10cc

ARTICLE ABOUT 10cc FROM SOUNDS, September 21, 1974

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.

IMG_2417

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
roll
Came bearing music.
Where are they now?
They are over the hills
and far away
But they`re still gonna
play guitars.
(`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
freaky
Or funky or laid back`
(“Sacro-iliac”)
“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.

IMG_2420

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
time`
“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
control,
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.
The end.

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.”

IMG_2424

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!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
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.

ARTICLE ABOUT 10cc FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 10, 1976

Mr. Erskine was not a big fan of this album that he reviewed for NME. Overly critical if you ask me. Personally I would have no trouble in recommending this album as it is full of great songs, some of them even classics, and this class of songwriting is almost impossible to find on albums these days.
Personally I have a special soft spot for the songs “I Wanna Rule The World”, “I’m Mandy Fly Me” and “Art For Art’s Sake”.
If you have never listened to 10cc before, you may like to take a listen. One of the great pop/rock-bands!

IMG_0458

10c.c.

Enn ui old iron

10cc: How Dare You! (Mercury)

By Pete Erskine

“With extensive critical acclaim to their credit and a succession of hits to their name, 10cc well deserve the accolade `Superstars`.” – record company press release.
“Superstar” is a euphemism for that final ascent to rock `n`roll heaven – the result of a specialised form of alchemy in which fans transform themselves into “freaks” for their band (“10cc freak, Burnley”) while the band is rendered as some kind of giant-sized sacred cow.
We, of course, become “so-called critics”.
I therefore suspect that if 10cc have become “superstars” then this new album of theirs will be greeted with universal critical fanfares and turn out to be their best-seller yet.
But will it be on the strength of its real, intrinsic contents, or as a result of the cumulative effect of their past track record?
This is the sort of question “superstars” have to ask themselves every day of the week.

One of the advantages/disadvantages about becoming a “superstar” is that people stop looking too closely at your work because a) they are frightened to disagree with the majority, and b) they start feeling paranoid that their initial investment/commitment might turn out to have been misguided.
The Business, for example, has, and will always be, loth to make sudden about-turns; similarly, punters in this country have little cash for gambling on the works of unfamiliar artists – hence they often prefer to follow only one or two bands exclusively.
If either of these turns out the occasional dog they will therefore make damn sure that they find something they like about it, even if it`s only the sleeve art.
It might actually be very pleasant to be an artist in this position – to be able to sit back and know that your work is being purchased almost on conditioned-reflex.
But the temptation to take liberties, to develop a cynical attitude to your audience and want to play little games with their gullibility must be very great.

More than that, this kind of “freedom” has to be damaging to the development of your art because you have nothing left to strive for.
It is, after all, a truism that an artist`s best work is often produced under strict discipline and duress.
Not that 10cc are in that position yet.
But, on the evidence of the contents of “How Dare You!” the results of their having been over-indulged by both press and public (as the pioneers of intelligent, satirical pop) are beginning to show.
“How Dare You!” is quite astonishingly insubstantial.
Musically, there is nothing comparable to “I`m Not In Love”, lyrically there is nothing as “witty” and nimble as “Life Is A Minestrone”.
Whatever happened to the kind of intelligence that produced a track like “Speed Kills”?
Having said that, I also acknowledge that comparisons are unfair.
But, on any terms this album appears to be an unloved pre-fab job assembled by a group of musicians with little feeling for their music beyond a preoccupation with sound quality (and even that isn`t as fully exploited here) and even less for each other.

IMG_0462

One does not expect a “warm”, endearingly human album from 10cc, but it does come as a surprise to be confronted with something as perfunctory as this.
I can only think to attribute this to the damaging effects of the kid glove treatment they seem to have received since changing record companies – and, perhaps to a certain over-confidence as a result of “I`m Not In Love”.
I mean, is it really such a good thing to spend over three months recording an album?
The album opens with the title track, “How Dare You!” which is epochal because it is 10cc`s first instrumental.
It might be the best described as 1984 factory music – the sound of massed cybernauts at their workbenches. The most one can say for it is that it`s cleanly executed. Essentially a filler, though.
“Lazy Ways” sets the musical mood for the rest of the album – a vague reprise of the atmosphere of “I`m Not In Love”; itself a reprise of the atmosphere of the Beach Boys` “Feel Flows”.
Lyrically it is an expansion of the idea proposed by one of the characters in “Catch-22” – that one can extend one`s life span by cultivating boredom:
“You get less done but,
more out of your days”.

“I Wanna Rule The World” takes the form of – again – a kind of cybernetic chant made more eerie through simple use of synthesised electric piano. However,
“I wanna be a boss/I wanna be a big boss/I wanna boss the world around/I wanna be the biggest boss that ever bossed the world around”
– does not constitute profound social commentary to me. Nor do the lines:
“Gimme the readys/Gimme the cash/Gimme a bullet/Gimme a smash”
(in Art For Art`s Sake”) – which are no more “perceptive” about “greed” than the Floyd`s “Money” lyrics.
In any case, The Last Poets, will never be surpassed as the masters of the form used for “I Wanna Rule The World”.
Aside from this, the dramatic impact of “I Wanna Rule The World” is greatly diminished by the group`s apparent inability to keep things simple – something they threw out between “Sheet Music” and “The Original Soundtrack”.
I am greatly disappointed to see them reverting to the old lamebrain impress-a-crowd technique of incorporating 2,000 chord changes a minute.
At times they almost sound as if they`re trying to re-record Queen`s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
It does, however, feature A JOKE:
“I get confused, so confused/I get a pain, I get a pain up here/In the Shirley Temples”.
The perfunctory 10cc pun.

“I`m Mandy, Fly Me” seems similarly pointless apart from representing that same pre-occupation with Sounding Important by tearing off the aforementioned blitz of chord changes.
“Iceberg” attempts to poke fun at platitudes in the same vein as “Life Is A Minestrone”, except that Minestrone is replaced by Iceberg.
Really, it`s so tedious I can`t think of much else to say. Depressing too.
There is, however, a fine Eric Stewart guitar solo closing an extended version of the single “Art For Art`s Sake” which opens side two.
“`Head Room`,” says the press release, “looks at a young man`s first encounter with sex.”
With the same kind of consciousness and dependence on dreary innuendo that pervaded Procol`s “Souvenir Of London”.
Simply crass – like the lyrics of “Iceberg” which conclude:
“There`s really not a lot that you can do/And I might be back for sloppy seconds”.
What`s that about?
Presumably the same tired schoolboy humour inherent in the lines
“Dumb waiters waiting sweating straining/All mass-debating my woman”.
– of “Don`t Hang Up”, which, thankfully, close the album.
The most insidious thing about the whole 10cc approach – which I wouldn`t mind if they could retain their initial high standards – is that it`s infectious.
At a time when, more than ever, we`re desperately in need of a return to simplicity, naivete, boy-girl lyrics and a Good Guitar Sound, 10cc are busy spawning mind-rot like “18 With A Bullet” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Give me “No Milk Today” any time.

IMG_0464

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Cat Stevens, Patti Smith, Grateful Dead, Albertos y Lost Trios, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Dion, The Great British Music Festival.

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: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT 10cc FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, AUGUST 11, 1973

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.

The last time I printed an article here, a fellow with the name of Thom Hickey made a comment that among other things said that he wanted to see some articles written by a certain journalist. As some of you have noticed earlier, I like hits on my blog making my counter go “whoop”, but now it seems that I like comments too. So here it is, Mr. Hickey, a fine article by your favourite journalist covering the then new band called 10cc.

Image

When I tell you that a POP band – a “singles band” – has put together one of the best ROCK albums in several years, you`re going to laugh in my face.
So wrote Ian MacDonald in his NME review of new album from 10cc. He`s still trying to convert the doubters.

Ying Tong Iddle Ipo

Can you afford to laugh – and miss out on 10cc?

Remember “Neanderthal Man”? You know – “I`m a Neanderthal man, you`re a Neanderthal girl, so let`s make Neanderthal love in this Neanderthal world”. T.S. Eliot has nothing on that, right?
Well, that was 10cc. Or rather, that was Hotlegs, which was three-quarters of what now is 10cc.
Lol Creme, Kevin Godley and Eric Stewart of Manchester stopped calling themselves Hotlegs a couple of years ago and joined forces with Graham Gouldman, songwriter, also of Manchester.
Having all been close friends since secondary school, it seemed the logical thing to do – and, now that the quartet are beginning to register as 10cc, the logic of the situation proceeds unabated.
They`ve had two hit singles; now they`re having a hit album; next they`re (hopefully) having a hit stage-act. No problems. No surprises. Except that 10cc are a pop-group, aren`t they? They have hit singles all the time – but hit albums? Hit stage-acts?

“I`m a Neanderthal man, you`re a Neanderthal girl, ying tong iddle i po…”
When Lol Creme and Kevin Godley were at art-school together in the mid-sixties, Graham Gouldman was writing hits for the Yardbirds and the Hollies. “We were doing the odd bit of session work at the time,” Creme recalls. “But Graham was bigtime. We were just playing about.”
When, in 1968, Godley and Creme emerged from college, Gouldman was big-timing in America, working directly for publishers and producers, while Eric Stewart was setting up the brand new Strawberry Studios at Manchester in financial partnership with Gouldman and in technical harness with engineer Pete Tattersall.
Creme and Godley went in with Stewart, contributing towards the studio`s as yet scanty equipment, and, during the course of messing about with Strawberry`s 4-track desk in 1969, “Neanderthal man” happened.

In the wake of this success the trio, now known as Hotlegs, quickly got into improving the studio and recording an album with full orchestra, “Hotlegs Think School Stinks”, re-released in slightly altered form as “Song” in 1971.
On either occasion did it raise any interest and the only thing it will probably be remembered for is the cover, the concept of which was “borrowed” by Alice Cooper for “School`s Out”.
“After that,” says Creme, “we got a bit seduced by the facilities in the studio and stopped doing our own stuff so that we could concentrate on producing other people. It wasn`t until Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues suggested we go live as a group that we snapped out of it.”
The creative lull has had its spin-off, however, in that all four of 10cc are now very experienced in production. The fruits of work on such as “The Man From Nazareth” and Rameses` “Space Hymns” can be heard on the group`s current album which is in every respect brilliantly put together while, simultaneously, representing only two weeks` studio time from the first backing-track to the final mix.

“The adrenalin was really flowing that fortnight,” Creme remembers. “Most bands get about six hours actual work done for every two days in the studio, but we were putting in sixteen solid hours a day. We worked quickly and carefully and it was very intense.”
Three weeks after “10cc” was completed, it was on the market – a superhigh production speed which the band attribute to their label`s director, Jonathan King – probably the best record executive in Britain, Creme reckons, “if not the world.”

King it was to whom the band sent “Donna”, soon after recording it with their Gouldman-augmented line-up last year. It took him only two weeks to sign and name the group and get “Donna” out on his UK imprint.
And it was largely due to his perseverance that “Rubber Bullets” overcame first a BBC ban and then the Corporation`s insistence that the record be cut by a full minute, thus depriving it of the chorus-repeat without which singles are supposed to have no commercial chance.
But the ultimate success of “Rubber Bullets” was musical, not promotional, and the fact that its comparative complexity could achieve popularity, notwithstanding the enforced elimination of its one obvious commercial device, holds great significance for both the British singles market and the rock industry as a whole.

Image

Back at the continuing story of 10cc we find Graham Gouldman returning from the States and joining his old mates at Strawberry Studios, providing the band with a bassist and an extra voice, as well as another source of material.
“Kev and I felt we outnumbered Eric in Hotlegs,” says Lol Creme. “We felt obliged to like his stuff, which he did mostly on his own, and he ours. We were into lighter things and thinking in terms of complicated structures and orchestrations, while he was doing heavy, bluesy stuff.
“These days he`s got Graham to write with and the balance is better both for the band and for helping each other out with the composing side.
“For example, `Speed Kills` started out as a backing-track that Eric did during the Hotlegs period and which he kept adding new guitar-tracks to over the next eighteen months. It was getting heavier and heavier and we had to reinforce the studio several times!
“Eventually Kev and I did a vocal line and some lyrics to go over the top of it, and it ended up on the album.”

The first track recorded by the four-piece line-up was a Gouldman-Stewart song, “Waterfall”, originally intended to be the group`s first single (with “Donna” on the flip), but finally released as the B-side of “Rubber Bullets”.
“We weren`t quite sure what 10cc was going to be at the time,” says Godley. “After `Donna` was a hit, we put out `Johnny Don`t Do It` which was a similar 50s thing. We were thinking in terms of a formula, I suppose.
“Anyway The Shangri-Las` `Leader Of The Pack` got re-released at the same time and, dealing with virtually identical subject-matter, completely eclipsed `Johnny`. After that we had to work out what the band stood for from scratch.
“It`s hard to define what 10cc is. It`s what we do at a given moment, probably. It`s also our particular form of humour and I think it`s a reaction against the introverted `corridors-of-my-mind` stuff we`ve been getting in the last two or three years.

“And it`s not just straightforward silliness or parody, either. The quotes and allusions sometimes arise because the work of artists we admire gets so deeply embedded in our minds that we can`t help coming out sounding like, say, the Beach Boys or Stevie Wonder.
“I mean, when we get into something, we really get into it.
“Like `Rubber Bullets` wasn`t a simple parody of the Beach Boys. Obviously it`s in their musical territory, but it has its own existence. Most groups tend to sound vaguely like other groups at any given point, but that`s neither copying nor sending-up – it`s absorbing.”
“You assimilate what you like,” Creme agrees. “What comes out the other end is as much the product of happy accident and coincidence as it is of planning – although we do work things out very carefully.”

The resulting music is fresh, fast, tight and short, recalling the long lost days of `Revolver` and `Smiley Smile` when it was all down to saying it without supernumary adjectives and getting it right first time – a working atmosphere that could do with revival in the sprawling Seventies.
“Once you`re in a studio and behind a 16-track desk, there`s a great temptation to go on and on twiddling knobs and getting further and further away from the original music.
“With us, we all know each other well enough to be able to call a halt if one of us is getting carried away. I`ll tell Kev to piss off if I don`t like his ideas and vice versa.
“We have `truth sessions`. Someone`ll ring up and say: `I`m leaving`. And the others`ll say: `Oh yeah.` And they`ll call a meeting at 11 o`clock to sort out the grievances. It usually ends up with a whole string of insults and that clears the air – after which we can all get on with the job.”

As to the future, 10cc are getting their road-show together and releasing “The Dean And I”, a track from the album that`s even more subtly structured than “Rubber Bullets”, as their next single.
In their ambivalent position they`re not very sure what their audience will turn out to consist of, so they`re concentrating on making sure that the stage-act is foolproof in any situation, putting a lot of effort into duplicating the faultless sound of their recordings (“As opposed,” says Creme, wryly, “to throwing ourselves around the stage in silver lame”), and perfecting a new instrument which Godley and Creme have recently patented.
There`ll be another drummer, partly to allow Godley to do his share of the singing and partly because they like the sound of two drummers. New material, designed for the live situation, is being composed – to be recorded for their next album in a couple of months` time.

They`d like to influence a slight return to the controlled and restrained aesthetics of writing, recording, playing and producing that existed around 1966, but most of all, says Creme, “we`d like to take the competitiveness out of pop.
“We`re not trying to be better than anybody else and we don`t want to find ourselves in the situation of being compared, either favourably or otherwise, with other bands.
“Once comparisons start, the knocking starts too – and then the music gets lost. If we can help to bring entertainment back, without being trivial, then we`ll be well pleased.”
You won`t be the only ones, gentlemen.

Image

Let`s have a quick look at the charts again….

 

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Bowie, Pam Nestor, Eric Burdon, Status Quo, The Who, Reviews from the London Music Festival, Led Zeppelin.

 

This edition is sold!