Month: January 2015

ARTICLE ABOUT David Coverdale FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 9, 1974

I have never transcribed two articles from the same paper before. This time I couldn`t help it – I just had to make room for this fairly long but early article from the start of David Coverdale`s career. This is way before he became one of rock`s foremost male sex symbols after his transformation around 1986/7. He is quite open and candid about himself here.
Have a nice read!

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Coverdale – Imperator Rex!

Or, how a totally – unknown chariot-driver broke away from the Plebiscite and succeeded to the Imperial Purple

Scribe: Tony Stewart

DEAR SIR,
I heard that Ian Gillan is leaving Deep Purple and my friends persuaded me to send in a tape. Please excuse the quality but I hope you`ll give it a listen.
My phone number is on the tape box if by some small chance you want to speak to me.
Regards David Coverdale.

Coverdale`s letter of application for the situation then vacant in Deep Purple certainly doesn`t exude an aura of either burning ambition or single-minded self-confidence.
But a struggling semi-pro singer who worked by day in a boutique probably believed it`d take more than a demo-tape, letter and snapshot to bring about an exchange between the drab interior of a Redcar shop and the bright lights of superstardom in the Metropolis. So naturally, there`s a reticent and embarrassed air to the letter.
Whether by mercy of providence or merely in recognition of an Enormous Talent Coverdale`s approach was, as you know, successful. A speculative gambit paid off.
And having just celebrated his first anniversary with the band he is in a position to clarify his intentions behind the letter by comparing it to another missive received recently by Purple.

“There was a guy who sent a tape of `Black Knight` with piano accompaniment,” he tells, “and a letter saying, `Dear Deep Purple, I`m not very good looking but me Mam thinks I am. But I would like to sing with your group because I think it would be great. I`m going to play `Black Knight` now.
“And the band were really touched, although obviously it was very naive. It could have paid off. I sent mine in with the same intention.
“When I came for the job with Purple I didn`t expect to get it,” he continues modestly. “But I would have liked it. I knew they had their own label and their own stable of artistes, and I was hoping for a job as a songwriter. But obviously I would have preferred the job singing with the band, but I didn`t expect that my throat was the one they were looking for. And I certainly didn`t have that sort of image.”
Even now Coverdale is still a little reluctant to forsake his previous anonymity and transform himself into the image of the Famous Mr. Coverdale. And his purpose in being frontman of this, or any other band, has not altered since being just another yob in Redcar.

“I`ll be honest,” he begins, “and I don`t want NME cynicism – but I never considered being a rock and roll star and I never wanted to be, and I don`t consider it now although it gets drummed into me occasionally.
“I wanted to be a purveyor of good music. Like, my record collection is excellent, displaying many tastes, all of which have got something to do with – not soul, but feel. I have things by John Williams, Sergio Mendes, Miles Davis and Otis Redding – anything I can interpret; anything I can identify with.”
Equally so Coverdale can now himself be identified as a stalwart member of Deep Purple, having successfully completed active service on extensive tours and in the studio. A glance at the composing credits of their second album together, “Stormbringer” – which is due for imminent release – shows he has not been idle when it comes to writing either – on this occasion, teaming up with both Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord. In all respects he`s rowed himself in nicely, you could say.

The absolute evidence of Coverdale`s undisputed position was when the rest of Purple apparently elected him their Official Representative to meet the press last week and so grab some publicity for the new album.
With that in mind their publicist rustled up as many journalists as possible, sat Mr. C. behind a desk at Purple Records` West One offices, and, at hourly intervals, gave him a change of face and tape recorder. When we arrived in the late afternoon, he appeared to be bearing up remarkably well, whereas other artistes in his position are usually drunk, harrassed or asleep at a similar stage.
He, however, was very much alert, amiable, talkative and sober. Producing a half-bottle of Teachers he assured us he`d soon remedy the latter misfortune. With the gentleman in such good spirits it would have been an appropriate time to discuss “Stormbringer”, but the PR machinery had temporarily malfunctioned and I`d obviously not had time to hear a test pressing produced only five minutes before my encounter with David. The fact that it was even mentioned at all was purely good fortune.

Had I not attempted to prompt a conversation into the intimate secrets of DP by recalling an anecdote involving Ritchie Blackmore, we might never have discussed it at all.
“I get on very well with Ritchie,” says Coverdale diplomatically, as he cautiously moves us away from a sensitive area.
“I accept him for what he is,” he continues, “and he accepts me for what I am. And it`s very successful when it comes down to writing. We have the same influences.
“I`ve also done some writing with Jon (Lord) this time, and we came up with some good ideas, the majority of which are not on the album. In fact, there`s two.
“There`s a song called `Holy Man`, and a thing called `Hold On`, which Mr. Bowie I believe is interested in recording.”
Eh?
“From what I heard, yeah,” he replies with obvious pleasure.
“He came round to see us a few times in LA and was very nice, and I think he said he was interested in doing that particular song. I`d be interested to hear what he does with it, `cause it seems a little unusual for his taste.

“I`m chuffed with it,” he remarks (about the whole set), “because there`s a lot of new ideas going down, which are very negative to the general idea of Deep Purple.
“It isn`t contrived rock and roll. It`s just that we write what we enjoy and, fortunately a lot of people dig it.
“The thing is it`s so good adrenalin-wise to perform fast rock and roll. It`s a good fantasy to be involved in. Like, ten years ago James Dean was the thing. Everybody had their elbow hanging outside an open topped car. That was a fantasy.

It is in fact his oblique references that causes our discourse to trample pretty thoroughly through his pre-Purple days – and, thankfully, away from any further mention of the album.
No, I still haven`t heard it, but invariably when a set is first released musicians allow their enthusiasm for the recording to by-pass their critical faculties, and it`s only a year later they consider the set objectively.
Would you really expect Coverdale to knock it at the moment?
Anyway, it appears art was the only other worthwhile activity in which he was involved prior to writing his letter. Sadly it was short lived because his romantic illusions of painting and living in a grimy garret were shattered by the commercial realities of art college, which then caused him to consider Graphic Design as a career. But, again, he was disillusioned – and so turned to teaching.
“When I realised the amount of years it would take to get into that particular craft I couldn`t handle it,” Coverdale recounts.

“I just couldn`t envisage all those bloody years of sitting doing the Learning Bit. I`m very interested in learning, obviously, but I couldn`t handle the idea of living on six quid a week for that amount of time.
“It wasn`t immediate enough for my age. I was a young lad, with all the adrenalin and excitement of being young and going round jumping on ladies-`bellies and dancing on them.”
Nevertheless he still harboured romantic ideals and was greatly influenced by the lyrics of the songs of the time, even though he later discovered he`s been duped – again.
“Bolan has a song saying `You Can`t Fool The Children Of The Revolution`, – but unfortunately you can, I think. And a lot of people in my generation have been fooled. I was one of them. I didn`t realise people could get on the road and sing about the streets of Paris and South America only because they were millionaires. They could fly there and live in bloody luxury hotels and find out the street names and make it sound very romantic – for somebody, for instance, who lived in Redcar-by-the-Sea, Cleveland.
“But at the time this was terrific to me. My lifestyle was built around the philosophies of the Yardbirds and all that sort of thing.

“I tried hard to live-for-today, but I developed intellect – or a little more maturity – and got to the point of believing romanticism can certainly be overruled by material realism.
“Like, I love records, but you need a certain amount of sponds (bread) to be able to buy records. To hear records? Well, you`ll need a stereo. I remember sacrificing my little mono record player, courtesy of my mother, which was a Bush – a little bastard, it was grand. It cost £39 and I traded it in for 12 quid on an ITT KB 1250 stereo, which left a lot to be desired, but at the time was ace.”
So what you`re basically saying is you can`t be a hippy without some bread?
“Yeah. You can`t indulge in that kind of philosophy without it. From what I remember the hippy philosophy is to be totally self-sufficient, which you can`t be if you`re dependent on society – for instance, on social security, which I`ve been on as well. One pound and bloody five pence a week I got, mate,” he recalls with bitterness. “Grand, eh? And now they want 98 per cent of my money off me.”
But the beer was cheaper up North.
“It still didn`t pay the sodding flat, I tell you.
“But I had my eyes opened rudely by things happening around me. When I go home now I see a lot of my friends. A lot of them are very depressed. They`ve settled down with wives and started building homes. Which I admire.
“I haven`t got the feeling of wanting those sort of roots yet. Although I dash home whenever I can.”

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At the time Coverdale mentions he was quite obviously living very much in a fantasy world – something he now readily admits, relating it once more to his present position.
“People indulge in fantasies,” he explains. “I`m quite sure you do. I`ve got them. I go and see `Dirty Harry` or `Magnum Force` and I think Clint Eastwood`s hot, and come out feeling a little drab. Or I see Bruce Lee and think `Oooh, I wouldn`t mind having a go at that`. A fantasy is something you create in your mind. I`m very against violence, but I would love to have the power to sort out half a dozen guys if they started pissing about with somebody. You need that fantasy because day-to-day life is dreary.
“What upsets me is people think there`s so much bloody glamour in this business. But it`s about time people realised there isn`t so much glamour”.

Hang on, David, you`d better explain yourself.
“well because the fantasy of that glamour thing, like the old Hollywood, is necessary to a lot of people. I don`t mean the supposed glamour that`s supposed to surround us when we have press receptions or anything like that. The glamour is when you walk on stage and you have thousands of kids going crazy. Audience reaction is the best dope in the world. It`s the greatest high I`ve ever had in my life.
“But I didn`t experience it until Copenhagen last year when I did my first gig with Purple.”
This quest for adulation has obviously been the motivating force to keep Coverdale going. In fact, one reason why he resorted to the hardship of Social Security benefits (“which made me feel like a shit-house as a human being”) was so he could pursue a musical career.
“The last job I had before being unemployed,” he remembers, “was a band leader. Which really meant I led a nightclub trio. But you can imagine there was animosity between me and the people I was asking for money because of this.
“I was living with a lady at the time who had a child – who wasn`t mine, although I felt he was because I loved him that much. So I was supporting a family. And the bastards gave me £1.5 a week. If it hadn`t been for my parents…

“What really pisses me off is for six years I made nothing – yet now they want so much money out of me. But I`m making a crust which might only be for a year, two years or three. God knows! But what the people in this silly tax thing don`t realise is… it could stop anytime.
“Purple is the sort of band that`s got to the top and if there`s any hint of them going down they`d call it a day.”
Really? Now this is worth asking about.
“It`s never been discussed with the band, but I certainly don`t think they`d go down. I don`t think they`d watch that happening. They`d rather retire up there,” he points to the ceiling, “separate and go their individual ways, but leave the name of Deep Purple respected by the fans as it is.
“Each member of the band is very proud, particularly the trio that Glenn (Hughes) and I joined last year. And I`m quite sure they wouldn`t ride downhill.”
“What I mean is, if they felt they couldn`t go any further – as they did with the last Deep Purple and the first Deep Purple – they`d change the band. But if they ever got that feeling with Glenn and I, I don`t think they`d bother again.
“Glenn and I walked in with our bread buttered. It could have fallen on its ass, but fortunately it didn`t. Which I`m very proud of because it was a big pair of shoes I was standing in.”

Coverdale was not without his opportunities before the Purple gig, and he now believes there would have been a strong possibility of his joining Alan Bown when Jess Roden left, or Colosseum before Chris Farlowe joined. Unfortunately, at the time he never considered he`d be seriously considered for either job.
The group which he would mostly dearly have liked to join was the Grease Band when Cocker departed. But then Monsieur Joe is one of the great influences on Coverdale`s vocals.
“I identified with Cocker immediately because he was like Ray Charles. I met him a few times, years ago, and I love him. I would like to line up and shoot the people who put him in the situation he`s in now. Because I see Joe as a tube of toothpaste which has been squeezed. That bloke was so talented.”
“I adapt from everybody who I like and it`s stored in my memory banks, and I use licks from everybody who`s made an impression on me. Which goes from Rod Stewart to Robert Johnson, Bobby Blue Bland, B.B. King, Albert King and so many other black cats. There are not really many white people I appreciate.”

Trying to explain how he is subconsiously affected by other artistes he refers to his writing style as illustrated by the title track of the new album.
“I wrote the lyrics about a mythical creature called Stormbringer who, in a surrealistic story, creates a lot of trouble. It`s similar to the idea of `Burn`.
“But I never even considered Michael Moorcock`s work.”
It was only when he showed the lyric to another member of the band that a comparison to the Moorcock work (“Stormbringer” is the name of a fearsome sword; was made. Then when David arrived home from Munich, where the album was recorded, he discovered some of Moorcock`s SF novels among a trunk of paperbacks.
“In my mind,” Coverdale asserts, “I`d created the character called `Stormbringer`. Which also could have come from my childhood interest in mythology. Thor, the God of Thunder had a hammer called `Stormringer`, didn`t he?” (no – Ed.)
“But mythology was another fantasy for me. I always imagined myself at the Pass of Thermopylae – you know, being a hero like the 300 Spartans who defended Greece or something.”

He does sound rather vague about it all, but assures me that “before I became a rock and roll star I could answer all the Greek mythology questions on University Challenge. Not bad for a 14-year-old, eh?
“It was,” he adds, “a fantasy I could indulge in.
“I was fortunate because I lived in a large house, which was part of a workingmens club, and I had what I called my music room. It was an enormous room in which I used to build all sort of constructions like a Roman galleys. I`d indulge in a terrific fantasy with friends of mine who shared all this.
“Steve Reeves was my hero at one time as well. Do you remember him?”
Ah, so he was into being Hercules?
“At the time, yeah. When I decided I wanted to be a rock singer I was really pissed off that I`d developed shoulders, `cause every pop singer I saw was really skinny.”

One look at David Coverdale`s broad shoulders, the clean cut square jaw line, and the overall physique of a man who appears to have come successfully through a Charles Atlas course, even now would prevent people recognising him as a rock and roll singer. But then, true to the tradition of all well-bred Northerners, one suspects he`d be greatly outraged if one suggests he should slip into some satin and lose a bit of weight. Or would he?
“I`ve never regarded myself with an image and I still don`t,” he tells. “I can`t imagine I ever will, unless my bones change shape and shrink to an impossible degree, and my acne vanishes.”
But David you`re not wearing your spectacles?
“Eh?”
You ain`t got your specs on.
“Because they`re terrible glasses,” he responds with a nervous laugh.
So you haven`t dropped the glasses for the sake of your image?
“No. It`s because when I jump around they fall off. Practical purposes. So I`ve got contact lenses, because that was the first time I could afford them. And then I had to borrow the money to get them.”

Astutely changing the subject, he continues, “Everyone imagined the moment I signed with Deep Purple that I had £100,000 put into my bank account to put me on a social level with the other members. Several rumours say I`ve got a couple of Lamborghinis and Rollses and 21 acres of land.
“I live over a vegetable shop in Redcar,” he admits. “I`ve got a lot of bucks behind me, I`m not denying that, but I grafted for them. And I got myself some contact lenses so I wouldn`t trip over the microphone leads and look like a silly prat.”
Life with Deep Purple has apparently not unduly affected the personality of Mr Coverdale during his first year with the group.

As he puts it: “I`ve been given an opportunity which I`ve grasped firmly with both hands, which anyone would do, for a certain amount of financial security for a certain amount of years, I`d be a fool not to.
“I`m now able to indulge in choices: to eat fish and chips or to eat sirloin steak. Or to go to London for a couple of days and stay in an hotel – rather than sleep on a bench. Which I`ve done, by the way.
“I`m into the material thing because my biggest bloody pain years ago was financial insecurity. How the hell could I fall in love and say to the chick, `Come and live with me at my Mother`s and she and my father will take care of you because I`m a die-hard musician`?
“Fortunately my apprentice-ship paid off and I became a fitter.
“The only way I think I`ve changed is I`ve got a lot more confidence. 101 per cent instead of 99.
“I rely so much on human relationships – male and female. Male for communication and female for physical. And this,” he says in the same breath, “is the best interview I`ve had all day.”

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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.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Jeff Beck, Beckett, Stan Lee, Alvin Lee, Rashied Ali, Can.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Jeff Beck FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 9, 1974

As I usually get a lot of readers when I print something with Jeff Beck, it is quite tempting to do some of the articles on him when I find them. He is a genius guitarist, revered by musicians and music journalists alike. He never compromises to the point that I imagine he would be a pain in the ass at a party among friends. Not because he is one, but because when you have a guy that can play just about everything on guitar among you, it would frustrate you that he probably would refuse to play those easy sing-along songs that you want to sing when you`re a little drunk. They would be too easy for him to play. And I guess it would be difficult for people to sing along to “Scatterbrain”. Even if it had lyrics.
Enjoy this interesting article!

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Blue-eyed guitar-tormenter JEFF BECK of Egerton, Surrey, lists as his favourite leisure pursuits:
MUSIC AND CARS AND SEX…
– though not necessarily in that order.
CHARLES SHAAR MURRAY likes hamburgers, Marvel Comics, and picking his nose – but BECK talked to him anyway…

A digestive biscuit is poised, somewhat uneasily, a few inches away from Jeff Beck`s celebrated nasty leer.
It exudes paranoia, almost as if it possessed some strange biscuity pre-cognitive factor which enables it to realise that it is only a few micro-seconds away from being engulfed by said nasty leer, never to be seen again in its present form.
The biscuit`s suspicions are, alas, entirely correct.
A few crumbs descend on to Mr. Beck`s Levis, narrowly missing the splendidly battered Stratocaster cradled on his lap as he sits equidistant from the beer-cans and the mixing desk in AIR London`s Studio 2 – where he`s skidding towards the wrap-up on Da New Elpee.
As the journalistic profession sidles in, he`s diddling away on the Strat and peering male-violently at a sheet of paper on which is scrawled a mildly intimidating chord sequence.

“I`ve got to play over that in 5/4,” he moans piteously. “And I`ve lost me bottle.”
He dumps the Strat in a corner, and starts playing back what he`s done so far.
This stuff, as it happens, is not the material that J.B. churned out while holed up in Escape Studios after BB&A splintered into three separate initials. That stuff is still on a shelf, seeing as how it`s extremely souly and requires “some decent lyrics and a wailing singer.”
This is All New Material, and the Mad Axeman is aided and abetted by Philip Chen (bass), Richard Bailey (drums), Max Middleton (things with keyboards on them) and George Martin (production and string arrangements).
All clear? Let us press onwards.

Since BB&A vanished off the face of the earth, Beck has been skulking a little.
Cornered in the Speak, he`d muttered something about his new stuff being “Far more adult than the stuff you`re used to from me” and similar enigmatic crypterama.
What he`s actually into is a Beckified version of the currently ultra-flash jazz-funk stuff that the likes of Billy Cobham and Herbie Hancock are peddling these days.
It`s not so much a new style for Beck as a different context. The settings are yerractual piano-whirlpools and ricky-ticky funk rhythm-section, but there`s scads of widescreen Beckerama in there as well.
To start in the strangest place, there`s a track called “She`s A Reggae Woman”, which is the old Beatles tune “She`s A Woman” done reggae style, with Beck slinging in the album`s only vocal – using The Bag. You know – the bag.
What`s in The Bag, Jeff?
“Awwww…the kids`ve sussed it anyway.”

Beck curls up in his chair grinning fit to split his face, pulling on his cigar and miming to various parts as they come out of the speaker, while Max Middleton leans over the desk plunking away on a kalimba (or “African thumb piano” as it`s sometimes known).
So let`s break the silence and let Jeff tell you all about what he`s currently up to (or “to what he`s currently up”, as academicians would have it).
“It was an accident, really. I never do anything intentionally. The basic structure of the album is an accident. I was playing around with a few lines – I played you one that was in 9/4 time, which was just a finger exercise. It was something that I could play very fast and by moving the figure up and down the fretboard and adding new chords, it became a tune.
“That was the first accident. My whole life has been an accident, but sometimes accidents can be quite productive. I wrote most of the funky things on the album, but three or four of them were written at the time of recording. We went into AIR armed with about three-quarters of the album.

“Max has done a lot of internal work with the album. I`d give him a melody line – like that 9/4 thing – and he`d go home and give it some chords. Or rather he`d lend them to me – they weren`t his to give.
“I`ve known Phil Chen for years. He played with Jimmy James And The Vagabonds, and he`s one of the few bass players from the old days who sprang to mind. I wanted somebody who wasn`t really blowing their own trumpet – as it were – all the time. He sits back and lets you play, which is good. Never interferes. Sometimes he doesn`t play enough, but it doesn`t matter.
“Max knew Richard. There`s a whole family of musicians who`ve been with Gonzales and other funky bands who never really made any noise, but there are a lot of good players there.
“He can play anything, and he never plays the same thing twice. His fills aren`t hackneyed. Some people are great in the studio, but you get it the first time and that`s it. If you don`t like it, you have to get another drummer. Richard listens to everybody else and decides what he can play to it. Most drummers learn the part, and then you have to play what they can play.

“Drums are a bastard thing to play. You can`t bluff on drums. You can bluff with a guitar – like I bluff all the time. Bass and drums are unbluffable. The bluffers in the business died off about eight or ten years ago. Bluff guitarists are going to be out of business soon – so I`m probably going to be looking for a job.”
Awwww, Jeff – modesty becomes you.
“I thought I was good until I tried to learn a part which I need for this album. I couldn`t put it together for the life of me.
“It`s a slow thing in five. I know I can play beautiful over it, but because it`s in five I`m having to think hard. But when you pull off a funny time signature, it`s not funny any more, it`s just natural.
“I wouldn`t want to do what McLaughlin`s doing and set out to baffle the musician: `Now, ladies and gentlemen, we have baffle the musician half-hour`. I`m not into all that – I`m not into surprising anybody. You`ve only got to listen to Billy Cobham to know what can be done with time signatures, and this is very simplified Billy Cobham.

“Jan Hammer is influencing me at the moment. It`s only a very crude imitation, but it is Hammer that I`m copying, because his synthesiser sounds like a guitar should sound.”
Yeah, well – it`s certainly conceptually different from all that kamikaze BB&A stuff.
“Kamikaze is exactly the word – it was the biggest fight in rock-and-roll that you could ever hear. We were grappling with an abysmal lack of material and lack of co-operation all round.
“I wouldn`t co-operate and play what they wanted me to play, because I had finished with that style a long time ago. They wanted me to tear my hair out and play the guitar until it melted. Everybody`s done that, and they do it as well if not better than I do it.
“I don`t want to fight my own instincts – I want to go off and do something that, even if it isn`t that brilliant, is at least different.
“That`s always been my policy: to bring to the attention of the public things that can be listened to and enjoyed.”

Mr. Jeff Beck

Mr. Jeff Beck

When BB&A went to the Great Motel In The Sky, it added mileage to the standard canard that Beck is such an intolerable bastard that he can never keep a band together.
“I have no pretentions about it; I don`t intend to keep any band together. That`s the most boring proposition that I can think of. I`m not hard to get on with, but I get fed up with playing the same old tunes every night time after time. Even if it`s a step down, if it`s different I`ll do it.
“What I`ve just done was a challenge. I`ve never done this sort of music before. I can`t shed my old style completely, because that`s me, but I can put it in a different context, which is exactly what I`ve done here.”
If Beck`s new material can be compared to any previous aspect of his work, it`s the “Rough And Ready” era, which he describes as “an irritating period to reflect on. I don`t like that period. I don`t like the BB&A period – but I played more arse-kicking rock in there than in `Rough And Ready`, although it was far less creative. BB&A rock is uncreative, self-indulgent noise, really.”
Yeah, but I kinda dug it for that very reason.

“The only reason it was valid was that no one else sounded like that, whether it was good or bad. They thrived on excess and over-playing. If you could zero in on the energy, you got the goods. Otherwise, it was a cacophonous nasty horrible noise.”
“It was because of that that I couldn`t go on with it. The noise was hurting me so much.
“It was my decision.
“I`d like to say that it just exploded like a bomb, but it didn`t. I just couldn`t go on with it. As I said, there was a sad lack of material, and that came about twice, when we tried to do two albums.
“Avid BB&A freaks may be interested to know that there are two full albums, which if I have anything to do with it will never be released.
“If you could have a referendum and ask `Do you want the BB&A album out` and 60 million screaming people said, `Yes, please`, then I wouldn`t mind. But it`s old news.”

Look on the bright side, Jeff. The new album could sell to a whole bunch of people who`ve never listened to you before, the quaalude kids`ll buy the BB&A live album, and the basic Beck freaks`ll buy both.
“There aren`t enough Beck freaks to keep me in readies, so I don`t care about them. I`ve got to think about the people who wanna hear music.
“If they`re that much of a freak, they`ll stick with what I`m doing anyway. If they`d dump me because of one album that they don`t like, then they`re not a fan. So I shouldn`t have to worry about them.
“I`m not saying that I don`t care, I`m just saying that I`m not worried about them.”
Referring back to Carmine Pizza`s interview a few weeks back, were there really bad vibes between you and Tim Bogert?
“I must say that when it came to me throwing bottles at Tim, there must be a bad vibe somewhere. That bit of roughness could maybe have been smoothed over. But, like I said, we did two albums, and there wasn`t one piece of music that I could listen to and say, `hey, that`s me`.
“When we weren`t fighting we were playing slush. There was a thing called `Laughalong`, which could have been done better by the Stylistics.
“What the fuck do I want with a Stylistics tune?

“I want stuff that enables me to roast on the guitar, but roast well, and not have to come out with all the old shit that people expect from me.
“You can keep up with the times as well as kick ass, you know what I mean?
“I hate to say it, but Johnny Winter didn`t do anything for me the other night, and I used to rate him. He came on, and I was so ashamed to be associated with that white rock music when he played. I don`t know why, `cuz it wasn`t that bad – it just sounded so old.
“Hendrix did it all.
“He closed the book.
“When he died, that was it.
“I don`t think Robin Trower`s playing valid music. It was nice, if you`re into reliving a bit of Hendrix, when he played Hendrix-style music with a little bit of his own flavour – but I just can`t listen to it.”
Do you miss playing live?
“No, I miss getting myself represented on record. If God walked in the room and said, `this record will be a million-seller here, and do ten million in the States – here you are`, and it wasn`t 100 per cent great, I wouldn`t do it.

“If I got a hit record, it would only mean trouble for me. It would probably elevate me to something I`m not, something that that I`m not capable of carrying out.
“If I had to go out and promote a gold album, the temptation to play every night would be great, and the temptation to go out and whore about and do everything there was to be done to make money and be a millionaire would be so great.
“I`m not into that.
“The thought of having millions in the bank is no security to me. The thought of working with good players is security. It`s easy to hurt somebody by saying, `you`re a has-been`, and it frightens everybody to be thought of as a has-been…
“And I`m not gonna be a has-been. I don`t care if I`m classed as one, I`m not gonna be one.”
Yeah, Jeff… remember those fa-a-a-a-bulous `60s?
“What was all right in the `60s? Nothing was all right in the `60s

“I didn`t have any money – and that`s not a contradiction of my last statement – and now I`ve got the money to exist comfortably. I`m not talking about the kind of money that`ll change your life-style whether you liked it or not. There`s certain things I like to be protected against – like not being able to afford electricity for recording.
“Music and cars and sex are my main driving forces, and that`s the way I`m gonna keep it.”

The charts  - November, 1974

The charts – November, 1974

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: David Coverdale, Beckett, Stan Lee, Alvin Lee, Rashied Ali, Can.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Thin Lizzy FROM Sounds, NOVEMBER 9, 1974

Finally – here is a short, but nice interview with Phil Lynott. His band, Thin Lizzy, is one of those legendary bands that forever will have a place in musical history. A very gifted lyricist and a fantastic musician that unfortunately left this  world much too young (36 years old), but his legacy will live on for generations to come.
Geoff Barton, the journalist doing this interview, deserves a special mention. He joined Sounds at the age of nineteen and have for most of his life done music journalism. In 1981 he edited the first issue of Kerrang! – my youth wouldn`t have been the same without it as it was one of my only sources to what was going on in the rock`n`roll world. Remember – this was way before the world wide web,  so you couldn`t just go online to find whatever you wanted.
Today, I continue to have a musical relation with Mr. Barton through buying “Classic Rock Magazine” where he works as an Editor at Large.
These days, his son, Caesar Barton, continues the family tradition by working in music journalism.

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Music while you wait

Thin Lizzy`s Phil Lynott has written quite a few good lyrics in his time and now he has a book out “Songs For While I`m Away” with 20 of his songs in it. Here he talks to Geoff Barton about the book and Thin Lizzy Mk. III.

In my mind at least Phil Lynott is a first class, if not a foremost, rock lyricist. Perhaps it`s this which brings Thin Lizzy out of the bag of popular-but-pretty-boring-really bands, sets them a little apart from the rest, and gains them a certain amount of respect from fans and critics alike.
And though I`ve yet to see the new four piece Lizzy line-up, there`s no reason why they shouldn`t continue to be the same old solid, driving and powerful band that recorded “Vagabonds Of The Western World” and notched up no small amount of memorable live performances.
No reason at all…unless Phil abandons his bass guitar for quill pen and sets out to be a poet. Oho – that`s not in the least likely, but nevertheless he does have a book of poems or songs out at the moment, called “Songs For While I`m Away”.

It`s a brief selection of 20 or so of his songs, and most of them have been recorded at one time or another by the band, though not necessarily in the form in which they appear. They can`t really be categorised as poetry as such – they don`t really stand up to the transition on to the printed page – but if you can appreciate them as rock lyrics alone and nothing else, then they become quite superb.
The well-tried and popular rock lyric (i.e.: “Oooh baby, too much, yeah”) rarely says anything at all – no one worries about it that much, and more often than not it`s accepted as a matter of course. But Thin Lizzy lyrics are really the odd ones out. Be they about a juke joint and someone with their cycle outside (wanna try?), or about flagrant fields and schoolboy eyes, the Lizzy lyric invariably means something, tells a story of whatever.
And it`s a refreshing change.

INSPIRES

Lizzy`s management offices were pretty quiet – a typewriter clacked away in the background, and that was about it. Then Lynott & Co arrived, just back from a meeting with Phonogram, their new record company, to disrupt the whole scene. Lynott, clutching a Marvel Comic, strode into the room and caused quite a fracas. “What`s the Hulk`s other identity? Who`s the Silver Surfer?” he quizzed.
The interview, Phil. Oh yes. “…Most of my songs are autobiographical,” he says in rapid, nasal Irish tones, “that`s what inspires me to write. If I experience something, and I think that experience is worth sharing with somebody else – then I write a song. My whole reason for writing songs is to share my experience with…whoever. Maybe the person who listens to our records, or has the book. I hope it`s an experience that they can relate to.”

Peter Fallon, poet and brother to B.P. Fallon, together with artist Jim Fitzpatrick suggested to Phil that he should get “Songs For While I`m Away” together. And so he did. He sent Fallon 50 or so poems from which he selected about 20, and Fitzpatrick chose a couple to illustrate. The above book was the eventual result.
Phil: “It wasn`t my idea at all. But Ireland is such a small place that you can easily get something like the book arranged and on the move. In England you need a reason to do this sort of thing. In Ireland you don`t need a reason. If you get your money back – great. If you lose it all – so what?”
There`s no chance that Phil will lose money on the book, for the first edition sold out quickly and it`s currently being reprinted. It looks like it`s going to be a steady seller for some time.

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PERSONAL

Some of the inclusions in the book struck me as being very personal exercises, notably one about a pregnant girl called “Little Girl In Bloom”, and another about racial prejudice entitled “Black Boys On The Corner”. I wondered if Phil was at all wary in revealing his personal thoughts to a wide audience.
“In the music it`s cool, but in the book it strikes me as being a little different. Recently I`ve been doing a fair amount of interviews concerning the book, and I find it really embarassing to talk about it. Sure I can talk about the book as a book alone – but the minute you sort of go into particular poems, it gets so embarassing, I figure I`ve said it the way I want to say it, so why should I expand upon it?
“But the nice thing about it is that people are looking at me now and saying: `yeah, he writes a decent lyric or two`. They realise that I`m not just a singer in a rock and roll band. So now I know that people are going to be listening to me, it`s definitely going to be harder to write songs. I want to try and make them more meaningful – I definitely want to spend a lot more time on them.
“But what`s really worrying me is that I`m doing more interviews about this book than about the band!”

Okay, so what about the band? The departure of Gary Moore led to the break up of perhaps one of the most visual three-piece bands, but the truth is that Moore wasn`t happy – he considered Lizzy a pop band, of all things. So, now we have Lizzy Mk. III, or thereabouts.

CRAZY

“All those personnel changes – for a while it was really bad, but now it`s beginning all over again. This Lizzy is the best Lizzy that`s ever been.” He pauses, as if expecting some sort of retort on my part, then continues: “When we were a three-piece there was a certain emptiness in the sound, and we couldn`t explore the material sufficiently. But now the current band is playing…well, more like a band should play. With Gary we were like three individuals in one band, it was a crazy line-up, but as a live act we couldn`t fail.”
Gary Moore appears on one track called “Still In Love” on the new Lizzy album “Nightlife”, together with singer Frankie Miller. The rest of it is four-piece Lizzy with new guys Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson.

And before 1975 is out, there should be a Phil Lynott solo album, featuring material vastly different from the band`s usual stuff and showcasing him, if not necessarily in his capacity as musician, then in his capacity as a songwriter.
Phil: “I`m looking forward to the album more as a project than a product.”
And why not?

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This ad would probably be considered too “sexist” today? Not in 1974…

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: Elton John, Ken Boothe, Van Morrison, Pink Floyd, Pete Brown, George Harrison, David Puttnam, Mott The Hoople, Bad Company, David Bowie, Phil Spector, Janis Ian.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Queen FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 2, 1974

Here we go again with yet another fairly old and exciting article. This time an early interview with Queen`s Freddie Mercury. Always extravagant, always  a star. Lucky were those who experienced him first-hand, and got to be called “Dear” or “Darling” by this legendary frontman. It is really funny how he hints about his sexuality at this early stage of his career and it is quite interesting in the context of this time in history.
The Sexual Offences Act that Britain passed in 1967 decriminalised homosexual acts between two men over 21 years of age in private in England and Wales. The 1967 Act did not extend to Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, where all homosexual behaviour remained illegal. The privacy restrictions of the act meant a third person could not be present and men could not have sex in a hotel. This was the law at the time of the interview. Only 10 years before this interview was conducted a UK opinion poll finds that 93% of respondents see homosexuality as a form of illness requiring medical treatment. No wonder that Mr. Mercury were a little guarded about this part of his personality.

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The contents of Freddie Mercury`s pants are his alone. They belong to him and to no-one else.

JULIE WEBB relentlessly probes the cut and contour of QUEEN`S Lead Trouser

Funny how times change. Seems like only yesterday that people were taking the mickey out of Queen. Of course, there were some who reckoned they had a genuine talent which would come to the fore, but for many they were merely a flash in the pan.
Two hit albums and two hit singles later, the band can afford a smirk at the expense of their journalistic detractors. This week Queen began their second major tour of Britain. Last time round they were just breaking “Seven Seas Of Rhye” – this time the new album “Sheer Heart Attack” will be featured, but strangely enough not their new single “Killer Queen,” since lead singer Freddie Mercury deems it “not necessary to add to what we are going to do on stage.”

It was Mercury, you may remember, who was so sublimey confident about the band`s chances of success – and he hasn`t changed. “Queen II” may have gone silver, but he reckons “it`ll go platinum” before long. Four months ago, you might have sneered – now it`s about time you listened.
The turning point for the band is really the new single. “A double A side, though no one seems to realise it because they keep playing `Killer Queen`,” interjects Mercury. It`s a turning point in that it sounds nothing like the noisy heavy metal sound to which we are accustomed from Queen, thus justifying their earlier claim of `versatility.` It`s more of a mixture of Beach Boys, early Beatles and 1920`s music-hall. Quaite naice, actually.

Says Mercury: “People are used to hard rock, energy music from Queen, yet with this single you almost expect Noel Coward to sing it. It`s one of those bowler hat, black suspender belt numbers – not that Noel Coward would wear that.”
And you?
“Oh no dear, just a nice little black number.”
It is apparent that success (in any shape or form) has not altered Mercury, who still insists on using the suffix “dear” at the end of many of his sentences. He is also still very much hung up on maintaining the `star` image.
For a start he never carries much money round with him. It`s not that he`s poverty-stricken or even mean – just that it`s difficult to keep cash in your shoes. A star to the last, he wears pocketless trousers and keeps his finances close to his feet.
“I hate pockets in trousers,” he stresses. “By the way, I do not wear a hose. My hose is my own. No coke bottle, nothing stuffed down there.”
Of course, Freddie.

However, sticking rigidly to the star image has its drawbacks. Satin trousers aren`t that durable (“I split a pair last week”) and velvet and sequins have a nasty habit of dulling in the rain. Still, they create the desired effect of getting people to stare. Mercury still adores the stares, of course – he`s insisted all along he`s a star and thinks he should dress accordingly. But for all the high camp, he`s got some grey matter in that head of his.
It was, after all, Mercury who wrote six of the thirteen cuts on the new album and being artistically inclined it was he who provided the idea for the album sleeve.
“God, the agony we went through to have the pictures taken, dear. Can you imagine trying to convince the others to cover themselves in Vaseline and then have a hose of water turned on them?”
Sheer agony, Freddie. The end result is four members of the band looking decidely unregal, tanned and healthy, and as drenched as if they`ve been sweating for a week.

“Everyone was expecting some sort of cover. A Queen III cover really, but this is completely new. It`s not that we`re changing altogether – it`s just a phase we are going through.”
But won`t Queen devotees be a trifle worried by this new image?
“They will love it. We`re still as poncy as ever. We`re still the dandies we started out to be. We`re just showing people we`re not merely a load of poofs, that we are capable of other things.”
The album, as detailed above, boasts 13 tracks – most of them a mere three minutes in length.
“Not a collection of singles, dear – although we might draw another one off later for a single. I`m not absolutely sure about that, though. No, not all the numbers last for ages. There were just so many songs we wanted to do. And it makes a change to have short numbers. It`s so varied that we were able to go to extremes. I only had about two weeks to write my songs so we`ve been working (expletive deleted) hard.”

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It should be noted that the BBC seem to have taken “Killer Queen” to their collective bosom, since they`ve been flogging it to death. I wonder if they would be so keen if they realised the true story behind the single.
Mercury elucidates: “It`s about a high class call girl. I`m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That`s what the song is about, though I`d prefer people to put their own interpretation upon it – to read into it what they like.”
The British tour is their first live manifestation since their ill-fated American bonanza, when they played support to Mott The Hoople and returned early after guitarist Brian May contracted hepatisis.
As if that wasn`t bad enough, May was later informed that he had an ulcer. Currently he still has a certain air of frailty surrounding him, but he claims to be feeling “better than ever.”

Mercury advises: “Brian has got to look after himself in future. We all want to make sure something like that never happens again. So he`ll have to eat the right things and steer clear of hamburgers.”
Most inopportune, one would have thought, quitting their first US tour halfway through. Mercury however is as confident as ever of the band`s chances in America.
“We did what we had to, anyway. Sure, a whole tour would have helped us a bit more, but there`s no such thing as `we lost our chance.` I still believe that the time is right for us there and we`re going back pretty soon. We really did it – cause when we came back you should have seen the write-ups. They were beautiful and they just want us to come back as soon as we can. They are just waiting on new product.”

One particular review from the US sticks out in Mercury`s mind since it was, in a sense, on a personal level.
“We played a theatre in New York with Mott and this particular chick (well, they notice everything down to the pimple on your arse, dear) wrote that she noticed that when I did a costume change I changed even my shoes and socks. She also added she was so close she could tell what religion I was, and that I wasn`t wearing any knickers. She also pointed out that Ian Hunter had knickers on. Ian`s going to die…”
Indeed.

Since the American market is taking such an interest in Queen, it appears Japan is not very far behind.
“Queen II” was recently voted album of the year and all members of the band came up highly in the musicians` awards. “Quite a change for a country which has of late been apparently obsessed with the likes of ELP and Yes.
“We`re planning to go to Japan in the New Year,” states Mercury “Can`t wait, actually. All those geisha girls…” (he laughs) “and boys.”
Seems the Jap market have twigged quite early – even now they send presents to the band. At EMI Mercury received a Japanese wooden comb “for your birthday, please come over soon.”
Before the British tour, the main priority has been rehearsing. This time round, the sound should substantially improve, since they will be playing larger venues than before, which are more suited to their vast sound system.
“We`re just hoping to have a whale of a time. We are going to have to put across all three albums. The repertoire will be built around them. But the main thing is to put across the energy of the band and hopefully the versatility. I`d hate to just do hard rock all the time, dear. It should be good because we`ve got better lights, better everything.”

Part of this interview was conducted in a local hostelry which sold liquor. Beforehand, Mercury seemed a bit nervous about what kind of establishment it was.
“Is it working class?” he asked, in what sounded like an elitist manner. No, it wasn`t particularly rough. Even so, people did tend to stare when he entered.
“I love it, really” he commented, looking distinctly uncomfortable trying to avoid the stares of an old man nearby, whose eyes were attempting to leave their sockets.
“I just wanted to know what kind of place it was because I don`t want a load of cut-throats round me. I just wonder what they think. I mean when we walked in that man`s eyes did nearly pop out of his head.”
Does he ever get strange comments walking down the street?
“No, not really. I`ve had people try to pick me up once or twice, but I`m not intending to change into jeans because of it. I tried that a few weeks ago and people I knew remarked on that far more than my satin or velvet.”

Somehow I have enough confidence in Mercury to feel that he could carry off any occasion with typical aplomb. Just a short time ago he found himself in a somewhat embarrassing situation and miraculously escaped. But let him explain that:
“We`d had a hectic day at “Top Of The Pops” and our promotion man Eric Hall invited us out for a meal. Unfortunately the others in the band couldn`t come as they had to go back to the studio. Anyway, I had rather a lot to drink and I seem to remember at some point in the evening that someone removed my shoes and socks and hung them on a lampshade. Then I said something along the lines of `well, if you`re going to take everything off I shall remove my trousers…”
Picture this. Our hero, half under his table at a rather trendy nitespot with trousers akimbo, when the big white chief of the establishment approaches.
“I thought he was going to throw me out, but instead he said `I hear you`ve got a gold disc.` He meant to say silver. And then he presented me with a bottle of champagne.”
Now if Mercury can handle a situation like that with such style, think how easy it is for him to get everyone else convinced that he is a true star.

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Fashionable girls in this ad from 1974.

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 the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Peter Gabriel, Fruupp, Leslie Richard McKeown (Bay City Rollers), Steve Harley, Johnny Winter, H.B. Barnum.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, October 26, 1974

A really big fan of Uriah Heep made contact with me through my Facebook page, we had some coversation and before I knew it, he tipped my page off to several of the guys that have played or are playing in Uriah Heep. And I know that two or maybe three of those childhood heroes of mine have read this blog. Really fun and exciting stuff for me, so in honour of the band and their superfan from Norway – here is yet another article from those days long ago!
Have a nice read!

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Is it hostilities in the Heavy Metal Zone?

Like this guy KEN HENSLEY wants to go melodic and mellow man… when the rest of URIAH HEEP wanna keep on makin` like pneumatic drills. It looks like a serious case of metal fatigue – but all is not yet lost.
TONY STEWART reports.

Being in this particular Bristol audience is pretty much like being under a labourer`s armpit.
There`s a nauseating reek of stale sweat and a fine spray of dandruff flicked from the kids` hair as they toss their heads from side to side in the customary tradition of the heavy metal freak. And there`s an awful humidity, akin to that of a Louisiana swamp, which creeps up your nostrils.

A glance across the Colston Hall reveals people lined up regimentally, row upon row, hands clasping the seats in front as though they`re trying to retain control over pneumatic drills. And the visual effect is completed by the violent, stilted movements of their frames – as if the whole audience is in the throes of a congregational epileptic fit.
It`s all a sure sign that Uriah Heep are once again on a British tour.
By some miracle this audience aggression was restrained, causing only superficial damage in the way of loosened seat bolts. But even so it was symbolic of a stage act which is becoming disturbingly violent.

Singer David Byron stalks manfully from one side of the stage to the other, at times screeching into the microphone like a demented and tormented town crier. Gary Thain curls his sinewy body around his bass, and contorts his face, his chin almost touching his nose, to look like a grotesque and sinister carnival mask.
Guitarist Mick Box is as equally brutal in his playing style. He stretches his legs wide, with the guitar slung between, whipping the neck as though performing some perverted form of masturbation.
Lee Kerslake (drums) and organist Ken Hensley seem at a disadvantage in this context, because most of the time they`re both seated – and are therefore only able to bring their hands down as if pounding an enemy into the ground.
This quaint, but overtly savage ritual in which group and audience participate is commonly known as getting it on.

Of course, it would be easy to be cynical and ridicule Uriah Heep and their strange stage show. But I won`t do it – because strange as it may appear, their brash, methodic pumping of abrasive riffs seems to be sufficiently musically-based to attract a large audience. And anyway it`s been done in the past.
Those creatures who occupied the Colston Hall left not only with a headache and/or a few loose teeth, but with a sense of fulfillment.
Heep do actually attempt to make their gigs into occasions providing an ostentatious but delightfully dramatic light show for an act which erupts in a blaze of multi-colour glory and dry-ice effects, building through most of their favoured numbers to climax in an incomparable pitch of excitement.
But is it enough?

Apparently Heep are reluctant to entice new devotees into their substantial, but not enormous, fold. After all, their show is geared to the converted and has certainly not changed significantly over the last couple of years, apart from the addition of what are, I feel, token numbers such as “Stealin`” and “Suicidal Man” in acknowledgment of the existence of their last two albums, “Sweet Freedom” and “Wonderworld.”
True, their act has not regressed – but nor has it progressed. To my mind they`ve been running on the spot for too long. And it would appear Ken Hensley has similar views.

Seated behind the wheel of six grand`s worth of BMW engineering, we`re on route along the M5 from Bristol to the next gig in Birmingham. And it proves a rare opportunity to talk to Hensley about the band, although his long and detailed explanations are interspersed by a series of driver`s expletives directed at other motorists and a few groans of pain as he rubs his bruised ribs – an injury he apparently sustained after falling out of bed.
Basically, Hensley feels there`s a rift within the Heep ranks, causing a division in their musical ideology. It came about, he indicates, because of complacency, lack of communication, and too much time spent worrying about the business side of the band.
“It`s been like this for about a year – ever since we started getting involved with the Inland Revenue. And unless it`s corrected it`s going to have its ultimate effect. And that`s a really sad prospect.
“It stunts your growth…just like smoking.
“But I don`t know what`s going to happen now…because we`ve reached the situation where there`s the possibility that a clash of musical opinions will put us on the spot when it comes to recording another album.

Hensley`s discontent stems from his own wish to change the band`s musical direction and – on stage – bring Heep more into line with the progressions evident on their recent albums.
And he claims that the songs which have more musical merit, being at the same time uncharacteristically mellow and melodic, are not treated with favour by certain other members.
“I really think that`s wrong. And if people aren`t convinced that songs like `Wonderworld,` and `The Shadows Of The Wind` are right for the band…without ever saying they`re not convinced…they`ll play them without conviction – and therefore the songs never come off properly.
“But when you get a song that`s crash, bang, wallop and tread on the gas, everyone gets into it and it comes off.
“It`s because there are two schools of thought. One says, `We should be just playing out and out noisy rock and roll,` and the other – which I admit is my own – says we should be doing something a bit different.
“What we`re doing at the moment is not only easy, it`s also not very futuristic – and it certainly isn`t progressive. It doesn`t really single us out from all the other bands. It just brands us as being another noisy group.

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From the way Hensley says all this it`s pretty clear he hasn`t yet detailed his complaints to the rest of the band, although he intends to.
“But I believe in making these analyses, which have sometimes been described as too self-critical, and I`ve arrived at a solution as to exactly what we should be doing.
“Before too long I`m going to present these ideas. I`ve got pages of notes on them. And I`ll see what the reaction is. Because if we`ve reached a stage now where the general consensus of the band is that we`re running the right way, then…” he hesitates.
“Then I`m going to have a very serious think and a very serious chat to everybody about whether I`m any use to the band anymore.”
He pauses, curses a motorist taking his time in overtaking, and then collects his thoughts.

“Being the main writer – right? – I don`t know whether I can sit down and write anything other than what I`m writing at the moment.
“If I`m responsible for the music failing to get through to the masses, then it`s because involuntarily I`m going off on a musical tangent to the rest of the group.
“And IF that is the case, to be absolutely realistic and practical about it, either somebody else in the band has got to start writing the songs which they claim they should be doing. Or else they`ll have to get somebody in to do the writing.
“I`m glad,” he continues, “that `Wonderworld` didn`t work out successfully, because it`s meant a re-examination period has started, which has been missing for 18 months. For a change everybody`s sitting around wondering if we are making mistakes.”

For a change is very much the operative phrase, inferring the possible existence of a complacent attitude within the band – perhaps because they believe there`s nothing further to attain.
I ask Hensley about this, but he hedges and will discuss the subject only generally.
“It`s a side effect of having a slight degree of success. It`s very easy to be like that when you have a few quid in the bank and you`re driving a nice car. Especially if you`ve been brought up in an entirely different environment.
“A few gold records on your wall…a few quid in the bank…and it`s really easy to see why some people just sit around and think there`s nothing left to do. But it depends on what your attitude is, and what you`re in the business for.
“You`re either in the business to make money, to be a star, or because you chose music as a career. Therefore you`re interested in furthering your career and contributing something to this work you`ve got so much out of.”

One common symptom of success and its financial benefits is a sense of independence, allowing group members to move away from each other socially and – too frequently – musically as well. Which might have happened with U. Heep.
If it has, Hensley isn`t saying. He answers my question in general terms – as though talking about the syndrome in another group – not necessarily Uriah Heep.
“Unfortunately that`s absolutely true. There`s no longer the need for everybody to live in the same area; there`s no longer the need to share hotel rooms, or even stay in the same hotel; there`s no need for you to travel in the same aeroplane or same car.
“Once that sets in you realise how fragmentated you`re becoming socially, and that in turn has its effect on your performance. It must do, because you`re not in contact, mentally or physically with any of the people you`re working with. The only time you see each other is on stage.

“But I know bands who make that work. I mean The Who don`t live together or party together all night long. They`re still going after ten years though.
“When you see somebody with an achievement like that,” he elaborates, “it makes four-and-a-half years and a few gold records look pretty puny.”
Now on the subject of Heep:
“I think the reason we haven`t really made it is because we`re right on the top of the fence now. We`ll either go on, and if we do we`ll probably keep on going for a good long time, or this whole thing will collapse. Which will mean we haven`t got that magic ingredient which keeps bands going for ever and ever, like The Who, the Stones and Led Zeppelin.
“I just think it`s wrong to sit back after four-and-a-half years and say `We`ve done enough`. Because when you choose music as a career and you`re eager to take all this money, success, fame and glory that it can give you, it`s unfair to sit back. It`ll just backfire, and sooner or later you`re going to realise the decision was premature.
“Complacency is like dry rot. In this case it`s not your doors and window frames that are eaten away…it`s your bloody life; your career.”
I could have sworn his accelerator pedal touched the floor at that moment.

“Kenny gets very paranoid,” David Byron explains, “and thinks we`re in a crucial position.”
Byron, Mick Box and I are comfortably seated in the cocktail lounge of Birmingham`s Holiday Inn discussing the U. Heep situation from their point of view.
It`s quite obvious from the start they don`t feel the situation is as critical as Kenny makes out.
“But,” continues Byron, “I`ve seen so many bands go up and down. One minute everybody says they`re finished, and the next minute they come back with the biggest album of the year.
“It really is irrelevant. You don`t know what is going to happen. The only thing you can do – and it`s my whole philosophy on life – is to do what you enjoy doing.
“Kenny gets really worried though. Like every night on the American tour he kept saying: `It didn`t happen! It didn`t happen!` I said: `Kenny, there were 12,000 people there, it was sold out, everybody was standing on their feet and clapping and we came back and did a 20-minute encore. How can you possibly say it failed?`
“`I know that,` he said, `but they always do that.` I said: `But they wouldn`t do it if they didn`t want to.`
“If you do fill a hall,” Byron comments, “and you do get good applause and you do get encores, then there isn`t anything badly wrong with you.”

Later that evening the same kind of response Byron had described was witnessed at the Town Hall Birmingham. Both visually and musically the show was a success, for Uriah Heep and Their Audience. But as I stated earlier, it`s an act which appeals very much to the Converted, and the attitude Byron expresses is not likely to increase their following.
It is no doubt because of such enthusiastic receptions that he`s able to declare unequi-vocally: “Kenny may want to try and push the band in another direction, which he tries to do, but he`s wrong. He`d be making a very, very wrong decision if he did that, and that`s why he`s never been allowed to do it.”
Isn`t it eventually going to come to a clash if Kenny and the other members of the band insist in following their own separate directions?
“It could come to the crunch,” responds Byron, “and if so he`d have to leave and do his own stuff. That`s the obvious finale.”

Box is less concerned and so quite naturally plays down the conflict.
“The most it`ll come to is a heated discussion which will then be sorted out.”
And bring with it something of an anti-climax to our story.

Bilde 3

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 the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bad Company, Faces, Wishbone Ash, Robert Wyatt, Dave Quincey, Slapp Happy, Mike Mantler, Johnny Winter.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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