Month: February 2016

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper from New Musical Express, September 20, 1975

Can anyone who were at Wembley please confirm that no furry, cute animals were hurt during this concert?
Another Cooper article for you – and yes, I think this is number 10, so now there`s a lot of stuff on this blog for you Alice Cooper fans. Personally, I can`t hide my admiration for the guy, and anyone who thinks that he is all show and no substance should take a listen to any of his albums made in the 70s, 80s and 90s. One of the greatest artists of our time – and that is the end of a very short discussion – so there!

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Night of the Coopertroopers

Alice does it one more time for Great Britain`s own Dept. of Youth, and Alice does it good

Report: Kate Phillips
Pics: Kate Simon
Alice Cooper
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WEMBLEY

You missed it? You missed Alice`s new show?
Better let me tell you all about it, kid, else ain`t no-one in school gonna talk to you.
Well for starters nearly missed it myself, waiting for my girlfriend to turn up, and when I arrive there`s this really keen bunch of little guys called The Kids up there, and I`m real sorry I didn`t catch more of their act, cos it looks like everyone was having a real good time.
The littlest guy of all was wearing this huge grey plastic mac and getting his head kicked in by the other guys, but it didn`t bother him any: he just got up and rushed to and fro across the stage begging us to get up on our feet and cheer the band, even if it was only for two minutes, cos he and the other guys would like it so much.
So naturally we all get up and cheer.
Then this deejay-type cat comes on and says we`re all being filmed tonight, and this is an idea I can really dig, being on a movie with the big A.
And he says all the stage cats are gonna work real hard, and in about twenty minutes it`ll be time for ALICE!!!
So we all get up and cheer some more.

And then I got time to look around, and I see these truly monster little Coopertroopers in front of me, with eye-black and the hats and the badges and all, and I start conversing with these cats who are truly cool and dig Alice so much that they paid three times the proper price to get in. (And I`d just like to say hi right now to Chris and Phil and Stud and Shane and Nick from groovy Buxton College, Chesterfield, – love and spiders, boys).
So me and these cats have just finished working out how we`re gonna rush the stage when Alice does “Department of Youth”, which is like our song, you dig, and we wanna let him know how we appreciate it, when out go the lights and up comes the curtain and there`s this weirdo contraption in the middle of the stage, looking something like a tree and something like a little birdie`s cage, only we know it is a bed, cos we have read about the show before.
The show is about a little boy called Stephen, who wakes up in bed with all sorts of weirdo things going on in his room, only Stephen is ALICE!!! as well, you dig.
And then a cat in a red stretch onepiece-type jumpsuit article gets up off the bed, and yes, it is one truly obscene little boy, it is ALICE!!!
And when we have all cheered till we can cheer no more, Alice starts prowling round the room among all these bats and devil dancers and beating them off with his cloak, and these cats dance round him and they really keep together, they are one million times better than boring old Pan`s People on the TV, and Alice pretends to be real scared.

And then they sort of disappear and Alice starts doing some of his real monster songs, “No More Mr Nice Guy” and “I`m Eighteen”, and we all sing with him, it is a gas and it reminds us what being a Coopertrooper is all about.
And I would just like to say right here that all those weirdo oldies at the NME who are trying to tell the kids that Alice is finished and only good for going to Las Vegas to jive with other fat and loaded oldsters can just go pack themselves away, cos they are truly full of shit.
I don`t like to hurt their feelings, but it is true like anyone who digs Alice!! will let you know.
Where was I, oh yes.
So Alice finishes his songs, and this has all been very fast as well as being such a gas, it has all been much quicker than I can relate it to you, cos all through this show the action keeps zooming in at you real unexpected, like the next thing which happens, which is that Alice looks inside his toybox and out come these really keen skeletons, they are painted with luminous paint and they do a dance in the dark with Alice, who has put on a white tux and looks real smooth.
But the next part is one of the best parts of all, cos it is where Alice has a real run-in with this rag doll, he beats her and kicks her and climbs over her lying on the floor and tangos with her and finally throws her on the bed, singing this song about “Cold Ethyl” which is the doll`s name, and you can tell this is a nightmare cos it seems he really digs this doll, and yet he is doing all these really heavy things to her.

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And he is sitting on the bed with Cold Ethyl worrying about this when the lights go down, and then they come up again (and I could see some cats moving about on the stage and I guess I know what they were doing) and Alice starts singing this song which my girlfriend really dug, cos she is liberated and all that stuff, about “Only Women Bleed”.
But I am gonna tell you, I did not say it to her, but I do not think Alice is really into all that liberation stuff, Alice just likes to have a good time.
So he`s singing away and it is a really good number, all slow and agonised, and suddenly the rag doll lifts her leg right up in the air. And all the cats in the audience go “Ooooooh” cos they do not know if the doll has come to life or if Alice was really beating up a real chick. As if he would.
And the second half of the show is even better, only I cannot take too long telling you about it cos it is nearly time for my math class, but I have got to let you know about the spiders, they are huge and black and furry, real Black Widow spiders from the little boy`s bug collection, only now they are bigger than Alice and they try to eat him, and he is real scared again, just like any kid would be, and he looks real small and helpless.
Alice is real good at looking small and helpless. He looks it even more when this nine-foot woolly monster comes round the back of the amp, and we all have a good time shouting “Behind you, behind you” like we were little kids at a pantomime, but the monster which is like the little boy`s idea of a teddybear in a nightmare stonks across the stage and grabs Alice anyway, and the only way he can get free is to hack off its head with a toy sword, which is a really heavy thing for a little kid to do to his teddybear, you dig.

And there are two more things that I must not forget, there is Alice`s band who are thundering away at the back of the stage the whole time, they are really hot and the guitarists have a wonderful fight in the middle of the show, playing all the time and trying to beat each other up; these guys are truly peachy-keen, they are good enough to play for ALICE which is saying a lot, but it is not surprising cos they used to play with Lou Reed, who my cool big brother says is really cool.
And the other thing is this screen which comes up, made of strips of white stuff, and a movie comes up on the screen of Alice in a graveyard being nailed into a coffin by four ghouls, and this is when the most truly instant thing of all happens, cos just at the very moment when the screen Alice is bursting out of the coffin, the real Alice comes bursting through the screen like he was jumping out of the movie. And this is just too far-out, I do not know how Alice thinks these things up.
So now we do not admit it to ourselves but we know that it is nearly the end, and we will have to go out into the cold night and back to Buxton and all the other uncool places, and maybe not see Alice again for years, until we are old: so we just decide to make the most of what is left, and what is left is pretty good because ALICE is brought on in the toybox and steps out with all these balloons and sings “School`s Out”, which up till now we have missed.

And it is a funny thing, but we have forgotten to rush the stage like we planned; some little cat tries it now but the security guys throw him off real quick, I suppose they have to be careful to protect Alice. So maybe it was not a good idea.
What happens is even better, I throw my shirt, the one with “Alice Cooper!!” across it in silver sequins that my big sister made me, towards the stage, and Alice catches it!!!!
And he puts it on!! Oh, it is truly peachy, Alice!! is wearing my shirt. I suppose the draggy O.A.P.s will kill me for going home without it, but I will not care.
Cos maybe Alice will see my name on the cuff, and write me from Los Angeles, which is where he lives.
I would really dig to get a letter from Alice.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Paul McCartney, Robert Calvert, Carlos Santana, Alex Harvey, Jimi Hendrix, Maurice White, Cecil Taylor, Alan Longmuir (Bay City Rollers), Pink Floyd.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Pink Floyd from New Musical Express, September 20, 1975

I thought this really long record record review of one of the greatest albums made in the 70s could be of interest.
What did they think of it when it was new? Well, as you will find out, Mr. Erskine did have a positive attitude towards it. Have a nice read!

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How Pink Floyd learned to stop worrying and make another album

The Floyd: from success to success via disenchantment

By Pete Erskine

Pink Floyd: “Wish You Were Here” (Harvest)

You needn`t be psychic to be able to predict the courses taken by most rock bands; indeed one of the overriding features of rock`s mainstream is in its universal predictability.
“Dark Side Of The Moon” is celebrating its 128th week in the charts; a top twenty staple since its appearance at number one in March 1973.
Yet for all its colossal and continuing worldwide sales and its garnering for the Floyd of new, hitherto, unexploited record buying markets including many first-time pop record purchasers – “Dark Side” must have become something of an albatross.
The extent of its success left the Floyd slightly bewildered and in a position of unenviable obligation; the record had sold world-wide – they were thus committed to two years of touring with it.
How could they possibly retain any interest in the project?
Consider it. Nowadays most `major` albums may take in excess of six months intensive recording; millions of playbacks, countless hours dwelling on the slightest chord change.

Quite often, by the time the album actually hits the racks the band is already bored with it – and frequently already involved with the embryo of its successor.
As it happens, “Dark Side” took over a year in the making. “It was a good package” offered a reluctant Dave Gilmour when asked why he thought the album had sold so well.
This was reflected by the attitude of most of the people I`ve talked to since who bought it. With one accord their opening line has been “yeah… well it`s really well produced isn`t it?”
I honestly think that the Floyd themselves have never regarded it as a major work. They`re also aware of a faction that operates in response to all bands of their level – the unselective Fan Syndrome which readily scarfs up virtually anything dubbed `Floyd`. They`re also aware of the motivation of intellectual snobbery/reflected glory; wherein it is supposed that the Floyd are an `intelligent` group – respectable enough to make the crossover from Greatcoatland to the coffee table – and therefore, by association, the buyer also feels himself to be `intelligent`.

The irony was that under close scrutiny “Dark Side” is as obvious as any Uriah Heep album; I mean, titling a track “Brain Damage” is hardly a masterstroke of subtlety, but to preface it with demented rantings?
Anyway, the point I`m trying to make is twofold. Threefold actually.
I would assess the results of “Moon`s” success thus:
a) The fact that it accrued the Floyd a wider cross-section of potential purchases of any subsequent albums meant that the pressure on them to adopt a `safe` middle course became greater than ever. They must have felt a tremendous pressure to have to try and repeat the “Moon” formula (whatever that may be) – which is why, one supposes, they went through a period of token rebellion by embarking on a possible follow-up recorded entirely on coal scuttles, rubber band etc.
b) Roger Waters – whose lyrics always seem to have been marked by strong elements of morose melancholy and angry-young-man protestations – began manifesting the increased cynicism felt by the band at the nature of their `success`. Perhaps nobody on that level who is really honest with himself figures that his talent really justifies the extent of his adulation.
Thus, during one of the new pieces performed on the last English tour, “Gotta Be Crazy” – a cynical modern-day survival kit detailing our conditioning to twisted values – he comes out with the lines “Gotta be sure, you gotta be quick/Gotta divide the tame from the sick/Gotta keep some of us docile and fit/You gotta keep everyone buying this shit.”

c) The fact that the band were saddled with having to perform “Moon” – a project they were not 100% satisfied with in the first place – over and over for two years began to have an adverse effect on their morale and their instrumental abilities; the fact that “Wish You Were Here” has taken even longer to make than “Moon” seems to suggest that for at least part of the time they were really at a loss for new ideas. Furthermore, even apart from the abortive “Households Objects” project, they made two or three other abortive stop-starts.
They were – as you probably know – bootlegged on last year`s tour.
“British Winter Tour `74” comprised the three new numbers showcased therein – “Raving And Drooling”, “Gotta Be Crazy” and a 22-minute tribute to Syd Barrett, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”.
After having seen them perform these on two successive occasions at Wembley all I could conclude was that “Moon” had finally cauterised the last vestiges of The Element Of Surprise supposedly typified by the band.
Though – as the bootleg reveals – the quality of their performances improved immeasurably towards the end of the tour, I couldn`t help but feel that as a last desperate uninspired measure they`ve finally succumbed to recycling the more obvious musical bits of “Moon”, coupling them with Waters` lyrical protestations which were often rendered insincere through the use of some rather obvious and hackneyed imagery.

It is therefore with genuine pleasure that I can tell you that “Wish You Were Here” belies all expectations of it being a certified stiff.
It is by no means a mightily challenging radically experimental album, but where “Moon” seemed flatulent, morose, aimless and sometimes positively numbskull, “Wish You Were Here” is concise, highly melodic and, in a pleasingly (and perhaps deceptively) simple fashion, very well played. In particular, there are carefully, thoughtfully executed solos from Dave Gilmour (mostly within a kind of blues idiom) and Richard Wright.
The cover, like the album, is clean and positive.
Where Hipgnosis` “Dark Side” sleeve seemed to bear little relation to the contents, and to be pictorially rather sombre, their “Wish You Were Here” package is amusing and imaginative.
The outer sleeve is devoid of graphics. The front is a colour photograph, singed in the top right hand corner, set on a white background. A pair of Sicilian-looking managerial types are shaking hands in a deserted Los Angeles film lot. The one on the right is on fire.
The backside – another colour photograph on a white background – this time with sand seeping through a small rent in the border, is a Magritte-inspired montage of a pinstriped bowler-hatted executive with transparent wrists and ankles and an eyeless, mouthless face partially in shadow, standing on a sand dune with one foot on the de rigeur rock `n` roll fibreglass briefcase, offering a transparent copy of the record in his right hand.

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The inner sleeve is faced with a similarly laid-out piece of surrealism – a row of poplars photographed at ground-level fronted by a large red airborne chiffon scarf within which the body of a woman can be vaguely detected.
The reverse carries a small picture (again, Magritte inspired) of a diver, having entered the waters of the Red Sea without a ripple. Surrounded by sleeve credits and the lyrics.
According to Richard Wright, Storm and Po`s (that`s Hipgnosis`) intention had been to carry through the idea suggested by the title in a pictorial fashion – i.e., that “Wish You Were Here” is a stock postcard phrase that invariably means the exact opposite.
Which is why all the pictures are supposed to represent impossibles – the splashless dive, etc.
EMI`s Brian Southall offers up more logical explanations: “The faceless man in the desert is a record executive; the split with the sand coming out of it is supposed to represent the slipping away of the sands of time.
“The photograph of the guys shaking hands is supposed to represent earth, wind and fire, the trees with the bit of red rag is to fill up white space.”
The package comes in black shrink-wrapped plastic with a sticker of a mechanical handshake over a stylised landscape. One hand is metal, the other plastic. This is supposed to represent the affiliation of the earth with the machine, the elements (represented by plastic??) shaking hands with the automaton.

Within, the theme is exploited by three thematically linked tracks after which the album closes with a restyled reprise of side one`s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”
“Welcome To The Machine” is also thematically linked to the dumped “Gotta Be Crazy” which was about Keeping Up With Progress, ruthlessness catalysed by warped materialistic values.
Literally, “Welcome To The Machine” is an acidic view of the record business as a mechanical conveyor belt, where the unsuspecting “artiste” is regaled by bullshit managers playing on his bullshit conditioning: “Welcome my son, welcome to the machine/What did you dream? It`s alright we told you what to dream/You dreamed of a big star, he played a mean guitar.”
The track opens with Wright knocking out a series of overdubbed cybernetic rhythms as Gilmour handles the vocals with an eerie, keening hopelessness whilst providing acoustic guitar accompaniment to Wright`s synthetic string fills.
Like most of Waters` songs, “Welcome To The Machine” exudes an atmosphere of pre-destined doom. “The Machine” is doubtless intended to have associations outside of the record business.
Roy Harper opens the second side with the next step, “Have A Cigar” musically a relative of “Money.”
The lyrics are a pastiche of Heavy Manager Rap: “Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar…/ Well, I`ve always had a deep respect, and I mean that most sincerely/ The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think/Oh by the way which one`s Pink?”

Gilmour plays an incisive Texan-style guitar outro leading into an inspired idea for a link; his closing notes suddenly become transmuted to sound as if they`re coming from a tinny radio speaker. An unseen hand changes stations through a miasma of static and atmospherics, the tail end of a radio play, a burst of orchestral music, before settling on a fading, distanced acoustic guitar piece.
The Unseen Figure waits for the tune to come round again, picks up his own acoustic guitar and begins playing along in counterpoint – traditionally the way that most young guitarists learn to play.
The melody evolves into the title track, “Wish You Were Here,” another Waters opus to tedium and routine and ultimate hopelessness.
The side closes with the third verse of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” – Waters doing his “Eugene” bass part.
Personally, I don`t find the lyrics as offensive to The Memory Of Syd as colleague Nick Kent, although the odd simile jangles a bit – “When you were young you shone like the sun…now there`s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky” – however they may be compensated for with lines like “you wore out your welcome with random precision.”
Against all odds “Wish You Were Here” easily outdistances “Moon” in terms of the context of Floyd music – to which I`ll admit, again, that I`m not a great subscriber.
I enjoy the playing, the blending of the instruments, more on this album than on any of its predecessors; it makes for very pleasant listening.

I doubt, however, that my affection for it will increase with the passage of time and repeated plays; indeed, already, just in the course of writing this review I am beginning to find parts of it slightly melancholic, a little depressing.
But then I doubt many people will ever have to approach it from my particular viewpoint.
I still find Waters` political stance disturbing. There`s a real and bitter fervour in “Welcome To The Machine,” “Have A Cigar” and “Wish You Were Here.” As there was in “Gotta Be Crazy” and “Money.”
To say that his lyrics can sometimes be “obvious” is perhaps unfair. “Obvious” in terms of what?
“Umma Gumma” never was intended to be the serious enfant terrible of psychedelia. That was only the sum of the claims people made for it. So why shouldn`t Waters be “Obvious”? It`s very easy to end up panning a band for the nature of the claims made for it by The Fans.
However, the real question is whether Waters – if he really feels these things so strongly – is better deployed utilising the pop medium, possibly stirring millions of people`s imagination, or whether he should be out on the streets physically changing things.
Do you therefore bring about changes from infiltrating The System and working from within a context people will understand (at risk of being tainted by that system) or do you cut yourself loose and work from a practical guerilla basis?
The irony must surely be that the Pink Floyd are making money out of criticising the machine that makes them money.
Perhaps, as an artist, one`s role is simply to illuminate one`s realisations to the masses – it being up to them to decide whether or not to bring about changes.
But, on the other hand, if you stand in a position of influence and wealth…and if you really care…

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Paul McCartney, Robert Calvert, Carlos Santana, Alex Harvey, Jimi Hendrix, Maurice White, Cecil Taylor, Alan Longmuir (Bay City Rollers), Alice Cooper.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep from New Musical Express, September 13, 1975

In a year where Deep Purple deservedly gets inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, it is time to remind everyone about another band from England that deserves to be there. If someone forgot how big they were in the 70s you only need to read this article to understand that they were (and still are) an international band of some repute.

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See the Lead Guitarist.
His legs are peculiar but he plays good.
Watch him “get it on” with the crowd.
Sometimes he “sends” them into raptures…
…And every now and then he doesn`t.

By Tony Stewart

You sense you`re in converted territory, and that Uriah Heep are Important Visitors, as soon as your rump touches the plush, airconditioned interior of one of the four large, black limos waiting for the band at Chicago airport.
“Hi! My name`s Richard. I`m your chauffeur. Anything you want just flick your fingers.”
Heading the motorcade Richard delivers us at the H`yatt House Hotel, where a specially appointed security team sentry the entrances as the band file through.
On previous tours band members have received four murder threats. On one occasion a bullet was fired through the window of Lee Kerslake`s room and at a concert in Louisville one guy leapt over the barrier and attacked David Byron with a knife.
Funny what Heep`s music can do.
The closest any of the physicals have been, though, was actually in Chicago when Byron clambered onto the shoulders of a guard during a set. Just as he did a kid pounced, swung a punch and loosened the guard`s dentures. He was not amused.

But the only imminent danger in the Hyatt bar seems to be from a City cop who`d been used as security on their last tour, though now his services are no longer required. Somehow he`s attached himself to the group and his party trick is continually having a large drink flowing down his throat as he displays his police issue revolver.
In short he`s a pissed maniac.
No sweat, however, with four thick-set martial-arts experts watching over The Party with as much concern as hens over chicks – even to the point of riding shotgun in the Limos when Heep make a personal appearance in a suburban shopping precinct.
The appearance is to some extent an important chore, but on this occasion it`s even more essential as this tour is regarded as particularly crucial, and every little bit of promotion helps their cause.
The departure of bassist Gary Thain and the subsequent upheaval within the band and then the harnessing of John Wetton into the outfit – meant Heep have been unable to tour America for almost a year. Which is sufficient time for their drawing power to wane. To such an extent that perhaps it would require more than an extensive 43 date-swoop, playing to an estimated half million folk in all, to regain lost ground.

Even though the US trek`s something of a challenge the various groups members nevertheless approach PAs with some trepidation and reluctance. And on this occasion their worst fears are justified as we emerge into the precinct from an underground carpark and the organiser, a straight Jewish looking card called Lewis, suddenly dons white topper and tails, springs onto a specially erected stage surrounded by young teenies, and in the showman tradition introduces his prize exhibits – Uriah Heep!
Four of the band participate in the farce and shuffle embarrassed onto the platform with arms outstretched to acknowledge the applause.
Wetton, however, declines, and instead chats to an American kid about a variety of subjects – from King Crimson to the make of his own home stereo. John, despite the initial impression his attitude portrays, is not in fact playing out the Subdued Musician number. “I don`t feel too well actually,” he explains rubbing his delicate stomach delicately. “And I`d rather puke in front of two people than 30.
“I`m not particularly into this sort of thing anyway, but I do feel genuinely sick.”
And he`s so convincing I step back a pace for safety`s sake.

Back at the gig the actual sound quality may be abysmal and a severe testament to almost every criticism levelled at the huge American rock theatres, but Heep`s presence and resounding panache is of such strength that, by the encores, the whole audience is in jubilant uproar.
Also Chicago does indicate the general, but elsewhere more rational, response the band will receive on a further two concerts I`m to see, as well as thrusting you into the ambience of their 1975 American Tour. Plus it introduces you to the peculiarities of the characters and events surrounding an English Name Band.
By the time they hit Chicago they`d flown back to England a roadie with pneumonia, seen another OD, and lost a sound engineer who`s held by the cops on suspicion of murder (but who`s later charged with possession). And another of the staff had to fly home to bury his brother-in-law.
The strain has certainly told, with alarming results.
“All of us are feeling less than ourselves,” remarks Hugh, who works for Heep`s management. “I`ve given up sex for the duration because it exhausts me. Actually,” he confides, “I don`t think I could deliver anything personally.”

Then the band`d been following or preceding the Stones into various towns. At Buffalo, the opening date, the promoter originally pulled the gig because he thought Mick and Co. were too much competition and would adversely effect ticket sales. But, at the management`s insistence, the gig was put back in and 6,000 kids showed for the Heepers.
Yet at another early juncture the whole jaunt was in jeopardy when Guitarist Mick Box took a long walk off a short Louisville stage, breaking his arm in four places which now necessitates a plaster dressing, pain killing injections, and a helping hand to wash his hair.
Although Mick`s unable to use a plectrum he has improvised a four-finger playing style, and he bluntly refuses to quit the tour.
“I just won`t give up,” Box comments. “I`d have to be unconscious before I`d stop playing. If I can possibly play and still give a reasonable show I`ll do it.”
Ah yes. Heep are a regular bunch of troupers, and the show goes on.

Limos run the band and entourage to the airport. We travel first class to Cleveland, where another three Cadillacs are on hand to drive first to the hotel then to the 80,000 seater baseball stadium for an afternoon festival which, following performances by the likes of Blue Oyster Cult and Aerosmith, culminates with sets by Heep and finally The Faces.
Behind the high stage the organisers have laid on a line of small, luxury motor caravans which act as dressing rooms. In Heep`s you can find fruit, bottles of champagne, and assorted spirits and beers. In fact their every whim is catered for in the contract riders, and what with the limos, luxury hotels and bodyguards everything clicks into its lavish place.
Compared to their English and Euro tours their American trips have a totally different, more auspicious, atmosphere. The trappings of success also seem to effect them significantly.
They enter like stars, look like stars in their finery clasping the necks of bottles of Dom Perignon; and therefore they act like Stars.
But do they need to? Does it make any difference to the actual performance? According to the band it does.
“It is expected,” Ken Hensley insists as we all squat in the motorvan`s limited space a half hour before Heep are due on stage to face the 60 odd thousand crowd.

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“You`re expected to put up a kinda front. People treat you like rock and roll stars so what ever you think of it yourself, however you categorise yourself, you`ve still got to give the impression you are.
“I am very anti all that,” Ken adds. “I`m anti having security, karate experts and bodyguards. It`s the show that`s important to me. Nothing else.”
Lee Kerslake`s attitude is slightly different. He digs it all.
“Let`s put it like this,” he explains, “if you build yourself up an ego and you go on stage with that ego you put on a better show.”
“I don`t agree,” interjects Hensley.
“Well, I think it`s true,” Lee continues unabashed. “If I`m built up to feel like I`m something I go on there and really work at it. If someone makes me feel like I`m a crud it disheartens me.”
What he`s basically talking about is confidence. And Byron, elaborating on this point, says that the American promoters will ensure everythings to hand for a band so that when they go onstage there haven`t been any niggling problems which could detrimentally affect their performance.

Continues Hensley, on the same subject, “They don`t give you any room for excuses. They give you everything you ask for. They`ll give you ten limousines if you ask for `em. They`ll give you 50 bottles of champagne if you ask for `em.
“But if you go on stage and cock it up then you know it`s your fault. It`s not because somebody else hasn`t supplied what you asked for.”
Heap, by the way, request a modest six bottles of champagne.
“Just a little bit of stardust to make you feel good,” explains Lee.
The road manager gives the band their final five minute call and they add the final preparations for their performance. Byron and Kerslake use eyedrops to make their eyes shine, even in the sticky afternoon sun. And overall they seem particularly relaxed, but not in the least worried that after them follows Stewart.
After all it is their second gig together, the first being in Norfolk, Virginia where Heep, Byron claims, “killed `em stone dead”.
That, you suppose, is the kind of confidence their life style stimulates.
Compared to Chicago the sound quality at Cleveland is far superior even though it exhibits the normal problems involved with the acoustics of an open-air stadium, such as sound drift, too much treble and an echo delay.

Heep are considerably more sure of themselves than on the previous night. This of course could be something to do with their own celebratory aura (with the result they`re more relaxed) because it`s not only Hensley`s 30th birthday, but the day he chooses to announce his old lady`s pregnancy and that in another three days his divorce from a previous would be absolute.
Strike one, two, and I suppose, three.
Out of the three gigs it`s Milwaukee the next night which is the closer illustration of why Heep are a success in America.
They arrive like Stars in three limos down the drive way to The Arena with a capacity of just over 11,000. The metal doors are automatically raised and we find ourselves parked between the dressing room and the stage where Blue Oyster Cult are playing a rough, heavy and excellent opening set.
So, even though Uriah Heep haven`t been seen on this part of the Lake Michigan shore for several years their reception, before a single note is played, is typical unihibited mania.
Yet it`s surprising how quickly the band are able to find the right frame of mind for a performance after a rather trying day. The plane was delayed in Cleveland because of thunder storms, making the arrival in Milwaukee so late there was barely time for a meal before leaving for the gig. Nerves were frayed. Byron snapped at Chris the road manager and Box rowed with his American PR over an article printed in a US rock magazine.

Apparently the piece inferred Mick had died. The cause of death, it insinuated, was syphilis.
Box`s anger faded as he commented, “apart from anything else it ruins your social life.”
He later talked of suing the ass off the paper. You know, just to prove he`s very much alive.
But for a corpse he`s a pretty nifty onstage mover. Of course though, Heep`s whole charm lies in the histrionics. Byron tripping, running, sprawling on the stage and nuzzling into either Wetton or Hensley. Depending on his fancy.
There`s Hensley lying back over his organ stool or standing up to tip the instrument onto two legs. While Box smashes his plastered arm across his guitar.
At the Milwaukee Arena, however, the musical quality is appreciably high. Wetton`s addition has obviously resulted in certain changes because of his playing technique, and yet the fundamentals of the band are really quite similar to when Thain carried the bass.
Wetton was the guy who wanted me to say Heep were dreadful rather than be non-committal. But I can`t. Musically they could be better and therefore they put the audio qualities on equal footing with the dramatic visuals. As they are, though, they`re an entertaining and exciting rock outfit.

But it isn`t until the next morning as we leave the Milwaukee Hotel that Heep`s esteem on the American frontier becomes crystal clear.
Just as we`re all checking out President Ford is due in. The foyer is sprinkled with a crowd of well-wishers, and the road to the airport is occasionally dotted with more patriotic citizens. Yet it`s not that good a turnout for  Gerry, seemingly slightly half-hearted.
Observing this from the back of a limo, it`s Kerslake who comments.
“Bloody hell, there were about ten and a half thousand more who came out to see us.”
He was right as well.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Procul Harum, Genesis, Andy Pratt, Suzi Quatro, Buddy Holly.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Suzi Quatro from New Musical Express, September 13, 1975

Here`s a girl you just can`t stop to love. Trying to build her image as a very bad girl in this and other interviews, while we all really knew that inside she was a really, really nice girl. But it`s an interesting story of a girl trying to break into a male-chauvinist business. So the story of Suzi is always an interesting one! Enjoy.

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Madcap of the Fourth or reincarnation of Attila the Hun? They couldn`t tell. It wasn`t what she said, it was…

WHAT SUZI DID

By Kate Phillips

Suzi Q, fantasy figure for the mini-libbers of the nation:
“I get all these letters from little girls telling me that they`re tough, that they swear like me, and they`re not gonna get stuck at home… and I did answer one, it was from a mother who said her daughter wanted to leave school and be like me, and could I write and tell her to finish school first. So I wrote back-”
-And told the kid to wait?
“-No. I said, if your daughter`s like I was, one year ain`t gonna make no difference. So it`s best to let her go. I know my parents could have kept me under lock and key and I`d have got out somehow and run away.”
Pretty much your standard hellcat raunch? Yup, Leatherclad Rap number 49, courtesy Chinn, Chapman and Mickie Most (image-makers to the public). But don`t give up just yet.
Why were you a rebel, Suzi?
“I wasn`t so much rebellious as a loner; and that made me rebellious in the end.
“There`s always one in a big family, and that was me, so I had to learn to take care of myself. I can remember every day of my life when I was a kid, though my teenage years are a bit hazy.
“Yes, that probably is because I was unhappy.
“I wanted more attention. I can even remember when I was three, biting my little sister`s fingers off…”

Whaaaat?
“I just hated her. She was such a pretty baby, too. And she lay with her fingers drooping over the edge of the cradle, and I crept up and just crunched them as hard as I could.
“I`m surprised they didn`t fall off. Then I ran upstairs and listened to her crying, and my mother coming in and saying `What`s wrong with this baby, she`s always crying` and I`d be up there laughing away. Isn`t that terrible?
“When I was about 11 it suddenly hit me. I went into her room late one night, sobbing. `Nancy, are ya sleeping? I`m sorry I used to bite your fingers, I`m sorry…` I was crying my eyes out, the memory has suddenly gone boom in my head.
“So anyway, when I got to the age when my parents thought they had to give me attention and protect me from the outside world, because I was growing up, I said fuck you, you never cared before…”
No, I don`t think it explains why Suzi`s a rebel; I don`t think she is a rebel, otherwise she wouldn`t still be tied up in the baby biker packaging in which her management present her.
It does explain her self-confessed need to be onstage regularly, since otherwise she gets “nervy” and bitchy without the adulation of a crowd to keep her happy. And it`s probably got something to do as well with her ritual “toughness”, which she demonstrates with naive pleasure during the course of our conversation. A nervous minion of RAK Records puts his head round the door to ask a question Suzi considers superfluous, so she sends him off with a chilly reply; and turns back with a conspiratorial smile to her audience.

“See, there, I got nasty there for a minute. I had a guy in here yesterday, shaking. He`d come in with this list of questions – `Why are you so butch?` `Why aren`t your tits bigger?` Really that stupid. I laid into him, told him he made me puke: he was trying to laugh, and pretending to write it all down, but he went out in tears.
“Of course I`m gonna behave like a bitch, if people treat me like one.”
Maybe they wouldn`t ask her silly questions, though, if she didn`t have such a silly image to live up to. Let`s get one thing straight; in spite of the fact that she`s rather small and very pretty and very charming, in her literal-minded way, it is not amazing (a) that Suzi plays bass (some girls play drums, remember?) (b) that Suzi swears (yawn) and (c) that Suzi wears leather onstage (double yawn).
If those things ever had any novelty value, it`s surely worn off by now – a suggestion backed up by the fact that none of her last few singles – “The Wild One”, “Your Mamma Won`t Like Me”, “I Bit Off More Than I Could Chew” – have done much business, and the new one, “I Maybe Too Young”, which is lyrically one of the crassest efforts so far (“I`m little Suzi, the backstreet girl/I`m gonna hang around and wait for you”) isn`t, as yet, creating any stir either.
To give Suzi her due, she`s genuinely bored with all these questions about what it`s like to be a female rock and roller. “It doesn`t matter what sex I am, but other people can`t get used to it,” she complains.

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But until she gives up her position as teeny little cute front lady for all those Big Ugly Men, and till she starts writing her own singles and singing in a way that odd things on her albums have shown her to be capable of no-one`s going to believe her protestations of sexless equality with the rest of the band, or see her as anything other than a willing doll manipulated by Chinnichap.
Nobody has got her to say a word against them yet, or to admit that her claim to have broken the rock and roll barrier for girls is as yet a false one. But sometimes she really gives herself away:
“The only time the boys in my band think about me as a woman is when it`s time to change into our stageclothes and I go off to another dressing room, or when some big heavy guys come up and they know they might have to protect me a little, `cos it might get a bit rough – but otherwise I don`t think they think about it either.”
It`s not that I think the lady`s got to sacrifice her modesty, or get herself beaten up, to achieve parity: but I do think the best thing she could do (after casting Mike and Nicky into Outer Darkness) would be to get herself a gig as one of the boys in a band – a good one – and concentrate on living down her Lulu and the Luvvers aura for a while. After that, if she actually emerged as leader in her own right – well, then all us Little Girls would really have something to inspire us.

Back to Suzi`s childhood. Her own inspiration, she says, was Elvis: “It never occurred to me that I couldn`t look up to him, just `cos I was a girl. I just said, Oh I`d love to do what he does. I was one of those kids who practised in front of the mirror with a chairback and four big rubber bands for a bass. It really worked quite good. And I`d practise facial expressions – I could match myself in the mirror and not be embarrassed, it was like watching someone else. I didn`t even care when my mother caught me at it…”
Do you use any of those expressions now?
“No, not any of them; I use such ugly expressions onstage, and people say I`m a sex symbol! They must be mad. Sexy to me is when someone`s got their leg pointed, or they`re putting their body into pretty shapes…”
But you don`t only fancy men when they pose, do you?
“No but men are different..”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Procul Harum, Genesis, Andy Pratt, Uriah Heep, Buddy Holly.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Genesis from New Musical Express, September 13, 1975

Been a busy week and I was also laid flat for a couple of days by that very dangerous (for us men at least) disease called “Winter Cold”. I was incredibly sick for a while, but now I`m feeling better. So here we go again with a post written in a very special period of time for this band. What to do without Gabriel? The journalist didn`t seem to know that the solution to this problem sat right there in front of him. Really enjoyed reading this quite funny interview. Hope you do too!

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While shock waves of the GENESIS cataclysm still re-echo around the world, we bring you this report direct from the disaster area. And drummer PHIL COLLINS, one of the few men alive today who can fully assess the situation, offers words of assurance to the many, many people who must feel that their very raison d`etre hovers on the brink.

By TONY TYLER.

So Genesis` Peter Gabriel flitted from the popular group on the Friday and by the following Monday Genesis-watchers among the plebiscite were still unaware that The Man in the Papier-mache Mask was re-affirming, in his own published words, “my bondage to cabbages.”
At the same time – and on the same Monday – news-desks on the Music Weeklies were throbbing with speculation and we-predicted-it-first-so-we`re-not-exactly-caught-bare-assed-isms.
Inky scribes scratched armpits reflectively and murmured, in a 72 pt. trance, EXODUS FROM GENESIS. (“No – too obvious. The opposition are bound to use it.”)… GABRIEL HORNS OUT (“I like it”), finally settling for GABRIEL QUITS GENESIS (“Not exactly John Donne but the point gets across, don`t it?”).
And while Gabriel was horning out or exodising or even quitting Genesis, the other four members, who`d tended to be somewhat overlooked both before and during the Announcement (not to speak of The Letter), were coolly adjusting to their amputated state and putting into effect certain contingency plans drawn up when Gabriel had told his colleagues that, yes, it was Back To The Land For Him.

When did he tell `em? One year ago. SO, PHIL Collins – neatly-bearded and athletic drummer with Genesis, crisply austere Princeling of the Paradiddle – you mean to tell us that for a solid twelvemonth you and Michael Rutherford and Steve Hackett and Tony Banks – not to speak of your record company Top Brass and your own Manager – have been living and working under the shadow of this Departure (or even Exodus?) that during the most important year of your professional lives, cramful of U.S. tours, Eurotours, lauded albums and poll victories et al (not to speak of The Rest), you guys have had this to look forward to?
You mean you`ve been grafting away like coca-leaf-chewing Bolivian peons just waiting for your lead protagonist, ringmaster of kooky effects and composer of stuccoed lyrics to be finally seduced Away From It All by… cabbages?
“Yes.”
Actually, Phil Collins is by no means a taciturn man. Nor is he a gabbler. Sort of somewhere in the middle – but by no means inhibited from letting fly with the verbals when he`s got a ready answer to the question, which he usually – but not always – has. Bless him, he`s taken a tube ride all the way to Long Acre, canvas bag over T-shirted shoulder, just to talk about things with NME. This is absolutely unconnected with the fact that he didn`t go to Public School.

“In fact, Peter first said he was going to be leaving about a year ago, just after `Lamb Lies Down`. I don`t want to go into his reasons too much – he did that himself in the Press last week – but for several reasons he decided to stay on until now.
“Actually, I was planning to leave myself at that time. I didn`t leave either. Neither am I planning to.”
At this point it`s only fair to point out certain minor but important tensions that lie around the circumstances of this interview.
NME – with its aggrieved Gasbag punters (yours sorrowfully – Genesis Freak, Accrington) to think about – is primarily (but by no means exclusively) interested in the circumstances of The Gabriel Split, Genesis` reaction, Genesis` plans (i.e., will there still be a Genesis?) – and most of all Do they Plan To Replace Gabriel And If So How Do They Propose To Swing It?
On the other hand, Genesis` management, and the group themselves, while conceding that public attention is primarily focused on the etceteras above, are also mad keen to promote an image of Unity And Optimism In The Face Of A Long-Foreseen Setback.
So near and yet so far, and so on: Could still be a great life if we don`t weaken. And anyway there`s always the solo albums.

So Phil Collins is gamely and honestly and frankly (he even said “I dunno” when I asked him why Genesis, despite loud and consistent acclaim for their elaborate stage presentation job, had never reflected this in album sales – but more on that later) fielding the Gabriel Questions and simultaneously vibing up a good deal when the conversation swivels over to his own wide-ranging musical projects (which it isn`t going to just yet because we haven`t quite finished with Peter Gabriel).
So what are you fellers going to do? I mean, Gabriel isn`t exactly a forgettable visual experience, is he? You going to secure a replacement or you going to revibe the Act? If so, how?
“Peter`s leaving isn`t the blow that some people seem to think it is,” says Collins. “Like – the Press have always seized upon Peter and sort of pushed him more than everybody else, when really-”
But he was your front man. And he did ascend heavenwards like his demiurgic namesake…and he did address the audience between numbers in a highly idiosyncratic way… and he did write an awful lot of lyrics.
“Not all of them. People have always misunderstood that. Mike and Tony write nearly as much and very much in the same style – it`s a band style of writing, not Peter`s alone; it`s a product of all of us and the fact that we`ve been together for five – ”
Count `em.
“- years. We`ve been auditioning singers just recently, in fact.”

You have? Aha! Who?
“Well, as some of them are in name bands it wouldn`t be fair to say. We`ve tried out quite a lot though. I`ll say this: they could all sing alright; it`s more a question of finding the right combination of voice, personality and stage presence.”
And?
Silence and a deep pull of coffee.
Have you found The Man?
(Sure a lot of coffee in that cup.)
Well, will you attempt to keep The Act as it was so far as you can – and therefore in effect find another PG from the substitutes` bench?
Or will you use the different circumstances, the different mix of personalities (Headmasters` Conference Schools 3, Workies 2) in order to effect certain long-yearned-for but hitherto-unattainable revibings?
In other words, are you keeping it going – if you can – or planning a New Deal?
“We`re planning a tour of England next spring or in the New Year,” says Collins. “And what people will see, I should think, will be very close to what they saw before.”

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I see – so the opportunity to break down the Meccano and construct a new model is being passed over then? You guys are going to stick with the investment? (Which is reported to be pretty substantial, and not yet really covered by albums sales. Face it, silver is OK but gold is better – and when you have a roadshow like Genesis`, absolutely bloody essential.)
In other words, you`re looking for another Peter Gabriel?
Actually, I didn`t ask that. What I did do was light a cheap cigar and pause for thought.
Genesis have been going for about five years, maybe a bit longer. For at least three-fifths of that time they`ve been a massive crowd-puller, a Punters` Delight.
In an era of Symphonic Rock bands gone spare with theatre props and Day-glo Plaster-of-Paris footlight fittings, Genesis`ve held their own with the ELPs and the Yesses, equalled and frequently surpassed the Floyds, and totally blitzed the Barclay James Harvests.
This ferociously assiduous attention to visual detail, carefully cued in with the ornately-varnished lyrics and musical patterns, has been wowing `em in the three-and-nines (pounds, that is) so effortlessly for so long that their election to the Top Slot (Stage Bands) in most major music paper dolls has become as predictable as the 3.10 tide at Wapping Dock.
And during all this they haven`t really got much richer. In fact, if Rumour is to be believed (and the Dame can be problematic alright), the bread sunk in the band by various individuals and companies totals… a fair slice.

Normally, Sympho-rock bands With The Trimmings, expensive tho` they come, can manage to sell such an excess of long-players that with the first six-month audit period the mazuma comes rolling gleefully home to Mama. It happened with ELP, with Yes, with the Fluid, with Tull … but it hasn`t happened with Genesis, whose music is certainly no worse (to say the least) and whose presentation is vastly superior (to say the least).
This is the situation: Genesis don`t sell albums. Not in sufficient quantity, that is. Not in sufficient quantity in America, that is.
Why?
“I dunno,” says Collins, and for a second he looks almost despondent. But it doesn`t last. “I know a lot of musicians don`t get off on the presentation we have,” he says. “Even though they respect us as individual musicians.”
You mean, the sight of Peter Gabriel being hoisted up to Heaven while Tony Banks plays post-psychedelic Hosannas on Hammond doesn`t seem like rock `n` roll to these insensitive guys?
“Well, no … I can understand it to a certain extent, mind you.”
(So can I – but did Genesis ever claim to be playing rock? I don`t recall it.)
MIND YOU, Phil Collins is the last bloke to be worrying about his rock credentials. In fact, his papers are in such good order that a list of his recent sessions reads like a Who`s Who of This Year`s Thing.
I`ll mention no names.

Oh, all right – Eno (new album), John Cale (new album), Dave Hentschell (film score), Eddie Howell (album), Steve Hackett and Michael Rutherford of Genesis (new albums).
Collins himself is currently rehearsing/recording/thinking about composing for no less than three albums: the new Genesis LP, an album by his own second-string interest, a band called (for the time being) Brand X; and The Phil Collins Solo Album.
First, the Genesis album, which does not feature Peter Gabriel.
“We started writing for it right after `The Lamb Lies Down`.” says Collins. “I do most of the singing, actually – there`s just the four of us. We start recording soon… and we may feature one or two singers, as guest vocalists sort of, on a few tracks. And when we next go on the road I should think the concert will be drawn from this new LP`s material.”
Out in the Spring, folks.
“The group I`ve got… well, as soon as Genesis finish rehearsing this afternoon,” (he was en route for Trident Studios as soon as our interview finished). “I`ll be turning right round and going right back in the studio with Brand X.
“They`re all mates of mine, actually.
“We play sort of loose, funky stuff. Very loose. We sound a bit like Lifetime.”

And the solo album?
“I`ll start that later this year. It`s mainly stuff that for one reason or another didn`t make its way into Brand X Songs.”
Not “suites”, or even “movements”?
“Songs.”
Great. But say, isn`t there some danger of spreading yourself – yourselves, come to think of all those other solo LPs – too thin? I mean, shouldn`t all possible musical options be going into Genesis, which could still very definitely pay off with a hit LP? Even though, as yet, it hasn`t?
“I don`t think so. Almost everything any of us write goes to Genesis as first choice. If we all like it, then it gets in the repertoire. If it doesn`t take, it ends up on a solo album. By listening to Mike`s album you`ll be able to isolate his particular contribution to Genesis more clearly, by listening to Steve`s and mine the same.”
Time moves on and studio time don`t come cheap. Tell me, Phil, why didn`t “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” Do It in the US? As heavily praised as it was? With Rael and all that spooky sociological stuff? Jungian psychology an` that?

“The trouble was it was a double,” says Collins, with the air of a man who`s thrashed this particular bone of c. out many, many times in private with others more directly concerned. “That album should have been a single and our next could`ve been a double.”
You mean it was a slightly top heavy proposition for the East Coast punters – and a no-hoper for the West Coast, where the group have been far less exposed?
“Yeah.”
A bad move, eh? Tactically, I mean?
“Yeah.”
Do you regard all this as a setback?
“No… I`ve got to say, we`re all very optimistic. It`s a challenge, a different situation.”
You`re going to hang in there, right?
“Right.”
As much like before as you can make it, huh?
“That`s right.”
And in the meantime there`s Brand X, the solo album and all that prestigious and lucrative session work?
“Right.”
Do you think it`ll come to that? You know what I mean…
“Don`t know. Can`t tell. Don`t think so. Hope it won`t. I`m sure it won`t.
“We`re all really very optimistic.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Procul Harum, Suzi Quatro, Andy Pratt, Uriah Heep, Buddy Holly.

This edition is sold!