the Beatles never recorded together again, but each put their creative efforts through Apple… that at least would be better than me having a company, Paul having a company, George having a company, and Ringo having a company. “Together we at least have that much more power.
“I know now that the original concept of helping everybody doesn’t work in its purest form. All you get are the bums and freeloaders everybody else turns down.
“The only way we can help other artists at Apple is the same way the Beatles helped other artists … by breaking new barriers. That’s what we didn’t get before. We sat back, and we started to believe our own publicity, to tell ourselves how the Beatles helped people get long hair, and the Beatles started off this, and the other.
“The Beatles split up? It just depends how much we all want to record together. I don’t know if I want to record together again. I go off and on it. I really do.
“The problem is that in the old days, when we needed an album Paul and I got together and produced enough songs for it.

“Nowadays, there’s three of us writing prolifically and trying to fit it all onto one album. Or we have to think of a double album every time, which takes six months.
“That’s the hang-up we have. It’s not a personal ‘The Beatles are fighting’ thing, so much as an actual, physical problem.
“What do you do? I don’t want to spend six months making an album I have two tracks on! And neither do Paul or George, probably. That’s the problem. If we can overcome that, maybe it’ll sort itself out.
“None of us want to be background musicians most of the time. It’s a waste. We didn’t spend ten years making it to have the freedom of recording studios, to be able to have two tracks on an album.
“It’s not like we spend our time wrestling in the studio trying to get our own songs on. We all do it the same way . . . we take it in turns to record a track. It’s just that usually in the past, George lost out. Because Paul and I are tougher.
“It’s nothing new, the way things are. It’s human. We’ve always said we’ve had fights It’s no news that we argue. I’m more interested in my songs. Paul’s more interested in his, and George is more interested in his. That’s always been.
“This is why I’ve started with the Plastic Ono and working with Yoko . . . to have more outlet. There isn’t enough outlet for me in the Beatles. The Ono Band is my escape valve. And how important that gets, as compared to the Beatles for me, I’ll have to wait and see.
“You have to realise that there’s a peculiar situation in that if ‘Cold Turkey’ had had the name ‘Beatles’ on it, probably it would have been a No. 1.

“Abbey Road”

“‘Cold Turkey’ has got Ringo and me on, and yet on half the Beatles’ tracks of ‘Abbey Road,’ I’m not on, or half the tracks on the double album — and even way back. Sometimes there might be only two Beatles on a track.
“It’s got to the situation where if we have the name `Beatle’ on it, it sells. So you get to think: ‘What are we selling? Do they buy it because it’s worth it, or just because it says ‘Beatles?’
“George is in the same position. I mean, he’s got songs he’s been trying to get on since 1920. He’s got to make an album of his own. And maybe if he puts ‘Beatles’ on the label rather than George Harrison, it might sell more. That’s the drag.
“Of course we could each make an album and call it ‘The Beatles.’ But that would be cheating. And that’s not my scene.
“Anyway, folks, remember the Plastic Ono Band LP from Toronto released December the 12th, with a nice picture of the sky, and a fab calendar inside of a year’s events with John and Yoko, with poetry and fun.”

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ARTICLE ABOUT Pink Floyd FROM New Musical Express, December 13, 1969

Here`s a real goodie for those of you who like the Floyd.
Read on!

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Three years ago, when they started Underground they had a rough ride

Pink Floyd have the last laugh

By Nick Logan

When the Tremeloes can talk about playing progressive material then the day is dawning for the complete establishment into pop of a stream of music once laughed at and contemptuously dismissed as a short-lived fad.
Three or so years back when it was all starting, Pink Floyd were getting a rough ride from the pop pundits… but went on to do perhaps more than any other group to open the way for the new breed of pop musicians who in 1969 have made their presence felt in no uncertain manner.
As far as last laughs and all that, Pink Floyd have plenty to chuckle about.
“When we started in UFO it was a beautiful place to play,” recalled Floyd keyboard wizard Richard Wright when we spoke last week. “But when we went outside London nobody wanted to know. People used to throw bottles at us.
“At the same time we had a slight hit with See Emily Play and people expected us to play Top 20 stuff. Instead we came along with this strange music they didn’t understand.
“People just didn’t believe in us; I think they regarded us as a huge joke,” continued Richard without bitterness. “They saw us as a lot of freaks getting up on stage and playing freakish music.
“I’ll never forget Pete Murray saying on ‘Juke Box Jury’ that we were just a cult and would last for six months.”

Groundwork

From the groundwork laid by the Floyd and their contemporaries the whole Underground network, along with the University circuit, built up.
Could Richard forsee the progressive boom? “I knew it would happen some time but I didn’t know if it would happen quickly or slowly.
“I don’t think we could have seen it happening to such an extent where today the Underground is now the overground and Underground groups are getting better money than the teenyboppers.
“Yes I would agree that it is today’s pop music, and it is really nice because there are so many groups playing good music and it is accepted everywhere.”
Everywhere? “Well there are still a few places where a few people will walk out, but generally speaking it just gets better and better.
“Even Glasgow, which you might expect to be an incredibly bad scene for a group like us, is a really beautiful place to play.”
What did Richard think changed it?
It was UFO; it was groups like us and the whole hippie philosphy that was connected with it.
“And because the pop thing was then so shallow and empty and people wanted better things. Now because of it even straight pop is becoming better.
“Audiences now demand that you must he able to play your instrument — it’s not just a question of having a pretty face or wearing way out clothes. I should think it’s pretty hard to establish yourself as a teenybopper group now.
“It’s nice too that what has happened in the past three-four years has encouraged really good musicians to care about what is happening in pop and to form their own bands.
“It is very encouraging to find that what you believe in is commercial.”

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Successes

After a couple of medium successes with singles, the Floyd dropped away from the market to make their name through albums. Their double set, “Ummagumma,” is at No 9 in this week’s NME Chart.
I asked Richard if the group had any inclinations to return to singles, with the successes of Fleetwood Mac and Jethro Tull in mind.
“Well we had that one hit and then two after that didn’t make it,” he replied. “Then we came to realise that it was not important to get hits and that, in fact, a No 1 for us might be a bit of a drag.
“I find the whole business of pop and Top Of The Pops a drag, and the singles scene is a dying market anyway.
“I’m not putting it down. If we got a single that went to No 1 it might be nice but it wouldn’t be important because that’s not what we are about.”
He see nothing wrong however, with other groups breaking into the singles field; nor does he feel it will do them any harm.
“It is rubbish to say they have gone commercial,” he maintains. “Bands like Jethro Tull and Fleetwood Mac believe in what they are playing and in the end it always comes down to the music.
“It is not a question of a sell-out — it means in fact that pop is growing up.
“From now on I believe pop music will be good music. There will be still more change but the standards have been raised and I cannot see them going down again.”
Pink Floyd, of late, have encountered a great deal of success in the film world with their scores for “The Committee” and “More,” released as their last hit album, and Richard sees this as further proof of the new acceptance for progressive music.
In this field they’ve recently completed the score for a TV cartoon series in the States — the producer asked them to do it after hearing “Saucerfull Of Secrets” — and for an Italian film to be released here in February.
An album of the music will be released at the same time and as the group will be recording a further album later this month there are plenty of Floyd goodies on the horizon.
“Film scores are very hard work,” commented Richard. “On the Italian film we worked solidly day and night for two weeks to produce 20 minutes of music. But it is very satisfying work and we’d like to do more of it.”
He went on to reveal that the score also contains some un-Floydian segments; the group using blues and country and western music at certain points.

New Tour

In February they start a concert tour at London’s Albert Hall and plan to develop more the Azemuth Co-ordinator used on previous dates.
Richard explained it is a stereo system with either four or eight speakers that can be set up around a concert hall so that the audience is completely immersed in the sound — 360 degrees stereo if you like.
They would also like to work with an orchestra. “We want to write a complete work for the orchestra and ourselves so that the group is another part of the orchestra.”
Then, if it is possible, the orchestra would be split up and positioned around the hall — along with the speakers — so the audience would he sitting in the middle of the music.
I don’t think they fear any competition from the Trems with that!

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ARTICLE ABOUT John Lennon (The Beatles) FROM New Musical Express, December 20, 1969

I can`t resist re-printing those articles featuring one of the most important songwriters and musicians of the last hundred years. Even if the articles are a bit confusing as this one. Read it and you`ll know what I mean. But still, a lot of good stuff too. Enjoy!

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Lennon: I won`t sell out

Bore, fool or saint?

By Alan Smith

THEY say John Lennon is insane, a fool, and a bore. They call him an embarrassment, a joke, and a man too interested in his own publicity. They talk about white bags, long hair, posing nude, pirate ships, recording in a hotel room, staying in bed for a week, more money than sense, insulting the Queen, hurting his Aunt Mimi and being dead by 40.
Very few talk about stomachs swollen with hunger, Vietnamese villagers burned alive, men crippled for life, a year to talk about peace delegates around a table, Biafra, or the Bomb.
If John Lennon ever pricks a conscience, he lets the guilt fly out, deflates his cause and gives the outlet. Never mind Vietnam. What about Aunt Mimi? Never mind Biafra. Did you see those nutters in the bag?
These are the knocks, this is the criticism, and if it`s all true then the chances are that in the fullness of time John Lennon will end up as the most expensively bankrupt ex-Beatle of all. And still the world will be without peace.
My own view is a belief in his absolute sincerity, tempered with a near-screaming hope that one day soon he’ll come in just a little from the world of the bizarre. I want him to win.

Always a Beatle

Talking about the furore which followed when he returned his MBE and the reasons he gave in his letter John said:
“What a drag that thing was about, it doesn’t matter if I’ve given the MBE back, technically I’ll always be an MBE. That’s like I’ll always be a Beatle!
“Just say I hadn’t put that line on my letter about ‘Cold Turkey’ dropping down the charts. What would they have attacked? And they’re going to attack, man — whatever.
“If it hadn’t have been Cold Turkey,’ the whole concentration would have been on insulting Her Majesty. Instead, they printed what I had to say in the letter, and whether my Auntie is going to be hurt.
“And anyway, it’s not that serious. Our whole game is to say to people that WAR ITSELF is a game that’s gone too far. The problem with the revolutionaries is that they get so serious — so involved — that they’re now playing the politician and the Establishment’s game.
“You don’t win like that. We think that was the mistake that Ghandi and Martin Luther King made . . . by becoming The Leader and The Saint and The Holy Man who Does no Wrong. Nobody likes saints alive. They like ’em dead. And we don’t intend to be dead saints. We’d rather be living freaks.”
“Yoko and I keep fighting for what we believe by rebounding mentally against each other. This thing we have together is telepathic. We’ve been together almost 24 hours a day for almost two years.
“Couples pick up on us, of course. There was a guy interviewing us the other day, and he was saying that he and his wife were listening to `Wedding Album’ at home, and his wife was saying `What the hell is it?’ and all that. And then they sat together, and halfway through it she came over and kissed him. And he said to her: ‘That’s what it’s about.’ That was so rewarding, man.

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Couple gimmick

“There’s never been a couple to really identify with before. That’s our gimmick. Our gimmick is that we’re a living Romeo and Juliet.
“And you know, the great thing about us influencing in this way, is that everybody’s a couple. We’re all living in pairs. And if all the couples in the world who are in love identify with us . . . and our ideas go through them . . . what per cent of the population is that?! And then let’s all turn on the one that’s complaining about the image, and why did you get it out, and all that!
“Let’s get with the lovers first. They’re going to produce all the children.”
Yoko: “He’s right. If you can’t work on being a couple, how can you work on the world?”
We talked about FEAR.
Said John: “Fear comes and goes. I have the same fears and paranoias that anybody else has, and I have a real fear of dying, or Yoko dying before me when we`re 60, and all the other insane fears. Any fear you’ve got, I’ve got. People think Yoko and I must be in an immune state of glorious luxury.
“They think Money Saves You, but we’re very insecure. You tell me any fear you’ve got and I can tick it off.
We talked about REGRETS.
“I regret that Yoko wasn’t my child. I don’t like the idea of her being born in somebody else’s womb. That’s one of my great jealousies. It’s a drag that she was in somebody else’s womb, but I can’t do anything about it.
“I have day-to-day regrets, but they don’t affect my future attitudes. I like to play the future blind. I like to play conceptual chess, rather than have the chess on the board.”
We talked some more about the BEATLES:
“The way we all feel in the Beatles today is a bit of a residue of all the meetings we had at the time of the ATV-Northern Songs thing. We were together every day for these terrible, terrible meetings which made us uptight. It’s all that, that’s still in the air between us. It’s nothing that serious. It was just so hard for us.
“We had to listen to all this jazz about business, and hear about banking, and try and think about the technicalities.”
We talked about MONEY:
“We got to hear how much we’d wasted, and that was a real bring-down. It put all of us in the Beatles into the wrong situation.

Wasted money

” God, I don’t like to think about the money we wasted. The John Lennon of ten years ago would have sworn his head off. I mean . . I still did. It was such a waste. I’d sooner have given it away to some deserving gypsy.”
We talked about YOKO’S MISCARRIAGES:
“We’re both a bit choked about babies, with two miscarriages. Both of us feel like laying off, but we don’t know how to, how you do it! It’s a terrible bringdown at the time, but like anything, you carry on.
“Now we think maybe it was because we didn’t want one. Maybe a baby would interfere. How much time would we have for it? I don’t regard the whole thing as fate, though. I don’t believe in the Will of Allah and let ’em — on you.”
We talked of the “GET BACK” film, to be premiered in the New Year:
“No, George doesn’t have a row with me in it. I think he had a bit of a barney with Paul, but you don’t see it. He’s just there one day, and not the next.
“George said: ‘I’m leaving,’ and we carried on, and then he came back.”
BEING HATED: “When I do things I do, I don’t want people to dislike me.
“I prefer to be loved, obviously. That’s the whole ball game. They’ve got to love me even if I’m a Jewish transvestite Negro with a hunchback and one leg. But I want to be loved for myself, not some kind of image.
“I’m not going to paint myself white to be loved. I’m not going to sell out. I’m not going to play that ball game, prejudice and fear.”
STAGE FRIGHT: “I get nervous and physically sick. I’ve been away from stage appearances for a long time.”

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ARTICLE ABOUT Jethro Tull FROM New Musical Express, December 20, 1969

If you thought it an easy life to join a rock band like Tull on tour, then you need to think again, as Nick Logan found out. This is an very enjoyable write-up from another time. Recommended for everyone.
Read on!

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New York stands up for Jethro

NME`s Nick Logan in America goes on the road with Jethro Tull

Heading for the top in U.S.

“THE Word” on Jethro Tull in America is rarely bettered and fast improving with their every frolicsome outing on the U.S. rock circuit. The position of top British rock attraction in the States stands but a tour or two away.
I got a quick initiation into “The Word” game within a few minutes of meeting up with Jethro in the lobby of their New York hotel after flying in to join the group for the remaining eleven days of a month-long tour.
“What’s the word on Nick Logan?” whispered Ian Anderson furtively, responding to my bemused reply with an explanation that “The Word” is a kind of oral bulletin sheet on the standing of acts that circulates among the American rock community.
“It’s amazing,” he added, “how the word can spread across the country. It’ll start here on someone and ten days later you’ll catch up with it on the West Coast.”
Such is how reputations are passed on.
The way they are made are through shows like the four sell out performances Jethro delivered that weekend at New York’s Fillmore East. Or like the previous, frequently record-breaking dates on this their third American tour and the first with them topping the bill on every gig.
It was also their first time topping at Bill Graham’s Fillmore and to sell out four shows at the 2500 seater theatre is an achievement even for a group of Jethro’s standing.
New York comes second only to the West Coast as a Jethro Tull popularity centre and, with the Fillmore success under their belt, next time in the city they’ll have graduated up to the 10,000 seater Carnegie Hall level.
The Fillmore as a place does its best to dispel the magic of it as a rock institution.
Empty and with the house lights on, it could be any one of the larger Odeons everyone has in their local high street. But no theatre would have a lighting and sound system so effective.

After rehearsals and a meal at the hotel we drove back to the Fillmore in a huge black limousine to see “JETHRO FUNK MATTRESS” looming up in neon lights on the horizon.
With every seat full the theatre begins to regain its magic. With no high stage or orchestra pit to segregate the participants, and with the justifiably highly-praised Joshua Light Show working excellently, the atmosphere is heavy and the effect a total involvement with the music.
Fat Mattress had waved the flag and exited, leaving the stage to a boring and unoriginal American band called Grand Funk Railroad who nevertheless got a standing ovation and bore out Ian’s feelings that a standing ovation U.S.A. style has to be viewed in perspective.
Ian was in good form with the asides and witticisms when Jethro took the stage later at 10.15. Each line, move or roll of eyeballs drew the desired response while Glenn Cornick, Martin Barre and Clive Bunker worked hard and tight behind to turn in one of the best sets I’ve seen them perform.
New York rock fans pride themselves on their super awareness and it soon became obvious that the standing ovation at the Fillmore is treated as a kind of ritual.
The group knows it will do an encore — it has to be pretty dire not to get asked — and the audience knows it too. But the game must be played to the rules, and with the required amount of stamping, shouting and clapping, so it is.
After the show, Ian was saying that people back home tend to believe that America gets a much better show from British groups than they do in England.
“It’s probably because so many groups have said audiences here are really hip, and say they play better here to more receptive audiences. But it’s not true.

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No different

Our act here is no different from what you’d get at the Albert Hall. Their’s nothing fantastically superior about the playing here. Both get the same.”
The second set got under way at 2.45 — a normal time for the Fillmore. The second house was older than the first — which had been the last to sell out — and were also more Jethro conscious as opposed to being interested.
Consequently, there was more reaction for Ian`s patter, which is noticeably bluer than in Britain, and for the music. Again a strong act with the standing ovation procedure observed.
At the end the audience gave signs of standing their ground in their demands for more until the exit music dispersed their appeals.
Back at the hotel totally whacked I managed to get some sleep at six; 29 hours after I had got up in England. Five hours later I was up again, taking a cab out to Greenwich Village with Ian for him to buy presents for friends at home.
In an hour or so we managed a tally of one poncho purchased, two requests of “Can you spare a dime?” one to Ian for a cigarette (he gave him one of mine), one Vietnam street demo and a Black Power taxi driver who cut up everything in his path as he drove us back to the hotel.
The two shows that night went similar to Friday’s with, if anything, a better, more attentive audience — who would no doubt carry “The Word” around New York.
In the dressing rooms after each show the changing was done quickly and quietly; the mood more in tune with disaster than the success it had been. My time later with the band on tour taught me that unless something had gone badly wrong this was usually the case.
The following day found us driving 100 miles north to a student concert at the University of Massachusetts. It wasn’t until Glenn, Martin and Clive had gone off in the first car that manager Terry Ellis, Ian and I realised we didn’t know the way.

Locked doors

Undaunted we set off, locking all doors as we passed out through New York, and managed to lose ourselves in the forested New England countryside. A heavy snow storm further slowed us down and at one point we began sliding backwards down an icy slope.
The others had been there an hour when we arrived. Spooky Tooth and Johnny Winter had played and the audience was patiently waiting for Jethro. Ian changed hastily and tuned up his mandolin with Martin while Clive drew a skinhead on a blackboard and he and Glenn got engaged in a discussion about Vietnam, Nixon and the draft with a student guarding the classroom-come- dressing room door.
The concert was in a large barnlike building normally used for basketball. A low wooden stage had been set up in the centre with seats all round: With 3,500 present the show was a sell out.
For many of the young audience Jethro Tull was a new experience and the genuine, immediate way they responded to the band and Ian’s banter made a telling contrast in retrospect with the hip, pseudo sophistication of the Fillmore crowd.
The sound system was poor and the seating arrangements inadequate – Ian spent some time after pointing out to the student organisers how both could have been improved — but overall it was a greatly enjoyable show as much for the way the audience responded as for the music.
Afterwards we walked through the campus grounds, where youngsters were skating in the dark on the pond, to eat in the students union canteen.
When we set off again at 10 the falling snow had thickened and we drove around in circles for an hour or so before finding the Massachusetts Turnpike to Boston, another 100 miles away. Ian slept in the car.
We made Boston by 2.30 a.m., the others having got there at midnight. Ian and Terry went off for a late meal; I crept off to my hotel room shattered. If this was a fair example of life on tour (and it was) my constitution was going to take a battering.
I took one glance in the mirror at my crumpled clothes and the unwashed, unshaven, ashen-faced reflection and promptly collapsed into bed.

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