Andy Fraser

ARTICLE ABOUT Andy Fraser (Free) FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

The ghost of that big band you were in can be very hard to shake. Everyone is only really interested in those songs that you used to play with the band you used to be a part of. Very frustrating indeed. And almost no one has more success as a solo artist than the successful band you made a name for yourself in. Fraser was no exception.
Read on.

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Fraser walks the line

By Martin Hayman

Small, almost runtish, curiously aloof without aiming in any way for effect, almost head in the clouds. These are the first impressions of Andy Fraser on re-acquaintance after a couple of years.
When I arrived at Andy`s sixteenth-century cottage in Surrey, I found the small, dynamic bassist, writer of Free`s biggest-ever hit (and constant repeat hit) `Alright Now`, in his garage putting up shelves.
Tiring of the necessary elbow work in driving the screws home, he takes out his hammer and gives them a wallop. “That`s me for today,” he says, and retires into the beetling house for a cup of tea. He tells me that it was once one of Henry VIII`s hunting lodges, though Andy lives there, without a seraglio, in a more conventional connubial bliss. It was one of the more obvious benefits conferred by the success of that single which is periodically revived and can be seen to draw normally reluctant celebrities on to the dance floor.
Since Free, Andy Fraser does not seem to have been much in the public eye. There was Toby, which was his own group, and there was the Sharks and their much-publicised hassles, both with each other and with Island Records. Fraser has severed his connections with both, and is now starting a new recording and playing career as a solo artist, feeling that it`s unlikely he will ever again find a group situation which worked with the same co-operation as Free.

RECAPTURE

It may be that Free spoiled him for any other group, both because it worked so well as a unit, and because of the personal interaction within the group and, not least, for its early and devastating success. When worldwide acclaim has been tasted at such an early stage, it can be difficult to recapture.
Many might say that, in trying to recapture that success, Fraser attempted too literally to emulate the group by trying to carry it off single-handed. That`s certainly how his album with Nick Judd sounded. This may merely be backbiting, for Andy presents a fiercely independent front to the world and is little swayed by current fashions or the social obligations of the rockbiz.
But the proof of the pudding, as always, is in the eating, and after the failure (comparatively speaking) of his last two ventures, we must conjecture that Andy Fraser`s latest venture will satisfy the public`s appetite. It is an album recorded at Muscle Shoals, home of those strong-arm players Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins and Jimmy Johnson. A show will go on the road playing those same tunes at the beginning of November.

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TENSION

Sitting in Andy`s low-beamed rehearsal and playback room, listening to the album, it is obvious how very deeply into it Andy is. He sits there, his head slightly bowed under its short fringe of wiry black hair, and his sneakered foot is going like a hummingbird`s wing. First, some factual fill-in: it`s a solo album; Fraser playing the bass with Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar), Pete Carr (lead guitar) and someone called `Roadie` on percussion. The production was overseen by Brad Shapiro, a seasoned operator, who flew to England before the sessions to select the songs that seemed likeliest from a bunch of Andy`s rough dubs.
This was Andy`s first time with a producer and he found such a method of working very much to his taste. It seems there was an interesting tension between the Muscle Shoals band and Andy`s bass playing, which is unconventional. Andy says that his aim was to kick them along a bit. Normally these guys can just about play in their sleep. Everything is set up for a perfect sound: it`s merely a question of plugging in. This is exactly what Andy did. He hooked up his own instrument with the existing bass amp and they took it away. It`s all very well thought out: Barry Beckett charts the songs and marks up the changes, and when there`s someone in the band who knows (and in Andy`s case, is passionately involved with) the song, the feel becomes apparent after the first few bars.
Some of Fraser`s songs are repetitious. For some this can be mesmeric, for others boring. Andy explains his thoughts about song composition and the `Hey Jude` chorus pitch as follows: “I try to get a very basic root for every song. Two or three words should sum up every song and that should always finish it off. That`s what it`s all about.” You will note that this applies with particular force to `Alright Now`.
The single cut from the album is likely to be a number called `Be Good To Yourself`. “Even as we were cutting it Brad said it sounded like a single.” It`s one of those numbers which sounds extremely short, and I even suggested it would have been a good idea to let the chorus run out. “Well I didn`t have anything to do with the mix – Brad took all the tapes away to Criteria Studios, Miami, and that`s the way he did it. But if you`ve got a single which lasts longer than three minutes your chances of getting it played on the radio are very slim.”

FACELESS

What then of the concert tour? The previous tour was booked in big halls and failed to sell out by any means. This one is to be another big one, and it will also be a lot more expensive, for Brian Gascoigne has been deputed to find a band which will be able to get, and improve on, the performances by the Muscle Shoals album band. Would Andy Fraser be enough of a pull, as a solo act plus band? “How I regard myself is as a bass player in a group that has some hits, and only one big one. Now the thing is that most bass players in groups remain pretty faceless. So I regard myself as a new act. I know that the reason we can do big gigs is partly that I`ve been in a big group. But for me it`s sort of like starting again as Andy Fraser, a new singer and songwriter who plays bass.”

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT The A-Z of Heavy Metal FROM SOUNDS (Part 3), April 26, 1975

And we continue with part 3 in these series. I must admit that I didn`t know all these bands/artist before reading about them here. Funny how some fell by the wayside and others became household names.
Read on!

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Rock from `eavy to `umble or
The Sounds A – Z of Heavy Metal

Compiled by Pete Makowski and Geoff Barton

D

Deep Purple

Originally the band sounded like the culmination of all the things that Vanilla Fudge had striven for. Elaborate arrangements, well played rock. The band was formed by ex Artwoods and Flowerpot man Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore (ex Screaming Lord Sutch, Neil Christians and the Crusaders) and former Searcher Chris Curtis in `68. Curtis left and was replaced by bass player Nick Simper plus the addition of vocalist Rod Evans. The band recorded three albums with this format – `Shades Of Deep Purple`, `Book Of Talysein` and `Deep Purple`. Evans split to the States to form Captain Beyond with ex-Iron Butterfly guitarist Mike Pinera and Bobby Caldwell. Simper went on to join Warhorse. Simper and Evans were replaced by Roger Glover and Ian Gillan respectively. They recorded `In Rock` in 1970, and the distinct sound of Blackmore`s piercing, innovative guitar style that took Hank Marvin`s tremelo one step further, plus the screaming banshee vocals of Gillan made this THE definitive progressive rock album. Purple rose from the underground following when they achieved commercial success (`Black Night`, Strange Kind Of Woman` and `Fireball`). They achieved gargantuan popularity in the States with `Machine Head` which was the top selling US album in `73. An album later Gillan and Glover split and the future of the band was dubious, but they went on and added unknown vocalist Dave Coverdale and ex Trapeze bassist Glenn Hughes. This made for a change in the band`s music, but not in the impetus of their success.

Deviants

While the rest of the world was dressing up in beads and kaftans, Mick Farren and the Social Deviants, taking their cue from the MC5, hopped into their leathers and became a street punk rock politico band. In other words, they bashed it out loud and had titles like `Let`s Loot The Supermarket`. They were born in Spring 1967 with Farren, Duncan Sanderson and Russ Hunter as the core and the fluctuating guitar team of Paul Rudolf and Sid Bishop. By the end of `67 they`d dropped the social bit (well, says Farren, “it was a bit long and cumbersome to say”) and they broke up during a tour of America in 1969. Russ and Sandy joined up with Twink and Rudolf in the Pink Fairies. The Deviants left behind three albums – `Ptoof`, `Disposable` and `Deviants`. The Pink Fairies were worthy successors, but they too are defunct now. Paul Rudolf now has The Paul Rudolf Bugs Bunny Drugs Band.

E

Eire Apparent

Eire Apparent is notable for two things – the presence of guitarist Henry McCullogh, subsequently with the Grease Band, Wings, and, occasionally, Frankie Miller and the production of Jimi Hendrix. One Buddah single, `Rock`n`Roll Band` shows just how well the combination worked.

F

Fanny

This four piece all girl group stripped away all the pre-conceived chauvinistic views of women in rock. They could hit as hard as a battering ram. Formed in California the original line up consisted of June Millington (guitar/vocals), Jean Millington (bass/vocals), Alice De Buhr (drums) and Nickey Barclay (keyboards/vocals). The popularity of this band opened a market for other female rock bands (Isis, Birtha, Mother Trucker). June Millington was the first to leave the band and was replaced by Suzi Quatro`s sister Patti. Nickey Barclay, who was the band`s main writer, left last year to form her own band, Good News.

Foghat

Energy laden, blues based rock and roll laced with glamour. Foghat were one of those bands, like Climax Chicago, struck big in America but haven`t even created a ripple of interest in this country. The original band were ex-Savoy Brown members Rod Price (guitar), Tony Stevens (bass), and Roger Earl (drums). They were soon joined by `Lonesome` Dave Peverett on guitar. They have recorded three successful albums (`Rock & Roll`, `Energized`, `Rock And Roll Outlaws`), on Bearsville label and recently Tony Stevens left to be replaced by Nick Jameson.

Andy Fraser Band

Fraser surfaced with a new band following Sharks and an aborted liaison with Frankie Miller – Nick Judd on keyboards, Kim Turner on drums and Fraser on lead bass and vocals. They`re the loudest I`ve heard in a long time and as cocky and as unsubtle as you like.

Fusion Orchestra

Later re-titled Jill Saward`s Fusion Orchestra, this band is not so much heavy as flashy, visually and musically. When last seen, Jill would whirl dervish-like from instrument to instrument as if seeking an electric Holy Grail. A somewhat frenzied band, in which the drummer has been known to do a solo stretching from one end of the hall to the other.

G

Brian Gamage And The Spikes

Issued a single, `Brain Damage`, in mid-1974. It featured a guitar solo played by hurling a meathook at a highly amplified Stratocaster. The band were first formed in 1963 and the current, ever-changing line-up stands at Brian Gamage vocals, Carole Lewis bugle (the only two remaining original members), Arthur Boonstock harpsichord and Ollibund Socket assorted tympani. Their long-awaited album `Blue Funk` is set for release in the distant future.

J. Geils

Energised R&B driven by the `Wolfman Jack` type vocals of ex-art student and disc jockey Peter Wolf and the screaming mouth-iron, courtesy of Magic Dick. This band of Americanos started life in `67 by Wolf and drummer Steven Bladd. The rest of the band – Danny Klein (bass), Seth Justman (keyboards), J. Geils (guitar) and Magic Dick Salwitz were picked up from a technical engineering college. They started out as a gritty, down to earth boogie band. Their last two albums (`Ladies Invited` and `Nightmares` – on the Atlantic label) were a little more sophisticated. Still a premier live act.

Geordie

Brash Newcastle band, formed in early 1972. Powerful stage act, had some success with the singles `Don`t Do That` and `All Because Of You` – the latter a blatant rip-off of all (at that time) current singles styles, notably Bolan`s `Solid Gold Easy Action`, but great fun all the same. Toured with Slade, have made two albums, `Hope You Like It` and `Don`t Be Fooled By The Name`. Line-up: Brian Johnson vocals, Vic Malcolm guitar, Tom Hill bass, Brian Gibson drums.

Golden Earring

Dutch band, guitarist George Kooymans formed it in 1965 as a bubblegum outfit. Gradually became influenced by early Sixties styles and developed into musically excellent, visually superb band but without much originality. They first came to Britain in 1973 in the wake of Focus` success and soon notched up a hit single, `Radar Love`, and an album, `Moontan`. Current efforts, `Kill Me (Ce Soir)` and `Switch` are disappointing – the band seem to have become too preoccupied with their flashy image.

Groundhogs

The archetypal heavy rock three piece, the Groundhogs originally derived their familiar sound in `68. They were a four piece blues band, but after the departure of vocalist Stephen Rye, Tony McPhee took over and in 1970, two albums later, they established their niche with `Thank Christ For The Bomb` which with the followup `Split` could be described as their definitive product. The moody hard edged sound of the band along with Tony McPhee`s sad sounding `droney` vocals made this mob a popular gigging band. In 1972 after the release of `Who Will Save The World`, drummer Ken Pusteinik left to be replaced by ex-Egg drummer Clive Brooks. This is when McPhee`s guitar and songwriting completely took over and after `Hogwash` he recorded a solo album in 1973 – `The Two Sides Of Tony `T.S.` McPhee`.

Grand Funk

Detroit punk rock at 14,000 watts. GFR were the first of the Teeny bop heavy rock gladiators. Originally put together by ex-Detroit disc jockey Terry Knight in late `69, Don Brewer (drums) and Mark Farner (guitar) were formerly from his backing band the Pack. They got Mel Scacher from Question Mark & The Mysterians. Funk went straight to the open air festivals, their main assets being volume and energy, and soon captured the hearts of a new generation of kids. The band suddenly became a monster (their fifth album `Survival` sold a million on the day of release) they became a liberated status symbol to the masses of teenagers who weren`t interested in The Cream or the Beatles. The band had produced their own album `Phoenix` after splitting from Knight and in fact rose back from the ashes and back into the charts. They added ex-Pack organist Craig Frost to their line up and their next two albums were produced by whiz kid Todd Rundgren.

Gun, Three Man Army, Baker-Gurvitz Army

Lots of Gurvitz brothers for your money. `Polecat Woman` is about the best thing they`ve done and is available on `Three Man Army Two`. The B-G Army sound promising.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Frank Zappa, Gladys Knight, Women In Rock, Betty Wright, Steve Harley, Peter Frampton, Labelle, Peter Skellern, Ray Davies, Larry Uttal, Chris Spedding, Anne Murray, Sweet Sensation, Bernard Purdie, Mike Harding, Ronnie Lane, Yes.

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

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.