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ARTICLE ABOUT Phil Collins (Genesis) FROM SOUNDS, March 13, 1976

Just as the NME did, the music paper Sounds also had a regular column for the musicians out there. The column that Sounds did were named “Blowin`” and it is from there this article comes. One for the drummers out there, and especially those of you trying to emulate Genesis. Here you have the name and the size of Phil`s drums! Not too much tech-talk in this one, so it should be readable for other people too.
The journalist, Dave Fudger, also played bass for the punk band Snivelling Shits – a band that also had a couple of his pals from Sounds playing in it, among them a certain Mr. Pete Makowski. Great name for a band by the way!

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Which xciting, xtravagant, xtremely x-rated, xquisitely xtroverted band sends you into flights of xtasy?

By Dave Fudger

Phil Collins, not content with being the rhytmic mainstay and now vocalist/frontman with Genesis, likes to spread his talents around. While the world was chewing its nails in troubled anticipation of the future of the band after Peter Gabriel`s departure last year, Mr. Collins was busy.
From the summer up until November Phil`s wide percussive talents were being applied to eight albums including the new Argent album, Eno`s `Another Green World`, John Cale`s `Helen Of Troy`, `Peter & The Wolf`, the Tommy Bolin album as well as `Trick Of The Trail`. He also contributed to two film soundtracks – one, `Operation Daybreak`, is currently doing the ABC circuit.
On top of all this stuff, apart from rehearsing the new four-piece Genesis he has been taking out on the road an adventurous instrumental jazz-rock combo, Brand X, which demands from the man a totally different role from his part in Genesis.
Collins names influences that include Billy Cobham, Harvey Mason, Steve Gadd and Tony Williams. These influences are amply evidenced in the exciting direction that Phil`s playing and the music of Brand X are taking.
Phil explains the cause and effect of his `other` full-time musical departure:
“Well it started around Christmas `74. A friend of mine who was working at Island Records at that time said to me `Do you want to come down and have a blow with a group? They need a drummer,` and I wasn`t thinking of leaving Genesis, really. But I wasn`t pushing myself with Genesis like I wanted to and this seemed like a good idea.
“So I went down and had a blow with the guys.

“At that time it was a five-piece group and the drummer would have been the sixth guy. There was a singer who played percussion, two guitarists, and a keyboard player and myself; oh, and Percy on bass. They were basically doing songs, funky songs, and they had a deal with Island Records and I started having a blow with them and it really worked well.
“We got together quite regularly to rehearse, to do an album. They knew that I was in Genesis and they knew that nothing could really come of it.
“Anyway, we made this album and the backing tracks were great but I don`t think that Island really liked the vocalist. He`s a friend of mine and I don`t want to say too much on the hard side about him but he was probably the weak link in the group.
“Island decided not to release that album, so we decided to go back and write some more material. But at this time there was a split in the group. There was the four of us who are now in Brand X veering towards the more instrumental, adventurous things and Pete (the old second guitarist) and Phil, the singer they wanted to write songs.
“I think basically we`d like to be thought of as session musicians that come together as often as possible, but it has to be fitted in with the Genesis commitments.”

I put it to Phil that when this interview was originally mooted his publicist, to give weight to the idea, proposed that Phil was in fact playing in two full-time bands prompting visions of Mr Collins tearing from Genesis gig to Brand X gig.
“Well I am in as much as when Brand X is on the road it`s full-time. Genesis, since November when we finished the album, have been pretty inactive. We did a few weeks rehearsing, for the tour, in January but apart from that and a few press things there`s been a bit of inactivity. So at that point we decided to get a few Brand X dates in.
“We`ve done about twelve dates, I suppose. But we won`t be playing again until May. The band, God willing, will stay together. Percy, Rob and John have got things to do while I`m away with Genesis. They`ll write some new material and providing the album comes out we`ll record it, in fact we`ve got most of it already.”
Anyone fortune enough to have caught any of Brand X`s gigs will have heard this new material which for the uninitiated will come as quite a surprise as it`s just about as far from Genesis as you can get – tight, punchy jazz-rock instrumentals, leaning heavily on Percy Jones` fretless bass mastery and Phil`s high-speed precision to cue the changes in the arrangements.
Being essentially a non-vocal concept Brand X is a far more rythmically based operation than Genesis and consequently Phil utilises different technique and equipment with the band to the requirements of Genesis.

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“Well, I think with Genesis in the future I`m going to keep it as loose as I do with Brand X, in terms of what I use. I`ve got two kits – one is a Premier kit and the other is a Gretsch kit. The Premier I use for stage work with Genesis. It sounds good but the Gretsch one I feel more personal with and so feel more at home with it on music that is more experimental.
“The Premier kit is the Kenny Clare outfit which has got double shells and there`s a 20X15 bass drum, 14X5 snare drum, wooden, and 12X8, 13X9, 14X14, 16X16 tom-toms. On the Gretsch kit there`s a Gretsch 20×15 bass drum, a Premier 12X8 tom-tom and 13X9, 14X14, 16X16 Gretsch tom-toms.
“I`ve also got a custom-built perspex snare drum which is 14X6 1/2 which was built for a friend of mine. The cymbals, I`ve got a deal with Paiste and I`ve just recently got a couple of sets, but I`ve also got some old Zildjians so I kind of use what I feel like at the time. But I`ve got a range from the four-inch Chinese gong up to the 26-inch sizzle. So I`ve got a cross-section of the kinds of cymbals that I`m likely to need.
The pedals I use are Speed Kings. I`ve never used anything else. I`ve tried changing recently to something that I thought might be faster. I tried using these Japanese pedals which Percussion Services are changing to have chains on instead of the leather straps but they didn`t really suit me.
“I`ve been playing with Speed Kings since I was 15 and I changed to try and get better but I wasn`t getting any better. I`ve got Slingerland hi-hat pedals, which are the best that I`ve tried.

“The timbales that I`ve been using are Slingerland – a 13-inch and a 14-inch, and a 14-inch and a 16-inch Shaftesbury cos they`re the only ones that I could get that were that big. I`ve been trying to get someone to make 16-inch metal timbales because I reckon they`ll be incredible.
“I`ve got a lot of stuff from Premier. I`ve got a set of vibes and tubular bells – they`re very good, they`ve got a very good service. Premier had a sort of face-lift two or three years ago, and Eddie Haynes, who`s the promotions manager is very good.
“I use the Gretsch kit in the studio, and on the Eno album and all the Genesis albums. I`ve never had any damping on the kit for recording. The tom-toms are live, tuned really tight, and I`ve got the see-through heads, I used to use the black dot ones and I got hold of some that are completely clear and they sound like deep timbale which is the kind of sound I like. When you go round the kit when you do a roll they sound like a tuned instrument.
“So I just have the drums without any damping at all in the studio and that`s including the snare drum; the bass drum usually has something in it. The see-through heads are very bright and that`s the sound I like.
“I tend to throw myself around a bit more with Brand X but, with Genesis I`m more disciplined because there are things like `Reliant` where I have to do certain cues at a certain pace and it`s a different kind of game.”

With his changed role in Genesis, following the departure of Peter Gabriel, Phil will now have the responsibility of fitting another drummer into the established Genesis constitution.
“It`s hard really because some of the songs we`ve been doing for three or four years and it`s hard to imagine them in a different vein. We`re not really up-dating the old material apart from the odd rearrangement here and there. And whoever the drummer will be they`ll be left to work their own devices as long as it stays within a certain framework.
“I`m not trying to restrict anybody`s style but I want to have the feeling that I don`t want to have to get up there and do it myself and there are only a few drummers that I could let do it.
“I`m probably less bothered about playing drums all the time with Genesis now cos I do have sessions and I do have Brand X. I still want to be thought of as a drummer. I`m still going to be playing the more demanding pieces like `Cinema Show` and `Los Endos` from the new album.
“For things like that which are basically instrumental tunes I`ll be nipping back and playing my kit and whoever it is will be percussing or playing with me. I will be a front man but I want to do it in a drummer`s way not in a sort of sexy singer`s way.”

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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: Evelyn Thomas & Ian Levine, Shaun Cassidy, Jimmy Page, Cate Brothers, Julie Tippetts, Adam Faith, Pat Travers, Yes, Jesse Winchester, Deep Purple.

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 Bad Company FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 17, 1976

As always, when you read an article written by Nick Kent, the writing is impeccable, but maybe he should have let his interview objects be even more central to proceedings? Anyway, it is a wonder that Mr. Kent could express himself as eloquently as he does, considering he was a herion addict throughout most of the 70s. It sometimes amazes me what people of great talent is able to achieve using hard drugs. But, in the end, everyone will have to pay the price if they don`t stop before it is too late. Thankfully, Mr. Kent was one of those that survived. Read this quite interesting article by one of the most talented music journalists of the 70s.

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…Well, come on then, Rodgers, act mean and nasty for the kids!

NO way. Paul Rodgers fails to live up to the horrendous tales of on-the-road booze and belligerence. He`s being a nice guy. And the rest of Bad Company? They`re being nice guys as well. Nick Kent does not even get insulted, never mind get his face smashed in. Oh well, that`s life.

The things we rock writers come up with! For my sins I recall to this day a ridiculously pompous conversation that took place between yours truly and one American scribe – now a fully paid-up member of the Rolling Stone editorial higher echelon but at this point a budding `punk terrible` working out of Detroit – where we came to the conclusion that the only valid dialectic situation left to the rock star-rock critic was to get into highly elaborate fist fights.
Whether this concept was inspired by the much-publicised fisticuffs between Bob Dylan and venerable rock eccentric A. J. Weberman or whether it was just a kind of dumb cool thing to think up at the time doesn`t really matter. Nor did, at the time anyway, the fact that both of us were yer archetypal nine-stone weakling far more adept at hiding under tables when even the vaguest whiff of violence was mooted in the air than `piling in` so to speak.
Surprisingly enough, I`ve never really found myself in a situation where I`ve been forced to declare arms against some irate musician following some less than complimentary review. The nearest, in fact, I ever came to an out-right confrontation of any sort was at an L.A. club where a drunk and offensive John Bonham (Led Zep drummer to the unitiated) poured a jug of cream and a couple of brandies over my coat, this being presumably his idea of a good `wheeze`.
I in turn found the escapade to be thoroughly unpleasant – any retaliation on my part was scarcely the order of the day seeing that Mr. Bonham is built like the proverbial shit-house door and was constantly flanked by two even more muscular than he.
All in all though, the incident did leave a rather sour complexion on my comrade`s idea of the fist-fight as viable rock dialectic, at least in my view and I quickly forgot about the whole thing.

Until, that is, the assignment. Pretty routine stuff on the surface, it was. Fly out to Jersey, land of the ageing gout-booted British tax exile thirsting for some vague replica of the Olde Country wherein to while away his retirement savings, and interview Swansong Artistes Bad Company, themselves tax exiles but in this daunting position through their mercurial ascendancy onto the pedestal of top-flight rock superstars.
All very straight-forward, but then again, Bad Company do have this reputation preceding them for a belligerent boozed-out boisterousness. Legend has it that even my oppressor M. Bonham was so shocked by their behaviour at one Atlantic Records function that he took it upon himself as co-chairman of Swansong to chastise them gravely for their hedonistic philanderings. (Now that little episode I would have liked to have witnessed).
And then again, how can I forget that touching scenario played out by Paul Rodgers, Bad Co`s leading protagonist, just one year ago. The Faces` Christmas Party it was – a civilised enough occasion, and there was I waiting to savour the sheperds pie and mixed veg laid out on this large table when who but Mr. Rodgers should appear, muttering dark curses at everyone in his booze-tinted view, and promptly lay waste the entire table in question, tossing food-stuffs here and there with nary a thought for present company.
Quite put me off my appetite, it did.

As it happens, almost all my colleagues in the business have their own P. Rodgers anecdote. One party, I recall, voted him the single most unpleasant man in rock, while Charles Shaar Murray recalls the time he witnessed our hero almost set about a Hungarian waitress for merely asking him to take his feet off a chair in the hotel restaurant.
More to the point, further reports lead one to believe that Bad Co.`s corporate ascendancy had worsened the Rodgers temperament considerably. A prominent Swansong musician/co-chairman who had freewheeled it over to the States to see his company`s band slaying `em on the East Coast last year mentioned to me a few months ago that the lead vocalist`s unwillingness to swamp his ego in with his three cohorts and become more flexible musically could cause great dissent with the Bad Co ranks.
And finally there was a Rolling Stone (what else?) piece which vividly documented the band on the tour in question seemingly immersed in a never-ending morose bacchanalia with Rodgers particularly obstreperous.
Ruminating over what I`d gleaned from reports on the Bad Co. temperament in regard to this Jersey venture, I envisaged at least some quotient of `aggro` emanating in my direction – principally from Rodgers, I presumed, who might well not like the cut of my clothes, shape of my legs etc. and would probably bottle me if I asked a question perhaps not to his liking.

Well, to remove what possible suspense which can be drawn from the writing of a piece on Bad Company, nothing like that happened at all. Photographer Pennie Smith and I arrived at the hotel to be greeted by two plates of slightly stale sandwiches and a nice-guy Welsh roadie who agreeably set about farming out members of the band for the interview. The inevitable naturally occurred – I was faced with all four members at once for most of the actual interview, a gnarling situation which totally denied any facility for the more intimate one-to-one heart-to-heart patter which usually reveals something interesting.
Instead the band palled it up and quite agreeably joked around, cooing forth platitudes about the new direction their music was taking and how their new album, “Run With The Pack” was by far their most advanced and satisfying recording.

Facing the band in toto so to speak, you really can`t help but be struck by the visual incongruities of the members. Drummer Simon Kirke, a genuinely entertaining and likable raconteur of `witty stories`, must possess the most oppressively bulging biceps in all rock history, both muscle-packed arms just crying out for a plethora of tattoos with motifs like an anchor just above the elbow and “mother” scrawled just below.
Kirke`s whole persona reminded me of Robert Plant`s whole `likely lad` style; their slightly North of the Border accents are almost identical, in fact. In total contrast, guitarist Mick Ralphs seems to have the physique of a post-adolescent teenager even though he bows to holding down an age “politely known as late 20`s.” For the years spent paying all those proverbial dues in Mott the Hoople, he still possesses the incredibly healthy wide-eyed pallor of a youth making his debut with a band at some local Hereford youth club.
Seated next to him, bass-player Boz Burrell presents even further visual incongruities. Decked out in full cow-poke regalia – the frayed denim shirt, unostentatious boots and lean black stetson, his “jazzer`s” beard makes him resemble the unlikely outcome of Acker Bilk signing on with the Eagles.
And finally there`s Paul Rodgers, short and stocky, moving from his seat to the bar like a Jersey bullock swathed in a bizarre-looking sheep-skin lined suedette bum-freezer which made his contours look all the more bizarre. His face looked remarkably haggard and a presumed lack of vitamins and hot sun made his hair look unhealthy and matted as if he`d just donned a rather shaggy doormat in lieu of a crown topper. I do recall stepping back a few paces in agitated reverence as he stomped into proceedings.

So what do we talk about, boys?
After a few obvious `ice-breaking` questions, I decided to divine the band`s opinion of the Rolling Stone piece referred to earlier.
“Well you`re a journalist, what did you think about it?” Kirke retorts amiably enough.
So I mention that – well, reading between the lines it appeared the writer felt a touch disorientated by the surroundings, didn`t seem to be enjoying himself too much and consequently wrote the article from a rather jaundiced aspect.
“The thing is” – Rodgers has just sat down – “he didn`t once mention anything about the music. There was nothing said about the music.”
Ah yes, the music. I mean, it`s more than fair that Rodgers should bring up the whole “music is the message” schtick – after all, that is his and Bad Co.`s only real claim to fame – they`re musicians, not philosophers or crusading emissaries for some worthy cause.
It`s just that talking and writing about music, particularly of the groinal variety, is basically such a prime pain in the ass, ringing forth all the same old platitudes and cliches as it does in these situations.
As it is, Bad Company have had their talents farmed into the computer-critique from more or less the first note they ever played. The definition always tends to read, “Good hard-rock band… sturdy but unambitious”, with special mention of Rodger`s very impressive vocal style and a possible merit star for Kirke`s excellent trashing abilities.

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Boz Burrell – Gone, but not forgotten.

The definition wasn`t embellished further by the release of “Straight Shooter,” the second album, and one wonders if the adjectival “unambitious” won`t be underlined a little heavier with the soon-to-appear “Run With The Pack”.
After the interview formalities have been dispensed with, Burrell and Ralphs play me a cassette tape of the Olympia gig showcasing at least five new songs which in turn showcase the patented formulas that have kept the band buoyant through two albums worth of toons thus far.
The first formula is Ralphs` personal adapton of the Keith Richard-Chuck Berry block chord rocker, only this time the full-blooded thrust of “Can`t Get Enough” through to the excellent “Good Lovin` Gone Bad” is made manifest in “Sweet Little Sister”. Obvious chord changes, obvious rock-swagger rhyming lyrics – Sweet Little Sister/You know you can`t resist her/She`s got it made in the shade, borrowing not a little from the Stones` phrase-book but that doesn`t mean it doesn`t rock like a bitch.
It`s just that one can only go so far with such limited concepts, no matter how full-blooded the performance and what with everyone from Kiss and Aerosmith down to your-local-punk-band-in-Stretford or Dayton, Ohio, scraping at the bones of `70s rock`s killer riffs – the “Brown Sugar” patent, the “Sweet Jane” chord changes, “Honky Tonk Women”, you end up needing more than even Paul Rodgers` supple vocalese to supply the edge.

Rodgers, for his part, appears still overly fond of his old Free stylisation if a song like the new “Simple Man” is anything to go by. That same loping, melancholic beat, same dour brooding chords (Rodgers in `soulful mood` always sound like he`s kicking himself because he never got to write Traffic`s “40,000 Headmen” before Winwood conceived the tune), the same earnest but bland utterances.
This time we`re faced with Rodgers waxing philosophical after a fashion with these gem-like utterances for company –  “I am just a simple man/Freedom is the only word that means a thing to me.”
Well at least it`s not pretentious and for that I`d gladly take an outfit like Bad Company over the infinitely more ambitious but ultimately ill-postured Queen. It`s just that full-blooded unoriginality and jaded pretence are pretty lean pickings when your expectations settle on that high and mighty echelon both bands are poised on at present.
Bad Company, for their part, tap their feet and nod agreeably at each other. They also mention that the more `advanced` stuff on “Pack” hasn`t been fully mastered yet for stage-performance. Still, one feels just a touch cynical when Ralphs sets about defending his statement recorded in Teazers a couple of weeks back that his band reminds him of The Beatles “in a very distinct way”.
“Yeah, I read that too,” he laughs for a second and then suddenly turns serious. “No, you see what I was trying to say… by drawing that parallel is that just like The Beatles we`re able to cover all the bases. By that I mean you`ve got Paul on one side and me and there`s melody and the rockers and…. Like Lennon and McCartney had that down. They covered the whole spectrum.
“That`s what we`re aiming for and now with this new album…”

And so it goes. As it happens, Ralphs is an extremely likeable bloke. I`d interviewed him several years ago when he was floundering with Mott (this was just before the DeFries union) and I was an idealistic cub reporter and the interview quickly broke down to become an energetic chat about favourite bands and music in general.
Looking back on his Mott days, I ask him whatever happened to the “budding Neil Young” image that Ian Hunter seemed so adamant about laying on the guitarist?
Ralphs fields off the `Young` schtick by simply retorting, “Well, with me it wasn`t as bad as Hunter who was desperate to be Bob Dylan (pause). Nah, Mott was a bizarre group in that we got into this whole thing of appealing to the loon-pants head-shaking audience. Yeah, a bit like Status Quo I suppose, only…”‘
Ralphs seems adamant about disowning the whole glitter-rock trip that the Bowie association set Mott up with. Indeed, Bad Company were conceived by Ralphs and Rodgers in terms of an earthy, anti-glitter backlash.
A question concerning the managerial merits of Tony DeFries draws forth inevitable comparisons with Bowie`s own Col. Tom and Swansong svengali Peter Grant.
“Well, DeFries knew all the stuff about law side of things. But I don`t think he really had any feeling, though, for the human or… uh, artistic side of the business. With Peter, well, it`s like he`s one of the lads really.”

Burrell defines Grant`s attributes as a manager further:
“He really acts as a cushion (sic) between the band and all the politics that are bound to surround one. That is, he lets you get on with the music totally while he fields off all the lawyers, record company guys etc. that are more than ready to hold back your actual output.”
Kirke: “We hardly ever sit down and do business with him. It`s usually always a social thing when we meet.”
Bad Company and Grant set their alliance rolling with just a handshake, by the way. A gentleman`s agreement.
Events following directly in the wake of Bad Co.`s association with Swansong show a more than dramatic change in fortunes.
Kirke dismisses his earnings from Free as “a pittance… I suppose that`s what you`d call it.” He prefers not to muse over any potential “sour grapes”.
Ralphs, upon leaving Mott, was faced with departing with a debt (Mott the Hoople were in debt to upwards of £100,000 at one point, so the story goes) or breaking free, thus nixing any personal hold on royalties arising from the subsequently successful “Mott” album. He chose the latter.
And Burrell? Well, his former escapades provide the best copy of the day. A former King Crimson employee (Fripp taught him bass “parrot-fashion”) his reminiscences are scurrilous if nothing else.

“That whole period of my life was ridiculous. I mean, if I`ve done anything in my life purely for the money, that was it. I mean, I`d be singing these lyrics and suddenly I`d stop and think, `Christ, what does that mean`. I reckon Sinfield used to dig out his Roget`s Thesaurus, find the most impressive-looking words and just throw `em all in.
“And Fripp! (laughs). He`d be sitting on his stool just scowling at us. So every night for an encore we`d rush out… see, the only thing Fripp can`t play is a straight-forward blues, so for the encore the rest of the band would charge onstage and before he`d got a chance to plug in his guitar, we`d kick off with a 12-bar! (laughs).
“On the very last night, Mel (Collins) demolished a mellotron as part of the solo. He just very methodically took it to pieces, right, and Fripp turned round… it was during `Schizoid Man` … he was on his stool (collapses laughing).
“The thing is, though, it`s ridiculous when people murmur that we`re all in Bad Co. for the money. Nothing could be further from the truth. But, I mean, that Crimson gig – that was a pure pay-check thing.
“It`s a shame really. People just don`t get it straight.”

So finally to Rodgers, who, far from the mooted belligerence of yore, was amiable enough. He even talked with mild candour about his drinking binges, saying that he and the band had cut down drastically in a tone which, to the impartial observer, appeared to mean business.
Later I overhear a phone conversation where Rodgers reverently mentions that he`s soon to become a father for the second time, which could well account for this new-found serenity.
Oh, and that tax-exile schtick. It appears to be not all champagne and roses even if alcohol and cigarettes are almost half the price. Kirke at least had picked up on some nookie. He had a date, he said. Taking her to the pictures, he was. To see The Jungle Book for the second time in three days.

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A really strange ad….

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits  – please make a link to the article. With 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: Gary Holton, Ronnie Lane, Warne Marsh, Keith Moon, Kid Strange.

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 Led Zeppelin FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 1, 1975

This article was published just weeks before the release of “Physical Graffiti”, their sixth studio album and the one with “Kashmir” on it. And you better not tell me that you haven`t heard that song… This album is among a lot of music critics regarded as one of the very best in the history of rock. Here is a report from the start of their tour in the USA, where they later sold eight million copies of the aforementioned double-album, awarding it 16x platinum in 2006.
Enjoy this report from the frontlines.

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“Karen Carpenter couldn`t last ten minutes with a Zeppelin number.”

Does this statement look interesting to you? It DOES? Then you must be a LED ZEPPELIN fan. Hi there! And welcome to our centre spread. Your tour-guide this week is LISA ROBINSON and sandwiches will be provided at half-price.

Last time I was in Chicago was in 1969 when I stayed with The Stooges at the Skid Row Holiday Inn.
Chicago. They say they do things they don`t do on Broadway, but I doubt it.
Led Zeppelin are holed up in the fadingly elegant Ambassador East Hotel (“fadingly elegant” means that the telephones don`t work) where the main attractions are the chi-chi Pump Room and the Buttery Disco.
The hotel brochure describes the Buttery as “The (new) Buttery, dramatic NOW (sic) discotheque, for the smart young set, is an after dark magnet. Compelling music for dancing and listening seven nights a week lures the chic and the celebrated. That blazing aggregation, “The J. B. Polks” headlines the show Tuesday through Sat. from 9 until ?”.
John Bonham put on a suit to go and check the place out one night and returned five minutes later. “So much for that,” he said.

The hotel is boring and pretty calm, but Zep`s presence is felt. Although the celebrated Mr. Onoko (the man who hid in the jungle for 30 years) is staying here, the guards discreetly lurking here and there are for the band. Just in case.
It`s pretty early in the day, but Robert struts and preens around his expansive suite, happy and ever-willing to pose for photos.
“Don`t count them all as my taste,” he warns, as I rifle through the LPs scattered on his coffee table. Margie Joseph, Aretha Franklin, Danny O`Keefe, Otis Redding, The Guess Who.
“Except for Danny O`Keefe and The Guess Who. The Guess Who are great.” He twinkles. “Really. They`re my favourite group right now. I mean, that guy who used to be the singer – we-e-ell, I just thought he was doing Robert Plant imitations. But the one now is terrific.
“What happened to the other guy? Randy who? BTO? Oh yeah? Are they a big group here?
“Excuse me,” he grins, fondling his crotch just a bit.
Ohmigod! Ahem. The tour, Robert.

“I`ll tell you. At that Chislehurst Caves function I realised I really missed the unity of the four of us. I realised that above everything else, above record companies, above films, we were Led Zeppelin – above everything.
“From that moment on we started rehearsing, and getting into full gear. Some of the new tracks already sound better than they do on the album. They`re really building.
“So once again we recorded at just the right time – because everybody felt the same way. We worked really hard, we worked ourselves almost into the ground. I mean, despite the fact that we don`t see each other every day and that Bonzo lives right down the road and half the time he`s at Hereford Market selling bulls, it still seems that at the right time we got together and we write something that keeps us all satisfied – musically.
“I love the album. There are some real humdinger, roaring tracks on it – and then there are some others that are going to take a while…and then people will see.”

Last time we spoke you mentioned something about this disc being a bit more, um, groinal.
“Well,” he smiles, “some of the lyrics are a bit more `groinal`, if we can start using that phrase.”
I like it.
“It is nice, isn`t it? Wonder what it means?
“I know what Nick Kent said about the stuff we can `do in our sleep.` And I can transpose that from his rather campish pen – obviously half the time he uses invisible ink – but that track “Wanton Song”…he`s right. This is what Zeppelin has been all about, which is so groinal…
“We`re really playing well now, we`re quite mature, you know. We can play stuff like `Black Dog` – which is the Zeppelin that comes out of our ears – but we can also alter the mood with things like `Kashmir` or `The Song Remains The Same` or `No Quarter` where the mood changes so beautifully.
“In a big auditorium that`s so fabulous – to take the mood and change the whole thing.”

“I was really nervous before the first gig,” Plant confesses, suddenly. “We`re always so nervous. I dunno why – I think it`s because we`re so self-critical.
“As we walked up to the stage that night Jimmy turned to me and said `This is really deja vu, you know?`, we have been here before…as the heart went into the mouth.
“And of course, if Jimmy gets sick or anything goes wrong with him it affects me too.”
What are you looking forward to most on this tour?
“Oh dear. Well. I`ve already had the biggest turn-on I could imagine, and that was going to watch Buddy Guy and Hound Dog Taylor last night. I mean, really – the blues isn`t dead. Al Green is great, but underneath all the shim-shim, there`s a town called Chicago…and Buddy Guy is still fantastic.
“You know you`re getting to where the music is when the FBI guy in the front seat locks his car door…You can just sit there and literally shiver listening to that man, and he`s playing a cafe and his amplifier is on top of a pinball machine.”
And the old road fever?
“You`re talking to The New Robert Plant. My perspective has changed on a lot of things. I`ve been through so many tours that now I see that there are ways and means of making it more enjoyable without having to rush into anything or burning yourself out. If there`s any raping or looting about…well, it`s done with good taste, I suppose…
“We still manage to entertain ourselves like a right young bunch of executives.”

“I`d like to have it publicised that I came in after Karen Carpenter in the Playboy drummer poll,” roars John Bonham as I enter the dressing room before the first show.
“She couldn`t last ten minutes with a Zeppelin number,” he sneers.
Bonzo`s leaning back against the couch wearing a splendid suede patchworked winter coat – bought new in Chicago out of necessity. Only John Paul Jones came prepared for the weather, bringing along a maroon fur the same colour as was his wife`s hair last tour.
Jones is still fairly reticent – but he smiles more now, so I go up to him in the bathroom where he`s combing his carefully tailored hair (long, spikey sideburns and ducktailed in the back) and ask him why he doesn`t do interviews.
“Awh…they want to interview the stars, not the rhythm section.”
Can I quote that?
“No! My first quote in six years? It isn`t going to be that.”
Puleez.
“Did it sound snide?”
No, it`s funny.
“Oh,” he says, disappointed. “It was supposed to sound snide.”
Of course, personal manager Richard Cole is there. Backstage, as everywhere, he sees everything.

Although he speaks with a bit of longing about getting on to New York and the Oyster Bar (“Oh, they`ll see me coming. Here`s old golden pen again…”), right now he`s keeping careful watch on the backstage area of the Chicago Stadium. Someone dreadful approaches. “Do you remember me from 1973?” the boy asks. “I was very close with John Paul…”
Richard`s eyes roll towards the heavens. He doesn`t want to know.
Rapidly, he hands the kid two tickets – the most polite way of telling anyone to piss off I`ve ever witnessed.
Three girls race in, chilled by the freezing cold.
“RICHARD, RICHARD!!” they squeal. “Thank GOD you`re here!”
And – with remarkable finesse, Cole smiles, hands them three tickets, and sends them on their way – all in the time it`s taken him to mutter “Oh, Christ” under his breath.
Zeppelin just couldn`t do a tour without him. It`s that simple.

The group goes onstage to the roar of 20,000 kids. “Rock And Roll” bursts forth, followed by the new “Sick Again”.
By the time the band have got into “Over The Hills And Far away,” it seems that something`s wrong.
“We`ve got a couple of predicaments,” Plant apologises. “First, my inability to come to terms with the climate – and second, our guitarist broke his finger.” (More on that later.)
“When The Levee Breaks”, “The Song Remains The Same,” and “Rain Song” take us to the new and obviously powerful “Kashmir”. By the time they`ve done “In My Time Of Dying” and “Stairway”, the kids are responding hysterically enough to demand two encores: “Black Dog” and “Communication Breakdown”.
Here, the tour de force of the elaborate and impressive lighting system comes in to play. The band`s return is to the accompaniment of the legend “LED ZEPPELIN” lit up in four foot high letters at the rear of the stage.
As they come offstage, they`re wrapped in red terry-cloth robes for the limo ride back to the hotel.
“Now they`re called Red Zeppelin,” cracks Danny Goldberg, but the mood is pretty low.

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The second night is something else altogether. As the lights dim, the crowd start to cheer and backstage Robert smiles and says: “They`re playing my song.”
Fifteen seconds onstage and everyone knows it`s going to be hot. Perhaps the first night letdown`s done some good in that they`ve had to really try harder – it`s amazing how much they care. After all, they`re making the same amount of money. They`ve sold out everywhere.
But they`ve been truly depressed and confused all day about the first Chicago show.
No matter; tonight they`re playing with that old black Zeppelin magic again, and the audience go wild. “Trampled Underfoot” is magnificent. With a “Come Together”-like rhythm and real rocking guitar, it sounds as if the Beatles battled the Stones in a parking lot – and Led Zeppelin won.
A roll of toilet paper is thrown onstage and Peter Grant mumbles “Uh-oh. That doesn`t mean Bonzo shit himself, does it?” Bonzo, meanwhile, is dressed in a white boilersuit and black bowler hat. His roadie, Mick Hinton, is dressed identically (“It`s a double act,” says Cole); in addition, however, Hinton has one very carefully painted Clockwork Orange eye…
“We`d like to dedicate this next song to all the people who came to see us without our having a record out,” Plant announces as the strains of “Stairway” begin.
Cheers, roars, hoo-ha. There`s no doubt that this is the American Zeppelin favourite.
“Of course,” he adds, “it`s not that we haven`t been busy. We`ve just been starting a record company, and making a film, and jerking ourselves off…”

At noon the following day Jimmy Page comes to my room for breakfast. (Eek! – Ed.).
He`s in a really good mood because he got five hours sleep (a lot, for him) and he knows last night`s show was great.
He describes his broken finger.
“I`m having to develop a three-finger style,” he laughs. “But it`s a drag. It happened when I was on a train in England – on my way to rehearsal. I was at the front of the train planning to rush off and grab a taxi, when the train stopped abruptly. I must have grabbed at something, and the finger got caught in the hinge of the door.
“I was just totally numb – numb with shock. I just looked at it and said…`Oh, no`…I mean it`s the most important finger for a guitarist: third finger, left hand. The wedding ring finger…
“It`s the one that does all the leverage, and most of the work, and it really came as a blow because I just couldn`t play with it, I`m still not really playing with it. Last night I used it on a couple of chord changes, but it still hurts.
“I`m starting to master a three-fingered technique, though. I may start to work at this at home – work out three and two -finger techniques so that whenever there`s another accident – which I`m bound to have, at the beginning of an important tour! – I`ll be ready for it.”

He orders scrambled eggs with ketchup, English muffins, and tea – which, although he`s been mixing a lot of vitamin enriched banana daiquaris in his room, is the most he eats in a day on the road. “I`m off eating, I`m trying to photosynthesize – like a plant,” he laughs.
Page, perhaps more than the others, suffers from the rigours of the road.
“But this time I`m going to get some Afghani hangings and my rooms are going to look like – well, like mosques. You get loads of carpets and lay them on top of each other and have everything candlelit.
“My home`s like that, you see, and I`d like to bring my home on tour. But I can`t – so I have to try this.
“The situation with the house now is that when people come to the door, if they`ve got anything worthwhile saying, they`re allowed in.
“If they`re idiots, or cranks or fanatics, they`re welcome to walk around the grounds.
“You`d be surprised though. Some people really have a lot to say.
“The reason I got the bookshop together was because there was not one bookshop in London with a good collection of occult books and I was so pissed off at not being able to get the books I wanted.
“And, whereas I can`t ever see that shop making money, there`ll be a bit of publishing there – astrology books and things like that.”

Discussing the Zeppelin film, Page describes his solo sequence.
“Mine`s a fantasy sequence of The Hermit – The Hermit tarot card that`s on the fourth LP. Lots of laboratory work – ageing faces and things like that.
“I was exhausted at the end of it because I had to stand up all the time…absolutely rigid, my eyes unblinking, totally constant. I really had to bring out all my yoga training for that.
“The hardest bit was when I had to hold the lantern out.
“Anyway, it`s an interpretation of The Hermit card and, when people see it, they`ll understand what it`s all about. It all ties in with the violin part of `Dazed And Confused`.
“The movie`s a musical. It starts in England, shows the total tranquility of England with just natural sounds, and then goes to the last U.S. tour. The way that it changes is really amazing, the whole pace of the tour really comes in.
“I imagine it`ll come out by the summer. We haven`t got much to finish – just mixing the soundtrack.
“I feel that there`s so much to do in such a short time, you know. I`ve had that feeling closing in on me for the last few years.
“I realize that I`ve been playing for ten years – I don`t know if people realize that. I think some of them think I`m just starting!
“I`ve enjoyed it, though. I`d like to play for another twenty years. But I don`t know, I just can`t see it happening. I don`t know why. I can`t explain it in words.
“It`s just a funny feeling…A foreboding…Vultures.”

Peter Grant sits on a brocaded couch in the living room of his ornate suite. (“It`s the only suite that Zsa Zsa Gabor will stay in when she comes to Chicago.”)
Peter`s willing to talk to me about a possible British date for Zeppelin, but he`s conservative about it.
“There is something planned, but it`s not finalized. It`s not an outdoor festival. I can tell you that. It is a big place, in London – and will be over several nights.
“If everything goes fine it will be in May. I`m not being secretive, it`s just that it`s not finalized yet.”
“We really don`t get much flak about Zeppelin neglecting Britain in favour of the States,” Grant continues thoughtfully. “Because we haven`t been here so long. In the beginning there was some of that – but you have to realize that when the band started (and I know it was the same for the Beck band and Ten Years After as well) the British promoters weren`t really interested. They`d rather put on a reggae disco.
“So you had to come over here to get to people. When Zeppelin came to the States and started doing really well, it suddenly dawned on them that something good was happening.

“But we will do three or four days in London. An indoor site.
“We`ve wanted to play a really good gig in England for some years,” Page interjects. “The problem has always been the site. Like with that Knebworth Park thing – it was never finalized, and they put us in a situation where they tried to force us to do it, and that was unforgivable.
“So the kids felt that we`d let them down, and I suppose in a way we did let them down – but we didn`t mean to.
“I`m on in Wolverhampton every Saturday afternoon,” Plant laughs.
Sorry, what?
“I go to see Wolverhampton Wanderers every Saturday afternoon. The public is always aware of my presence and my voice is always exercised to its fullest as I cheer on one of the finest football teams the country has ever known.”
It`s not the same as doing a concert though.
“What?” he shrieks. “They brought international football to England in the 1950`s – they are a superb team. You should hear some of the notes I reach…”

After the third show, everyone feels like going out.
Assembling in the truly dreary Buttery (a bar-mitzvah band is playing “Can`t Get Enough”), everyone makes for the Bistro, Strobe lights, B.T. Express, Labelle`s “Lady Marmalade”, “one monkey don`t stop no show” and all.
Robert dances, Jimmy (who seems to be wearing some kind of charcoal eye makeup) is sitting in a booth with Gee, Cole. Clive Coulson (who`s come over for Bad Company tour negotiations). Lots of Dom Perignon, and some girl tries to show Clive how to do The Bump.
“See, don`t I take you to the best places?” laughs Richard Cole.
Bonzo`s sitting in a booth at the Bistro, not feeling too well. He`s been having stomach problems and thinks it`s nerves. Sitting there, quietly talking about his wife (“We met when I was 16, got married when I was 17…I was a carpenter and got up at 7 a.m. and then had to change for a gig that night in the van…I think that has a lot to do with why I`m the way I am”), he does seem amazingly – as he put it – “softhearted”.
“I don`t know,” he mumbled later, getting into the elevator at a sleepy 3 a.m. “I just don`t feel much like raving about these days…”
Zeppelin mellowing? Well, Robert was surveying the Bistro`s local talent without much enthusiasm.
(To be sure, most of the local talent was maintaining a slim hold on masculinity, but still…)

What can you say about a six-year-old band that has America in the palm of its hand?
It`s just begun, really – and yet Zeppelin has already managed to make every other rock news/concert/whatever pale by comparison.
And meanwhile the plane – the super Starship, all red, white and blue with white stars and the words LED ZEPPELIN painted on the side – waits patiently at Chicago`s O`Hare Airport to bring the lads to New York City and the rest of the country.
The tour is underway.

For some reason, NME used to print pix of naked ladies along with the Gig Guide.

For some reason, NME used to print pix of naked ladies along with the Gig Guide.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Lowell George (Little Feat), Alan Hull (Lindisfarne), Kiss, Doobie Brothers, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Bruce Springsteen, Marc Bolan, John McLaughlin, The Soft Machine, Bob Pegg, Little Milton, Ian Bairnson (Pilot).

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 around or upwards of 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 Jethro Tull (Ian Anderson) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 1, 1975

A very nice interview done by the very famous music journalist Cameron Crowe. He has later built a successful career in directing and/or writing screenplays for films. So this one should be read by more people than only Tull fans, if not only to clarify who this Jethro Tull guy is? Is it Ian Anderson? Enjoy!

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The Ian Anderson Interview

By Cameron Crowe

For the past three years Ian Anderson has proved a nemesis for most journalists. Interview requests have been invariably nixed by the Tull organisation. On this warm Los Angeles afternoon, however, the eve of Tull’s first American tour in almost two years,  26-year-old Anderson has decided to talk.
Sipping beer and shopping for motor-cycles via a frostily air-conditioned limousine, he explained his strategy. “Better I do an interview now, before the tour, than do it later and have to answer the criticism.”
You mentioned earlier that you didn’t want to discuss the actual meaning of your compositions, particularly not “Passion Play” or “War Child”.
I just don’t want to start people off on trying to figure out what this newest album means in relation to “Passion Play” and the movie idea. They all relate. I just don’t want to have to start explaining.
I do know, believe it or not, but there’s no need for a big intellectual analysis. I’d rather the people just listened to the last two Tull albums as pieces of music.

You seem a bit defensive. Were you as deeply affected by the recent Tull criticism us we’re led to believe?
Oh, very much so. I’d be less than human if my blood didn’t boil when some punk kid writer — hardly out of his nappies -has the gall to say our music is bad or unimaginative.
I find the use of unqualified, brutal adjectives such as those totally irresponsible. Journalists are a terribly destructive lot.
Last year, the pop papers descended upon not only Jethro Tull but on a few other groups — and most of it had to do with their unwillingness to give interviews every six months.
In a small country like Britain, it’s hard to get out of meeting that quota without causing bad feelings. But really, after six months, there’s not much to say that you didn’t say six months before.
I mean, I quite accept that an important album has to be reviewed whether the critic likes it or not, but they should at least offer some criticism. I’ve had a lot of adverse criticism which has ultimately been good for me. Actually, I’ve always thought of Jethro as a live band anyway. We sell records as souvenirs.
When people offer criticism as a sort of entertainment de signed to shock or be brutal or cynical or aggressive … that’s repulsive. I know that the last few records have been difficult to listen to the first ten times around.

This new one, so I’m told, is a lot more accessible. That’s just the luck of the draw, because in actual fact, the music isn’t any more simple than it’s been in the past. Some of it is, but most of it isn’t.
The lyrics are more obscure than anything I’ve ever written. But apparently they sound straightforward to other people. That’s very, very interesting, but also distinctly worrying to me. I don’t know if I like the idea of having made an album people think is easy listening.
They’ll think “Oooooh, this is a great rock record” and that’ll be the only conclusion they’ll draw from it. But it isn’t as simple as it appears.
I’m a little worried that people will accidentally think “War Child” is a return to a style we’ve already covered.
I can’t help it if some of the songs are catchy.

Why haven’t you done any interviews over the past three years? Are you claiming you had nothing new to say?
That’s right. If I was into loud and fervent discussions of politics or whatever, maybe I would have had something to talk about. Musically, I felt I had said it all. I don’t like to talk about very much other than the music because that’s — believe it or not — pretty well all I do. I spent at least an hour last night trying to convince somebody at a radio station here in L.A. that I don’t have any hobbies. I have no spare time. I usually don’t know what day it is. In the rare case that I do have a spare evening, I spend it watching the news. That’s my idea of a night off. But this radio guy was sure I was lying.
My recreation comes entirely within a musical framework. Going into a studio and touring is a recreational thing for me. Especially touring. It’s fun! Air conditioned motorcars, nice air planes, a Bloody Mary every morning after I wake up, scrambled eggs and bacon, coffee and toast … I don’t have any of that at home.
My life has become an easy going, fun existence. I love recording, rehearsing, writing, playing and setting up a tour. That’s really what I do all year. That’s what I’ve been doing the last year and-a-half since our previous American tour. I haven’t stopped playing music except for one weekend when we split up.

At what point in your life did you realise this is how you wanted to spend your days ?
When I was 15 or 16 I suppose. But I wanted then to do what I’m doing now. I didn’t want to do the things that come in between. The starving, the exasperation and so on.
I wanted to earn a stable living and simply survive as a musician. That simple ambition has not really changed. I don’t have any real desire to reach any lofty goals, it’s just that I don’t want to stop until I’m really ready. Which is something that  I can’t foresee at the moment.

What is the story behind your “retirement” announcement last year?
I’d been working very hard and was feeling a bit sorry for myself. After touring America alone 19 times, not counting Europe, Britain and everywhere else, I thought we had to switch off the motor.
It was time to take stock of the situation, and I think that’s something most groups probably do more frequently than they let on.
In our case, since we’re so busy, it was necessary to formalise taking that rest.
If you actually say “I really want to stop” to your manager and your agents and all those people, they realise you’re not joking. Plus we were talking about doing a movie, so it seemed like a good idea to use that as an explanation. At least we weren’t going to vegetate or live in vast country estates with servants and carriages or whatever it is people imagine British rock stars do.
In the end, the period when we were stopped was something ridiculous like two days. It seems like a big thing to say, but for two days the group did not exist. It was the first time in five years that I could say “I am not part of the thing called Jethro Tull.”
For two days that was an amazing, free feeling. Then I knew it was time to work again. Though we had no definite plans about touring, we started to write a lot of different kinds of music and lay the groundwork for the ‘WarChild’ movie.

Of the music we were making, some would inevitably come out in the new album, some would be thrown away, and some was just not the sort of thing we could release under the Jethro Tull name. People would run out and buy it without listening to it, take it home and probably be very disappointed because it was radically different from what they expected.
I don’t mind disappointing people from time to time. I don’t like to trade too much on previous success. But also I don’t want to take advantage of people and pour something down their throats that they couldn’t possibly enjoy. We’ve made a lot of music that people could not possibly have enjoyed.
For ten months we rehearsed and recorded and simply played together for the fun of it, without really having this big thing hanging over us. We knew we’d have enough material for a group album out of that. I put a lot of work into writing a 70-page synopsis of a screenplay, a fairly detailed thing.

Will there ever be a film from you?
I suppose so. One of the reasons we went out and did the English tour was to decide whether or not we were going to go ahead and do the movie … whether we should take another year of my life and preclude any tours or public appearances of any sort.
We had to decide whether we were going to go ahead and make a movie or go back on the road. The best way to make that decision was to go ahead and see how the concerts felt.
Obviously, we chose to go back out on the road. I enjoy touring … that’s my only real motivation. I don’t have many possessions these days — just a really nice suitcase and some guitars and instruments that I’m very fond of. That’s it. I don’t even have any money.
For tax reasons, it all ends up in companies. I don’t have a swimming pool or house. Well, I actually I did buy a house last year, but I’ve never lived in it. It’s empty. I put it on the market again straightaway after I bought it. I realised I didn’t want to own a house or pretend that I did.

Where do you live now?
In an apartment in London at the moment. But I’ve decided to ditch that. I’m going to stay in hotels for a year or so. I want to write some more music, and I do that better in hotels than I do in something I’m pretending is my home. There’s all these constant reminders, like dirty coffee cups in the sink and ashes on the floor and you pick up the phone and ask for room service in vain. You’ve got to go out and eat in a restaurant, which is usually expensive and tedious.
Or you have to hire someone to cook for you, which means having to establish a relationship with a servant on one hand or a mistress or wife on the other.
That also makes life for me a bit complicated, because I’m totally irresponsible with women so it seems. I think they’ve decided that. I think they all know that now. I don’t know … what the hell. Next question.

Do you have many friends?
Only the members of the group, their wives and families and my own family to some extent. The people that I work with day-to-day are the people that I mix with socially I don’t really have any need of much else. I don’t feel the need to go out to building sites and make friends with Irishmen or anything.
It doesn’t seem necessary. Although if I met one in a pub, there’d be every chance that we’d get married or something, who knows. I don’t have much involvement with anyone else who plays music, because I don’t see them. I don’t think it’s very easy to make real friends with other musicians. We’re all a bit paranoid. Musicians tend to be doctors for each other, psychiatrists I suppose.
I know a couple of musicians, like Captain Beefheart and Roy Harper, and there’s that sort of a relationship there. It becomes very, very heavy, very, very quickly and I don’t think it does you any good in the long run. I feel a bit wary of it because we’d all end up talking about the musical desperation that we suffer from.
But may be it’s only me. Obviously when you’re playing music all the time you go through an awful lot of frustration in trying to create a certain sound and being unable to do it a lot of the time.
I mean musicians are nice guys and all that, but we’re all too much the same. Too much the same.

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How much do you cater to your audience?
We are totally incapable of playing something that we don’t like. To play a song or a style of music that we did not enjoy would be an act of prostitution. So far there’s been a lucky coincidence that the songs we like doing are the songs people like listening to.
I’m glad the older songs that we play on stage now tend to be the ones that the people want most to hear. Which just goes to show that they all have a very good taste. If I had to worry about maintaining my success, it would be very uncomfortable.
That’s why I live week-to-week. I don’t worry about selling a million records or selling out tours. I just think about making records that appeal to me. That’s enough.
No matter how much the stage act has changed over the years, you’ve always ended Tull concerts on a very low, acoustic note. Why?
What we do at the end of a show is very important. If we were to build the momentum up to a frenzied peak and then split, the kids are gonna break a window or punch a policeman. I always like to take it downright at the end so that it’s a very anti-climactic point to finish on and there’s no way that you can come on after that and do any more. The audience knows that. So when we play an encore and it lasts 35 minutes, that is the end and there is no way that there could be any more. That is it. So you can throw the house lights on and stop the clapping straightaway. Everyone leaves the theatre quietly with a good, calm feeling.

Would you agree that “Aqualung” was the Tull album that put the band over the top?
I think that’s a rather simplistic way of looking at it, if you’ll forgive me saying so. I really believe that most of the success of the group has come from the fact that we’ve played a hell of a lot. That particular album I don’t dislike, but it’s certainly not our best. “Aqualung” just puts a signpost on a certain point in time. Tull had arrived. A lot of people began to know the name.
People started thinking I was Jethro Tull: “Hey Tull. Hey man. Hey Jethro. Hey Jet.”
I once got called “Jet”, which I thought was quite attractive, I must admit.
It wasn’t by a girl unfortunately it was by a rather diseased-looking young gentleman from one of the Southern states. I, however, disowned the name because it would have been unfair to the others to presume for a moment that people calling me ‘Jethro Tull’ was anything other than a misguided attempt to indicate friendliness.
It’s a name which rightfully belongs to all five of us. I’m the only survivor from the original group, but we all get paid the same money.
We all have the same stake in it, we all have the same share of the expenses.
So I don’t really like it too much if people think I’m Jethro Tull. It’s funny, but I worry that the rest of the guys will get to feel that they’re a group behind me. That’s not the case. The case is that I’m the unfortunate singer stuck in front of them.

Why have you gone back to conventional song lengths with “War Child”?
There’s so much material, so much of a backlog and so many songs that we’ve recorded — especially when you include the new album — that it’s impossible in the two hours of a concert to play more than a bit of this and a bit of that. The last couple of years, half of the concert has been taken up with a complete piece of music like “Thick As A Brick” or “Passion Play”.
If we had done another album like that, we would have been in the absurd position of playing a whole new album as a piece, then having a hour left to play what … I mean … how?
It would be terrible to be so selective as to have to choose this at the expense of that, when you would really like to do both. We’re in the situation now of playing ten minute bits from “Passion Play” and “Thick As A Brick”. That doesn’t have nearly as much excitement as it did when we performed the entire piece. It’s very unsatisfactory to play ten minute shreds. It would be unbearable to think we would have had to hack yet another album to bits only a year after it had been done. So we came back to working on a loose concept, but with individual songs that would stand on their own.
A year or two from now we’ll be able to play parts from this new album and they’re going to sound whole in themselves.

Was it a major decision to extend the initial concept of “Thick As A Brick” into a full-length piece?
Yeah. I’ll tell you the story behind that one. I was on the road — in the middle of a tour as usual — and I started writing something for the next album. I began with the lyrics actually, and the song was going to be called ‘Thick As A Brick’. Somehow I just didn’t finish the song until I got to the end. I just forgot to stop I suppose. It was funny because in the beginning I just thought it was going to be a longer song.
After about 10 minutes worth of music, I knew it was going to be quite a long song and I sort of thought, “Well Christ. 10 minutes. That’s half a side of an album, I might as well make it a whole side.” Then having got to the end of side one, I still hadn’t finished. I went on and did the rest.
It was a satisfying thing to do. When we came to do the album afterwards, we went away and started recording separate songs again. But the excitement of working that way wasn’t there anymore, so we scrapped all that stuff. We had done three sides of a double album and threw out the whole thing. I went back and just took one little bit of it and expanded that into “Passion Play”.
I enjoyed the experience of working in that way. I’m very sad that it’s been proved necessary to have to work in conventional song lengths again.

You’ve said before that “Stand Up” put off some of the band’s early following. Were you nervous about the direction you saw that album taking?
We knew it was a good direction to go in, but we were just a bit nervous that some of the people who bought the first album might think that the second album was blatantly commercial sounding.
To a lot of other people, commercial would probably be the last word that would be applicable. Better would be “weird”. To us, we thought it was maybe a bit too commercial. The same feeling I also have about the new album. I like an album that’s difficult to listen to. I like to have to sit down and really work into the music.
A listener should make that effort. I don’t like music that kind of unconsciously gets your foot tapping. That’s musak. I could write that kind of music, but it’s just too easy . That’s using music as a tactical weapon to sell records. I think it’s important for the listener to feel that an effort has been made, that he has actually contributed in some way to the enjoyment of the music.
The only trick that I use when I play are used to try and help the audience want to make the effort. I admit to doing that. I try to entice the audience into wanting to listen. As opposed to saying “Hey what a groovy concert! Great to be in Atlanta! Boogie!” I get worried if an audience freaks out from the first note on. If they do that, I will ruthlessly destroy that moment for them.
I do not want them to enjoy the concert on that level. It’s too easy to create instant pandemonium. Anyone of a dozen groups can walk on stage and cause that to happen. I will rudely interrupt sequences of behaviour which become very predictable. Which is why at a Jethro Tull concert, you find scuba-divers and rabbits walking on stage. They’re meant to disturb people. To break up the flow that is so predictable at a concert.

What are Tull’s plans for the future? Indefinite touring?
Well, having just ended a five year period of playing together, we’ve now stopped and started another five year period of whatever. I imagine you’re right, an arbitrarily lengthy period of touring.
When we make a movie, it will slot into this new five year thing, rather than being like a sudden departure from the first. From the next album onwards, we’re going to be making a visual programme to go with the music. It won’t be pictures of the group playing the music, it will probably be very abstract and very much the sort of thing that you can watch as many times as you can listen to it without getting bored. Our albums will continue to come out as sound albums, in stereo and quadrophonic, but there will also be a visual supplement available. I’m very interested in the possibilities of the videodisc. I’m constantly pushing at the record company to get behind this, to start getting involved. I wish they’d try and make the consumer aware that there is an incoming market, which is very real.

Does your production work with Steeleye Span indicate anymore outside producing?
No. It’s just that they asked me to do it. They’d done abominably and got halfway through the album (“Now We Are Six”) when they started to get very worried.
They wanted someone to help, someone to give them a bit of direction, a bit of order at the sessions, someone to mix it who would take all the responsibility of finishing the record.
None of them is actually leading the group, they all chip in ideas and nothing really happens if you just leave them alone. I was very hesitant about doing it, because I don’t like telling anyone how they should play their music. I don’t like being involved in anyone else’s music.
However, I felt that at least I could be objective about their music. I have a sympathy for it. It’s very English, very traditional. I respect them for what they do and I like some of the things they do very much. But I wouldn’t like to do it again.

With any group?
With any group. It wears you down. I went in to rehearse our music during the day and then down to do their sessions at night. So it was like living our music and their music in one day, with only three or four hours sleep in between. It was ridiculous, not to mention very confusing. Their music is so different from ours that it made me every day a schizoid wreck.
Are you tired of Jethro Tull? Bored with the image?
I’m not exactly tired of it, but I’m not thrilled. If it’s convenient for people to think of me as a one-legged flute player, then fine.
I think that most people are aware that I don’t stand on one leg all the time and I don’t just play the flute. I play saxophone and guitar more than I play the flute.
I actually find the flute a little bit tedious. It has its limitations, being a monophonic instrument. You can only play one note at a time. It become very pedestrian unless you’re completely versed in the instrument, which I’m not. I can play well enough for people to think I’m good at it, so the object of that exercise was achieved a long time ago.

Scary full-page ad from Strawbs!

Scary full-page ad from Strawbs!

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Lowell George (Little Feat), Alan Hull (Lindisfarne), Kiss, Doobie Brothers, Marc Bolan, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, John McLaughlin, The Soft Machine, Bob Pegg, Little Milton, Ian Bairnson (Pilot).

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 around or upwards of 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 Kiss FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 1, 1975

A fairly nice review of Kiss`s first two albums in this article. It seems that not every critic hated them at the start of their career.

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World Record Kiss-off in Chicago

Sabre toothed guitarist sets fire to hair, audience applauds

By Max Bell

To partially paraphrase an old punk song: “It`s 1975 okay, all across the U.S.A.” Meanwhile back in the States it`s thunder and lightning time.
Kiss are a 1970`s band for all those who claim there aren`t any, and as if the name wasn`t enough to put you on your guard they turn out to be New Yorkers as representative of that city as Vanilla Fudge or the Velvet Underground. They look and act hideous too; lots of leather and grease paint but in a way the antithesis of glam rock, which is a bandwagon they may be involuntarily assigned to.
Where Kiss differ from their stable mates is that they can actually play. In between the heavy metal rock and roll there`s sublety and precision coupled with the perennial appeal of dirty street brat lyrics spat out by the aggressively macho bassist Gene Simmons. Behind him the band pump a combination of MC5-like adolescent frustration and Blue Oyster Cult style melt-rock.

For once the warpaint image, and the sour smell of excess, fit perfectly into the overall musical approach. There`s a first album of unbelievable ferocity. Try “Strutter” which is not the high camp posturing you`d imagine – no scout masters in this set-up. Under all that make-up they leer like four Joel Grays. “Nothin` To Lose”, a single, should shortly be assaulting England`s unsullied airwaves, fired by the joint Samurai interplay of composer Paul Stanley and Space “Ace” Frehley. Ace is the quiet one in the party until he straps on his guitar – then he stumbles across stage, smearing licks over every number. “Kissin`Time” is their anthem, a travelogue inspired by the mouthing marathons that are an unmistakeable feature of the concerts now. At times Simmons sounds a dead ringer for Rob Tyner but they do have a definable buzz of their own. For example “Let Me Know” drifts into a perfectly straight accapella before Peter Criss, drummer, sets it back on its heels for an all-out rocking exit. He doesn`t let go of the beat ever. “100,000 Years” and “Black Diamond” are propelled screaming over Stanley and Frehley`s rhythmic escapades, while the latter has a descending finale that has to be heard to be believed.
Sometimes Kiss are too damn loud for their own good; they certainly won`t be to everyone`s taste or temper. But only the instrumental “Love Theme From Kiss” lacks the energy of its companions, coming across as an unnecessary allowance for taste.

And so to a superior successor, “Hotter Than Hell”, which says it all, or nearly. I don`t think anyone would deny that Kiss are anything other than basic. Their lyrics are simple juvenile escapism shot through with blatant sexual fantasy. It`s an integral simplicity though because they work on a feeling. It`s a crude mood which hasn`t yet been perfected. At the moment they veer between polarities of cleverness and elementary brashness, but when the two collide the result is real excitement.
As far as standards of excellence go Kiss are non-starters because they aren`t competing on level terms with exploratory technicians or the relaxed intelligence of a Steely Dan; they will appeal to the darker side of your nature with their chiaroscuric masks, huge emblazoned signs and deliberately spectacular presentation. What emerges is a sound that doesn`t allow for partial acceptance; you either love it or hate it and no disguising intent.
“Hotter Than Hell” invariably surpasses its predecessor; the sophisticated touches, while sensibly sparse, being more effective. On “Goin` Blind” there`s a distant melodic line which could almost be The Beatles, if Kiss weren`t a million megatons removed from the sixties. Similarly the title track and “Let Me Go, Rock And Roll” are the relentless brain numbing blast which is four kids in a garage band – with Mosrite equipment – taken to a logical conclusion.

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What these albums reveal is that New York music has a freneticism all its own that doesn`t basically alter; some people are just better at playing it than others. “Mainline” puts Kiss firmly on the right side of the track while “Comin` Home” and “Strange Ways” (isn`t that where we came in?) show exactly how much of an East Coast group they are. No flowers, no sunshine, not even audible narcotics but cities, concrete and cold gin. Kiss have the type of aura that sends parents seeking asylum while the kids stick their pictures on the wall.
These two albums aren`t the sort you recommend to anyone. Listen to them first and then decide. Number one is definitely hors d`oeuvres for a meal which nearly arrives on “Hotter Than Hell” but which I think is yet to come.
Here`s a recorded testimony which embodies claims of being flash-rock`s prime exponents. In all honesty they make the Dolls seem like the boys next door. Even so a lot of people still remain suspicous of their credentials and point to the likelihood of this being another transient stage in a predictable, but brief, fame.
Thus a Transatlantic call provided a basis for evaluating the band in the absence of live performance here. In the States it`s 9.30 a.m., a time when most degenerate heavy kids are staggering into bed. However, Gene and Paul are coming across disgustingly bright and breezy.

After the initial formalities we get down to the obvious tack of glam n`glitter and where Kiss feature in relation to it: “Nowhere man, that thing is dead and the participants are finished too. But we`re getting a bigger response all the time. I don`t want to sound malicious but with people like the Dolls, well, you can`t go on fooling audiences all the time. We can play. Before this came together we were practising for months in a loft to get it right.”
By all accounts response have been close to hysteria. Thrills and spills in plenty too. The first time Simmons tried this flame-throwing act in public the fire rebounded from his dagger and set his hair alight. “It wasn`t `til our roadie smothered me with his jacket that I knew what happened. The crowd loved it though, thought it was part of the act.” A disturbing factor about mass gatherings (like rock concerts) is that one always feel the latent crowd power might uncontrollably erupt. Stanley cites a Baltimore incident. “We were playing a number and suddenly there`s a fire in the balcony. Kids gathered around it and were chanting like at a ceremonial magic rite – they`d started it.” Recently, in Detroit, a boy leapt from a second floor window after seeing Kiss. Incidents like these worry Gene but he insists the attitudes of their audiences are healthy.

“It`s not a negative vibe, like smashing seats. They get rid of frustration with the music. Personally I`d be insulted if people didn`t react immediately. Groups have tried that laid-back experimental trip too long. We`re not gonna use any audience to get heavy; our music is going to get simpler. We want to be seen as a dancing band whose records get taken to parties.”
Aside from volume violence (Kiss play at 110 decibels which is liable to flatten you to any adjacent wall) each member has a identifiable persona reflected largely by make-up. Space “Ace” Frehley is an S.F. freak who`ll explain von Daniken at the drop of a hat.
Criss imagines he`s reincarnated from a cat, has nine lives, paints on whiskers and at one point in the act is hoisted eight feet into the air as if on a hot tin roof. He doesn`t yet drink milk on stage.
Simmons, who has horror movies written all over, holds that “we all have various personalities. On stage we let the fantasy come through. I believe in putting on a show, if people pay to see you they expect you to be larger than life.” Part of the “everybody`s a star” ethic has been the participation in Kissathons leading to a world kiss-off in Chicago (the record being set at over 100 hours). What Kiss have obviously succeeded in doing is cultivating a marketable self-sufficient package.

It remains to be seen whether interest will be generated away from what is an American phenomenon. You could interpret the standard spiel about bi-sexuality and sabre-toothed tigers as a self-conscious, calculated gambit for arousing curiosity and perhaps the wave Kiss are currently riding will break, but it hasn`t happened yet. Of course they`re aesthetically suspect, and ultimately about bad taste, but since when wasn`t there a place in rock music for that?

When downloading didn`t kill music, batteries were.

When downloading didn`t kill music, batteries were.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Lowell George (Little Feat), Alan Hull (Lindisfarne), Marc Bolan, Doobie Brothers, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, John McLaughlin, The Soft Machine, Bob Pegg, Little Milton, Ian Bairnson (Pilot).

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 around or upwards of 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.