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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.

ARTICLE ABOUT Marc Bolan FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 1, 1975

Bolan says some true words in this article printed by the NME shortly before the tenth album by T. Rex “Bolan’s Zip Gun” was released.
Hope you like it!

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`74 – A bad year for Geniuses

Marc Bolan didn`t have a very good time of it either

By Roy Carr

When photographers are barred from an interview suspicions awake, so that when such a communique came from none other than image-conscious Marc Bolan, I knew that all was far from being kosher. As I was about to discover, the truth behind his sudden bout of camera-shyness is that Marc Bolan appears to be…pregnant!
As he pads around his hotel room on the fifth floor of the Carlton Towers Hotel in mangy “Moon Boots” and a flowing black and purple Mothercare maternity smock, I can`t think of any other way to explain the current obese shape of the body Bolan and the accompanying double-chin; unless he`s swallowed Mickey Finn.
Slugging on the first of a succession of mid-morning beers, Bolan, who after six months of self-imposed exile in America is back in Britain on a four day business trip, momentarily glances at a rather disturbing photograph of his plump personage attempting to slip incognito through Heathrow Air Terminal, and grunts: “Oh God, just look at the state of me. I look like an old totter…”
With the evidence firmly in his grasp, Bolan expresses a wish never to see the offending photograph again. Yep, this kid`s got problems and they`re not all down to counting the calories.

To put it mildly, 1974 wasn`t a particularly good year for Marc Bolan`s somewhat tattered reputation. Come to think of it, neither was `73 a memorable vintage.
A lot of people had long since chosen to write Bolan off as a transitory figure, and each successive T-Rex release (and by Christ, there were enough of them) only seemed to corroborate the belief that Bolan had blown whatever credibility he once possessed, and was content to both xerox and parody existing licks without so much as bothering to camouflage their source. He made Chuck Berry look like a novice when it came to feeding off a single riff. Moreover, he appeared to be ignorant of the fact that he was close to the point of, boogieing himself to oblivion. One can only assume, that at the time, he felt that if he ignored it long enough, then it would go away. Well it didn`t.
Now, for the first time, he`s quite prepared to own up to his mistakes; well almost.
“I agree, 1974 was the worst year of my career,” he admits. “But then, it has been a very bad year for all Libras – John Lennon for instance. (What about Ferry then? – Ed). It ain`t just been a crazy year for rock`n`roll,” he continues, “it`s been a crazy year for the whole world.” You don`t hear Sheik Yamani complaining.

The truth as Bolan presents it for the first time, is that it was quite unintentionally that he became a leading participant in the rat race for supreme success. Sure, it was great fun to begin with (it always is); but after 18 months of staying just one juhp ahead of his nearest competitors, Bolan suddenly realised that he couldn`t continue to meet the recurring 12-week deadline for new product he was committed, contracted and sworn to.
“I really was putting out far too many records.”
Isn`t that what we all said?
“It wasn`t so much a question of maintaining quality, but my mental consistency. After four years of being a hit machine, I`d suddenly become a victim of my own success, and I`d be lying to you if I said I wasn`t. I wasn`t able to give sufficient attention to every aspect of my career. If you want to know, I was getting bored. After 16 hit records the thrill had gone, there`s no two ways about it. I was in a position where I couldn`t sit back and say, `Do I really want to put a single out? Do I have a single?` People were ringing up and saying, `So where is it?`

“When you get to that stage, it`s pretty obvious that all the records can`t be as good as each other. Sometimes, a thing won`t be particularly good, but because an artist is hot it can still sell millions.
“`Paperback Writer` wasn`t as good as `Hey Jude`. Likewise, `Watching The River Flow` wasn`t nearly as good as `Positively 4th Street`, but that doesn`t mean that they were total bummers.
“Now though I love `Teenage Dream` I agree I should have changed drummers before that time.” I didn`t mention anything about drummers!
“I never liked `Solid Gold Easy Action` but it sold half-a-million in England alone and the same goes for `Truck on`.
“Though I had pressures, it didn`t affect my mind completely, even though I have to admit I was going up the wall…over the edge as they say…over the edge and ending up on the hill the other side.”
Seems like in retrospect, Bolan is now willing to concede that he was breaking under the many pressures that automatically arrive with the kind of success he had. The reason that this was never made public at the time, was due to Bolan`s preference to confine any acute emotional distress and deterioration to the strict privacy of his own home and not, as he says, “in Tramps”.

“When it looks like you`re going to make it…hit the big time, everyone is right there behind you. But once you`ve made it, then those very same people just can`t wait for an opportunity to kick you down.
“A year ago,” Bolan confesses, “I was actually beginning to believe what people were saying and writing about me, you know the things: `Is Bolan Slipping?`.”
Well, were they correct, were you slipping?
“Let`s put it this way, I was feeling bored, so obviously it was only a matter of time before the public felt precisely the very same way about me. So I stopped. I`m 27-years old and, though it`s younger than most of the other studs, I`m now a man. I`ve done my five years as teen idol…I`ve been very lucky and I appreciate it, but the pressure is off me now and I could only achieve this by staying away. I no longer want to overcompete; to start worrying what Gary Glitter is doing or what the new Slade album sounds like. If I hadn`t organised myself quickly then I could have suffered.”

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Jeez, if ever a man had the ability to rationalise his own misfortune…Some people would say that you left things a little too late?
He laughs. “I know what I`ve got on tape…no less than five hit singles that I`m going to put out this year and you better believe it. Listen, when you`ve fought this hard to get somewhere, you ain`t going nowhere else. If I didn`t think I had a place in rock`n`roll, I`d be out of it like a bullet. But this is my life, I`ve put ten years into it and I think I`m pretty good at it.”
I know people who`ll argue the point.
There seems to be only one subject that both Marc Bolan and his critics agree upon and that`s his vulnerability as an easy target.
“Last year it was me, this year it`s Bowie. There`s no overnight sensations in this game anymore. I must have been a success and a failure at least eight times in my career. I was a star in `65, the Face of `66, the has been of `67 and that`s all before I`d even made it.

“You know, it`s bleedin` lonely to be into that whole superstar thing, but the trouble is that nobody really understands it, unless you`ve either been one, are one, or know a very close friend who is one. And that`s why so many rock stars go over the  top and screw up completely.”
So is it really worth all the effort?
“No”, he yells, laughing at the same time. “To a certain point I suppose it is, but mentally…there comes a time when you really have to sit down and question it, and that`s precisely what I`ve just been doing. I wanted to find out where I wanted to go and not where I was going.”
So: Quo Vadis, Boychick?
Well, first there`s the problem of renegotiating a new American record deal which has always been tough territory for the tyke, which demands getting the facts straight about whether or not T-Rex are worth more than a plugged nickel in the States. Bolan has always had this hard-fast rap about how he`s pure dynamite with the American public but, now he`s telling me, that it was only on the last tour that he made a profit.

“This time there was no hope..the Americans have always over-hyped me and this has worked against me.” (This really is own-up time, kids.) “I thought on this last tour if I was going to bomb again, then I was going to make sure I bombed quietly.”
Anyway, as Bolan tells it, T-Rex are now established on the B category circuit at ten grand a gig and not, as he used to infer, the A circuit which is the stomping ground of Zeppelin, Jethro, the Allmans, the Who, and the rest of the Sixth Form. Returning to the subject of Bolan`s immediate future; in March he`s due to commence filming the role of a psychotic killer with sexual and drug hang-ups (what else?) in “Obsession”, alongside David Niven.
“If I`m any good in it, it`s definitely an Oscar touch,” he admits in all modesty. “I`ve always talked about doing serious acting for ages, in very much the same way as Pete Townshend was always talking about writing a rock opera, and you can only talk about something for so long. I`ve always been pretty good at firsts and this looks like opening up a whole new career for me. I mean, I was the first one to point out that glam rock was dead.”

Still Bolan seems to have this uncanny knack of being able to survive where others perish.
“If you don`t believe in yourself,” he insists, “then no one else will. I`m like John Lennon – an egomaniac. I don`t believe in `genius`, but if they exist then I`m one. But tell people that and they`ll call you a bastard.”
But Marc…oh never mind.
Upon reflection, Bolan attributes his will to survive to the fact that he surrendered his virginity at the age of nine.
“Self-confidence,” suddenly interjects a friend out of left-field “was always regarded as the greatest asset by the Greeks.”
“But second only to screwing,” Bolan insists.

When the Kiki Dee band were  touring Britain with Sailor.

When the Kiki Dee band were touring Britain with Sailor.

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, 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 Sparks FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, December 21, 1974

I admit I`m having a weakness for this band. Why? Well, I think Wikipedia says it best: “Known for their quirky approach to songwriting, Sparks’ music is often accompanied by intelligent, sophisticated, and acerbic lyrics, and an idiosyncratic, theatrical stage presence, typified in the contrast between Russell’s wide-eyed hyperactive frontman antics and Ron’s sedentary scowling. They are also noted for Russell Mael’s falsetto voice and Ron Mael’s keyboard style.”
And that is exactly why I like them. If you never heard of them – check them out on YouTube – search for their album “Kimono My House” from 1974 and enjoy!

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Santa hangs around drag bars listening to Sam Cooke
Sparks make it on antibiotics, Advocaat, and adulation.

And MAX BELL tears himself away from the Baron`s presence long enough to check it all out.

Contrary to popular belief, Santa Claus – alias Saint Nicholas – is alive and well and living in Amsterdam.
But did you know that he has a coloured side-kick, too, and hangs around in drag-bars listening to Sam Cooke?
Well, he does – but just to prove that he`s as ubiquitos as ever (and that the pigment of a man`s skin affects his generosity not one jot) their images are displayed together in every shop window around.
Christmas is definitely more commercially muted in Holland than in London. The glitter and sense of exploitation are replaced by an atmosphere of sheer fantasy which permeates everything from the doll-house facades that flank the canals to the Dutch language, apparently a variation on English whereby the insertion of two extra vowels to our equivalent will make the lamest linguist fluent.
Hence telephone becomes telefoon, Great Britain translates to Groot Britagnie and so on. A notable exception to this rule of thumb is the word Sparks which should in theory be Spooks; however they compensate for that by referring to them as “The Sparks,” apparently the case throughout Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

A trip to the red-light district (sheer professional interest of course) reveals the alarming effects of inflation. Unless this is their tea break the girls ain`t exactly busy. They`re sitting propped up in flimsy negligees paring nails and sneering at wide eyed passers-by. Holland may be famous for its cakes and pastries but these tarts don`t seem too hot – though that could be lack of clothes. If you linger too long they get edgy and abusive and the fact that there are more pimps than customers doesn`t make it the healthiest area to buy tulips – not wishing to sustain third degree clog injuries our party returned to the confines of civilisation, in this case The Hotel.
Lunch with Ron and Russell Mael proves to be a time for recuperation after the hardship of a not-so-wonderful flight from Copenhagen. Most of the group are terrified of aeroplanes and a pilot demonstrating the delights of automatic right turns at thirty thousand feet couldn`t have done much for their collective digestive systems.
Only driver Jim-Jam remains as overtly cheerful as usual, chortling at the contradiction of being a coach-driver without a coach, thus able to finish work without starting it and still get paid.

Two salads and a plate of mussels later Russell revealed that they too may soon become rich by default. Apparently the distributor of publishing royalties for Doris Day in Scandinavia phoned Ron and asked him whether he was Terry Melcher as she had several million krone to get rid of quick because the tax authorities were breathing down her neck. Informed that the moniker was Mael not Melcher she said `have the money anyway` and hung up.
Of more immediate significance is the fact that the current mini-tour has been a riotous success, although the legacy of forty days continuously on the road in England means that antibiotics rather than adulation have kept body and soul together. To prove the point, Trevor White still has tonsilitis.
During the afternoon the Maels went shopping and were able to relax for the first time. Despite their sophisticated appearances Ron and Russell are, in their own words, “The world`s worst tourists.” We spent hours looking at and buying tacky souvenirs; Ron revealed he has a penchant for electric whirring toys, tin ducks and plastic food reproductions, like hamburgers, that squeak when you bite them. They also collect postcards; the poorer the taste the better, so ones of aforementioned young ladies entitled “Window Shopping In Amsterdam” were quickly snapped up as were the brothers by scores of delighted locals, though it was mostly the older ones who ventured to ask for autographs and a chat. It`s perhaps not surprising that such a wide spectrum of people know and like Sparks, particularly when Ron`s distinctive appearance and his famous stage stare (the most peculiar gimmick since Django Reinhardt`s right hand) are worth a thousand yards of lurex.

Sparks are playing a sold-out gig in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam`s version of a scaled down Albert Hall and usually reserved for classical performances. The walls are engraved with long-dead names and the management are visibly nervous. The Berlin Philharmonic may never get rushed but now the front stage is swarming and the floor is already knee deep in Amstel bottles and butt ends. For anyone who has seen the band in England, tonight`s audience is fascinating, an average age of twenty plus but very hip and getting rapidly high on a thick blanket of green smoke which puts the Roundhouse to shame.
The lights dim to pitch black and suddenly a deafening roar greets the arrival of five shadow figures. Spotlight on Mael senior jabbing the introductory notes to “Talent Is An Asset” and they`re off. It`s immediately noticeable that the acoustics are good and Russell`s voice more so. Whereas his vocals can sometimes be submerged in a welter of noise, now they`re up front all the time – and yet the music is infinitely tougher. This version of “In My Family” dispels any crap that Sparks are a “cute” band, as Trevor`s lead rips into a savage burst of feedback that sends the crowd bananas.

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All the solos are now precise, and sustained, “Reinforcements” realises it`s full potential with Dinky (Diamond) driving along a fierce military beat assisted by a more than willing audience. Because of obvious language problems Russell has cut out most of the in-between raps and certain numbers are left out. The result is a breathtakingly fast pace which only enables him to relax during “Bon Voyage”, still hitting perfect high notes over ascending guitar runs that bring the melody line right out. Ian Hampton`s bass, beginning on “Achoo” recalls early 50`s instrumental. When Ron adds a decidedly idiosyncratic organ line, staring blankly into space, body hardly moving – pandemonium, during which somebody kindly throws Russell a handkerchief.

Part of Sparks` success as live performers, apart from a highly developed sense of humour, is the impression one gets of a desire to please and to work hard for effect. Russell is everywhere. Never forgetting the sections of the crowd without such a good view he plays to everyone and takes nothing for granted, hence even older tunes like “Souvenir” or “This Town” still come across freshly. Because of the speed of their act, much of Sparks` subtlety gets underwritten – but quieter numbers like “Never Turn Your Back” prove the reproducting qualities of the group, particularly on those swelling final chords. No doubt about an encore and, as with any exhilarating concert, the closing number “Here In Heaven” seems the best. After the final symphonic “Many” Dinky launches into his now immaculate solo, Russell sings `Years` and nearly ends, like the drum sticks, in the audience. Lights up but no-one wants more – you can`t improve on Total Satisfaction.

After the show the Maels hold informal court in our hotel bar, Ron and I retiring to quieter confines for a chat. Had the reaction to their leaving for a lengthy spell in the States surprised them. Was it, such a big deal?
“Not at all. Having done two tours in a year we wouldn`t be playing England anyway, until the winter of 1975. We`ll be releasing another single from `Propaganda` with a new `B` side in January, and the next album should be recorded in America – still with Muff, though we hope to have Earle Mankey, our old lead guitarist, engineering.
“What`s really exciting is that he`s working with the Beach Boys in L.A. and there`s talk of having them doing some background harmonies.” That could do Sparks a whole a lot of good as the Beach Boys` presence is bound to give them commercial credence. However, earlier in the day (at a Dutch press conference), Ron and Russell had broached the theory that the tradition of American audiences had hardly changed since Beatle days, and that the newer generation were generally so soaked in wine and downers that a band like Sparks needed to get to the fresher, more creative atmosphere of England to survive.

If that was the case how come Sparks think they`ll make it now?
Ron mulled his answer over thoughtfully: “Well, we have the advantage of being secure in Europe.”
Yes, but then none of the new-wave “sophisticated” bands have yet transferred successfully – and they`ve had that security, too…
“Humm…we do have the element of local-boys-made-good, and the English element as well, plus this is our best-ever combination. There`s a lot of, I know this sounds kinda naive, youthful spirit. We aren`t the initial thing to latch on and so we do have a reputation preceding us. It will be a shock though, going back, after the success here.”
As with all aspiring groups Sparks aren`t sure whether to play as a support band (there`s the possibility of Santana or Johnny Winter gigs!) or headline in smaller halls. Personally I don`t see how they can adopt the former policy, so well -defined is their audience. On the other hand, they must aim to sell across the board as they do in Europe. A tricky dilemma.

Ron admits that while they don`t yet have complete financial security, he enjoys the touring:
“Living in hotels means responsibilities are taken away from one, which gives me the energy to devote to writing. But it does make you a cripple in a certain way, always relying on others. It`s hard to put into perspective. I only realise the “star trip” bit when it hits me on a personal level, so I get off on the concerts and the mobbing, that`s reality now. It gets more important to have genuine reaction. I can only relate to an audience when I`m not looking at an account sheet with rows of noughts.”
Ironically the Maels have always been so forthcoming and pleasant that, unlike most rock stars, the aura of mystique is negligible: “People are sometimes disappointed when they meet us which makes it odder for them, but I enjoy all the aspects of popularity. I really believe it`s more important to have what you`re doing stronger than what you are – to keep the product first!”

Such an absence of cynicism means that Ron and Russell`s stage and private personas are more or less similar, never patronising or blase. Somehow I don`t think that will work against them because it`s so real. For example, they don`t yet realise how big they are.
Of Island`s bands in Holland, only Cat Stevens` might outsell them – and the picture is similar all over Europe. Yet despite the apprehension of cracking America, Christmas at home is an exciting prospect.
Russell seems the more homesick of the two but Ron`s dying to play with his clockwork fairground.

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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: Bryan Ferry, Rick Wakeman, Gong, Rolling Stones, Big Jim Sullivan, Dizzy Gillespie, Otis Redding.

Sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Rod Stewart FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, JUNE 16, 1973

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

I haven`t printed any articles about Faces or Rod Stewart before. Time to change that, as Rod was a rocker at the start of  the 70s. Quite an interesting article, especially seen in the light of today. Have a nice read!

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A Mod`s Progress
The life and times, trials and tribulations of R. Stewart Esq., Folk singer

By James Johnson

Rod Stewart ruffles his hair, gazes down thoughtfully at his red patent-leather shoes. It`s early evening in an office above Wardour Street and, a floor below, the Marquee Club is just warming up for the night. Thick, muddy, distorted rock seeps up through the floorboards.
Stewart grimaces: “That guitarist doesn`t sound much good does `e?” – then pauses before continuing with a slight edge of wistfulness to his voice:
“…Yeah, I`d like to play the Marquee again – if we could get away with it.”

In some respects the early days must have been great for Rod Stewart and the Faces, when they used to play places like the Marquee. Admittedly there are few guys around who seem to enjoy the flash of success more than Stewart yet, in some ways, life must have proved much easier then. Certainly less complicated.
Just sometimes Stewart must wish he could get back to that, especially over the last six months when one could hardly blame him if he occasionally felt a little desperate.

On their last British tour the Faces were roundly criticised for sticking too closely to their old material. Then Stewart was quoted as saying he thought “Ooh La La” was a mess. And now, for whatever reasons, Ronnie Lane has left the band. So here he is tonight, forgoing an invitation to a fashion show at the Savoy to put the record straight.
“I ought to get some kind of award for being the most misquoted and most misunderstood person in 1973. I`ve been misquoted a lot lately and it can hurt, y`know. Believe me, it can hurt.”
He speaks cautiously now. Despite his brash, arrogant onstage persona he`s a guy with sensitive spots like any other; edges and sides that have sometimes been hidden behind the boozy, outgoing exterior.

Even so, tonight, he`s content with the world, and perhaps rightly so. Over the previous weekend the Faces had played a series of heartening concerts at the Edmonton Sundown. On two or three of the nights they had been ace, simply tremendous and Stewart knows it.
If the band have been through a bad patch just lately it now seems over.
He doesn`t put one completely at ease, stretching back smiling and saying “Well, what do you want to know James?” but he`s a likeable soul, a little more homespun than sometimes presented.
He sips a pint of bitter and starts to talk, firstly about Tetsu.

“It was either going to be Andy Fraser or Tetsu. Tetsu was the first we asked and he jumped at the idea. We were a bit wary at first `cos we`re really quite close to Free, not so much as friends but we really love their music and we didn`t want to bust their band up.
“But Tets reckons Paul Rodgers was great about it and we were with Simon (Kirke) a couple of nights ago and he was great about it too, so…
“It was Simon who said it`s brought the two bands together – which it has. Free`s music is maybe more of a down type of music than ours but there`s a similarity. We tried one other guy who was brilliant but not as good as Tets.
“He`s just the right shape y`know,” Stewart rubs his hand down his hip. “He`s got a tiny little rib cage and little spindly legs and his guitar kind of fits in the middle.
“The first night he came he brought some scotch with him. I don`t think he`s ever drunk so much in his life till that night. Now every time I see him there`s a bottle of scotch sticking out of his pocket.” Stewart laughs in satisfaction.
“You could say we`re getting `im well trained.”

He moves on to explain how it`s good to get some new blood in the “orchestra”, and he`s looking forward to getting Tetsu on stage.
Nevertheless he admits it won`t be quite the same again without Ronnie Lane. “There`s only one Ronnie and it`s impossible to look for another one. The guy`s a character and we`ll never replace `im.”
But hadn`t Ronnie Lane`s increasing interest in Meher Baba – and perhaps his more homely approach to life – meant a certain contradiction of life-styles within the band?
Stewart draws up his shoulders slightly. “Let`s get one point clear: we`re all parting on the best of terms. Let`s get that on record, there`s no bad feelings.
“If you look back at the interviews I`ve done since we first got together, I`ve always said Ronnie Lane is one of the best lyricists Britain`s got, and he still is. He`s got a great career ahead of him.
“I think he probably just got tired of being on the road, which I don`t really blame him for. It was just at a point, though, when the rest of us were really getting into doing it on the road. Y`know, we love it now – me, Woody, Mac and Kenny – we love being on the road. But I don`t think Ronnie did.
“On the American tour we had two rows, and that was really because we wanted Ronnie to stay and he didn`t want to. There are no bad feelings. Two little rows, y`know, that`s not bad.”

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Fair enough. But, just to check it out, how about the old rumour that Rod`s thinking of leaving the band? That he doesn`t need the Faces as much as the Faces need him?
“Well, I don`t know whether they need me but I know I need them. If something was to happen I could always make my own albums, but I`d be lost without them.
“I get depressed if I don`t see the boys for a while. There`ll always be a Faces and I think I`ll always be in it. I hope so anyway. Unless they kick me out of course…”
Stewart grins.
“I don`t expect, though, to sustain the same level of success for ever. Name somebody who ever has. Everybody has to level out and I can`t expect to have another album as successful as `Every Picture Tells A Story`. That was a freak album. It sold a ridiculous amount of records.
“Yet `Gasoline Alley` was the best for me. If I could capture that again I`d be well pleased.”

Stewart says there`s a peak he`s aiming for – records and concerts that he`s totally satisfied with. “When that happens I`ll retire – I`ll knock it on the head.
“I look at it like all good footballers should – I want to retire at the top. It doesn`t tend to happen in this business and it`s sad. People just sink lower and lower and hang on to the music business.
“I want to disappear,” – he snaps his fingers – “like that.”

So what does he feel is still missing from the albums?
“Aaargh…”, his face creases, “That`s where I got misquoted last time, on `Ooh La La`. What I`m trying to say is that we can do a better album than that.”
He emphasises it. “We can do a better one and we`re going to.
“As for me own albums – the same, really. Except I`ve got to start being a bit more honest with myself – move on to songs I really want to sing.”
Such as…?
“Oh, I don`t know because last time I said that with `Amazing Grace` everybody else went ahead and did it and beat me to the punch. These days I keep the songs I want to record up my sleeve.
“Of course, having said that, the next solo album will probably turn out to be all Stewart/Wood songs. You just can`t tell.”
He taps his forehead. “It`s all up here at present. With Ronnie and things, it`s all been held back a bit.”

Is there any more he`d like to say about it? Stewart considers.
“Well, I`ll probably use the same crew…yeah, I think I`ll use the same crew. And there`s a strong possibility it could be the last one.
“In future I think we`ll combine the two – my albums and Faces albums – so I can put one hundred per cent into both. I think that`d be a good move.
“Then I`ve got this album which is a kind of `Best Of` coming out in about four weeks time which I`m really pleased with. I went to the trouble of re-mixing some of the tracks and cross-fading some of the others. I`m glad the record company had the courtesy to ask me to put it together myself.
“Then I think we`ve got a live album coming out but everybody`s doing that…” He trails off. “I don`t know…music`s so boring to talk about. It`s an active thing. Not something to sit and discuss.”

He gazes at the floor again, then perks up. “I`ve got more guitars than I know chords. Did you know that? I`ve been collecting acoustic guitars lately and I worked it out the other day that I own more guitars than I know chords.” He looks pleased.
“What else do you want to know James? Do you want to know where I`m going for a holiday?”
Where`s that?
“Suggest somewhere”.
Stewart smiles and talks about football for a while. He says he`s still allright as a player but finds it hard to get a game without attracting vast crowds who`ve come to see Rod Stewart – Rock Star. He says he can no longer combine the two lives.

In many ways Stewart is remarkably unassuming. He`ll talk about football but don`t expect any great insights into the state of the world or more etherial subjects. He`s interested but doesn`t see that he or any other artist should know more about it than anybody else.
“You`ve got to be honest and admit that the level of intelligence among rock musicians is not all that high. I`m not saying they`re all idiots, but, generally speaking, most musicians come from a working-class background so why should they particularly know what`s going on?
“You can only reflect your life and times. I think I did that with `Silicone Groan` – y`know, everybodies having it done in the States, having their tits blown up with silicone. I suppose you could say that`s social comment if you want.”

Also, Stewart is not particularly interested in the supposed new rock phenomena: decadence.
“Each to his own, y`know. I don`t think I live a particularly evil life but I don`t allow myself to get bored either. I suppose I come in between the two.
“I dunno. What is decadence? MPs getting knocked off by hookers? Good luck to them – why should we pry into it?”

How does he feel about Ian McLagan once describing him as “a bit of an old folkie at heart”?
“Yeah…that`s true. You`ll catch me at the dirtiest of folk clubs sometimes. I went to see Deroll Adams, the old banjo player, at the…where was it?…the Shakespeare the other night. Y`know I really blew it. I sort of walked in, in me yellow suit, and they were all sitting there…you know how they are.”
He grins again.
“But I`d like to play one…I wish I could do that…just get up and do `Mandolin Wind`. I`d really be nervous because it`s not something I`m one hundred per cent sure I could do. It`s a very different scene.”
He thinks for a moment. “Y`see I`ve always personally got to remember that I`m a singer of songs. I don`t need a sensation to get a crowd on their feet. I don`t have to take me trousers off or something. It`s sometimes easy to forget that.”

But doesn`t a certain amount of spectacle on stage help to sell records? “Yeah, I think maybe it half-sells them. Like, I think I`ve been flash since I left school but I do think I`ve got a pretty good voice as well. You can`t forget that.
“I mean, there was a time when I was with Beck that I used to hide behind the amplifiers and my voice hasn`t improved that much since then. It`s just audiences – and audiences, particularly in America, have brought me out of myself on stage.
“I really need an audience – the bigger the better. It`s a great boost to the ego – that`s something that everybody needs.
“Also, I need to be told how good I am. And everybody needs that.
“Unfortunately you can get in a certain position where people take you for granted and forget to tell you how good you are. That`s the point when you begin to doubt yourself.”

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This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Terry Reid, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon, Gilbert O`Sullivan, Fleetwood Mac, Edgar Winter, Led Zeppelin, John Entwistle, Jimmy McCullough, Marc Bolan, Nickey Barclay.

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