Month: May 2015

ARTICLE ABOUT FANNY FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 30, 1974

One of the first all-girl rock bands I knew about were The Runaways. They were cool and I liked them just as much for their music as much as I had certain…ahem…fantasies about some of the members of the band.
What I didn`t know at the time was that there were another all-girl band way before The Runaways called Fanny. Formed as early as in 1969, they had a name that invited you to speculate and wonder if these girls were even more outrageous and sexy than Cherie Currie singing “Cherry Bomb”. The problem was that in a time before the Internet there was no concert videos to see, and because they disbanded as early as in 1975, there were no records to be bought from this band, when I discovered them 10 years later, in my local record store.
So, this article are for all of you nerdy people who know about these bands from the darkest depths of rock`n`roll history. Me, you and David Bowie (who is a fan) can, to our luck, check them out on YouTube these days. Enjoy!

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Unnnghhh! Grunt, slurp…

…goes John Ingham. Fanny just smile sweetly and go on rockin`…

Let`s be sexist for a coupla paragraphs.
You take a look at the cover of Fanny`s new album, “Rock and Roll Survivors”, and there`s Jean Millington looking very come-hither, and memories well up of when Fanny were second on the bill at the Whiskey A-Go Go and she used to prop that bass in her crotch and make it talk, and the dreams and desires would stand at attention.
Then you take an eyeful of new guitarist Patti Quatro, and…well, kids, that`s a face and pair of legs whose promises are only fulfilled in fantasies. It`s like rock and roll`s initial thrill made corporate before your gonads; true D.O.M. heaven; a breathtaking reason to forget being jaded; the—— Down, rover; give us some straight facts.
Like, if Nickey Barclay (tinkler of ivories) is leaving the group, why do a UK tour with Jethro Tull?
Over to you, Jean, in Birmingham.

“Well, Ian (Anderson) was over for dinner one night when we just had the new album, and we played it for him and he really freaked. He just stood there and played it over and over and out of that we got the tour.”
Nickey, of course, had already left in July to pursue a solo career, so rather than try and (a) find a new member fast (not the easiest task, given genetic limitations) and (b) teach her the ropes, the band asked her to return for this tour. The result, naturally, is a less than unified band, not helped by the fact that 90 per cent of the time you can`t hear the keyboards. In the middle is the diminutive Cam Davis, former Press Officer`s assistant. To either side stand Ms. Millington and Ms. Quatro,
initially in black cloaks that hide all but face and arms.
When they are dropped…ah! Jean is wearing a red skirt that is cut in an arc across the front, revealing a delectable turn of thigh. Patti`s legs never end; her costume seems to be rags held together by perspiration. Men all over the auditorium rise in appreciation.

The music is frenetic; Cam sounding like a juggernaut coming through Dover, Jean unloading great dollops of oomph in all the right holes, Patti unleashing savage steamrollers of noise and then throwing in a flurry of precise, clear notes to float on top, moving across to Jean in a guitar duel, riding her axe, stomping her feet. When this band is complete it`s going to pulverise a lot of heads.
But is there still a hangup, in these enlightened mid-70s, of you being a…”chick group”?
“It`s hard to tell,” purrs Jean. “We`ve never been men.”
Patti maintains they all took sex change operations in search of an original gimmick. Turning the other cheek: “It`s harder to get people to take what you`re doing seriously, especially if you give off that vibe. But if you`re really working and putting out, they aren`t going to say, `Oh, you play good for a chick`.”
“People thought they were giving us compliments by saying that,” interjects Jean. “But starting two years ago the papers in L.A. stopped talking about us as a female group and just reviewed us as Fanny. It will probably stop completely when we get a hit record and headline tours.”

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But couldn`t you use your feminity as an “easy” ride to rock heaven?
Jean: “We don`t really think about it, to tell you the truth. We just concentrate on the music, because if that isn`t good it doesn`t mean shit. If you can`t cut the mustard, being the prettiest girl in the world won`t help.”
Patti: “But on the other hand, we don`t hide it. A lot of women would go up there in jeans and feel ashamed and think, `Oh, they`re not going to take me seriously.` If you`ve got the confidence, you should be able to go up there nude and it shouldn`t make any difference. When I go on I want to feel like I look good, and if it`s a skirt then it`s a skirt.
“And when you sweat a lot, you don`t want to be completely covered in pants…But you don`t want to hear that…It`s all so sordid, my dear.”
No, really girls, it sounds quite clean to me.
“Oh, we`re a clean group. We come off stage smelling like a perfume bath.”

But before we leave these dabblings into matters of gender, how about groupies, especially in a country where it seems even Bryan Ferry can`t score.
“Oh, there was a boy of about 14 outside the stage door last night, who asked for a kiss,” says Jean. “And I couldn`t think of a good reason to say no, so I gave him a little kiss and he was waiting for a French one and he said (plaintive voice), `Is that all?`”
It rapidly transpires that Fanny have no trouble in the organic electric blanket department, though, Patti says, “They don`t have the nerve to say, `You want to screw,` so it`s all in terms of `Would you like a drink`.” She smiles innocently.
How about other females?
“They`re more like truck drivers,” grimaces Jean. “But we do get a lot of girls in out of the way places who have been inspired to form groups because of us. It makes you feel very responsible.”

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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: Elton John, The Crystals, Yes, John Sebastian, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, 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: 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 BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 30, 1974

Since last time I`ve had a massive response to the article about Yes. I am surely going to print more articles from that band when I find them. BUT, that doesn`t mean I`ll go “commercial” and print only what I think will get more views on the blog. Not at all – and in line with that philosophy, here is an article with an “unfashionable” band – Bachman-Turner Overdrive. I recommend to check them out – they have some nice songs in their catalog.

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Loud rhythmic noises

– And that`s not all. Bachman-Turner Overdrive also have teen-appeal and an incredibly complicated history…which Andrew Weiner struggles to unravel…

Bachman-Turner Overdrive are currently Canada`s most successful rock band. At least they`re the most successful still living and working there – because The Band, who are 80% Canadian, fled from the land of folk-wimps and Mounties a good while ago.
B.T.O. have had three consecutive U.S. Top 20 albums – two still in the charts and certified gold – something no gang of axe-wielding Canucks has achieved before.
They also boast a U.S. singles hit. So, for that matter, do The Guess Who – lots of them – but they don`t sell albums like BTO.
Actually, to make it Really Big in the (admittedly improving) Canadian rock wilderness, a performer has to make it in the States first: witness N. Young and J. Mitchell, who wanted to be Yanks and so moved to where the action was – or at least appeared to be.
BTO fall into line with this trend, making out in the U.S. of A. where nationality is irrelevant as long as the music sounds American – or more precisely, North American. Which it does.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive are a rock band. Their hit albums are much more important than their hit singles (though “Let It Ride” was a good hamburger-bar hit at the very least).
Their live gigs are much more important to them than TV. BTO have a certain audience and they know exactly who that audience is and what they like and how to reach them. They have the late highschool/early college rock audience, the Grand Funk generation, kids who were maybe 11 or 12 at the height of the halcyon youthcult days.
Yet BTO spring directly from The Guess Who.
Founder and lead guitarist Randy Bachman was one of the founders of the original Guess Who and for a long time their lead guitarist and co-composer of many of their hits.
All that goes back a long way, all the way back to Winnipeg in 1959, to a band called Al and the Silvertones led by a singer called Chad Allen.

Al and the Silvertones became Chad Allen and the Expressions, and broke through to brief US success in the early `60s with a passable cover version of Johnny Kidd`s “Shaking All Over”. They went out on a Dick Clark one-hit-wonder package tour and quickly slipped back into obscurity.
Around 1965 they became known as The Guess Who. They smashed up their equipment to cash in on the notoriety of The Who…Chad Allen quit – he wanted to go to university…Burton Cummings stepped in as lead singer.
And they broke through, first of all with “These Eyes”, which was supposed to be “wheatfield soul”, and then with a whole string of hits, latching on to any flicker of teen culture that they could.
Burton Cummings developed a pretty fair Jim Morrison pose, Randy Bachman borrowed a lot of Hendrix riffs, Spirit riffs, Stones riffs, any riffs he could find lying around. The Guess Who rode with the tide.

Randy Bachman quit in 1970. He was sick, he needed a rest, he had to go into hospital. He hadn`t been getting on well with the rest of the band. A converted Mormon (no alcohol, dope, tea, coffee, immorality) he wanted no part of all the partyings and the dope and the groupies that came with success.
The parting was amicable at first, but became less so with the passage of time. Burton Cummings now says unpleasant things to magazines about Bachman, and Bachman in turn suggests that The Guess Who must need the publicity.
“I saw them on TV a while back,” he told Creem magazine. “And they looked like they`d just stepped off a garbage truck.” BTO themselves are doing well enough now, but the bad press hurt in the beginning, when Bachman was struggling to get his first band, Brave Belt, off the ground.

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Brave Belt were formed initially to back Chad Allen on record in his attempted comeback. Bachman brought in his brothers Rob (on drums) and Tim (on rhythm guitar). They became a band and they made two albums, neither of which sold particularly well. The band lost their contract.
They wanted to go out on the road and tour, all of them but Chad Allen – who quit because he couldn`t face going through all that again.
So the Brothers Bachman brought in C.F. Turner and Bachman-Turner Overdrive were born.
Based in Winnipeg, they recorded a first album in Toronto, acquiring a contract with Mercury. The album, “Bachman-Turner Overdrive One”, came out and BTO went on the road to sell it, playing the music the kids wanted to hear: much heavier music than that of Brave Belt or The Guess Who.
They played long and for little reward…and then the radio stations picked up on the album.
The band issued a second LP, “BTO Two”.
A single from it “Let It Ride”, hit big and helped push the first two albums into the Top 20. Tim Bachman quit to take up producing. A new co-lead guitarist, Blair Thornton, stepped in. The band relocated in Vancouver. They made a third album, “Not Fragile”, which recently followed its predecessors up the chart.

A classic success story, perhaps, BTO went out and worked, really worked, for their success. They didn`t go for the cheap gimmick – the bubble gum hit…they left all that to The Guess Who.
If BTO have any image at all, it`s an image that exactly corresponds to their reality: as a fat, happy, supremely ordinary bunch of guys playing in a supremely ordinary but extremely hard-working high-pressure boogie band.
American kids like hard-working bands. They liked Grand Funk, who also worked monumentally hard.
It`s still hard to describe BTO`s music.
It`s nothing new. It`s all been done before, but never in quite this combination.
On record the two guitarists play model solos which seem to be a superior pastiche of the best of Hendrix and Spirit and the Stones.
The songs are by no means memorable, but they hold your attention. They have a lot of variation and they have a lot of density. Bachman is an excellent producer.

Mostly, they boogie. Most of their words are about boogieing on and on. The title cut of “Not Fragile” is a lot of bragging about how heavy they are – and they mostly are, too. Heavy, and yet with a fluidity…about their music which bands like Sabbath or Grand Funk never approach. Very dexterously-played and skilfully-arranged heavy boogie music, with dynamics, like mid-period Led Zep.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive are the most proficient Canadian rock band I`ve ever heard.
Technically, they`re way ahead of their competition, clearly much more committed to their music than The Guess Who, who seem to stumble nearer and nearer to disintegration.
And yet…I`d have to say that my favourite Canadian band are The Guess Who, and by a very long way.

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Never knew anything about this band, but now I know about them – and so do you! 😉

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, Yes, 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: 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.