Month: December 2015

ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep from New Musical Express, June 21, 1975

This article might serve as a reminder of how enormously big Uriah Heep were in the 70s. And they are still touring  the world and still making mighty fine music today. Impressive and worthy of inclusion in the rock hall of fame a thousand times more than some others in there. Someone needs to get them inducted soon…
This is my last post of the year 2015 and it is incidentally a day before my 50th birthday. I have no illusions of becoming  a 100 years old, so it is quite strange to reach this grand old age. Realistically I may have some 10 to 20 years left in me, so I need to hurry up now, with everything I want to do. Well, so it is for us all, we`ll just hope for a  sort of rock & roll heaven! Happy New Year!


Concert Review


By Tony Stewart

Pass the champagne, please.
We`re on board one of the two private planes flying a bunch of journalists out to Rotterdam for Uriah Heep`s eight European concert on the present tour. Washing down the smoked salmon sandwiches with bubbly, while reading the press kits dutifully placed on each seat.
Anybody want some Tequila? Just to go with the orange juice, you understand.
We`d climbed out of the chauffered XI6L Jaguar at the airfield, hopped in the aircraft and in no time hopped out again in Holland. Slipping into the plush interior of a Mercedes. And with a vroom of the automatic engine we`re taken to the Rotterdam Hilton.
This is called Doing It In Style.
(Would anybody notice the cycle clips in my pockets?)
In the hotel bar we`re offered a Planter`s Punch or a real taste of the genuine Heineken by vocalist David Byron. Who doesn`t even give me time to wait for the waiter to wait before launching into an impassioned eulogy on Uriah Heep.

Almost crying with happiness. Slipping out superlatives to describe their current well-being. Never been better. We feel so bloody well inspired and confident on stage. He says.
Stocky Mick Box is being amiable. With two reporters on each of his thick shoulders he`s probably saying the same as Byron. And in a corner Ken Hensley politely drinks quietly, readily agreeing to be interviewed by the Dutch Press.
This is called: A Show Of Confidence. Indeed, new bass player, John Wetton, has already given the band much to thank him for.
Shucks, he says, before the drive to the Ahoy Halle.
And, of course, I like the music. Adding, to tell you the truth, I had plans of my own to form a little band. But the people weren`t available. So I accepted this challenge, because quite honestly I wished to pursue this particular musical direction. With or without Heep.
There`s no truth whatsoever in the rumour I`m biding my time to secure financial support for my own little project. Because Atlantic Records in America and Island in England both wanted to invest anyway.
Just as Wetton formally accepted his present position, he received a phone call. “We`re available to form that band with you now, John,” said a voice.
When relating the irony Wetton laughs loudly.
This is called: Doing What You`re Doing And Forgetting What Might Have Been.

So, at near 10 o`clock, the revibed, rejuvenated and thoroughly happy Uriah Heep find themselves on stage at the Ahoy cycling arena, facing an enthusiastic 6,000-plus crowd containing, somewhere up in the Gods, a line of supposedly sceptical British journalists.
“Uriah Heep usually get slagged by the press,” said Lilian, wife of manager Gerry Bron, earlier. “Any other kind of comment will be an improvement.”
She also said: We expect the reviews either to say John Wetton has brought a new lease of life to Uriah Heep, or not even Wetton can improve the band.”
As Byron peacocks onto the stage, Box crouches down, phallicly cocking his guitar between his legs and growling at the audience; Hensley sits behind the organ, lolling his mane backwards and forwards, Kerslake squeezes in behind his kit, and Wetton leaps on looking like David Essex. The band probably have two specific purposes in mind.
One, the most important, is to entertain an audience who haven`t seen them during the six-month absence from live work. The second is to convince the journalists that the feelings expressed earlier are accurately true.
This is called: Giving A Good Show.
The following is indeed a report of an excellent show.


John Wetton has brought a new lease of life to Uriah Heep.
Can`t remember who it was, but one of the entourage had said that to re -inspire Heep didn`t necessarily depend on Wetton, good as he is. Any good player who slots in personality-wise could do the same.
And Gerry Bron admiringly said he believes in certain principals of football management being applied in the rock and roll context. Such as bringing new blood into the team. A point on which to ponder.
Never did ask about Wetton`s transfer fee.
Here he is, though, acting like a Heavy Metal Kid of many years experience, striding the stage and kicking his legs like a Topper. All the while laying bass lines so thick you could run Guinness down them. Occasionally closing in on Byron to nuzzle into his hair.
Box generally stays in his own mental paddock, running round in a circle, then coming forward to the edge of the platform, swinging the axe into his crotch, as though ejaculating power chords into the face of the audience.
Up at the back Kerslake`s slamming his fists, as if pounding dough.

Meanwhile Hensley diligently plays keyboards, as relaxed as if he were fingering a box of cigars, making a choice. Oblivious of the games going on around him. Until on some numbers he balances himself precariously on his ridiculous high boots, hooks on a guitar, and joins in the floor show.
He`s such a well trained midfielder. Holding the defence. Occasionally attacking when it`s safe.
The first half of the set has various musical highlights, such as the excellent vocal delivery of “Stealin`”, but overall the pace is slow, badly measured and erratic. Also, the sound is unfortunately suppressed by the limited P.A. With no top and no bottom, the sound hangs in mid-air.
“The middle axis of the act is `July Morning`. From there it just takes off,” Byron had claimed earlier.
It does.
Although they`ve brought in new numbers from “Return To Fantasy”, like “Prima Donna”, the title track and “Shady Lady”, the main structure of the performance depends on the more familiar material.
The real highlight is “Gypsy”, where the music and stage act is good, with Wetton and Box performing a centre-rostrum bull fight, and Byron menancingly wielding a mike stand for the final kill.
Gone are the elaborate effects, with the result there is more musical concentration counterpointed by exactly the right amount of on-stage dazzle.
Heep don`t barrel-roll through the set either, but once half way through, they measure their pace for the eventual crescendo. Which comes with a confetti explosion and the encores.
As the lights went up and the crowd streamed out I felt very glad to have been there.
This is called: Enough Said.


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: Can, Phil Spector, Elton John, Greenslade, Beach Boys, Elvin Jones, Bad Company, Alan Stivell, Jackie Wilson, Fairport Convention.

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 15 $ (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 Bad Company from New Musical Express, June 21, 1975

I really like this article. A great read, even if you`re not a fan of the band. So enjoy…


Members of Bad Company…

What`s your favourite hobby?
Who`s your favourite philosopher?
How do you like it so far?

Story: Roy Carr

New York is a city of excess. It`s a metropolis where everyone goes over the top almost every night of the week, yet still manages to surface the next morning fit and well and primed to repeat the exercise at the drop of an expense account.
It is a city that occasionally nods out but never sleeps. And despite the fact that it`s currently on the verge of bankruptcy, no one is deterred from having the time of their lives. On the contrary, they`re encouraged. However, what constitutes a Good Time is open to wild conjecture.
For where else but in New York (New York) can you jam with Johnny Winter before dinner, shanghai Gary Glitter away from hosting his own cocktail party, watch pyromaniacs taking polaroids of one another while firemen fight towering infernos in the background, check-out a sniper in Brooklyn, keep at the bar at Ashley`s – The Big Apple`s favourite oasis – open until breakfast and be invited to kiss both bride and bridegroom at a reception being held by the cigarette machine!
In keeping with tradition, the bride wore white and the groom chose black. The fact that the groom was not only female but prettier than her bride was quite irrelevant. They were married and they wanted the whole world – or at least anybody buying cigarettes – to know.

Originally, the newly-weds had intended to marry later in the month and spend their honeymoon at all six Rolling Stones shows scheduled for Madison Square Garden. But, love being what it is and Bad Company fan fervour at a premium, the happy couple had first promised to love, honour and obey before dashing off to clasp the four Swan Songsters to their collective bosom(s) at the Garden that very evening.
So please zip back to 4.15 that same day. The temperature outside Madison Square Garden has reached the arm-pit humidity of 89 degrees (and still rising), the street stinks of stale cheeseburgers and the rain feels like luke-warm tea as it splashes against the greasy skin of those hapless types trying to locate a spare ticket.
Inside the cool, cavernous auditorium, last minute preparations are being made for the evening soiree.
“How`s it look?” enquiries a pensive Paul Rodgers, as he straps on his guitar and proceeds to slash out the riff of “Can`t Get enough” – the object of his undivided attention being a bandaged left hand.
“Django Reinhardt managed alright,” mumbles Boz Burrell as he cradles his bass guitar and gives Rodgers an evil grin. Bad Company are running through a soundcheck hours before achieving the unprecedented distinction of being the only other rock act ever to top the bill at New York`s 20,000 seater Madison Square Garden halfway through a second American tour in summer.

The band plays on, undeterred by this vast responsibility.
They don`t award the Purple Heart to rock musicians injured in the line of duty. If they did, Paul Rodgers would have a chestful. Seemingly, every time he hits the road, the road hits back with a vengeance.
On the last tour, an unfortunate altercation with a plate glass door transformed Rodgers` swagger into a painful limp. This time round, a door of much stronger material fractured a couple of bones in his left hand when the band breezed into Chicago, a few days ago.
“I`ll kill that bloody doctor,” snarls Rodgers as the large plaster begins to peel away, like cheap wallpaper, from his damaged flipper.
As Showco`s posse of Texas cowboys scurry around the empty arena making last minute adjustments to the tons of electronic hardware, Rodgers` handicap is made worse when his amp begins to crackle violently.
“`Ere, what`s that hum?” asks Simon Kirke.
“Special effects,” Rodgers replies sarcastically. “It costs a bloody fortune to get the equipment to do that.”
“Fancy,” mutters Mick Ralphs.

Suddenly, Rodgers` amp utters a static bark of defiance. The singer scowls. A roadie looks towards heaven and mumbles “Sheeut!” The amp is instantly replaced.
Bad Company thunder through a version of the song of the same name with all the vitality and dynamics usually reserved for a live rendition, lay down their arms and split. It may be just a soundcheck but everytime these brigands pick up their weapons they mean business.
“We know our assets,” Simon Kirke reveals later as the limo navigates the rush hour traffic. “And, more important, we know our limitations and so we never step beyond them. Only in that way can we stay on top of what we`re doing.” But of course.
Having followed Bad Company`s progress with much more than a passing interest, I`ve become aware that, following first night nerves, this little band flexes a lot of muscle. On their own turf, there are few bands (if any) who can give them a hard time.
But it`s easy to comprehend why Bad Company have cracked America on their first attempt. Despite the fact that they have the best management and about the best record distribution around, they are one of the few road bands with the ability to deliver.

And though I`m favourably disposed towards the band`s recorded output. I have to admit that they`re even better – much better – on stage.
Mick Ralphs agrees wholeheartedly with my sentiments. “We are essentially a live band,” he concedes. “If people like our records then they`re not going to be disappointed when they come along to our gigs. A lot of bands can`t deliver before an audience. We can. It doesn`t matter what goes on behind the scenes or whether your latest record is on the charts, when we walk out onto a stage, it`s all down to us. If we blow it, then we`ve only got ourselves to blame and nobody else.”
As to his own contribution to the band, Ralphs states his position. “I`m often accused of not playing enough and just because of the nature of our line-up criticised for not getting involved in that guitar hero syndrome. But I personally feel that what I contribute is sufficient within the context on this particular band.
“We`re not into that whole flash virtuoso trip. That`s not what Bad Company is all about. Basically, we`re a funky song band. Take the Stones. They`re all good musicians but they don`t have great soloists who play one solo for hours on end. They don`t need it.
“And neither do we.”


Having once worked in what he describes as being “less than a democratic musical environment”. Ralphs echoes the sentiments of his colleagues by insisting that one of the prime factors that has motivated the Company`s acceptance is that there`s absolutely no conflict of musical persuasions within their chosen format.
“We`re all pulling as hard as we possibly can in the same direction to make the best of our good fortune.”
Anyway, it`s been said that nothing succeeds like success. By the same token, success when it has been as instant as that bestowed upon Bad Company has been known to destroy equally as quickly. To their credit, Ralphs, Rodgers, Box and Kirke have been in the game long enough to appreciate when they`ve got a Good Thing Going.
As a founder member of Mott The Hoople, Mick Ralphs is acutely aware that, having spent years striving for the Big  Break, it`s so easy for a band to fall apart at the seams at a vital moment. “You only get one real chance to prove yourself and say your piece.”
He wasn`t afforded that luxury within Hoopleville. “If you don`t use that opportunity wisely and to your own advantage, then not only are you screwing up your own life but maybe the lives of others who depend on you to fulfil your obligations.

“Though it`s not always possible, a band can`t really afford to become blase, complacent and treat everything like a big laugh. Sure, you should enjoy every minute of it – but on the other hand, you should take it seriously,” he adds. “But not to the extent that you don`t enjoy it.
“People often think that all the looning on the road is superficial and a complete waste of time. It`s not. It helps you to relax and unwind. If you don`t, then the gigs will suffer.
“Being a relatively new band we`ve still got a lot to explore, but in this game you can never tell what tomorrow may bring. Once you`ve been fortunate to make a reputation for yourself, there`s a lot that you`ve got to live up to – especially as this band went to No. 1 with both first album and single. That`s all very well and good but when we troop out on stage tonight at Madison Square Garden…if we play a bum gig we can never go back there again.”
It`s Ralphs` candid opinion that not too many bands fully realise the importance of headlining a tour on the strength of chart recognition. “Though it`s only one gig, a show at the Garden not only consolidates the dozen or so gigs you`ve already done but it can dictate the success of the remainder of the tour. If you bomb out in New York or L.A. then you can forget it. You might as well pack up and go home – barring a miracle, it`s all over.”

Boz Burrell is the antithesis bass player. Once the wine begins to flow, he may come across as an old roue, but when it comes down to business Boz knows Where he would like to be At. “Things may have happened very quickly for all four of us,” he begins, “but we know how to handle the pressures. Not only have we chosen to keep a low profile, we`ve also built up an anti-reaction which personally I find to be extremely healthy in that it enables all of us to get off on each other.”
He blows the suds out of his nose and explains Bad Company`s street -corner philosophy. “When it boils down to it, Bad Company is just a raunchy little club band that knows how to adapt themselves to performing in large venues.
“Sure, you always question yourself as to whether or not you`re doing the right thing, but the reason why we all got together in the very first place was simply because we all wanted to be in the same band and we`re making sure that we enjoy it.
“With some bands just being there suffices. Now this is one thing that I`ve got against the Rolling Stones – in that just being up there on stage is enough. Well it ain`t. With Bad Company, we`ve got to try and play as best as we can every night and try and improve as we go along.”

Boz points out that he`s encountered many bands who go through life totally oblivious to audience reactions. If a gig is a bummer they automatically blame it on the crowd – when in fact the audience may have been more together than the band. He`s also aware of the responsibilities any band has towards its fans. “I don`t enjoy going to most rock shows,” he admits. “I`ve been to a couple of Mott gigs and I`ve also watched Black Sabbath perform once or twice. And, in both instances I haven`t liked the way in which they handled the crowd.
“Both have gone well over the top, whipped the kids up into a violent frenzy and then have been unable to control their mood. I mean, who wants to be bombarded with bottles? We don`t. This is something that Bad Company steer well away from. Sure, we may wind the audience up and get them excited but we don`t make them turn nasty. We underplay that particular aspect and when things get too tight we just mellow them out.
“The reason why we can do this whenever we want to is all down to Simon`s brand of timekeeping. I just love playing with Rodgers and Ralphs, but playing alongside of Si is the ultimate. I love that man. He`s like all of us, he doesn`t know shit about anything. He just plays good…he can`t help it.”

Simon Kirke wasn`t available for comment at this time. However, earlier in the day he did state that playing drums for Bad Company wasn`t the worst job that he`d ever had.


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: Can, Phil Spector, Elton John, Greenslade, Beach Boys, Elvin Jones, Alan Stivell, Uriah Heep, Jackie Wilson, Fairport Convention.

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 15 $ (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 Journey from New Musical Express, June 21, 1975

For historic purposes, it is interesting to see what they said about the first Journey-album, and here it is for you to digest. It has to be said that the Journey reviewed here in no way resembles the Journey that came later. Mr. “Headache”, AKA Neal Schon, made a fine career for himself with Journey and as a solo artist, but this shows you how music journalists can miss the target completely when judging someone. The brouhaha was there for a reason when it came to the talents of Mr. Schon.


Album Review

Journey – “Journey”

By Andrew Simmons

How San Francisco`s newest golden boys fall into exactly the same traps after six months that Santana managed to avoid for six years viz: self-indulgence.

Comparisons with Santana are inevitable given the presence of Gregg Rolie on vocals (he played Keyboards on Santana`s early albums) and Neal Schon`s guitar. Schon and Rolie abetted by Aynsley Dunbar on drums have roped in on bass and rhythm respectively, two Bay area stalwarts Ross Valory and George Tickner.

The result is a bland, straightahead progressive rock sound that veers between heavy rock thrashing and more lightly textured, jazz-flavoured muzak. And for this Gregg Rolie must shoulder a large part of the blame.

Rolie has a hand in writing all but one of the eight tracks, he takes all the lead vocals and his keyboard playing is mixed to the fore throughout. It`s another case of a minor talent being given full rein and producing only lameness.

The album opener “Of a Lifetime” sums up all that`s worst in this band. Basically the idea is to take a simple riff (melody is too grand a word here) and play it to death for six minutes. Rolie has an inherently weak voice which is dolled up with double tracking and reverb and then not helped by being placed well back in the mix. Consequently his lyrics are rendered indiscernible and his intonation and expression ratings reduced to practically zero.

After the vocals are through, 20-year-old guitar hero Neal Schon comes howling in like a manic hyena spitting out insanely high guitar runs at top speed. Rolie then pulls out all the stops on various keyboards and eventually the band returns to the original riff, plods on for a couple more verses and fades away. “Kohoutek” – from the Comet – is another overlong instrumental excursion.

The second side is a little better. There`s “To Play Some Music”, a good stomper, and “Topaz”, which although written by George Tickner is the cut that comes closest to Santana.
It`s full of shimmering organ chords, floating guitar notes and splashing cymbals, and there`s a neat juxtaposition of light and flowing jazz progressions with some scorching heavy rock. Aynsley Dunbar copes deftly with the time changes and even Neal Schon restrains himself enough to allow a little delicacy into his playing.

Quite frankly I don`t understand all the brouhaha over Mr. Schon. Almost every solo of his is an exercise in horrendously high-pitched wailing. He`s very fast and certainly furious but the lack of melodic content and variation in his playing is a crippling restriction. Ultimately he gets to be a headache to listen to.

Very much on the plus side is Aynsley Dunbar. Although his drum sound is akin to soggy cardboard he is a powerful spur to the band. There`s an engaging will-he/won`t-he make it quality to his fills as he goes rolling and tumbling around his kit.

Bassist Ross Valory does a good job keeping up with him. George Tickner the rhythm guitarist is only intermittently audible, content as he is with playing back-up chords the whole time.

All in all, for a band which has credentials as impressive as the Golden Gate Bridge, this is a sadly flawed debut album.


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: Can, Phil Spector, Elton John, Greenslade, Beach Boys, Elvin Jones, Bad Company, Alan Stivell, Uriah Heep, Jackie Wilson, Fairport Convention.

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 15 $ (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 Roy Harper from New Musical Express, June 14, 1975

A really funny one for me – this article describing Harper`s tour of my country in the middle of the 70s. Not an all-round success, but I like to think that we have improved since then.

Never knew that Roy Harper was an old friend with the Norwegian balladeer Finn Kalvik. I knew that he wrote some Norwegian lyrics to some of Harper`s music, but didn`t know they were so close. Actually, I am quite surprised by the close relation between the man that Led Zeppelin  wrote a song for (“Hats Off To (Roy) Harper”) and this Norwegian superstar balladeer. But that`s me…
Have a great read!


Roy Harper in…

Søng Øf Nørsweird

In which Our Radical Hero, his heart intact but his wallet – well, let`s say None Too Healthy – takes a swift sojourn around Norway, and comes to the conclusion that “Fjord” can be made to rhyme with “Oh Gawd” if you`re unprincipled enuff. By Angela Errigo.

“The jungle drums beat fast in Norway. Please be nice in our hotel,” pleaded the diminutive desk clerk at Bergen`s Bristol Hotel. Word had spread quickly via the outraged Norse code of propriety that Roy Harper and an assortment of English loonies were cutting a southerly swathe through the hotels of the land.
Norway, home of Grieg, Munch and the £1 packet of fags, was the recent setting for Roy Harper`s fraught, final tour as a solo performer. Already musically and mentally girded to perform within the context of a band (and having nearly joined Pink Floyd a while back), Harper decided to undertake the trip to Norway for several reasons.
Foremost of these was his genuine love of the savagely majestic Norwegian countryside, and his desire to combine the rigours of the road with a touch of the scenic wonders before embarking on his current British tour (which is currently boosting round Britain, featuring Chris Spedding, Bill Bruford and Dave Cochran – Trigger for short).
Enjoying considerable standing in Norway, Roy Harper also thought to earn enough money on the tour to finance Trigger through the new and crucial period in his career.
He particularly wanted to avoid the almost inevitable cheat inherrent in a “Farewell Tour” of Britain.

“I might end up having to become a solo performer again,” he realizes. “But I will not become a solo performer again in the same way. I`ve got to the stage now where I know that the Great British Public has not accepted me as I am.
“I`ve got to face that fair and square.
“This trip was to say goodbye to me as a solo performer in a place that I thought was going to accept what I had to offer in no uncertain terms.”
That something is screwy in Norway, however, becomes apparent with a first glimpse of the Godfrey Davis van in which roadies Paul Weston and Pete Rush hurtled themselves through mountains, over fjords, and (according to a subsequent police dossier) into a motorboat.
The duo despise the pokey nationals driving slowly in front of them on the hair-raising mountain trails, hate the beer and are discombuberated by the intense, predominantly Stalinist variety of female nesting in the clubs of a bright northern night. Bereft of boogie, they`ve vented their energy decorating the van with “Harper Rules OK”, “Fuck Norsweird”, “We hate Nauseweitde” and less succinct slogans unlikely to click with the natives.

In the first week of concerts a repeating pattern of unnerving reverence in the true-to-Harper-the-folkie audiences was dampening. “It`s like they`re sitting at the feet of the prophet to catch his pearls of wisdom,” said Peter Jenner, Harper` manager and producer, “and they just don`t know how to handle what he`s into now at all. Even on the quieter numbers they keep coming up to me and saying `It`s so loud; please turn the sound down.`”
The hotel problems were initiated by – surprise, surprise – Harper`s reprehensible publicist, B. P. Fallon, a graduate from the school of American tour madness. At the start of the tour Fallon had performed his not unusual stunt of appearing in Jenner`s room to vomit and pass out, whereupon the entourage had retaliated by piling the entire furnishings of the room on top of him. Nothing was broken, but Harper was presented with an extortionate bill for damage and the hotel spread the word to the next one en route.
Dawn at Bergen`s Bristol found a cackling and somewhat less than dressed B.P. liberating slices of ham from the hotel kitchen, and the race was on. Thereafter each new hotel brought a dour warning from desk clerks that an ashtray out of place or a peep out of anyone after 11 would see the party out on the street, which eventually happened.
Mind you, the promoters for this Scandinavian safari are an inexperienced crew of would-be wheeler dealers called Student Booking, who operate from Oslo with the alleged support of local representatives for the individual gigs.

A very decent, innocent young man named Gear has been dispatched to travel with Roy and keep things running smoothly, a state of affairs that never happens. Instead, Gear`s fate is to become the promoters` scapegoat, apologising continuously for incompetence, scanty advertising and the disastrous choice of venues in the second week.
He is in evident awe of Harper but nervously concerned with maintaining his respectability; and so is painfully embarrassed by the encounters with hotel managers and police thrust upon him. At the last concert he will be stunned with pleasure when Roy speaks warmly of him to the audience and dedicates “Commune” to him. When I tease him afterwards by asking if he`s sorry it`s all over he flushes, answers “No, I have not been sleeping very well” and goes on a two-day bender born of hysterical relief.
The first concert I heard was at Bergen, Norway`s second major city. Now I have seen Harper performances that have been magical, and Harper performances that have been catastrophic, but I have never seen a Harper audience sit in dead passivity before this night, when his voice is clear and strong, his guitar work impeccable.
The Bergenborgs like him, they clap lots. But for the first time in my experience nobody called out, laughed or shouted at him to get out.

“It was funny, wasn`t it?” Harper mused. “I think, actually, Bergen`s a strange place. I think they really like marmalade on their chips in Bergen, you know? Maybe if I`d come on dressed as Joe Stalin they would have – not applauded – but thought `Wow, this must be the new style` or something. Or come on naked and they`d have thought `Oh, that`s the end. That is good`.”
The really epic gig of the Norgesturne – a classic among Stage Disasters I have known and loved” – takes place in a gymnasium situated in a pasture near the once serene hamlet of Vigrestad. Jenner and Harper were under the impression the concert was to be held in Stavanger, a major town with a good hall Roy has previously filled. But a search for the Holiday Inn where the expedition is to stay leads 25 miles beyond Stavanger to a rustic motel called the “Holiday”.
It becomes apparent that all is not what it was cracked up to be.
With increasing alarm Harper and team lurch further away from civilisation into a farm district. The Vigrestad “Sports Centre” turns out to be the scene of a weekly disco which is, oddly, featuring Harper and a ridiculous Norse pop group.
A belligerent audience materilises, tanked up on moonshine (spirits being virtually unobtainable in Norway and the beer mainly non-alcoholic). Emphatically, they do not want to hear about love in the far Norwegian mountains: they want their Wednesday stomp.

The irony is that Roy is annoyed enough by the stupidity that has brought him here to fight for their interest. He pushes himself into what is, too briefly, an exceptionally compelling performance.
A clutch of people from Stavanger, who have somehow discovered Harper`s presence and have managed to get to Vigrestad, plead for silence unsuccessfully. Harper tries several times to get through “Commune” when disruptive screaming at the back of the hall blows his fuse.
“It`s down to the electrics, Roy,” suggests Fallon, “down to the threshold of pain.” “Yes, absolutely,” seconds Roy`s lady Verna, a small, charming woman who rises defensively when she feels Roy is being insulted.
The roadies scramble for the additional equipment. Paul flings himself over the sound board in an ecstasy of contempt to produce a paralytic parody of Hawkwind sci fi reverberations. Harper the Red of Face cleaves the collective skull with a murderous rendering of “The Game” from the new LP. Open-mouthed, hands over ears, the audience begins to flee, first in twos and threes, then by rows.
“This is what happens when you try to prove that you`re noisier than I am”, Harper remarks dictatorially, launching into lacerating guitar lops. He ends up lying on the stage emitting aimless sonic dissonance.
The singer from the Norse pop group initiates a “Go home, clapclapclap, go home” movement and leaps onstage grappling for the lead.
Roadie Pete grabs him by the throat and deposits him at some distance.


Meanwhile, back at the sound board, Paul is fending off an outraged local. “Vat is this? Vat is this?” he`s screaming. “Make him stop!”
“It`s all right, he`s all right,” soothes Paul.
“Is NOT all right!” Paul puts his face an inch away from the o.l.`s. “BOOGIE!” he whoops. Eyes bulging, the guy reels away.
Eventually Harper cries “At least I`ve given you something to talk about,” and escapes through a fist shaking melee. Outside by the van he is surrounded by half mournful and half jubilant supporters. A sweet-faced little blonde girl hands him a neckchain and whispers “I feel so ashamed.”
Shaken, Roy looks at her and crumples with remorse.
Later a shame-faced Gear arrives at the motel. “I`m very sorry Roy, but the local promoter made a-uh-spelling mistake on the billing.” Expecting to see Ray Harper or, perhaps, Roy Harker on the bundle of tickets Gear produces, Roy sullenly looks at them – and howls.
All has been revealed.
The ripped-off locals who have just witnessed a ripped-off Harper had in fact paid to see the Vigrestad appearance of JOE HARTERS.
Fallon immediately decides to issue a statement: “Harters` friend, Roy Harper, also touring Norway, when asked to comment on the Vigrestad incident said: `No, I haven`t seen aavoetely`.”

The next morning a beaming hotel manager named Ragnar presents Jenner with a bill on which prices have been doubled – because it is a religious holiday, he explains.
Jenner`s response to that Christian gesture is for the troupe to do a flit.
From the horrific to the sublime, a final lovely drive leads inexorably to Oslo and the inevitable confrontation with Student Booking for cross- accusations and airing of frustration.
Nobody believes the Oslo concert, the real farewell, will work.
Then Finn Kalvick, a popular Norwegian artist (and an old friend of Roy`s) arrives and talks him out of the room where he has been stewing and crashing around.
Finn insists that everything will be all right.
“It`s going to be great. Everyone is here to see you, they are all waiting for you.”
The concert is a miracle. The jungle drums have been beating again – the kids in the crowded student hall know what has gone before and whose side they are on. They embrace him with prolonged applause, and laugh when he confesses:
“Now you make me feel bad.”
Harper is presented with flowers and kisses.

Some of the audience caper in front of the stage to give him a smile and scoot back up the aisles. When, after two encores (an emotional “Too Many Movies” and an elated “Home”), he is too tired to continue they cheer at his promise to return.
That is, if he can get back into Norway.
Early the next morning police arrived to investigate the accumulated complaints of unpaid bills, damage to property and the sinking of a motorboat in a fjord. After lengthy questioning of Harper and Jenner they finally left without taking any action. The arrival of a football team in need of rooms, more welcome than the now-infamous musician, necessitated a change in hotels again. Roy, grey with exhaustion, retreated into a chilling silence, cutting himself off from everyone for 24 hours.
Next morning we crossed the border to Sweden, with an eye in the rear view mirror for a boot out, without incident. On the return to Britain by sea Roy`s spirits revived considerable after he`d won the jackpot from nearly every slot machine aboard and dropped the lot at the roulette table, enough to see him through a quick jive to “Jailhouse Rock” in the disco and a long-postponed interview. The strain of the past weeks was put into perspective as Harper looked ahead to the next phase of his work.

“As it turned out I didn`t earn any money at all – so on that score it was a waste of time.” For the purpose of getting across to the looked-for, ready-made audience it was also, he felt, a waste of time in spite of the warm response at the first spite of the warm response at the first and last gigs.
“The promoters were just too inexperienced for what was really needed. From the very first day the atmosphere in Norway was wrong and I should have come home the very first day because I knew what the score was. It has ended up spoiling Norway for me a bit, but I shall always appreciate it as being somewhere I really like to go to take time out.”
During one performance Harper had said “All my songs now are tending to become even more romantic as the truth becomes even more apparent.” The truth is that he no longer expects, as a lone performer, to convey any great Message to the public. He looks with more than satisfaction at the body of work he has thus far produced, but still regrets rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr99-101and 70s and those young people to some extent that it has not been more widely received.
“After all, the music of the 60s and 70s is only a reflection of the young people of the 60s 70s, and those young people will be running the country in the 80s and 90s.

“And I think that if they`d accepted people like me with ideas like mine the country would be run better in the 80s and 90s than it`s likely to as I see it at the moment.
“Ken Russell is a bit of an old fart and a bit of an upstart, but on that Parkinson show he was quite right actually when he said that Pete Townshend and people should be running this country. A lot of people said aaaahhhh, stupid old sod, we gave up that idea years ago and all that, but actually I can see Pete Townshend making a better job of it than Harold Wilson or Margaret Thatcher or any of those stupid twits who are in Westminster.
“Because they`re dedicated – but so are we. But there`s a difference with our dedication. Our dedication is inspired, and I think you`re going to go a lot farther with inspired dedication than with dead, humiliated dedication like the stuff that`s running the country now.”
“Mental rock” is the phrase that came up to get near describing what Harper is after with a group. “Rock and roll is a sort of a dark area, because mainly it`s a physical expression. Elvis the Pelvis sums it up.
“Now I appreciate those guys and I think they were the men who were really living at the time. Initially rock and roll was a tongue out to the establishment, an upheaval of traditions. But it didn`t say much beyond that.

I`m into timeless music. I don`t know why I am, but I`m into grandiose ideas, and I suppose it`s widening, broadening, deepening the tradition of being human. I regard rock and roll as being physical graffiti, and I think Led Zeppelin were right on the ball to call that record “Physical Graffiti”. But since those days of early rock and roll you`ve had a fusion of young people who have identified with the new force in music. I will be – if I can be successful at it, and I think it`s a long chance – the first mental rocker.
Harper the loner, the supreme egoist, is not worried about putting himself into the group situation. “I`m not me now that I`ve taken on a group identity. I can`t stand in front of the microphone and tell the audience a five minute story with the rest of the group waiting to play.
“No way. I`ve got to let the forces within the group come to the front, and I don`t know what they are yet.
“I`m not going to do a Hitler on anybody – it`s down to letting the group find itself and know itself, and I`m not going to stick out like a sore thumb at the front of it. I`m sure that some nights Spedding`s just going to be dynamite and when he is I shall just stand on the sidelines and watch”.


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: Dr. Feelgood, Arthur Brown, The Stylistics, Tam Paton, Neil Young, Rolling Stones, Dennis Wilson (Beach Boys), Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Billy Swan, Steve Harley.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT YES from New Musical Express, June 7, 1975

Here is one more for the Yes crowd. I hope you enjoy this one. Have a good read.


Warning by H.M. Government

There is no mention of brown rice on this page

Persian rugs and health food in general?
Well, OK …yeah, but not in any harmful quantity. There is, however, CHRIS SQUIRE talking about the interminable Topographical Oceans and a delicately coloured pen-picture of the Yes men on the road.

By Chris Salewicz

I`m hunting through the cartridges in the glove compartment of Chris Squire`s `63 Rolls Royce as we head out of Liverpool towards the M62 and Manchester, next town on the Yes datesheet.
There`s one cartridge in there with “Ocean Boulevard” stickered across it.
“Only trouble is,” observes Squire, speaking in that mode generally defined as the laconic, “it`s not on there – actually, it`s one half of `Tales From Topographic Oceans`.”
You droll fellow.
As a matter of fact, having now listened to that album a considerable number of times, I`ve come to terms with it to the extent of firmly believing “Requiem” (Side Four) to be the most dauntingly stimulating “live” piece Yes have yet performed.
What do you think Mr. Squire? (Bearing in mind that Patrick Moraz, who hadn`t joined the band when the album was recorded, holds this composition in the highest esteem – though his qualification, “Has the listener these days the time to listen to a piece of music that long and that complex?” probably pinpoints the critical dilemma).

“What do I think of it?…Well, it`s 80 minutes worth of music, right? Now, of that 80 I`m not saying it`s all perfect – but there`s some good bits… Overall I think it`s quite a project for any band to undertake….
“Like, if we`d spent another year on it, it could have been better, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
“`Topographic Oceans` had a lot of space in it. Which most popular records haven`t. Most popular records are action-packed to the last semi-quaver… between the heavy, important themes there were those areas that were possibly a little cloudy. Possibly people mistook that for being indefinite, as opposed to merely relaxing.
“And possibly it bored some people listening to those things.”
And of course that album was just about set-and-match for those who would damn Yes as the ultimate in Pomposity Rock. A lot of their detractors seem to find some rather suspect Great Tradition attempting to assert itself in the band`s work.
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Squire nods as “Free Man In Paris” gets under way on the “Court And Spark” eight-track. “I can understand that annoying some people.”
…and which tends to interlink with the way the Yes health food etc `life- style` has been played up.

“Played up? Yeah. Overplayed…
“But you have to make an effort to find an alternative,” he decides, as we hit the motorway.
I`m thinking of the lack of monosodium glutamate in the band`s collective bloodstream, actually.
“It was Steve and I on the third States tour. We were in this hotel in New York and ordered a steak and they brought us the most tasteless piece of shit you`ve ever had in your life. And so we said for the rest of the tour – it was summer – we said that we`d just eat salads.
“And it kind of developed from there.”
It is perhaps unfortunate that Steve Howe`s father is a master chef.
“It`s so ridiculous because it`s just a personal food taste, and for some reason an `anti`s` developed in the press. Doesn`t really matter, though… As long as they keep on mentioning the name of the band.”
Talking of which there are those constant Press bracketings with ELP -rivals in technological ostentation.
“We don`t really have any need for Persian rugs… You know, what with having all the Rembrandts to trample about on.

“I don`t know if you`ve ever looked at Yes`s equipment, but it`s really smaller than most bands. I mean, ELP have od`d on their state gear. In fact, we`re using less equipment than we were three or four years ago.
“There`s a certain style of doing things which I think was injected into the original thing of Yes and I think the thread is still there actually.”
He eases up on the accelerator, having spotted a police XJ6 in the rear-view mirror.
“Wanting a good vocal thing and a very good rhythm section. Wanting it, in fact, so that everybody was good on their instruments.
“A democratic band, though, is what was always wanted from every member. You know, like Patrick is as important as Jon to me because with his knowledge Patrick can obviously contribute things that Jon can`t and vice-versa.”
Patrick Moraz…
One day last summer he received a suitably euphemistic phone call from manager Brian Lane requesting him to “assist on keyboards” during some Yes rehearsals. Subsequently, he removed himself from his Refugee cohorts, Lee Jackson and Brian Davison, to take care of the keyboards control-module vacated by Rick Wakeman`s fleeing paunch.


Offstage, Moraz appears to wander through his existence in a bemused Gallic (all right, Swiss-Gallic) haze, visibly troubled by the lack of females in the band`s British audiences. However – when he leaves the Liverpool Empire via the stage door to find not a waiting car but a few hundred Scouse fans, of both sexes, who burble “Paddy!” and pin the Swiss gnome of rock against the theatre wall – the unease merely intensifies.
Indeed, it`s only during the sound-check for the first Manchester gig that Moraz appears totally contended.
As the 12-man road-crew go through their perfectionist motions (“The blue`s off there. The green`s a bit out of line…
Yeah, projector`s coming 41 and 42… What humming? WHAT`S THAT BUZZING!?”), he methodically works round his 16 keyboards and slides into a slow jam with Squire`s bass rumble.
Alan White, Jon Anderson and Steve Howe all arrive, check their instruments and split from the theatre. The unlit fibreglass giant crabs and toadstools meanwhile lend the impression of a fairground in the process of construction for a Doctor Who set.
“Originally I wanted Yes to be just The Nice with Vanilla Fudge harmonies,” Jon Anderson mentions after the gig.
I`d have seriously bitched with him over that during the Wakeman era, but the introduction of Patrick Moraz has trampled underfoot the concept of Yes as pre-packaged, Just-Add-Voltage Muzak.

Moraz has obviously injected Yes with a stylised sense of the absurd that has been the catalyst in reasserting the band as one of the foremost rock outfits this country has produced.
And that`s “rock” as in “rock `n` roll”.
At eleven the next morning in his identikit automated hotel room, an unshaven Moraz is listening to a cassette of Miles Davis` “Live Evil” on his portable Sanyo stereo. His musical tasts are apparently pretty catholic -Led Zeppelin could have been put on just as readily as Miles.
He also claims that Yes were the first rock band he ever saw perform on stage. As if in some confused need for identity-confirmation, he has slipped on a Yes T-shirt with the battered denims and Japanese printed boots (by Andy`s Of Shepherd`s Bush), lending him the appearance of some surreally butch Genet matelot.
“Yes are a very influential band,” he pronounces before dealing with an unpleasant coagulation of early morning phlegm.
But maybe a shade sterile?
“Sterile in what sense?”

“I tell you what: in a band like this with musicians playing the way they play… if it`s not organised it could get lost every minute. And that`s why every night after the show we talk about what happened in that number and why this didn`t happen in this number.
“It used to be like this, but I don`t think it is now – because…I mean, they had to search their way…they had to organise their music highly. Now it`s probably even more organised, but there`s more room for solos.
“Every number is played like a giant jam session really.
“Maybe Rick didn`t move much onstage,” he free-associated, pensively contemplating the Manchester rooftops, “but I move a lot because I feel it – I feel it rock – and I go with the music.
“It`s like when you make love to a chick, you know. When you find a rhythm and you can go on for hours.
“Sorry about this. This little non-musical bracket. Do you want some more tea? Do you want some toast?”


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: Billy Connolly, Sailor, Rick Wakeman, Elton John, Henry Cow, Robert Wyatt, Report on New bands in New York, John Cipollina, Herb Rooney (Exciters), Status Quo, Cecil Taylor, Patti Smith and Television.

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

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