Month: April 2015


This is my fourth article with the band Yes. I think there will be even more in the future. A very special band indeed, as this article shows quite clearly. They had recently employed a new keyboard player and released their album “Relayer” at the time of this report.
I hope you like it – have fun!


Out of the Moraz and into the Miso soup

Relax. Patrick Moraz is doing fine. But there`s some guy called Wakeman who`s a trifle unpopular with these boys.

`After a few mouthfuls of the stuff I felt my pulse begin to race, and my skin began to glow with a sort of radiant sheen,` reports TONY TYLER with desperate enthusiasm as he joins the austere YES entourage on another clean, healthy, successful tour of America.

The waitress`s name is Giselle, though you can think of her as Shelley Winters. She`s fat, fair and 40 (well, 45), Very Feminine and only moderately floozy.
She hovers anxiously.
“It`s all vegetarian food, every bit”, she confides, to no-one in particular, though she`s doing a surreptitious bit of checking out from under the mascara. Me, I`d say she`s a meat-eater but she seems keen all the same that these boys should enjoy their nuts and stuff.
“Having a party later?”
Well, no, lady, this is a Yes tour. We`re just planning on going quietly to bed. She looks at the table – which is groaning under the assembled weight of Stuffed Summer Squash, Japanese Miso Soup, chopped fresh fruit `n` nuts, quiche a la Holiday Inn – and sighs a little regretfully. She splits in disgust.
Which is not to say that healthfood isn`t culinarily exciting or good for you. In fact, after only a few mouthfuls of the stuff I felt my pulses begin to race and my skin began to glow with a sort of radiant sheen. It`s just that healthfood doesn`t exactly do much for the libido, the satiation of which, as everyone knows, is one of the chief benefits of accompanying a Major English Group on a Stateside Tour.

Personally, I was a little sorry to see Shelley Winters depart but there`s no doubt the members of Yes were utterly indifferent to her presence.
Who needs ageing nookie when there`s a flagon of fresh-squeezed apple juice still unquaffed?
Yes, sir, it`s a clean band. But need that come between us? The spectacle of rock groups making toadstools out of themselves while enjoying the usual US tour debauch is common enough. But Yes means No Excess – and this feature`s initial zeroing in on the healthfood angle was not prompted by any desire on my part to expose the group to ridicule.
Rather, it was a need to acknowledge that, in their case, this clean living works. They exude a quiet confidence in their music. They munch their vitamin-rich food in the pleasant certitude that it`s doing them good.
They do not run shrieking down hotel corridors covered in a mixture of steak sauce and feathers from hotel cushions.

Why, a couple of U.S. tours ago Jon Anderson and Chris Squire cruised round to the New York Hotel of Another Well known Sympho-rock Band and entered to find the suite absolutely stiff with loathsome unclad flesh in any variety of absurd postures, all contorted with ogreish passion and the effects of several hundred dollars` worth of expensive drugs. And Anderson and Squire had come over to talk about music!
But you don`t want to hear about these things. The question On Everyone`s Lips is,: can Patrick Moraz crack the coconut? Does a Keyboard Wizard from Geneva compensate for a Keyboard Wizard from Gerrards Cross?
And another is: what the hell happened to Vangelis Papahanassiou? Whither the Roaming Greek?
More on these burning issues later, friends of Yes. In the meantime let`s move in on the situation. Yes are currently into their second week of a US tour which is widely believed to precede a British tour of similar duration. But Brian Lane, Yes` manager, who is tall, wry and slightly bearded, hints that UK dates may not come together for a while and, when they do, are likely to be few in number.

It`s this damn recession, you see, which is taking the cutting edge off profits that touring groups can make in the US and elsewhere. US tax laws are stiffer than they were. There are anxious eyes on the kitty.
Seems to me there`s little to worry about just yet. Madison Square Gardens was sold out and the stadium at Buffalo N.Y. almost so, which is not bad for a dump like Buffalo. “I get cold feet sometimes worrying about whether the grosses are going to be there”, says Lane, who hasn`t had to sweat too much yet on this particular outing.
Nevertheless, it`s a Moot Period for the group, what with the Wakeman/Papathanassiou/Moraz situation – and, in fact, the reason for my presence is because Lane senses that it`s time Yes were seen to be together and functioning once more. And after all, many Yesfans follow Rick Wakeman`s career. (Brian Lane also manages Wakeman, by the way.)
Does the situation really need a recap? Wakeman split last summer, after much speculation brought about by his successful solo concerts. Silence for a while. Then the Magic Name Vangelis Papathanassiou is mentioned. More silence. Then it`s announced that Patrick Moraz, ex-Refugee keyboardist, is to join the group as a full member. More silence. And now this US tour, which, of course is designed to coincide with the release of a New Album: “Relayer”. And this review/interview is the first publicity the group have actively sought since those troubled times.

A natural place for us to truck on over to would be Madison Square Garden, the evening of last Wednesday. Except that Your Reporter, jet-lagged out of his brain and swaying with fatigue, was in no condition to view or even hear the band and anyway, he was stashed behind the stage beyond the range of even the monitor system.
I can report on the crowd, though, who were extremely numerous (pushing 20,000, I`d say), clad in denim and velvet and very clean. My review: Thunderous Shouts of Applause and otherwise zilch, so for a closer view of the new Yes, a fast change to the following night`s gig, at Buffalo, upstate New York.
Now this town is a dump, no getting away from it. Flat, boring and decidely crummy. Nonetheless, it`s fairly large and can muster at least 15,000 Yes-fans at any given moment so accordingly the group are playing the local stadium.

The concert was – dare I say it? – pretty immaculate and well up to the standards the group have set for themselves. And if the audience applauded the appearance of dry ice… well, we can be charitable in this instance – especially as it was just one of a staggering display of Special Effects.
One assumes it`s the “Topographic Oceans” stage set-up they`re using, though I didn`t see their last Rainbow concerts and can`t be sure. Would that be the one with the Two Gigantic Sea-monsters Locked In Battle? One shaped like a crab and the other like a clamshell? Well, it was the same at Buffalo, N.Y.
These monsters move about, wave their arms, flash alarmingly and contain, within their foetid embrace, two plinths on which are arranged Alan White plus drums and Patrick Moraz plus keyboards. The other three musicians – Steve Howe, Jon Anderson and Chris Squire – occupy their normal left/centre/right positions, each with a portion of carpet to pace.
The best thing is, they all enter via a huge sea-shell (just like Botticelli`s The Birth of Venus, only uglier).

The gig itself was surprisingly good (at least, to a person who has often had reservations about Symphonic Rock and its offshoots). The usual Long Pauses For Individual Soloing have been greatly cut back, and though the music was extraordinarily complicated, these convolutions seem to work much better with Moraz in the group. He`s very much a textural player, and nowhere near as flamboyant as Wakeman. (“Also, Patrick stays in tune”, grunted another member of the band, a little later).
He seemed, in fact, to be more at ease than Steve Howe, who played extremely fast but (I thought) a little jaggedly and nervously. I got the impression he was somewhat hemmed in by his array of guitars, pedal steels, sitar-guitars on stands and so on. He ducked and twitched throughout the concert and seemed uncomfortable, though of course, he never missed a single cue.
But none of them did, so far as I can tell – though even if they had I`m sure no-one would know. If they got paid by the note they`d be richer than Rockefeller, that`s for sure.

My reservations about unnecessary complication are still there, even after I`ve seen their arrangements delivered faultlessly, but it`s all very carefully worked-out. Yet the best moment of the concert was a piece called “Soon”, slow and melodic, from the New Album (it`s actually a coda to another section called “The Gates of Delirium”, but we`ll let that pass).
Material ranged from New Stuff, a tip of the hat towards Older Stuff (a medley from “Yessongs”, thunderously received by the enormous crowd) and, of course, Side Four of “Topographic Oceans” itself. (“We`re still proud of that album,” Alan White later pronounced, and indeed the entire group were heard to wade in on its defence with a kind of cool anger that it should have been criticised in the first place.)
It was an excellent concert, and reminded me of nothing so much as early Crimson, though with a better stage presentation. BUT ENOUGH of this review stuff. By a magical process available only to writers, we now move swiftly through time to Jon Anderson`s hotel room, about four hours later. Seated there are the entire group, plus producer/mixerman Eddie Offord, plus Brian Lane.


Tell me about the Wakeman split.
“Are people still interested in that?” grunts Alan White, and a whole battle ensues. It`s obvious they don`t want to talk about it.
But didn`t he quit because of “Topographic Oceans”?
“The thing is, every time Rick had ideas that he went straight to the Press,” says someone rather bitterly. Anderson adds: “It was his prerogative to state what he wanted to state. But you say he didn`t enjoy the Rainbow concerts? Well, we can tell you he got very upset and emotional about it.”
There are nods and grunts of assent. This feller Wakeman is not too popular, I`d say, though they don`t knock his subsequent musical efforts.
Somebody else says that Wakeman made a noise to promote his own career.
“Basically, Rick was a bit lazy on the album itself,” murmurs Eddie Offord, who I would guess is the only member of the group with anything like a self-deprecatory sense of humour. “And when he came to play it onstage he found he wasn`t getting off on any of it.”

“Do we have to talk about this?” asks Chris Squire.
Tell me about Vangelis the Greek, then.
“After he read the NME article he didn`t want to know,” says Squire.
No, the real story.
The real story is that Vangelis the Greek lives in Paris and makes high-quality free music. For a while the group persuaded themselves that a fusion could be brought about, but somehow interest got lost and the idea was allowed to die.
“Playing on his own he`s quite extraordinary,” admits Anderson. “But when, well, when we got together it just didn`t seem to work for some reason.” Perhaps Vangelis could tell us why, but he ain`t there, and anyway the answer seems obvious to me, though they don`t appear to see it.
(A titbit I later picked up was that Vangelis the Greek is actually something of a raver, and certain members of this most decidedly non-raving band felt a little dubious about his lifestyle. Back to distinguished limbo for Papathanassiou.)

But this Keyboard Search was difficult, no?
“We were looking for something, but we didn`t know what,” says Anderson.
“We were actually fully prepared to make the album as a four-piece,” says Squire.
But Fate intervened and Patrick Moraz (who doesn`t seem to mind being called Morose, or even Morass, and who`s actually rather pleasant) entered stage left with a blare of ARP synthesizers.
“I just came along to see them rehearse,” says Moraz, after a certain silence. (“He just happened to know when and where to come,” chuckles someone else). “And I was in Switzerland doing a film score. I came back one weekend and Brian phoned me up.”
They got together and Patrick sat and watched Yes play the material from the new LP for over an hour without contributing a note. Yet that same evening he was in the band, and they`d already changed some of the arrangements to suit his more textural style of musicianship.
But of course, there was this matter of health food. Was he vegetarian beforehand? “Well, not actually. But I feel much better for it already.”
(He`s a wise cookie. One report I heard said that, when asked if he was a vegetarian, his initial reply was: “If necessary”.)

Did he plan to leave Refugee before receiving the offer from Yes?
“I didn`t plan to leave anyone,” he says – but I heard a strong whisper afterwards that he had in fact already decided to call that band A Day. Yes, he says openly, was the first group he ever saw which he liked, and he was the very last of all to be auditioned for it. He also got the gig, which I suppose is something for all those years of waiting.
There actually seems to be a certain degree of bashfulness concerning the exact circumstances around Moraz` joining Yes, probably out of a desire not to number Refugee`s Lee Jackson or Brian Davison. Yet Moraz, who is understandably treading most warily, speaks highly of both as people, though not as musicians. (“They weren`t…dedicated enough, you know?” he says a little later).
But come on, Patrick, surely there was some personal wrench? Like, you were the main man in Refugee. If Keith Emerson was to leave ELP there`d be no LP, right?
“I don`t think Greg would agree with you,” mutters Chris Squire. Loud laughter.

“Listen”, says Moraz, at last coming out of his shell. “You talk about Refugee…that is something different. I felt I had to do the real thing for once, to step towards something that was…real…and good.”
“And knowing his position as it stood,” says Squire, “you`re instantly told that he put aside his concern for their future. He had to.”
Ah. Now we come to it.
“When I first went to rehearse with Alan and Steve and Jon and Chris,” says Moraz, “they were rehearsing `Sound Chaser` (a track from the New Elpee, and one which currently opens their show). “Steve showed me the chords. But after a while I began to think `What am I doing here?`. There were some good vibes, but they were…uncatchable.”
Did he feel at any time that he wouldn`t be able to do the job?
“I wouldn`t go as far as this but…I have been very frightened”, he says. (Earlier on, he`d told me that he was “playing safe” for the moment, “though I will perhaps prepare some solo piece to do before the end of the tour…(sigh)…there is so much to remember”.)

“Hey fellers,” he suddenly says, “how am I doing?” There is a bashful silence. Jon Anderson wriggles a bit. “Well, you know…great,” he says, his eyes shining.
Yes, this bunch are everything Legend Makes Them Out To Be. They don`t screw on the road, booze and suchlike are kept firmly in moderation – and, of course, there`s all that nutritious brown rice. There are many jokes about the band`s obsession with Clean Living, but perhaps the best illustration of their attitude is the story of how we negotiated for an NME front cover.
Our idea was to pose a picture with the group doing a “Beggars Banquet” – i.e., crouched around an enormous pyramid of brown rice with their fingers covered in grease and lettuce.
I sort of visualised them ferociously thrusting great goblets of food into their mouths and grinning manically. I put this idea to Brian Lane, trying to state that I thought such a picture would lay the ghost of healthfood once and for all.
Like, surely they must be fed up with having the piss taking out of them all the time for a perfectly harmless gastronomic decision?
Back came the answer – after an interlude for deliberation. No, they wouldn`t agree, but not because it would make them look ridiculous.
No, friends of Yes. Their reason for declining the idea was because with So Much Starvation In The World Today It Wouldn`t Do To Come On Like Gannets.
You`ve just got to applaud.


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: Elton John, The Crystals, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, John Sebastian, Fanny, Rod Stewart, Johnny Winter, Frank Zappa, Magna Carta, Ray Shulman (Gentle Giant).

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

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 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.


For those of you not familiar with the background story of Sweet – here are some facts for you:
The “accident” the article are referring to regarding Brian happened during sessions for the album. Brian Connolly was injured in a fight in Staines High Street. His throat was badly injured and his ability to sing severely limited. The band did not publicise the incident and told the press that subsequent cancelled shows were due to Connolly having a throat infection. The band resumed playing live shows nearly a full six months after Connolly’s throat injury, with band and critics noting a rougher edge to his voice and a reduced range.
“Turn It Down” received minimal airplay on UK radio and was banned by some radio stations because of certain lyrical content – “God-awful sound” and “For God sakes, turn it down” – which were deemed “unsuitable for family listening.” This may seem like a joke now as these lyrics would only be banned at the most fundamentalist Christian radio stations today. The difference between now and then is only a little over 40 years. Just think about it…



Once Sweet were frowned upon, now they`ve become a part of pop`s heritage and now, like a lot of other labelled stars, they are finding it difficult to break away from their image. Slowly but surely people are beginning to accept the band on their own terms. The band`s guitarist ANDY SCOTT spoke to PETE MAKOWSKI about the ups and downs of being a one time teeny bop band and gives his reasons why this band won`t fade away.

“It`s really strange playing at concerts without hearing people scream `Brian, Mick, Steve` the applause dies down and they wait for the next number…as Mick said we were crapping ourselves.”
Yes, now that Sweet have ventured forth into the realms of respectability i.e. Sweet go `eavy, life has become a whole different kettle of fish. The band are currently on tour, a tour that has been postponed and delayed due to the band`s untimely transition and Brian`s accident.


I spoke to the band`s guitarist Andy Scott, in between concerts. “It`s strange playing to such quiet audiences, I found it very hard to relate to it at first. I mean when I played for The Elastic Band it was different because we were playing to those types of audiences all the time.”
The band have recently returned from Germany where they have swept the polls and notched up a gold album for “Sweet F.A.”. “There`s a bigger record market for us there than in England,” said Scott, “at the moment the heyday`s gone in England, when you could sell a million singles…which we came close to a couple of times.
“It just proves that Germany is more aware, well…I know that `The Six Teens` was a good single and it should have been bigger than it was in England. I don`t even want to talk about it.”


At the moment Sweet are going through hard times in Britain. Once their singles were riding high in charts but their last two releases have not enjoyed such immense popularity. Andy is aware of this but also knows that if the band continued in their previous mould it would have been a short lived career. “I believe that if you really believe in something and you really enjoy it, the rewards will come in the end.”
Still, the fact remains that the band`s last single “Turn It Down” barely touched the chart and to add to this the band have been banned from appearing on “Top Of The Pops”. “We weren`t all that worried about the ban but as far as the single is concerned, we never chose it anyway, as far as we`re concerned we were just laying down another album track. In context with the album (`Desolation Boulevard`) `Turn It Down` fits, but it wouldn`t have been the single if it had been our choice.”

The band have currently released their second heavy platter, “Desolation Boulevard”. “We think there`s another two singles on that album. We`re not sure what we`re going to do yet. Nicky and Mike have written a couple of things but we`re not sure after `Turn It Down`. It`s hard for us now because…all right we know it would have been a hit if it was picked and went on `Top Of The Pops` but it just proves to us that with lack of exposure nobody knew we had a single out.
“All the publicity has been concentrated on the album, which is good for us, but when you think about it Sweet have always been a singles` band. When people see a Sweet single failing they think `ah that`s it, it`s all over for them`. Well we`re not looking at it from that point of view as far as we`re concerned the single didn`t exist. So we just bypass it…it`s a hit everywhere else. It`s just one of those things that you have to take in your stride. It sold over 50,000 in Britain and didn`t even get into the Top 30…I`ll just leave it to everybody`s imagination.



“When we were in Germany”, continued Andy, “we saw some videos of us taken in 1970 performing numbers like `Co Co` and it was like looking at a different band. It is a different group…as far as we`re concerned it is. It`s four young lads who gave a lot of people a lot of enjoyment.
“At that time we weren`t slagging what we were doing and even now we won`t slag what we did. We`ve been told that the counterparts of our time now are the Bay City Rollers which is something I cannot believe. Our earlier records God rest their souls, at least they had good production, they were played well. I mean alright we feel a bit ashamed of what we`ve done in the past, when we think of some of the things we`ve done, but there are some records around today that shouldn`t be where they are in the charts.”
One person who saw a deeper potential in the band in their early years was Pete Townshend. He, in fact, invited them to play at Charlton which they had to back out of due to Brian`s throat. “We`ve met the Who, on and off, quite a few times. We were playing on the `Top Of The Pops 500 Show` and we were talking to Pete for ages in the bar. It was such a mind blower to hear someone say, `I realise there`s always been more within the band than a hit single.` He was virtually saying everything the Who did in the early days was for money, it was a contrived thing. Times change, people change…so we`ve all got a (The sentence ends like this in the paper…Blog Editor.)


Once the band were totally manipulated now they seem to have gained complete control of their affairs. I asked Andy if he felt there were any more changes to be made. “Musical changes, yeh. We`ve even thought of adding people but I don`t see the band ever adding anyone at the moment. We`ve even had ideas of saying, `let`s stop Sweet right now,` look around and generally think about what`s going on, then reform with another member and record a whole different style of album because even with `Desolation Boulevard` we`re still trying to hold onto the past, we haven`t completely let go yet.
“We`re winning in Europe, they`re accepting things a lot easier. Things aren`t going too well here. I`ll make no bones about that, we`re not filling the halls. If we did tour earlier on in the year it would have been a sell out with a completely different audience. Now we`re getting a more appreciative audience.”

Times change. Although things aren`t as secure as before, Scott seems to be a very settled and satisfied person. The band are working harder now than ever before and it`s only their total belief in themselves that keeps them going. “Everyone has to be involved with us, totally believe in what we`re doing or they`re out. Our roadcrew`s changed twice in the last couple of months. “1974 has been an eventful year for us, because we haven`t worked for nine months which I think helped to set the rot in `cause England forgets. England will always look for another Sweet.”

Kaftans were very popular at the end of 1974.

Kaftans were very popular at the end of 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: Nico, Steve Gibbons Band, Gentle Giant, Hawkwind, David Essex, Bob Dylan, The Who, Fanny.

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

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 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 The Who FROM SOUNDS, November 30, 1974

The Who is one of the few bands were all the members of the original band made solo albums. With the exception of drummer Keith Moon, who died too early, all the other members have made several solo albums. While waiting for the other members of The Who finishing their film “Tommy”, Bass player John Entwistle were planning a tour. This is a short interview from that period of time.



or how, in times of beef crisis, SOUNDS/Mike Flood Page Productions offers you a large slice of Ox (cunningly disguised in a mushroom sauce as John Entwistle), co-titled “The Ox Lies Down In Battersea”

Just the day to go see the man who created Cousin Kevin and Uncle Ernie, the Whisky Man and a cast of assorted freaks and casualties. The rain was coming down like it was monsoon season and the streets of Battersea where the Who`s Ramport studios are to be found were awash and uninviting.
Inside the converted ecclesiastical building which houses the studios, Roger Daltrey was picking his way through lunch in front of the TV, Russ Ballard dropped by to see a journalist and the Ox, Mr Entwistle himself was settled into the control booth listening to the playback of some brass tracks he was laying down for the “Tommy” soundtrack.
Unlike my preconceptions he seemed a friendly slightly serious guy. I enquired if he didn`t feel haunted by “Tommy” and keen to see the back of it, but he was unperturbed by its refusal to go away, describing it as “a friendly ghost”.

John has laid down about 95% of the bass work on the album besides the brass, all of which he played except the saxophone parts, and he has a role as, would you believe, a bass player, and one of Tommy`s disciples. But on his mind now is his own project, the Ox.
Originally conceived as a twelve-piece, the group has shrunk to a four-piece augmented by a sax player and two girl singers who will play three British dates before Christmas, around fifteen in January and February before leaving for a twenty city tour of the States where it emerges he has a substantial cult following that has produced sales of around 100,000 a time for his solo albums, and earned him number one bass player title in several polls and even number three in the brass section once.
His most successful albums have been, he admits, the sick ones. “They dribble into the charts for a bit and stagger around for a while.”
His own material on three albums so far and reportedly on the forthcoming Ox album betray a bizarre imagination steeped in a black vision of the world. Did he ever stop to ask himself why he wrote like this. I was keen to know. “I`m gradually getting out of that, I must be getting happier or something.

“That early stuff, I was encouraged by Kit Lambert to write…horrible songs really; songs about people with phobias and hang-ups, about spiders and alcoholics who see imaginary people, and stuff like that.
“My first album was about birth, death, reincarnation, the devil, heaven and hell; and the second solo album was about people with things wrong with them: someone whose wife runs off and commits suicide, and a fellow with a dominant mother, a peeping Tom, someone who finds out his girlfriend is married with three kids to a weight lifter.
“Kit Lambert realised I had an ability…he actually wanted me to write a children`s album…stuff like `Boris The Spider` and `Whisky Man` was appealing to 11 and 12 year old kids.”
He conceded that the “Rigor Mortis” album had marked a move from “Sick subjects to slightly sick things; but the latest album isn`t that black, though it`s still got that black undertone to it.” Some kind of concession to public sensibility I suppose.

“I think the sickest album that could ever be released is the stuff I`ve written with the Who. The `Ox` album released on Bactrack is all my numbers with the Who, and the fellow who actually spliced it together said he felt like jumping out of the window after he finished.”
I asked if that had been his original intention: “It was in those days, but I`m gradually getting out of it now. The Ox album is the most commercial thing I`ve done; it`s quite varied in its music. The whole reason for me forming a band was so that I could get a direction musically, so that I could actually write for that band.
“Our strongest thing at the moment seems to be going into free form stuff – improvising on a riff. Once we start working out our own riffs I shall use them to write new material; in the same way that Pete draws on the Who.”


In some ways it might seem surprising that someone who is a part of a band as good as the Who should ever want to take his own band out on the road, the Ox thinks otherwise. “There`s a lot of numbers of mine that the Who don`t feature on stage, and also a lot of stuff from my solo albums that have never been performed, four albums worth, that`ve never been performed before an audience.”
The amount of stage equipment, especially keyboards that the Ox will have, means there will be one and a half times the amount of speaker cabinets that the Who use. It doesn`t sound a very economic way to tour. “Oh it won`t be economic. I just want to play to the audiences; I`d only have to pay it in tax if I didn`t use it, so why not. Why should the government get it? The audiences can have it instead.”
Rehearsals have been going on for three weeks now and there are only five days left, but John feels confident about the band. He plans to use tapes like the Who onstage for a couple of the new numbers, one of which involves six percussion tracks, and another based around twelve acoustic guitars, both impossible to do on stage.

But tapes present their own problems: “It`s like a deadly perfect musician who plays exactly the same thing every night.” With the Who they found the solution was to use a tape with cue-in clicks through Keith`s headset and for him to cue the group; with the Ox John will do the cues.
He is looking forward to playing two and three thousand seater halls, something the Who can no longer do. Again there is a problem about the likely response. “Why should they be content with 25 per cent of the Who when they can have 100 per cent? Really, you`ve got to make it not 25 per cent of the Who, but 100 per cent of something else.”
This tour is a project John has been eager to do ever since Rigor Mortis and the tour that never came off, but Who commitments have made this the first practical opportunity to do it, and then when the Ox tour is over and the others return from their separate projects in March or thereabouts he`ll be back on the road with the Who, and a new album which Townshend is due to be writing in January and February, everything is planned six months in advance these days.

The Who schedule seems to be fairly light as regards live performance these days, I asked John why: “The main reason we haven`t been doing so many dates is material. We started doing “Quadrophenia” and we found it didn`t work as a work onstage so we picked the best numbers. Then we found that the stage act was exactly the same as the one we`d been playing except for three or four numbers.
The thing is once the Who get tired of a stage act they just don`t want to play it; so it`s really all down to new material all the time. With “Tommy” we spent two years on the road, with “Quadrophenia” it was two months. With the next album we may spend six months on the road or two years.”
John plans that his own immediate next spell of writing will be directed towards the Who, but he also has another more long term scheme up his sleeve which has been fermenting for a couple of years, in between all his other work.

He is very cagey about saying too much: “I`m writing a sort of a…..I`m not gonna call it an opera, `cos it isn`t. It`s gonna be a single album, and the whole album tells a story, a science fiction story. It`ll be very involved. I`m still rewriting numbers from it, though it`s only half written.”
But the immediate future is the tour, his first heading a band, a responsibility he is not too worried about: “After the first gig I`ll be all right. I`m confident the band`s really incredible, but it`s that first gig…I just want to see people`s reaction.” Must be strange, ten years in a top line world beater band like the Who and getting anxious about your first gig, all over again.

Status Quo on tour with Snafu. Nice ad!

Status Quo on tour with Snafu. Nice ad!

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: Nico, Steve Gibbons Band, Gentle Giant, Hawkwind, David Essex, Bob Dylan, Sweet, Fanny.

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

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 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.


Yes…I know. Even more Jeff Beck. But it`s just an extra – so don`t complain. There will be lots of other artists to read about later. And this article may be fun to read for all you guitarists out there.
By the way, I saw someone posting this on a message forum recently: “Listening to Jeff Beck makes you wanna look at your fingers and say, “fuck you”. LOL! I found it quite funny, as I know that feeling first-hand…!
OK – enough of me babbling away. Have fun!



…and you`ve got it! The secret of JEFF BECK`S technique, that is. When Mr. B. spoke to CHARLES SHAAR MURRAY he modestly declined to offer any further information on his guitar style…but when it came to guitars themselves the memories flowed free, right back to the time when he gave Jimmy Page an old Telecaster to help the kid out…

It is more than a trifle disconcerting to talk guitars with Jeff Beck. Compliment him on a solo and he`ll turn on the leer and mumble about how it`s “all bluff” or “tricks”. Ask him to let the world in on the tricks and he`ll look sulky and expostulate, “Give away my secrets? You must be jokin`!”
Ol` J.B.`s actually convinced that if he owns up to how he does all those legendary stunts, then everybody`ll be doing them and he`ll be on the skids.
Such modesty is quite charming, but unfortunately none too helpful. However, he`s more than willing to recount his progress from band to band and axe to axe, so pull up your chairs and listen eagerly (but respectfully) as Mr. Beck lopes down memory lane, going waaaaaay back to His First Guitar.

“I had one made – for five quid. It was `orrible. I saw a Fender on an album sleeve – Buddy Holly`s or something – and all I could remember was that it had a really funny shape and the neck was about three feet long.
“I drew out what I thought was a scale version, and this bloke made me a guitar that looked like half a pine tree. It had about four hundred frets and about four-foot cutaways, but it looked great.
“Also I used to borrow a guitar from a kid at school – he had this horrible cowboy-type guitar with black paint all over it. He painted the strings black as well, so I had to buy new ones.
“The first thing I learned to play was `Twenty Flight Rock`.”
When did you achieve some basic level of proficiency?
“Oh I never did that.” We`re talking about 15 years ago and nobody could play a note, so I was classed as a hero. I had no training, couldn`t tell a middle C from a B flat. That guitar of mine was diabolical. It was in tune around the E register, when you got up the fretboard to A it was recognisable as an A, but when you reached C it was way out of tune.

“It was really good therapy, because you`d ping around and you`d know that the 12th fret was supposed to be the same as the open string, only an octave higher, and I`d pull notes to bring it into tune – and that`s how I got into bending strings.
“The next guitar I had was a Japanese Guyatone – birdseye curly maple. It cost £25, and I chopped it in and got a Burns. I`ll always remember that Guyatone because it had a big toggle switch – and that was the business. It looked like it`d be more at home at a railway station.
“I made a case for the guitar, but I didn`t allow for the switch. I was about 1/8 of an inch out. I put the guitar in the case, slammed the lid down and pressed the switch right through the plastic. Broke the thing to pieces.
“So I stuck it back together with Araldite and went off to a gig. Stood at the bus stop and the guitar case fell over and did it again. Did the gig and it was all right, went home, plugged in and it just buzzed. So I stuck it back together again, painted it black and swapped it for something else.
“Oh yes – about that time my mate bought a Telecaster.”

Hey, things are getting interesting. Keep talking, Jeff.
“£107 it cost him. It was a beauty, and I was stuck with this bloody Burns thing. So while I was in the group he played the Burns and I played the Tele. The Burns wasn`t one of those filthy things with the long horns, it was kinda stubby – a Trisonic, with three pick-ups.
“It really bellowed. It had all these switches and knobs, and then I realised that a guitar like a Fender didn`t need all that crap. So I blagged him and borrowed the Fender, and he swapped in the Burns and got a Hofner Futurama. By that time there was no way he was ever gonna get his Tele back. That was MY GUITAR.
By this time, an early version of present-day Beckerama was indeed on the drawing board. “I was playing James Burton-y sort of solos. He was the guv`nor for that kind of sloppy, plunky chicken-bending stuff…”
“I used to idolise that guy. Used to slow down the records and listen to the way he played phrases.

“Actually I bought the Tele off my mate eventually – it`s the one that I gave to Jimmy Page. I used that Tele all through The Tridents” (the group he was in before the Yardbirds) “and I bought a Fender Esquire off John Walker of the Walker Brothers for £70.”
An Esquire, incidentally, is exactly like a Telecaster except that it only has one pick-up instead of two; the bridge (or treble) pick-up, which is by far the stronger and more responsive of the two pick-ups anyway.
“I liked that so much that I never used the Tele any more, and so when Jim joined the Yardbirds I gave it to him. I used the Esquire for the solo on “Shapes Of Things`. On that record I played rhythm guitar first and then did the solo. That great hangin`-out D chord at the end of the solo was on the rhythm track, which is why the tone`s so different. There`s no way you could switch from a slack-string set-up to that kind of power, so I had to re-string it.”
Apart from his early predilection for Telecasters and Esquires, Beck was probably the first guitarist I ever saw using a Les Paul – on Top Of The Pops, miming to “Shapes Of Things”.


“I had a Les Paul that I bought from a bloke in a guitar shop in Charing Cross Road. I can`t remember what I paid…£175 or £185. Whatever it was, it was a giveaway. It was brand new, so I think he must have stolen it or something.
“I used a fuzz-box in the Yardbirds – it was homemade by this bloke called Roger Mayer, who used to make `em for a lot of people. He made one for Jimi – one for Page. I think he works for the Isley Brothers now.”
Whenever you got a new guitar, did you trade `em off on different numbers or stick to the same one?
“I had two guitars, basically but it was a question of wanting to get used to a guitar and wanting to use nothing else. There was only a short period of time when I used to trade one for the other to get certain sounds. I used to like to get all the different sounds out of one guitar. As I was saying, Pagey joined in the last part of the Yardbirds, and I gave the Tele to him. He had a Dalectro which he`s sprayed pink or something. He also had a black Les Paul Custom, and I didn`t think it sounded very good, which is why I gave him the Fender.”

Beck used a Les Paul all the way through the group he had with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, but when he formed the “Rough and Ready” band, he was back on Fender – this time a Stratocaster.
“I`ve always liked the tremolo arm on the Strat, because when the guitar is destrung, you can depress a note nearly as much as an octave, especially the G string. If you know what you`re doing you can play a phrase up high, then push it down and it`ll still be in tune.”
By “De-strung,” Mr. Beck means using a 1st string for a 2nd, a 2nd for a 3rd and so on, substituting a banjo string for a first. What you lose in raunch, you gain in flexibility. To a certain extent, this method has been rendered obsolete by the advent of Ernie Ball`s superlight strings.
“God bless Ernie Ball. They`re all right, those strings, but they used to break a helluva lot. Banjo strings never break. This sloppy-string bit has got to go, because the sound of the guitar deteriorates appreciably. The body drops right out of the note. B.B. King uses stock strings,” (on a Gibson 335) “and the sound he gets is – for the volume and power, a Fender Strat just wouldn`t look at it. You get the level, but you don`t get the roundness and the push. That`s why I feel that I`ve missed out a bit on the semi-acoustic bit, because they`re so much more gutty.

So why not use one?
“They`re too cumbersome. I just can`t get on with them on stage. They`re just not comfortable. I like a guitar to sink right into my waist so I don`t even notice it. If I`ve jammed anywhere and used a borrowed guitar, it`s always been like wrestling with a tea-chest or something. Or a suitcase. They used to feed back terribly if you got too close to the amp, and it wouldn`t be controllable – whereas with a solid guitar it is.”
It was at this point that I decided to prise some of Beck`s secrets out of him, and get him to pass on his pet bluffs.
“I don`t want to show anybody how to bluff. Let `em learn the proper way. I don`t want a trail of people after me learning the wrong way. You want me to give away my secrets? There aren`t any. Just don`t take any notice of anybody who can play properly and you got it.”
SPECIAL EDITORIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: He`s only kidding folks…at least we THINK he`s only kidding.

“The best way to play is the easiest way. That way, you`re not cheating anybody, because you can overcome what may be cheating by just PLAYING. If it`s coming out of you, what the hell.
“I don`t like to use speed just because I can play fast. I mean, McLaughlin plays faster than I`ll ever play, and I can tell by listening to him that he can play a scale with about four flats in it and they say `drop out one of those flats and put a sharp in` and he could just do it, straight off without even practising it. I couldn`t do that. I can play my own stuff fast enough, but…
“I`m influenced by lazy guitarists like Steve Cropper, and by fast guitarists like Les Paul, so I`m right in the middle. I don`t want to become either too speedy or too laid-back. I just want to stay where I am.”


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: Stacia (Hawkwind), Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jethro Tull, Pilot, David Essex, Queen, Deke Leonard (Man), Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Savile, Herbie Hancock, Kevin Coyne.

This edition is sold!


I think this may be the longest transcription of an article that I have ever done. But it is from a great period of time from a great band. The journalist is not very positive at all to the new songs – I am sure that he later must have corrected himself for calling “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” a dull song, as it is one of the greatest songs ever recorded, well, at least in my opinion. Have a good read!


“Richly they merit their place among the symphonic overlords of today`s popular heirachy,” wrote Derek Jewell in the Sunday Times. “At Thursday`s opening they reeled off, apparently effortlessly, a performance with musical textures so ravishing and visual accompaniments so surprising that, for once, the thunderous standing ovation was completely justified.”

So how do you argue with that (and with more than 30,000 apparently satisfied customers)? Answer: you don`t. Not unless you`re looking for trouble – or feel, as did Nick Kent and Pete Erskine, a fair amount of anger and bitter disillusion concerning “symphonic overlords” and “ravishing musical textures” when it`s clear and admitted by FLOYD`S Dave Gilmour that Wembley was plainly a bad gig. On this showing, say our men, it`s time to get the Floyd back in perspective. Nick Kent, at Wembley, and Pete Erskine, talking to DAVE GILMOUR, attempt to do just that.


On November 14, 1974, approximately 7,000 people washed their hair and traveled down to the Empire Pool, Wembley, to witness the Pink Floyd live. Almost everyone, that is, except David Gilmour – his hair looked filthy there on stage, seemingly anchored down by a surfeit of scalp grease and tapering off below the shoulders with a spectacular festooning of split ends.
Rather like Bill’s locks, in fact.
Bill was sitting next to me throughout the concert y’see. Said he came from Hayward’s Heath, Sussex – and well, anyway he did have something of the patent Gilmour style about him: stringy unwashed hair parted in the middle and furrowed behind the ears, an earnest compliment of peach-fuzz masquerading as facial hair, plimsolls – the lot, in fact, even though his face lacked Gilmour’s bully-boy well-formed features, substituting a kind of bleary-eyed doggedness which wrinkled up every time he took a blast off one of a constant series of “cool jays”.
“Good stuff, this,” Bill muttered. “We get it from this spade guy down in Brighton. Straight off the boat it comes.”

Bill said he didn’t go much on any other kinds of stimulant.
He also didn’t like too much music. Said it almost boastfully. Only a few albums. And the Floyd of course. “I’ve got a good stereo, mind. Big speakers.”
So what does he do with it?
“I’ll tell you. I mean I like to get really, y’know really stoned – spaced, y’know, and I put on me Floyd…ah, `Meddle` or `Dark Side of the Moon` – that track `Great Gig in the Sky`, and I’m laying there between the speakers really spaced, getting off on the stereo crossovers.”
Stereo crossovers?
“Yeah, y’know, when the sound goes from channel to channel. Phasing and that. Those are the bits I like best.”
Bill’s girlfriend “Jiff” thinks the Pink Floyd are the best group in the whole world. “They’re taking music to this whole new level. It’s really…”
“Yes, that’s just what I was going to say.”

“One thing I’ve always taken into consideration, and which sums up, for me anyway, the fundamental personality crisis inherent in the old Floyd is that Syd (Barrett) was an artist and the other three were all student architects. I think that says an awful lot, particularly when you study the kind of music the Floyd have gone on to play since that time.”
That quote came courtesy Peter Jenner, who confided the same to me some months ago. I’d almost forgotten it until about halfway through the Floyd’s Wembley set, straight after the three new numbers had been performed.
At 7.55 p.m. I’d entered the Empire Pool toting healthy expectations for a thoroughly enjoyable evening of entertainment at the very least, already.
At 10.45 p.m. I left the same hall possibly more infuriated over what I’d just witnessed than I can ever remember being over any other similar event. Angry and rather depressed.
It was hell. But let’s begin at the beginning.

At 8.20 p.m. or thereabouts the four members of Floyd saunter onstage. It is not a spectacular entrance. In fact they wander on rather like four navvies who’ve just finished their tea-break and are about to return slowly to the task of tarring a section of main road.
After approximately five minutes of slightly labored tuning up, the band start their first number of the set – a new composition entitled “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” It is very slow, rather low on melodic inventiveness, each note hanging in that archetypically ominous stunted fashion that tends to typify the Floyd at their most uninspired. The song itself is dully revealed to be of very slight mettle; the chords used are dull, as is the pace.
The song distinctly lacks ‘form’. And then there are the lyrics.
“Come on you raver, you seer of visions / Come on you painter, you piper, you prophet, and shine,” sings Roger Waters at one point, his voice mottled by a slightly squeamish, self-consciousness of timbre, not to mention the fact that he also appears at this point to be somewhat flat. The lyrics are not very good, you see. Pretty much like sixth form poetry – prissy, self-conscious and pretentious.

“You were caught in the cross-fire of childhood and stardom/Blown on the steel breeze/Come on, you target for far-away laughter/Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr and shine.”
The song is for and about Syd Barrett. He could have deserved better.
The thoroughly unimpressive beginning is duly followed by the second of the three new numbers to be showcased in this section. “Raving and Drooling” is motivated by a rhythm somewhat akin to that of the human heart-beat with further references gathered from numerous Floyd stylised devices.
Wright drags some suitably Moog-oriented “primal-screams” from one of a mighty arsenal of keyboard instruments, Waters manipulates a stolid simplistic bass-pattern, Mason plays one of the two or three standard rhythms he habitually employs -usually incorporating much emphasis on the tom-toms and cymbals – while Gilmour blithely chunks out a “One of These Days” rhythm stab on his guitar.

The song is again of incredibly minor import, Waters doing his whole “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” tormented horse -faced routine – “Raving and drooling I feel on his neck with a scream/He had a whole lotta terminal shock in his eyes/That’s what you get for pretending the rest are not real” etc., etc.
Pretty undistinguished stuff except for the fact that yours truly noted that the first line was wrenched out in much the same way that Barrett sang “Wolfpack” on his second solo album. Otherwise more identikit Floyd bereft of any real originality or inspired conceptualized connaissance.
So then there was “Gotta Be Crazy”, the magnum opus of this dubious triumvirate for which Waters had regurgitated the old “Dark Side of the Moon” study of society-and-its-destructive-pressures gruel to even more facile conclusions.

One could of course begin by pointing out that the song features a fairly decent melody – a fetching minor chord progression strummed out by Gilmour who also sings over it Waters’ lyrics – “You gotta be crazy, you gotta be mean/You gotta keep your kids and your car clean/You gotta keep climbing, you gotta keep fit/You got to keep smiling, you gotta eat shit!”
Boy, what an indictment on the whole bourgeois high-pressured schism of our time!
But then again, who better than the Floyd to commandeer such a grievous lambasting of the aforestated life-style when after all I can’t think of another rock-group who live a more desperately bourgeois existence in the privacy of their own homes.
And whaddyamean, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones… Waters hasn’t even begun yet! I mean, here he is concluding this mighty epic with a potent list of bland psychological causes for his hapless victim’s doomed condition – “Who was born in a house full of pain/Who was sent out to play on his own” – when only a few verses prior to this he avidly gloats over the poor bastard’s decline and fall – “And when you lose control, you’ll reap the harvest you have sown… So have a good drown and you’ll go down alone.”

There’s obviously something here that doesn’t, how you say, correlate. Not to mention a very perverse sense of morality at work.
So there are the lyrics – which I personally find quite offensive – and I still haven’t mentioned the song’s musical construction beyond that pleasing opening strum section which I forgot to mention sounded like the kind of chord structure the old Wyatt-Hopper-Ratledge Soft Machine used to do wonders with way back when.
Unfortunately, the Floyd, as always, let the song sprawl out to last twice as long as it should, summoning the aid of some of the most laboured bouts of aural padding imaginable. I mean, the very least one would expect from a song like this would be a tight, incisive structure, but then again incisiveness has never been something the post-Syd Floyd have prided themselves on, and so one has to wade through laboured sections of indolent musical driftwood before lo, the plot is resumed and one is sent careering back to our Roger’s bloated denunciation:

“Gotta be sure, you gotta be quick/Gotta divide the tame from the sick/Gotta keep some of us docile and fit/You gotta keep everyone buying this shit.”
“Buying this shit”???
Explain Mr. Waters, if you please. The song ends, as I stated earlier on, with a mildly potent “J’accuse” blast of postured psychological cause-and-effect ranting, leaving the audience with a 20 minute interval in order to gather themselves for a further assault.

The second half is, of course, taken up by the whole “Dark Side of the Moon” presentation. Visuals for the new numbers had been muted to a minimum: two sets of spotlights tastefully flanking the stage throughout, while three mirror-balls were put into operation during “Raving and Drooling”. But “Dark Side” was to be graced by the projection of a special film made as a visual complement to the music.
Again the Floyd light into the first section of the effort. More assured…but God, they look and sound so uninspired.
Wright’s solo Moog doodling signals the first reel of the film being unleashed on the audience – random shots of a plane taking off viewed from the cockpit, a garish cartoon segment of touch-down on an alien planet ending with a section of total incendiary destruction.
S’all right, mind you. Very obvious and that, but it keeps you engaged if not enthralled. It’s only when you’re informed by an intimate of the Floyd’s entourage that the likes of Lindsay Anderson and Nicholas Roeg – i.e. the best film directors in the country – were at the outset interested in helping out on the film until they actually came up against the Floyd and immediately made their excuses in order to opt out that it all starts to fall into perspective again.

It’s also around this time that you start realising how incredibly limited the band seem to be as musicians. As a rhythm section, Mason and Waters are perhaps the dullest I’ve ever witnessed filling a large auditorium, the former going through his tedious tricks most of the time, and falling apart at those unscripted junctures when the band are forced to involve themselves in attempts at spontaneity. (These junctures of course are very few and far between, due to the situation of the whole show being moulded around the constrictive dictates of the visual presentation which depends ultimately on stop-gap timing).
Waters is not a very imaginative bass player, and doesn’t improve things by incorporating a tone akin to the dull atonal thud one gets when hitting the strings of a piano with a rubber hammer.
Rick Wright is merely an adequate keyboard player, and always seems uncomfortable when forced to take action (at one point he attempted some gospel-tinged pianistics to complement the fine performance of Venetta Fields and Carlena Williams’ “Great Gig in the Sky” segment and muffed it badly).

This weakness creates numerous watersheds in the music which just scream for some inspired interjection, whether in the form of a Ratledge-styled piece of inspired doodling or even one of those quasi-Herbie Hancock soft-jazz flurries which every young dolt in an up-and-coming progressive unit seems perfectly adept at pulling off these days.
Wright really hasn’t improved that much since the old Floyd days; only the arsenal of keyboards has been added to.
Finally there’s Gilmour – who, although an adequate guitarist, projects little personality in his playing, well-doused as his solos are in the blues guitar school traditions.
Here again a lack of inspiration fails to perceive vast holes in the music which could so easily be cemented in by some tasteful rhythm work or a short-tight solo such as he is capable of.

So anyway the Floyd battle on with their films (more obvious footage of currency for “Money” plus some shots of “political leaders” for “Brain Damage” – is this a political statement, boys? – and their tapes and their perfect P.A. system, and the audience are loving it.
Those still awake, that is. Our Mr. Erskine was being flanked by somnambulant corpses on his side of the fence while I noticed a few bedraggled-looking souls dozing off in my corner.
Even our old mate Bill – remember him? – was rendered inert for some ten minutes until the applause for “Money” brought him around.
Finally the “Moon” set is completed and the band walk off to ecstatic applause. They eventually return for an encore – no “thank-yous” or anything…I mean that would be just too much to ask, now wouldn’t it, and the band do “Echoes”.

Visuals are now relegated to luminous green orbs of circular light projected on the big screen (they never seem to really be spinning properly), while towards the end the band’s ankles are engulfed in – wait for it! – “dry ice”.
The above constituted what could easily be the most boring concert I’ve ever been forced to sit through for review purposes. Mind you, the Floyds themselves were reportedly none too enamoured by the event either: apparently there was a nasty fight between the band after the set which culminated in a sound man being sacked and some guy from Island Studios being brought in at short notice to replace him.
Having been informed of this, we decided to curb the venom long enough to give the band a second chance and go back on the Friday night. This time the sound had indeed improved beyond all recognition and the first half went pretty smoothly until there arose some “contretemps” betwixt Roger Waters at his most morose and someone who dared yelled “Get on with it!” during yet more laboured tuning up in order to preface “Gotta be Crazy”.

“We’re going as fast as we can,” muttered Waters derisively, sounding amazed that this young upstart actually dare criticize them.
If that weren’t bad enough, someone yelped out, of all things, “1967,” straight afterwards.
This was too much for Waters. “It’s not 1967, it’s 1974,” he snapped back.
Anyway, Friday’s show still pinpointed how poor the band are at jamming or really sustaining either drama or dramatics, flailing around to little avail in their attempts to pad out what are at the best of times minor works. And the band’s musicianship was, as before, questionably mediocre.
OK, boys, now this is really going to hurt.


What the two Floyd shows I witnessed on Thursday and Friday amounted to in the final analysis was not merely a kind of utterly morose laziness which is ultimately even more obnoxious than callow superstar “flash”, but a pallid excuse for creative music which comes dangerously close to the Orwellian mean for a facile, soulless music that would doubtless rule the air-waves and moreover be touted as fine art in the latter’s vision of 1984.
David Bowie, on his “Diamond Dogs”, unwittingly (as far as I can see, anyway) hit upon something which totally invalidates the rest of his similarly facile theorizing on a computerised cruel future planet when he plays, of all things, “Rebel Rebel”.
“Rebel Rebel”, you see, is the ultimate identikit diluted series of computerised rock gestures – the mechanical Stones riff, the brainless lyrics – real “1984” rock. The Pink Floyd are even closer to that though. Over the last few years the band have in fact come to establish themselves as the total antithesis of what they started out representing: the whole Brave New World school of rock musicianship which broke loose back in ’66-’67 and brought about real masterpieces like “Eight Miles High”, “Revolver” and “Piper at the Gates of Dawn”.

The Floyd in fact now seem so incredibly tired and seemingly bereft of true creative ideas one wonders if they really care about their music at all anymore.
I mean, one can easily envisage a Floyd concert in the future consisting of the band simply wandering on stage, setting all their tapes into action, putting their instruments on remote control and then walking off behind the amps in order to talk about football or play billiards.
I’d almost prefer to see them do that. At least it would be more honest.
Still, the Floyd can content themselves on one score. They are definitely the quintessential English band. No other combine quite sums up the rampant sense of doomed mediocrity inherent in this country’s current outlook right now. “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.” Just delete “quiet desperation” (Thoreau, for one, will be pleased) and choose your own depreciative little phrase as an amendment and we’ve got it all pigeonholed very nicely thank you, squire. And there’s absolutely nothing “cosmic” about any of it, really, now is there?

David Gilmour is almost by accident probably the most proficient musician in the Floyd – without, in terms of his guitar work, ever imposing any kind of “personality” on the group. Past history reveals his style and approach as being, to say the least, malleable.
Gilmour joined the band in `67 as replacement for Syd Barrett. They`d all known each other from the band`s embryonic Cambridge days. Prior to this Gilmour had been gigging in France and was, on his own admission, a fairly stock rock guitarist whose roots extended no further back than Hank Marvin.
“At the time,” reports the Floyd`s then co-manager, Pete Jenner, “Dave was doing very effective take-offs of Hendrix-style guitar playing. So the band said, `play like Syd Barrett`.”
The familiar slide and echo-boxes were purely of Syd`s invention.

Subsequently, in an interview conducted last year, Gilmour stated that his joining such an apparently disparate unit as the Floyd was in no way anything more than a minor wrench for him. Which is possibly why he finds it so easy to fit in with such other apparently disparate elements as Unicorn, Sutherland Brothers, Quiver and Roy Harper. Hence the term “malleability” may also imply (a) a lack of personality in musical style and therefore (b) a suspicion of an “it`s-only-a-gig” philosophy.
In a way, you could say that Gilmour was a geezer who struck lucky – which is why, I`ve always felt, he`s regarded the band – and his role within it – with a certain tinge of cynicism. It`s almost as if the Floyd, having loafed about half-seriously in the beginning as “The Architectural Abdabs” (sic), garnered their persona from Barrett and, when he dropped out, for want of anything better to do clung on to the momentum he provided. Until – in a manner of speaking – success crept up from behind and goosed them.
Sometime in between, of course, they must have realised, that they were On To A Good Thing.
The Floyd are nothing if not shrewd.

More, even, than Brian Eno, they`re well aware of the benefits of concocting a low-profile Emperor`s New Clothes` syndrome – which is why, I`d guess, Roger Waters makes no little show onstage of his apparent disdain for their audiences. And why, too (you`ll have noticed) that the band do few interviews and, when they do, try and avoid discussing the intrinsic grits of their music too much.
They like, you see, for you to make your own deductions – and with intellectual paranoia in the ascendant (possibly as a result of The Rise Of The Reefer) how can they fail?
Thus confronted, Gilmour`s attitude remains uniformly laissez-faire.
“Cynical?” he says querulously. “No. I mean, last night on stage I was just hung up. Because it wasn`t very good.”
At one point – the night before the Thursday gig – the first of their Wembley gigs – he`d raised his eyebrows as if to say, let`s pack it in and piss off home.”

BUT NOW it`s Friday morning and we`re camped down in the bedroom of his recently-renovated Notting Hill Town house.
Concert licks first, please Dave, how about the gaps between numbers – Roger stalling over lighting a cigarette with this “well-we-can-do-this-we`re-Artists” attitude?
“Oh yeah. But I don`t really think that`s what it`s down to. It`s just…ah…well, I dunno…Roger likes smoking cigarettes. He can`t get through a gig without a few straights.”
He is, however, more than willing to admit that Thursday night`s gig was “probably the worst we`ve done on the whole tour.”
“The first half…” he continues languidly “…when that wasn`t very good it didn`t particularly worry me because they`re all new things and we`re not doing them very well yet. But we have done them better than that. I thought the second half would click into place because it has done on a couple of other nights when the first half wasn`t good.”

The standard of musicianship was very low – for example Rick Wright`s solo on the end of “Us And Them” which didn`t approximate to the recorded version in any way.
“In the first half…the sound wasn`t very good and the vocal mikes were pretty terrible – which makes it that much harder to sing and that much harder to work. And also it didn`t sound as if there was any bass and drums. Unless there`s a bit of that `ooomph` you can`t really get off…it was just one of those nights were you bumble around and don`t really get anything together. It sounded ragged all the way through.
“It doesn`t worry me particularly, it just happens sometimes. Just chemistry really, innit?
Well, okay, was the audience`s response an accurate one, then?

“I think they enjoyed it reasonably – but I think a lot of people didn`t really think it was very good. There`s a difference between going home and thinking it was pretty good and going home and thinking `wow`. And I know we do get that pretty often. More nights than not I know that most of the people there are going to go home and say `what a groove!` I think they probably want to convince themselves that they DID have a groove just so that they don`t think they hit on a bad one…and wasted their money.”
Right. On to the Big Picture. The band has reached a level now – with “Moon” – where, inevitably, when you`re at a party, someone will put it on and everybody will say `Jeepers, THE FLOYD!` – almost as a conditioned reflex. i.e. whatever the-Floyd-do-is-hallowed. How do you feel about it?
“It`s a drag.”
It`s almost as if the band could put out a double album of Roger tuning his bass and it`d sell.

“I`m sure there would be people who`d react that way – but I`m sure sales figures would reflect a bad album in the end. But I don`t mean that 100 per cent. I`m sure that if we put out an album of pure tripe it would sell vastly more than lots and lots of other band`s records. But in relation to our sales, a bad record would sell badly. It has done in the past.”
What with?
“Well, `Atom Heart Mother`. I`d say that was the worst record we`ve made. I didn`t like it and I don`t like it much now. I`m not very keen on `Umma Gumma` either.”
Well, how about “Moon?” Did its musical content really merit its universal popularity – or was it the Floyd album that coincided with the peak of interest in the band?
`Quite possibly. You may be right. But it certainly was a very good all-round…uh…package. Everything about it was very well done. It was one continuous idea. It was recorded well, it was pretty well mixed, had a good cover and all that sort of stuff.

“But I`ve always felt, right from the word Go, that the musical side of it wasn`t that hot in some parts. And I still feel that. Some parts are a bit weak. We`d have a lyrical idea but no real idea of a musical piece to put to it, so we`d just make something up and take the first thing that came – rather than being critical about the musical side as it was being done. But then some of those bits got knocked out during the months we were playing it onstage before we recorded it. The original travel section we played for months onstage and even recorded it before deciding to scrap it and start again.”
Yes. But getting back to this bland acceptance thing…surely the band is to blame? Onstage the music is almost moving towards a kind of Automaton Rock, towards a kind of non-participatory non-thinking music – where all the audience has to do is walk in, sit down and watch it all exploding in front of them. In terms of presentation you could be getting to the point where you walk on stage, throw a few switches and walk out. Will it come to that?

“Oh I don`t think so, no. I don`t think that the audience have a very great participation in what we do but I don`t think that`s a bad thing necessarily.”
Don`t you think it promotes Bland Acceptance?
“No. Listen,” he says (perhaps beginning to get a little riled), “we still have to get off. I mean YOU know what the difference is between a good gig and a bad gig. And it`s not mechanical. We`re quite capable of blowing a gig and we`re also capable of doing a great gig.”
But in the main it tends to glut the listener`s faculties, promoting a glazed `okay feed-it-to-me` attitude (which, taken to its fullest extent, I might add, is positively somnambulist. I personally noted four people sound asleep in my row.
“You think so?” he replies (perhaps stalling a little). “I think it`s up to them. I think they`re free to take it any way they want. A lot of people don`t though. We had someone the other night who must`ve known that we`re football fans who was shouting `cyyyyomon you Floyd!!!` just like they do on the North Bank.”

The new material sounded a bit recycled – like some of the more tangible stuff on “Moon”. Does that mean you`re having trouble sorting out new ideas?
“Umm, yeah. I don`t know…uh…`Raving And Drooling` – the middle one of the three – sounds a bit recycled to me, but they`re not there yet. I`m not very keen on that one at the moment…but, I dunno, these things get worked into shape. I know that one or two of them are gonna sound great recorded. I think the last one, `Gotta Be Crazy` is very different to a lot of stuff we`ve done, but I don`t think the words go right at the moment.
“I mean, the singing thing`s been worked out a bit too quickly. Roger wrote the words to fit over a certain part and I`m not sure that we did it quite the right way.”
But how can you equate doing something like “Gotta Be Crazy” – or “Money”, even – from the relatively secure position you`re in as a band?

“Well, `Money` is obviously a satire on…money. And it is a self-satire. Obviously. It`s easy to tell that because a lot of the lyrics relate specifically to things that various of us have done, but I mean, I don`t think we`re as capitalist as…I think it mocks us, the song says that we`re more than we are, in fact. It just keeps us aware of it all.
“You Gotta Be Crazy` is about business pressure really. It does relate to us – I`m sure – you`ll have to ask Roger really, he wrote it. The way I understand the words is that I guess you have to harden yourself up to – uh – you know Make It in this world…if that`s what you call Making It…”
The other thing about the new material is that it sounds “safe”. It`s years since the band`s taken any musical risks which, for a group that claims its main appeal is that it “sounds different” from any other, is a little incongruous.
“Ah well,” replies Mr. G. “I think that`s all down to what you want to do. I mean, I certainly don`t WANT to do a lot of things we did earlier on. I`m just interested in actually writing music and getting the music done that we do.”

“…You know I think that everyone`s interests have gone more towards that sort of thing rather than some of the old rubbish that we used to do. Although it was good fun.
“But I dunno, I don`t think anyone`s got any great interest in it now. You can`t do that sort of thing for ever. Like there are lots of things we used to do. Like we used to do an encore where we`d just go on and not decide what we were going to do until we`d started…”
How long ago was that?
“Oh, four years ago, at least. But I don`t really want to go through that thing of doing five loads of rubbish and just once getting something that`s pretty good and new. Or getting a half-hour number with about three minutes of worthwhile music in it.”
But don`t you think that if you`d have kept on progressing from the original improvising basis that by now you could`ve achieved a personal empathy that would alleviate most of those duff patches?
“I don`t know. I really don`t know…I`ve just got memories of standing onstage farting about, plonking away on stuff and feeling terribly embarassed for long periods of time – and looking across at everyone else realising that they were all obviously feeling the same way.
“Maybe guaranteeing that what you play is something that you`ll enjoy is `playing safe.` But I don`t think we`ve got an intentional play-safe policy.”

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A cool ad from the paper!

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: Stacia (Hawkwind), Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jethro Tull, Pilot, David Essex, Queen, Deke Leonard (Man), Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Savile, Herbie Hancock, Kevin Coyne.

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