ARTICLE ABOUT Bill Bruford (Genesis) FROM New Musical Express, May 1, 1976

The very excellent drummer Bill Bruford gives the impression of being a very down to earth kind of guy in this interesting interview from the time when he kept the rhythm for Genesis.

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Portrait of the drummer as a seeker after truth not wearing a shirt

The shirt has nothing to do with it. The philosophical bit has. You are looking at a man who renounced BIG MONEY (i.e. Yes) for ART… and now shows cavalier disdain for all potential Solid Gold Drum Stool Awards. BILL BRUFORD, currently gigging with GENESIS, tells CHRIS SALEWICZ why.

Are you quite sure that you`re definitely not joining Genesis full-time?
“Yes.”
What if they asked you nicely? Would you join them then?
Bill Bruford shakes his head in a most positively negative way: “No. No, I couldn`t.”
Because it does sometimes happen that a new musician is brought in for a tour – as you have been for the Genesis US and European jaunt – and is then sussed out by the band and if they like him then he stays.
This is rather what those publicity shots of you and Genesis drummer-in-residence Phil Collins smack of to me.
“No. If Genesis asked me to join them full-time, I couldn`t because I would lose my sense of inquiry if I did. And it`s not the place for me. It does, however, get me to America which is what I want to do. It gets me playing on big stages, which I love doing, and so forth.
“But full-time? No.
“Not, incidentally, that they would want me to either. Because they also appreciate, I think, that I`d probably rock the boat too much and scream and shout and generally get in the way of their very concise idea of what they want to do.”
Right, it goes like this: Bill Bruford, top thinking person`s percussionist and the only King Crimson drummer seen to actually smile on stage, gets a call late last autumn from Phil Collins, Genesis drummer and vocalist now that the band is Gabriel-less.

Collins is in possession of Brand X, a weekend blowing band. (“Brand X is really the player`s kind of escape route from the songwriters, I think, in that playing behind the songs doesn`t entirely give Phil everything that he would like. So he forms Brand X which is a very loose group with not a terrific sense of direction about it so he can air his views elsewhere. And thereby feels all right in Genesis presumably.”)
Would Bill like to come out to play? Yes, please. Bill goes and percusses some four or five times whilst Phil Collins drums. Bill probably gets a certain sense of deja entendu when Collins gets underway: the Phil Collins drumming style has almost certainly had its evolution directed by a thorough earful of Bruford`s playing on assorted Yes records.
Surprise, surprise: Bill Bruford is now percussing and drumming with Genesis on their current tour, thus enabling Collins to take the vocal parts up at stage centre.
Did Collins have this planned all along, you may well ask. Did Bruford spot the footprint of a gigantic hound? Will the audiences at the Genesis concerts be able to tell Flora from Stork?
And so Bruford, aware that he is finally actually Doing Something that warrants a re-statement of his existence to the rock populace at large, gets himself interviewed.
Last summer, I`d bumped into him and suggested a quick C120`s worth. No way. Bill was not actually doing much of great copy-value. He felt it would be demeaning to do an interview of the “Well, I`m getting a band together, aren`t I?” nature. An awareness of the need for selling-points at such occasions is a healthy asset for any rock musician.

It must be said, however, that this Bruford-for-Genesis lark does seem to come close to proving that the man has probably driven himself into a corner by having played with first Yes and then King Crimson.
“Oh dear. The double-edged sword of the track record, that.”
And that this Genesis gig is almost too predictable.
“Well, it certainly covers the English branch of rock,” he nods, stretching out on an exceptionally fire-damaged goatskin rug (mine actually), and ruminates on his gigs since Robert Fripp called the cessation of existence of King Crimson in late summer, 1974:
“I mean, if you throw in Gong, the National Health and Roy Harper” – with all of whom Bruford has boardtrodden during the past 18 months – “that`s a reasonable cross-section of what`s happening here. And if I don`t have any great solutions at the end of that lot I don`t have any great solutions.
“Yeah, it`s funny, that. End of a seven-year twitch in a way.
However, I`m sure that the general conception of Genesis – general conception for the non-afficianado, that is – is that the band is very much in the shadow of Yes.
“Let me tell you,” Bruford scolds, as he presumes incorrectly that I`m speaking only of the US market, “as someone who`s been out on the front, that we tend to lump that kind of English thing together. Well, they don`t necessarily do that at all.
“Genesis get the same manic letters that every band gets – that I got in Yes and I got in King Crimson and I`ll doubtless get in Genesis, about `We think you`re the creators of the universe`. And `you`re the heaviest thing that`s ever happened` and all this nonsense.”

So you obviously don`t think that what they`re doing is Yes-ified?
“They don`t. They certainly don`t.
“But I know they use similar techniques in getting the music together. And – when I was in Yes – quite similar discussions went down about how the music should be created. Yeah, for the purpose of this conversation they`re much of a muchness.
“But the consumer doesn`t see it that way at all.”
Pinteresque pause. And then: “Genesis are actually a Song Group. And quite lightweight at that too. They don`t even like to be considered very `heavy` or anything like that, you know. Songwriters. Very much songwriters.”
As is perhaps half the rock world (sic), Bruford is more than a little amazed that Genesis have not only proved with “Trick Of The Tail” that Peter Gabriel is not necessarily regarded by the band`s devotees as having been synonymous with the band`s name but that they actually appear to be more popular now than they were a year ago when Gabriel remained still a member.
It seems, more than anything, that it`s the prospect of clearing his head of this country and its musical creative barrenness that impelled the percussionist to take the Genesis gig.
“It`ll be good to get back to America. Get re-energised and re-vibed,” he says. “There really is nothing here for musicians – apart from that little National Health axis – who want to play. Which is really what I want to do. I don`t really want to fart around with images and stuff, you know – I`d rather play. And I`m not gonna get a lot of very interesting gigs in England.”

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Bruford was “within pissing distance”, as he so quaintly puts it, of forming his own band last year, “but it got bogged down for various reasons – most of which stem from the fact that you`re 2,000 miles apart.”
Jeff Berlin, the bassist he was enlisting into the band, appears to epitomise the kind of musician he`s been so far unable to come across on the British music scene.
Bruford shrugs his shoulders resignedly. “He`s 22. Four years at Berkeley School Of Music. Plays anything standing on his head. Fantastic bass style. Fantastic bass technique. No complications at all. Where`s the amp? Where`s the gig? Plug me in. I`m away. I`m a jazz musician. I`m a rock musician. No problem at all. Doesn`t think about it. Get in and do it.
“But forming the band was a bit of an uphill struggle,” he laughs, “so rather than force it, I`ll stay loose, keep my nose clean and stay out of trouble.
“Watch, wait, observe and absorb.”
In effect, Bruford has opted out of the game of being a Rock Star. Contrary to what I`d somewhat naively assumed, he has not been coming close to the bread-line. There is obviously something amiss when his management company are very happy indeed that he decided not to form a band as that could have entailed a rather severe tightening of the purse strings.
As it is, there`s always a Pavlov`s Dog around who`ll fly him over the Atlantic so they can find a drummer for their second album.

Actually, Pavlovian kennel-minder supreme Sandy Pearlman is waxing orgasmic about Bruford`s abilities in the current issue of ZigZag. But he`d better watch out. Bruford likes to kiss and tell:
“What happens is you tend to do the thing on the idea that you thought it was anonymous. Or that you were just being hired to play. But, of course, you`re not – because you`re also being hired for your track record, because the group can benefit from your track record as well.
“And the next thing you know, there are journalists sitting about all the time and you`re tacked on to some sort of a group.
“And I don`t think it`s really fair that I should be used that way, you know, so I kinda resent that a bit.”
Having been part of it then having made a conscious decision to opt out of it Bruford is very well aware of what is going haywire with rock`n`roll big business – and thereby with rock`n`roll in general.
Rock`n`roll, you see, isn`t too far removed from the corporate non-thinking that infests most of the world`s financial institutions. And, of course, much that falls into the category of corporate thinking is born of paranoia that the individual decision maker – at all levels throughout the institution – may have his position jeopardised by threatening talent emerging below him.
Hence talent does not always out by any means. This is not profound thinking. Any trained sociologist should be able to tell you that.
Trained sociologist will probably neglect to consider, however, that this trait is as prevalent in the rock`n `roll business as in, say, the Houses Of Parliament.
Tell me, Bill, where are all the 19 to 22-year-old talented rock musicians?
“I think that`s been fixed by the wealthy rockers, you know, who`ve cut themselves a slice of the action and want to keep everybody else out of it – even if it`s only buying PA systems that kids can`t afford, you know.

“We`ve got a nice slice of the action and everybody else who didn`t make it before the gates closed… Well, it`s tough shit.
“There was a particularly sunny vibe when everybody was playing instruments in about 1968, 1969. And people were beginning to get rich and everybody had a record contract, you know. And that`s all ended.
“There was a very sunny few years when the Chris Squires of this world got rich. And they can count their chickens that they lived at that time – because in very few other times would they have been so lucky, I think.
“I expect I`ll go on doing the rounds playing on everybody`s records. I mean, yeah, it`s a career, isn`t it really?
“Perhaps when another five or ten years have elapsed we`ll all have a good second-wind of ideas of what to play among the 35 to 40-year olds. Perhaps I`ll do nothing until around my late 30s.
“I`m trying to hover, you see.”
Yet, of course, you created that problem by leaving Yes.
“Yeah. Deliberately so. Well, that was to avoid getting farmed out and believing that you`re great and that you don`t have to do another day`s work in your life.” When did you first become aware that that was a strong possibility?
“Of being farmed out and bought off? And rendered thoroughly inactive?” Bruford laughs.
“Oh, I dunno. After I joined Crimson. When I realised I would have maybe lost any sting I had in the bass players` commuter belt down the A30.
“It`s an old trick that: so much money about that you daren`t say anything against it.
“But I don`t have any solutions, though. I`m just hovering… trying to get around with some of the better musicians around. Like the National Health. And learn something. See if maybe they`ve got an answer because I haven`t really got an answer.”

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A full page ad in NME for Budgie. Nice one.

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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Graham Parker, Louis Jordan, Jimi Hendrix, Horace Silver, Jimmy Castor, Nazareth, Rick Wakeman.

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 ABBA FROM New Musical Express, April 24, 1976

I think Abba deserves a place on my blog. Creators of some of the most melodic music ever and with a production that still holds it own among a lot of albums produced today – this is a music phenomenon you just can`t ignore.
What happens when you send a punk rocker like Mr. Farren to investigate this phenomenon? Well, his research on the band is not quite up to the standard one should expect looking at the names he gives the girls in the band. But otherwise, it is a funny and well-written collection of words on a band that fascinates the world as much now as when they ruled the world 40 years ago.

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What`s squeaky-clean, exquisitely produced, Scandinavian and goes “OOMPAH”? OOMPAH? OOMPAH!

The answer to the riddle is ABBA … and here`s Mick Farren to ask it

They`d told us that Stockholm`s numero uno disco nightclub was a place called Alexandra`s. From the way the muscle on the door looked at you when you told them you had a table booked, you could almost believe it was the city`s most exclusive niterie.
Inside, it`s black glass, mirrors and the kind of Edwardian whorehouse lampshades that they were selling in Biba`s five years ago.
On the miniscule dance floor a young woman who looks like a kind of lumpy, muscular Bibi Anderson is performing something that resembles a cross between the frug and Canadian Air Force Advanced Physical Training Routine. Another equally strapping couple join her on the floor. They start into a soft core porn-by-numbers version of The Bump.
An overweight computer salesman leads an equally overweight young woman out to join the other couples. They press against each other. The salesman rubs his hands over her thighs. They sway, roughly in time to the music. Right at that moment it`s Barry White. Later it evolves to the 1966 Spencer Davis Group.
At nearly three pounds for a drink it`s not even possible to get drunk. The whole image of Sweden as wall-to-wall Britt Eklands falls apart at the seams.
And who sent us into Alexandra`s, this feast of Scandinavian delights? None other than Bjorn Ulvaeus, one of the masterminds behind the group called Abba, the first Scandinavian pop ensemble ever to make a dent in the international entertainment industry.

I guess the only way you could have failed to be exposed to Abba`s particular brand of open-face, Ultra-Brite pop is to have spent the last twelve months in a sealed fallout shelter. Only someone totally insulated from radios, televisions and even pub juke-boxes could have missed them. Since their Eurovision Song Contest win in 1974 with a song called “Waterloo”, their music has poured forth in an unrelenting stream from just about every kind of electronic medium.
They`ve had hits (not one but virtually sequential hits, one after the other) in Britain, the U.S.A., most of Europe, Hong Kong, the Phillipines and Australia. In Australia they beat both Sinatra and Andy Williams in T.V. ratings with their telly special. About the only market in the world that they haven`t solidly dented is Japan, and that seems only to be a matter of time.
Right about now (unless you`ve already given up and turned the page) you`re probably wondering what in hell am I doing going on about Abba? Has Farren lost his marbles, suffered brain damage, been bribed? (Funny you should mention it – Ed).
No, my friends, it is not what you fear. Just bear with me a while longer and all will be made clear.
Anyone who comes so fast and hard out of left field and sells so many millions of records has to qualify as a PHENOMENON. A squeaky clean phenomenon for sure, nowhere in the same bracket as Lou Reed, but a phenomenon just the same.
“Wait a minute,” you cry, “surely if a big corporation hype is being undertaken it`s no great hardship to use a band that`s a novelty in terms of its country of origin? Isn`t it just the Osmonds in a Bergman location? If they did it in Salt Lake City they can do it in Stockholm.”

That would be quite true, except for one thing, Abba are not the product of some faceless corporation mogul in the Hollywood Hills, with I.B.M. time and lots and lots of money. Sure they`re a manufactured product, but the men behind them are Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, who happen to be in the group, and Stig Anderson, who is the boss of the almost one-man Polar Records label that had previously catered solely for the Scandinavian market.
In form and style, their closest antecedents are the early days of Motown – or maybe Philles.
Once again I hear the cries starting – Abba? Motown? Philles??
Okay, I know Abba don`t sound anything like either Motown or Philles. They aren`t funky, they have no soul and they`re bland to the point of making baby food seem raunchy. It`s the structure that produces the music that I`m talking about – and also the fact that a frightening amount of work goes into each one of their records.
Admittedly, to an ear that`s been weaned on rock and roll it`s hard to detect. I`d dismissed Abba as audio pablum and closed my mind whenever I heard “Mamma Mia” in the pub until a couple of my noble colleagues pointed out just how complex the Abba backing tracks were.
They were right, too. It took quite a while to strip away the eager, healthy vocal sound, the cute-to-the-point-of-moronic lyrics and the continually bouncing Nordic boom-boom hereafter referred to as Eurobeat. Once that`s done, you`re actually left with a pop structure in the grand manner of The Beatles or Spector.
So grand, in fact, that it would be more than likely to go clean over the head of the average Abba punter.
The whole thing was sufficiently intriguing that, when the chance to go to Stockholm and look at Abba in their natural habitat came up, I went to investigate.

The natural habitat of Abba varies between a large, rather elegant house near the centre of Stockholm and an island retreat outside the city. The house is where all Abba`s business is transacted; the country house is where they retire to at regular intervals to write, record and produce more songs.
The first part of the Abba story came from Stig Anderson. Anderson has medium-length hair and the craggy features of a Hemingway character. He has been in the music industry since the early `60`s.
In 1971 his partner died and it was suggested that he hire Benny Andersson as a producer. Benny brought Bjorn Ulvaeus and as Benny and Bjorn they created a couple of Swedish hits. Then, teaming up with the two girls they made “Ring Ring” which, although it made no mark on the U.K. market, was a major hit in Northern Europe. From there, world domination was in sight.
While Andersson talks, he is constantly interrupted by calls and secretaries. His office is just what you`d expect of a Swedish record company whose main attraction is Abba. It`s all bright, clean, stripped pine efficiency. The only thing in the entire room that doesn`t fit with the squeaky clean image is a big, almost life size painting. It`s of a schoolgirl in gymslip, crisp white blouse and straw boater. Her blouse is unbuttoned and one breast is exposed. Her discreet and presumably masturbating hand has slipped under her skirt. The style is ultra realism. It`s the only sign of decadence in the whole Abba operation.
Stig Andersson is a very definite part of the team that produces Abba`s records. He writes some of the lyrics and generally lets Benny and Bjorn use him as a kind of sounding board. They try out new songs on him first and depending on his response they decide what`s commercial and what isn`t. Although I can no way go along with his taste there`s no denying that, so far, he has an uncanny feel for public taste, but so, for that matter, has the editor of The Sun.

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We move downstairs to a basement office to meet the group themselves. A photo session is winding up. Abba have been decked out in Daily Mirror Pop Club T-shirts. The two girls, Frieda and Anna, drop into instant posed animation for the camera. In between they seem kind of bored.
Benny and Frieda are engaged. Bjorn and Anna are married.
That`s right, folks, it`s a family act.
Bjorn Ulvaeus is thin and intelligent, he tends to do more of the talking. Benny Andersson is bearded and jovial. Anna and Frieda have the aloofness of the professionally decorative. It quickly becomes clear that they do not play any great role in the creative side of the act. Shortly after the interview they leave the room.
There`s a little initial fencing around. The two men are open and friendly. They are neither idiots or cynical pap-pushers who calculatedly feed the public what they think they want. They obviously like the work they`re doing, take great pains with it and are anxious to extend their creativity as far as possible.
They are both products of the somewhat isolated Scandinavian pop scene. Bjorn played with a folk outfit called the Hootenanny Singers, while Benny was in a band called the Hep Stars who played “Hermans Hermits songs and that kind of thing.” Just the name conjures up pictures of what these groups must have been like. I have visions of earnest Swedes solemnly intoning M.O.R. babble learned off the records.
“You have to realise that, in Sweden, we don`t have the rock and roll background that there is in Britain or America. We listened to Chuck Berry and The Rolling Stones of course but we didn`t quite grow up with them in the same way that you did.”

I ask them about Eurobeat. Why are they so obsessed by that jolly, obnoxious boom-boom?
Benny volunteers: “This is the popular traditional music of Nothern Europe. Our folk songs sound like that. The first instrument I ever had was an accordion. My parents bought it for me when I was about ten.”
An accordion! It seems to almost symbolise the problem of Abba. It fits, but it`s hard to explain. Outside of maybe Clifton Chenier, as far as I`ve ever been concerned, the only good accordion is a dead accordion. I think we have maybe defined the culture gap, if not bridged it.
Earlier, in Stig Andersson`s office he had played me a cut called “Intermezzo” from the album “Abba.” It`s obviously the prime example of Benny stretching out beyond the song Song For Europe format. It`s an instrumental from the Wakeman/Emmerson/Moruz bag, except the Eurobeat bounces through it. It is impressively put together. A lot of work and technical skill obviously went into it and it gets right up my nose. It also proves that Eurobeat is so deeply ingrained in the souls of these Swedes that they will probably never lose it.
The time comes when there`s no getting round the central unpleasant question: “How come you take so much trouble with the production of the music on your record and then stick these moronic lyrics over the top?”
I do my best to phrase it more politely, but it still comes out sounding mildly insulting.
To my surprise nobody is actually insulted. Benny shys away slightly. “We don`t want to write political songs. We don`t want to turn our records into speeches.”
I explain I didn`t mean politics, just imagery and content. Love songs can have a hell of a lot more depth than anything Abba have ever attempted. I point at examples like “Yesterday,” “California Dreamin” and “God Only Knows.” Bjorn looks thoughtful.

“I`m glad you brought this up. It is possible that we`ve been concentrating too much on the music and neglecting the lyrics. You have to realise that it is very hard to create images in a foreign language.”
“You always write in English.”
“Yes. So few people speak Swedish.”
“It wouldn`t be possible to do something part English and part Swedish, the way McCartney used French in “Michelle?”
“Anything`s possible. I think we are becoming far more fluent in English. Since we`ve been touring we find it much easier to express ideas.”
The interview changes into a discussion of lyrics. Both Benny and Bjorn seem anxious to learn all they can. It could simply be a case of flatter-the-journalist-so-he-writes-nice-things, but I do get the feeling that these guys who have suddenly started producing world-wide hits from what must be a musical backwater, want to soak up information like sponges.
The conversation moves on to morality.
“Don`t you feel that, with Abba, you could almost be turning out a kind of palliative; jolly songs that create the illusion that things aren`t as bleak as they really are?”
“Bleak?”
“We are in the middle of a depression.”
“We don`t plan in advance what we are going to do. We just go to our island and record whatever`s in our heads.”
Bjorn joins in: “We have not felt the effects of the depression too much in Sweden.”
I think about the people merrily knocking back their £3 drinks. Perhaps he`s right.

There`s one other thing I feel I ought to find out about. Abba are a group who have been promoted to a large extent by the medium of television. What do they do when they play live?
“We don`t play a great many concerts. It`s a problem to reproduce what we do on record live. When we do play we have something like 17 people on the stage.
“We also don`t like to be committed to lengthy tours. It means we can`t go out to our island and record. This is the most important thing.”
“Surely when you go to America to play concerts you`re going to be pushed into the Las Vegas circuit?”
“We don`t want to become a Vegas act.”
That is very firm. I wonder how these earnest Swedes are going to deal with the big league music Mafia.
“You don`t feel the need to play regularly to a live audience?”
“Not at the moment, but things are always changing.”
A bottle of Aquavit comes out and the interview winds down. I don`t really feel I`ve got the whole picture. I`m not sure I`d have it if I spent a whole week with Abba. Finally Bjorn drives us back to the hotel. This, in itself, is pretty unusual for a pop star.
I suppose that brings us back to where we came in: The gymnastic frug in the discotheque. Abba (and young Sweden, for that matter) appear serious, hard working, painstaking and eager.
Unfortunately, they don`t have natural rhythm. And that`s why Abba are Abba, and not The Beach Boys.

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Yes, THAT group would be even more exciting over the years.

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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Mick Ronson, British Country Music Festival, Rolling Stones, J.J. Cale, Magna Carta, Dr. Alimantado, Steve Harley, Osibisa.

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 Kiss FROM New Musical Express, April 24, 1976

Some interesting perspectives on Kiss in this short review of their album “Destroyer”. It has been over 40 years since this album arrived, and among a lot of Kiss-fans it is held as one of their greatest albums ever. Also, in a lot of the rock music magazines, it usually gets in the top 50 albums of all time lists. So there is something about this album that Mr. Bell couldn`t quite see at the time.
Enjoy!

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KISS: Destroyer (Casablanca)

By Max Bell

If ever a group have made it huge in America by carefully manipulated saturation in terms of records, concerts and promotion then Kiss are that animal.
Five records in two years, bill topping over bands they were supporting but six months ago – jeez, Kiss are so big it hurts.
Incredibly their reliance on a modicum of style, unashamed derivativeness and a stage persona which is gross in the extreme still hasn`t prevented them being accepted by the city fathers and mothers of the union. When Kiss hit town they get the works; keys, red carpets and police escorts.
Kind of fishy for a bunch of perverted looking dudes in monster make-up and ten-inch heels, the kind of guys you`d expect your parents to loathe and detest.
But no, the Kiss armies, kissing competitions, Kiss-mobiles and fan clubs abound, the accent is on fun-a-go-go. The whole thing reeks of commercialism gone mad.
For “Destroyer” they`ve kept the services of Bob Ezrin, who is certainly a better producer than Neil Bogart, and heralds Kiss` foray into the territory vacated by Alice Cooper now that he`s taken to advertising Budweiser and playing golf with the establishment.
Ezrin has also written a lot of the lyrics this time round and that means the image moves from contrivance to downright self-parody.

The opener “Detroit Rock City” is aimed specifically at a `Get up off your chair and get down` routine, the oldest trick in the book. Musicwise and otherwise though the song is pretty nifty and involves the grisly tale of someone killed in a head on collision (with sound effects, natch) while listening to his own music blaring over the car radio.
It`s a typical piece of Ezrin chicanery but good for all that.
Kim Fowley, that real live minor league punk, proves he`s still at large by contributing “King Of The Night Time World” which has guitarists Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley hors de combat and slurping along like subterranean, festering corpses while the ridiculous Gene Simmons yells his set pieces with credible `B` horror movie posturing.
Maybe I`ve got calluses on the brain but I sometimes think Kiss are quite funny. Undeniably they`re slick and ultra polished too but the vampire drooling extras are getting tedious. Worse, drummer Peter Criss and Frehley are looking bored these days, all that grease paint can`t do much for the complexion anyhow.
A lot of their recent publicity snaps show that only Simmons and Stanley seem convinced that all this is good idea.
An example of Kiss falling by their image comes on “God Of Thunder” which is no doubt a cue for the exploding amplifiers and automatic neutron pods to splutter into action. Musically it sucks. A gratuitously gimmick ridden, ham-fisted dose of fall out entirely bereft of humour or excitement.

“Great Expectations” is a slab of pubescent teasing which,, ow you say, leaves little to the imagination. `You`ll watch me playing my guitar and you`ll see what my fingers can do`. Humph, I think you get the picture. At least that kind of dumb nastiness fits Kiss` grisly masque whereas “Beth”, replete with lavish strings and weedy romanticism, is plain idiotic.
Kiss are suffering from one overwhelming problem, their own success. I happen to believe that given time and minus the now ludicrous clowning they could make something genuinely heavy.
With material of the calibre of “Shout It Out Loud” (very neatly dispatched to the cleaners by Mister Singles last week) they are merely riding on a vehicle of their own unimaginative making. “Flaming Youth”, which is actually highly creditable rock`n`roll, would have been a far better bet.
Of course they`re no fools, very adept and sending themselves up rotten, probably some kind of poisonous gas live too. Still as they are now running snarling to the bank with such regularity I wish they`d justify the talent that lurks beneath the facade.

Kiss Destroyer

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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Mick Ronson, British Country Music Festival, Abba, J.J. Cale, Magna Carta, Dr. Alimantado, Steve Harley, Osibisa, Rolling Stones.

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 Mick Ronson (Ian Hunter, Mott The Hoople, David Bowie) FROM New Musical Express, April 24, 1976

When you look at the people Mr. Ronson played with in his life, you have to be a little impressed. In many ways I feel that he is not given the credit that he deserves when you look at all the big name musicians that wanted to play with him. When people speak of great guitarists he is seldom mentioned, but he definitely had something that attracted so many others to his services. He had the talent, but he may have lacked the drive to be as good as his talent permitted. As this interview may give an indication of.

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The RONSON you give will always remind him of you

or more likely he`ll smash it. Read how Dylan`s old buddy breaks his guitars… then blows out his amp… then blows out his fuzz box. He does not, however, blow out his baked beans.

By Neet O`Noser

The rumours started circulating around Saturday evening, passed on secretively by several Hollywood groupies and a handful of “in” people.
By Sunday the circle of confidants had expanded to include the press and by Monday everybody knew except those too old to care or the too young to know. That evening at Channel 4 in Burbank (shooting home of the television show Midnight Special) Mick Ronson, Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert, Albert Lee, Bo Diddley, Mark Steiner, Barry Goldberg and Roger McGuinn would be teaming up for a super jam to be filmed and televised at a later date.
The audial possibilities alone seemed staggering, and though that evening`s taping never made the legendary mark it was still… uh… interesting.
Backstage, Mick Ronson raced around looking for a cup of coffee. Dressed in ill-fitting Levis (they were too short; evidently he does not realise this look went out in the 50`s and that floor-level fit is now the cat`s meow), white tennis shoes and T-shirt, he presented the perfect antithesis of the Bowie/Mott/Hunter days when silk scarves and high shoes made up his tout ensemble.
It all fits in with his current pre-occupation with Bob Dylan and the American Way in general.
For the ex-Spider, the Rolling Thunder Revue has been like a breath of new life; his most recent work with Ian Hunter was disastrous and the call from Dylan was as welcome as a message from the Messiah.

Mick has finally landed the coffee, and with face made-up for the taping, chats about the Dylan episode.
“It`s so fresh, it`s just like I`ve started playing again. It`s like I`ve got to learn how to play again… it`s that kind of feelin`. And it`s real refreshin`. But I don`t want to put aside the things I`ve done because they`re valuable.”
Ronson is ushered on to the stage along with the rest of the band and immediately Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice break into a breakneck version of the Beck, Bogert and Appice tune, “Lady.”
Bogert, as usual, is monstrous on bass and Mick – anxious to join in – quickly switches on the Fender amplifier and turns up the volume.
A loud hissing is followed by piercing squeals. Perplexed and nonplussed, he quietly requests another amp. This one works fine and after wringing one searing note from the rented Les Paul (both of his other guitars are broken) Ronno stomps on the fuzz box.
Crackling and spitting sounds emerge.
With a smile illuminating his powdered features, he requests another fuzz.
Finally both amp and fuzz are working and joining in with the other musicians – who by this time are all playing – he delivers some effective if not too creative riffs.
In fact, it is this pre-jam jam which will be the highlight of the evening.
The rest of the show is made up of “Not Fade Away”, “Hey Bo Diddley,” and another number, and though the overall sound is nothing to write home about the simple majesty of the affair is intriguing.

The next day, back at the hotel, Ronson is excited about last evening`s play and the whole American attitude towards music. He is in the midst of a scrambled eggs, bacon and hashed browns breakfast, and in between mouthfuls carries on the conversation.
He`s talking about his rejuvenation (he`s 29), which he apparently began in June of 1974 when he visited New York and met up with Bobby Neuwirth.
“I just started hanging around with Bobby, and he told me about the tour, I thought he was jokin`, because I didn`t know Dylan, and when Bobby talked about the tour he made it sound so loose. I thought, `This can`t be right what I`m hearin`. Maybe a bit of it`s right but it`s not just like that.` But yet it was that`s exactly how it was.”
Mick gags on a mouthful of bacon and takes a stiff drink of milk. He`ll anxious to go out shopping for records and guitars (“It`s the first time in years I`ve wanted to go out and buy guitars”) and decides to hit Tower Records first.
The reaction in the store is typical; ladies flit around like moths in flame territory and guys look on enviously. Several ask for autographs and Ronson obliges.
Then it`s outside and back into his silver Rolls Royce at the Tropicana (he leaves the guitar-searching for later) his thoughts run back to Bowie.
Despite rumours to the contrary, that association was a positive one and his enthusiasm when questioned about possible reunions with D.B. leaves little doubt that these feelings were heartfelt.
“Sure, I`d love to play with David again. I mean, I really like him. He`s really clever. He writes a lot of good songs. He can write a lot of good songs.

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“I mean, I like the guy. Even though I have said… it`s been quoted something like, `Well, if I ever see him I`m going to give him a kick up the ass.` I don`t literally mean I`m going to beat his brains out. I want to sort of get near him as a friend and not in battle.
“I mean to go in with that kind of approach but only to gain some instant respect, so that some kind of friendship can be locked in again.
“I haven`t seen him for a long time; I don`t ring him and he doesn`t ring me and I don`t know where he is and he doesn`t know where I am. I think that`s a shame because I respect him and I like his music.”
Ronson felt fulfilled in Bowie`s band as a guitarist but towards the end of his stay was becoming more interested in other endeavours, such as producing and arranging. He only started writing with his first solo album, “Slaughter on 10th Avenue,” and never had any inclination to do so with Bowie.
Not only has playing with the Rolling Thunder Revue opened him up to the guitar again but his taste for writing has been whetted. Not that he`s sat down with Dylan and taken lessons (“You don`t trade licks with him… he just plays songs”) but he has put pen to paper in recent days.
“I was never interested in writing when I was with Bowie. They were all David`s songs. And I do enjoy playing other people`s songs. I never wrote any songs at all until my first solo album.
“I got incredibly lazy; I wouldn`t sit down and think about a song, I`d rather sit down and get drunk, or I`d much rather sit down and play with women.

“I`m not into reading or poetry… so I never wrote. I think I`ve read two books in my whole life. Tom Sawyer was one and I can`t even remember the other. So I never had a way with words. I guess I said it musically. But I now want to express myself lyrically too, and I have written a couple of things. I`m singing more too, but only in the bathtub.
“I mean I was happy in David`s band as a guitar player but I never used to really play that much guitar when I was with him. I`d never sit around and play. I`d only play it when we were recording or I was on stage.
“And sometimes in the studio I`d say, `Oh, I don`t want to play guitar yet; and I`d put it away somewhere – because it started becoming secondary to other things that I wanted to do in the studio… production, arranging.
“I used to have to force myself to take it out – which was real strange for a guitar player to do.
“David was real good, real clever. He comes up with some real bright ideas. We used to work really good together for a time. I wanted to see him on the tour.
“But I couldn`t get any tickets.”
Ronson`s metamorphosis since leaving Bowie has been swift. Gone are the sequined fineries and the reluctance to play, and in their place are Levi regalia and an enthusiasm for the strings.
So long as it`s fun Ronson will continue. But don`t get me wrong – he`s no gung ho character.
“See that guitar there?” he asks, pointing to the rented Les Paul. “It`ll stay in its case until I go into the studio with Roger (McGuinn) tonight. I still don`t practise.”

Jams like the one which took place last night have become a frequent occurrence for Ronson, and that`s how his chops are kept up.
He is sure people will see his work with Dylan as a strange coupling, but isn`t worried about it.
“It doesn`t matter what people think as long as I`m enjoying myself. Some people are gonna like it and some people aren`t. Some people will think, `Why`s he playing that hillbilly shit? Why doesn`t he get back to what he was doing?` But I`m still playing some pretty hard rockin` things same as before – but with these different musicians.
“I`m having a good time. All the people on the Dylan tour were really good people… people who could be with each other all day and all night. It`s just like I used to hang out with Bowie… we used to have fun. We all hung around together because it was good for an up-and-coming band to be seen together.”
Mick Ronson at 29 is really just a beginner. After starving in London and Paris years ago, he now charters Rolls Royces and hangs out with Bob Dylan. But he`s still the same person – playing “Blowing In The Wind” through small amps and “Ziggy Stardust” through massive Marshalls.
“I`m just learnin` like everybody else. I could work harder but then I`m just basically lazy.”

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Another ad probably not allowed these days. Only in videos.

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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rolling Stones, British Country Music Festival, Abba, J.J. Cale, Magna Carta, Dr. Alimantado, Steve Harley, Osibisa.

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 Rolling Stones FROM New Musical Express, April 24, 1976

I don`t think I have posted an article about Rolling Stones before, so here goes. Will be interesting to see if the Stones fans are out there or if they have read all of this before.
As usual, you can count on Mr. Murray to give a proper slagging off when he feel it is deserved. And, as we have learned before, he often feel it is deserved.
Have a good read!

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Sometimes You Can`t Even Get What You Need

The New Stones Album

Charles Shaar Murray sets off in search of Ancient Gods, and finds nothing more than four (or five or six as the case may be) Ageing Punks in search of an idea.

“The Rolling Stones are a really good band, but, like, I consider them like a boys` band because they don`t play mens music. They don`t play professional music for men, they play music for young people, and even with their most intelligent material as a stimulant, they play music for the young.”
– Mike Bloomfield, 1968.

“I`ve heard some of the Rolling Stones` new tracks and although I dig them, I don`t think they`re anything more than what they are, which is incredible, delicious and wonderful rock and roll and well overdue from them. The Rolling Stones should always be a non-progressive group.
– Pete Townshend, 1968.

“Quite simply, I personally feel that the Stones are the world`s best rock and roll band – quite unqualifiedly. Not that I think their records are always great… it`s like Glyn Johns says about a Stones session, you can sit and wait for weeks and they`ll just churn out a lot of rubbish.”
– Pete Townshend, 1970.

“That`s what makes the Stones the Stones: they never back down, never lose ground, they plunge ahead as raw as life itself, and even though they made mistakes sometimes they`re not afraid to admit `em, and they`ll take another wilder chance round the very next bend. That`s rock and roll, brother, and so are the Rolling Stones.”
– Lester Bangs, 1973.

The last time the Stones put out an album was nearly two years ago.
That was “It`s Only Rock`n` Roll” and since then they`ve pacified the natives only with a couple of crash-course-for-the-ravers compilations of their Decca and Rolling Stones Records periods (“Rolled Gold” and “Made In The Shade” respectively), Bill Wyman`s “Stone Alone”, assorted cameos on Ron Wood`s solo albums, and the everything – you – always – wanted – to – hear – from – the – Stones – and – then – wished – you – hadn`t – asked “Metamorphosis.”
Mick Taylor blue-jaunted at the tail end of `74, just as the Stones were about to embark on their next bout of recording, and various notables – including Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood (two guys I would deem it inadvisable to invite to the same session), Robert A. Johnson (from John Entwistle`s Ox), Harvey Mandel (late of Canned Heat and John Mayall), and Wayne Perkins (late of Smith, Perkins and Smith) – zoomed in amidst flurries of are – they – or – are – they – not – the – new – Stones to help The Greatest Rock And Roll Band In The World to lay down their weary tracks.
Anyway, Ron Wood won the door prize and gets his pic on the sleeve despite still not being “officially” a full-fledged Stone, and the nationals generally play safe by referring to him as “guitarist with the Rolling Stones and the Faces” even though the Faces are gone-gone.
And guess what? “Black And Blue”, the Stones` new album, released last week, is composed entirely of material recorded between mid-December of 1974 and early April of 1975, featuring Wood, Mandel and Perkins on auxiliary guitars. Relevance, right? Immediacy, right? Fast throughput, right?

In his celebrated Rolling Stone interview, Keith Richard responded to Robert Greenfield`s remark that “Stones albums usually take a long time” as follows: “Which really pisses me off. Because everybody`s laid back a little more and everybody has other things, whereas when it was just a matter of being on the road and recording, that`s all you did… and obviously you could do things much quicker that way, but you can`t have weddings of the year and solo albums…”
So “Black And Blue” comes out nearly a year after it was cut, which would imply (a) that the Stones have been having a more than somewhat turbulent time of it and (b) a fairly low read-out on the prolific-o-meter.
Still, it wouldn`t matter a hoot in hell if the album had proved itself worth the wait, but “Black And Blue” is a let-down of hideous proportions, totally devoid of either the epic sense of sleazy grandeur or the galvanic bejewelled tension which are the Stones` twin ace cards.
From the top, then.
Side one opens up with “Hot Stuff”, with two guitar parts from Keef, lead by Harvey Mandel, and a dollop of piano from Billy Preston. It`s little more than a lengthy (nearly five-and-a-half minutes) workout on a funk riff with Jagger alternately breathing “Hot Stuff, can`t get enough” over the top, and indulging in what sounds like a drunken impression of Captain Beefheart doing an I. Roy talkover. Mandel takes a lengthy psychedelic I-am-backward-tape solo when Jagger pauses for breath, which isn`t nearly often enough. Richard`s rhythm lick is awesomely casual in the time-honoured Keef tradition of playing so loose that it sounds as if he`s going to miss a chop at any moment – except that he invariably holds it down with his patented understatedly deft throwaway precision. Plus Charlie`s good tonight, inne?

Unfortunately, even the sterling efforts of these two stalwarts can`t make “Hot Stuff” anything more than an embarrassment.
“Hand Of Fate” is built around a cluster of supposedly fail-safe Stones devices: a snarling, lurching Keefriff, a spitting, grandstanding Jagger vocal, Watts cymbal smashes to boost the momentum, mixed-down Preston piano, and a hardnosed lead guitar (by Perkins, who sounds uncannily like Mick Taylor, which doesn`t hurt a bit).
Only trouble is it don`t work. It sets itself up as the latest heir to “Brown Sugar” and “Stray Cat Blues,” but winds up as little more than a poor relation.
“Cherry Oh Baby,” the Stones` latest stab at reggae, was written by Eric Donaldson, who recorded the original version which, regrettably I haven`t heard. It features Nicky Hopkins in the unfamiliar role of organist and no less than four guitar parts (three by Keef and one by Honest Ron Wood, putting in the first of his three cameo appearances). Charlie Watts plays delightfully crisp and solid drums – the best white reggae drums I`ve ever heard, in fact – but Bill Wyman`s bass is far too sluggish and the guitars stumble over each other, completely demolishing the feel of the track.
The last time the Stones addressed themselves to the wonders of dat JA beat (“Luxury” on “It`s Only Rock`n` Roll”), they covered their bets both ways by simultaneously stylising reggae to hell `n` gone, and maintaining a basic classic Stones rough-edge drive with a reggae back beat. Here, they attempt a professional-music-for-men straightforward cop of Actual Real JA Licks, and blow it. The vocal is so hammy that any devout Rasta, Muslim or Jew wouldn`t even allow it in the house.
The final track on the side, “Memory Motel”, goes part of the way towards reclaiming the lost ground. Perkins and Mandel play guitars (acoustic and electric respectively), and Jagger and Richard pianos (ditto) while Billy Preston weighs in on string synthesiser (the acceptable face of mellotron). It`s a fair-to-middling example of the Stones Ballad, with just enough roughage from the vocal and drums to satisfactorily complement the pastoral keyboardarama, and extremely winsome melody. It would be a more than adequate Second Division cut on a Grade A Stones album, but on this one it`s the first track that actually achieves what it sets out to do.

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In general, things pick up a little on the second side. They don`t pull off any masterstrokes, but on the other hand they don`t fumble the ball.
“Hey Negrita” is the album`s winner dance track, sinuous stomping funk with Richard and Wood on guitars (a commendably restrained one guitar track apiece) and Preston on piano and organ; tailormade accompaniment for stuff-strutting. The song ain`t no Nobel Prizewinner, but it`s just solid enough to give the riff an excuse for living and the chorus vocals (by Jagger, Richard, Preston and Wood) have a nicely sassy urgency.
“Melody”, which follows, is another of the album`s better moments. Cool, slinky, feline and deceptively mellow, it gives Billy Preston a handsdown landslide as its Best Supporting Player for his piano, organ and backup vocals, tho` Bro` Keef comes a respectable second for his snaky blues fills. It also wins Best Lyric and Best Vocal – not that Jagger gives himself too much competition on this album. There`s a beautiful verse which goes sump`n like:
`I took her out eatin` but she
drank up all my pay,
She said, `I`m gon` fix my
face, don`t you go away`,
I was lookin` for her high and
low like a master for a hound,
She was passed out in the
bathroom in the arms of my best
friend.”
Cute, huh?

Unfortunately, the next cut, “A Fool To Cry”, throws away a very pretty backing track (Richard and Perkins on guitars, Jagger on electric piano, Hopkins on acoustic piano and string synthesiser) and a lovely chorus with a quite unprecedentedly crass vocal and lyric. Maestro?
“I come home baby, after
working all night long,
Put my daughter on my knee,
And she say, `Daddy, what`s
wrong?`
And she whisper in my ear so
sweet,
You know what she say? She
say,
`Daddy, you`re a fool to cry…”
Look, I know Mick and Keith used to write for Gene Pitney, but this is ridiculous.
For closers, there`s “Crazy Mama”, another entry in the Write – A – Classic – Stones – Rock – Out sweepstakes. The song`s a bit of a 98-pound weakling, but the track has a rolling, methodical, remorseless power with Richard playing both the rhythm and the principal leads, augmented by Mr Jagger himself on Assistant Rhythm and (it says here) Wood and Preston for the gorgeous solo and fade-out lick. I haven`t the faintest idea what Preston`s playing, since it sounds like three guitars to me, but I`m too chicken to argue the toss with an Actual Mock-Up of Actual Engineers` 16-Track Mixing Notes.

Commendations: Keith Richard still plays Keith Richard better than anybody else, though he`s played it considerably better in the past. Charlie Watts is, on the other hand, greater than ever. Mick Jagger`s guitar is improving dramatically, and he`s playing very respectable piano indeed.
The Massed Engineers (played by Glyn Johns, Keith Harwood, Phil McDonald and Len Hahn) have achieved a radically different Stones sound: ultra-crisp, clean and sharp, with an enviable degree of solidity and punch on the bass and drums: as opposed to the tangled, shaggy meatgrinder mixes of yore. It`s a Conventional Good Sound, and I still haven`t made up my mind about it.
Brickbats: the quality of the material and of Jagger`s vocals is at an all-time Stones low. The songs are mostly poor, and Jagger sounds strained and uptight, substituting caricature phrasing and enunciation for the deadly, lynx-like confidence of old. Could be he`s unhappy with the songs and is thus unable to work within them to his customary degree.
All in all, “Black And Blue” comes on like an idea-shaped vacuum. Why it wasn`t released a year ago I haven`t the faintest idea; and I can only presume that it`s surfacing now because they haven`t had the time/energy/inspiration (place a tick under either “true” or “false”) to cut anything better in the meantime.
Perhaps the most upsetting aspect of the album is that parts of it already sound dated. “Hot Stuff”, particularly, reminds one that a year ago, when it was cut, earnest spadophiles in the rockbiz were all enraptured by Thangs Fonky (Kool, Ohio Players, Fatbacks etc.) and the likes of Keith and his pals were probably dying to try their hand at Summa Dat Fonky Stoff. (Ditto reggae, for that matter.) Well, Fonk precision-tooled itself into a blind alley and “Hot Stuff” is still staring blankly at the wall.

It doesn`t sound as if the Stones are too much in touch with what`s actually happening. “Black And Blue” is neither a triumphant return to the forefront to show all the upstart bands of the last two years that the Original Is Still The Greatest nor a work of resolute classicism. Rather, it radiates confusion and aridity; isolation and stalemate.
Unquestionably they`ve still got the chops to play the ass off of their next set of good ideas, but those good ideas are gonna haveta be there if the Rolling Stones intend to be anything more than an oldies band. “Black And Blue” is neither a trailblazing foray off the beaten track, nor a confident lap of honour round the main freeway, but a directionless mooch round the side streets.
Oh well, I suppose it`s rather naive at this point to expect veteran heroes – even colossi like the Stones, The Who and Led Zep – to return messianically toting rock and roll salvation in the form of Tablets from the Mountain. The two first-named bands have by now enjoyed longer periods of genuine creativity than either Elvis or Chuck Berry, and even rock stars (especially rock stars) have to contend with built-in obsolesence.
The hell with it. If they won`t rock us, somebody will. But then you can`t always get what you want.

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Impressive ad over two full pages in the NME.

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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Mick Ronson, British Country Music Festival, Abba, J.J. Cale, Magna Carta, Dr. Alimantado, Steve Harley, Osibisa.

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.