Month: September 2019

ARTICLE ABOUT Steve Hackett (Genesis) FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

Exciting times for Mr. Hackett as he was recording his first solo album while completing the first Genesis album without Peter Gabriel. It must be said that it all went very well. His solo album “Voyage of the Acolyte” reached No. 26 in the UK and No. 191 in the US. The album recorded with Genesis, “A Trick of the Tail”, was a even greater success, reaching No. 3 in the UK and No. 31 in the US.
Good times for Genesis and Steve Hackett, indeed.
Read on!


Hackett relieves himself

… with a solo album. The Genesis gent reveals all to Barbara Charone, who doesn`t mind a bit.

Having failed his driving test for the second time that very morning, Steve Hackett was in surprisingly good spirits. Perhaps his orthodox examiner disliked long haired musicians.
Soft spoken, you`d hardly believe that Hackett was lead guitarist with Genesis. Still, the examiner complained about faulty steering. If only he knew the true identity of this aspiring driver, the examiner might have been lucky enough to obtain the collected works of Genesis for a niece or nephew.
Despite the fact that Hackett had arisen at the ungodly hour of 7 am, he had much to smile about. With the rest of Genesis, he has been working on their next album for several weeks now at Trident, already pleased with the results. Fresh from his first solo project, `Voyage Of The Acolyte` Hackett has come up with an album of high quality. None of the usual self-indulgence here.
“I deliberately kept away from trying to prove how fast I could play,” Steve said taking a break from group recording. “I didn`t want the album to sound like a guitar record. There`s snatches of flash playing but that`s not really my scene.
“What I wanted to do was try out as many ideas as possible. I wanted to fulfill a number of roles basically writing for instruments like cello, mellotron, flute and voice which I had never done before. I used as few people as possible, keeping the nucleus small. It sounds a bit like a group because I like using combinations of instruments.”
Various blends of sounds and tempos make the album quite a departure from the average `solo` flight. Taking full advantage of the Genesis rhythm section of drummer Phil Collins and bassist Mike Rutherford, Hackett wisely sacrificed one man virtuosity for a more sophisticated sound. It was a gamble that paid off handsomely.

“It was definitely a risk,” Steve laughed recalling earlier inhibitions. “I honestly didn`t know if it would work. I didn`t know if the rhythm section would spring out of each track. The whole venture was a gamble. It`s just very different from what people expect of a solo album. It really isn`t even an actual `solo` album,” he frowned at the mention of that confining term. “My main role was directing.”
Musically, the atmospheres created could easily serve as a background film soundtrack, filled with images and visuals of faraway places and large chunks of dream like fantasy. Each song is related to a specific tarot card. This idea was used more as a springboard for composition and inspiration than a clever gimmick. There`s no journey to the centre of the earth thematic pretentions here.
“I tried to interpret different cards musically and took the strongest ones. `Ace Of Wands` symbolises the beginning of a new venture. Wands represents fire, initiative, and skill,” he grins sheepishly. “What better way to begin the album.
“I`m not trying to lay tarot cards on people or get heavy about it. They were just sources of reference really. `Star of Sirius` is an optimistic looking to the future. After some of the heaviness and introspection of some of the other tracks, I wanted something lightheaded with a bouncy pop song feel.”
The album has done much to strengthen Hackett`s personal self confidence, destroying previous frustrations that inevitably come from playing in a democratic band. Now he feels strong enough to step forward within the group hierarchy.
“I`m definitely more confident about submitting ideas to the band now. The album showed me that once I was happy with an idea there was really no reason why it shouldn`t work. I wasn`t particularly confident about my abilities as a writer and arranger before I did the album. In a band one relies heavily on the group for ideas. With us, the strongest things are always group written. Especially now.


“I`m less frustrated now,” Hackett admitted, seemingly more secure even in conversation. “But I`ve got to live up to now. I couldn`t come up with a solo album of quality every year. This was just something I`ve wanted to do for a long, long time. But my main committment right now, is to the band.”
Genesis have always painfully laboured over each and every album project. Having spent the last few months writing and rehearsing for the group effort, studio recording has not only been productive but fairly quick. Obviously, this is a crucial album for Genesis, one that needs to be good to maintain followers and attract new ones. The band need to creatively and artistically survive Peter Gabriel`s departure.
“I was disturbed over a spate of letters in the music papers that assumed because we were involved with solo projects that Peter left. The decision was totally his own and quite separate from any course of band action. Don`t I sound like a politician?”
He also sounds like a musician. The next album from Genesis should be finished by the end of November. The band will not immediately promote the record on the road as plans for the stage show will require much careful thought and consideration.
“We want people to digest the album before we return to the road so they will be aware that Peter is no longer with the band. If we went out as a four piece now and people hadn`t already digested the situation, they would find it difficult to accept. It`s much easier for us to concentrate on the album now.
“What can I say?” Hackett said remaining purposely mysterious. “Maybe we will have that fifth member. Maybe we`ll try him out on one or two numbers in the studio, possibly even use a name singer on several tracks to get a mixed bag of vocal abilities. No one should worry that we`re going to turn into a totally instrumental band. We`re still very much songwriters,” Steve stressed.
“If people are patient with us I`m certain things will be all right in the long term. The short term problem is finding the fifth member. There won`t be any quality decline from us.”


The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Andy Fraser (Free) FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

The ghost of that big band you were in can be very hard to shake. Everyone is only really interested in those songs that you used to play with the band you used to be a part of. Very frustrating indeed. And almost no one has more success as a solo artist than the successful band you made a name for yourself in. Fraser was no exception.
Read on.


Fraser walks the line

By Martin Hayman

Small, almost runtish, curiously aloof without aiming in any way for effect, almost head in the clouds. These are the first impressions of Andy Fraser on re-acquaintance after a couple of years.
When I arrived at Andy`s sixteenth-century cottage in Surrey, I found the small, dynamic bassist, writer of Free`s biggest-ever hit (and constant repeat hit) `Alright Now`, in his garage putting up shelves.
Tiring of the necessary elbow work in driving the screws home, he takes out his hammer and gives them a wallop. “That`s me for today,” he says, and retires into the beetling house for a cup of tea. He tells me that it was once one of Henry VIII`s hunting lodges, though Andy lives there, without a seraglio, in a more conventional connubial bliss. It was one of the more obvious benefits conferred by the success of that single which is periodically revived and can be seen to draw normally reluctant celebrities on to the dance floor.
Since Free, Andy Fraser does not seem to have been much in the public eye. There was Toby, which was his own group, and there was the Sharks and their much-publicised hassles, both with each other and with Island Records. Fraser has severed his connections with both, and is now starting a new recording and playing career as a solo artist, feeling that it`s unlikely he will ever again find a group situation which worked with the same co-operation as Free.


It may be that Free spoiled him for any other group, both because it worked so well as a unit, and because of the personal interaction within the group and, not least, for its early and devastating success. When worldwide acclaim has been tasted at such an early stage, it can be difficult to recapture.
Many might say that, in trying to recapture that success, Fraser attempted too literally to emulate the group by trying to carry it off single-handed. That`s certainly how his album with Nick Judd sounded. This may merely be backbiting, for Andy presents a fiercely independent front to the world and is little swayed by current fashions or the social obligations of the rockbiz.
But the proof of the pudding, as always, is in the eating, and after the failure (comparatively speaking) of his last two ventures, we must conjecture that Andy Fraser`s latest venture will satisfy the public`s appetite. It is an album recorded at Muscle Shoals, home of those strong-arm players Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins and Jimmy Johnson. A show will go on the road playing those same tunes at the beginning of November.



Sitting in Andy`s low-beamed rehearsal and playback room, listening to the album, it is obvious how very deeply into it Andy is. He sits there, his head slightly bowed under its short fringe of wiry black hair, and his sneakered foot is going like a hummingbird`s wing. First, some factual fill-in: it`s a solo album; Fraser playing the bass with Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar), Pete Carr (lead guitar) and someone called `Roadie` on percussion. The production was overseen by Brad Shapiro, a seasoned operator, who flew to England before the sessions to select the songs that seemed likeliest from a bunch of Andy`s rough dubs.
This was Andy`s first time with a producer and he found such a method of working very much to his taste. It seems there was an interesting tension between the Muscle Shoals band and Andy`s bass playing, which is unconventional. Andy says that his aim was to kick them along a bit. Normally these guys can just about play in their sleep. Everything is set up for a perfect sound: it`s merely a question of plugging in. This is exactly what Andy did. He hooked up his own instrument with the existing bass amp and they took it away. It`s all very well thought out: Barry Beckett charts the songs and marks up the changes, and when there`s someone in the band who knows (and in Andy`s case, is passionately involved with) the song, the feel becomes apparent after the first few bars.
Some of Fraser`s songs are repetitious. For some this can be mesmeric, for others boring. Andy explains his thoughts about song composition and the `Hey Jude` chorus pitch as follows: “I try to get a very basic root for every song. Two or three words should sum up every song and that should always finish it off. That`s what it`s all about.” You will note that this applies with particular force to `Alright Now`.
The single cut from the album is likely to be a number called `Be Good To Yourself`. “Even as we were cutting it Brad said it sounded like a single.” It`s one of those numbers which sounds extremely short, and I even suggested it would have been a good idea to let the chorus run out. “Well I didn`t have anything to do with the mix – Brad took all the tapes away to Criteria Studios, Miami, and that`s the way he did it. But if you`ve got a single which lasts longer than three minutes your chances of getting it played on the radio are very slim.”


What then of the concert tour? The previous tour was booked in big halls and failed to sell out by any means. This one is to be another big one, and it will also be a lot more expensive, for Brian Gascoigne has been deputed to find a band which will be able to get, and improve on, the performances by the Muscle Shoals album band. Would Andy Fraser be enough of a pull, as a solo act plus band? “How I regard myself is as a bass player in a group that has some hits, and only one big one. Now the thing is that most bass players in groups remain pretty faceless. So I regard myself as a new act. I know that the reason we can do big gigs is partly that I`ve been in a big group. But for me it`s sort of like starting again as Andy Fraser, a new singer and songwriter who plays bass.”


The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Deep Purple FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

Time would definitely tell for this record. A very interesting perspective from the time it was released here. Do you agree with Mr. Barton?
Read on!


Purple: tastes good, but…

Deep Purple: `Come Taste The Band` (Purple TPFA 6715) 39 mins.

Album review by Geoff Barton

Deep Purple have undergone personnel changes in the past and have always successfully pulled themselves through. Happily, `Come Taste The Band`, featuring guitarist Tommy Bolin in Ritchie Blackmore`s stead, brings the band out of their most recent crisis – although not as thoroughly nor as completely as you may have hoped.
This is a particularly fine rock album – but is that really enough? Although `Come Taste The Band` is on a rung above both `Burn` and the jaded `Stormbringer`, it`s not quite up to the required height. To justify their position as one of the world`s top bands and to quell the somewhat cynical rumours that they`ll never be able to fully recover from Blackmore`s departure. Purple needed to come up with a killer LP, something that would stand up proudly alongside the likes of `In Rock` and `Machine Head`. This isn`t it.
Tommy Bolin is an accomplished guitarist; of that there`s no doubt. He`s slotted into the band as neatly as a well-worn key into its lock. He`s injected a heavy dose of fresh energy – I haven`t heard Purple play with such boyish enthusiasm in a long time. His guitar work is succinct, immensely fluid, but never overbearing – indeed, `CTTB` displays a much freer, give-and-take musical attitude than even several early Purple albums.
The problem lies with the quality of the songs. Bolin`s songwriting prowess (he`s contributed eight numbers) is OK – yet he`s a long way from being able to write numbers of the calibre of `Space Truckin“, `Smoke On The Water`, or even (to switch to `RB`s Rainbow album) `Man On The Silver Mountain`.
Even so, they`re not appreciably different from the band of old, here – if anything, they seem to have consciously adhered to tradition, with numbers like `Comin` Home` (even though it has brief `Quadrant Four` guitar) and `Drifter`.
There are snatches, however, that may serve to betray the direction in which Purple may move in the future: the initially punchy `Love Child` has an incongruous funky section, together with what could well be Billy Preston`s moog. `Gettin` Tighter` and `I Need Love` have brief funk passages, as well.
Still, before I get too tied up in (minor) criticisms, let it be said that there is a lot to get excited about, here: notably the rampant `Dealer`, with its `Purple Haze`- like opening, timely ballad section and Hughes` meaty vocals more than making up for its hackneyed lyrical theme, and `Lady Luck`, a potential single.
`Come Taste The Band` is an album that stands head and shoulders above your normal mundane rock release, but at the same time the question must be asked: does it show enough potential and promise to ensure the new Purple a safe passage into the future? Time will tell.

Deep Purple

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM SOUNDS, September 20, 1975

Mr. Barton was not convinced by Cooper going it alone. Quite an interesting perspective in this one.
Read on!


Alice`s pantomime

Concert review by Geoff Barton

“Well, …. it`s surrealist, innit?” remarked the girl sitting in front of us, eyes open wide, staring at the impressive Empire Pool stage.
Alice has obviously spared no expense for this show: two tall, translucent grey pillars with a thick beam lying on top of them, like a futuristic version of Stonehenge, dominated the platform. In between them was a bed of twisted metal, beside them an over-large toy box, behind them provision had been made for a band. Surrealist indeed.
The Heavy Metal Kids got the evening off to a raucous start: front man Gary Holton was as obnoxious as ever, tripping over periodically and telling his year-old jokes (“We`re gonna play a dancin` number now, but seein` as you`re sittin` down rub your asses on the seats”) The Kids were brash and loud, but didn`t try quite hard enough to win over the crowd. No encore.
Alice took to the stage after a long interval and, tugging at his red leotard, cavorting gormlessly around to tunultous cheers, snarled out the appropriate opening lines to `Welcome To My Nightmare`.
It soon became clear, however, that what should have been the ultimate fusion of rock and theatrical excess was in fact no more than a rather lewd pantomime.
Alice, taking the lead role in this epic, has well and truly discarded his malevolent, blood-lusting `Killer` image and now reminds you of a demented Jack minus his beanstalk.
He plays the frightened little boy, plagued by rotten dreams: he`s taunted by groups of superbly acrobatic dancers, he cowers, crawls, sits cross-legged in front of the toy box and enjoys a Punch and Judy show – in all, a rather embarrassing role.
He acts a vengeful Peter Pan figure who slashes with a sword, kicks around a limp female dummy, is attacked by bulbous spiders and decapitates a blundering cyclops – theatrical overkill, at times laughable and mostly less than convincing.

This was Alice`s trip. If nothing else, it served to tax his abominable voice and reveal to one and all that he has the absolute minimum of stage presence. He should never really have gone it so completely alone.
Alice`s musically excellent band were demoted to mere backing musicians. They were lined up at the back of the stage and could generate little excitement because of their seemingly minor roles (except for the Steve Hunter/Dick Wagner guitar duel, one of the highspots of the evening). Alice had to carry the whole show – and he just failed to pull it off.
It was all precisely timed and choreographed: a combination of live and filmed action, where dancers would leap from and into a cinema screen was quite impeccable – even though it wasn`t rock and roll. Many were all too easily impressed by the effects – the biggest cheer of the evening arose when a giant spider`s web was hoisted up from wisps of dry ice and not when, for example, Alice sang `No More Mr Nice Guy` or `Department Of Youth`.
Even when the theatricals were over and the band played straight rock and roll for the encore, it was strictly anti-climatic. I believe solos were played, though the only clear view I had was of the keyboard player`s head.
“I expected something a little more spectacular,” said the same girl at the end of the concert. I wouldn`t necessarily agree with that – but I do believe that Alice should save shows like this for Broadway and at the same time carefully assess his position in the leading role.


The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Budgie FROM SOUNDS, September 20, 1975

Here`s a short one for you!
Read on!


Budgie aim low and hit hard

Concert review by Richard Belfield

There`s a fanaticism about Budgie fans which is difficult to fathom. Budgie got a standing ovation after their first number, and again after every number played during the night. Towards the end the fans swarmed over the seats like lemmings. Some even tried to give the band a standing ovation before they walked on stage but were restrained by the management of the Free Trade Hall. The shouting alone threatened to drown the best that Budgie`s tons of electronic hardware could produce.
And yet, surprisingly, Budgie are really quite ordinary. There were no great pyrotechnics from Tony Bourge`s lead guitar, Burke Shelley`s bass lines aren`t anything out of the ordinary and the lyrics are banal.
While other bands have sunk into introspection and technique, Budgie have aimed low and hit. They know their market and cater for it. There was barely a woman in sight – perhaps less than 40 in the entire building. But all the young lads came alive when Budgie appeared on stage, all frantically plucking at invisible guitars and strutting pigeon toed like Burke Shelley. It was as well the guitars were invisible – had they been real we would all have been deafened.
For this gig Budgie brought in a second guitarist, Myf Isaacs, from Wales. He hasn`t played with the band before but has played with drummer Steve Williams in the past. He`ll be playing on the rest of the tour and presumably some decision will be taken about Budgie`s future as a trio.
Budgie had problems on this gig. They couldn`t do a sound check and the monitors didn`t work. Hopefully these problems will be solved so the sound can only improve.


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 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.