Month: August 2015


If you never heard anything from this artist before, then I recommend that you immediately check out his album “Bridge Of Sighs” and start with my favourite song “Day Of The Eagle”; you can find it here: YouTube
The vocalist on that album, Jim Dewar (RIP), had that classic, bluesy rock`n`roll voice made for this kind of music and Trower really shows what he is capable of on a guitar, and he is VERY capable.


Is this man the greatest rock guitarist in the world?



Conversation overheard between Chrysalis`s Head Of Creative Services and interested party back-stage at Manchester`s Free Trade Hall a week last Monday:
“There were 15 stretcher-cases last night,” says the gentlemen from Chrysalis.
“What…dope?” inquires the interested party.
“No. Enthusiasm,” declares the record-company exec. proudly.

Chrysalis haven`t known anything like it since Jethro Tull, and two of their top men, Chris Wright and Doug Darsey, have caught the train up to Manchester to witness the breaking of Robin Trower in his own backyard.
The above conversation referred to the group`s gig at Liverpool Stadium, where 300 Trower afficionados had to be turned away. London Theatre Bookings are trying to put in a third London Trower gig owing to unexpected demand, and in less than a week “For Earth Below”, the new Trower elpee, has sold some 11,000 copies over here.
They, the people, started eating up Trower albums in America around a year ago, to the extent where Trower`s second album, “Bridge Of Sighs”, notched up enough sales to win a gold album.
Consequently the broken-nosed guitarist from Southend, plus band, spent the majority of their time touring the USA; his current British tour, where ticket prices range from a ludicrously low 65p to an ever-so-modest quid, are the band`s first UK dates for nigh on 18 months, when they supported Nazareth.

Since those gigs there`s been a line-up change whereby a tall blond Yank called Bill Lordan has replaced Reg Isidore in Trower`s drum-seat. Lordan`s considered something of a wonder-boy, and although he never actually got to gig with Hendrix, he and supremo bassist Willie Weeks did rehearse a bit with him with the view to forming a band. But Hendrix couldn`t tear himself away from Billy Cox, and Lordan didn`t want to split from Weeks. Hendrix, so Lordan tells it, did, however, try to get hold of Lordan for Woodstock but couldn`t lay his hands on the drummer`s phone number.
Lordan was also associated with Sly Stone, with whom he cut two albums; “Small Talk”, and Sly`s next in line, which at the time of recording was called “Snitchin`”. He also played 151 live gigs, and six TV shows with Sly. Trower himself just can`t praise the drummer enough.
Otherwise the line-up`s the same as before, with Jim Dewar, a scot, completing the three-piece. Dewar was largely responsible for starting up Stone The Crows, and since then he`s spent his time entirely with Trower.

Jim Dewar always looks as though things are going bad, whether he`s wrapped up in Ian Fleming`s “The Man With The Golden Gun” en route for Newcastle, (the gig after Manchester), or up on stage laying down clean bass lines that make the edge of your seat vibrate.
Only occasionally does he allow a whisper of a smile to cross his weathered visage. That is unless he`s been drinking, and apparently the rest of the band ensure that he doesn`t get to the bottle before a gig. Like Trower himself, Dewar drinks orange juice on stage.
Even now, as he and the rest of the group tuck into what is allegedly the best French cuisine served in Manchester, Dewar doesn`t look exactly enchanted by life in general.
He and the rest of the band have two things in common; white sheep-skin coats, and music. They`re all 100 per cent musicians. The table conversation turns to the prospect of ligging it up in Slack Alice`s, George Best`s Manchester night-spot, but Trower, who`s just about into his second half pint of lager and lime, prefers to go back to his hotel room and listen to the tapes of the evening`s gig.

“I get more of a buzz out of that than anything else,” he says. And a few hours later Trower, Lordan, and Dewar are up in the guitarist`s room listening to the play-back. (By the way the French nosh cost a cool £160 for some 16 people which was enough for even Chris Wright`s inscrutable face to show some signs of expression, as well as being an indication that the band are doing good business).
Every gig is taped; the recording the band are listening to was recorded near Lordan`s stage-monitor and emphasises the total rapport between guitarist and drummer.
“Some things I haven`t even started to play and he`s on it,” Trower comments on their communication. “Bill creates such a solid back-drop. It gives me so much more freedom to relax and stretch out in a way which I`ve never known before.”
On-stage Trower refers to Lordan as “The best drummer in rock”. And he is totally sincere on that count saying, “I think he`s amazing, he`s dynamic, sensitive, powerful and creative. You know he`s just got everything…he`s everything a rock drummer should be but most of them are not. In fact I can only think of one or two that are at all sensitive musicians. Most rock drummers just lay into it and that`s it.”


Dewar puts it this way, “He`s like a dancer. Everything he does makes incredible sense. He`s a very tasteful drummer. I can relax more now and play in time, which is important. It became very hard to work with Reg, he was so erratic. I used to come off stage dripping sweat because you never knew what he was going to do next. I don`t want to have a go at him or anything, but he couldn`t handle the job. Reggie`s just a bit mixed up, but he`s a nice wee guy.”
Apparently the situation had arisen where Isidore had become envious of the attention Trower was receiving onstage, and had attempted to upstage Trower by playing against him rather than with him.
Says Trower euphemistically, “He didn`t particularly want to leave, but we decided it was the right thing to do.”
The guitarist already had another drummer in mind, a black guy called Freddy Allen, but he was tied up with a band called Fresh Start, and couldn`t break his committment.
Trower`s search went to Los Angeles where the band hired out a rehearsal studio to audition prospective drummers. Six or so auditioned, then Lordan called…”I hear you`re auditioning drummers,” Trower remembers him saying, “Well don`t bother listening to anyone else cause I`m your man.”

Lordan had seen the group for the first time earlier in the year when they played The Whiskey in LA, just catching their encore “Rock Me Baby.”: “I wasn`t that impressed, but I`d liked their second album. Even when we first played together I wasn`t overwhelmed. Then we did `Too Rolling Stoned`, and that was it. They said it was the best version they`d ever played.”
Trower recalls, “We just went in and I had this idea for a song. It wasn`t really finished, but I knew how the backing track was supposed to go. We got to about the third take and it really started to cook. We listened to it and just went around and shook each other`s hands, and said `That`s it`.”
An extensive US tour followed, then it was back into the studio to record the remainder of the album, Trower moving his family temporarily to Los Angeles. They averaged around two days a cut. Matthew Fisher, Trower`s colleague from Procol Harum, produced.
Trower thinks it`s the best album yet, and prefers the sound he got from an American studio, the previous two albums having been recorded in London. He thinks it`s more sophisticated, but still looks on albums as something of a compromise when it comes to their being representative of the band.
“I think we`ve got something live that we don`t get in the studio. I just love the sound of us live. I`m still happier about a great live night than anything else.

“I think when we get up and play we are playing firstly to please ourselves, although we`re always very conscious of the audience being there, and what they need. It`s gotta reach our standard and not theirs. Its not like we`re going to play down to them.”
Live Robin Trower are as exciting a band you`ll see anywhere in this country right now. To prime their audience, a tape of “Song For A Dreamer” is played through the PA. Taken from Procol Harum`s “Broken Barricades” album, it`s Trower`s song for Hendrix, and was the first indication of the guitarist`s real musical soul. Shortly afterwards he quit Procol.
Whether it`s Manchester or Newcastle the audience respond to Trower`s entrance with spontaneous enthusiasm, and there are shouts of “Robin” and “Trower” (Get away – Ed.)
Be it 1975 or not, Robin Trower is undeniably a guitar-hero.
From the opening bars of “Day Of The Eagle” (a cut from “Bridge Of Sighs”) the sheer damn power of the group is apparent. With a playing volume on just the right side of the pain threshold, it`s not since the days of Hendrix and Cream that a guitar-orientated three-piece has made so much music.
Lordan has fleshed the sound out considerably, and follows Trower, whose playing overflows with excitement, to the note.
Dewar plays with a lot of space, and both members of the rhythm section are ideally suited to the other.

There`s not a lot of moving going on; Trower nodding or shaking his head, or slowly tramping his right calf to the rhythm. Sometimes, like with “Too Rolling Stoned”, the music has a frantic intensity. Elsewhere it gently sways and swells, as with the beautiful “Daydream” which Robin dedicates to “The Man”, who of course is Hendrix.
“The only `The Man` I know. It`s strange, even though I don`t listen to him these days he still influences me. His influence goes very deep – it`ll always be there. A great inspiration,” Trower says of Hendrix.
It`s a shame that Trower`s music gets disqualified simply because of this inspiration. Was, say the music of Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green) rendered redundant just because so much of their inspiration came from Chicago bluesmen? Of course it wasn`t. Neither should Trower`s, although it does look as if English audiences are at last realising that here is some music worthy of close and critical attention.
The group close with “Rock Me Baby”, and manage in their own way, to do what Jeff Beck and Free, in their own ways, did for the song. In fact the blues gives Trower maximum room for exploration, and his playing is a treat. Mention must also be made of Lordan`s brief solo; ultra-tight and featuring some remarkable one hand snare rolls and cymbal work.

But, just how good a guitarist does Trower really think he is?
“How good do I think I am? I think I`m probably the best there is in the world today.”
Give me some reasons.
“I dunno. I just think I`m the best, that`s all. I don`t think there is anybody else doing anything very interesting. There are some great guitar players – some great jazz players that I wouldn`t even put myself alongside, but in rock I don`t think there`s anybody.”
And yet despite his confidence in his own ability, Trower didn`t think he was ever going to make it in England: “It`s a great buzz to be getting some sort of reaction in this country. There`s no doubt about it. I`ve never had that, never had it in all my career. I had a feeling that we would never be able to do anything in this country. That doubt`s always been with me.”
It must be the best possible way to be proved wrong.


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: Status Quo, Bryan Ferry, Todd Rundgren, Alan Freeman, David Bowie, Elton John, Larry Coryell, Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, Kursaal Flyers.

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.


The last time I posted something with Kiss in it, I had a lot of traffic to my site, so here is an album review of their very first album, first printed in NME almost exactly a year after its original release. Never too late to do a review of this wonderful album, but Mr. Farren had a really lousy day at the office when listening to this.
So, for the sake of historic interest – here it is for you to digest.


KISS: “Kiss” (Casablanca)

Album review by Mick Farren

Up until Max Bell gave us his reasoned defence of Kiss a couple of weeks ago, I had assumed they were simply an also ran in the glitter stakes who had taken the S+M vampire make up to the point of overkill and altogether missed the boat.
After reading Max`s piece I made a serious attempt to bypass the fright mask cover portrait and take these people seriously as a potential great high energy band of the 1970s. I fear, however, that they are a long way from being the MC5.
Kiss have made the error of thinking that energy generation in rock and roll is a matter of formula. They use the cliches that have been developed over the years by every high energy band.

They seem to have a kind of ignorant faith that the rock audience is conditioned to a Pavlovian response to music after all this time, and will jump to the banal like a rat up a maze. Ring the bell and the dogs dribble, hit a power chord and the kids run out and buy your record. It is a logical idea for these jaded decadent 70s, but fortunately it isn`t true, quite yet, although it could provide the scenario for the next Bowie album.
The greats of high energy like Townshend and Kramer used power chords, stops and searing runs to lash the audience to higher levels of ecstasy. It was an almost subconscious physical link that started a feedback ring between the musician and the listener that built to a greater and greater high.
Most of the great energy players knew how to form the circuit, but they couldn`t isolate a formula behind it.

Kiss have attempted to process all that has gone before and produce the feedback by an effort of logic, and it just doesn`t work.
The album might have been saved had their rhythm section been less tricky and more energetically oafish, but despite all their efforts, the outcome is simply plodding.
To make matters even worse, they don`t seem to be singing about anything. It`s hard to tell. The vocal sound is so compressed that the lyrics are almost unintelligible.
I sincerely hope Kiss aren`t the high energy band of the 70s, although if they are, I could explain why the planet is so low on fun.


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: Status Quo, Bryan Ferry, Robin Trower, Alan Freeman, David Bowie, Elton John, Larry Coryell, Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, Kursaal Flyers, Todd Rundgren.

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.


The last time I posted something with this band in it, I was lucky enough to have someone following my blog to post it on one of the large Quo message boards. Instantly I had several hundred “hits”. That was really inspiring for me, so here we go again!


The salvation of Ruth Siegenthaler

A poignant story of the good works of Status Quo

– who straightened out a Swiss chick hell-bent for oblivion, and also (much less commendable, this) indulge in picking their noses.


Ruth Segenthaler will arrive in this country next month to study English at a Brighton College, and in her denim bag she`ll carry the Diploma she received on the successful completion of a commercial course in Switzerland. She maintains, though, that none of this would have been possible if she hadn`t been introduced to the music of Status Quo.
The band have been, she says, her saviours.
Ruth, a pale faced 18-year-old with a shock of blonde curls, seems just like any other Quo fan as she weasels her way into their dressing room on the second of two gigs they`re playing near Zurich. She produces an Instamatic camera and cajoles drummer John Coughlan into taking her photograph as she posed with Rick Parfitt.
Before she`s gently guided to the door she collects their autographs and then sits in silence watching the band prepare for the concert.
Half-an-hour later Quo are presented with a small black note-book shaped like a right foot, with the message “To Francis, Ritchie, Alan and John” emblazoned in gold letters on the front.

On the first sheet Ruth has copied the silhouette design from the “Hello” album, and with the greeting “Hi Boys! Herewith I`d like to thank you for all you`ve done for me till now,” she launches into a 17-page explanation of why she is the band`s greatest fan.
It then transpires she had been a sorrowful physical mess during 1974, soaking up two bottles of cheap red wine a day, swallowing limitless quantities of pills, main-lining and smoking an endless supply of dope, searching for, as she says, the reason for existing.
All she found, however, was a drunken state of euphoria and a very expensive habit. But she kicked it.
“Really,” Ruth writes, “with your music you showed me the right way to obtain happiness and satisfaction. I observed that music is the best and healthiest drug on earth (especially yours!!) and that I need no shit, pills, whisky or wine to get happy. All that I need is Status Quo!!
“On hearing your songs I`ve found this certain feeling which I`ve mined (?) and looked for during all the time when I was almost manic. As soon as I feel down now, I only have to hear Status Quo and all my trouble passes quickly. In contrast to the most horrible time in my life, now no day is passing without hearing you, and I`m the most satisfied girl on earth.
“I`m very grateful to you…”

Although generally touched by the letter, Quo play down any inference that their music can have such a profund effect on their fans. Cynically, they tend to align themselves with the popular conception that they`re a bunch of dumbos.
“The lyrics are good,” acquieses Parfitt, “but they don`t change anybody`s life. The majority of people don`t come along to see Status Quo to listen to the words. Well, perhaps some of them do, like that bird Ruth.
“But the main hook of the band, if you like, is the whole thing of the punch in the music and things like that.”
So you don`t see yourselves as saviours?
Parfitt has to think for a moment before he answers.
“When we do a gig anywhere,” he eventually says a little hesitantly, “I think there`s an awful lot of people looking forward to it. If we`re playing somewhere on the Saturday, on the Friday the kids are getting excited about it. But…I can`t really get across what I`m trying to say.”
“That`s `cause,” Rossi injects in typically droll manner, “you`re a lame-brain.”
Even though they may find it difficult to analyse the cause of such enthusiastic reactions, it`s certainly true that the Swiss in particular are demonstrative people when it comes to rock and roll bands.
Take, for instance, our arrival at Zurich airport on the Saturday morning.

Since meeting the band at Heathrow there`d been a continuous comedy routine basically between Parfitt and Francis Rossi, which at one point proved so exasperating to fellow passengers that one lady snapped, “I do wish those two little boys would go outside and play.”
But now, as they sit in the baggage terminal waiting for the manager`s suitcase to show up (it never did) they`ve quietened down a lot. A young airport chick, though, seems particularly impressed with them and she comes over to ascertain they are, in fact A Rock Band.
“Are you doing anything after the concert?” she asks bluntly. “No? Well would you like to come back to my flat then?”
This invitation is greeted by lewd comments as the chick cocks her leg and starts to write out the address, with a twinkle in her eye apparently directed at Coughlan.
“You will of course behave yourselves,” she purrs inticingly handing over the piece of paper.
As the band walk through customs control they`re swamped by a couple of dozen kids – every one of them holding a camera of some description – and a Swiss television man zooms in with a movie camera while a rotund, middle-aged lady thrusts forward a microphone which looks like a giant mango on the end of a stick.

And this pattern follows the band for the next two days. On each of the two gigs these very same kids are there with their cameras and autographed T-shirts. Perhaps significantly the Swiss TV people, who`re filming a documentary on the band, are only seen on the Saturday.
The reason for the movie is because Status Quo have had a considerable amount of success in Switzerland. At a brief reception in their Zurich Hotel, the Nova Park, they`re presented with gold discs for combined sales in excess of 25,000 on their “Hello” and “Quo” albums.
Louis, the Phonogram Records representative, who`s just endured a rather trying time with Eurovision winner Vicky Leandros, quickly points out that both albums had actually sold sufficient amounts to equal gold status for each. And The Beatles and the Stones were the only other bands to have achieved this distinction.
Similarly, both concerts drew 3,000-plus crowds and they proved a good omen for the rest of the European tour which took the band on to France and then Germany.

After spending a weekend on the road with Status Quo you`d expect to come away with a pretty clear picture of what they`re all like individually. But although I do have various impressions, the issue is confused by the fact that Quo parody themselves relentlessly.
They play out a game which, for convenience sake, we`ll call Spot The Rock Star. Variances of this theme can be seen on the colour photo spread on the sleeve of their new album, “On The Level”.
Parfitt acts the role of the amiable clown, whose joke for Saturday runs along the line, “I used to be a tap dancer but I kept falling over the tap.” This is replaced on Sunday by a series of references to “dumping” – a word he picked up on in an adult comic, and is apparently American slang for crapping. Dumping, of course, could be substituted for “yodelling” – their own word for screwing.
Rossi, naturally enough, is the most overtly cynical member of the band who, whenever I entered the dressing room or his hotel room, turned over my lapels looking for a Pass Badge. He has a rather deadpan sense of humour, starting an interview with: “The only reason you`re talking to me is because I`ve been on television. You wouldn`t bother otherwise.”
Alan Lancaster, for some reason known within the band as Nuff, is the traditional snubnosed punk. On occasion he becomes aggressive, launching into a diatribe on any subject that takes his fancy.


In contrast, John Coughlan seems to stand outside the Game. He`s more content to continuously tap his hands and feet (as most drummers are prone to), drink beer quietly (and frequently well into the early hours of the next morning), or discuss Anglo-French relations – in which he has taken an active part.
It`s all rather difficult to come to terms with – particularly the antics of Rossi and Parfitt, as an incident on the final day illustrates.
We`re in Rossi`s hotel room as Parfitt enters.
“So are we going down to this club tonight?” Parfitt asks. “We can get down there fairly early.”
“No, no, nooo,” France responds, nodding his head in my direction and winking at the band`s jester. “We`ll be doing a rehearsal in the room, and writing songs.”
“Till about nine o`clock though, then we`ll go out,” answers Parfitt, slightly slow on the uptake.
Rossi starts to pick his nose, exaggerating his finger movements. This causes Parfitt to laugh.
“I`ve just had a pick of mine,” he quips. “Bloody terrible. I picked the middle of my head out.”
“Didja?” Rossi keeps on picking.
“Just think,” Parfitt continues, still laughing, “if we pull some birds we`ll be able to go yodelling tonight. I like that,” he muses. “I`ll have to lay that on some of the Woking boys. They`ll love that.”
Meantime Rossi gets up and walks towards the bathroom.
“It`s no good,” he mutters. “I`ll have to go to the mirror. That`s all there is to it. I`m sorry I can`t stay and pick my nose in front of your tape-recorder.”

Even if you find this all a little repulsive, none of Quo`s four members do. Apparently it`s one reason why they`ve stayed together as a unit for the last 11 or so years.
“But we went through a really hard time about two years ago,” Parfitt points out. “Everybody got into a thing where they were trying to prove something to each other. And I think any band that stays together has got to go through this at some stage or other.
“And there was a lot of bad feeling in the band.
“We weren`t anywhere near to splitting,” he quickly adds, “but that`s the nearest we got to it.
“We`ve come out of it, and the band now – and I know they`ll agree with me – is happier than it`s ever been.”
“Sorry,” Rossi remarks, “I can`t agree with that.”
Umperturbed, Parfitt continues: “We`ve forgotten all our little differences and nobody`s trying to prove anything to one another, which makes life a lot easier. But there was a stage when I was home and thinking, `Christ! We`re going away. Oh noo!` It was terrible. I was frightened of the rest of the band.
“Now we just want to get on and get the States done.”
“Then,” adds Rossi with a gob full of bread, “we can break up.”

At concerts halls the more professional aspects of Quo`s stance come over. In design both the halls where I saw them play were the same – giant aircraft hanger-type buildings with appalling acoustics and dressing rooms that were a cross between bank-vaults and school showers.
At each the band went through a painstaking sound check.
Afterwards they tuned their instruments in preparation for the concert, idled away their time, and then changed a good half hour before they were due on stage. Alcohol and so forth was not consumed until after the actual performance.
The second show, at Zoffingham – a half hour drive from Zurich – was the better, and included two cuts from “On The Level”, which they worked into the act during the two hour soundcheck and rehearsal.
A Swiss gig is a rather curious occasion. At Zoffingham light snacks and coffee were sold on one side of the hall, while opposite a young trendy pushed American adult comics and porn books.
Tea, a home-grown band with the distinction of being the Top National Group (as voted in Pop magazine) and the fact Deep Purple were interested in their vocalist when Gillan left, opened and were quickly followed by the remarkable hot-rox outfit Hustler – an English export for the time being.

Needless to say, by the time Quo took the boards the atmosphere these two bands created had started to wain slightly, and it`s indicative of Quo`s high-energy output that from the metallic chop of Parfitt`s rhythm guitar opening the first number, “Junior`s Wailing” (Rossi is a family man), all three thousand people were up and boogie-ing.
The act is considerably better to the last one I saw in England, with tighter playing and finer sound balance – “We`re having a little trouble with the buzz from the electricity”, commented the mixer during the performance, “but we can`t really talk to the electrician about it because we ran our truck into his car earlier.”
The second piece, however, “Backwater” coupled with “Just Take Me”, fell apart on the link between the two numbers, became a little lethargic, and the momentum only built on the next song, “Claudine”.
Quo, as I`ve commented in the past, rely on the simplicity on their playing and the forthright presentation of material, which does cause a certain repetivity of arrangement ideas. For instance, “Little Lady” (from “Level”) proved alarmingly similar in structure to “Junior`s Wailing”.

A little later in the set came “Roll Over Lay Down”, and there their use of dynamics contrasted by a quiet fragile guitar passage appeared to be somewhat similar to the technique used in “Lady”.
Quo`s true forte obviously lies in this quite distinctive ability to sustain the rhythmic impetus, stemming from Parfitt and the strong anchorage of Coughlan and Lancaster, which is no doubt helped by the order of the numbers.
Rossi will never be described as an innovative guitarist, but his licks do heighten the overall atmosphere, maintaining interest just when the chord wields start to become monotonous.
In short, it`s a carefully thought out act, leaving scope in its simplicity for the typical heads-down-together showmanship, the stalking of Rossi (a certainty for the cast of Planet Of The Apes) and the usual focal embellishments.
Concluding with “Roadhouse” they followed with two encores, “Caroline” and “Bye Bye Johnny” (sounding like the engines revving at the start of a rally), finished, sprinted from the stage and out of the hall into the two waiting BMWs – they were on their way back to Zurich before anybody could say, “Parfitt`s forgotten his plectrum.”

On neither night did the band wish to go out to a club, and on Saturday made do with the impromptu appearance of two pimps fighting over a whore in the hotel foyer.
The highlight of this action could have been when Nuff (of course) decided he`d participate, but instead was when one pimp grabbed the whore`s hair to pull her in reach of his right hand. But the wig she was wearing came off, and he tripped over his rival lying bloody nosed on the ground.
So on a Sunday night in Zurich we make our way into the elevator to go up to the rooms. Somebody deliberately breaks wind.
“Oh Christ,” Lancaster says angrily as he sniffs the air, “I`m leaving the band after that, I tell ya.”
“Oh, anything but that Nuff,” their manager, Colin Johnson, jokes gently.
“Tell you what,” puts in Rossi excitedly, “`ave you anything of mine, or `ave I got anything of yours, `coz I`ll give it you back now, then you can go.”
Ignoring the conversation Parfitt boldly announces, “I`m going for a dump.”
Did you Spot The Rock Star?

The band and the girl with no name.

The band and the girl with no name.

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: Robin Trower, Bryan Ferry, Todd Rundgren, Alan Freeman, David Bowie, Elton John, Larry Coryell, Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, Kursaal Flyers.

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.


I really, really like Alice Cooper. Yes, even more than Charles Shaar Murray does. He is a bit overly critical in this article, but then again – this was the 70s, when every other album in retrospect was a classic. It was a magical time for music, and the standards were very high. So I guess that you can`t blame Mr. Murray for not praising everything that Cooper had done. And, I do agree that “Muscle Of Love” wasn`t Cooper`s greatest moment. I think Alice would agree with that one.
Have fun reading this long and informative article summarizing Alice`s career thus far.


Yes, once again CHARLES SHAAR MURRAY, Regius Professor of Logic, Rhetoric, Trash Aesthetics, and Hohner Super Vamper, leaps forth with a mouthful of scintillating verbosity aimed, with all the abandon of the truly crazed, straight at your frontal lobes, readers all. If he`s reduced you to a frothing heap before, take guard – for now, before your very eyes, witness the climactic horror of this week`s episode:


The trouble with Alice Cooper is that he never really understood what tastelessness was all about.
Ostensibly, the raison d`etre of the Alice Cooper assault on public credulity, gullibility and excess income was founded on the assumption that the public enactment of the American Nightmare was a ritual of liberation and purification – plus the entire logical belief that said assault would garner a whole lotta green ones for all concerned.
The method employed would consist of a show that was the ultimate in tastelessness.
The litany of furnishings in Cooper`s chamber of horrors is by now long since mutated into the stuff of legend: baby-killing, necrophilia, the use of powerfully emotive death-symbols such as electric chairs, gallows and guillotines, a couple of gallons of sour-mash sex-role ambiguity, a plague of pythons, several dozen dead chickens and a lot of enthusiastically aggressive rock-and-roll.
All of which merely proves how little Cooper knows about tastelessness. What he`s into is bad taste, which is a totally different ball game, and in an infinitely lower league. Tastelessness is an arrogant rejection of the obsolete and restrictive concepts of both good and bad taste; bad taste is an acknowledgment of the existence merely of good taste and a conscious attempt to defy it.
One would place the Stones and all other great pulp artists in the first category; Alice Cooper belongs firmly in the second.

The first mass public manifestation of the man/organism generally known as Alice Cooper was in 1969, when something answering to this description was announced as an early signing to Frank Zappa`s Straight label.
Straight, it will be recalled, was the companion to Bizarre in F.V.Z.`s Warner-Reprise-backed campaign to demolish the world with an exquisitely-orchestrated barrage of esoteric tastelessness (see above). The something turned out to be Alice Cooper; or to put it another way: Alice Cooper (vocal/harp), Glen Buxton (lead guitar), Michael Bruce (guitar/piano), Dennis Dunaway (bass) and Neil Smith (drums).
Alice Cooper was a preacher`s son from Phoenix, Arizona.
His real name was Vincent Furnier, a fact which he successfully managed to keep a secret until he`d been a superstar for nearly two years. He also used to be in a group called the Spiders (not THE Spiders), and also in a group called the Nazz (not THE Nazz, either). After these blinding successes, he worked his way from Phoenix to Detroit to L.A., by which time he was conjoined with those other guys as Alice Cooper (moving fast tonight, folks).

As documented on their first album “Pretties For You” (Straight), the Alice Cooper of that time were a vastly pretentious and laughably inept psychedelic punk garage band, distinguished from platoons of similar oafish combos by a kind of low- budget Theatre-Of-Cruelty presentation and a primitive gesture in the direction of sex-role ambiguity. The reason that they got signed is that most audiences found the band actively repulsive.
Legend hath it that their emergence on record was due to the fact that they had snuck into Frank Zappa`s Laurel Canyon basement in the small hours of the morning and commenced to churn out some absurdly ugly music, thereby provoking Uncle Frank to stumble in, clad in bedsocks and nightcap, mumbling something to the effect that if youse guys will kindly shut the hell up and get the hell out and let me get the hell to sleep I will sign you and your absurdly ugly music to my label (which is extremely heavy duty and is incorporated in my corporate logo). See my manager, Herbie Cohen.” Apochryphal though it may be, it seems as plausible and generally true-to-life as any other possible explanation for the appearance of “Pretties For You.”

The cover of this particular product depicted a young girl lifting her skirt and revealing her panties to a less than fascinated older man in a lumpy overcoat, which was all part of the Cooper aesthetic of being as offensive as was humanly possible – i.e. pretending to be a fag act, throwing chickens at the audience and like that. The album itself is a rather pitiful collection of tattered cliches disinterred from old Yardbirds, Beatles and Stones` LPs coupled with earnest attempts to mimic the more obvious effects handed down to posterity by Big Guys like Iron Butterfly, the Moody Blues and the Mothers.
1970 brought a second album on Straight, entitled “easy Action,” which found the Coopers slightly more proficient and slightly less pretentious, but still by no means either impressive or interesting. Lester Bangs (at that time still two Deep Purple albums away from entering his punk phase) described the first Cooper album in Rolling Stone as being “totally dispensable.” On the evidence of “Pretties For You” and “Easy Action” he was dead right.
Incidentally, they are both now available for your inspection, reincarnated as a Warners double album entitled “School Days.” Central Quality Control recommends that they be investigated only for reasons of research.

Things commenced to get mildly interesting once the band split (or were split, as the case may be) from Zappa and Cohen, and eventually found themselves ensconced with a gent named Shep Gordon (who did the managing) and a Canadian geezer named Bob Ezrin (who did the producing).
The first album to come from this exciting combination of talents was “Love It To Death” (Warner Bros.), and it was clear that Ezrin had earned every letter of his production credit. Why, the band sounded almost tight, they had magically learned the gentle art of pacing and dynamics and they had even managed to write A Classic.
Said Classic was a song called “I`m Eighteen,” and coming from a zero-quality band like the Coopers, it was nothing less than phenomenal. Side one, track two on the album, it was a pleasant cross between punk introspection and teen ballad, all about how confused the narrator felt to have reached the age of eighteen.
“Lines form on my face and hands/lines form from the ups and downs/I`m in the middle without any plans/I`m a boy and I`m a man,” sings Cooper. “I`m eighteen and I don`t know what to do,” before getting to his punch line, “I`m eighteen and I like it.”
In many ways, it was the long-delayed answer to that popular musical question of the `50s: “Why Must I Be A Teenager In Love?”

Basically, it was a masterstroke of audience identification. Alternatively, it was a genuinely sensitive exploration of the eternal dilemma of the adolescent. Your choice will count for 3% of your total final mark.
The cover of “Love It To Death” displayed the Coopers in pouts and make-up sleazing it up for all they were worth (which was comparatively little until “I`m Eighteen” went monstrous) but looking rather too butch to carry it off with the total elan of a Bowie. The cover pictures established that they were a bunch of twerps trying to look like street punks trying to look like drag queens.
The music contained in this particular objet d`art in no way outshone “I`m Eighteen,” but it was solid, competent and could even be suspected of having been in recent close contact with an idea. “Is It My Body?” presented Cooper rather coyly posing that very question soulfully adding, “Or do you want to find out who I really am?” which could put anybody of heavy petting.
An early significant homage to old movies was paid by “The Ballad Of Dwight Frye.” As any fool knows, Dwight Frye is the name of the actor who played Henry Frankenstein`s hunchbacked assistant Fritz in Boris Karloff`s first “Frankenstein” movie for Universal Pictures in 1931.

The album`s principal triumph of kitsch was the inclusion of Rolf Harris` “Sun Arise,” which is performed with a touching degree of reverence for the original. There was also a slight but catchy little song called “We Sure Got A Long Way To Go,” which Cooper was later to use at the climax of his concerts to rebuke audiences whose bloodlust got too ludicrous.
So the Ezrin-augmented Coopers came virtually out of nowhere with a good album and the first of their two all-time classic singles.
Until “I`m Eighteen,” they had been a minor cult band (with what little reputation they possessed based almost entirely on their associations with Zappa and fancifully embellished gossip about some of their more ridiculous concerts), but suddenly they`d made it with a big hit single, thereby becoming public property.
Given the higher budget that comes with fame, they got seriously into the theatrics; and the next step was to take as razed such pettifogging social problem as adolescent traumas and sexual identity, and get into big stuff, like psychopathy, execution and baby-killing.
Having done their collective best to mess around with America`s sexuality, the next major section of its soul that they were going to go down on was America`s Massive Collective Death Wish.

The next album was “Killer”, and the presentation of their next tour was built around it.
“Killer” merits some serious attention because it`s probably Alice Cooper`s best album, and though it contained nothing as epic as “I`m Eighteen,” it consolidated Cooper`s claim to being an outstanding `70s act. Under Ezrin`s guidance, the band sounded like an excellent second division act with a first division singer and first division songs.
Cooper himself was indeed an excellent singer; his voice was light but rough and he`d clearly heard enough Jim Morrison to know how to exploit a lyric to its fullest. He didn`t play very good harp though.
The songs, mostly written by Cooper and Michael Bruce, were flash, arrogant, pointed and reasonably inventive, plus they showed an advanced awareness of the techniques of persona manipulation.
Cooper`s lifestyle included getting himself blurred around the edges on beer at grotesquely early hours of the morning, and staying that way all day while subjecting himself to a permanent barrage of the pernicious nonsense that serves America for daytime television. (In all fairness, American TV is not significantly more pernicious than British TV, but at least there are three times as many different kinds of perniciousness to choose from).

Anyway, anybody who watched non-stop daytime TV while mildly drunk for any significant period of time would probably turn into a psychopath – or at least a good imitation of one, which latter fate overtook our Mr. Cooper.
Due to the added sensitivity lent him by his phenomenal intake of beer and his intensive study of the insights imparted him through his TV set, he was able to chart the major American phobias with unerring accuracy. He was living proof that a man who spends most of his life pissed in front of a TV set can still make a million dollars.
So at one moment he was the arrogant rock star of “Under My Wheels” and “Be My Lover,” next time you looked he was the phantom jetset poisoner of the truly surreal “Halo Of Flies” (complete with oh-so-macabre quote of the melody of “My Favourite Things”) and then the leather-clad gun-slinger of “Desperado”, which (courtesy of Ezrin) was blessed with an orchestral arrangement worthy of Dimitri Tiomkin himself and (courtesy of Cooper and Bruce) a lyrical ambiguity which oscillates between the Old West and modern times. Cooper trotted out his most Morrisonian intonations for lines like “I`m a killer and…I`m a clown,” which folded back out of the song into his own basic persona.


“Killer`s” most notorious piece of unpleasantness came on the second side with the justly celebrated “Dead Babies”. The sheer calculatedness of the whole Cooper trip was more than a little apparent, but the tongue-in-cheek arrangement (complete with backing voice doing French horn impressions in a determinedly Beatlesque way that actually owed more to “Little Soldier Boy”, a thoroughly horrendous song from the Yardbirds` “Little Games” album) was extremely pretty, and that confused people considerably.
The ubiquitous Bangs, who`d been converted to the Cooper cause, allowed that he found the song pretty repulsive himself, but that was in the days when Cooper was still pretending to be a serious artist. Later, his overt opportunism and total cynicism was automatically to defuse the raw gut-reactions that his manipulation of the world`s subconscious produced, but in 1971 he hadn`t been sussed yet and so other otherwise rational people owned up to having been shaken and terrified by him.
The stage act that went with “Killer” was certainly impressive, though.
Cooper cut a figure more tragic than glamorous: alternately puzzled, tormented kid confused by his own sexuality, demoniacal Jack the Ripper in semi-drag.

The band mooched around the stage like a herd of rather unintelligent bison under the influence of some amphetamine or other, bludgeoning out extremely loud Who and Yardbirds pastiches between the set-pieces, which included such Heavy Numbers as Cooper strait-jacketed by a uniformed nurse during “Dwight Frye” and fried to death in a glowing electric chair after the baby-killing antics.
Plus the goddam snake, of course. The snake became a Cooper trade-mark, along with the torn black clothes, ratty hair and sloppy make-up.
As Cooper got further and further into Grand Guignol, he abandoned the remaining shreds of his original androgyny stance in favour of further explorations of the joys of sadism and necrophilia – far more American topics.
Though the band were monstroso in their native land, it took “School`s Out” to break them over here.
They`d done a gig at The Rainbow in late 1971, but their reputation rested mainly on reports filtering back from the colonies. Cooper liked trotting out raps about everybody-is-bisexual (though he himself had had the same girlfriend for nearly five years and would probably have been totally freaked out if any fags had actually tried anything on him) and how- his-violence-exorcised-the-violence-of-the-audience – not to mention putting forward the theory that Alice was some kind of Mr. Hyde figure who possessed him on stage, whereas in reality he was just a good ol` boy who was nice to his mother and liked to drink a lot of beer and watch TV.

On top of that, he coyly revealed that he really enjoyed telling lies.
It was his latter admission that I found most endearing. Though many of the more serious and committed American critics started to regard Alice Cooper as “a threat to our beloved rock-and-roll”, I found him far more palatable as an outrageous fake-out artist than I ever did as a theoretically genuine psycho.
The less integrity and credibility he had, the more I admired him, because all that high-flown garbage about sexuality and violence was irritatingly pretentious, the worst kind of sanctimonious inflated pap.
I began to observe Cooper`s antics with a perverse kind of admiration. Once in on the joke, it became a real pleasure to watch him putting everybody else on so brilliantly. Why, the guy should have been a politician.
So in the summer of 1972, unto us was delivered “School`s Out.”
Hailed by many as the “My Generation” of the `70`s, it had a manic bombast which lent a kind of spurious dignity, and even from Cooper it was epic.
It meant that the Coopers had produced no less than two classic singles (two more than most people), and even though it was later discovered that it had been none other than Li`l Rick Derringer who`d played that galvanic guitar part, it was still a rousing piece of pseudo-revolutionary rock, at least as good as either of Slade`s best singles and four solar systems ahead of cheap nonsense like “Teenage Rampage”.

And of course it was safe as milk, because after all it was only good ol` Alice, who was about as revolutionary as Bob Hope. After all, Alice`s thing was showbiz first, rock second, and revolution a poor seventeenth on the priority list. You knew without having to be told that the Coop was one natural-born golfer.
The “School`s Out” album is pretty much disposable.
A street-punk fantasia about gang-fights and high-school utilising massive borrowed chunks of “West Side Story”, it was principally designed as a sound track for the band`s latest touring extravaganza, and Ezrin made the elementary mistake of assuming that it would work without the visuals.
Never having seen that particular show (it only played one British gig – in Glasgow), I`m here to testify that it doesn`t. The Hammer Films horrorshow tactics were shelved completely, the Cooper persona underwent its first real degree of softening and in general, only the single is worth the vinyl it`s printed on.

Summer `73 brought “Billion Dollar Babies”, which spawned no less than three hit singles.
“Hello Hooray” was written by a Canuck songwriter named Rolf Kempf, “Elected” was a rewrite of “Reflected”, a rather dire tune from their first album rejigged around the theme of Cooper running for President, and “No More Mr Nice Guy” was an almost inspired piece of persona-juggling about how he and his folks were mistreated and ostracized because the Blue Meanies thought he was sick and obscene. Real poor-old-Alice stuff.
The visual motif of the album was money.
The band were depicted clad in white satin posing in front of a real billion dollars in real cash holding a baby with Cooper- esque eye make-up smeared across his chubby dial. The sleeve was designed to look like a giant wallet made of green snakeskin, and folded inside was – you guessed – a billion dollar bill.
The band and their entourage toured in a jet painted black and embossed with gold dollar signs; fake money was sprinkled over the audience at one point – get it? After sex, death and street violence, the nearest remaining totem in the American pantheon was money. Christ, he`d sure made enough of it, and so had a sweet kind of logic.

The Coopers, y`see, were one of the first post-hippie superstar bands. Zeppelin, for example, can`t make it into that category as long as Robert Plant continues to ride his current lyrical obsessions.
Therefore, it was perfectly natural and not in the least bit incongruous for them to glorify violence, perversion (and I don`t care how liberated you are, bub, necrophilia is perversion unless you`re a vampire) and materialism – and no more so for their audience (to whom “hippies” meant being bored to death by their elder brothers` and sisters` Grateful Dead albums) to respond to these stimuli.
“Billion Dollar Babies” included a return to Grand Guignol with two of Cooper`s all-time nasties, “I Love The Dead” (which is self-explanatory) and “Sick Things” (ditto). It even featured Donovan mumbling along on the title track, sung either by or about an inflatable dolly (see “Heartache, In Every Dream Home A”) – and if that ain`t degenerate then I don`t know what is.
“I Love The Dead”, though, was really the outside edge in Cooperian grotesquerie. I crave your indulgence, therefore, for the entire lyric: “I love the dead before they’re cold, Their bluing flesh for me to hold / Cadaver eyes upon me see nothing / I love the dead before they rise / No farewells, no goodbyes / I never even knew your rotting face / While friends and lovers mourn your silly grave / I have other uses for you, Darling…”

Pervy, ain`t it? In actual fact, it`s just good, solid teenage entertainment, about as relevant as a platypus and based solidly on the ethos of the cheap thrill. Me, I wouldn`t have it any other way.
“Billion Dollar Babies” contained more than its fair share of utter crap, but it was definitely an improvement on the abysmal “School`s Out.”
The show that went with it was a stunning presentation, the ultimate in exploitative pulp theatre, every single trash fantasy coming to life befo` yo` very eyes. Guillotines, whips, the band in cages, a beheading, the ritual beating-up of a Nixon lookalike, “God Bless America” as an encore, no less than three reflector balls, dentistry…everything but a tactical nuclear missile aimed at the audience.
The audience were the stars, though. They came in Cooper make-up, they stomped and gouged each other to get at the fake money and cheap posters, they howled for fake blood. When Cooper told them that they were crazier than he was, he for once wasn`t lying. He isn`t Alice Cooper – they are.
Cooper hasn`t played live since then.

Their last album, “Muscle Of Love”, was a return to hard rock without trimmings, and showed the band playing better than they ever did before.
Trouble was, it was rather unmemorable, and sadly lacking in presence. On its release I reviewed it favourably and then stuck it on the shelf and forgot about it. It was only when I started to prepare this piece that I realised that I hadn`t listened to it for a year, and playing it found that I hadn`t missed much, which just about sums it up.
Cooper`s solo album, “Welcome To My Nightmare” is set for release within the near future. It`ll be interesting to see where he goes with it.
Alice Cooper is the quintessential American artist of the `70s. In a decade when straight America has discovered that it can`t trust the cops, it can`t trust the FBI, it can`t trust the CIA and it can`t even trust its own goddam government, it is only fitting that the youth of America discover that they can`t trust rock-and-roll either.
You can`t even weasel out of it with that “don`t-trust-the-artist-trust-the-art” spiel either, because Cooper`s art is so blatantly exploitative, opportunistic and cynical that it`s even less trustworthy than he is. After the way that Dylan and Bowie (to name but two) copped out on their audiences the lesson should have been obvious, but if it took Cooper to really drive it home, then it`s all been worthwhile.

Cooper is a master charlatan; indeed, he has elevated charlatanry to a higher artistic plane than anybody else in rock-and- roll had ever dreamed of. In fact, he`s such an outrageous phoney that he isn`t even genuinely tasteless.
Real tastelessness is intrinsically liberating because it throws off the shackles of conventional definitions of good or bad taste.
Cooper, on the other hand, has demonstrated the strength of his conditioning by his patent inability to cast aside these chains. By remorselessly and slavishly playing up to the existing definitions of ultimo bad taste (and committing the colossal tactical blunder of admitting that it`s bad taste), he has irrefutably demonstrated his allegiance to the old order, to the old standards. As a liberationist, he`s a bad joke.
What Alice Cooper represents, in the final analysis, is a more insidious form of conformity than the Osmonds ever dreamed of.


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: Led Zeppelin, Pete Kleinow, Caravan, Paul Kossoff (Free), Peter Hammill, Montrose, Blue Öyster Cult, Lenny Bruce, Eric Clapton, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, Millie Jackson, Richard Digance, Bev Bevan (ELO), Gene Vincent, Charley Pride.

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

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ARTICLE ABOUT Blue Öyster Cult FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 15, 1975

Whenever I am in London, I always think of this band when I`m travelling with public transport. You see, I have a so-called Blue Oyster Card (a smartcard for public transport) and it is impossible for me to NOT link these two together. I don`t know the reason why they named it so, maybe B.Ö.C. have a massive fan in the public transportation system of London (The P.R. department) or maybe it is their alternative career (hopefully not one of evil as in their song “Career of Evil”).
Have a nice, intellectual read.


“We`re pain, we`re steel, we`re a plot of knives…we`re obsessed with the technology of matter…our symbol is a swastika substitute…”

That`s right, another bunch of neo-fascist heavies.

Actually, they`re BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, who claim to be THE heavy metal band.
That`s a boast?

Max Bell thinks so

To understand Blue Oyster Cult you`ve first got to know about Sandy Pearlman, who, together with Murray Krugman, manages the group. Pearlman wasn`t always a manager. Before he carved a name for himself writing for Crawdaddy (acid gook and all that) he`d been in a group called The Fount. Nothing too hot and he knew it. So, seeing as how management grabbed his fancy more, he signed a squad of local brats, fresh from college, and christened them The Cows, a name they weren`t that in love with:
“It was in summer `67 and I walked into Stoneybrook University. Some of the, uh, weirder students were jamming and, wow, they were incredible.”
They were also right about The Cows so he changed it to Soft White Underbelly (“I thought of that in the car, and everyone was happier”). Everyone happened to be Donald Roeser, Albert Bouchard, Andrew Winters and Allan `Dutch` Lanier. They peddled whatever they were up to in places as lucrative as the Cafe A Go Go and one day R. Meltzer (another journalist) was allowed to come on stage and scream obscenities at the audience, whether they`d paid or not.
That was the beginning of another beautiful relationship.

On keyboards the S.W.U. had a guy called John Wiesenthal who`d taught Jackson Browne how to play guitar. No one held that against him but they didn`t like his organ-playing much and turned off his amp to prove it.
As they`d played some Crawdaddy gigs alongside C.J. Fish, it was decided that a singer wouldn`t be a bad idea. Choice fell on Les Braunstein.
“A complete dork whose big advantage lay in owning a van,” claims Pearlman. “When we got into the studios he couldn`t sing `cos he was too scared.” He did have a van, though.
Meanwhile Lanier was doing time in the U.S. army. He couldn`t queer out and eventually had to overdose to persuade the medics he was a sick man. Of course he wasn`t. The only thing wrong with Dutch was a sight fondness for the women but usually none of the group did too much of anything illegal. Ordinary folk really, and small.
Braunstein was rapidly getting on everybody`s nerves, lording it over the rest. His ego boosted several bonus points when Jac Holzman (then head of Elektra) came to see them play at The Electric Circus and The Hotel Diplomat. Seems like terminal psychosis had set in because he actually thought Les was the new Morrison. “At that time The Doors were the biggest American band and Elektra was the most avant-garde label. But they were getting worried cos The Doors weren`t writing enough songs. Holzman thought Braunstein was a quasi Jim Morrison.”

Braunstein fancied he could write cosmo poetry and yelled out some nonsense about poking his eyes out at the end of every set. It was all drivel of course. Not that that was much excuse, who needed another Jim when Elektra were furious the old one hadn`t snuffed it yet?
“First time they tried to cut an album,” claims Pearlman, “Braunstein cocked up the deal by adding miscellaneous instruments that he figured would jolt along the proceedings.” Producer Pete Siegel despaired and they called it off for a time.
“The album was absolutely unreleasable so that was it.”
Ironically, things looked up when Les introduced his old high school buddy Eric “Manny” Bloom to them. “Bloom became the road manager. He was called the `Rock King Of The Finger Lakes`, which is upstate New York.” He ran illicit pills and stills for the Long Island mob and thus had proper punk credentials. One night while onion-head was asleep they auditioned Eric and that was curtains for Holzman`s prodigal.

The best regular gig around this time for this bunch was at the House On The Hill, where they maintained a staunch following. In `69 they played the 4th July date at the Fillmore, bottom to Jethro Tull and Jeff Beck. Not too much applause. Due to the atrocious reviews Circus and others graced them with, Pearlman decided it might be name-changing time again, so he pulled on his sleeping cap and went into a daze. After a week they`d come up with dozens of goodies like: The Santos Sisters, The Knife-wielding Scumbag and, best of all, Eric`s 1-2-3 Black Light. In a moment of extreme dumbness they decided on Oaxaca, after the town in Mexico, which nobody could spell let alone pronounce. “That was no good but eventually I decided on Stalk-Forrest, after a plate of mushrooms I saw in a Chinese restaurant.”
Andrew Winters, the bassist left in disgust but lived up to the derogation by shuffling back when they got to do the second album. Jay Lee produced not too successfully but the band were dynamite and the session was superb by all accounts.
“Yeah, that second album is an absolute highlight of the whole psychedelic era but Holzman was still sulking about Les, therefore no release.” Only a single came out, “What Is Quicksand?/Arthur Comics” – and a mere 200 copies at that.

By now Eric didn`t answer to “Manny” anymore and Donald Roeser preferred Buck Dharma, or Donald Buck on account of his protruding teeth. Winter`s “Green” had become extended to “St. Cecilia”.
Meltzer says: “It`s sort of like Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead and all that acid, touches of the `fifties too, really good. Should have been the new national anthem but it`s still in the vaults.”
Pearlman finally decided that maybe he ought to put his rock mentor reputation to work. He was getting fed up, what with most of the musicians stuffing themselves stupid on all manner of psychedelic sweeties and boring the pants off their audiences to boot. So guess what he does? Changes the name and the group. Winters got the bullet and Joe Bouchard (Albert`s brother) was brought in to hump bass, sing, whatever gets him off. Sandy hit on The Blue Oyster Cult after a song he`d written. “They didn`t like it much but it stuck.”
So the Cult was born and they are looking for a kind company. Columbia hummed and ha`d about signing them before staff member Murray “the K” Krugman insisted. Actually Murray is quite a character and he`d just brought out a bootleg of their third live concert.

Pearlman had worked a new image on them, tough `n` nasty, and had branded them the original heavy metal group (which is true). The first album got released and critics creamed with delight. The thrills and frills were in the right place and there wasn`t a track that didn`t send your Dansette haywire (C.B.S., in their infinite wisdom contrived to get a few names and titles wrong – but no matter).
Pearlman says of the first album: “It`s better than `Killer` but not as good as `Master Of Reality`.” His own writing obsessions, they show fixations with dogs and roses (as motifs of death or brooding sexuality), sea-creatures with anthropomorphic tendencies and a space populated by unnatural zombies. These elements are mixed in with characters who act as catalysts. Predominant amongst these is Susy who starts off getting gangbanged in “Before The Kiss A Redcap” and never looks back.
No lyric sheet and there never will be: “I`m fascinated by the accidental discovery Black Sabbath have made of their audience`s consciousness. We`re more self-conscious. Our literary influences couldn`t be much less naive. Rimbaud, Dada, H.P. Lovecraft and yer standard assortment of doomo writers i.e. turn-of-the-century Russian and German. Our songs are a Fantasy Distillation Of Reality.”
He`s pretty pleased with this phrase and repeats it several times.


“Our next studio album is built around a song cycle. It`s about a child who grew up in New Hampshire and discovers he has the ability to reconcile the imagined with reality. There`s no gap between his imagination and his ability to realise it. He can accomplish what he imagines and imagine what he`s going to accomplish.
“`Secret Treaties` began the concept with the Desdanova theme. The new thing is called `The Soft Doctrines Of Imaginos`. See, I like to use naive, densely stupid terms. It`s a trick of some Russia literature to totally obliterate metaphors. Anyway, Desdanova is a student at Braun University in Providence who lives there to be close to Lovecraft. He`s a Frankenstein figure who achieves through research what Imaginos understood instinctively, he forms the axiom. Desdanova appears in `Astronomy` and some of the songs yet to come out.”
That last mentioned track is the stunningly beautiful number that closes “Secret Treaties”. Sandy explains the story and some of those already mentioned symbols: “It`s New Year`s Eve and Desdanova walks into the Four Winds Bar” (an actual joint on Atlantic Beach). “He plays this game with two girls which has to be completed in the six hours from midnight to dawn cos he can`t stand the light.
“It`s so sort of…corrosive.

“There`s a parallel with the rose which is similarly overfulfilled, a symbol of over-ripeness and decadence. The dog is Susy`s familiar and the carrier of starry wisdom from the actual dogstar. Lovecraft had this term `starry wisdom cult` which was so apt I had to use it.”
On “Dominance and Submission” some of these interrelated themes resurface: “In 1963 I was being driven back from a New Year`s Eve party when The Beatles came over the airwaves for the first time. It seemed so revolutionary in terms of consciousness that what is represented was a new factor in mass culture and `63 was the watershed. The song reflects the parallelism between revolutionary consciousness in the mass and how it affects the individual. The sublimated heat of rock `n` roll, so long suppressed and driven underground, was being revealed and no one could stop it.”
The offspring of this rising phenomenon were traced by Pearlman`s intimate knowledge of the Altamont scene in which he grafted the lowdown on the local bike boys. Hells Angels, y`know. The Forbidden Chapter. Bloom fits the part perfectly, so it`s “Clear the road m`bully boys and let some thunder pass” – all into leather togs with great shots of them posing (slouching) in their gear, flexing chains and peering thru` satanic shades. The first properly-recorded testament to that is “Transmaniacon M.C.” – the motor cycle club that crosses the threshold of sanity. It`s the nearest any song could get to a stab in the back:
“We`re pain, we`re steel, a plot of knives, we`re Transmaniacon M.C.”

Certain sensitive souls started taking exception to their stage act and accusations of fascist overtones and Nazi deification were bandied around like flies on a cow pat. Sandy was secretly delighted but the group weren`t too thrilled.
Eric Bloom: “Well I gotta admit we don`t write no love songs. There`s too many of them. Everybody is doing love songs. I mean we like `em, I sing them to my girlfriend! But they`ve been overdone. We like to go beyond emotional realms. Almost into the state of space-age shock, ya know? Some of the real sickies may take them to heart, I suppose they should. I mean there`s a primal paranoia in the air and we`re aware of it so we do and can`t help but reflect it in our work.” He means it too.
Their pet sign isn`t to do with fylfots or swastikas, which are lucky symbols of eternity. No. Their logo is the Greek symbol for chaos and their colours are stark and stripped of all extraneous sentiment. “Nazism is a style of art that just happened to flower in Germany after the Weimar Republic. Of course we`re appealing to that as a source of imagery but it existed before. People see what they want to see.
“We mine the vein created by Nazi artists. The Doors, did that, The Velvet Underground certainly did and it`ll be done again. We`re more obsessed with the technology of the matter. We utilise the symbols in alchemy like lead, the most debased metal. Saturn and the Greek symbol also have the same chaotic associations. It`s become a swastika substitute, not as old but old enough to have a venerable history.
“Heh heh.
“We`re just come up with successful visual summations of the concept. Too successful for some people.”

In America right now The Oyster Cult are on the verge of becoming the monster band they ought to be. “We`re not that big in New York. Nothing new happens here cos they`re overkilled. We`re huge everywhere else, particularly California where we get most airplay.”
After pulling out of two European tours it now looks like they have pulled out of their third, yet reaction to their live shows is beyond compare. A Blue Oyster Cult audience is like no other: “Hysteria. Never fails. It is the most foolproof show I`ve ever seen. It`s incredible to contemplate. The albums are nothing compared to the shows.”
To correlate the two a live double album is soon to be released. Tying in with their sado-masochistic aura it`s entitled “On Yer Feet Or On Yer Knees”.
“We wanted to outdo `Live At Leeds` and we did. It makes that look like weak tea. It includes The Yardbirds` `Ain`t Got You` which we call `Maserati G.T.`, a nine minute version. Also `Born To Be Wild` and `M.E. 262` with the five guitars. That`s twice as loud as anything ever put on record. It`s as loud as you can get without losing trackability. Each member of the group has a rebuilt guitar. Like Eric`s Stun Guitar has literally a ton of gadgets.”

People trying to denigrate them tend to point to their all being on the physically short side. Most of them clock in at around five six and one of them (I won`t tell you who) is a mere five two. When you`re that small you have to be hard, or a good talker. A rival described them as “gremlin rock” but he`ll be out of hospital soon.
Buck Dharma is the guitarist, his white suit standing out in direct contrast to the others` studied and studded greaser flash. As axeman he`s unique, master of any style from soft shoe “Redeemed” to the dripping venom of “Cagey Cretins” or “Harvester Of Eyes”. Sometimes he shows off his speed fingering but when you`re that good who cares?
You don`t have to accept Pearlman`s interpretations as blueprints for action. They are fascinating, crazed and intellectual but in a spectacular sense. Quite an effective marriage of SF paperback mythology and obscurist Eastern European metaphysics. Maybe it is reactionary but I wouldn`t let that give you too many sleepless nights.
At their best, the Blue Oyster Cult define the meaning of rock `n` roll better than any other band in the ring. On your feet or on your knees?

Slade were massive!

Slade were massive!

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: Led Zeppelin, Pete Kleinow, Caravan, Paul Kossoff (Free), Peter Hammill, Montrose, Alice Cooper, Lenny Bruce, Eric Clapton, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, Millie Jackson, Richard Digance, Bev Bevan (ELO), Gene Vincent, Charley Pride.

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