1971

ARTICLE ABOUT Ian Hunter FROM SOUNDS, December 4, 1971

A very good article with this artist who represents the blue-collar, working-class more than most. This one you should enjoy.

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Mott the Hoople`s staggeringly successful live gigs has been a source of constant amazement to commentators, who have invariably been less than enthusiastic about their music. The wild scenes which occur wherever they play come in for more comment than does their music. Lead singer and piano player Ian Hunter particularly has had his fair share of criticism from people at a loss to understand his hold over audiences. Here he describes how Mott the Hoople really works and throws some light on the reasons for their fanatical following.

(No journalist credited – Blog ed.)

Where have you been on your present tour?

We`ve stuck to the North mostly. It`s an area we`ve been to, but very infrequently. It was very gratifying, especially Glasgow, places like that where we haven`t been much. It was a good buzz, it was really nice.

Where do you come from yourself?

I was born in Oswestry, Shropshire, but I lived in Northampton before I came to London. I first came down to London in late `66 or early `67. This guy called Miller Anderson lived in the next street and we were wandering around looking for work.

Was the idea for you both to get together in a band?

Yeah, we were together, you know. I used to play bass then, I didn`t play piano. We did various little gigs and got conned by various little agencies that wanted to sign you for 10 years, purely to sell you when you caught the eye of some more reputable agency.

How long did you stay together, then?

About a year. We worked in this factory together, called Friars Brothers, in Archway, and we hated every minute of it. It was dismal, I had this flat for two pounds ten a week, so you can imagine what it was like.

Were you trying to make it as musicians then?

Oh, yeah, we`d run to the phone every dinner-time, we used to get half an hour off. It was a coin-box, so it was always full and you never got any dinner, waiting to find out if this single we`d done six months previously was going to be released in Japan or not, you know… then Miller got offered the job with Keef and asked me what I was going to do – `cos we`d decided to stick together – at first I said, “Well don`t” and then I said, “Well do”. I didn`t know where I was at the time. I was completely at a loss. I didn`t want to hold him back because I thought he was really good, you know. We were very loyal to each other at the time, but he was married, he needed bread, so he went. Then I got a song-writing contract with Francis, Day and Hunter. It was a bit of a fluke, I got on 15 pound a week wages. They had done this song with a 26-piece orchestra -unfortunately for them they hadn`t asked me to sign a contract until they`d done it. By this time they`d spent God knows how much on the session, and I was working in this factory, so I turned round and said: “I don`t want to sign anything unless you give me some money”. It was really funny, I asked for three months at 15 quid a week and if they liked me, an option of another three months. I regarded it as a summer holiday. They kept me on for about a year. They thought my stuff was good, you know, but they didn`t know what to do with it. Then I got the chance with Mott.

HUSTLER

How did Mott come together? Did you meet Guy Stevens and he introduced you to the rest of the band or what?

No, Mott`s got a guitarist called Mick Ralphs, he`s a born hustler – not so much now, he`s pretty perplexed now, but he was at the time – and he hustled for the original group, which was a group called the Silence, from Hereford. He kept on going to see Guy – Jim Capaldi had put the word in, you know – but one or two things were wrong, which eventually got ironed out, and the four of them signed to Island, and they were looking for a piano player and a singer. They auditioned all these people, and didn`t get anybody they wanted, but the guy that ran the studio where they`d been auditioning knew me from me doing demos. He rang me up and I went down there afterwards – `cos I would never have had the guts to go myself, because I didn`t really play piano, C, F and G, that was about it, and I`d never sung before. It caught me at the right moment, though. I`m normally very insecure but that particular night I had nothing to lose, so I stormed down there, launched into an aggressive rendering of “Rolling Stone”, and that was that. I remember Verden, the organist, knew about half the chords, it was very strange, the guitarist looked just like the bass player, I couldn`t work it out. Guy Stevens was there – I didn`t know him then either – there was this outrageous freak hopping about. It was all very strange to me. Anyway, we met the following morning and he gave me the job.

What did you think of Mott when you first met them?

Not much, actually, it was really weird. I spent half the time thinking I was dragging the whole show along and the other half of the time I spent running after them trying to catch them up, it was a really weird sort of thing. They were country lads, you know, and there was this country-city thing. I`m city-inclined – I was brought up in the country till I was about 11, but I`m city-inclined and there was this difference in view.

Were they very much a local beat-group at the time?

Yeah, they`d been working for a little agency in Swansea, and the guy had told them, “You must do Beatles numbers or you won`t get gigs.” They were Buffalo Springfield fanatics and it just wasn`t working out for them in Swansea. We`ve been back to Swansea with Mott the Hoople and I still don`t think it really works out for them!

MADNESS

What sort of thing were you reckoning on doing when you first got together?

Originally it was a quiet group. We played all our own stuff… we had this weird sort of madness. We`ve always been schizoid, we like slow, quiet stuff, then there`s that bit of madness that you`ve got to get out, like a kind of orgasm, you don`t feel you`ve done your best unless you come off feeling knackered. Pretty much the same as we are now, but very untogether, very raw – pretty poor.
I remember the first gig we did was with Free, in Sunderland, which was like Beatlemania for them at the time, and the second was with King Crimson, and we felt like jacking after the first two gigs, but Graham, Free`s roadie, had told us it was like that for Free before, when they used to support Spooky Tooth, so not to worry. This last tour we did Graham was with Paul Rodgers, you know, he`s Peace`s roadie now, and he said we`d got it now exactly like Free had it then. I`ve always been a fan of Paul Rodgers, I think he`s perhaps the best singer in Britain at the moment, he`s got two sympathetic people with him… they`re really nice guys.

Why did you decide to do mainly a northern circuit this time round?

We`ve always been a London band – you know, anywhere north of Barnet we didn`t know what was going on. It`s not really fair. Periodically we get these letters coming in saying: “Why isn`t the band playing here, why isn`t the band playing there”, so we try to play there. We`ve done intermittent gigs in the north but not a big tour. It`s really sad, you know – I remember one of your guys did a review of a gig we did at Sheffield. Now only about eleven hundred came in at Sheffield, and he said: “Where were the missing hundreds? But when we go to Sheffield, there was about four hundred police outside, trying to hold out the people who were out of work. It was verging on riots outside the place. We were escorted into the gig – now you can imagine any head within 10 miles of there wasn`t going to go into that gig and the average kid just hasn`t got two halfpennies to rub together. It`s really bad, you know.

RIP-OFFS

Coming back to August 1969, your first song with Mott was a Dylan number. A lot was talked at the time of “Blonde on Blonde” influence. Would you acknowledge this influence?

At the time I couldn`t sing a note – it was only using my vocals to get the words across, like a lot of people do. It was just coming out that way. I didn`t have the “Blonde on Blonde” album then – I didn`t have any albums, I couldn`t afford them. I`ve since acquired the album, and I can see the parallels but they are parallels, inasmuch as the Byrds were a parallel. It`s funny how some groups seem to be called direct rip-offs, but the other groups are regarded as valid parallels. In America we were regarded as parallel. There seemed to be this thing that Dylan had gone off from “Blonde on Blonde” one way, but we had mainly come from “Blonde on Blonde” and gone another way. But in England it was passed off as a bunch of blokes trying to be like Dylan. I mean, Dylan`s a genius, he changed the world, he made music into a culture. He gave the whole rock and roll syndrome validity. I should imagine he`s an influence on nearly everybody.

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What was Guy Stevens` part in launching Mott the Hoople?

It`s weird, you know, he loves Mott the Hoople and Mott the Hoople have always loved him. He was in love with the image of Mott the Hoople, as he imagined it then. It was his image – Mott was him. He could never get it out, he`s not a musician. The first two albums were exactly how he felt at the time. There was the case of a track on “Mad Shadows” called “My Mind`s Gone”. It was really weird, `cos there was no lyric, I just looked at him and kind of sang it, but it was something that came out of his head, not mine, like a transmission thing. He was very, very forceful. Any credit that Mott got at that time was solely due to Guy Stevens. He was always a Stones` fan and a Dylan fan, and he wanted a group that was a cross between the two. That was what he was after, and we tried our best to live up to it, but we were untogether, looking back at it now. We thought we were God`s gift to groups then – always have done and still do, that`s why you don`t split up. See, Guy has an amazing head, but he doesn`t have an outlet for it. It`s all intangible, his end-product, so it`s very frustrating for him. It must come through somebody else. Mott was his transmitter, if you like. But then something else started to happen. We were getting a bit fed-up one gig because we weren`t getting the reaction we wanted, at the time when Island were getting really worried, it didn`t look like we were going to do anything, and we did a number from the first album called “You Really Got Me” and people started to jump about in the most amazing way. It amazed us. And the Overend our bass player started moving about a bit – at that time we would all stand in a row and I would sit all the way through – and then it got to “Rock `n` Roll Queen” and all of a sudden we started leaping.

This was after the first album had been released?

Oh yeah, `cos we never did a gig before the album, in fact if we`d done gigs before we did the album we`d never have done it! I remember doing the Speakeasy, and the whole Island record company was there, we died the most abysmal death. I`m sure everybody wanted to get rid of us. It`s to Island`s credit that they`ve always been amazing to us. Perhaps they`ve been a bit too good to us, spoiled us. Guy held the whole thing together – quite honestly, I never saw any hope for us. Mind you, we were all totally insecure. Perhaps that`s why the band is the way it is, we`re still insecure now.

PERFORMANCE

How do you mean, insecure?

We`ve never felt any degree of permanence since we started, and we still don`t. I mean, it`s a funny game, rock music people are fickle. You can just disappear in three months, and we don`t want that to happen. It could go either way, so you have this hungry thing, this sort of insecure feeling with Mott. Perhaps that`s why we let off so much on stage. The whole group feels temporary, and always has – as a group though, not as individuals.

When was it that you first noticed this big reaction at your gigs?

I think it was at Letchworth Youth Club, actually! It was the first time we ever got encores, you know. They went spare, and we couldn`t believe it. Then the following night, we did the same again. It was all over one weekend, it just suddenly happened. It became more like a performance, before we`d just been sitting there and laying numbers on people.

Did you realise that getting up and moving around would be so effective?

Well, I had that in me anyway. The only reason I hadn`t moved from the word go was because I felt a bit of a twit, you know. To move round the stage you can look so silly, and I didn`t want to look silly, so we took it easy. Like every night we`d come off and ask Stan – that`s the guy that organises us – “Were we overdoing it? Was it too much?” and eventually we got to know what we could do and couldn`t do on stage.

Is this what put you on to the sort of music on “Mad Shadows”?

Well, we had this degree of madness, you know, it`s still there now, on the new album. It`s a really weird band. I`ve been an advocate of the slow music, mainly because I write it, from the very beginning, and I think we`ve done some really good slow numbers – I think that Mick and myself have written some really reasonable numbers – but somehow, when we get on stage, it`s like a minor explosion, every time, you know, we just can`t help it.

Who mostly comes to see you these days?

I think we are really a working man`s band. When we started off, colleges liked us, but as we got more flamboyant, this was replaced by club audiences and then concert audiences, and they were getting younger. Now I would say our main audience is between 15 and 19. We haven`t got a T. Rex audience. This is generally thought to be so, but we don`t get thousands of screaming birds, you know? I mean we get pulled off the stage now and then, but it`s not a teenybopper thing, it`s more of a working man`s hero type thing.

Do you think you`ve angled your music to this new audience?

No, I don`t think so. Obviously you keep in certain numbers which you know will get a particularly good reaction, but that`s an immediate reaction. But there`s two reactions – the immediate one and the one on the following day, and the day after. That`s what keeps you going as a group. You can get a great reaction one night, but a guy will only book you back for the same money. There`s no follow-up.

Do you think that people are still getting good value for money when they go to rock concerts, or are they getting charged too much?

Not in general, though some promoters charge far too much for far too little. But you`re going to get that anywhere. Where there is quick money, and a lot of money, to be made, and the rock business is a large industry, you`ll get the second-hand car dealers, but it`s very temporary and very foolish, because it never works. The only people who are still running successful dances are the people who have been very honest.

Do you ever see a return to small clubs where the band is not necessarily the most important part of the evening?

The dreaded wallpaper music? I`d hate that. I want people to come and see us, I mean, that`s murder, I`ve done  it before, years ago, in Germany, that whole bit, where people come in – Whisky A Go Go kind of scene – ageing Italians with their 15-year-old birds. I never liked that, nobody wants that back. I think it`s one of the most amazing things that happened, when people actually started listening.

POSITIVE

When you`re on stage, do you get a feeling of real power over them?

Yeah, it`s a great feeling. I`ve always felt that, and providing you use it in a good way, there`s no harm. I think audiences do need leading – they`re scared to get up and do what they want to do because the people around them know them. They`re scared to appear freakish in any way. If you lead them they`ll come en bloc, let loose their inhibitions and it`s great to see that happening. Then that turns you on and you let yourself go. It`s a question of you turning them on and them turning you on in turn. That`s the general way it works on a gig.

Do you see it as releasing energy?

Well, everybody has pent-up emotions, either you kick someone in the teeth, smoke yourself silly, or you get it out some other way… I think we do have some level of responsibility to the people that come to see us. I don`t think Mott gigs are unhealthy gigs. The reactions we get must come from healthy people. We don`t get that sort of lying-on-the-ground, eyes-rolling reaction, we get a positive thing. This was the silly thing about America: they had a huge drug problem which they really believed was due to heavy rock, but it wasn`t at all. With heavy rock, you`ve got to be there, you can`t be on a different plane, you have to be there with them. So I think our reactions are healthy, and in that way I think we do a bit of good. It`s coincidental, it`s not meant that way, but it does seem to work that way.

There are other bands with strong allegiance like yourselves, Edgar Broughton, for example, who uses his popularity as a political platform. Do you ever think of trying to angle this popularity more?

No, because everybody`s level of awareness is different. You shouldn`t confuse your own level of awareness with that of a kid in Sheffield or Newcastle. You might be laying something on them in the heat of the moment that they`ll believe in the cold of the following morning. I would prefer to keep my political beliefs to myself. I sing rock and roll. I don`t criticise Edgar Broughton for doing it, but ours is a different thing altogether. I think that what you say between songs should be appertaining to what you`re doing at the time. Sometimes I`ve got a bit of a grouse – usually I just say the first thing that comes into my head on stage, and you get that off your chest, but I wouldn`t get up on any political format. It causes trouble.

You have a rather evil image on stage – with the shades and the masks and so on. Do you think it might be this that your audiences like, and if so do you find this at all worrying?

Probably so, yeah, but while they`re there get it out. But they usually walk out the door shattered, see? They`ve had an experience. They`re not going to hit anybody, they`re too knackered. They`ve got it off, that was Mott the Hoople, that was a rock group, that`s all there is to it. For instance, we have never had a punch-up at a concert, ever. If it comes over as violence, that`s what we mean at the time, but nobody would really believe it. We feel like what we are on stage, larger than life, compared with what we usually are. I feel a completely different person on stage, extremely confident – confident to the point of over-confidence. Offstage I don`t feel confident at all.

How does it come about that although you`d like to play quiet numbers, on stage you always end up playing the fast, heavy ones?

This has been the subject of endless discussion between the band and the people we`re responsible to. It`s just always been schizoid, ever since the word go. Sometimes I go through moods when I like just to play quietly – my dearest wish is to play a proper piano on stage rather than an electric, which I don`t play nearly so well. There are times when I`d like to play quietly all the way through and get a respectful reaction, but when I think about it I don`t know whether I could really do that and feel I`d done it – I always seem to have to feel not only emotionally finished but physically finished as well, it`s really strange, and the whole group are the same.

LIEUTENANTS

Verden Allen has been quoted as saying: “We don`t want to be classed just as a rock band, just playing the heavy fast things”. You`d agree with that, then?

Yeah, when we did the Albert Hall, the first five numbers of that show were all slow, but all the reviews reviewed the audience, rather than the music. Well perhaps they were being very nice and didn`t like the five numbers, but that`s what normally happens. But our tribe, our following, will always listen to the slow numbers, they`ll come up afterwards and talk about them…

… but the other night at the Rainbow, when you announced “The Journey” you said: “You`re going to hate this but we`re going to do a slow one…” Why did you say that, because the audience didn`t hate it at all?

Well, perhaps I`m paranoid about the whole thing. It could well be, it`s something we`ve had to live with for a long time. When I`m talking like that, our following usually know what I`m talking about. They know I`m not talking to them, they know that I`m talking to the fringe, people who didn`t really want to come in but thought they`d drop in. Really I`m talking to them. The kids who follow us follow us everywhere, they know us back to front. With the main following – we call them the lieutenants, you know, they`re the ones that are nearest to us and come with us nearly everywhere we go – they`re like part of the group, they come in and get changed in the dressing room like we do.

Like cheerleaders?

Yes, but they`re doing it because they get a buzz out of it, they`re not actually cheerleaders because they get out front and get into it. There`s about thirty or forty that you`ll find anywhere, then we`ve got little divisions, like in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, where they`ll travel to a gig maybe in Middlesbrough… it`s great because when you go to a gig there are always these few people there. You know you`re going to make somebody happy that way.

Do you foresee yourselves continuing to play to audiences like that? Is there going to be a time when you`re going to have to cool out on the live gigs and get more down on record?

We`d like to do both. We`ll always be a gigging band, though. If we haven`t gigged for three or four days, Mick`s up the office panicking, he doesn`t know what to do with himself, and Buff doesn`t know what to do with himself. We can`t stand not working. It`s come about in recent months that we haven`t been able to work so much, because we usually have clauses saying we can`t play in the area for six weeks before or after. We can`t work so much, which is the thing I really miss about being a club band, `cos we used to work seven days a week, used to love it. I would like to see us go like the Who eventually, been together a long, long time, they gig, they`re happy.

In general, why do you think some bands get this fanatical following?

I don`t know, you know? I just don`t know.

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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: Deep Purple, Rikki Farr, Bob Dylan, Nicky Hopkins, Bunk Johnson, Country Joe and the Fish, Steve Marriott, Frank Zappa, Roy Harper, Emitt Rhodes, Charlie Wills, Melanie.

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.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Frank Zappa FROM SOUNDS, December 4, 1971

A nice interview that is actually the second part of the last one with Zappa that I posted here. Enjoy!

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Frank`s turtles in disguise

By Steve Peacock

The time is right, thinks Frank Zappa, to unleash on an unsuspecting public the long-awaited nine-album anthology of Mother`s music, together with a 30-page booklet. It`s set for release next March.
A year ago, I asked Zappa when he`d ben releasing the set, and he said: “In about five or 10 years when they assume more historical importance.” Things have obviously moved a lot faster than he`d expected.

DOCUMENTARY ANSWERS

“I think now is the time, because what with the release of “200 Motels”. I think if anybody has any questions about where things come from in that film, it would be appropriate to answer them through this set. There`s a lot of documentary stuff on it.”
The nine albums go right through from 1962 to now, and none of the material has been released before. A lot of it`s live, and about 20 per cent of it is live versions of stuff that`s been on other albums.
“There`s a lot of improvisation,” says Zappa. “The old group`s strongest point was collective improvisation, where the group itself would put together a piece on stage from nothing. There`s some good examples of that. A lot of it was recorded in Europe – there`s a bunch of stuff from the Festival Hall concert we did here in `68, some stuff from the Albert Hall in `69, quite a few American concerts, some stuff from Copenhagen. And then from the most recent Mothers there`s some things we recorded on the last tour.

BOOGIE

“Then there are examples of what our rehearsals sound like – I`ve got a tape of the original Mothers from before we recorded “Freak Out”. That`s us doing “How Could I Be Such A Fool”, on side two of the first album; and then it goes forward in time to `68 when we had a 10-piece band rehearsing a song called “Boogie For Berkley”, and the third one is the Mothers 1970 rehearsing “Fluted Transoms” – the new organised Mothers rocking out on a sort of atonal jam.”
The anthology will obviously be of great interest to people who already know the Mothers, and who`ve followed them through from the early days, but Zappa feels that an important reason for putting it out will be to give people who have only picked up on them recently a chance to find out about their history.
“The number of people who own all our albums, or who`ve heard them all, is very small. I meet people who think that “Hot Rats” was our first album, or that “Chunga`s Revenge” was our first album, and there are even people who think the Fillmore album was our first. And then there are the people who have only the “Freakout” album, and who don`t know about the others. They`re amazed when you tell them there are 13 albums.”
We got on to talking about the way the Press had treated the Mothers in general, and the film in particular. Zappa does feel a bit ill-used, especially in America, though there “200 Motels” has had better reviews than here.
“I can sympathise with somebody who earns his living as a critic – I should think that would be a very difficult thing to do, to be put in a position where you have to tell people what`s good and what`s not.”
Was that how he saw the job of reviewers?
“That`s what it usually comes down to. Most of them don`t really do the formal service of saying `this, this, and this could have been improved` – and be able to say it because they know something about the medium in a technical way. It`s usually so subjective that it doesn`t deal with technicalities at all. They don`t perform a service for the artist – it might be handy to have someone who knew what a mix was supposed to be – listen to an album and say: “I don`t like that mix because there`s not enough of this or there`s too much of that.

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REVIEWS

“But normally what happens is that the person is involved with his own job of being a writer, in expressing himself as a writer rather than being involved in what he`s writing about, and so the basic game of being a writer is to collect words that are going to provide for the reader the sensation that the person who`s writing is really hot shit. Therefore anything that looks good on paper is generally what comes out in reviews, so if it seems attractive to call “200 Motels” a home movie, well then that`s cool. But I wouldn`t say it was a home movie – you should see some of my home movies.”
How much did criticism affect him, especially put-downs based on half-grasped ideas?
“Well, it depends on the person who`s doing it, and the generalised intention behind why they might say what they say. Talking about the film, I made it for people to enjoy, so if nobody enjoys it then it affects me – I should feel I had failed in my duty as an entertainer, because it`s supposed to provide a pleasurable experience for the audience that sees it. But anyway audiences vary in their sense of humour, and it`s especially un-natural when people who write about films go to see them in the presence of other people who write about films.
“You`re there with all the other people in your trade of film writing or music writing, or whatever it is, and everyone`s there to be who he is, or do what you do, and the general attitude is `Oh, let`s see what we can enlighten the world with about this Zappa movie.` I`ve been to a lot of screenings with Press and watched the reactions, and I`ve also been to theatres where the film`s been on display for a regular audience – and there`s a big difference.

TURTLES

“But the final decision is usually left to the people who`ll go and see it when it`s on general release. They`ll either enjoy it or they won`t. It wasn`t made for critics, it was made for people, and if some day a critic decided he wants to become people, then maybe he can get off on it.”
In one way and another, the things Zappa`s thinking and talking about at the moment tend to relate to his films – this one, and the new project “Billy The Mountain” (see last week`s SOUNDS). When he gets back from this tour he has to finish off the script, music, and organisation for that, write the book for the anthology, edit live recordings they`ll be making of their British dates in December.
He`ll also be playing guitar on a few sessions that the Turtle/Mothers are doing to complete a double Turtles` album for Bizarre. Come to think of it, now Jim Pons is with them on bass, the present Mothers are almost Turtles in disguise.
“It`s fairly evenly balanced – three Turtles, three Mothers, and an Aynsley Dunbar. There`s a comedy group if ever I heard one.”
Ah, yes the comedy group. That`s something which has grown out of Press reviews – in America for a long time  the Mothers seemed to be regarded in the same way as the Barron Knights were seen here – and they stress it a lot in the film. The point is, of course, that they`re musicians who happen to enjoy being funny as well, but people seem to find this hard to accept. Even, apparently, their former bass player, Jeff Simmonds couldn`t take the combination. Was his leaving the group really as it was shown in a cartoon sequence in the film?
“It`s pretty close. He was being counselled by his girlfriend or his wife or whatever she was, that he was too heavy to be in the group. I feel sorry for Jeff because he had great comedy ability, but he has this feeling of ambivalence about being funny and being a heavy musician at the same time, and his main interest lay in being recognised as a heavy musician. He figured nobody would ever believe he was heavy if he had a sense of humour, and that opinion was being bolstered by his old lady.”
It`s a combination of approaches that the Mothers seem to have come to terms with, but did he ever feel that the comedy sometimes took away from the music?
“Only in as much as some people can`t comprehend certain musical aspects of the group, so the comedy predominates for them. I do it because there are certain things that strike me as funny, and I like to share that with people who are similarly interested. I don`t see any reason to go on stage and treat the whole thing as a solemn affair – life is too short.

HUMOUR

“There really is a lot of funny stuff, and I think we need some of that these days. Spread it around a little bit, give somebody some relief. I think a lot of people relate to the comedy and don`t even realise there`s music there – that`s why we keep referring to the Comedy Group in the film, that kind of stereotype that`s been laid on us.”
But he never felt tempted to tone down the funnies so people would get more directly to the music?
“No. I`m certainly not going to throw away the enjoyment that I have out of having humours sensations on stage in order to accommodate someone who doesn`t have a sense of humour.
“Look, if you`re going to play 22 jobs in seven weeks, you better have a sense of humour. You better.”

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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: Deep Purple, Rikki Farr, Bob Dylan, Nicky Hopkins, Bunk Johnson, Country Joe and the Fish, Steve Marriott, Ian Hunter, Roy Harper, Emitt Rhodes, Charlie Wills, Melanie.

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 Deep Purple FROM SOUNDS, December 4, 1971

It is always fun to read articles from way back, especially when one knows the history of a band as well as many do with Deep Purple. Some funny moments in this one for those “in the know”.
Have a nice read!

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Blackmore the Purple egotist

By Dick Meadows

The anatomy of a heavy rock band in today`s pop society is a complex one. The sweat and toil reaps reward in terms of enormous audience adulation and financial profit. But there is a difficult cross to bear at the same time and that is to be branded whipping boys in rock.
Led Zeppelin and Ten Years After have become almost institutions whose stature has lifted them above the bitching. At the other end of the scale Sabbath and Uriah Heep are down there in the muck-raking mire nailed to this cross by critics. That the cross seems to be made of pound notes and fan hysteria obviously makes it more bearable.
Just about balancing the see-saw of respect and smears is Deep Purple who have laboured for four years to achieve a mountain of success but still get slagged off rightly or wrongly for allegedly playing stereo-type, formula rock.
Purple`s stance in this situation is fairly predictable. They get hurt by the harsh words, fail to understand a lot of them and then begin to resent them. In about that order. “We still seem to upset many people but sometimes I really can`t see why.”
The speaker is Ritchie Blackmore, lead guitarist with the band. On stage the man is extrovert and an instinctive entertainer. But now in an office block high above the Christmas lights of Regent Street, W. 1., he sits quietly, an introvert who has to be coaxed into talking about his music and the group he has grown famous with. He admits that he seeks rather to play rock than have to interpret it through the process of question and answer.

SLAGGING

Blackmore talked easily enough, though, about criticism and Purple`s philosophy here. After all the band has had a good amount of practice in coming to terms with slagging which quite often they simply haven`t earned:
“We tend to consider what will please an audience. We think of that first and then what will please us perhaps second. So sometimes we get put down for playing fairly simple riffs. But you have got to consider the people you are playing for. That`s what it is all about.

ATTITUDE

King Crimson, for instance, turn out some very good stuff. I like things they do but what happens is that a lot of it goes over people`s heads.
Yes, we take criticism to heart but our attitude is not to talk about it too much. If we kept talking about what people were saying and what some reader from East Grinstead has written in a letter to a music paper then it would have a bad effect. We`d always be thinking, “Are we doing the right thing?”
It`s funny really, some people have such closed minds about Purple and other groups as well. When you are coming up there is encouragement but the same people who have encouraged you will then knock you down when you got some kind of success. Uriah Heep are having this happen to them, and they don`t deserve all the criticism.
You know, John Peel won`t play us. He says we play formula rock and that`s that. I don`t know where that man is at any more. I did once but not now. Have you heard some of the people he is playing now? And people he has helped build up, he has turned his back on.
Blackmore was speaking after a four-week break from pounding out rock on the road. Purple were set to go to North America this month until vocalist Ian Gillan was stricken with hepatitis. For a time he was very ill and the tour was postponed until January. Now Ian is recovering but is still weak. In the meantime the band has been taking things comparatively easily; the only time they get to rest is when one of their number is ill. Otherwise they work themselves to a standstill.
During their enforced lay-off organist Jon Lord has been working with Tony Ashton, bassist Roger Glover has been doing some producing, and Ritchie and “Little” Ian Paice, the drummer, have been playing with a third guy – who Ritchie won`t identify – as a rock trio. They have put down some songs and one will be released as a single in the new year under a name that gives no clue to its Deep Purple heritage.

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ACCLAIM

“Let people hear it and maybe like it, rather than pick up the record and say, `Oh that`s Deep Purple, don`t like it and won`t play it`.” That`s Ritchie`s view.
The inevitable fragmentation during Gillan`s illness perhaps provides a clue to the future. Individual members of the band are inclined towards virtuosity on stage – Blackmore admits he is an egotist when playing – and they are eager to solo and take their fair share of acclaim. Whether they can continue to get sufficient personal satisfaction is doubtful, although obviously they`re not anxious to destroy the huge success story that has taken a long while to write.

MERGING

Nevertheless there have been musical clashes within the band in the past. Lord, for instance, is keen on merging rock with classics. Blackmore wants to remain more exclusively in rock.
The new album which is now being planned, takes on greater importance in this light. It will be recorded soon in the Rolling Stones` mobile studio at Montreux, Switzerland, and the probable title is “Machine Head”. Ritchie is excited about the album because the past few weeks have been a perfect opportunity to formulate a clear vision about what should go on it. The release date will probably be March and Ritchie is frank about its importance:
“This next album will show what Purple`s future really is. I personally didn`t like the last one, `Fireball`, too much, but this one I think will really get to the people. With `Fireball` we virtually made everything up in the studio, `give us a riff`, that sort of thing. We were working so hard that we never had any time to sit back and think of new ideas for the album. There are only three tracks I think are good. “No. No. No`. `Fools` and `Fireball` itself.”

DIRECTION

The lead guitarist reckons “Deep Purple In Rock” is the finest thing they have done on record. It showed them going in one clear direction which they weren`t before and that includes “Concert For Group And Orchestra”. Which way they go now remains to be seen. It promises to be a significant fifth year for the band from Deep Purple.

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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: Frank Zappa, Rikki Farr, Bob Dylan, Nicky Hopkins, Bunk Johnson, Country Joe and the Fish, Steve Marriott, Ian Hunter, Roy Harper, Emitt Rhodes, Charlie Wills, Melanie.

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 Fanny FROM SOUNDS, November 27, 1971

As far as I know, all the four original members of this band is still alive and kicking in 2018 – but it seems like Nickey, the organist, has disappeared out of sight for everyone. She writes a little about her reasons at this fabulous Fanny-site: http://www.fannyrocks.com/
Strange that they deny their imortant role as figures of the Women`s Lib movement at the time, but I guess they just wanted to play music and get on with it the same way as male rockers do. I think their argument in the article is solid. A very important band, lacking in record sales compared to many others, but a very good band playing great music and quite clearly an inspiration for a lot of other girls to come out and play in what was a pre-dominately male territorium.
You should check Fanny out – they rock!

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Just doing their thing

By Martin Hayman

It was a case of girding up the loins, metaphorically speaking, when we went to see Fanny.
Fanny is an all-girl American rock band, and suspecting another Warners freak-show, I was prepared to be defensive about being a male chauvinist pig. It didn`t turn out that way at all. June and Jean, who are sisters, Alice and Nickey, are friendly, co-operative and eager to tell you what the band is all about and to disclaim the Women`s Liberation banner. So eager are they to tell you about it, in fact, that they tend all to speak at once, which is rather disconcerting, like watching a doubles tennis match with two balls in play.
But at least there`s no problems with mistaken identities: they introduced themselves gracefully as Jean Millington, who plays bass; Alice de Buhr, drums; June Millington, guitar; and Nickey Barclay, piano and organ. From then on in, it was a free-for-all. They all come from L.A. now, and despite their different backgrounds – June and Jean were born in Manila in the Phillipines, Alice, Mason City, Iowa, and Nickey, Washington, D.C. -They all seem to possess a clean-cut charm which is definitely all-American.

MAGIC

Was it a gimmick, when it comes down to basics? “Well we just play rock music,” said Alice, “we don`t have a gimmick.” Jean: “Well if we do have a gimmick it`s that we`re female and we can`t help that any.” Nicky: “Some people view it as one.” Jean: “That`s in everybody`s opinion. I think we play well enough to be considered valid musicians.” And so it went on, with every question bounced around the circle of four girls and turned over until some sort of a consensus was reached agreeable to all parties concerned.
How did it come about that they got into rock music, until now regarded as a male preserve? Alice: “It just evolved. We all started playing about five or six years ago in groups in the usual way, you know, losing people and asking and finding out, advertising. It just happened to click with the four of us, because we`d all played with guys before. The chemistry was right, the magic was there.” They had all played with groups before they met each other, which is a measure of their independence – musically as well as personally. This is how Jean describes the formulation of the group as an all-girl combo: “The three of us had met prior to going to L.A. where we met Nickey -” “- after they had a recording contract,” interrupts Nickey, “they were the nucleus of the group.”
So what sort of music do they play? There was a chorus of “Have you heard the album” and “You must come and see us play”, but in default of either, “It`s Fanny music,” says Alice “It`s rock and roll, it has that kind of feel to it, but there are some slower songs on the album.”

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June, perhaps the least forthcoming, adds: “We feel we`re still at the stage where we have to hit people over the head on stage to get them to sit back and give us their full attention.” Alice: “`Cos they haven`t seen us, they just don`t want to believe that girls can play anything but crap.”
How did they come to take up musical instruments at all, in the beginning? Jean: “I started when I was about nine or ten, playing ukelele and just gradually moved to the guitar and bass.” She ascribes this to a love of string instruments and a sound they produce, which is to be expected from one who was brought up in the Pacific city of Manila, where the Millingtons lived until Jean was about thirteen. “We were just into playing around with the basic chords. We didn`t start playing professionally until we were sixteen or seventeen, and that was when we started out with folk singing.” They came to rock through folk then? “I guess so, June and I anyway. Alice started playing in the school band.” Alice: “When I was a junior, which is eleventh grade. I got a full set of drums, and from there got into rock and roll and moved to the coast and met up with June and Jean and played off and on with them for a couple of years, went to L.A. then we got Nickey after about nine months.” June: “I`ve only been into rock and roll since we came to L.A. – before that I was just like a rhythm guitarist.” Nickey: “When I met June she hadn`t really heard Chuck Berry, that was what blew my head out most.”

BENEFITS

What was the response in those days to the idea of girls as a band? “I think when we first started, before we could could play well, it was cute, you know, a girl playing rock and roll, just like guys when they start out and aren`t that good. I was fifteen when I started playing, you know, things like `Oh Sweet Pea`, `Louie Louie`, `Hand On Sloopy`… but you get better as you go along.”
And the Women`s Lib thing? “They want us to wave the banner and play their benefits. We always tell them, “Listen, we`re doing more for Women`s Lib by just doing it! We got our music to consider.” For those few words, thanks.

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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: Redbone, Frank Zappa, Redwing, Elton John, B.B. King, Bill Williams, Alice Stuart, Carl Palmer, Robbie Robertson, Lesley Duncan, Dave Burland.

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 Carl Palmer FROM SOUNDS, November 27, 1971

This “Cat” has been active since 1964 and is still going strong in 2018. He has played with a lot of acts – among them is The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Asia, 3, Qango and his own Carl Palmer Band.
Very influenced by jazz and eager to play riffs in 10/8, but not a stranger to playing more basic rock`n`roll, he is someone that many people would like to have in a band. One of the great drummers in modern rock music and prog, he is now a “household” name for many. Enjoy this great interview from way back.

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Emerson, Lake and Palmer were shortly to Jumbo jet across to North America for a nationwide tour, but drummer Carl Palmer was having problems closer to home. The GPO seemed reluctant to install a telephone in the new house he has just bought near London. Could his manager send a letter stressing how important it was for a rock star to have a telephone? He could. That pleased the drummer. Now he could relax to examine the character of the rock triangle of which he has been one side since the sneer days of a “second Nice” to their recent triumph in sweeping up awards in the SOUNDS poll.

Interview: Dick Meadows
Pictures: Spud Murphy

Can we talk first about your new cut-price album “Pictures At An Exhibition” which will be released here while the group is on tour in America. It was originally made in conjunction with a film, but there have been delays and problems I believe?

As you know, that was going to be released very cheaply. But the film and everything was so bad, and the soundtrack on the film was so bad that we just had to re-record it. That`s what held “Pictures” up, which was a shame. It was due to come out about two to three months ago. Anyway, we had to re-record it because the soundtrack was no good at all, and we did this in Newcastle City Hall which has an amazing atmosphere.
The album has a nice sleeve which is very interesting. The different pieces of music in “Pictures” have their own names and the different paintings on the sleeve refer to these movements. The sleeve opens up and on the inside the pictures are complete but on the outside the pictures aren`t quite finished. So it`s quite freaky, and they are actual paintings because I have bought one!

Why do you think the sound-track was so bad?

Well, we never had Eddy Offord, our engineer, there, and he is a great cat. For me it could have been much better than it was. I think there was something wrong with the organs too. It was recorded live at the Lyceum and didn`t come off anything like as well as the second time at Newcastle. So this is why there have been delays and why the price is not as cheap as we wanted it to be. We had hoped to get it out for about 99p instead of £1.49 which is what the price is now.
As far as the film of Emerson, Lake and Palmer is concerned, because a friend of ours is doing it, that is the only reason we have let him release it. The film, in my opinion, is shocking. It is a sort of 1959 rock and roll film, because the modern filming technique put into it was nil. There are lots of basic shots of the band; it is sort of nothing, as if someone has filmed a band live on stage and that`s it.
We had a lot of ideas about modern filming techniques which we wanted to see done, but instead the person who did it – who is a friend of mine anyway and I won`t mention his name – didn`t do it exactly how I wanted it done anyway. It was done as a straight film, it could have been like an early Beatles film, it was so straight you know.
I believe the film has been shown so far at the Lyceum and various other places. There`s not a lot we can do about it now. I mean, we will make money out of it but I don`t really like making money from a product that I`m not happy with. The original soundtrack has in fact gone out with the film; it could have been changed but the people didn`t want to spend any more money on doing it. So we said, “Okay, we can`t release an album like that, so we will spend more money, we`ll pay for it ourselves and we`ll get a unit up to Newcastle with all the tape recorders and things and our own engineer, and we`ll do it as best as we can.” And that is of course what we did. We got to Newcastle at 10 o`clock in the morning and ran through things for several hours. And I think we got a live recording that is worthy to go out as a “live” album. I think most “live” albums, even if people have been very careful, are really a glorified bootleg, do you know what I mean, just a professional bootleg.

Does the original soundtrack sound like a “professional bootleg” to you then?

No, no, but the general feel of the thing was done a lot better the second time. There was a lot of pressure put on us at the Lyceum that day because of the film, so the music didn`t hit it off. It wasn`t that bad, but it was bad to us in the group to release as a “live” album. That was why we held back, and we got a lot of letters and we were slagged for that but it was for the good of everyone you know. We wanted a good product on the market, and we thought that if we released the original soundtrack we would have been slagged on top of being slagged for keeping people waiting. I hope now that everyone is happy. We have done a good job on the album sleeve. But there you go, it`s just one of those things.

Did you take “Pictures” as seriously as the album which you are recording now, or can it be classed as more of a fun album?

Well, we took the music seriously, but we didn`t take it seriously in terms of the direction which the band is going. It has been released because everyone wanted it. That`s why we are selling it cheap and slipping it out, and not making a big issue out of it. Who knows, it could still be a No. 1! We were in a strange predicament with “Pictures” because we didn`t want to rob people of having it.
Originally it was going to be a double album, with “Pictures” and the new album we have just started. But because we kept people waiting so long we just had to release it. There has been pressure as well from the record companies because they wanted it. It is only going to be released in England. The album we have just started to record should be released in this country in about February.

How much progress have you made with this album?

We have been recording now for about two or three weeks. We have two completed things – music and words – and one instrumental that we think we will have to do again. We have a lot of different stuff, you know. One number is like the music to a Hammer horror film, sort of very kind of frightening. Another is like a Western, we`ve got a gun-shot on it. The words are about this cat who doesn`t want to get shot, it`s quite a comedy number. The other one is just a funky thing, so we have three things done and that`s about all so far.
We will do the rest of the recording when we get back from America in January for a February release, according to how the recording goes. You see, we are trying not to push it at all, but just let it flow along. Not taking too much time but taking it easier. On the American tour we are going to try out the three numbers that we have already recorded, and if any changes occur within a number then we will record it again. We have found that numbers develop so much more on stage.

You talk about letting the recording “flow along”. But the band put the last album “Tarkus” down very quickly indeed. How did you manage to do that?

It took, like, two weeks that album. We were really in the studio every day. The thing is that “Tarkus” took  that amount of time, it didn`t take any longer because it was completely arranged and set out by Keith (Emerson). We didn`t rush the “Tarkus” album, it just took two weeks. But the album we are now recording – because it is going to be totally different – will take longer. A third album to any band is so important, and that is not including “Pictures” which you can`t count as a third album.

What do you mean by “totally different”?

Well, what we went into before were highly arranged things and we never really got to jam a lot on an album. On this album we are leaving room for that, but not too much, just enough so you get time to fill out. “Tarkus” was a set thing and it sounds pretty much the same every night but these new numbers, these three numbers I have mentioned, will vary so much. We have two other numbers and numerous ideas but whether they justify themselves to be used or not remains to be seen. We have a lot of ideas and we are being extra-cautious, being very careful, and that is why we are taking more time out to do it.
I do think that the third album of a band does set up the life of the band. The first one is the initial effort of a band, with the second one, people know what you are into, and with the third one you have got to be into what you are into! Do you know what I mean?
What we are trying to do with the new album is get the arrangement thing in there which we are known for, but never lose any of the basic funk which at times I think we did on “Tarkus”. On the actual recording I think it could have been funkier in places. But now we have been together that bit longer you would be surprised how much that has helped. We are a lot tighter now, and having had more time to think about it, I think this album will be the better one of the three.
I`m not dissatisfied with “Tarkus”. I just know that if we recorded it now it would be better, because the album has got an American and an English tour behind it, and things come together on stage so much more. At the time “Tarkus” was recorded I thought I was playing great and so did everyone else.
After the new album is released I think we shall start recording the next one in August or October. Oh yes, we have already planned that, planned when we should record and allowed two months off to record it. I don`t know about material yet, but after the present one is finished and we have played it on the road we shall have more idea about future recording.

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What is more important to ELP, gigging or recording?

They are equally important. You must never give up live appearances you know. We belong on stage, and we belong in the recording studio; it is basically a very hard-working band. I couldn`t just record, nor could Keith or Greg (Lake), but on the other hand I couldn`t just do gigs because I need the satisfaction of being in the studio and hearing your own sound played back.

You`ve just got a new drum kit. Will you be using it on the tour of the States?

Yes, I fly out in a few days time before the other fellahs, just to get used to sitting behind the new drum kit! This is very important to me, because there is a whole scene behind it. I shall spend the first night just looking at it in my hotel room where I shall set it up, getting used to all the heights and sizes. It`s like a toy. After that the band will be rehearsing in the Fillmore East, New York.
The audiences in America, as far as taking solos within numbers are concerned, are beautiful. They just know when to clap, it`s as if you have rehearsed them in the afternoon and got all these cats together and said, “All right, clap now”. For that part, people are unbelieveable, but for the general living part in America – the food and the actual environment – doesn`t suit me personally. Some parts of the States are better than others, Detroit and Chicago I`m not too keen to walk about in. I just get in a cab as soon as I can. I would never live in America, I thought I would a few years ago, but not now. I would rather live in the country in England.
In America everyone hustles furiously and doesn`t get that much done, but in England everyone hustles but they are cool about it and get things done. It`s done slightly slower but slightly better and with more taste. If I was to record in America I wouldn`t feel as relaxed as I do here. I would pick up strange vibes the minute I walked into the studio – there`s that hustle there – and there would be an American engineer saying, “Okay you cats, what are you into” and all that kind of scene. That would put me really up-tight.
I don`t let America get on top of me on tour because I take about 12 drum books, my text books, my guitar, my cassette, so that if I have a night off I don`t get hung up. I can play, practise, listen to the cassette or even watch the television. There`s only New York City that you can ever do anything in. When we had nights off in other towns I tried to get a local paper and there was nothing on, just local bands. Probably the local bands are good, I`ve got nothing against them, but you really don`t want to go out to a rock club to hear them after you have just done ten clubs yourself.

At the moment the band is right at the top. You swept the board in the SOUNDS poll awards for instance. Where do you go from here?

That is hard to say. I think we will get into as many other things as we can, we might even try our record label, or a business venture together. We would also like to get into a proper film of ELP, a documentary film and a live thing joined together which we have always wanted but could never get. It`s very, very hard `cos once a band gets to a certain level you must keep the interest together within the band. I think we will probably all make solo albums but not giving any indication that there is a split because there would never be one.
We can all play together for long periods but we all must do that little thing of our own at some time. If you can combine the two without having to make a split then I think it is a sensible way to go. I would personally love to make my own album. What I would like to see is ELP do a big London gig somewhere, and everyone come on, me with my band, Keith with his and Greg with his. Then at the end it is ELP together, that to me would be one of the biggest musical outlets I could imagine. It would have to be really well worked out, that is one of the next musical steps we could try and do. I think we are big enough for the people to accept it.

You sound confident that ELP has a long life ahead of it, that the band won`t split up.

I think, now, that the band has got a long life. I had my doubts at the beginning, but now I think, yes, it has. For two reasons. One, we know now that individuals must do their own thing like solo albums. If you admit that then you are half-way there, because that`s why groups break up; they want to do different things but won`t talk about it. See, we talk about it. And two, as yet, as far as I`m concerned and I think I can speak for Greg and for Keith as well, there has never been any musical conflict at all. I think about these two things and they to me are the ingredients for a band that lasts a long while.

Why did you have doubts at the beginning?

I was worried at first about people calling ELP a supergroup. I wasn`t really known then and I thought if I am going to make a name for myself I want to start off without having any labels put on me at all. That was the only doubt I had. As it happened we came through all that shit quite well, about us being a second Nice, that sort of thing. I must confess that bugged me more than Keith or Greg `cos I just couldn`t take it. I was against doing “Rondo” you know, we do it, but I realised it was such a great number that I would want to do it anyway even if the Nice hadn`t made it famous. I really believe that. Yes, it was the deal with the Nice that bugged me at the beginning but we have all got over that.
At the beginning there were a few people putting us down, I could even name a reporter, but I won`t because it ain`t worth it, who said this, that and the other. And that doesn`t help a band trying to get something together. You really do need people, who although they are not totally in agreement with what you are doing, to say “Yes fellahs I really believe what you are into and I like it”. It just gives you that bit of encouragement, but instead we weren`t getting that. What we were getting was the supergroup thing and “Is it a second Nice?”
I didn`t want to be associated with Brian Davison because I don`t play anything like him. I just didn`t want to be labelled. At times I thought “Oh no”. But it never got to the stage where I thought the band definitely wouldn`t last because I managed to bale myself out of this frame of mind. I got over that period which lasted for about the first couple of months, and then when I picked up the music papers and read what people were saying and how they were slagging Keith I just laughed at it. If only they knew what a musician Keith was, they would never have said those things.

There have also been accusations that Greg and yourself live under Keith`s shadow on stage.

I`ve heard this before. Musically we don`t and stage-wise I don`t think we do either. To me, if ever a musical policy was split three ways it is with ELP. Not only musically but visually as well; Keith still does the same few things that he did with the Nice because they`re good and they`re Keith Emerson. I`ve been taking my tee-shirt off for years on stage, it started when I was with Chris Farlowe, and I still do it because I dig doing it. Even though Ian Wallace from King Crimson does it now which is a bit annoying, but if that is what the cat wants to do then let him do it. I think Greg, truthfully speaking, has had more opportunity with ELP than with what he ever had with Crimson. With Crimson he never got to play his acoustic guitar which I think he plays beautifully, and he never got to sing as much as he does now. I also think that for the production of Crimson, Greg`s say in the matter wasn`t as big as it should have been. For us he is a quite amazing producer.

Do you consider you were getting sufficient credit in Atomic Rooster where you were doing a lot of arranging?

Well, Vincent (Crane) wrote the songs you see, and I got the bread for it but my name wasn`t put down. That didn`t really bug me because I was experimenting with arrangements like Vincent was, but because he wrote the words and the actual melody and I used to arrange it, even though the arrangement is as worthy as the song, he took the credit. It didn`t really matter to me though. Vincent was on a bit of an ego trip, which, if he wanted to, was okay with me. It didn`t bug me, I let it go, as long as I got the money for it which is what you want in the end. The fame and the extra fortune will always come, and I`ve got what I wanted in the end, recognition as a drummer.

What was your reaction when you were asked to join ELP?

When I was originally called up and asked if I would join, I said no. That was because Rooster was the first band I had ever formed – jointly with Vincent after we had left Arthur Brown – and I wanted to go a bit further with it. The band had a promising single which I thought would do something, but as it happened it didn`t. I realised that the first album was trash but I thought I must give it longer.
So I did, but a couple of weeks later Greg called up and suggested I had a blow with them. I did and they both thought it was great, I enjoyed it, and then Greg called me and asked me what I was going to do. I said, “I don`t know, I have got to think about it”. He said he would phone me up the next day and I must give him an answer. But then he called up the same night and suggested another blow tomorrow. So we had another blow and I went back home. He wanted an answer and was putting on the pressure. In the end I said no again but then he laid it on the line about what we thought the band was going to be and it clicked with me. I had been very worried about the Nice situation. Finally I said yes and we went straight into rehearsals. I was doing five gigs a week with Rooster and I was playing three afternoons a week with ELP, and I did that for about two months solid. I found Vincent a drummer and settled all the outstanding business matters. I helped Rooster as best I could and I spoke to Vincent the other day and we are the best of friends. Me leaving Rooster was the most mutual split ever, and who knows, I might even play with Vincent again.

Did you get fulfilment as a drummer before ELP with bands like Rooster, Arthur Brown and Chris Farlowe`s Thunderbirds?

I wasn`t doing as many things as I wanted to. But then the way I play now I never dreamt of playing like that then because the people I was playing with weren`t that way inclined. When I suggested anything a bit freaky then, people were a bit funny. I had a 10/8 riff when I was sixteen which people didn`t want to know about because they thought it was hard. And of course that 10/8 riff is applied to “Tarkus”. I was labelled as a rock and roll drummer and I couldn`t get out of it. With Rooster I got out of it a bit and with ELP I am fulfilled.

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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: Redbone, Frank Zappa, Redwing, Elton John, B.B. King, Bill Williams, Alice Stuart, Fanny, Robbie Robertson, Lesley Duncan, Dave Burland.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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