Funny to read these interviews where the subjects speculate if they`ll be active and on the touring circuit in the future. 10cc wondered if they would be touring in 10 years time in this one, thinking they might not last until the mid-80s. Well, someone called 10cc recently toured my home town in 2018, and I dont believe they were a cover band…
Great band worthy of your attention.
Hang on friends! There`s a lot more goodies in the pipeline
So say 10cc in their song “Oh Effendi”. And it`s true. Leastways that`s what Bill Henderson thinks. So does Graham Gouldman – and he should know. Or, a tale of a recherche rock group, Friday 13, a Rainbow concert and an interview with a bass guitarist.
The capacity crowd is restless. Slow handclaps ebb and flow. The auditorium and stage are dark. Then ears are filled with peals of thunder and the voice of God. We greet “the fabulous, far-out, funky, freaky, hippy, happy, zippy, zany, wicky, wacky… 10cc”. The Rainbow last Friday evening. And a house in Victoria last Friday afternoon.
First off is “Silly Love”, the current single and a good example of the multilevel 10cc song, working with three separate interior logics. The sound is loud but the vocals are mixed up high and clear over the instruments. As it needs to be with songs where the lyrical content is of a greater importance than that normally found in rock or pop.
“We`ll always write these kind of songs but there`s nothing to stop us writing, say, a straight love song. It would have to be a great song but it would be a regular love type of lyric. That`s something we`ve never done till now. Eric and Lol started “Silly Love” as a love song and then of course it couldn`t be done. But Eric and I have written one.”
“As far as `Silly Love` is concerned, the only thing we were worried about – as we were worried by `The Dean And I` was the fact that it was another track off the album. But we had to take other things into consideration, which were: we had to keep the momentum of the group going till the next single, which obviously will be completely new, it will definitely not be off the album; and it (`Silly Love`) will also help to sell the album which is obviously very important to us. And balancing those two things against not putting it out because it is yet another cut off the album, we decided to put it out and I think it`s been the right decision. As it was the right decision to put `The Dean And I` out as well. Although we were worried about it, because we understand that it is… it`s slightly unfair. We do honestly realise that but we have to weigh up both things.
“We shouldn`t have to make decisions like that `cause ideally we should have had some completely fresh material ready but we were just taken by surprise, y`know. But I don`t think this situation will happen again. It`s a matter of time, though.”
“Silly Love”, with Eric displaying a raunchiness on guitar not commonly expected from 10cc, finished to collossal cheers. And was followed by “Baron Samedi”, a song from “Sheet Music” written by Gouldman and Stewart. But whereas “Wall Street Shuffle” by the same team is brilliant, “Samedi” seemed a rather uninventive song to me on record. As a straight rocker on stage it works fine though.. A new feature of the stage act is displayed during “Samedi” – five mini-arches wity multi-coloured fairground lights that flash during the short solo (or rather duo) by the twin drummers, Kevin Godley and Paul Burgess.
It`s followed immediately by “Old Wild Men”, which from the start is spoiled by crackles and hums from the PA. The band are visibly upset but do a great job in holding the song together through to the end.
“It always comes up, both with Eric and me, about the past. Things which aren`t to be knocked or anything but I tend to think now that what 10cc is doing is gonna be more important than anything Eric did with the Mindbenders or I did as far as being a writer`s concerned. `Cause now I`m not a writer on my own anymore, I`m in a partnership and now I`m a partner in a group as well, so it`s a different thing for me now. I`d rather not talk about that type of thing `cause it`s all been said before, right from the beginning. Although it`s interesting to think about how we could approach our old numbers, I`d like to do other people`s songs as well.
“I dunno, I just like not to put any limits on what we could do. I wouldn`t discount the idea because we`re a group that writes all our own material. But at the moment we`ve got to make it as 10cc – the songwriting/production team, unit that we are.
“The only thing about doing “Groovy Kind Of Love” and “Bus Stop”, say, is that they might be a bit trite, y`know. Those were songs that were right for the time and that`s what pop music is about. Y`know, it writes about the time, about what`s happening today and I mean, I know that there have been hits of revamped songs and somehow Bryan Ferry puts a new slant on a song by merely singing it, it doesn`t have to change at all – just his voice makes it his. I suppose we could do the same in a way but at the moment I don`t think we could do it.”
It`s now about eight or nine years since those songs were hits. Do you feel old, Mr. Gouldman?
“I`m rather pleased actually. It means that you can still do it, that I`ll still be doing it hopefully in ten years` time from now – in one way or the other. I doubt if I`ll be on the road in ten years` time. Mind you, there are people on the road more than ten years older than me, aren`t there?”
`Old men of rock and
Came bearing music.
Where are they now?
They are over the hills
and far away
But they`re still gonna
(`Old Wild Men`)
“Old Wild Men” featured Lol on Gismo and Graham on sixstring but it limped. Through no fault of the band`s. A pity.
Kevin, looking cool in white suit, long scarf and freakier fuzzed hair than before, stepped from behind his drums to sing lead on “Fresh Air For My Mama”.
Eric Stewart, after the concert: “Kevin`s the only one who`s getting the image thing together. We went up the King`s Road and to Kensington this afternoon looking for something to wear. We ended up wearing the things we brought in our cases.”
Sartorial stakes: Lol Creme – teeshirt, jeans; Eric Stewart – shirt, jeans; Paul Burgess – teeshirt, jeans; Graham Gouldman – patterned shirt, smartly creased trousers, shined shoes…
`Cause I`ve never been
Or funky or laid back`
“I`ve always been a stage musician but never looked like one. I`ve always liked playing on stage. That`s how I started, with little groups, just from a desire to play on stage. But I`ve never been a `stage personality`”.
The clear, ringing soulful voice of Kevin Godley. The end of “Mama”, followed by “one that we like, sing along with this one”, “Donna”. Lol hitting the high notes that I`ve heard him strain for before. Then another swop round: Graham on acoustic sixstring and Lol on Rickenbacker bass almost as big as he is: “The Sacro-iliac”. A song about a dance that involves doing nothing. Not one of my favourites on record but on stage it`s one of the best yet of the evening.
“We`re going to make a new tape for the start and we`ve put three new songs in, “Hollywood”, “Sacro-iliac” and “Worst Band”. I think you`ll see the direction that we`re moving towards. It`s more of an act as opposed to going on and doing all your numbers. Playing regularly improves your playing no end. You can play without thinking what you`re playing and just concentrate on feel and projection – to as much an extent that we can do anyway – or I can do. Because at one time we were just like a semipro group only playing Saturday nights, that type of thing, which isn`t any good.”
“Sacro-iliac” was a new writing combination for 10cc – Godley and Gouldman.
“It was an experiment really. We`d never written in those combinations before (“Oh Effendi” was Godley/Stewart) and it did come out that it added a different colour. I don`t necessarily agree with you that the songs aren`t as good as the others. I think they`re different. And I think it`s quite refreshing as well.”
“Ships Don`t Disappear” features Eric on slide and the powerhouse pair on percussion. Lol announces it: “the words are meaningless but the lyrics are very important.”
“We haven`t been doing any recording but a helluva lot of writing – I`d say about half the material ready for the next album. And what we`re doing this time, instead of writing a song and recording it and writing another song and… we`re writing a load of songs first. We might even record more than we need and then sling out what we don`t think is up to par.
“Kevin and I started a song some time ago that we`re going to finish. But Eric and I have written three songs and Kev and Lol are working on quite a long thing at the moment. I`m not going to say what it is till it`s done but it`s very interesting.
Next is “Somewhere In Hollywood”, another track with intricate arrangements. A roadie brings on a snare drum and temple blocks to the accompaniment of syrupy, cinema interval music and does a totally naff card trick. Kevin again steps forward to sing lead. But like “Old Wild Men”, “Hollywood” is all but ruined by cracklings and buzzes.
Eric: “It was caused by a lighting man putting on a certain bank of lights which were causing interference. We told him five times not to put them on but he kept doing it and eventually we had to send someone up there to threaten him. He stopped. But before he did the buzz was ten times as loud when I kicked the pedal for phase guitar on “Hollywood” so I couldn`t do the effects properly.
The last time a buzz like that happened was in Los Angeles on the last American tour. That time I touched the mike and was knocked out cold for five minutes, so I was very tense tonight. It was really odd on stage – if one of us had smiled it would have been OK but… “We played a two hour rehearsal in the afternoon and everything was perfect. We came back at night and everything had changed. Before the show we were going around saying we weren`t superstitious or anything like that, afterwards it was `well, it`s Friday 13th, isn`t it?”
And unfortunately the two songs where the sound had to be perfect to succeed were the two most affected by the interference. But no way was the set a disaster. The strain was showing however as Kevin sang flat through a part of “Hollywood.”
Then there was “Speed Kills”, a simple song by 10cc standards, basically built round a simple riff with minimal lyrics, among them.
`One finds / It`s so
hard / To make it
It`s gotta be the right
“But what`s been fantastic about this tour is that they`re pretty well all sold out. Like the Free Trade Hall has always been the best place to play in Manchester. All the best bands have played there. We`ve all been to millions of concerts there to see the best people in the world. To actually play in it and it`s sold out is great.”
Eric: “We`ve never been that popular in Manchester funnily enough. I think London is more our audience. But we`ve had sell-outs since we came back from America. We`re finding the audience that we`ve always been looking for.”
Graham: “That`s the proof of the pud to me. It doesn`t matter, as far as being on the road`s concerned, you can have twenty hits, well, not twenty but let me say… I don`t think a group like Mud would necessarily sell-out the Rainbow.”
`All because of circum-
stances way beyond
We became the dar-
lings of this thing
called rock and roll`
(The Worst Band In The World`.)
I think they did actually.
“Maybe they`re a bad example. How about Suzi Quatro?”
I`ve a sneaking suspicion she would too.
“Oh. Anyway, it`s been different for us. For being, in inverted commas, a no-image band, it`s been harder and it`s taken longer but it`s more solid, y`know. There`s less chance of us disappearing from sight if the next record isn`t a hit or the next two records aren`t hits. We`ll still be there `cause I think we`re pretty solid now.”
And although it was not by design, 10cc have built up gradually and apparently logically over the months.
“Yeah, well you see, a lot of groups like… two prime examples are probably Cockney Rebel and Sparks, where there`s such a strong image on one record that they`re stars overnight. It took us five hit records in eighteen months and we`re just getting to that stage now. So it`s all down to image, I think, the non-image. But it`s good that we`re finally coming through.”
Eric: “It`s getting better all the time.”
Then “Oh Effendi” and the last number “Wall Street Shuffle”. The crowd won`t let them go and they do a surprising encore, their `flop` (as Lol calls it), “Worst Band In The World”. “Worst Band” was just a little too unconventional for the record buying public, or rather the BBC that didn`t play it. But 10cc are different.
“We are a very good rock band but we don`t do rock as such because other people are doing it. If we did it we`d just be like fifty per cent of the other groups. There`s no point in doing it. I`d rather that everybody liked us but it can`t be unless you`re someone of the status of the Beatles, say. You can`t please all the people all the time, as someone once said. But unless you`ve got an appeal that gets to everybody then it`s better to be sort of hated and loved rather than being liked by everybody, y`know. Because if someone does hate you then that means that somebody loves you as well. I think `Neanderthal Man` was a good example of that. It was either loved or it was absolutely despised by people – and it was a smash. So I suppose there`s something there.
“There`s always going to be, particularly with a group like us, a sort of criticism said about you if you`re trying to do something a bit different. I think it takes people some time to get used to something a bit fresher.
“Cause I used to be very conservative about music – when the Shadows did a track with strings I hated it. I remember that, I thought `they`ve blown it for me`. And it was progression really – but I couldn`t stand the thought of that `cause they were, like, tainted. But when the Beatles did it, that was great `cause of course they used strings like no one else had used them.”
But “Worst Band” with its backing tapes was rather scrappy. By this time it didn`t matter. And finally, what else. “Rubber Bullets”. R8ot at sell-out sign? Not quite but almost. “Up, up, get up,” said Lol, “we`re not doing it till you`re all up.” So everyone got up and bopped. And the evening ended in a barrage of thrashboogie that would have put Status Quo to shame.
But there are a lot more goodies to come:
“We want to put some numbers into the act that aren`t on record yet as opposed to recording them, then a month later rehearsing them for the road, when we sort of listen to the record and think, `ah, we did this bit`. It`ll be interesting to do it the other way round. But always there`s the time problem involved – we`re in the studio for two or three months and you`re not on the road in that time and record things, then you learn them afterwards.
“We go into the studio next week, then do college dates in October, then November and December in the studio. Which is great `cause we get into a different sort of lifestyle when we`re recording (hipvokke) we go on a whole different plane… man. You do actually, it`s funny. And it`s good because you concentrate every effort. Because we take so much time over recording we`re not the type of band that can go in today and put down a rhythm track and go back to it next week, put on some vocals and do some overdubs the week after. We just concentrate all our energies on one thing at a one time. It`s best that way.
“We`ve got to get into the atmosphere, the mood of recording. Every time we do a new album it`s got to be better than the last one and I think we did that with “Sheet Music” over “10cc” but the next one`s got to be that much better again. It`s quite a hard task and it did hang us up when we started “Sheet Music”.
“But you`ve got to think you can always improve on what you`ve done, always. That`s always been our principle. But it`s a good principle for everything, I suppose.”
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: Adam Faith, T. Rex, David Essex, Nazareth, Gallagher and Lyle, Jackie Lynton, Trapeze, Ben E. King, Chris Wood, John Stewart, Steve Ashley, Isley Brothers.
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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