ARTICLE ABOUT Rick Wakeman from New Musical Express, June 7, 1975

Very busy at work lately, so I am a little behind my ordinary schedule. But here is a short one that will please the Yes and Wakeman fans. In the article there is a number of 243,000 dollars mentioned – to get some sort of understanding of the relative value of this amount, this would be about $ 1,070,000 today.
Have a nice read.


Arthur: only myself to blame…

Demoralised Wakeman spills the beans…

By Tony Tyler

Rick Wakeman picked me up outside the manufactory of King & Hutchings, Printers to the Gentry. He was driving the Rolls.
“What`s happened to the other cars?” I enquired. “Had to sell `em didn`t I?” said an ashen-faced Wakeman. “To pay for `Arthur`.”
“Tell me about it,” said I. “Let`s have a drink first,” said the chalky-visaged Rolls owner.
“First thing to emphasise,” said he, taking an uncharacteristically small sip of his light `n bitter, “is that others lost just as much money as I did.”
How much?
“Well…a lot,” said Wakeman, lighting a Tom Thumb and inhaling cautiously.
“I must emphasise,” emphasised Wakeman, “that I`m not exactly broke. Not broke. I`ve still got me assets – me companies, me synthesizers.
“I just haven`t got any cash”.

It transpires that Wakeman also lost 243,000 dollars on his recent tour of America with “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”.
This is heavy news.
“But I gotta own up. I gotta say that I was strongly advised not to do the American tour – by Brian” (Lane) “by my accountants, by everybody who I pay to give me advice.
“I overrode `em all. It`s my ego that`s to blame.”
But no punters, Rick`s not defeated; by no means. His characteristically honest owning-up procedure is Wakeman`s own way of initiating a catharsis within himself and thus restoring his morale. He still likes his music, although he`s willing to concede that the Arthuriana semi-shambles was a severe tactical error – as was the American tour.
“I didn`t need to do that tour. By the time we got there the album (Journey To The Centre Of The Earth) “had already sold all it was going to sell and all we got was minimal sales as a result.
“I didn`t have to do this Arthur thing. I just wanted to.”
So let`s go into the fax.


The fax are that when Wakeman announced his May concerts at Wembley, “no-one else was plannin` May concerts. The datesheet was clear. Then, all of a sudden, there`s Zeppelin, there`s Elton… and the kids don`t have that much money to spend – and we can`t put ticket prices up, no way – and they have to choose which concert they can afford.”
The original intention – when the gig was announced – was to play three evening concerts plus a matinee on the Saturday. “The whole thing cost about, say, £50,000 to put on and the extra show – the one extra show – would have given us the possibility of making a small profit. `Nough, say, to encourage us to keep it going.
“Then, when all those other shows got going, we knew we`d have to blow out the matinee.”
So you knew long before the concerts that you`d probably lose money?
“Yeah. But I was committed – and I don`t mean just financially. I`d said what I was going to do, against all the best advice, and no way could I pull out, even if I`d wanted to.
“Which I didn`t.
“There`s no-one else to blame but me.”
How`s your head?
“I`m a bit demoralised. Not destroyed. Demoralised.
“We had a meeting with the accountants. They said `First, Rick, is it possible to put on more shows without the orchestra and choir?` Well, it is. And that`s what I`m going to do.

“We`re going to Brazil.
“Pretty soon, in fact. With the six-piece band.
“And I`m getting my new album together. It`s going to be called `The Suite Of Gods` and it`ll be much closer to the `Six Wives` thing: six parts, each dedicated to a particular God of various mythologies… Zeus, Thor and so on. No orchestras. Just the six-piece.”
But he still defends “Arthur”.
“I stand by it musically. I did an incredible amount of research in order to make it work. See, I believe that people want some visual thing – not just me plonking about…”
Why not Just You Plonking About?
“Cos I`m not that sort of feller.”
So a quick summary of Rick Wakeman`s post “Henry VIII” solo career would appear to be…
“Wrote `Journey`. Recorded it. Album sold well. Was advised against going to the States. Went anyway. Lost 243,000 dollars – which I`ve only just found out about, by the way. Came back via Australia and Japan, where we did about 14 gigs in 50 days. Lost money. Back to England. Did `Arthur`. It sold well. Did the concerts. Lost money.”
So it`s Farewell Grandiosity. Hello The Simple Life, eh?
“You`re not kidding.”


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: Billy Connolly, Sailor, Status Quo, Elton John, Henry Cow, Robert Wyatt, Report on New bands in New York, John Cipollina, Herb Rooney (Exciters), Chris Squire, Cecil Taylor, Patti Smith and Television.

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:
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 The Who FROM New Musical Express, May 24, 1975

A relatively long, but very interesting interview with Mr. Townshend. I recommend other people than the regular fans to take a look at this one as there is a lot of food for thought here, taking in consideration the fact that this interview is 40 years old today. Some very definitive truths here, but also some opinions that may seem a little odd in the light of later history. Have a good read!


It was the long, hot summer of 1965 when he rode into town, mounted astride a snarling, virile 500 c.c. nose and wearing nothing but a cellophane loincloth.

There were sullen lines in his face and no-one – not even the tough boys, the ones who hung out in the dappled sunlight and picked off their crabs with switchblades – was willing to look him full in the eye when he got mean.

His name was Idaho Sid Smedley, and would you believe there`s not one mention of him in the following article, which is mainly about…



Pete Townshend didn`t die before he got old. Yet death isn`t his problem, it`s the passing of the years and his current position in what he feels is a younger man`s occupation.
“If you`re in a group,” he begins, “you can behave like a kid – and not only get away with it, but be encouraged.”
The name Keith Moon somehow springs to mind.
“If you`re a rock musician,” Townshend continues, “you don`t have to put on any airs and pretend to be all grown up…pretend to be – in inverted commas – `normal` or even be asked to behave like you`re a mature and a highly responsible person. These are just the trappings that society puts on most people – with the result that most kids are burdened down with responsibilities far too early in their life.
“You know the deal: as soon as you leave school you`ve got to find a secure job and hang onto it. I wrote `My Generation` when I was 22 or 23, yet that song breathes of 17-year-old adolescence.
“But then I did have a somewhat late adolescence.”

So what are you trying to tell us?
“Personally, I feel that the funniest thing – and also the saddest thing -about the current state of rock`n`roll is that it`s the pretenders that are suffering the most. Those people who, for a number of years, have been pretending to be rock stars and have adopted false poses.
“It`s the difference between someone who has made rock an integral part of their lifestyle and therefore doesn`t feel like they`re growing old.”
“You want to know something?
“I really hate feeling too old to be doing what I`m doing.
“I recently went to do a BBC TV interview and when I arrived at the studios there were all these young kids waiting outside for The Bay City Rollers. As I passed them by, one of the kids recognised me and said, `Ooo look, it`s Pete Townshend` and a couple of them chirped `Ello Pete`. And that was it.
“Yet the first time The Who appeared at those same studios on Top Of The Pops, a gang of little girls smashed in the plate glass front door on the building.

“Anyway, as I entered the building, the doorman turned to me and smirked. `Ere, what`s it feel like to walk past `em now and have nothin` happen, eh?`
“I told him that, to be quite honest, it brings a tear to my eye. Look, I don`t want them to mob me because The Who have never been a Rollers-type band, what I`m scared of is hypocrisy.”
Hypocrisy? In what way?
“Well, nowadays it`s considered very passe to admit that you`ve got a burning ambition to stand on stage and be screamed at by 15-year-old girls. But when we started out that was something to be very proud of. If it didn`t happen, there was something wrong with you.
“Though I haven`t all that much experience as to what is happening contemporarily in music, I do feel that `the-world-owes-me-a-living` attitude still prevails, not only in rock, but in every walk of life. So now everyone`s gotta look like they really mean business and every bloody singer I see on The Old Grey Whistle Test looks a-n-g-r-y.” He breaks off the conversation to pull relevant grimaces. “When I see this I go into hysterical fits of laughter.
“Sure, I know that I look angry when I play but usually there`s no reason for it. I suppose it`s an adopted aggressive thing, which is in turn a subconscious layover from those days when I WAS angry. I don`t quite know what I was angry at, but I WAS angry, frustrated, bitter, cynical – and it came through in the music I wrote.”

C`mon Pete, you`re either evading the moment of truth or approaching it in a very roundabout manner. What`s brought on this manic obsession about being too pooped to pop, too old to stroll?
“It`s just that when I`m standing up there on stage playing rock`n`roll, I often feel that I`m too old for it.”
No kidding.
“When Roger speaks out about `we`ll all be rockin` in our wheelchairs` he might be but you won`t catch me rockin` in no wheelchair. I don`t think it`s possible. I might be making music in a wheelchair – maybe even with The Who, but I feel that The Who have got to realise that the things we`re gonna be writing and singing about are rapidly changing.
“There`s one very important thing that`s got to be settled.” He pauses again. “The group as a whole have got to realise that The Who are NOT the same group as they used to be. They never ever will be and as such…it`s very easy to knock somebody by saying someone used to be a great runner and can still run but he`s Not What He Used To Be.” Townshend pauses yet again. “Everybody has a hump and you have to admit that you`ve got to go over that hump.”
Yes we have…no we haven`t – Townshend won`t commit himself either way as to whether The Who are over the hill, but he intimates in no uncertain manner that the group are beset with acute problems.

“You`ve got to remember that there was a time when suddenly Chuck Berry couldn`t write any more. He just went out and performed his greatest hits and I`ve always wondered what THAT was all down to?
“Jagger told me at his birthday party that he was having difficulty in writing new material for The Stones, which is unfortunate because nowadays so much importance is placed upon writing songs.
“To a degree, you could call it front-man paranoia – and even Roger gets it from time to time. Let`s face it, Jagger carries a tremendous amount of responsibility apart from being The Stones front-man.
“Forget about that tired old myth that rock`n`roll is just making records, pullin` birds, gettin` pissed and having a good time. That`s not what it`s all about. And I don`t think Roger really believes it either. I think that`s what he`d really like to believe rock`n`roll was all about.
“Steve Marriott has chosen to live it like that and, as far as I can see, he`s having a good time. Fair enough – but in my opinion Marriott`s music falls short of his potential, which is a bloody shame because everyone knows what he`s really capable of…there`s all those old incredible Small Faces records piled up.
“For me, `Ogden`s Nut Gone Flake` is one of the classic albums of the sixties and, if it`s the difference between that music and having a good time, I prefer that Steve Marriott suffer, because I want the music.

“Believe me, I don`t want to sound too cruel and vitriolic, but I do think that you have to face up to the undeniable fact that there`s no point in your life when you can stop working.
“You can`t suddenly turn round and say, we`re on the crest of a wave so now it`s time to sit back and boogie. Deep down inside, everyone wants to do this but it`s tantamount to retiring altogether. And personally, I can`t do it.
“It`s not necessarily to do with standards,” Townshend continues, before I have time to fire another question. “The Who`s `Odds & Sods` collection would have been released even if it hadn`t been all that interesting, but it`s all been put down in the past for being sub-standard.”
Apparently the reason for its release was to make null and void the increasing amount of Who bootlegs currently being circulated, and once a second volume has been prepared and issued, there will be no need to backtrack. “If,” says Townshend, “The Who were gonna wave their banner for standards, `Odds & Sods` would still have remained unreleased. Standards have got absolutely nothing to do with it. I feel that it`s the pressure at the front of your mind that…not necessarily your fans…but then, maybe your fans really are the most important people…are actually sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting for your next album.
“Every time they wait, they become more and more impatient. What Jagger said in that interview that he did with NME is that between the albums they are eagerly waiting for, he`d like to chuck out an R&B set to keep `em happy. Fair enough, if he thinks it`ll make any difference – but of course it won`t.

“It`s just like making a `live` album. The fans will say `Thank you very much`, but what we`re really waiting for is the next studio album, so get on with it.”
New subject: Townshend was once quoted as stating that the eventual outcome of any Who recording depended entirely upon whether or not he could keep Moon away from the brandy and himself from imbibing whatever it took him to get through a session.
“At the moment, what governs the speed of The Who is the diversification of individual interests. We would have been recording the new album much earlier were it not for the fact that Roger is making another film with Ken Russell.
“Roger chose to make the film and John wanted to tour with his own band The Ox, so I`ve been working on tracks for my next solo album. Invariably what will happen is that once we all get into the studio, I`ll think `Oh fuck it`, and I`ll play Roger, John and Keith the tracks I`ve been keeping for my own album and they`ll pick the best. So as long as The Who exists, I`ll never get the pick of my own material…and that`s what I dream of.
“But if The Who ever broke up because the material was sub-standard then I`d really kick myself.”
But the way you`re going on, Peter, old Meter, it sounds like The Who is on it`s last legs?
“However much of a bastard it is to get everyone together in a recording studio, things eventually turn out right. You see, though it has never been important in the past, we do have this problem that everyone has been engaged on their own project, so that the separate social existence that we lead has become even more acute.

“I mean, if I just couldn`t live without Moonie and if I could go over to the States and spend a couple of months with him we`d probably be a lot closer. But as it happens, I haven`t seen Keith since last August. I may have seen a lot more of John but as yet I haven`t seen his new group or listened properly to his album because, apart from working on `Tommy`, I`ve been putting together new material.
“And the same thing applies to Roger: as soon as someone decides to do something outside of the area of The Who the pressure suddenly ceases, because they are the people who put the pressures on me.
“Let me make this clear. I don`t put pressures on them. I don`t say `we`ve got to get into the studio this very minute because I`ve got these songs that I`ve just gotta get off my chest.` It`s always the other way around. They always rush up to me and insist that we`ve got to cut a new album and get back on the road.”
So it`s quite obvious that the pressures are back on and Townshend is feeling the strain.
“In a sense, rock is an athletic process. I don`t mean running about on stage, but as a communicative process it`s completely exhausting. It`s not necessarily being a part of things,” insists Townshend.
“Like I said, when I wrote “My Generation` I was already in my early twenties, so I was by no means a frustrated teenager. And that`s what a lot of people often tend to forget.”

But you were an integral part of that generation?
“Right,” he retorts, “but we`re also part of the Generation that we play to on stage today.
“Let me clarify that statement.”
“What I don`t feel part of is not the Generation of age, but the Generation of type. I mean, who the hell were all those people at the `Tommy` premier? Whoever they were, I`m certainly not in their gang!
“Yet funnily enough, whatever the age group, I feel much more at ease before a rock audience.”
So why this current fixation about being to old to cut le Moutard?
“Because to some extent The Who have become a golden oldies band and that`s the bloody problem. And it`s the problem that faces all successful rock groups at one time or another – the process of growing old.
“A group like The Kinks don`t have that problem because, theoretically, Ray Davies has always been an old man. He writes like an old man who is forever looking back on his life and, thank heavens, old Ray won`t have to contend with such problems. But with a group like The Rolling Stones, there`s this terrible danger…now I could be wrong…but there`s no question in my mind that it`s bound to happen…Mick Jagger will eventually become the Chuck Berry of the sixties, constantly parodying himself on stage. And, this is the inherent danger that The Who are so desperately trying to avoid.


“I can tell you that when we were gigging in this country at the early part of last year I was thoroughly depressed. I honestly felt that The Who were going on stage every night and, for the sake of the die-hard fans, copying what The Who used to be.
“Believe me, there have been times in The Who`s career when I would have gladly relinquished the responsibilities of coming up with our next single or album to another writer. There`ve been a lot of people who said they would have a go but somehow it never quite worked out.”
“Like a lot of things connected with The Who, I really dunno. Maybe it`s because we`ve got such an archetypal style that`s geared to the way that I write.”
But by his own admission, Pete Townshend has always considered his forte to be writing. The fact that he also happens to be a guitarist is, in his opinion, quite irrelevant. Yet even now, Townshend is astounded when other guitarists compliment him upon his instrumental prowess. He isn`t bowing to false modesty when he insists that, after all these years, he still can`t play guitar as he would really like to.
In his formative years with The Who, he compensated for his acute frustrations by concentrating his energies on the visual aspects of attacking the instrument. Every time he went on stage, Townshend insists he bluffed his way through a set by utilising noise and sound effects which eventually led to the destruction of many a valuable weapon.

“It`s still true even today,” he confesses without embarrassment. “I may be a better guitarist now than I was when The Who first started but I`m far from being as technically proficient as I would really like to be.
“What I like about the way that I play,” he explains, “is what I think everyone else likes. I get a particular sound that nobody else quite gets and I play rhythm like nobody else plays – it`s a very cutting rhythm style. Sorta Captain Power-chords!
“I do like to have a bash every now and then at a wailing guitar solo but halfway through I usually fall off the end of the fretboard. I might have a go, but I`ve resigned myself to the fact that I haven`t got what it takes to be a guitar hero.
“Yet funnily enough I don`t really respect that kind of guitar playing. I`ve got no great shakes for Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page. Sure, I love what they do, but it always seems to me that they`re like the Yehudi Menuhins of the rock business. They`re extremely good at what they do, but I`m sure they`d give their right arm to be writers – though not necessarily in my shoes.
“I don`t really feel the showmanship side of my contribution to The Who`s stage show is fundamentally a part of my personality. It`s something that automatically happens.
“Basically, it stems from the very early days when we had to learn to sell ourselves to the public – otherwise nobody would have taken a blind bit of notice of us; and, like many things, it`s been carried on through up until today. Yet I have no doubt that, if we wanted to, we could walk on any stage and stand there without doing all those visual things and still go down well with an audience.”

So why this depressing down-in-the-mouth attitude. Could it stem, I ask Townshend, from the fact that a critic once bemoaned that, in his opinion, The Who, once the true essence of rock`n`roll, now just go through the motions.
“Well, that statement was true – but on the other hand if it`s unqualified then it might as well be ditched. But you`ve put the question to me and now I`ve got to try and qualify that other journalist`s statement.
“To me, the success of any truly great rock song is related to the fact that people who couldn`t really communicate in normal ways can quite easily communicate through the mutual enjoyment of rock music. And that was simply because, for them, it was infinitely more charismatic than anything else around at that time.
“For example, you`re aware that there`s this great wall around adolescence and that they can`t talk freely about their problems because it`s far too embarrassing. Personally, I feel that adolescence lasts much longer than most people realise. What happens is, that people find ways of getting round it and putting on a better show in public. And as they get older they become more confident and find their niche.
“Now why I think that journalist said The Who now only play rock`n`roll is because on most levels rock has become a spectator sport. It`s not so important as a method of expression as it once was. Today something else could quite easily replace it.”

Townshend goes on to concede that rock doesn`t hold as much genuine mystique as it did with previous generations to the extent that the stigma of the social outlaw has almost been eradicated. Those who have tried to become outlaws have failed miserably, hence the last-ditch shock tactics of Alice Cooper and David Bowie.
“For many kids, rock`n`roll means absolutely nothing.” He compares it to switching on a television set, going to the movies or a football match. It`s just another form of entertainment.
“If what the kids do listen to consists entirely of The Bay City Rollers and the Top 10 then it must mean even less than most other similar forms of mass media entertainment because they`re not really listening.
“The real truth as I see it is that rock music as it was is not really contemporary to these times. It`s really the music of yesteryear. The only things that continue to keep abreast of the times are those songs that stand out due to their simplicity”.
An example?
“`My Generation`. A lot of people don`t understand that there`s a big difference between what kids want on stage in relationship to what they actually go out and buy on record.
“Perhaps the reason why so many young kids can still get into The Who in concert is simply because it`s a very zesty, athletic performance. However, if we just restricted our gigs to performing songs we`d just written yesterday and ignored all the old material then I`m positive that we`d really narrow down our audience tremendously.

“I dunno what`s happening sometimes,” he bemoans. “All I know is that when we last played Madison Square Garden I felt acute shades of nostalgia. All The Who freaks had crowded around the front of the stage and when I gazed out into the audience all I could see were those very same sad faces that I`d seen at every New York Who gig. There was about a thousand of `em and they turned up for every bloody show at the Garden, as if it were some Big Event – The Who triumph over New York. It was like some bi-centennial celebration and they were there to share in the glory of it all.
“They hadn`t come to watch The Who, but to let everyone know that they were the original Who fans. They had followed us from the very beginning of `cause it was their night.
“It was dreadful”, Townshend recollects in disgust. “They were telling us what to play. Every time I tried to make an announcement they all yelled out `Shhhrrruppp Townshend and let Entwistle play `Boris The Spider”, and, if that wasn`t bad enough, during the other songs they`d all start chanting `jump…jump…jump…jump…jump`.
“I was so brought down by it all! I mean, is this what it had all degenerated into?
“To be honest, the highest I`ve been on stage last year was when we used to play `Drowned`. That was only because there was some nice guitar work in it… Roger liked singing it and both John and Keith played together so superbly. Really, that was the only time I felt that I could take off and fly.”

Pete Townshend may well have some cause to feel sorry for himself; when the final reckoning comes he`s got a lot to answer for – in particular, the Curse Of The Concept Album.
Though concept albums are by no means new to popular music – Gordon Jenkins and Mel Torme were churning `em out almost a quarter of a century ago – it was “Tommy” (as opposed to “Sgt. Pepper”) which unleashed a deluge of albums built around one specific theme. These ranged from The Fudge`s horrendous “The Beat Goes On” through to J. Tull`s obscure “Passion Play” up to and including Rick Wakeman`s Disneyesque “King Arthur”.
“None of which,” says Townshend, as he bursts into laughter, “work”
Yet as we all know, Townshend himself has had no less than three stabs at the same subject. So how does he view the trilogy in retrospect?
“I don`t. And if you`re going to ask me which one I prefer, I don`t really like any of them very much. I suppose I still like bits of The Who`s original version but, the definitive `Tommy` album is still in my head.”
Perhaps it would be wise to quit this line of questioning and leave Tommy where he is. But Townshend wants the last word.
“I think that everyone in rock shares the same basic urges, and therefore, that it would be very unfair to me to say it`s alright for The `Oo `cause we invented it. I have great doubts about that.

“For instance, when the Big Feedback Controversy was going on in the mid-sixties, Dave Davies and I used to have hilarious arguments about who was the first to invent feedback.
“I used to pull Dave`s leg by saying `we both supported The Beatles in Blackpool and you weren`t doing it then….I bet you nicked it off me when you saw me doing it`. And Dave would scream that he was doing it long before that. Then one day I read this incredible story about Jeff Beck in which he said” – at this juncture, he adopts a retarded Pythonesque android accent – “`Yeah, Townshend came down t`see d`Tridents rehearsing and he saw me using the feedback`…pause…`and copied it`.” Returning to his natural voice, Townshend scowls, “I never ever saw the Tridents and the man is pathetic.
“Obviously, Beck may feel deeply enough that he invented feedback – but for Chrissakes who gives a shit? Why even comment on it? It doesn`t really matter, it`s just a funny noise made by a guitar.”
Townshend goes on to explain that the innovatory part of rock is not necessarily the part that he`s proud of, even though he`s regarded as The Who`s ideas man. “I was trained in graphic design…to be an ideas man…to think up something new and different…like, let`s give a lemon away with the next album!”
Thank you.
“In the early days of The Who we were tagged with gimmicks and subsequently it made me very gimmick-conscious.
“Now if I might return to `Tommy` for a moment…”
But only for a moment.

“…What I think is good about `Tommy` is not that it`s a rock opera or that it`s the first or the last…that`s of course, if you assume that there`s gonna be any more!!”
Don`t worry, there will be. Have a copy of Camel`s “Snow Goose”.
“What I feel is very important about `Tommy` that as a band it was our first conscious departure out of the adolescent area. It was our first attempt at something that wasn`t the same old pilled-up adolescent brand of music. We`d finished with that and we didn`t know which way to go. That`s when we went through that very funny period of `Happy Jack` and `Dogs`.
“It was also a very terrifying period for me as The Who`s only ideas man. For instance, though `I Can See For Miles` was released after `Happy Jack`, I`d written it in 1966 but had kept it in the can for ages because it was going to be The Who`s ace-in-the-hole.
“If you want the truth…”
And nothin` but…
“I really got lost after `Happy Jack` and then when `I Can See For Miles` bombed-out in Britain, I thought `What the hell am I gonna do now?` The pressures were really on me and I had to come up with something very quick and that`s how `Tommy` emerged from a few rough ideas I`d been messing about with.”

And whereas The Beatles had cried that it was impossible to perform “Pepper” in public, the fact that The Who demonstrated that “Tommy” was an ideal stage presentation quickly motivated other bans to mobilise their might for the New Aquarian Age.
With more sophisticated electronic weaponry than they knew how to utilise, the likes of Floyd, Yes, and ELP adopted a more “profound” stance as, in a blaze of strobes, they began to bombard audiences with techno -flash wizardry, pseudo-mystical jargon and interchangeable concepts.
Townshend may have had a helping hand in starting the whole schmear rolling (it sure didn`t rock), but he is adamant in his belief than many alleged “profound” music machines are working a clever con-trick on the public.
“All that they`re really doing is getting together and working out the most complex ideas they can handle, packaging it with pretentious marketing appeal and unloading it on their fans.
“But” – and here comes the get-out clause – “does everything have to hold water? Obviously, it must mean something to the integrity of the band that`s putting it together, but it`s results that count.”
Well the result, as Townshend puts it, has turned many a rock theatre into a dormitory.
“It might be difficult to fall asleep at a Who gig but, I can understand why some bands send their audiences into a coma.
“I don`t like Yes at all.
“I used to like them when Peter Banks was in the line-up, because, apart from being extremely visual, he also played excellent guitar. With so many changes in the line-up, Yes is Jon Anderson`s band and he might be guilty of much of that wishy-washy stuff they churn out – because Jon really is a tremendous romantic. Maybe he believes in the old mystical work, and maybe poetry moves him along – but I`m not concerned either way.”
Just wait until the letters come pouring in.

“It`s like that line in `Punk and The Godfather`…`you paid me to do the dancing.` The kids pay us for a good time, yet nowadays people don`t really want to get involved. Audiences are very much like the kids in Tommy`s Holiday Camp, they want something without working for it.
“That wasn`t the way it used to be.
“The enthusiasm that evolved around The Beatles was enthusiasm as opposed to energy generated by The Beatles.
“You talk to them now about it and they don`t know what happened! It was the kids` enthusiasm for THEM. Now when you see it happening again you can see how utterly strange it must have seemed the first time around.
“For instance, take the amount of energy and enthusiasm that`s currently expended on, say, Gary Glitter… and Gary`s just as confused as everyone else. All he knows is which curler to put on which side of his head – Gary readily admits this, and is all the better for it.
“Get in the middle of a crowd of screamin` kids – it doesn`t matter who they`re screamin` at – and there`s a certain amount of charisma transferred to these people. But then, that`s what fan-mania is really all about.
“When the real charismatic figures like Mick Jagger came along, then I think that rock started to change and THEN the kids began to create their own trends in fashion. The Mods not only used to design their own clothes but sometimes actually to make them; and the fact that they did hum-drum jobs to get money to buy clothes, scooters, records and go to clubs built up this elite. Therefore it wasn`t too long before the artists let that rub off onto them and in that sense, I think The Who were as guilty as anybody else.
“And I`ll tell you why.

“Because in the end we wanted the audiences to turn up to see only us as opposed to the audience being the show and struttin` about like peacocks. We had to be the only reason for them turning up at a Who gig”.
With rock and its peripheral interests having been systematically turned into a multi-million pound consumer industry, Townshend has observed that the customer no longer dictates youth fashion. That`s all down to some designer employed by a multiple chain store.
“Everything nowadays is premeditated. Within days the whole country is flooded with what someone thinks the kids want.”
He believes that the only invigorating youth movement in this country appears to be centred around Wigan`s Northern Soul Scene.
“I wish that would spread more than it has, because I see it as a direct link with the Mod thing. But what is more important is that it`s more philosophical in its attitude about not fighting and not boozing and not smoking. Even though they`re ephemeral things they are nevertheless states of mind which are Very Good Things.
“Like the early Mod thing, this Northern Soul Scene has a fashionable aspect connected with it, but basically it`s concerned with the exact opposite to the Mod preoccupation with getting pilled-up and fighting.
“Funnily enough, I`m still not certain why the original Mod movement was so obsessed with aggro. All I know is that at that time I felt an incredible amount of frustration and bitterness towards society and maybe everyone else felt the same.”

But even as far back as 1968, The Who were somewhat trapped by their own image, when Townshend stated that the thing that had impressed him most was the Mod movement. He had been fired by the excitement of witnessing and subsequently taking an active part in what he felt was the first time in history that youth had made a concerted move towards unity of thought and drive and motive. “It was almost surreal” was how he was quoted at the time.
Somewhere at the turn of the sixties, the youth movement was derailed. Talk of a promised land and the eventual greening of America became suffocated as the consumer industry once again took command, and the Business in showbusiness grabbed the spoils.
When Townshend looks back in time, he can`t help but laugh. “I don`t think they were promises, I think it was just young people promising themselves something… having ambitions to do something… and, if you like, certain rock people were acting as spokesmen. So they are the convenient people to blame. That`s if you want to lay the blame at anyone`s feet.
“Basically, everyone had this mood that something was happening… something was changing. In essence it did, but unfortunately a lot of its impetus was carried off by the drug obsession. Everybody credited everything innovative and exciting to drugs… `yeah man, it`s pot and leapers and LSD, that`s what makes the world great`.

“Then when things turned out to be meaningless and people had missed the bus, they quickly realised that they`d gambled everything on something that had run away. The same thing happened to rock. Rock got very excited and flew off ahead leaving most of its audience behind. The Who went on to do what I feel to be some very brave and courageous things, but in the end the audience was a bit apathetic.
“It was back to what I wrote in `Punk And The Godfather` – you paid me to do the dancing. That`s why when I`m on stage I sometimes feel that I`m too old to be what I`m doing.”
Then, by way of contrast…
“Track by track, the new album that The Who are making is going to be the best thing we`ve ever done. But if people expect another grandiose epic then they ain`t gonna get it. `Cause this time we`re going for a superb single album” Townshend, make your mind up, squire. If the last couple of hours are anything to go by, you`re either – by your own admission – past it, or you`re just after a bit of public feedback.
Ouch. Better not mention that word.


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: Barry White, Manfred Mann, Mud, Led Zeppelin, Ken Hensley, Kevin Ayers, Mike Harding.

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:
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 Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) FROM New Musical Express, May 24, 1975

My last article posted here with YES as the subject predictably attracted the YES-fans in droves. I like their eagerness to read these old articles about their heroes. May it long continue! So, this time, will the Uriah Heep-fans be just as eager? We will find out soon!

Ken Hensley celebrated his 70th birthday this year, and I salute him and thank him for his contribution to all the great music that Uriah Heep have made – life just wouldn`t be the same without it!


Win a Formula Ford 2000!!!

Just collect as many gold top records as lucky winner Ken Hensley

By Tony Stewart

“Racing,” Ken Hensley says as he produces a photograph from his wallet, “is as therapeutic to me as golf is to other people.”
He hands over the snapshot of his pride and joy, a Ford Formula 2000 racing car with modified Pinto engine.
“It`s the alternative to an ulcer,” Ken continues. “If all I had to do and think about was what I do with Uriah Heep and on my own, I`d probably be a drug addict or a looney. Probably both.”
Whizzing round a track at 130 miles per hour keeps you sane? Keeps you off dope? Jackie Stewart must be a well balanced person.
“I`m a great believer in being able to get away from things for a while,” Ken`s saying. “Because when you get back to it, it helps you think clearer. And in the rock and roll business these days with all the temptations laid in front of you, it`s difficult keeping your feet on the ground. `Specially if you`ve made a few bob.
“As soon as you get a few gold records on the wall you tend to move into a different sphere of thinking altogether, which isn`t good for anybody at all.”
It sounds as though he`s referring to other people and not himself, but I can`t help sneaking a glance past his pedigree Persian cat and taking in the sight of three of Hensley`s five cars parked out front. In descending order there`s a Ferrari Dino, a BMW and a Mini. His other BMW is on loan to a friend.

His lounge looks like a musician`s workshop, the walls cluttered with amps and speakers, the floor crammed with a grand piano, synthesisers and guitars. Ken`s buying a bigger house to accommodate his equipment.
And that sentence keeps springing to mind, “As soon as you get gold records on the wall…”
The indulgences of success? You could also say solo albums by people like Hensley fall into the same category. In fact I did, because he`s just released his second, “Eager To Please”.
In discussing this project we`ve stumbled onto his expensive hobby and then onto that tender subject: Ostentatious Rock Stars. It bothers Hensley that one day he may just lose himself and forget who he was originally.
“The only way to assess what success means is how you feel in yourself,” he says. “Do you enjoy having four cars to pay road tax on rather than one, or none, as the case used to be?
“Do you enjoy having the liability of running a racing car?
“Do you enjoy the incredible electricity bills you get from having gadgets all over the house?
“Do you enjoy having to have your grand piano tuned every week?”
Do you want to be a millionaire? God, the pain of it.


“I mean, people can only see this material thing as a gain, but it has tremendous disadvantages that people don`t see, and the biggest disadvantage is that it takes you right off the ground and you lose complete touch with everything that`s real and everything that`s normal.”
He means it. But he likes to believe that although success may have changed his life he could return to poverty street without too much heartache, if necessary.
That, however, seems unlikely, because Ken is no mug and getting back to the subject in hand, “Eager To Please”, it`s discovered that one reason for recording solo was to provide himself with some security, “in case somebody takes away this golden egg called Uriah Heep.”
“It helps me to be contended in the knowledge I`ll be able to continue doing something on my own, though with a lesser degree of success and therefore a lesser degree of material reward. But it would be a job, I wouldn`t be on the dole sort of thing.”

There are other reasons for recording solo though, and as they`re unfolded Hensley shows he has carefully thought about his present and prospective career. Or else he`s been practising answers for the interview.
“It`s a perfect media for establishing exactly where I`m going as an individual, musically, which is important so that I can contribute to the band properly.”
Another reason is relieve the frustrations of having too much material that Heep can`t take on. Talk on this leads back to his earlier reference to establishing an identity.
Another reason is to relieve the frustrations of a tamer me, I feel that, if anything, I`m probably the least heavy member of Uriah Heep and I have an individual identity which I`m keen to establish.
“Being totally realistic about it, achievement within the context of a band is a different thing from achievement in a solo aspect. When one reaches one`s ambitions regularly and fairly quickly as we`ve done, you find other goals to reach for, and I suppose now one of mine is to have success with a solo record.”

But whether the process of establishing his own identity will cause him to leave the group is doubtful, even if he did have considerable commercial success independent of the others.
“I`m not a great gambler,” he comments, “and if I was going to go off on a solo career I`d need a band, and I don`t know if I`d be able to shoulder the responsibility of leading an operation like that.
“Also against individual identity is the safety-in-numbers factor of group identity. Uriah Heep is actually the first band I`ve ever been in where I could actually operate as a member of the band, rather than being THE person. In the Gods I always felt I was responsible for the band.
“With Heep,” he continues, “I feel I can contribute more from the background because David (Byron) is the front man. That gives me a certain amount of security.
“I feel now I`m part of Uriah Heep until the end, until the death,” he states emphatically. “I couldn`t operate as a solo artist while the group was still in existence unless they sacked me, and I had to go and work solo.
“It`s ironical that it`s something I`m looking for, but something which I have no real solution to. An interesting dilemma.”


Elton was Captain Fantastic in 1975!

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: Barry White, Manfred Mann, Mud, Led Zeppelin, Pete Townshend (The Who), Kevin Ayers, Mike Harding.

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:
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.


Well, here we go again with another Yes article, this time a short interview with Steve Howe. I hope y`all like it!


Down on the farm

Howard Fielding talks to Steve Howe

Now that the only people who can afford country estates are pop stars, I thought I`d do an interview with a musician for one of those earthy farming magazines – `Artificial Inseminator`s Weekly` was the one I had in mind. But Steve Howe was the wrong man to pick – all he can talk about is guitars – so here we are in SOUNDS again.
The scene was all right, in the heart of Somerset pastureland, and the farm we were on was for sale. Steve did stroll round the fields, conversed briefly with the odd calf, but clearly preferred the feel of the slenderer necks of his Gibsons. Mind you, it was my own fault. Having just seen the second Yes concert at Bristol the night before, it seemed a good idea to start off with a reference to the battery of guitars used at the concert.
It only took half a query, and Steve had flashed out an antique guitar catalogue of the 1920s, and was enthusing about his collecting mania – harp mandolins and all.


After a struggle I got him round to the present tour, and showed puzzlement that the material selected dated back as far as `The Yes Album`, and that he still played `Mood For A Day` and `The Clap` as his virtuoso sections. That`s apparently because the band have featured the new stuff in America on recent tours, and felt they`d like a change. Since they hadn`t played in England for so long also, the set chosen had public reaction in mind.
It`s more popular and more before the kill, “It`s all to do with composition.” My mind is still a mess of frets, fingerboards, C-sharps and B-flats, pick-ups and plugs and the thickness of notes and thinness of bodies – but it`s really quite simple.
Every time a new set of music was to be written for an album, Steve sat down with the guitar of the moment, and the music evolved from the idiosyncratic features and capacities of that particular instrument. So `The Yes Album` is mostly Gibson 175; `Fragile` is Gibsons Switchmaster; `Topographic` is Les Paul Junior (single pick-up, please note), `Close To The Edge` is Gibson Stereo; and `Relayer` is Fender Telecaster. Spefic extra items merit other special guitars, but the bulk of any album concentrates on one guitar only.


Granted the intimacy thus created between songs and guitar, it seems almost rewarding to play familiar songs, and anyway, he pointed out, Yes don`t just play their material routinely – there are lots of subtle changes and variations.
Ho-hum, I thought, he`d have to say something like that. So the next line of attack was to be more penetrating. If the band now play what suits the audience, could it be that they had lost their way in terms of leading their followers, and were going round in circles? Perhaps a little hint, too, that the latest material wasn`t as good as the old – was a little too close to a Yes stereotype?
I could see straightaway he`d answered that before, as he gently implied that such comments reflected a lack of discrimination in the ears of the critics. In fact he said that the next Yes album would be more `Yes-like` still, if possible. It`s to be another double which will be so much a step towards the band`s ultimate ideal that it will displace the old material. It`s to be an `expedition` – a pioneering exploit going far beyond the previous parameters of their music, and far outstripping the present production, presentation, and stage techniques.
So I thought just one more chance before I yield to this nice, modest but too clever young man. What about all those guitars on stage? Could the audience really differentiate between them? All 10 of them?


Couldn`t it be just a little extrovert?
“Ah, well,” he said, pausing blasphemous to have suggested that he could play the piece on anything other than the original instrument. I had to agree. Quite right, Steve, fair enough, use as many as you like.
I was capitulating, when he melted by boots with the remark that he thought it was all getting a bit silly, really, and he was going to cut down in future and develop a consistent single guitar approach, using things like phase switches and other unmentionables to vary the tone and texture. He`s even practising a `thin body style` – more funky, see.


He just kept going on after that, and was still mouthing about acoustic resonance when I left discreetly, feeling a little slack-jawed myself. Still, it came in useful, this humility, when I came out of the third Yes concert and stepped into a queue of Bay City Rollers sleeping bags waiting overnight for tickets.
Less stern stuff, I thought; pen in hand. “Do you hope to grow up one day?” “Who are the best group in the world?” “Aren`t you cold?” With incredible economy of mind and body, she flashed back the answer to all questions in a single word, “Yes”. It`s sad that one so young should be so wise.


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: Roxy Music, Steve Hillage, Bobby Bland, Maria Muldaur, Barry White, Allen Toussaint, Nils Lofgren, Bay City Rollers, Neil Young, Dave Greenslade, Status Quo, BTO, Link Wray, Ladies in rock, Hedgehog Pie, Van Der Graaf Generator.

This edition is sold.

ARTICLE ABOUT Bachman Turner Overdrive FROM SOUNDS, May 17, 1975

Well, my dear friends of this musical blog – what has been happening since my last post? Well, on monday the blog almost didn`t have room for everyone coming here. It just EXPLODED with hits, and a lot of them were reading about Ian Hunter. My guess is that someone posted a link to my blog on a forum for Hunter-fans on Facebook. To whoever that did it – it went really well, you have showed me the power of the Hunters. And He saw that they were good and powerful. So I can never skip any articles with Hunter in the future – I must transcribe everything from here on. ;-)
In the meantime, on Twitter, the REAL Mick Ralphs have been making friends with me – and I am deeply humbled by that act of kindness from such an important musical figure. He is following in the footsteps of other musicians of greatness, like Roger Fisher (Ex-Heart), Punky Meadows (Angel) and Lita Ford (if they haven`t unfriended me since the last time I checked). While it is a great honour to be friends with these legends of rock`n`roll, I am also just as grateful to those of you readers, while not so famous but equally talented in other ways, that visit this blog and gives me the motivation to keep going on. Thank you – now enjoy this next article – this time about those sturdy Canadians in BTO!


`eard the one about the Randy Mormon?

Peter Makowski face to face with Bachman Turner Overdrive

There seems to be an inexplicable, invisible but understandable line of hypocrisy running between Randy Bachman the musician and Randy Bachman the person. Inexplicable because it doesn`t relate to or affect the band`s music which relies on sheer sympathetic energy between musicians devoid of any contrivance; understandable because after being in the business for so long barriers of cynicism are expected to appear.
With Bachman it`s not cynicism, it`s a thorough logistic assessment of how the music business should be run, which in his verbal dialogue might sound a little cold and precise but on paper couldn`t be truer.
Talking to Bachman is like talking to a manager who is willing to give you the facts. And I think it`s from this hard-earned experience that this little, unknown Canadian band have become big business in such a short space of time.
Bachman sat in contemplative pose, looking like a lumberjack guru, when I spoke to him in his hotel prior to BTO`s performance at the Glasgow Apollo.


Saying that Bachman is Mormon, doesn`t drink, doesn`t smoke, doesn`t pull chicks on the road and is a rock and roll star is almost a contradiction in itself. But maybe that could at the same time account for his clear headedness. Although externally his appearance is burly and aggressive all in all he seems to be quite a composed, laid back character.
The band have recently recorded a new album titled appropriately enough `Four Wheel Drive`. “It`s a progression for us,” Bachman reported happily, “nothing like heavy jazz rock like Yes who I think are a very progressive group. It`s a progression for us because we`re playing different kinds of rock and roll songs. Rock and roll songs go on for ever, we`re just exploring.
“We`ve had different, slight changes, but I find the people like basic rock and we`re selling to basic rock audiences. I could play really heavy guitar if I wanted to, classical or country `cause I grew up learning all that stuff. I could do it and I could probably expand our audience by another 10 per cent, but I`d lose 10 per cent who are buying what we`ve got now, so it`s a losing battle trying to please new people.
“I don`t believe in pleasing critics because they get their albums free and all they do is tear them apart, all I want to do is please the people who are buying our stuff.”
Has the recent recession in America (the band`s biggest money spinner) affected them at all?
“We were lucky,” Bachman replied, almost sounding grateful, “the recession doesn`t affect top products of any country. By the top products I don`t mean the best, I mean what the people want. There`s just been a recession in the States yeah, but nobody`s stopped buying beer, nobody`s stopped going out to concerts.
“All the three group shows, where we headlined, became two group shows, we were still on the top, we still got our money, we were still sellouts.”

As I mentioned before a lot of BTO`s success is derived from Bachman`s experiences and observation. In fact before BTO, when he played with the once top Canadian band Guess Who, Bachman spent a lot of time researching commercial records to see if it would help him come up with the right ingredients for a hit record, which it did.
“When I was in the Guess Who,” recalled Bachman, “we used to study obviously Lennon and McCartney, Brian Wilson and Georgie Fame. We used to study composers and very commercial groups `cause in those days there were no underground selling groups. You either had a single or you were gone.
“In Brave Belt, which eventually became BTO, we listened to other types of commercial group and that was the type of group who had wide appeal albums and singles – the Who, Creedence, Rolling Stones, Cream – simple groups who, if they were commercial, were not selling out.
“There are commercial bands like Paper Lace, Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods who get together and write commercial songs, we don`t do that. We put together good album music, throw the album out on the market and usually a radio station picks up on a single and I`ll edit it.



“This is usually the case except for our new single called `Hey You`. We anticipated it being a single almost from the start, it just had a certain element that `Ain`t Seen Nothing Yet` had. And I don`t feel bad in doing that, trying to follow the success of a commercial single, because we`ve had all the album success and by having one we don`t seem to lost the other.”
It seems in America (and almost everywhere else come to think of it) that rock sensations come and go before you can say tricky Dicky Nixon, they`re in and out of the charts with a bullet. I asked Bachman to explain their sustaining their success.
“I think if you look at the bands that have come and gone you can pinpoint the exact moment they`ve gone. When they decide to do something heavy, something drastic. You get a simple rock group like us, if we try to do something like King Arthur and his magical knights of the round table, you know Houdini`s magic show, we`d just lose our fans. If we keep doing what comes naturally then we`ll be okay.

“You look at a group who have been obliterated. It could be managerial problems. I agree a lot of rock and roll bands go under pressure and strains but we don`t have any of them. We make the basic decisions deciding what we`re going to do, how long we`re going out for. Our manager comes with us on the road and when we`re tired of being on the road, then he`s just as tired.
“We don`t have a fat New York manager in a Cadillac with his briefcase and cigar saying `give me my percentage, stay out another month, you`re doing great`. I`ve gone through this with Guess Who.
“We don`t have any of those problems because our manager is like a part of the group, he travels with us, he thinks how we think because we have very open discussions. When it`s down to making a decision he basically knows what we want to do, how long we want to work, how much money we want to make, once you make enough money there`s no point in going crazy and have ten million dollars compared to two million.


“When you can buy anything you want it doesn`t matter how much excess money you have. That`s not really why we`re happy. We`re happy because we have a very good schedule, we enjoy the music we`re playing and we enjoy relating to the people that are buying our product.
“A good case of managerial problems is Buffalo Springfield, they were one of America`s greats and one of my favourite bands. When they found that they were one of the biggest underground bands and heading to being one of THE big groups they all looked around and said `you know we`re broke, we don`t have enough to pay our rent or buy guitar strings`.
“They ended it because they didn`t like their management. That`s one reason why a group doesn`t last and the other is some drastic artistic change, and we`ll never drastically change, if we evolve it`ll be something natural.”
As Bachman indicated earlier, he seems to have varied amounts of musical influences and the last time I interviewed him he was promising a solo album. I asked him when this project would crystalise.
“I probably won`t do it for a while. I don`t want to do it while I`m on the road and we`re in the process of building our own studio, we have to decide which country it`s going to be in because there`s quite a few implications with Canadian and American recordings and I`m not going to start on a solo album until I`ve done a BTO album in the studio.
“If I do a solo album, it`ll be something drastic,” Bachman concluded…not that drastic because I want it to sell.”

The debut of what became a very big band - Journey!

The debut of what became a very big band – Journey!

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: Roxy Music, Steve Hillage, Bobby Bland, Maria Muldaur, Barry White, Allen Toussaint, Nils Lofgren, Bay City Rollers, Neil Young, Dave Greenslade, Status Quo, Yes, Link Wray, Ladies in rock, Hedgehog Pie, Van Der Graaf Generator.

This edition is sold.