Rick Wakeman

ARTICLE ABOUT Rick Wakeman from New Musical Express, June 7, 1975

Very busy at work lately, so I am a little behind my ordinary schedule. But here is a short one that will please the Yes and Wakeman fans. In the article there is a number of 243,000 dollars mentioned – to get some sort of understanding of the relative value of this amount, this would be about $ 1,070,000 today.
Have a nice read.

IMG_1134

Arthur: only myself to blame…

Demoralised Wakeman spills the beans…

By Tony Tyler

Rick Wakeman picked me up outside the manufactory of King & Hutchings, Printers to the Gentry. He was driving the Rolls.
“What`s happened to the other cars?” I enquired. “Had to sell `em didn`t I?” said an ashen-faced Wakeman. “To pay for `Arthur`.”
“Tell me about it,” said I. “Let`s have a drink first,” said the chalky-visaged Rolls owner.
“First thing to emphasise,” said he, taking an uncharacteristically small sip of his light `n bitter, “is that others lost just as much money as I did.”
How much?
“Well…a lot,” said Wakeman, lighting a Tom Thumb and inhaling cautiously.
“I must emphasise,” emphasised Wakeman, “that I`m not exactly broke. Not broke. I`ve still got me assets – me companies, me synthesizers.
“I just haven`t got any cash”.

It transpires that Wakeman also lost 243,000 dollars on his recent tour of America with “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”.
This is heavy news.
“But I gotta own up. I gotta say that I was strongly advised not to do the American tour – by Brian” (Lane) “by my accountants, by everybody who I pay to give me advice.
“I overrode `em all. It`s my ego that`s to blame.”
But no punters, Rick`s not defeated; by no means. His characteristically honest owning-up procedure is Wakeman`s own way of initiating a catharsis within himself and thus restoring his morale. He still likes his music, although he`s willing to concede that the Arthuriana semi-shambles was a severe tactical error – as was the American tour.
“I didn`t need to do that tour. By the time we got there the album (Journey To The Centre Of The Earth) “had already sold all it was going to sell and all we got was minimal sales as a result.
“I didn`t have to do this Arthur thing. I just wanted to.”
So let`s go into the fax.

IMG_1133

The fax are that when Wakeman announced his May concerts at Wembley, “no-one else was plannin` May concerts. The datesheet was clear. Then, all of a sudden, there`s Zeppelin, there`s Elton… and the kids don`t have that much money to spend – and we can`t put ticket prices up, no way – and they have to choose which concert they can afford.”
The original intention – when the gig was announced – was to play three evening concerts plus a matinee on the Saturday. “The whole thing cost about, say, £50,000 to put on and the extra show – the one extra show – would have given us the possibility of making a small profit. `Nough, say, to encourage us to keep it going.
“Then, when all those other shows got going, we knew we`d have to blow out the matinee.”
So you knew long before the concerts that you`d probably lose money?
“Yeah. But I was committed – and I don`t mean just financially. I`d said what I was going to do, against all the best advice, and no way could I pull out, even if I`d wanted to.
“Which I didn`t.
“There`s no-one else to blame but me.”
How`s your head?
“I`m a bit demoralised. Not destroyed. Demoralised.
“We had a meeting with the accountants. They said `First, Rick, is it possible to put on more shows without the orchestra and choir?` Well, it is. And that`s what I`m going to do.

“We`re going to Brazil.
“Pretty soon, in fact. With the six-piece band.
“And I`m getting my new album together. It`s going to be called `The Suite Of Gods` and it`ll be much closer to the `Six Wives` thing: six parts, each dedicated to a particular God of various mythologies… Zeus, Thor and so on. No orchestras. Just the six-piece.”
But he still defends “Arthur”.
“I stand by it musically. I did an incredible amount of research in order to make it work. See, I believe that people want some visual thing – not just me plonking about…”
Why not Just You Plonking About?
“Cos I`m not that sort of feller.”
So a quick summary of Rick Wakeman`s post “Henry VIII” solo career would appear to be…
“Wrote `Journey`. Recorded it. Album sold well. Was advised against going to the States. Went anyway. Lost 243,000 dollars – which I`ve only just found out about, by the way. Came back via Australia and Japan, where we did about 14 gigs in 50 days. Lost money. Back to England. Did `Arthur`. It sold well. Did the concerts. Lost money.”
So it`s Farewell Grandiosity. Hello The Simple Life, eh?
“You`re not kidding.”

IMG_1135

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: Billy Connolly, Sailor, Status Quo, Elton John, Henry Cow, Robert Wyatt, Report on New bands in New York, John Cipollina, Herb Rooney (Exciters), Chris Squire, Cecil Taylor, Patti Smith and Television.

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.