Month: March 2014


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! Thank you!

How I wish that all concert reviews were written with such enthusiasm as this one! Worth reading for anyone wondering how a great concert review looks like.


Hail Hail Rock n` Roll

Nick Kent on the Zeppelin on-stage spectacular

“There have been two or three truly magic gigs – umm – Bath was one of them.
“That was quite incredible because everything seemed to be right for us. The energy there was quite phenomenal.”
Jimmy Page is talking about the Led Zeppelin concert experience.
“Our gigs usually work up out to last around 2 1/2 to three hours. I think the longest we ever played was 4 1/2 hours, which was another of those magic occasions.
“It was never really a conscious thing that we`d play for so long, it was a gradual process of building up material.
“Someone would want to play this and someone else would throw in a suggestion and eventually we had all this material, both electric and acoustic.
“And then there were the numbers like `Dazed And Confused` and `Whole Lotta Love` which come out different every time.”

No one introduces Led Zeppelin to the hordes, before they come on. There are never any warm-up acts either: the blinding mass of electronic equipment littering the stage is statement enough of what is about to occur.
The audience have all washed their hair and look eager enough so…it`s one for the money two for the show, three to get ready, now…
The band saunter on. Page, dressed in black and looking majestically evil, plugs in while Plant displays his definitive pretty-boy English rock`n`roll star looks and physique under the main spotlight for the first time.
He stands there for a second, looking breathtakingly beautiful rather like a choirboy possessed by the spirit of early Gene Vincent and then, no messing around, Page hits the first power chords of “Rock `n Roll” with perfection.
The rock ritual has begun and we`re all away. Tonight there are going to be no spectators. And what a song.
Recorded in no more than 15 minutes for “Led Zeppelin 4” it burns up the first few minutes splendidly and before you can discover what hit you, the band drive on into “Black Dog”, which must stand as the ultimate Led Zeppelin heavy riff number, beating even the Plant orang-utang histrionics of “Whole Lotta Love.”
God, but it`s so brash that it works as perfect rock `n` roll, never for a moment sounding bland or lacklustre.

Plant never overpowers the stage – he picks his spot and drives the song home with that shrieking voice of his taking deadly aim.
The big surprise of this tour, though, is Page, who`s up and rockin` alongside the Lemon Squeeze Kid.
While Plant tends to move in curves with the emphasis on the hips, Page seems more deranged, doing knee-bends, thrusting out and using the guitar-neck as a bayonet.
He even moves like a demon when playing his weighty twin-neck guitar, flashing weird evil grins when the mood takes him.
But he never leaves one in any doubt that he is total master of his axe.

We all love Jeff Beck for his inspired craziness and Eric Clapton for his transcendental tastefulness and fluidity, but Page is the man to lend an ear to for guitar dynamics and sheer gut drive.
He never lets up, soldiering his guitar to the rhythm section of Bonham`s thrashing and Jones` fine bass to one finely wrought metallic sound.
On “Misty Mountain Hop” he provides the dynamics for Plant to bounce his vocals off, beating out that tricky time signature, and then straight into “Since I`ve Been Loving You”, the obligatory blues number.
He sets your teeth on edge, in fact, with these mighty lead riffs.

It`s around this time that you realise that the Zeps are the ace heavy band.
I mean, let`s be serious, kids – put away all that Black Sabbath wastage and all that hysterically bland cross-influence Curved Air stuff.
This is the teenage band.
For a start, they play music and they`re – wait for it – tasteful about it. The acoustic set finds Plant and Page seated for “Bron-y-aur Stomp” and another number which makes this the shortest non-electric sequence the band have done.
(Where have “That`s The Way” and “Goin` To California” gone, asks oneself quitely).
Actually, the band`s real peaks come when they play their gentler compositions electrically to hold the balance of dynamics together more effectively.
A new composition “The Song Remains The Same” drives on with Page mingling major and minor chords to dazzling effect and Bonham thrashing his kit with a vengeance.
The song sounds almost like Yes in construction, with the emphasis on the dexterity of rock `n` roll, and then the song breaks to accommodate a luxurious Page chord passage which heralds the performance of “Rain Song”, another newie.
Plant sings elongated lethargic phrases over the minor chords while John Paul Jones moves to mellotron to amplify the sounds.
By the end of the number – a “Stairway to Heaven” type of epic work – the band sound like a full-blown orchestra.


Next up is “Dancing Days”, the third introduction to the fifth Led Zeppelin album repertoire, this time an unselfconscious rocker celebrating school holidays and general teenage liberation, packing none of the bland aspects to be found in Alice Cooper`s self-style anthem “School`s Out”.
Plant is moving around again shaking his lion`s mane of golden curls and being his rockingly precocious best.
And now it`s – gasp – time for that one the audience has been bellowing for coarsely since the first number – the Page piece de resistance – a great work of teasing rock `n` roll frustration if there ever was.
Plant oohs and aahs through the vocals leaving the show open to Page and his magic violin-bow.
Many eerie futuristic scrapping sounds are emitted from the guitar and the number is climaxed by Page slapping the bow against the strings to spectacular effect and pointing the bow at the audience evil-magician style.
All great stuff and the kids love every minute of it. Here is, after all, a band who know how to put on a good rockin` show.

To prove their point the Zeps pull the ace from their sleeve and go into the introduction of “Stairway To Heaven”, which must be the band`s finest musical achievement.
This is the one and audience, band and rock critic alike know it.
Again, Page never puts a foot wrong, the notes are always precise, the tone of his playing is always clear.
Plant excels himself here, free-forming on certain parts, bending notes and ad-libbing to great effect as he builds on where Bonham starts coming in on drums.
Then the song starts to take a majestic shape, sailing on until it breaks loose into the final part with everyone giving the final gasp as Plant sings “To Be A Rock and Not to Roll”. Supreme live experience rock `n` roll.

Well what can a poor boy do now but drive on into another golden oldie.
No more Lemon Squeezing, so it`s time for what must be THE chrominium-plated heavy rocker of the `60s, sharing the title with “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen – “Whole Lotta Love.”
Now here is a pulp classic if ever there was – inane as they come, and directly influenced by the Small Faces “You Need Love” which was in turn influenced by…well, you name it…and it`s classic punk rock.
You can almost hear the acne swell on the faces of these mean teens as Page hits the first mind-curdling chords of what is, indisputedly, a gorgeously blatant piece of cock rock.
Here is the song that, more than any other, the band are known for, which isn`t so bad.
I mean, how many bands can claim to have a song which transcends being just another rock `n` roll song to become a symbol of everything we`ve ever known and loved as rock `n` roll?
The band barnstorm straight through it, stopping just before the end to go into a medley of good ole` rock`n`roll.

Anything can be performed in the inimitable Zep style at this juncture of the proceedings and to make no bones about it, the band show they mean business by kicking off with “Blue Suede Shoes”.
Robert Plant`s two ultimate heroes are Presley and Gene Vincent even when he talks enthusiastically about such as Arthur Lee and Neil Young, and here he is now, the original white boy with a rock `n` roll soul, pumping out the greatest rocker of `em all.
From there it`s anyone`s guess, but it`s “Let`s Have A Party” – “Some People like to rock…Some people like to roll.”
You must know all about it. A few tentative verses of “Let The Boy Rock`N`Roll” follow, to be capped with a merciless rendition of “Bee-Bop-a-Lula” which has Plant doing his best Vincent impersonation.
It`s one more verse of “Whole Lotta Love” and then off to be followed by three separate encores, first “Heartbreaker”, second a new song called “The Ocean”. “This is about you” says Plant, matter-of-factly to the audience, and finally, a long version of “Thank You” with John Paul Jones excelling on mellotron.

So what can you do after one truly satisfying rock`n`roll concert? The audience looks wiped-out and leave slowly.
The Zeps seem relatively un-exhausted and relaxed and sign the occasional autograph book.
One character, probably 16 with a slight moustache, scruffy denims and skull-cap, gets to shake Jimmy Page`s hand and gets so overcome by the honour he starts crying.
Outside the hall, a bunch of young kids, mostly male, babble on excitedly about the concert.
“I mean…like, I saw Emerson, Lake and Palmer two weeks ago…and, like, they`re good musicians and all…but Led Zeppelin…y`know.
We all knew. Hail, hail Rock `n Roll!


They had a points system to measure popularity based on chart positions in 1972. This was the year that Slade became more popular than T. Rex. Led Zeppelin is not on this list, but they were never a singles band, so in reality I guess this list gives the wrong impression about actual popularity.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Wishbone Ash, Rolling Stones, King Crimson, Elton John, Fairport Convention, Uriah Heep, Joan Armatrading, Frankie Miller, Rick Wakeman meets Moog, Michael Tait (Super-roadie for Yes), Merry Clayton.

The NME 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 around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me  or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

A nice little article this one, with a band on a steady rise in fortune. Enjoy!


Uriah Heep with great expectations

By Tony Stewart

Charles Dickens would probably have allowed a slight smile to sneak across his lips if he`d known that a hundred years after his death, one of his literary characters, Uriah Heep, would be resurrected and used as the name of a rock band.
Mr. Dickens would certainly have been surprised to learn that the same band were to become the darlings of America during 1972. Lord, David Copperfield never knew that such a musical wizard hid in Heep.
Do you doubt the band`s success? Certainly many English acts return from the States and insist that they happened there, when half of them bombed. So when Heep came into London last week, evidence of their U.S. achievements had to be given.

We were upstairs in the Star Steak House, Soho Street, London. A journalist was bent double scribbling notes as Heep`s Lee Kerslake shouted a few answers. Mick Box was laughing as he filled the wine glasses. While vocalist David Byron and I found some escape from the hullabaloo in a far corner.
Byron was willing to give undistorted facts. How “Demons and Wizards” made gold, certified by the RIAA at over half a million sales. How their last tour sold out 60 per cent of the gigs, but the largest was only a comparatively small 12,000 seater. How advance orders for their new album, “The Magician`s Birthday” have topped a quarter million.
The band were only in Britain for a few days before returning to America for another tour. They`d sold out New York, Chicago, Toronto…the list is endless. Just on their own name though?

“Yeah,” Byron replies, concerned in case I doubted his sincerity. “Because as yet the promoters don`t really know who the other acts on the bill are.
That`s still being established. So the only act being advertised is Uriah Heep. And it`s selling on that.”
It seems that our Stateside brothers and sisters dig it `eavy. Heep are that, as well as being showy. Lights, clothes, impact. Americans seem to have an insatiable curiosity about such outfits, as though they`re finding replacements for Grand Funk and Sabbath.
Byron, with gold and silver rings on his fingers, adjusts a thick gold watch and argues that Grand Funk Railroad are on the way back.
“They do like heavy rock bands,” he agrees. “In America it`s down to two things. Either a softer country sound like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young or the Eagles. Or it`s down to rock – Heavy exciting, FUN music.”


People who don`t dig riff-rock and the Purple`s and Sabbaths still dig Heep. Byron finds an explanation difficult and tells of young chicks filling the front rows. But later he just about summed it up:
“We`re a lot more melodic than Purple and Sabbath, after all. We play more variety of songs.”
American music journals have described part of the band`s material and appearance as psychedelic.
“I don`t really know what they meant by that,” Byron replies vaguely, “because I thought those days were over.”
Perhaps. The reason could be down to the colours and effect of the last two album sleeves. And an instrumental passage in “The Spell” – reminiscent of Pink Floyd`s “Atom Heart Mother.”
“Maybe. Yeah, we dig the Floyd,” says Byron.
“They say,” he elaborates, “that listening and watching us is overwhelming. You feel as though you`re going to hit the ceiling any minute, because it`s so colourful, visual and dramatic – we`re called arrogant and we`re called dramatic. And we`re also loud, but there`s a lot of dynamics in the music.
“We take it from right down here,” he continues lowering his head to beneath the table level to busting the walls apart.
“We aim to make everybody go out of that hall saying `Christ. What was that?` So your ears are still ringing a day later. That way, people don`t just remember the band – they remember the experience. We want to make it a total experience.”

So going to see Uriah Heep can be a frightening thing. He says: “People describe us as frightening to watch because they think somebody is going to drop dead.
“It`s like organised chaos on stage. It looks chaotic, then all of a sudden it`s very organised. They say, `wait a minute, they do know what they`re doing`. It falls apart again, and then you bring it together. We`ve always got their attention.
“I look around and see how many cigarettes are being lit. Because if people light up they`re not watching us. I`ve never seen many cigarettes being lit.”

Audience acclaim aside, the band have at last made it with the music on “The Magician`s Birthday.” “Look At Yourself” and “Demons” in part were blatantly conceived with the influence of Zepp, Floyd, Vanilla Fudge and pop-rock. But their talent is more a re-examination of their own originality.
“Now, all those bands you mentioned are bands we all like,” says Byron.
“Everybody`s influenced by hearing things they like. If I hear another singer, from Ray Charles to Robert Plant, and there`s a certain line to make me stop and listen, it goes in the back of my mind. Somewhere along the line it`s going to come out.”

Of Heep as a unit, he says: “If we split and formed different bands, we`d probably fail. The fact is it works in this band. You never question why it works. Once you do, it might lose the very thing which makes it work. So don`t question it, just dig it and carry on.
Undoubtedly. Part of which is the British, Japanese and German tours, resulting, we hope, in a live double set. Great Expectations.


In this number I also found the original ad for that all-time classic from John Lennon. This is how it looked like when it happened!

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Phil Spector, Esmond Edwards, Steeleye Span, Bob Harris, Elkie Brooks, David Bowie, The Osmonds, Johnny Nash, Shag, Kim Fowley, Mac Davis, John Peel and “Top Gear”, Slade.

The NME 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 around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.


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! Thank you!

I just had to transcribe this interview for several reasons. You will figure it out yourself.


Saucy words and a lot of ooooeee…
Marc Bolan on the wind of change, Bowie, Slade and Michael Jackson

By James Johnson

It was a pretty normal day at the London offices of T. Rex Wax Co.
The ever-present gaggle of teenies hung around outside, jumping slightly in excitement when anybody however unglamourous appeared from behind the impassive black door, while upstairs the phone rang with eager female voices asking the whereabouts of Marc and being told “We don`t know. This is a solicitor`s office.”
In the back room, chairman, general manager and chief shareholder of the operation, Marc Bolan Esq. was talking brightly and with quick-witted assurance about current developments.
Despite reports to the contrary, says he, overseas expansion is going well – especially in the States – while on the home front new product is about to be released.
One thing he`s been avoiding lately are press interviews and, dropping a nugget of ice into his glass of white wine, he explains that he`s sick of answering for things he doesn`t give a damn about anyway.
“Most of what I say is supposed to be taken humourously,” he continues, “because it`s not worth saying anything seriously anymore.”

What`s happened is that Bolan has tired of some of his more flippant comments being taken out of context and allegedly used against him.
In fact, he now seems almost too sensitive to criticism, and there`s a strange contradiction. He says he knows that whatever`s said can`t hurt him, because people keep on buying the records. Yet at times he seems almost desperate to defend himself.
I mention the band`s last tour of the States and the somewhat unflattering reports of their progress, and it brings forth a speedy response.
“I just appear to be a very open scapegoat for everybody and my only answer to those people is that they should look in the America trade press and see where we stand in the charts. And they should know that the truth is we didn`t play third on the bill to half-empty houses.
“Really I`ve no time anymore for people`s opinions when they`re totally untrue and misguided. If you want to know, we`re asking a lot of money to go back and we`re going to get it.”

So how did he personally feel about the tour? “Phenominal…I loved it. At the start we were playing alright but by the end we could have blown anybody offstage and we did, in fact, in `Frisco when we played with a couple of very big bands.
“It took four years to get to the position we`re in now here – and it`s taken less time there. The thing is, we`re not a singles band in the States. `Get It On` did a million but the others haven`t meant anything.
“It`s only through lack of airplay though, like we had in the beginning over here. I`m still convinced things like `Magical Moon` and `Rumbling Spires` would have been hits if they`d been played.
“But in the States we`re an album band and it`s not the same audience. The reason why people were knocking us was because there weren`t twelve-year-old chicks screaming, but that just shows the people who are against so-called teeny-bop music are really knicker wetters themselves.”

It was, according to Bolan, quite an adventurous tour, not least because they used Aretha Franklin`s backing singers on most of the gigs.
“I like to work with people,” he remarked. “I`ll use anyone if they`re good. On the `Born To Boogie` film, Ringo and Elton John play and it still sounds like T. Rex. I just move back and let Reg play the solo.
“I like playing back a bit. I`m not an egomaniac. I love to do my bit but I love to play with good people too. I`d like sometimes not to play on a number- just to sing. I`d really dig that, with chicks and stuff.
“In fact I want to find another guitar player who can also play sax and keyboards, so I can get into more solos.
“It`s likely we`ll do some concerts round Christmas and I`ll certainly use chick singers, probably also a couple of drummers and a piano player too if I can find the right people.”
All this is part of a wind of change blowing through T. Rex; a change that`ll be particularly evident on the band`s next album, recorded in Paris on their return from the States.
“We`ve gone through a radical change,” thought Bolan. “The album is totally a heavy rock album. I used a lot of black chicks on it, also Lesley Duncan. I feature a pianist very, very heavily and I play slide guitar on every track.
“It`s a gospel album in fact. Like, the title track is seven minutes long. There`s a lot of ooooooeeeee on it.”


What prompted all this?
“The States always does that to me and I spent time with Leon Russell, people like that, but it`s been coming for a long time. It`s just a natural thing. I`m into soul music actually but any change is just what I believe in at the time.
“I don`t believe in working out a plan saying next year we`re going to bring in flower power and next week Marc Bolan`s going to get his hair cut and every kid in the country is going to do the same. If that happens – fine – but I don`t believe in working on it.
“I don`t believe in taking fifteen full-page ads in music papers to let everybody know my name. If people come to see you for six months, they`ll know it anyway.
“You can hype it all up and ram it down people`s throats but all the experts seem pretty dumb anyway. Like, I know every rock and roll record ever made. Last night I read all the music papers in three minutes and knew everything in them. Theres`s nothing much to pore over is there?”

Back to the album: “I`m using a lot of brass and in fact a couple of saxes doing solos. I don`t know how radically different it`ll seem to other people, but I think it`s different.
“Like, I think you`ll have to agree that `Children Of The Revolution` was a change from `Metal Guru` or `Jeepster`. It was five times slower and had three string quartets on it for a start. It`s a bold album actually. Some of the lyrics are a bit saucy.”
More so than before?
“Yeah, I think it`ll upset a few mothers but then mothers are made to be upset.”
Is he still finding it easy to write lyrics? As easy, he answers, as some of his more basic bodily functions.
Yes, but lyrics people can identify with?
“Yeah, you look around and there`s a million things to write about. I`m trying to find things not to write about. I write like a maniac.”
But some of the lyrics on, say, “The Slider” seem a little obscure.
“Well, you tell me what`s obscure and I`ll tell you what it means.
“Like, somebody said to me the other day, `Marc, everything you write doesn`t mean a thing`. So I told him that for him it obviously doesn`t. I don`t mean it as a downer but that just shows where his head`s at. It just shows he doesn`t know what`s going on in mine.
“I`ve never written a line that doesn`t mean something. Like in `Baby Boomerang`, if you don`t know of Max`s Kansas City then that doesn`t mean anything. But where do you draw the line? Like, Dali isn`t going to sit there and say, `Hey man do they know what a soft clock is? Maybe I ought to paint an ordinary alarm clock.`
“But I must admit at times I`ve considered that nobody knows what I`m talking about…”
Perhaps it doesn`t matter?
“I don`t think it does. Who cares as long as it gets you off?
“The thing is, when I first started I borrowed from literary sources but now I can`t find many. Before, I was always in bookshops and now I`ve got rooms full of books I`ve never read.

What about the new line in teenage idols? Cassidy, the Osmonds, Bowie, people like that?
“Well the whole Cassidy thing is a very different scene from mine. And I think it`s much too soon, with no disrespect to David, to put him in the same class as me.
“Slade are on a different level – I`d give them that credibility but, without being arrogant or unfair, I certainly wouldn`t give it to David. He`s still very much a one-hit wonder I`m afraid. In four or five records` time it may be fair to put him in the same category – statistically speaking that is; it`s nothing to do with my own personal taste.
“Really, I`ve always thought Mott the Hoople were bigger than David. When you`re talking about him, you`re only talking about one record so far.
“I see myself put alongside all the people you see my name put alongside and I feel no kinship with them in any way. It`s not that I don`t like them, I just don`t listen to them.
“I`ve never heard a David Bowie album, or at least any of the last four. I`m not saying whether they`re good or bad, I just haven`t heard them. I`m still into Charlie Pattern or Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Leon Russell and Smoky Hogg.
“I know all the titles of these other things but I`ve never heard `Mouldy Old Dough` and don`t intend to.
“But anybody who can write a good song, to me, is a brother. People like Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne I think warrant more than some other people. And Pete Townshend is incredibly under-rated.
“As for David Bowie, I`ve known him for years and always been interested in what he did and his abilities. I think maybe he`s been sucked into something that`s unhealthy for him. I don`t know…But you can`t create an image, it`s only what you are. I don`t think you can create a James Dean.
“Also, the whole pop star machine thing is a heavy one to handle. Maybe David can cope with it. I suppose I managed, so…”

Bolan, in fact, seems to have handled all the pressures extremely well. Close to, he looks pretty healthy even though he says most of the time his system is a little done in.
“I look done in, don`t I?”, he asks. “I certainly have moments when I am.
“I suppose it`s part of the pain you have to bear as a musician. That`s how people become a great artist I suppose, it`s part of the pain they have to bear.
“I always say I`m a poet whether people like it or not. I`ve got a poet`s soul and it means you can hurt yourself a lot.”
Bolan once said he was a romantic poet and that all romantic poets have a death wish. Does this still stand?
“Yeah, I don`t know whether I`m going to be around for much longer as a human being. Like we had about four near-death plane crashes on this last tour, that`s why I can`t take everything seriously.
“I might easily stop tomorrow anyway. I don`t feel any obligation to carry on.”

Is he ever worried that in years to come he may be remembered more as a teenage idol than a serious musician?
“Look at it like this. As far as I can see, Michael Cassidy…no…that`s good, keep it in…Michael Jackson is a superb singer, unbelievable on stage. And there`s no way he`s not going to be around for the next forty years.
“If I`m still about I`d put myself in the same category, although some of the other people I`m not so sure about…namely the Top Twenty, Tin Pan Alley pop rock and rollers.
“I`m not that sort of person. I don`t mind if people think of me like that but it`s not true and never will be.
“Like the Beatles when they first came out were supposed to be the ultimately banal thing, but after five years people had just about got as far as dissecting their bogies. I don`t consider myself like the Beatles but I`ve got that credibility and I intend to use it, believe me.
“I can`t believe you would think I`m that shallow. Like, I paint. I`ve got enough for an exhibition and I`ve got five books finished which I`ve been sitting on for a long time.
“It`s not that people aren`t ready for them, it`s just at present they`re secondary to the music. There`ll be a time when they won`t be…maybe in five years` time if I get bored with being born to boogie.”

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Elton John, Ralph McTell, Blondel, King Crimson, Hawkwind, Liberace, Brewer`s Droop, Birtha, The Jacksons, Alice Cooper, The Osmonds.

The NME 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 around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.


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! Thank you!

There are not a lot of people in the music business that can boast about being in two truly well-known international acts. Simon Kirke is one of very few people in that category by being a member of both Free and Bad Company. When Free disbanded in 1973, they had sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. Simon Kirke have come a long way since his upbringing in a small village at the Welsh border – he now resides in Manhattan with his wife and four children.


All right now?…
Drummer SIMON KIRKE on the future of FREE

By Tony Norman

Midday in Berkshire and the traffic is rumbling along the busy main road near Reading. This part of the country appeals to the rock community. Roger Daltrey has a cottage here and Rod Stewart is not far away. Most of Traffic have settled here too and it`s easy to see why.

Simon Kirke is relaxing at his detached home which stands in about a third of an acre of land. It`s nothing elaborate by group standards, but very pleasant. Because of the road, Kirke doesn`t enjoy total peace, but he does have freedom and privacy, and that counts for a lot.
So the Free drummer is happy with life. He seems to have shrugged off his disastrous run of illness, and, of course, Free are back in action and trying to come up with the answers we all want to know. Where are they headed now?
It is too early for comparisons with the “old” band. But Free have definitely decided to hold on to that educated simplicity which was always their greatest strength.
In effect, the first band died a year ago. We are now left with a new bass player, Tetsu, and a gentleman named Rabbit on keyboards. Of the originals, Kirke, Rodgers and Kossoff remain.

“When we split the first band,” says Kirke, “we thought it was all over. The decision was final. But, when our individual things petered out, we realised we wanted to get together and play again. It was as simple as that. But we weren`t prepared for the audience reactions we`ve been getting. It`s been fantastic.”
Did he think the band`s followers might have forgotten them?
“Not so much forgotten as turned their minds to other things. There were other groups who`d gotten big while we`d been apart. People like Lindisfarne and the Faces.”

Nobody knows what will happen for the band in the future. But the guys have the experience to handle most things. To many, Free were born with “All Right Now”, but the story goes back much further.
“We`d been going two years when that record made the chart. In fact, most of the band`s work was done in those first two years. It`s rather ironic. After `All Right Now` we played to bigger crowds and travelled to different countries, but the gigs were more spaced out. Maybe only one a week. It was a different story before. We must have played every big club in England and Scotland at least five times.”
Kirke recalls an incident that shows the band have known hard times. “After we`d been going about a year, Andy (Frazer) and I sat down and wrote a hundred letters to various clubs. We told them we were a new group and wrote all our own material. We had to go chasing work, because we didn`t have a manager. We were doing everything on our own and sleeping in the van!”
Any luck with the letters? “Yes,” smiles Simon. “I think we got two gigs.”


If you can recall the headlines and hysteria that surrounded the success of “All Right Now”, you`ll know the band had a lot to handle.
“I think it affected us a great deal,” admits Kirke. “But because we`d been formed two years, we were strong within ourselves. So we handled it pretty well – but we could only do it for a certain length of time.
“There were things like follow-up singles and schedules for albums to think about. Everything was more pressurised; the whole scale just got incredibly big.
“We just want to play music, to play our songs. It`s once you start being asked to write a song for your follow-up – once the business side starts affecting your music – that you start worrying about what the public expects. Then you`re on the wrong track.
“We managed to stave it off by putting out `The Stealer` as our follow-up. We were just so knocked-out with it that we said, yeah, let`s release that. On reflection, it wasn`t such a good idea, but we loved the song. As you know, it flopped and we got a load of criticism.
“Suddenly we`re open to all that because we were up there. It`s only when you`re in that position that you realise there are lots of people longing to take a shot at you.”

Kirke spent most of his youth in a small village on the Welsh border. But even though he was isolated from the mainstream of the music industry, he had his dreams and ambitions. First on the list was the trip south as soon as he`d finished his schooling.
“My only link with London was the fact that I was born there. Occasionally I`d hitch down to see some bands at the Marquee and just drift around Soho, but I never stayed long.
“Still, the burning thing with me at the time was to leave home and move to London. I hoped to get in a band. That was what I was aiming for from the age of 15. The day after I left school, I hitched down to London. I stayed with my cousin for six months, until I could afford a flat of my own. I didn`t know anybody else in London at that time.
“I was totally unprepared for the city. I must admit that in the first couple of years I really had my eyes opened. The whole promiscuity bit and drugs were totally new to me. And…I revelled in it, for a bit.”

But Kirke admits he worries about the band and that right now he is slightly on edge.
“Things are a bit difficult at the moment. We have a new band, consisting of three members who used to be in a well-known group. But, although the name`s the same, we`d really like people to see that this is our new thing. Of course it`s gonna sound like Free. But it`s gonna be a new band.
“In the last year there has been too much confusion. I`ll be glad to see the back of that.”


This incredible chart was part of this number of the newspaper. 

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: The Byrds, Jeff Beck, David Cassidy, Gilbert O`Sullivan, Home, Slade, B.B. King, Alice Cooper, Linda Lewis, Moody Blues.

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