This interview was done just before the band travelled to make an album that would end up having one of their most striking album covers, Rampant, released in late April 1974.
The only cover version on this album was “Shapes of Things”, a song that would be “Nazarethified” so much that most people think of it as the band`s own, being a live favourite throughout the years. The album would go to number 1 in Austria and peak at number 3 in my home country Norway, being their best position in the charts of any album released here.
Shapes of things to come
Jerry Gilbert talks to Nazareth`s Manny Charlton
Manny Charlton is most concerned about Nazareth`s next album. On the eve of the band`s departure to Switzerland he was busy sorting through demo tapes to be played to producer Roger Glover once they all arrived in Montreux to start work on yet another album.
He regards the speed with which the band churn out albums as being essential, not so much for their own peace of mind as to fulfil their contract but at the same time he is very wary as to the direction the next progression should take the band.
This time, it`ll be an all original album which is already 98 per cent complete. The band may then decide to make up with the Yardbirds` “Shapes Of Things” or “There`s A Riot Going On” or even write another track themselves – for the album has been specifically designed to feature new group material.
“I think there will be a widening of the spectrum, doing things that we haven`t done before. We want to be a bit more adventurous, to incorporate the British feel and aggression with the American musicianship. Imagine Little Feat material done by Led Zeppelin, well that`s the sort of thing we`re after”.
After cutting their last two albums at the Gangy in Jamestown, Scotland, they have been forced to move to Montreux late in the day because of the energy crisis. They will be spending two weeks at the Montreux Concert Centre with the Stones Mobile, and with the material mostly in the can, they are hoping for a fairly straightforward time.
“We like to have a good idea of what it`s going to sound like so we do all the demos at home – then we just hope that when we get down to record it, it all comes together but we find that if we have a sketch of it before we go into the studios then Roger Glover will probably add some ideas”.
Manny admitted that it was difficult hitting a two album a year schedule, and as a result their five week Christmas holiday back home in Dunfermline was used as a solid writing and rehearsing period from midday until five, eight until one in the morning.
Once in Switzerland they`ll be anxious to get back to Britain and rehearse a new stage act for the States. By May they`ll be back touring England to coincide with the release of the album which is as yet untitled.
The irony of it all is that the tightness of their schedule prevents them from doing any gigs in Switzerland, which is not only a country that the band have yet to play but also a place where “Loud & Proud” has hit the number one spot.
“Making albums just gets harder all the time because our standards are continually rising”, says Manny, and perhaps the band still aren`t regarded with the kind of musical respect that they deserve. “I do tend to think that people regard us as just another rock band”, he acquiesced. “OK we`re not the Mahavishnu Orchestra but I think we`re pretty competent.
“Four or five years ago people would have thought a lot more of us, but even so I don`t think we`re classed like Geordie”.
How did he see his own tastes influencing the band musically? Manny is adamant about the bands he likes, and they mostly hail from the States. “I`ve been listening a lot to Joe Walsh lately and I think he`s the ideal musician. I`d love Nazareth to get to the same position as Joe Walsh or Little Feat because we really want to combine good songs with good playing. In terms of solos onstage I like to play a solo as long as it isn`t indulgent. I`m not up there to play guitar to myself and the band feel like that too – we`re just not that type of band, and besides, most of the solos are tightly rehearsed”.
In the meantime the band continue to move up the ladder in the States.
“Let`s just say we`re making progress”, Manny cut in circumspectly. “I think the time has passed when Americans welcome British bands with open arms, so we`re having to work hard. At the same time we don`t want to lose what progress we`ve made in Britain – we don`t want to become like TYA where we`re never in the country”.
In the interim, Mooncrest will be issuing a single of the band – and it will probably be a song written largely by Manny called “Castles In The Sand”. Says Manny: “It`s a Buddy Holly kind of thing along the lines of `Peggy Sue`. We specifically didn`t want this one to be on the album but if it`s a really big single the record company and management will be tempted to put it on the album because singles sell albums”.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bob Dylan, Jethro Tull, Bryan Ferry, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, Paul Butterfield, Sweet, Tim Hardin, Average White Band, Cozy Powell, Robin Dransfield, Andy Roberts.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.