Month: July 2015

ARTICLE ABOUT Lemmy (Hawkwind) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 8, 1975

This is quite special – to read an interview with Lemmy before he started his own band. Only a few months later he would be fired from Hawkwind and we all know what happened thereafter. Rarely does a member from a band go out and start a bigger band than the one that he/she was originally with, but Lemmy did it. He and…Joan Jett? Who else? Anyone?


“Knock knock!”
“Who`s there?”
“Lemmy who?”
“Lemmy in or I`ll kick yer door down!”

A Feature Profile on H. Wind`s Spaceman Bassman, supported by occasional out-of-context quotes provided by the Interviewee

By Tony Tyler
Pic: Pennie Smith
Harley-Davidson: Lemmy`s mate

Lemmy`s real name is Ian Kilmister but “Lemmy” sounds a good deal heavier. And if you remember the BBC`s “Journey Into Space”, you might just recall that the original Big L was the sidekick of one Jet Morgan, urbane spaceman for the airwaves of fifties Britain.
Now Jet Morgan`s Lemmy was a sort of 21st Century Tonto, the Sancho Panza of the Spaceways. He was a cheerful syncophant and a boy wonder at fixing meteorite patches. However, unlike his earlier namesake, Lemmy the Bass sports no visual anonymity to mask his image. For Lemmy, Image is just about everything he`s got (and I`m assuming he`s finished paying for his bass).
This single-minded concentration on a particular Image has produced some curious side-effects in Lemmy, not the least of which is his natural friendliness. Mind you, he`ll probably kill me for calling him “friendly,” because the way Lemmy sees the world, overt sympathy goes badly against the Image and is therefore unacceptable. But we`ll get to all that later.

No, there`s not been much about the music of H. Wind so far. In fact, there isn`t going to be. In fact, I`m leading up to an examination of the premise on which `Wind touts its sounds, and of the illusions under which I believe they labour – if their seemingly-menacing-but-actually-soft-as-old-roaches bassist is any guide to the rest of the group. To tell the truth, H. Wind`s music is not really my bowl of ginseng, although its remote progenitors did once have an effect upon by youthful cerebrellum, and the real reason for The Lemmy Interview is because…uh…because I`ve known him for years; and so when his name cropped up in the Great Publicity Roundup recently (not unconnected with a then-concurrent tour of Our Damaged Isle), I volunteered for the gig.
Because I felt I`d Probably Get Him to Open Up, that`s why.
And anyway, the idea of actually interviewing Lemmy seemed at once so grotesque and so appropriate that it just had to be done.

Swift resume: my first-ever view of Ian Kilmister was way back in `67 and I came with a friend to, er, score. As I recall, Lemmy wasn`t holding any real quantity but we skinned up anyway; and so my first recollections of the lad involve incense, exotic cheroots, the Beck “Truth” LP and Lemmy (who even then had a decidedly unhealthy complexion) turning green as he copped the Beck licks on a battered Strat, a joint like a 105mm cannon traversing from side to side of his trap.
Those were the days of the Rockin` Vicars, I guess – a saga that`ll have to wait.
At all events, one collided with one spasmodically over the next few years until Lemmy announced that he was joining a band called Hawkwind.
Hawkwind? Are they like Quintessence?
Three years passed. H. Wind began to acquire a kind of buzz that, back in `66, would have netted them some real kudos. As it was they got Stacia; and lights; and they got Underground Credibility, which says a lot for the state of U.C. in `70 or so. The music? Four hours in 4/4 with an occasional trot into 8/8 (“Because it`s there”) and little else, apart from farts from Putney synthesizers. But they began to attract Followers, notably SF novelist Michael Moorcock, the Dennis Wheatley of our Time. (Whom `Wind still take to, by the way.) Bleary-eyed, redded-out infants nodded cataleptically to the True Inheritors of Hapshash. Coloured Coat and all. And Lemmy played on.

Underground papers wrote features. One I remember was by a fresh-faced ingenue called Nick Kent and appeared in Frendz. It was of course well-written…but it was naive (and it`s been a long time since anyone used that adjective about Nicky the K.)
Other music papers wrote features. They had to, really. In `70/71 the Undergrounds were running rings around the weeklies (NME included) for depth and breadth of commitment etc – all good grassroots Wind territory. Mind you, the weeklies` articles tended towards Coy Chronologues of Chemicals Consumed, or pieces on How Hawkwind Got Busted In Guildford For The Ninety-Eight Time Last Tuesday – and NME`s Aaron Zilch Was There etc. But there actually wasn`t much to write about…hippies…dope…a few lights…tits…there was no middle ground, and The Wind were dead lucky not to be totally savaged when `72/`73 dawned and the current of critical sympathy began to run against counter-cultural dinosaurs and simplistic political theorising.
But really, all Hawkwind actually ever did was play some instruments (more or less as they`d planned to), fall about a bit and generally come off a lot less unpleasant than, say – oh, sod these perjorative asides. They got the Vote. Or enough of it.
Also, the rhythm section improved.

Ok, so that`s Hawkwind`s progress more or less encapsulated, minus that odd hit single and the gradual climb up the ladder of solvency. What about Lemmy?
Now our interview went on for a very long time, and during that session we talked a lot, mostly about politics/economics/etcetera, i.e. Lemmy`s ideas on the aforementioned. And in all that tape there seemed to be very little that broke new territory. And we hardly talked about music at all.
What actually emerged was a sort of study of one particular individual, a musician, who (I believe) actually holds opinions almost the opposite of those he believes he holds, whose philosophy of life is based on easy-to-assimilate ideograms which he knows will stay in his brain despite what else he pours in on top; and whose desperate pursuit of a tough-guy image is simultaneously comic and oddly moving.
Nonetheless, let`s kick off with a heavy quote, the kind that reveals plenty about Lemmy the Guy. Quite frankly, I couldn`t give a hoot about Lemmy the Bassist. Who needs music when your interviewee comes out with things like…

“My father was a vicar – a padre in the RAF. I last saw him on Fulham Broadway when I was 26.
“That was also the first time I`d seen him.”
“He`d sworn to `love, honour and obey` – and when the child was a few months old, off he goes. And that`s it for 26 years!
“Now that`s the lowest kind of shit.
“Then he wrote to my mother saying `What can I do for the boy?` – pangs of remorse! Anyway, we arranged to meet – went for a  meal and talked”.
“What could he do for me, he asked. Sure, he wanted to help, but only on his own terms…college…a course or something -he`d have paid, he said.
“I said `Give me five thousand pounds and get out of my life`.
“He said `What for?` I told him: to start a group. He said `No`. I walked out of the restaurant there and then. Haven`t seen him since.
“If I do I`ll break his back.”


The point of that harrowing little tale is to perhaps draw an arrow in the direction of where Lemmy`s street-outlaw “toughness” comes from.
Yet, Lemmy, can`t you forgive the poor fart? I mean, a vicar? He must be in a much worse state.
And Lemmy duly withdraws the back-breaking “threat”, but there`s no real identification with the plight of the rockin` vicar so far as I can see. No, the padre has blown it el permanento so far as his son is concerned. And I`m not in Lemmy`s place, so I can`t argue.
Anyway, Lemmy made it, didn`t he? In music, that is. So he must have been right to walk out on his old man.
Now don`t go getting the idea that Lemmy is some kind of patho, all bitter and twisted on account of his runaway pa. On the contrary, as I`ve said above, he`s unconsciously nicer than he would probably prefer to be, quite a decent fella in fact, not stingy with his stash if you take my meaning. And he likes a nice chat does Lemmy.
Now here`s where the other worry sets in, the bit about him – and presumably, his colleagues in Britain`s Longest-lived Underground Band – not thinking his ideas through. He contradicts himself, just at the very instance when he needs to do the opposite, and though he`s an unselfconscious rapper, too often his phrases go round in circles.

What`s that got to do with the music? Plenty, I should say.
Yet he can still get to the point when he wants to (which is, as you`ll have observed, when there`s a chip on the leather shoulder.) “I got well pissed off at that piece in Melody Maker. The guy wrote in these…sounds, like `uh` and `um` that I`m supposed to make when I`m talking. Just to make me sound gormless. I don`t talk that way”. Nor does he, but he`s newly-enough come to fame (well, sort of fame) to be rather naive about journalists and journalistic techniques. In fact, for a while he was all set to have me submit this article to him for “approval” or even “a quick look”. The word “censorship” would of course quite genuinely horrify him.
Are you still with us? I mean, you might have pissed off to read the LP reviews. That`s it, be a good little consumer…meantime, my friend Lemmy and I will give you a few choice extracts from the H. Wind Lifestyle Rulebook.
Lemmy: “The main thing this generation is learning is how to be a good criminal!”

Windmanager Doug Smith: “Now hang on–”
Lemmy: “–By hangin` on to us, by lockin` us up, by fining us whatever they like for walking through the streets dressed the way we wanna look…”
Smith: “Now it`s not as bad as–”
Lemmy: “–Lockin` us up–”
Smith: “Listen Lemmy, what those kids out there” (he means Windfans) “are doing is one thing only: surviving. In a society based upon someone else`s economic planning.”
Yeah, it`s a bit like Dave Spart and his older sister Clara, but Smith, older, suaver, more cultivated and commanding and somehow not too overbearing (certainly he`s well thought-of by many folks I know) is less extreme, more reasoned, far less sloganised. And in debating the subject of economic exploitation, Smith wins – because not only has he thought about it, he does it. Every day.

It turns out that the Wind-wealth is handles thusly: each week Smith prunes off enough to float the next week and pay the wages, and the rest gets ploughed straight back in. Times are hard, and there was that enormous and spectacular Tax Bust in the States recently which could only happen to Hawkwind, when you think of it. (So carried away is Lemmy with the frankness in the room that he`s actually on the point of telling me how much his weekly wages are before Smith forestalls him.)
Let`s face it: Hawkwind are still on the road, still fielding a road crew, still giving Lemmy his wages every week so that he can go straight out and – I promised not to say. So the system works as far as they`re concerned. Outlaws?
Anyway, suffice it to say that during the three-way rap we ran the entire gamut of Cradle Thinktankery, with Lemmy`s passionate naivetes gently and almost endlessly being corrected by the careful Smith. I get the impression that Lemmy believes in Peoples` Capitalism – and can`t make it work, no way, not for him or anybody else. Whereas Smith can articulate it – and most obviously makes it work – but doesn`t hold it as an ideology, no matter what he protests.
But Lemmy`s not really interested in cash, just in what it will buy, like any other reasonably sane person. And what it buys Lemmy is a superb black leather-gubbins a la mode, with Camden Passage Nazi regalia dangling from his neck. To him, this is his Lincoln Green – the garb of the Street Outlaw.

What is an outlaw, Lemmy?
Is an Outlaw posing on a borrowed Harley for an NME front cover? (In fact, after that issue, in another part of which we mentioned that Lem`d been seen gazing hungrily into the window of the Take 6 boutique, we received a postcard from France: “Ta for the front page but watch it with the Take 6. This is a shit country. Lemmy”. But he sent it; hardly the gesture of an Ulrike Meinhof, or a Patty Hearst, hein?)
No, for Lemmy an Outlaw is still largely a Romantic Figure – and you can tell RFs by the way they dress most of all. Hence the leathers and the Iron Cross and the long lank hair, and the prized relationship with Hells Angels.
“See this?” “This” is a grimy, much-patched card, proclaiming Lemmy an Honorary Member of such-and-such a Chapter. Lemmy says, yes, he can ride a motorcycle, he just doesn`t happen to own one right now. Not yet anyway. In the meantime, he`s got all the accessories, including the cultivated air of hoodlum menace which is about as valid or as necessary as that sported by various members of Sha Na Na. Just like those guys, he doesn`t need all that jive.

But I don`t think Lemmy`ll ever be convinced. His pose, though discernable to other as such, is completely real to him. His emotional commitment to a stylistic chimaera is 100 per cent complete. And I got to say he seems no less cheerful than anybody else I know, so maybe he`s hit on something without realising it.
As I rise to leave the Urban Guerilla apologetically starts rooting through a filing cabinet. He`s looking for…a photograph! Of himself! But he can`t find it.
A week later it arrives. It`s a pic of Lemmy on a huge, huge motorcycle. You know, the one he borrowed from a friend.

Some succeeded and others never did.

Some succeeded and others never did.

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: Elliot Cahn (Sha Na Na), John Cale, Nick Drake, Eric Clapton, Sly Stone, Bo Diddley, Supertramp, Chick Corea.

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.


This is my first article with this excellent band. One of their albums, “Breakfast in America”, is one of my top 10 favourite albums of all time. But they have much else to offer, so I would recommend that anyone interested in good pop/rock should check out this band.


Successful Pop Group acknowledge absolute ignorance!!

Supertramp “We dunno” bombshell rocks Rock World!!

Journalist stymied!!

Dogged Interrogation: Tony Stewart
Action Photography: Robert Ellis

The album “Crime of the Century” is Supertramp`s own sardonic, and at times downright derisive, brand of existentialism. Accordingly one would expect its two main creators to at least be a little contemptuous of life. One might even be unsurprised were they to launch into entertaining invective, not to speak of outright cynicism.
But Richard Davies and Roger Hodgson are not a bit like that. Davies is a stolid, laconic individual, prone to long bouts of silence, and obviously bemused by the current interest Supertramp are creating with their chart success. Hodgson, by comparison, is garrulous, bright and helpful in manner – though he, too, is pretty non-committal, especially when discussing the band`s music.
But if they decided to become a pair of comedians one suspects Davies would be the strong, silent type, and Hodgson his eager-to-please sidekick.
They`d be a Wow with a Routine.

As it is they have no routine at all and this particular interview was the proverbial blood-out-of-a-stone job. No matter.
On stage, though, the situation is somewhat different – as Supertramp`s successful opener to their current tour at Sheffield City Hall illustrated. There it`s perfectly fine to look a shade mean `n` moody, and of course there are the other visual (not to mention musical) distractions, notably chirpy saxophonist John Anthony Helliwell smacking his lips together so that they sink into his face like he`d forgotten to slip his dentures in.
Towards the back of the stage there`s the wasted-looking and slightly dour Scots bassist Dougie Thomson, who sways in time to the music like a cork floating gracefully on water. To his right, the short-haired, reserved American drummer, Bob C. Benberg.
Musically their act – based to a great extent on the “Crime” album – is excellent. Although they have an introverted image, they pace their set smoothly, running through a multitude of instrument changes, as they steadily gain momentum, eventually attaining a suitably climatic conclusion with the title track of the elpee. (Tell me more, Tone. – Ed.)
Supertramp are truly a remarkable band. (Thank you. – Ed.)

The story of Supertramp starts in the late 60s when Rick Davies was playing in a Munich club with a band who weren`t doing too well financially. But the only way to raise funds to come back to England was by selling the equipment.
This he wouldn`t do.
By chance a friend of his met a Dutchman called Sam, who lived in Switzerland, and this character was cajoled into financing Rick`s musical aspirations. With The Joint he returned to England – but, as he explains, “the band wasn`t very good.”
In fact, they woke up one morning in London to discover Dutch Sam wasn`t too impressed with them either, because he`d had the coach and equipment he`d bought driven over his Geneva house, Davies then had to fly over for discussions on the future of The Joint.
“It would,” he comments now, “have been a bit dishonest to say I wanted to save them. But I was torn between the other guys in the band who wanted to keep together. There was that weird conscience thing.”
Sam the Cheese however, didn`t want the band to continue. But he was prepared to finance another group with Rick as their leader. This band was named Supertramp.

The next member was Roger Hodgson. “I knew,” Rick comments, “what I wanted in the way of musicians, personality-wise, and what I wanted them to play.
“Also at that time, when I finally got back, there were a lot of things happening musically – like Jethro, King Crimson and Traffic. I was really into that, because before I was only listening to Americans really.”
It`s only over the last year or so though, that the band has come together as a strong, resolute unit. Before the present line- up there were several formats which were unsuccessful. The first album, called simply “Supertramp” and released in 1970, was recorded by a different group to the one which put out the second set, “Indelibly Stamped” (with the memorable sleeve design of a brace of tattooed tits poking out) a year later. “Crime of the Century” showcases yet another (the present) group.
The only links through the albums have been Rick and Roger, and frequently they have teetered on the edge of total disbandment. For instance, during their “Indelibly Stamped” period it was the drummer of the time, Kevin Currie, who held them together.
“Unless he`d come in,” Rick remarks, “we`d probably have folded again. We needed someone to…believe in what the band was doing. He really got us believing in ourselves again. He sort of served a purpose and went. I think he was a bit sick about it really.

“When he left,” Davies continues, “we talked about disbanding. Didn`t we?” he asks Hodgson, who nods affirmatively. “It was only then that we realised it was our music and our songs and nobody else was going to do it. So…”
“Really,” contradicts Roger, “it wasn`t that actually. The fact the band kept going was nothing to do with us. You have to have the business side to get the music through, and if it had been down to us it would never have happened.
“When we talked about splitting…and the drummer and sax player left, it was really Doug the bass player” (who`d joined by this time) “and our sound mixer guy who got their heads together and said, `Right. It`s time we started sorting things out`. That, and luck, has done it.
“Luck,” he expounds, “that after seeing 800 musicians at auditions Bob and John should suddenly come along, and be exactly the ones we wanted.”

Obviously, taking so long to find the right kind of musicians to work with has had some bearing on the fact that it has taken Supertramp aeons to make any commercial headway, or even to lay down an album with the quality of “Crime of the Century”. But then there was none of the positive economic pressures upon the group…until their wealthy Dutch patron, Sam, terminated his association with them just after the release of “Indelibly Stamped”. They were no longer wrapped in warm Swiss francs, and they had to face the reality of making a living solely on the music.
“The first two years were a complete dream,” comments Roger.
“I don`t think we really want to say too much about Sam,” adds Rick.
“It`s interesting though,” argues his writing partner. “Because it does make the whole band`s history very unique. When we started we had everything. All the equipment we wanted. We travelled about,” he smiles at the memory, “in a 42-seater coach with beds in the back. We didn`t have the physical discomforts that most bands do when they start off.
“Then when Sam left, we did experience physical discomfort. Like the money went down to nothing, and the equipment broke up.”


“We`d always had someone to lean on with money,” explains Rick, “and it took us a long time to accept that we had to make our own way.”
Did you rely on Sam too much?
“Yeah,” replies Rick, “there`s no way you can`t when you have somebody like that. It`s like when you have a big record…well, this is the first experience we`ve had of any big sales, but already signs of leaning on that are creeping in. It`s something you`ve got to be careful of.”
So because of the financial support due to the Flying Dutchman`s patronage they found their musical growth stunted. “A lot of musicians are really lazy,” says Davies. “And, speaking personally, you tend to grab any security that`s going because you know what the business is like.”
“You can get very complacent,” elaborates Hodgson, “if you know a wage is coming in. And the vibe in the band at that time wasn`t really a group feeling…”

They do point out their existence was not as secure as it may have appeared, due to the inconsistency of Sam, who was apparently forever changing his mind about the future of the group. Even so their career was jeopardized even more when the Dutchman left because of the substantial debt they owed to him. This, he good-naturedly wiped clean.
“But,” adds Rick, “I think there was always an underlying confidence in the material we`d done. We didn`t just freak out and say, `Oh we can`t go on.
“We just went on.”
And that brings us, albeit a few minor traumas, to their present position.
As I`ve already mentioned, neither gentleman is prone to making profound (or come to that, very interesting) statements about their album, and although Hodgson would prefer not to play to audiences at all, they both have an altruistic approach to performing and recording.
“You play music you enjoy,” comments Davies, “and hope people are going to enjoy that.”

That, in itself, is at loggerheads with the apparent content of the album – which seems to me to be perceptive view of society, nevertheless expressed in disdainful terms.
But all that remark prompts from Davies is, “Maybe. Yeah.”
“I tell you what,” offers Roger. “Reviewers have got this album much clearer than we have. We didn`t actually realise exactly what we`d done until we heard all the eight songs one after another.
“When I first heard it I was blown apart. I don`t know why…but it does have that effect on you.”
What is it all about though?
“Really I think that`s what it`s about,” Roger says, referring to my assessment of the set. “If it means that to you…”
“…That`s the crunch, isn`t it??” adds Rick. (Maybe. Yeah. – Ed.)
What does it mean to you?
Roger: “It means something completely different to me than it means to Rick.” (Go! Go!-Ed.)
Rick: “What it means to me is feeling right about everything that`s going down at that time you`re doing it. That`s all it means to me.” (This is really fantastic – Ed.)

Which means absolutely nothing to me, so again I ask him what he means. There`s long pause as he considers this question.
“That the lyrics are right for the song,” he eventually answers, “That the arrangements are right for the song. That the mood`s right.”
“What does the album as a whole mean to you?” Roger asks of Rick.
There`s a minute`s silence, finally broken by Roger.
“It is a difficult question,” he says. (You might say that, by now – Ed.)
Eventually it`s discovered “Crime” was not intended as a concept album; that the two musicians are too close to it to rationalize its content; that they are pleased with its commercial success – “because it enables us to carry on”. That both musicians are exceedingly bloody vague.
“It`s dangerous to be un-vague,” comments Rick. “It`s the only way to be. Who could you quote, a musician, someone you respected, who wasn`t vague?”
I name a musician. But Rick only comments, “That approach doesn`t appeal to me.”

“I think we could tell you what each song is about,” Roger says helpfully. “As a concept, which wasn`t particularly planned, I think the reason it`s taken off is half the music and half the sign of the times, really. `Crime of the Century` really does go with what`s happening in the world today.”
Surely by saying that you are admitting you have a view as to what “Crime” is about?
“Well I do, but Rick doesn`t. I think the way the world`s going is everyone`s responsibility. That`s what the last track, which Rick wrote, says.”
Other questions probing their philosophy are sadly unfruitful, and are greeted by blank expressions. So it only remains to ask just how they feel after so many periods of despondency.
Are they now optimistic?
“I don`t know,” responds Rick. (I should have been ready for that, but I wasn`t.) “I`m really convinced,” he continues, “somebody`s going to get ill and screw the whole thing up.”
He laughs.

So you`re the eternal pessimist?
“Yeah. I go to sleep thinking about fuses and things. It does tend to get to you after a while, and it becomes very hard to relax.”
There`s another long pause as we all ponder on this statement.
Each of us reluctant to commit ourselves further.
I politely wait to see if another bombshell will be dropped.
The atmosphere is, dare I say, electric with anticipation.
“It`s a great band,” Roger comments, almost to himself. “It`s got a load of potential. How much of that potential is allowed to get out only time will tell.”
I don`t know about that either.

Genesis were flying high.

Genesis were flying high.

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: Elliot Cahn (Sha Na Na), John Cale, Nick Drake, Eric Clapton, Sly Stone, Bo Diddley, Lemmy (Hawkwind), Chick Corea.

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.


This article was published just weeks before the release of “Physical Graffiti”, their sixth studio album and the one with “Kashmir” on it. And you better not tell me that you haven`t heard that song… This album is among a lot of music critics regarded as one of the very best in the history of rock. Here is a report from the start of their tour in the USA, where they later sold eight million copies of the aforementioned double-album, awarding it 16x platinum in 2006.
Enjoy this report from the frontlines.


“Karen Carpenter couldn`t last ten minutes with a Zeppelin number.”

Does this statement look interesting to you? It DOES? Then you must be a LED ZEPPELIN fan. Hi there! And welcome to our centre spread. Your tour-guide this week is LISA ROBINSON and sandwiches will be provided at half-price.

Last time I was in Chicago was in 1969 when I stayed with The Stooges at the Skid Row Holiday Inn.
Chicago. They say they do things they don`t do on Broadway, but I doubt it.
Led Zeppelin are holed up in the fadingly elegant Ambassador East Hotel (“fadingly elegant” means that the telephones don`t work) where the main attractions are the chi-chi Pump Room and the Buttery Disco.
The hotel brochure describes the Buttery as “The (new) Buttery, dramatic NOW (sic) discotheque, for the smart young set, is an after dark magnet. Compelling music for dancing and listening seven nights a week lures the chic and the celebrated. That blazing aggregation, “The J. B. Polks” headlines the show Tuesday through Sat. from 9 until ?”.
John Bonham put on a suit to go and check the place out one night and returned five minutes later. “So much for that,” he said.

The hotel is boring and pretty calm, but Zep`s presence is felt. Although the celebrated Mr. Onoko (the man who hid in the jungle for 30 years) is staying here, the guards discreetly lurking here and there are for the band. Just in case.
It`s pretty early in the day, but Robert struts and preens around his expansive suite, happy and ever-willing to pose for photos.
“Don`t count them all as my taste,” he warns, as I rifle through the LPs scattered on his coffee table. Margie Joseph, Aretha Franklin, Danny O`Keefe, Otis Redding, The Guess Who.
“Except for Danny O`Keefe and The Guess Who. The Guess Who are great.” He twinkles. “Really. They`re my favourite group right now. I mean, that guy who used to be the singer – we-e-ell, I just thought he was doing Robert Plant imitations. But the one now is terrific.
“What happened to the other guy? Randy who? BTO? Oh yeah? Are they a big group here?
“Excuse me,” he grins, fondling his crotch just a bit.
Ohmigod! Ahem. The tour, Robert.

“I`ll tell you. At that Chislehurst Caves function I realised I really missed the unity of the four of us. I realised that above everything else, above record companies, above films, we were Led Zeppelin – above everything.
“From that moment on we started rehearsing, and getting into full gear. Some of the new tracks already sound better than they do on the album. They`re really building.
“So once again we recorded at just the right time – because everybody felt the same way. We worked really hard, we worked ourselves almost into the ground. I mean, despite the fact that we don`t see each other every day and that Bonzo lives right down the road and half the time he`s at Hereford Market selling bulls, it still seems that at the right time we got together and we write something that keeps us all satisfied – musically.
“I love the album. There are some real humdinger, roaring tracks on it – and then there are some others that are going to take a while…and then people will see.”

Last time we spoke you mentioned something about this disc being a bit more, um, groinal.
“Well,” he smiles, “some of the lyrics are a bit more `groinal`, if we can start using that phrase.”
I like it.
“It is nice, isn`t it? Wonder what it means?
“I know what Nick Kent said about the stuff we can `do in our sleep.` And I can transpose that from his rather campish pen – obviously half the time he uses invisible ink – but that track “Wanton Song”…he`s right. This is what Zeppelin has been all about, which is so groinal…
“We`re really playing well now, we`re quite mature, you know. We can play stuff like `Black Dog` – which is the Zeppelin that comes out of our ears – but we can also alter the mood with things like `Kashmir` or `The Song Remains The Same` or `No Quarter` where the mood changes so beautifully.
“In a big auditorium that`s so fabulous – to take the mood and change the whole thing.”

“I was really nervous before the first gig,” Plant confesses, suddenly. “We`re always so nervous. I dunno why – I think it`s because we`re so self-critical.
“As we walked up to the stage that night Jimmy turned to me and said `This is really deja vu, you know?`, we have been here before…as the heart went into the mouth.
“And of course, if Jimmy gets sick or anything goes wrong with him it affects me too.”
What are you looking forward to most on this tour?
“Oh dear. Well. I`ve already had the biggest turn-on I could imagine, and that was going to watch Buddy Guy and Hound Dog Taylor last night. I mean, really – the blues isn`t dead. Al Green is great, but underneath all the shim-shim, there`s a town called Chicago…and Buddy Guy is still fantastic.
“You know you`re getting to where the music is when the FBI guy in the front seat locks his car door…You can just sit there and literally shiver listening to that man, and he`s playing a cafe and his amplifier is on top of a pinball machine.”
And the old road fever?
“You`re talking to The New Robert Plant. My perspective has changed on a lot of things. I`ve been through so many tours that now I see that there are ways and means of making it more enjoyable without having to rush into anything or burning yourself out. If there`s any raping or looting about…well, it`s done with good taste, I suppose…
“We still manage to entertain ourselves like a right young bunch of executives.”

“I`d like to have it publicised that I came in after Karen Carpenter in the Playboy drummer poll,” roars John Bonham as I enter the dressing room before the first show.
“She couldn`t last ten minutes with a Zeppelin number,” he sneers.
Bonzo`s leaning back against the couch wearing a splendid suede patchworked winter coat – bought new in Chicago out of necessity. Only John Paul Jones came prepared for the weather, bringing along a maroon fur the same colour as was his wife`s hair last tour.
Jones is still fairly reticent – but he smiles more now, so I go up to him in the bathroom where he`s combing his carefully tailored hair (long, spikey sideburns and ducktailed in the back) and ask him why he doesn`t do interviews.
“Awh…they want to interview the stars, not the rhythm section.”
Can I quote that?
“No! My first quote in six years? It isn`t going to be that.”
“Did it sound snide?”
No, it`s funny.
“Oh,” he says, disappointed. “It was supposed to sound snide.”
Of course, personal manager Richard Cole is there. Backstage, as everywhere, he sees everything.

Although he speaks with a bit of longing about getting on to New York and the Oyster Bar (“Oh, they`ll see me coming. Here`s old golden pen again…”), right now he`s keeping careful watch on the backstage area of the Chicago Stadium. Someone dreadful approaches. “Do you remember me from 1973?” the boy asks. “I was very close with John Paul…”
Richard`s eyes roll towards the heavens. He doesn`t want to know.
Rapidly, he hands the kid two tickets – the most polite way of telling anyone to piss off I`ve ever witnessed.
Three girls race in, chilled by the freezing cold.
“RICHARD, RICHARD!!” they squeal. “Thank GOD you`re here!”
And – with remarkable finesse, Cole smiles, hands them three tickets, and sends them on their way – all in the time it`s taken him to mutter “Oh, Christ” under his breath.
Zeppelin just couldn`t do a tour without him. It`s that simple.

The group goes onstage to the roar of 20,000 kids. “Rock And Roll” bursts forth, followed by the new “Sick Again”.
By the time the band have got into “Over The Hills And Far away,” it seems that something`s wrong.
“We`ve got a couple of predicaments,” Plant apologises. “First, my inability to come to terms with the climate – and second, our guitarist broke his finger.” (More on that later.)
“When The Levee Breaks”, “The Song Remains The Same,” and “Rain Song” take us to the new and obviously powerful “Kashmir”. By the time they`ve done “In My Time Of Dying” and “Stairway”, the kids are responding hysterically enough to demand two encores: “Black Dog” and “Communication Breakdown”.
Here, the tour de force of the elaborate and impressive lighting system comes in to play. The band`s return is to the accompaniment of the legend “LED ZEPPELIN” lit up in four foot high letters at the rear of the stage.
As they come offstage, they`re wrapped in red terry-cloth robes for the limo ride back to the hotel.
“Now they`re called Red Zeppelin,” cracks Danny Goldberg, but the mood is pretty low.


The second night is something else altogether. As the lights dim, the crowd start to cheer and backstage Robert smiles and says: “They`re playing my song.”
Fifteen seconds onstage and everyone knows it`s going to be hot. Perhaps the first night letdown`s done some good in that they`ve had to really try harder – it`s amazing how much they care. After all, they`re making the same amount of money. They`ve sold out everywhere.
But they`ve been truly depressed and confused all day about the first Chicago show.
No matter; tonight they`re playing with that old black Zeppelin magic again, and the audience go wild. “Trampled Underfoot” is magnificent. With a “Come Together”-like rhythm and real rocking guitar, it sounds as if the Beatles battled the Stones in a parking lot – and Led Zeppelin won.
A roll of toilet paper is thrown onstage and Peter Grant mumbles “Uh-oh. That doesn`t mean Bonzo shit himself, does it?” Bonzo, meanwhile, is dressed in a white boilersuit and black bowler hat. His roadie, Mick Hinton, is dressed identically (“It`s a double act,” says Cole); in addition, however, Hinton has one very carefully painted Clockwork Orange eye…
“We`d like to dedicate this next song to all the people who came to see us without our having a record out,” Plant announces as the strains of “Stairway” begin.
Cheers, roars, hoo-ha. There`s no doubt that this is the American Zeppelin favourite.
“Of course,” he adds, “it`s not that we haven`t been busy. We`ve just been starting a record company, and making a film, and jerking ourselves off…”

At noon the following day Jimmy Page comes to my room for breakfast. (Eek! – Ed.).
He`s in a really good mood because he got five hours sleep (a lot, for him) and he knows last night`s show was great.
He describes his broken finger.
“I`m having to develop a three-finger style,” he laughs. “But it`s a drag. It happened when I was on a train in England – on my way to rehearsal. I was at the front of the train planning to rush off and grab a taxi, when the train stopped abruptly. I must have grabbed at something, and the finger got caught in the hinge of the door.
“I was just totally numb – numb with shock. I just looked at it and said…`Oh, no`…I mean it`s the most important finger for a guitarist: third finger, left hand. The wedding ring finger…
“It`s the one that does all the leverage, and most of the work, and it really came as a blow because I just couldn`t play with it, I`m still not really playing with it. Last night I used it on a couple of chord changes, but it still hurts.
“I`m starting to master a three-fingered technique, though. I may start to work at this at home – work out three and two -finger techniques so that whenever there`s another accident – which I`m bound to have, at the beginning of an important tour! – I`ll be ready for it.”

He orders scrambled eggs with ketchup, English muffins, and tea – which, although he`s been mixing a lot of vitamin enriched banana daiquaris in his room, is the most he eats in a day on the road. “I`m off eating, I`m trying to photosynthesize – like a plant,” he laughs.
Page, perhaps more than the others, suffers from the rigours of the road.
“But this time I`m going to get some Afghani hangings and my rooms are going to look like – well, like mosques. You get loads of carpets and lay them on top of each other and have everything candlelit.
“My home`s like that, you see, and I`d like to bring my home on tour. But I can`t – so I have to try this.
“The situation with the house now is that when people come to the door, if they`ve got anything worthwhile saying, they`re allowed in.
“If they`re idiots, or cranks or fanatics, they`re welcome to walk around the grounds.
“You`d be surprised though. Some people really have a lot to say.
“The reason I got the bookshop together was because there was not one bookshop in London with a good collection of occult books and I was so pissed off at not being able to get the books I wanted.
“And, whereas I can`t ever see that shop making money, there`ll be a bit of publishing there – astrology books and things like that.”

Discussing the Zeppelin film, Page describes his solo sequence.
“Mine`s a fantasy sequence of The Hermit – The Hermit tarot card that`s on the fourth LP. Lots of laboratory work – ageing faces and things like that.
“I was exhausted at the end of it because I had to stand up all the time…absolutely rigid, my eyes unblinking, totally constant. I really had to bring out all my yoga training for that.
“The hardest bit was when I had to hold the lantern out.
“Anyway, it`s an interpretation of The Hermit card and, when people see it, they`ll understand what it`s all about. It all ties in with the violin part of `Dazed And Confused`.
“The movie`s a musical. It starts in England, shows the total tranquility of England with just natural sounds, and then goes to the last U.S. tour. The way that it changes is really amazing, the whole pace of the tour really comes in.
“I imagine it`ll come out by the summer. We haven`t got much to finish – just mixing the soundtrack.
“I feel that there`s so much to do in such a short time, you know. I`ve had that feeling closing in on me for the last few years.
“I realize that I`ve been playing for ten years – I don`t know if people realize that. I think some of them think I`m just starting!
“I`ve enjoyed it, though. I`d like to play for another twenty years. But I don`t know, I just can`t see it happening. I don`t know why. I can`t explain it in words.
“It`s just a funny feeling…A foreboding…Vultures.”

Peter Grant sits on a brocaded couch in the living room of his ornate suite. (“It`s the only suite that Zsa Zsa Gabor will stay in when she comes to Chicago.”)
Peter`s willing to talk to me about a possible British date for Zeppelin, but he`s conservative about it.
“There is something planned, but it`s not finalized. It`s not an outdoor festival. I can tell you that. It is a big place, in London – and will be over several nights.
“If everything goes fine it will be in May. I`m not being secretive, it`s just that it`s not finalized yet.”
“We really don`t get much flak about Zeppelin neglecting Britain in favour of the States,” Grant continues thoughtfully. “Because we haven`t been here so long. In the beginning there was some of that – but you have to realize that when the band started (and I know it was the same for the Beck band and Ten Years After as well) the British promoters weren`t really interested. They`d rather put on a reggae disco.
“So you had to come over here to get to people. When Zeppelin came to the States and started doing really well, it suddenly dawned on them that something good was happening.

“But we will do three or four days in London. An indoor site.
“We`ve wanted to play a really good gig in England for some years,” Page interjects. “The problem has always been the site. Like with that Knebworth Park thing – it was never finalized, and they put us in a situation where they tried to force us to do it, and that was unforgivable.
“So the kids felt that we`d let them down, and I suppose in a way we did let them down – but we didn`t mean to.
“I`m on in Wolverhampton every Saturday afternoon,” Plant laughs.
Sorry, what?
“I go to see Wolverhampton Wanderers every Saturday afternoon. The public is always aware of my presence and my voice is always exercised to its fullest as I cheer on one of the finest football teams the country has ever known.”
It`s not the same as doing a concert though.
“What?” he shrieks. “They brought international football to England in the 1950`s – they are a superb team. You should hear some of the notes I reach…”

After the third show, everyone feels like going out.
Assembling in the truly dreary Buttery (a bar-mitzvah band is playing “Can`t Get Enough”), everyone makes for the Bistro, Strobe lights, B.T. Express, Labelle`s “Lady Marmalade”, “one monkey don`t stop no show” and all.
Robert dances, Jimmy (who seems to be wearing some kind of charcoal eye makeup) is sitting in a booth with Gee, Cole. Clive Coulson (who`s come over for Bad Company tour negotiations). Lots of Dom Perignon, and some girl tries to show Clive how to do The Bump.
“See, don`t I take you to the best places?” laughs Richard Cole.
Bonzo`s sitting in a booth at the Bistro, not feeling too well. He`s been having stomach problems and thinks it`s nerves. Sitting there, quietly talking about his wife (“We met when I was 16, got married when I was 17…I was a carpenter and got up at 7 a.m. and then had to change for a gig that night in the van…I think that has a lot to do with why I`m the way I am”), he does seem amazingly – as he put it – “softhearted”.
“I don`t know,” he mumbled later, getting into the elevator at a sleepy 3 a.m. “I just don`t feel much like raving about these days…”
Zeppelin mellowing? Well, Robert was surveying the Bistro`s local talent without much enthusiasm.
(To be sure, most of the local talent was maintaining a slim hold on masculinity, but still…)

What can you say about a six-year-old band that has America in the palm of its hand?
It`s just begun, really – and yet Zeppelin has already managed to make every other rock news/concert/whatever pale by comparison.
And meanwhile the plane – the super Starship, all red, white and blue with white stars and the words LED ZEPPELIN painted on the side – waits patiently at Chicago`s O`Hare Airport to bring the lads to New York City and the rest of the country.
The tour is underway.

For some reason, NME used to print pix of naked ladies along with the Gig Guide.

For some reason, NME used to print pix of naked ladies along with the Gig Guide.

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: Lowell George (Little Feat), Alan Hull (Lindisfarne), Kiss, Doobie Brothers, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Bruce Springsteen, Marc Bolan, John McLaughlin, The Soft Machine, Bob Pegg, Little Milton, Ian Bairnson (Pilot).

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 Jethro Tull (Ian Anderson) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 1, 1975

A very nice interview done by the very famous music journalist Cameron Crowe. He has later built a successful career in directing and/or writing screenplays for films. So this one should be read by more people than only Tull fans, if not only to clarify who this Jethro Tull guy is? Is it Ian Anderson? Enjoy!


The Ian Anderson Interview

By Cameron Crowe

For the past three years Ian Anderson has proved a nemesis for most journalists. Interview requests have been invariably nixed by the Tull organisation. On this warm Los Angeles afternoon, however, the eve of Tull’s first American tour in almost two years,  26-year-old Anderson has decided to talk.
Sipping beer and shopping for motor-cycles via a frostily air-conditioned limousine, he explained his strategy. “Better I do an interview now, before the tour, than do it later and have to answer the criticism.”
You mentioned earlier that you didn’t want to discuss the actual meaning of your compositions, particularly not “Passion Play” or “War Child”.
I just don’t want to start people off on trying to figure out what this newest album means in relation to “Passion Play” and the movie idea. They all relate. I just don’t want to have to start explaining.
I do know, believe it or not, but there’s no need for a big intellectual analysis. I’d rather the people just listened to the last two Tull albums as pieces of music.

You seem a bit defensive. Were you as deeply affected by the recent Tull criticism us we’re led to believe?
Oh, very much so. I’d be less than human if my blood didn’t boil when some punk kid writer — hardly out of his nappies -has the gall to say our music is bad or unimaginative.
I find the use of unqualified, brutal adjectives such as those totally irresponsible. Journalists are a terribly destructive lot.
Last year, the pop papers descended upon not only Jethro Tull but on a few other groups — and most of it had to do with their unwillingness to give interviews every six months.
In a small country like Britain, it’s hard to get out of meeting that quota without causing bad feelings. But really, after six months, there’s not much to say that you didn’t say six months before.
I mean, I quite accept that an important album has to be reviewed whether the critic likes it or not, but they should at least offer some criticism. I’ve had a lot of adverse criticism which has ultimately been good for me. Actually, I’ve always thought of Jethro as a live band anyway. We sell records as souvenirs.
When people offer criticism as a sort of entertainment de signed to shock or be brutal or cynical or aggressive … that’s repulsive. I know that the last few records have been difficult to listen to the first ten times around.

This new one, so I’m told, is a lot more accessible. That’s just the luck of the draw, because in actual fact, the music isn’t any more simple than it’s been in the past. Some of it is, but most of it isn’t.
The lyrics are more obscure than anything I’ve ever written. But apparently they sound straightforward to other people. That’s very, very interesting, but also distinctly worrying to me. I don’t know if I like the idea of having made an album people think is easy listening.
They’ll think “Oooooh, this is a great rock record” and that’ll be the only conclusion they’ll draw from it. But it isn’t as simple as it appears.
I’m a little worried that people will accidentally think “War Child” is a return to a style we’ve already covered.
I can’t help it if some of the songs are catchy.

Why haven’t you done any interviews over the past three years? Are you claiming you had nothing new to say?
That’s right. If I was into loud and fervent discussions of politics or whatever, maybe I would have had something to talk about. Musically, I felt I had said it all. I don’t like to talk about very much other than the music because that’s — believe it or not — pretty well all I do. I spent at least an hour last night trying to convince somebody at a radio station here in L.A. that I don’t have any hobbies. I have no spare time. I usually don’t know what day it is. In the rare case that I do have a spare evening, I spend it watching the news. That’s my idea of a night off. But this radio guy was sure I was lying.
My recreation comes entirely within a musical framework. Going into a studio and touring is a recreational thing for me. Especially touring. It’s fun! Air conditioned motorcars, nice air planes, a Bloody Mary every morning after I wake up, scrambled eggs and bacon, coffee and toast … I don’t have any of that at home.
My life has become an easy going, fun existence. I love recording, rehearsing, writing, playing and setting up a tour. That’s really what I do all year. That’s what I’ve been doing the last year and-a-half since our previous American tour. I haven’t stopped playing music except for one weekend when we split up.

At what point in your life did you realise this is how you wanted to spend your days ?
When I was 15 or 16 I suppose. But I wanted then to do what I’m doing now. I didn’t want to do the things that come in between. The starving, the exasperation and so on.
I wanted to earn a stable living and simply survive as a musician. That simple ambition has not really changed. I don’t have any real desire to reach any lofty goals, it’s just that I don’t want to stop until I’m really ready. Which is something that  I can’t foresee at the moment.

What is the story behind your “retirement” announcement last year?
I’d been working very hard and was feeling a bit sorry for myself. After touring America alone 19 times, not counting Europe, Britain and everywhere else, I thought we had to switch off the motor.
It was time to take stock of the situation, and I think that’s something most groups probably do more frequently than they let on.
In our case, since we’re so busy, it was necessary to formalise taking that rest.
If you actually say “I really want to stop” to your manager and your agents and all those people, they realise you’re not joking. Plus we were talking about doing a movie, so it seemed like a good idea to use that as an explanation. At least we weren’t going to vegetate or live in vast country estates with servants and carriages or whatever it is people imagine British rock stars do.
In the end, the period when we were stopped was something ridiculous like two days. It seems like a big thing to say, but for two days the group did not exist. It was the first time in five years that I could say “I am not part of the thing called Jethro Tull.”
For two days that was an amazing, free feeling. Then I knew it was time to work again. Though we had no definite plans about touring, we started to write a lot of different kinds of music and lay the groundwork for the ‘WarChild’ movie.

Of the music we were making, some would inevitably come out in the new album, some would be thrown away, and some was just not the sort of thing we could release under the Jethro Tull name. People would run out and buy it without listening to it, take it home and probably be very disappointed because it was radically different from what they expected.
I don’t mind disappointing people from time to time. I don’t like to trade too much on previous success. But also I don’t want to take advantage of people and pour something down their throats that they couldn’t possibly enjoy. We’ve made a lot of music that people could not possibly have enjoyed.
For ten months we rehearsed and recorded and simply played together for the fun of it, without really having this big thing hanging over us. We knew we’d have enough material for a group album out of that. I put a lot of work into writing a 70-page synopsis of a screenplay, a fairly detailed thing.

Will there ever be a film from you?
I suppose so. One of the reasons we went out and did the English tour was to decide whether or not we were going to go ahead and do the movie … whether we should take another year of my life and preclude any tours or public appearances of any sort.
We had to decide whether we were going to go ahead and make a movie or go back on the road. The best way to make that decision was to go ahead and see how the concerts felt.
Obviously, we chose to go back out on the road. I enjoy touring … that’s my only real motivation. I don’t have many possessions these days — just a really nice suitcase and some guitars and instruments that I’m very fond of. That’s it. I don’t even have any money.
For tax reasons, it all ends up in companies. I don’t have a swimming pool or house. Well, I actually I did buy a house last year, but I’ve never lived in it. It’s empty. I put it on the market again straightaway after I bought it. I realised I didn’t want to own a house or pretend that I did.

Where do you live now?
In an apartment in London at the moment. But I’ve decided to ditch that. I’m going to stay in hotels for a year or so. I want to write some more music, and I do that better in hotels than I do in something I’m pretending is my home. There’s all these constant reminders, like dirty coffee cups in the sink and ashes on the floor and you pick up the phone and ask for room service in vain. You’ve got to go out and eat in a restaurant, which is usually expensive and tedious.
Or you have to hire someone to cook for you, which means having to establish a relationship with a servant on one hand or a mistress or wife on the other.
That also makes life for me a bit complicated, because I’m totally irresponsible with women so it seems. I think they’ve decided that. I think they all know that now. I don’t know … what the hell. Next question.

Do you have many friends?
Only the members of the group, their wives and families and my own family to some extent. The people that I work with day-to-day are the people that I mix with socially I don’t really have any need of much else. I don’t feel the need to go out to building sites and make friends with Irishmen or anything.
It doesn’t seem necessary. Although if I met one in a pub, there’d be every chance that we’d get married or something, who knows. I don’t have much involvement with anyone else who plays music, because I don’t see them. I don’t think it’s very easy to make real friends with other musicians. We’re all a bit paranoid. Musicians tend to be doctors for each other, psychiatrists I suppose.
I know a couple of musicians, like Captain Beefheart and Roy Harper, and there’s that sort of a relationship there. It becomes very, very heavy, very, very quickly and I don’t think it does you any good in the long run. I feel a bit wary of it because we’d all end up talking about the musical desperation that we suffer from.
But may be it’s only me. Obviously when you’re playing music all the time you go through an awful lot of frustration in trying to create a certain sound and being unable to do it a lot of the time.
I mean musicians are nice guys and all that, but we’re all too much the same. Too much the same.


How much do you cater to your audience?
We are totally incapable of playing something that we don’t like. To play a song or a style of music that we did not enjoy would be an act of prostitution. So far there’s been a lucky coincidence that the songs we like doing are the songs people like listening to.
I’m glad the older songs that we play on stage now tend to be the ones that the people want most to hear. Which just goes to show that they all have a very good taste. If I had to worry about maintaining my success, it would be very uncomfortable.
That’s why I live week-to-week. I don’t worry about selling a million records or selling out tours. I just think about making records that appeal to me. That’s enough.
No matter how much the stage act has changed over the years, you’ve always ended Tull concerts on a very low, acoustic note. Why?
What we do at the end of a show is very important. If we were to build the momentum up to a frenzied peak and then split, the kids are gonna break a window or punch a policeman. I always like to take it downright at the end so that it’s a very anti-climactic point to finish on and there’s no way that you can come on after that and do any more. The audience knows that. So when we play an encore and it lasts 35 minutes, that is the end and there is no way that there could be any more. That is it. So you can throw the house lights on and stop the clapping straightaway. Everyone leaves the theatre quietly with a good, calm feeling.

Would you agree that “Aqualung” was the Tull album that put the band over the top?
I think that’s a rather simplistic way of looking at it, if you’ll forgive me saying so. I really believe that most of the success of the group has come from the fact that we’ve played a hell of a lot. That particular album I don’t dislike, but it’s certainly not our best. “Aqualung” just puts a signpost on a certain point in time. Tull had arrived. A lot of people began to know the name.
People started thinking I was Jethro Tull: “Hey Tull. Hey man. Hey Jethro. Hey Jet.”
I once got called “Jet”, which I thought was quite attractive, I must admit.
It wasn’t by a girl unfortunately it was by a rather diseased-looking young gentleman from one of the Southern states. I, however, disowned the name because it would have been unfair to the others to presume for a moment that people calling me ‘Jethro Tull’ was anything other than a misguided attempt to indicate friendliness.
It’s a name which rightfully belongs to all five of us. I’m the only survivor from the original group, but we all get paid the same money.
We all have the same stake in it, we all have the same share of the expenses.
So I don’t really like it too much if people think I’m Jethro Tull. It’s funny, but I worry that the rest of the guys will get to feel that they’re a group behind me. That’s not the case. The case is that I’m the unfortunate singer stuck in front of them.

Why have you gone back to conventional song lengths with “War Child”?
There’s so much material, so much of a backlog and so many songs that we’ve recorded — especially when you include the new album — that it’s impossible in the two hours of a concert to play more than a bit of this and a bit of that. The last couple of years, half of the concert has been taken up with a complete piece of music like “Thick As A Brick” or “Passion Play”.
If we had done another album like that, we would have been in the absurd position of playing a whole new album as a piece, then having a hour left to play what … I mean … how?
It would be terrible to be so selective as to have to choose this at the expense of that, when you would really like to do both. We’re in the situation now of playing ten minute bits from “Passion Play” and “Thick As A Brick”. That doesn’t have nearly as much excitement as it did when we performed the entire piece. It’s very unsatisfactory to play ten minute shreds. It would be unbearable to think we would have had to hack yet another album to bits only a year after it had been done. So we came back to working on a loose concept, but with individual songs that would stand on their own.
A year or two from now we’ll be able to play parts from this new album and they’re going to sound whole in themselves.

Was it a major decision to extend the initial concept of “Thick As A Brick” into a full-length piece?
Yeah. I’ll tell you the story behind that one. I was on the road — in the middle of a tour as usual — and I started writing something for the next album. I began with the lyrics actually, and the song was going to be called ‘Thick As A Brick’. Somehow I just didn’t finish the song until I got to the end. I just forgot to stop I suppose. It was funny because in the beginning I just thought it was going to be a longer song.
After about 10 minutes worth of music, I knew it was going to be quite a long song and I sort of thought, “Well Christ. 10 minutes. That’s half a side of an album, I might as well make it a whole side.” Then having got to the end of side one, I still hadn’t finished. I went on and did the rest.
It was a satisfying thing to do. When we came to do the album afterwards, we went away and started recording separate songs again. But the excitement of working that way wasn’t there anymore, so we scrapped all that stuff. We had done three sides of a double album and threw out the whole thing. I went back and just took one little bit of it and expanded that into “Passion Play”.
I enjoyed the experience of working in that way. I’m very sad that it’s been proved necessary to have to work in conventional song lengths again.

You’ve said before that “Stand Up” put off some of the band’s early following. Were you nervous about the direction you saw that album taking?
We knew it was a good direction to go in, but we were just a bit nervous that some of the people who bought the first album might think that the second album was blatantly commercial sounding.
To a lot of other people, commercial would probably be the last word that would be applicable. Better would be “weird”. To us, we thought it was maybe a bit too commercial. The same feeling I also have about the new album. I like an album that’s difficult to listen to. I like to have to sit down and really work into the music.
A listener should make that effort. I don’t like music that kind of unconsciously gets your foot tapping. That’s musak. I could write that kind of music, but it’s just too easy . That’s using music as a tactical weapon to sell records. I think it’s important for the listener to feel that an effort has been made, that he has actually contributed in some way to the enjoyment of the music.
The only trick that I use when I play are used to try and help the audience want to make the effort. I admit to doing that. I try to entice the audience into wanting to listen. As opposed to saying “Hey what a groovy concert! Great to be in Atlanta! Boogie!” I get worried if an audience freaks out from the first note on. If they do that, I will ruthlessly destroy that moment for them.
I do not want them to enjoy the concert on that level. It’s too easy to create instant pandemonium. Anyone of a dozen groups can walk on stage and cause that to happen. I will rudely interrupt sequences of behaviour which become very predictable. Which is why at a Jethro Tull concert, you find scuba-divers and rabbits walking on stage. They’re meant to disturb people. To break up the flow that is so predictable at a concert.

What are Tull’s plans for the future? Indefinite touring?
Well, having just ended a five year period of playing together, we’ve now stopped and started another five year period of whatever. I imagine you’re right, an arbitrarily lengthy period of touring.
When we make a movie, it will slot into this new five year thing, rather than being like a sudden departure from the first. From the next album onwards, we’re going to be making a visual programme to go with the music. It won’t be pictures of the group playing the music, it will probably be very abstract and very much the sort of thing that you can watch as many times as you can listen to it without getting bored. Our albums will continue to come out as sound albums, in stereo and quadrophonic, but there will also be a visual supplement available. I’m very interested in the possibilities of the videodisc. I’m constantly pushing at the record company to get behind this, to start getting involved. I wish they’d try and make the consumer aware that there is an incoming market, which is very real.

Does your production work with Steeleye Span indicate anymore outside producing?
No. It’s just that they asked me to do it. They’d done abominably and got halfway through the album (“Now We Are Six”) when they started to get very worried.
They wanted someone to help, someone to give them a bit of direction, a bit of order at the sessions, someone to mix it who would take all the responsibility of finishing the record.
None of them is actually leading the group, they all chip in ideas and nothing really happens if you just leave them alone. I was very hesitant about doing it, because I don’t like telling anyone how they should play their music. I don’t like being involved in anyone else’s music.
However, I felt that at least I could be objective about their music. I have a sympathy for it. It’s very English, very traditional. I respect them for what they do and I like some of the things they do very much. But I wouldn’t like to do it again.

With any group?
With any group. It wears you down. I went in to rehearse our music during the day and then down to do their sessions at night. So it was like living our music and their music in one day, with only three or four hours sleep in between. It was ridiculous, not to mention very confusing. Their music is so different from ours that it made me every day a schizoid wreck.
Are you tired of Jethro Tull? Bored with the image?
I’m not exactly tired of it, but I’m not thrilled. If it’s convenient for people to think of me as a one-legged flute player, then fine.
I think that most people are aware that I don’t stand on one leg all the time and I don’t just play the flute. I play saxophone and guitar more than I play the flute.
I actually find the flute a little bit tedious. It has its limitations, being a monophonic instrument. You can only play one note at a time. It become very pedestrian unless you’re completely versed in the instrument, which I’m not. I can play well enough for people to think I’m good at it, so the object of that exercise was achieved a long time ago.

Scary full-page ad from Strawbs!

Scary full-page ad from Strawbs!

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: Lowell George (Little Feat), Alan Hull (Lindisfarne), Kiss, Doobie Brothers, Marc Bolan, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, John McLaughlin, The Soft Machine, Bob Pegg, Little Milton, Ian Bairnson (Pilot).

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.


A fairly nice review of Kiss`s first two albums in this article. It seems that not every critic hated them at the start of their career.


World Record Kiss-off in Chicago

Sabre toothed guitarist sets fire to hair, audience applauds

By Max Bell

To partially paraphrase an old punk song: “It`s 1975 okay, all across the U.S.A.” Meanwhile back in the States it`s thunder and lightning time.
Kiss are a 1970`s band for all those who claim there aren`t any, and as if the name wasn`t enough to put you on your guard they turn out to be New Yorkers as representative of that city as Vanilla Fudge or the Velvet Underground. They look and act hideous too; lots of leather and grease paint but in a way the antithesis of glam rock, which is a bandwagon they may be involuntarily assigned to.
Where Kiss differ from their stable mates is that they can actually play. In between the heavy metal rock and roll there`s sublety and precision coupled with the perennial appeal of dirty street brat lyrics spat out by the aggressively macho bassist Gene Simmons. Behind him the band pump a combination of MC5-like adolescent frustration and Blue Oyster Cult style melt-rock.

For once the warpaint image, and the sour smell of excess, fit perfectly into the overall musical approach. There`s a first album of unbelievable ferocity. Try “Strutter” which is not the high camp posturing you`d imagine – no scout masters in this set-up. Under all that make-up they leer like four Joel Grays. “Nothin` To Lose”, a single, should shortly be assaulting England`s unsullied airwaves, fired by the joint Samurai interplay of composer Paul Stanley and Space “Ace” Frehley. Ace is the quiet one in the party until he straps on his guitar – then he stumbles across stage, smearing licks over every number. “Kissin`Time” is their anthem, a travelogue inspired by the mouthing marathons that are an unmistakeable feature of the concerts now. At times Simmons sounds a dead ringer for Rob Tyner but they do have a definable buzz of their own. For example “Let Me Know” drifts into a perfectly straight accapella before Peter Criss, drummer, sets it back on its heels for an all-out rocking exit. He doesn`t let go of the beat ever. “100,000 Years” and “Black Diamond” are propelled screaming over Stanley and Frehley`s rhythmic escapades, while the latter has a descending finale that has to be heard to be believed.
Sometimes Kiss are too damn loud for their own good; they certainly won`t be to everyone`s taste or temper. But only the instrumental “Love Theme From Kiss” lacks the energy of its companions, coming across as an unnecessary allowance for taste.

And so to a superior successor, “Hotter Than Hell”, which says it all, or nearly. I don`t think anyone would deny that Kiss are anything other than basic. Their lyrics are simple juvenile escapism shot through with blatant sexual fantasy. It`s an integral simplicity though because they work on a feeling. It`s a crude mood which hasn`t yet been perfected. At the moment they veer between polarities of cleverness and elementary brashness, but when the two collide the result is real excitement.
As far as standards of excellence go Kiss are non-starters because they aren`t competing on level terms with exploratory technicians or the relaxed intelligence of a Steely Dan; they will appeal to the darker side of your nature with their chiaroscuric masks, huge emblazoned signs and deliberately spectacular presentation. What emerges is a sound that doesn`t allow for partial acceptance; you either love it or hate it and no disguising intent.
“Hotter Than Hell” invariably surpasses its predecessor; the sophisticated touches, while sensibly sparse, being more effective. On “Goin` Blind” there`s a distant melodic line which could almost be The Beatles, if Kiss weren`t a million megatons removed from the sixties. Similarly the title track and “Let Me Go, Rock And Roll” are the relentless brain numbing blast which is four kids in a garage band – with Mosrite equipment – taken to a logical conclusion.


What these albums reveal is that New York music has a freneticism all its own that doesn`t basically alter; some people are just better at playing it than others. “Mainline” puts Kiss firmly on the right side of the track while “Comin` Home” and “Strange Ways” (isn`t that where we came in?) show exactly how much of an East Coast group they are. No flowers, no sunshine, not even audible narcotics but cities, concrete and cold gin. Kiss have the type of aura that sends parents seeking asylum while the kids stick their pictures on the wall.
These two albums aren`t the sort you recommend to anyone. Listen to them first and then decide. Number one is definitely hors d`oeuvres for a meal which nearly arrives on “Hotter Than Hell” but which I think is yet to come.
Here`s a recorded testimony which embodies claims of being flash-rock`s prime exponents. In all honesty they make the Dolls seem like the boys next door. Even so a lot of people still remain suspicous of their credentials and point to the likelihood of this being another transient stage in a predictable, but brief, fame.
Thus a Transatlantic call provided a basis for evaluating the band in the absence of live performance here. In the States it`s 9.30 a.m., a time when most degenerate heavy kids are staggering into bed. However, Gene and Paul are coming across disgustingly bright and breezy.

After the initial formalities we get down to the obvious tack of glam n`glitter and where Kiss feature in relation to it: “Nowhere man, that thing is dead and the participants are finished too. But we`re getting a bigger response all the time. I don`t want to sound malicious but with people like the Dolls, well, you can`t go on fooling audiences all the time. We can play. Before this came together we were practising for months in a loft to get it right.”
By all accounts response have been close to hysteria. Thrills and spills in plenty too. The first time Simmons tried this flame-throwing act in public the fire rebounded from his dagger and set his hair alight. “It wasn`t `til our roadie smothered me with his jacket that I knew what happened. The crowd loved it though, thought it was part of the act.” A disturbing factor about mass gatherings (like rock concerts) is that one always feel the latent crowd power might uncontrollably erupt. Stanley cites a Baltimore incident. “We were playing a number and suddenly there`s a fire in the balcony. Kids gathered around it and were chanting like at a ceremonial magic rite – they`d started it.” Recently, in Detroit, a boy leapt from a second floor window after seeing Kiss. Incidents like these worry Gene but he insists the attitudes of their audiences are healthy.

“It`s not a negative vibe, like smashing seats. They get rid of frustration with the music. Personally I`d be insulted if people didn`t react immediately. Groups have tried that laid-back experimental trip too long. We`re not gonna use any audience to get heavy; our music is going to get simpler. We want to be seen as a dancing band whose records get taken to parties.”
Aside from volume violence (Kiss play at 110 decibels which is liable to flatten you to any adjacent wall) each member has a identifiable persona reflected largely by make-up. Space “Ace” Frehley is an S.F. freak who`ll explain von Daniken at the drop of a hat.
Criss imagines he`s reincarnated from a cat, has nine lives, paints on whiskers and at one point in the act is hoisted eight feet into the air as if on a hot tin roof. He doesn`t yet drink milk on stage.
Simmons, who has horror movies written all over, holds that “we all have various personalities. On stage we let the fantasy come through. I believe in putting on a show, if people pay to see you they expect you to be larger than life.” Part of the “everybody`s a star” ethic has been the participation in Kissathons leading to a world kiss-off in Chicago (the record being set at over 100 hours). What Kiss have obviously succeeded in doing is cultivating a marketable self-sufficient package.

It remains to be seen whether interest will be generated away from what is an American phenomenon. You could interpret the standard spiel about bi-sexuality and sabre-toothed tigers as a self-conscious, calculated gambit for arousing curiosity and perhaps the wave Kiss are currently riding will break, but it hasn`t happened yet. Of course they`re aesthetically suspect, and ultimately about bad taste, but since when wasn`t there a place in rock music for that?

When downloading didn`t kill music, batteries were.

When downloading didn`t kill music, batteries were.

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: Lowell George (Little Feat), Alan Hull (Lindisfarne), Marc Bolan, Doobie Brothers, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, John McLaughlin, The Soft Machine, Bob Pegg, Little Milton, Ian Bairnson (Pilot).

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.