Month: March 2014

ARTICLE ABOUT Jimmy Page FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, APRIL 21, 1973

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.

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Jimmy Page, the mild Barbarian

By James Johnson

Jimmy Page`s slightly timid, mild-mannered exterior is of course, deceptive. There`s no need to explain how Led Zeppelin come across on stage, while in between concerts – on the road – they`ve long been renowned for a little loose living, as hotel managers across the world will surely testify.
“Barbarians was how we were once described,” says Page, a slight gleam in his eyes. “I can`t really deny it”.
Those excesses aside. Zeppelin have always been the ultimate in anti-stars, relentlessly avoiding publicity or anything that could divert them from simply laying down their music.
Little has changed, except in a small way with a set of lights and new stage set-up prepared in readiness for their forthcoming American tour.

But even this, as Jimmy Page explains with only mild interest spreading across his almost schoolboyish face, is hardly a revolutionary step.
“It`s nothing phenomenal. It`s just that we`ve never really had any lights before, so we thought it might be fun and add a little extra atmosphere.
“Everybody else has been doing it for years but, before, we`ve always let the music speak for itself.”

It`s also well known that Page`s opinion of rock journalists isn`t too high, which perhaps helps to explain why last week he appeared so cool and reserved, picking his words as carefully as a guitar line.
At present, perhaps he has more reason to be more antagonistic towards the press after recent heavy criticism of Zeppelin`s new album, “Houses Of The Holy”.
But if Page was on the defensive, it didn`t show. Bad reviews don`t worry him.
“I don`t really care. It doesn`t really make any difference. I`m deaf to the album now because we made it such a long time ago, but I know there`s some good stuff there.
“You can`t dismiss something like `No Quarter` or the `Rain Song` out of hand. Maybe you could attack `The Crunge` or `D`yer Maker` for being a bit self-indulgent. But they`re just a giggle. They`re just two send-ups.
“If people can`t even suss that out, on that superficial a level, then obviously you can`t expect them to understand anything else on the album. It beats me, but I really don`t give a damn.

Page feels that Zeppelin`s raunchier hard rock numbers like “Whole Lotta Love”, represent only a small area of what the band have been doing on record.
“There`s been a general maturity that was showing by the third album, which a lot of people haven`t been able to come to terms with. For me, the third album was very, very good and still had more of an attack than anything before.
“But obviously, people have this preconceived notion of what to expect, and when a band is constantly in a state of change – and that doesn`t mean lack of direction but a natural change – then they can`t come to terms with it because each album is different from the last.
“How they should approach our albums is to forget they ever heard of a band called Led Zeppelin, forget about what they expect to hear, and just listen to what`s on that particular record. That`s all we ask, but we don`t get it.”

Even so, it seems that it`s the hard rock side of Led Zeppelin that remains the most popular. Says Page: “The rock and roll is in all four of us, and on stage that`s what comes through.”
Yet somehow it`s not represented much on the new album?
“In fact, we had two tracks – one called `The Rover` and another, unnamed – that we were going to use, both of which were really hard rock.
“We`ll probably use them next time, possibly re-writing one of them, but still keeping the essence.”

Clearly, as always with Led Zeppelin, there was no shortage of material when they came to record “Houses Of The Holy”.
“When we went into the studio, we had no set ideas on how we wanted the album to turn out. We just recorded the ideas we had at that particular time. We just got together and let it come out. There are never ever any shortages or stagnant periods.
“I write a lot at home, and I`m fortunate in having a studio set-up where I can try things out. Lately I`ve been experimenting with chords a lot more, and have tried a few unusual voicings. There are several ways material can come to the band, but it`s always there.”

Surprisingly perhaps being a supremely capable musician in his own right outside the context of Led Zeppelin, Page doesn`t find himself writing anything, maybe for his own satisfaction, that might never be used by the band.
“If I find a number coming that I know wouldn`t be suitable, I scrap it” he says. “I stop working on it from that moment on.”

And apart from the odd session he does “as a favour for friends”, it seems that Page`s energy is totally committed to Led Zeppelin. He can`t see himself ever wanting to play in another band, or in another line-up.
“Nothing else would gell together so nicely,” he states firmly. “I know it would be a mistake to break it up because you see it happening to other bands. They split, and what comes after doesn`t work nearly as well.
“The chemistry isn`t there. And if it`s there in the beginning, then it`s criminal to break it up.”

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In many ways, Page has always been a “one band man”. His only other band was the Yardbirds which, in a sense, was the forerunner of Led Zeppelin anyway.
He admits he wouldn`t have missed those days in the Yardbirds, but chooses his words diplomatically when it comes to talking about the troubles the band suffered, especially between personnel.
Of Jeff Beck, with whom he played in the Yardbirds during the band`s last year, he contents himself with the comment: “I used to get on very well with him at the time, and I admire him as a musician.”

He continues: “Basically the Yardbirds are, for me, a mixture of good and bad memories. There were certainly some magic moments and it was a great time to be playing, with new material coming to the public`s ears.
“It was great when we had two lead guitars with Jeff Beck, but there`s little evidence of it left on record. There was `Happenings Ten Years Time` which I feel went over a lot of heads in Britain, although it perpetuated the Yardbirds reputation in America. They were always into the more lyrical side of what we were doing.
“Also there was one horrible live album that was going to be released, which was recorded by a man who spent most of his time recording stuff like Manuel`s Music of the Mountains.
“I remember he put just one microphone over the drums, and that was over the top so there was no bass drum at all, which showed how much he knew about it. Obviously the album had to be stopped.
“It was unfortunate, though, that no live stuff was ever recorded properly.”

Page, of course, has always been best known for his work on electric guitar, which has perhaps overshadowed anything he`s done on acoustic, even though he`s featured acoustic playing on every Zeppelin album.
He says he has to treat the two instruments differently. “Simply because of the mechanics of the guitars. I don`t personally think the finger style works on an electric guitar. You just get overtones and harmonics coming out. It doesn`t sound right at all.
“Then again, an electric guitar can work for you. It can start singing on its own through the electronics, which you can`t engineer on an acoustic guitar. They`re two totally different fields. Personally, I find them both equally as fascinating.

“Probably my greatest influence on acoustic guitar is Bert Jansch, who was a real dream-weaver. He was incredibly original when he first appeared, and I wish now that he`d gone back to things like `Jack Orion` once again. His first album had a great affect on me.
“Undoubtedly, my affection and fascination for the guitar is just as strong as it`s ever been. After all, everyone`s approach to the instrument is so totally different.
“There are so many styles of playing to listen to and to get off on. You can`t help but be totally involved with it. I`m still coming to terms with the instrument even now.”

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In 1973 car radios ruled, and radio stations were even more powerful than today.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Stackridge, Argent, Traffic, Steeleye Span, Ry Cooder, John Bundrick (Free), Latin music, Keith Emerson, Captain Beefheart, Steve Miller.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Status Quo FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, APRIL 7, 1973

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. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog!

It is a wonder that I haven`t printed any articles about Status Quo before as they have been on the music scene since the early 60s. One of the biggest bands in England, loved and treasured by everyone from denim-wearing working class people to the Royal family. Still going today – catch them if you can!

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The irresistible rise of Status Quo

Steve Clarke checks out the band`s special brand of kick-in-the back rock

It`s just turned half past six, well over an hour to go before the doors open, and a queue is already beginning to form outside St. Albans` City Hall.
Out front, too, the presence of the band`s maroon Austin Princess signifies that Status Quo are also present, going through a tuning up ritual that has been known to turn into a three hour stint.
Why the crowd has arrived so early, it`s difficult to tell. Maybe they don`t believe the “Sold Out” signs, and are waiting on the off-chance of exchanging their £1s for a ticket.
Tonight`s St. Albans` gig is just one of a string of British dates which have consolidated Status Quo as one of the country`s top live rock acts. Every date except one has sold out, and audience reactions are amazing, verging on riot-like proportions.

But it hasn`t always been so easy for Quo who, at ten years old, must be one of rock`s longest surviving acts. They first came to attention with an exercise in lightweight psychedelia called “Pictures of Matchstick Men”. When “Ice In The Sun” followed, it looked like Quo had established themselves, at least as a singles band. But little was heard of them until some years later, they emerged as a boogie band accepted, latterly, by the heavies and boppers alike.

“I don`t think `Matchstick Men` was a bopper record”, says a healthy-looking Mike Rossi. “It was a record. When we made it, we didn`t say: `Right, there are teeny boppers, there are this and there are that`. We just made the record. We didn`t even think it was going to be a hit.”
“In fact”, adds Quo`s other guitarist Rick Parfitt, “it was originally intended as a `B` side.”
There`s still no doubt that Quo attract a young audience. At the tour`s opening gig in Chatham, the average age of the audience couldn`t have been much more than 12. At St. Albans, I`d say it was nearer 15/16.

“There`s nothing wrong with young kids,” says Rossi. “We had someone come in the dressing room the other night saying what`s all these boppers doing here, as though there was something wrong with them. It doesn`t matter to us what age they are, as long as they dig it.”
Parfitt takes up the theme: “I mean we dig it. We can hear it and we can feel it. I`m sure other people would, too, if they took time, rather than just put the record on and say: `Oh yeah it`s Status Quo so it`s got to be ballsy. It`s got to be like rock and boogie and it`s got to be moving fine. Oh yeah, take it on the face of it.` They don`t try to get into it.”

Over those ten years, say Rossi and Parfitt, the thought of splitting never entered their minds. Even when they weren`t exactly pulling in the crowds.
“We had a dangerous spell in `69 when there was nothing happening. We were just doing working clubs, and there were hardly any people coming to see us. But it just built again from there, without records or albums”, says Rossi. “We never thought of splitting.”
Parfitt: “We`ve been together a long time, and everybody gets confidence in one another. Perhaps we would have thought about splitting if we`d have realised our predicament. But we didn`t realise how down we were.”
One of the refreshing things about Status Quo is their naturalness – success hasn`t gone to their heads. The fact that they`ve remained the four cockney lads they`ve always been and has undoubtedly had something to do with their appeal.

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“We don`t feel any different now `cos we`re big,” says Rossi. “The only difference is the number of people we see out there. We`ve made it to a certain extent, but there`s always a long way to go and there`s a lot more in us.” Not that the Quo`s progress hasn`t been accompanied by a goodley share of knockers. One reviewer described the band as “musically atrocious.”
While this doesn`t bring the band down, it does annoy them.
“Before the success of the band, people that used to write about us were mainly people who liked us. Now there seem to be those who write about the band who don`t necessarily want to. It`s just a job to them.
“Even if a reviewer doesn`t like it, he should at least say the kids dug it”, says Rossi.
And “musically atrocious”? says Rossi: “They`re talking a load of crap, cos most people don`t know anyway. Music is a thing that comes from the heart. It`s about feeling. I know that sounds corny, but it`s true.

“Someone once said that most of the great pieces of music have been diabollically simple and musically atrocious. We play basic, simple kind of things, but that doesn`t mean we`re musically atrocious.”
Parfitt: “If we tried to be musically more technical, we`d lose the feel that we get.”
And that`s really what Status Quo are all about. Like Parfitt says, the music kicks you in the back.
From the minute the band steps on stage, the audience surges forward as though someone was throwing £1 notes from the stage. And once they`re up on their feet, they don`t sit down again until they leave the gig. A Quo audience puts as much into a gig as the band themselves, and that`s a helluva lot.

From the balcony of the City Hall, the audience is like a seething mass of tentacles. Beneath, the Quo just pound out a relentless boogie.
Rossi stalks the stage like he owns it, squeezing the last note out of his guitar and then, with a quick upward thrust, flicking his hair back to return to his original position. Between numbers, he achieves a cunning report with the audience.
“Has anybody got the `Dog` album?” he shouts. The audience responds automatically. “I want yer all to dance up and down and wiggle yer arses”.
Audience reaction is already causing concern among certain promoters, as Rossi points out later: “We`ve had a lot of trouble with heavies. They think we`re taunting the audience. There`s all sorts of messages come up from the side of the stage telling them to sit down, but it`s pointless trying to tell them.

“Once an audience is up, you can`t tell them to sit down again. At Leeds, all of a sudden, the audience just surged. I`ve never seen anything like it…
“At one gig this guy got up on stage with us and the heavies dragged him off by his hair and just slung him out into the street. That`s terrible. He came up to me afterwards and said: `Sign this for me man I was the one who got thrown out! You knew which one he was because he was bald.”

At St. Albans, Quo encore with the Doors “Road Hog Blues” and “Johnny Be Goode”. Only the house lights save the band from another encore.
As I make my way backstage, Quo freaks are already milling round the dressing-room area. There`s a kind of embarrassment about the fans, mostly female, as they shyly ask for posters, programmes and anything else which can be autographed. One young lady is even flourishing a No. 6 cigarette coupon for signature.
Some nights, the band will have another blow in their dressing-room after the gig.
But tonight it`s just a case of unwinding, before joining their wives for the drive home in the maroon limo. You just know that Status Quo have earned every inch of chrome on that car.

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I have always liked badgers. Too bad the band of the same name failed to do too much impact even though there was a lot of money spent on full page ads.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Don McLean, Harry Nilsson, Manassas, The Yardbirds, Supremes, Brinsley Schwarz, Faces, Frank Zappa, Spirit, Rory Gallagher, Procol Harum, Larry Coryell.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Slade FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, FEBRUARY 24, 1973

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. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog!

I started this blog with an interview with Slade, and now I think it is time yet again. Listen to one Mr. Dave Hill on top of the world at the start of 1973. They were quite an attraction at this point in time!

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Superyob – I`m a freak attraction

Dave Hill talking to Keith Altham

He comes on stage with Slade like an overdecorated, perambulating Christmas tree – smothered in silver-stars, gold and glitter from head to toe – but somehow he never minces into the realm of the camp.

What he does is counter Noddy Holder`s version of a Space-Age bully with his own interpretation of Superyob.
Dave Hill is showman first and guitarist second by his own admission, but front-line men with his special brand of cavalier style and confidence are essential to any band trying to snare and retain the public`s attention.
Jagger was the supreme example of this type of rock-theatrics, despite the fact that in more recent years his reputation has been enhanced by that ethnic ingredient “blues” appeal.

What Dave Hill set out to do was to make himself a personality in a group which no one could ignore, and, if he never topped a guitarist poll, it wasn`t going to worry him too much in his formative years.
No one worried overmuch about the Beatles instrumental ability in their early days, Hill reasoned, so why should he at a time when Slade`s music is not meant to be anything more than fun.
“There are so many good guitarists in this business that if you can`t go out on stage and deliver, you might as well be dead,” says Hill.
“There`s only one Eric Clapton who can afford to lay back, but even he surrounds himself with musicians who project something more.
“I made up my mind some time ago that I really just wanted to help focus attention on the band, and I`ve worked at it and exaggerated my own style.
“I`ve always been a bit flash and all I had to do was get up enough nerve to go on stage and be as outrageous as I felt.

“The four guys in the band are really a very good cross-section of what our audience are like, and we`re really a good mix of working, upper, middle and lower class. There`s always an element in young people who want to dress up and be exhibitionists – I`m just one of them.
“I`m really not a pretty character because what I put over is more brutish, and it can only be a reflection of the music which has a hard masculine feel about it. I couldn`t be camp if I tried, because my background is working class and I`m tough at heart. Someone described me once as looking like an off duty navvy from 2001.
“Don`t get the impression that I think I`m any more responsible for Slade`s success than Jimmy, Nod or Don. I`m just trying to get over what I think my contribution is. Slade only really works because it`s a perfect balance. While there are four of us I can`t see us missing. If one dropped out it would be the end of the group.

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“I know some people seem to resent what they think is arrogance, but then you`ve got to expect a certain amount of that if you come on strong.
“I get a few who come looking for a fight, like the idiot who started throwing chips at me while I was sitting in my car in Wolverhampton recently. I just got out and faced him down. I don`t look for trouble but I won`t run either.
“You get problems with your private life, but then, that`s to be expected. I still go to places I want, like Working Men`s Clubs in Wolverhampton, and if I get a few odd stares and pestered for autographs, so what – that`s part of the game. I`m a freak attraction.
“The only thing that really makes me puke are the copyists – those groups who think that the way to succeed is by imitating everyone else.
“There`s only one way, and that is to be original – be yourself.

“The image only really works if you have something to back it up with, and I think the results in the NME Poll have proved that we do.
“As long as our singles and albums are selling more each time, and as long as the people are turning out to hear us, we must have something more to offer than just the way we look.
“Best `live` group must mean there are a lot of people getting some sort of charge out of us which has little to do with the glitter.
“What really helps is when someone like Pete Townshend puts in a good word for us – I was reading a feature recently where he said Slade reminded him of the Who in their early days.
“From someone like him, that really means something, and if we were to pick out our favourite `live` rock and roll group it would be the Who. And I`m not saying that just because he had a few good words to say about Slade.

“We`re not really interested as a band in improving our own stature as musicians – we`re only interested in entertaining and giving our audiences a good time. We don`t feel the need to educate them.
“We`ve recorded some numbers which we`ve deliberately held back because we feel they are too clever – too indulgent for our fans at the moment. As we get older as a group then we hope to take those fans with us as we change.”

When a group becomes as popular as Slade are at the moment, a possible over-exposure becomes a real threat.
“Can you have too much of a good thing?” asks Hill innocently when you raise the subject. “I mean, so long as people think it`s still good. I really don`t think we could afford to throw a moody and play hard to get, because while we were taking a six months break someone would nip in and steal our audience.
“I don`t think the Beatles ever really stopped. Even when they finished with touring they were always there – in the papers, in the news, doing films or appearing on TV.”
You`ll find the Beatles are a constant reference in the Slade`s comparative values department. Do they really believe that they could be that big?
“What`s the point in aiming for anything but the top,” says Hill. “If you set your sights any lower, you can only achieve something smaller.
“You just take a look at what sort of figures the champions have set, and go for a World Record. The way we are going, I personally can`t see us missing.”

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Those were the days of full page ads for Slade! With THAT single they just couldn`t miss.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Led Zeppelin, Jan Akkerman, David Bowie, Strawbs, Traffic, Pete Townshend, Chuck Berry, Back Door, Guess Who, Alice Cooper.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, JANUARY 20, 1973

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. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog!

Some interesting points in this interview – espescially seen in a historic light. As usual I try not to tamper too much with the original text, and some of the most enlightened of you will notice a couple of mistakes when reading it through. It has nothing to do with me – it was there in the original article!
Have a nice read!

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THE ELTON JOHN INTERVIEW

KEN EVANS recently visited New York at the invitation of Elton John especially to see his performance at Carnegie Hall which was an outstanding success. In this interview Ken talks to Elton about his `live` performances, past and future.

Ken Evans: Carnegie Hall, New York, has been the scene of many big concerts. Last year Elton John spelled such a huge hit there he promised to return soon. He did just that last November and if anything `72 eclipsed `71. Elton, you really have good cause to love New York haven`t you and especially Carnegie Hall?

Elton: Well this is the smallest venue we have played in on the tour but last year it was such a magical place. You kinda walk into the Carnegie Hall and it`s just got the right sort of feeling in it and we`ve got to play in it next year. We`ve already played in New York once on the tour but we came back to do just two days here.

Ken: You love New York probably more than any other city in America?

Elton: No, not at all! The audiences in New York really drive me crazy. I think the audiences are a breed of their own. I think they`re really crazy. But I would prefer working on the West coast of America where there`s a bit of sunshine.
New York is a place to get out of once you`ve been there for three or four days. I don`t mind it now – but I used to hate it.

Ken: I noticed you included very early in the programme a new song called “Daniel”.

Elton: It`s off the new album called “Don`t Shoot Me, I`m Only The Piano Player” which will be released at the end of january, world wide, and is the single to follow up “Crocodile Rock”.

Ken: Why did you choose “Daniel” as the single?

Elton: When we did the album, “Daniel” was always going to be the single until we did “Crocodile Rock”, which was one of those freak things when you try and recreate something. Usually, it never works but everything fell into place on that one.
“Daniel” is a grower, it`s not an instant single. But most people who`ve heard it two or three times around the house, have gone away singing it. Also, it`s quite different from “Crocodile Rock”.

Ken: What made Dick James upset about the choice of “Daniel” as a single?

Elton: “Crocodile Rock” was already taken from the new album, and Dick didn`t want another song from it released. But I wanted it out, whether it`s a hit or not. As far as I`m concerned, it`s one of the best songs we`ve written. He said “no” and I more or less forced him to put it out. So he said “Right, I`m not going to advertise it and as far as I`m concerned, I`m disowning it.” I told him that I was going to take full page ads in the trade papers. But the funny thing is he said he will pay for the ads if the song makes the top ten. Christ, isn`t that nice?

Ken: That song (“Crocodile Rock”) was the one that really got you away in Britain. Until then I suppose your success really meant America. What were your feelings about that? Were you annoyed to think that Britain followed America in this regard?

Elton: No, I wasn`t really annoyed at all because we happened so quickly in America. I was sort of coming up in England, you know gradually working my way doing something and then we came over here and Wam Bam! – it all happened. Then we went back to England and it all happened. No, I`m not really worried at all. You know, it`s just one of those things.

Ken: Elton, what`s the story behind “Levon”? It`s a beautiful song.

Elton: Well, “Levon” is one of Bernie`s lyrics. It`s about a guy who just gets bored doing the same thing.
It`s just somebody who gets bored and just fed up with blowing up balloons and he just wants to get away from it but he can`t because it`s the family ritual thing you know. Well, that`s really the story behind that.

Ken: Your first album, Elton, was a live session. Any plans to record one of your concerts at Carnegie Hall for example?

Elton: That wasn`t the first album, the first album was “Empty Sky”, the live album was about the fourth. I don`t like live albums very much.
I was pleased with the way that ours came out because we didn`t have any pre-conceived ideas of recording a “live” album.
But, I don`t know, you`d really have to record a concert on five or six nights to get the best because so many things could go wrong each night.
There`s been so many, and so few good “live” albums, it`s just a rehash of old material, so I`d rather do new material.

Ken: I noticed that on the piano at Carnegie Hall you had a picture of Doris Day. Was there any significance in this?

Elton: Not really. Legs Larry Smith and I went out in Montreal and went to Woolworths and found the most amazing junk you could find, I mean it had been there for years, it was all dusty, and we found a great picture of Elvis Presley and a great picture of Doris Day so we decided to buy it and Legs just stuck it on the piano one night and it`s been there ever since.
It`s been the sort of mascot for the tour.

Ken: Does she know anything about it?

Elton: I don`t think so. She keeps me company up there!

Ken: Has it been as successful everywhere else in America as it was at Carnegie?

Elton: Oh yes, the kids can`t believe Legs, he`s crazy anyway, and as soon as he came out with his crash helmet with the wedding couple on top, they just couldn`t believe it.
They don`t expect it, they don`t expect to see a tap dancer come on. Yes, it`s been really nice, it just came at the point in the set where everybody`s, well if there`s any ice left to break, it completely breaks it. Everybody has to smile at that.

Ken: Do you vary the show from town to town?

Elton: Not that much, no. We`ve had to vary it some nights when we`ve had to play a shorter set when we`ve got a plane to catch, usually we play for 2 1/4 hours.
But really it`s been the same format for the tour, and then every tour we change formats because we couldn`t play the same numbers all the time. For example, “Take Me To The Pilot”. We won`t do it any more because we`re so fed up with playing it, so we`ve got new numbers ready to work in, but you can`t play all new numbers in a set because people come to hear the ones they like.
It`s a bit infuriating playing the same number for two years!

Ken: Earlier last year I saw you performing at London`s Festival Hall. Now that was a completely different type of show to the one you`ve just given at Carnegie Hall. It was at that concert that you first played the music from “Honky Chateau”.
Did everything go in that concert the way you wanted it to go?

Elton: Yes, it was a bit of a trial and tribulation, it always is with an orchestra, but from the group`s point of view it was the first time that David Johnston had played on stage with us.
We`d just finished making the album when we came out and gambled and played more or less the whole album for the first set, didn`t play any old songs. It was received very well, but the orchestra part was very nerve-racking because there`s such a barrier between pop musicians and classical musicians. I was glad when it was over.
It was like a two weeks nightmare building up to it because it was such a hassle to get together.
We rehearsed for three days and it was still a nightmare. I mean, I enjoyed it in the end, it was a great experience, but I don`t think I`ll be repeating it again.
Life`s too short to go through all those dramas, I think.

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Ken: “Honky Cat” was, of course, from “Honky Chateau”. Did it go over that night the way you hoped that it would, because I thought myself that was the one that stood out.

Elton: “Honky Chateau” is the title of the album and “Honky Cat” was a smash in America and it was the first track on the album. It was the stand out track on the album as far as air play went even though “Rocket Man” sold more.

Ken: I think you took everyone in the audience at Carnegie Hall by surprise by starting a very spectacular song and dance setting of “Singing In The Rain” with chorus girls and all the full Hollywood bit. Now this is a departure isn`t it from what you`ve been doing before?

Elton: Yes, I must admit that this wasn`t my idea, it was Legs Larry Smith`s idea, he used to do it with the Bonzo Dog Band with Viv Shanshall and he just said at the start of the tour: “Wouldn`t it be great to do `Singing in the Rain`?” and I thought he was stark raving mad.
Anyway, I said all right and we recorded the back track of it “live” on stage in Boston which was at the beginning of the tour. As we got more into the tour we thought it would be great to have the whole bit, you know, girls, and glitter and midgets and things and we decided to do it in Los Angeles and it worked so well we thought well, Carnegie Hall`s ideal to do it, we`ll do it to New York as well.
It`s just a great number, I mean we fall about laughing half the time, but we try and be a bit more serious when all the girls and the glitter are on. It`s just something I really enjoy.

Ken: I suppose it`s unlikely that we`ll ever hear it on a record?

Elton: I wouldn`t mind doing an album of things like that, but I don`t think the kids would understand it, it`s really just for your own humour. I`d like to do a really big production musical spectacular but I don`t know if that will ever come about.

Ken: I was very glad you included “Country Comfort” in the programme from the “Tumbleweed Collection” album. Is there any story behind that?

Elton: I don`t know, it`s just that Bernie has always lived in the country. I never ask him about the lyrics, I just sit down and play.
“Country Comfort” is a Country Freak so, well actually the words are more American influenced, the old Western influence again from the “Tumbleweed Collection” album which had all that sort of influence on it. He`d love to live in that time.
Go back 80 years and dump Bernie in the mid-West and he`d be perfectly happy.

Ken: Is it true that six months had gone by before you and Bernie actually met? He was posting lyrics to you?

Elton: Yes, that was completely true, we eventually met up in a little studio at Dick James`s and we got together from there, it was very strange.

Ken: Who designs those spectacular clothes of yours?

Elton: I used to shop in Mr. Freedom a lot, and I still get tee shirts and stuff there. My suits and everything, and most of my clothes are now made at Granny Takes A Trip in the Kings Road, and I also have three Nudie suits, this guy in California who makes Elvis Presley`s gold lame suits etc., and all the country and western clothes – all the sparkly things. Mostly if I wear clothes outside I usually shop at St. Laurent.

Ken: The suit you wore at Carnegie Hall was a red, white and blue one.

Elton: That was a Granny Takes A Trip Suit. They design all my stage clothes now.

Ken: “Crocodile Rock” was an enormous hit in Britain where it was released first. That`s unusual isn`t it? Usually it is an American release before Britain.

Elton: This is the first time it has ever happened. They could have released it at the same time but it was planned very carefully over here. It was released later to coincide with the album.
When it is in the top twenty, if you have an album and a single out it really does make an enormous amount of difference over here because if people see the single and know there is an album coming out, they will buy the album.
The single will suffer but I prefer people to buy the album.

Ken: You must be very happy at the success of “Crocodile Rock” in Britain.

Elton: It`s funny – I have never been in the country. I have had three big hits: “Your Song”, “Rocket Man” and this one – it`s amazing, I am hardly ever there.

Ken: With the American tour coming to a close have you any plans to tour Britain?

Elton: I`ve never really done a major British tour so I really would like to do one of about three and half weeks and do ballrooms and places like that.
There`s definitely going to be a big tour, either in February or March. We do neglect England but it is just finding the places and the time to play.
I find touring rather boring, not the gigs but driving to Bolton isn`t quite as glamorous as driving to Santiago. But we really have got to get our finger out and do it.
We did a short tour of England just before we came on this one and it really was amazing. There were great crowds and we owe it to them to go out there and do it again.

Ken: Have you got any plans to turn to acting at any time? I noticed Adam Faith and Dave Clarke over recent times have gone into the acting business. Would you like to?

Elton: No, not on a full scale, I would never neglect music and as you know my whole life is music. I`d like to do it, I`d like to dabble, I have some ideas.
I could never do it with people I didn`t know – I would have to know them. Acting can be so boring getting up at eight in the morning – I can`t really foresee it. I might do one next year, it all depends.

Ken: Of all your albums which one have you been most satisfied with?

Elton: This is a question that always crops up. I really haven`t got a favourite out of any of them. I don`t listen to them anymore.
I remember each one as I make them and everything that went on during the session and each one has a different sort of atmosphere about it.
I`m still very fond of “Empty Sky”. I suppose nostagically that`s not my favourite album but it was the first album I ever made and I remember recording it late at night and I also remember walking up Oxford Street at 4 o`clock in the morning and going to a Wimpy Bar.
I still think it`s a great record as far as I was concerned – there are a couple of things which are highly awful on it but then there is on anybody`s first album – it`s just a feeling album, and I`m very proud of it.
I usually get wrapped up in the one I`ve just done and then they all level out. I`m glad we did “Honky”. I got rid of everything everybody wanted me to get rid of – not the strings, but it`s good to do an album without strings. There are strings on the new one but Buckmaster is so good I can`t resist having him on the albums.

Ken: You walked onto the stage at Carnegie Hall and said: “It`s going to be a fun night.” Are you always confident of going out front and having fun?

Elton: Sure. I`m never nervous. I don`t think it`s possible to get nervous in my position because they`re there because they like you and the only danger is of getting over confident I SUPPOSE.
Some audiences are harder. San Francisco audiences traditionally are harder but you just have to go out there and if you have any trouble you just have to work a little harder. I starred there for four hours before I had them eating out of my hand, that`s my attitude.

Ken: “Shake, Baby, Shake” is one of the greatest numbers you do. Do you always do it as an encore?

Elton: Yeah, well it`s a Jerry Lee Lewis number. He`s always been one of my idols and it`s always a great one for the crowd to sing along. That`s another one that is going to hit the dust after this tour.
I`ve got a couple of numbers to do. One of them is a Chuck Berry number, but it depends. I will always close the show with somebody else`s song as an encore.
I would always rather do this as a tribute to other artists as I don`t really get the chance to sing other people`s songs.
It`s a great way to do it.

Ken: What about you and Bernie in the future. Will you be doing your own writing as well?

Elton: I would love to do an album of entirely my music, but I don`t think I am capable of writing the lyrics. I`m quite happy working with Bernie as a team. We haven`t really started yet.
We have only been successful for two and a half years – we`re babies really. I would love to do a completely self-indulgent album but would it be successful?
Perhaps a self-indulgent album would have to be called the “Elton John Solo Album” because Elton John and Bernie Taupin are a complete unit. I would love to do it one day, sure.

Ken: There must be a lot of people that you are close to and would like to mention.

Elton: Well, the band. I really have an incredible band. I`ve got Dee Murray on bass, Nigel Ollson on drums and David Jensen on guitar.
They really are incredible guys to work with, really great, they don`t get enough credit as far as musicianship goes. They really are one of the best rhythm sections in the world and they are getting better.
We have the odd argument but we are always happy together. I couldn`t work with a band who had arguments all the time.
David has only been playing the electric guitar seriously for about six months as a lead guitar. Before he used to play acoustics and he is now coming along strong and he will probably have a band of his own one day and so will Nigel. It`s great. As far as I am concerned I want them to be successful.

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This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Gary Glitter, Suzi Quatro, Kid Jensen, Chuck Berry, J. Geils Band, Rod Stewart, Moody Blues, Silverhead, Bryan Ferry, Average White Band, Tempest, Madeline Bell.

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ARTICLE ABOUT the Faces FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 6, 1973

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. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog!

You can`t ignore a band where two of the members later played for The Who and The Rolling Stones and one of them went on to enjoy a terrific solo career. So here is a concert review for those of you who are interested!

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KERUUNCH – The Circus Hits Town

JAMES JOHNSON postscripts the FACES tour
– and finds the answers to the critics

It apparently doesn`t take long to find new ways to knock a band. Take the Faces for example.
With their British tour over and the plexiglass stage packed away for another day, the word round less charitable quarters
is that they`re past their best; they`re tired, rely too heavily on old material, and the easy-going style they created has near enough exhausted itself.
But that`s a little unfair, wouldn`t you say? Or at least a trifle premature.
Maybe in some minor respects the band have indeed eased up. Touring, in general, is now taken a little more calmly and they`ve even cut down on the boozing.
Yet the firm and unalterable fact is that when they`re on stage they are, quite simply, the brightest, most entertaining outfit in British rock and it`s unfortunate if all they get for their pains is a kick in the teeth.
I caught two concerts on the tour – at Brixton and Sheffield – and it was obvious from both that whenever the Faces play it`s still a mighty big event.
Perhaps, of the two concerts, the Brixton gig was more ostentatious – a whole crowd of Faces` friends in the circle, an unending chain of collapsed chickies being squeezed ungraciously out of the front rows and dragged across stage…while the band provided an extra touch of circus with drinks on stage served by a dwarf standing no higher than Kenny Jones` hi-hat cymbal.
Yes, it was a steaming, rollicking night in the grand old Faces tradition.

By contrast Sheffield was a milder, quieter affair – if any Faces concert could be described in such terms – but interesting in that it provided a chance to watch the band working with things not altogether running smoothly.
The scene was Sheffield City Hall, to be precise. The city had hummed all day with expectancy and when the kids – an uncompromising bunch with rough hands and loud throaty voices – tumbled into the auditorium they brought with them their own tough, loose atmosphere.
Down in the bar it was elbowroom only, with bitter selling fast as the serious drinkers warmed up.
Most barely looked up from their pints as a guy with big boots, large nose and sloping forehead, obviously already well soused, slouched in a corner yelling “Rod-nee, Rod-nee” with the kind of venom normally reserved for football terraces on a Saturday afternoon.
Backstage though, things were decidedly cooler. Promoter Peter Bowyer paced the corridors wearing a face as anxious as an expectant father.
The Faces were late, getting later and all anybody could blame was the English weather, mid-December.

With their usual panache, the band were flying to all gigs in a specially hired plane. That is, all expect little Ronnie Lane, who, in particularly homespun manner, was travelling round the country in a Land-rover with his family in the back.
This time, though, the Faces plane – with all five on board – had been grounded in London by fog. And, with obvious delay, they were coming up by car instead.
Perhaps they shouldn`t escape blame entirely. After all it doesn`t take much imagination to foresee that this might happen in the middle of winter.
Still, Vigrasse and Osborne went on, played a comfortable, punchy little set and came off to find still no word or sign from the Faces.
The hall-manager started getting tense about licenses and Bowyer`s face grew longer as the first rounds of slow-handclapping infiltrated from the front. But at least the roadies appeared unconcerned, knowing anyway that the band have never been exactly the world`s best timekeepers.
“It won`t matter,” said one, casually hitting open a Coke can against a table.
“You know what`ll happen. Rod`ll go on, say: `Ow are yer? Sorry we`re late mates`, they`ll get into the first number and nobody`ll care.”

And, of course, most of the impatience in the audience was really half-hearted. After all it was Friday night, two days before Christmas and the Faces were going to be on stage sooner or later. You couldn`t help but feel good.
Then, with the arrival outside of a Daimler, there`s a flurry round the stage door; noise, speed, action, people pushing and the Faces are there.
A quick dive in the dressing room, time just for a change and a tune-up and then the band are on stage with 2000 voices raised in mighty acclaim.

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It was a magical, heartwarming moment. There was Rod raising his glass to the upper circle, Ronnie Wood in trousers like they`d been made out of red foil, Kenny Jones adjusting his drums like the true professional, Ian MacLagan in a tasty piece of tartan suiting and Ronnie Lane looking the East London kid in a natty Petticoat Lane barrow boys suit.
And Keruunch, with the welcoming roar still pouring out of Yorkshire throats, the band swooped into the beautiful opening,
sliding chords of “Memphis Tennessee”.
They had come on cold, the stage was frankly too small for comfort and they looked really a little brusque, even grim. But after three numbers, the length of time they seem to normally take, the band hit full stride, and they really did stride.
Yeah, it sounded fine, music that made the eyes steam, the pulse quicken.
Next it was a number Stewart pointedly described as a new one, twice in fact, although forgetting to mention the title. But the chugging, rolling, momentum of it was just the impetus needed for the crowd to rise to its feet as one.

By “Maybe I`m Amazed” it started to look as if the Faces were enjoying it too. It`s an old number, yes, but still sounded fresh, while “I`d Rather Go Blind” was amazing, with Wood splicing off pealing guitar notes before shuddering into a chord and Stewart proving once again that he`s one of the monster, razor-edged vocalists of all time.
As is usual, Wood had virtually his own spot on “All You Need”, sliding over the frets with cigarette jutting out between firmly-clasped lips.
The band`s next single “Cindy”, plus “You Wear It Well”, and “Maggie May” saw them still warming without perhaps quite hitting top but all the band smiled on “Angel” as the people out front swayed, singing the chorus, hands clasped above heads. An amazing sight.
More numbers, a super-charged encore with “Twisting The Night Away”, footballs kicked out to outstretched hands and finally the band are back in the dressing room looking a good deal more pleased than when they arrived.

By the time they were back at the hotel the general view was that the concert had been a good one if not a great one; no more, no less and nobody really seemed too concerned.
The talk at the dinner table was football rather than music.
Stewart wonders what`s going to happen to the Scottish team now that Docherty is at Manchester, cabaret is provided by Ron Wood taking over the restaurant`s hot-plate, pouring brandy over it and igniting a little dish known as “Plat de Burnze`oteldown` made up of salad, menu cards and anything else that happens to be available.
Mostly, though, the atmosphere is low-keyed. Jones and Lane want to go back to London for the night while most of the others want to go to bed.
Perhaps, by Faces standards, the concert had been unspectacular.
Perhaps it could be said on more run-of-the mill gigs the Faces have indeed lost some of their zip, some of their enthusiasm.
Even so, it doesn`t detract from their performance. At Sheffield they`d still put on a hell of a fine show. Next time they play the City Hall tickets will again be hard to find.

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David Cassidy used to be the one that all the little girls dreamed of. When studying this ad you could be right to conclude that he was mighty popular in 1973.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Jimi Hendrix, Fumble, Joni Mitchell,
Danny Seiwell, Class of `73 (Hopefuls to succeed), Stray, Trapeze.

This edition is sold!