Charles Shaar Murray

ARTICLE ABOUT Black Sabbath FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 24, 1976

This article can be difficult reading in parts for those not so familiar with English slang. This is the sort of review where you`re not sure if he slags the band off or if he really likes them. Make up your own mind!

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OWOTTA LARRFF

Black Sabbath
Hammersmith

By Charles Shaar Murray

The bastards weren`t loud enough!
Not even halfway loud enough. No right-thinking individual can get off on the Sabs unless they`re loud enough to make yer braincells seep out yer ears and run for cover in the warm safety of your trouser pockets.
You need to feel as if Geezer`s sproinging away on the coils of your cerebellum while they`re connected up to a light socket, if you wanna get technical about it. Simultaneously Tony Iommi`s got to be heaving giant slabs of semi-sentient guitar gunge around just behind your eyelids and Bill… well, Bill`s probably out the back smashing his way through a brick wall by the simple expedient of hitting it with his head, while Ozzie caterwauls about something or other in a locked basement.
That`s the way yer real Sabs conna sewer likes it.
`Cuz when it ain`t that loud, it becomes uncomfortably apparent that Black Sabbath are one of the dullest gaggles of clowns ever to haul onto a stage (Ozzie, this means you, schlubbo. Do you know what you look like in those trousers?) Luckily I gained access to the photo pit after about twenty minutes of the set and was thus able not only to see the boys close up to hear the music at a decent volume.
I really enjoyed it after that.

There was some horrible object tricked out like a giant seashell with a cross on it behind Bill Ward`s drum kit. Their S. Pokesman told me that Bill had recently delivered a jest (larf a minute, Bill is) about how they were gonna sell it to Blue Oyster Cult after the tour, but Blue Oyster Cult are American and therefore have much better props – not to mention better costumes. Just wait`ll you see Ozzie`s outfit.
Larf? I thought I`d never start.
Lessee now – they did “War Pigs”, “Children Of The Grave”, “Snowblind”, “Iron Man”, “War Pigs” – `ang on, I think I`ve already mentioned that one – “Sabra Cadabra” and lots of other good stuff. Geezer and Ioomi had the equivalent of six Laney 200-watt stacks each piled up into a neat little battlement across the back of the stage (but it still wasn`t loud enough) and Iommi was playing a really nice John Birch guitar with little crosses inlaid on the neck. Couldn`t see much of Bill, but he kept knocking his cymbals over so he must`ve been having a good time.
Once you`re in a position to get yer cortex shook, you can just settle down and groove while the band lumber around grinding it out. Occasionally they stop so that Tony Iommi can look pained and blat out one of his patented fast bits. The hall-mark of an Iommi fast bit (to use the technical term) is that it doesn`t really fit into the band context so “Sabba Cadabra” (the number into which it`s usually slotted) has to crunch to a halt while he jabbers away at Velocity Mark 10 for a few minutes.

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Ozzie looks great. He`s got this yellow T-shirt with a glitter V on the front and fringes on the sleeves and the world`s most ridic trousers. They`re tight around the ass (bad move, Ozzie) and baggy round the crotch (no Freddie Mercury I`ve-got-the-whole-world-in-my-pants tactics from these boys) and show his navy-blue underpants off to excellent advantage. They also clash exquisitely with his knee-length blue platform boots.
All joking aside, folks, I really like the Sabs (`specially when they`re really loud).
Most people I know who don`t like them generally make the mistake of taking them seriously (or trying to) and failing to get off because the whole Sabs trip is so patently dumb. The trick is to regard the whole thing (performance, audience reaction etc) as a huge joke mounted especially for your amusement and then (provided it`s loud enough) you can have a wonderful time.
I mean, what other band can provide a moment when their entire audience howls the word “Paranoid!” as loud as they possibly can? That`s always worth the price of admission by itself.
The food was unspeakable.

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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: Alex Harvey, Elvis Presley Fan Club Convention, Lou Reed, Howlin` Wolf, Hot Vultures, Aerosmith.

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 David Bowie FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 10, 1976

The journalist, Mr. Murray, is positive in his review of this album and later even wrote a book about Bowie that you will find here: http://charlesshaarmurray.com/books/
The album, in its original form, was only six songs but is still considered among Bowie`s finest among many of his fans. Despite its status and a #3 position on the US Billboard 200 chart and going to #5 on the UK Albums chart – it is only certified Gold in Canada, UK and the USA to date. Surely some mistake?
Enjoy!

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BOWIE

Don`t touch that dial

David Bowie: Station To Station (RCA)

By Charles Shaar Murray

“A sixty thousand word novel is one image corrected fifty-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine times” – Samuel R. Delaney

LONGACRE BOARD OF EXAMINATION INTERMEDIATE ROCK WRITING

Discuss David Bowie`s “Station To Station” from any perspective available. Up to two hours may be spent on this question. You may answer in note form if necessary.

1. It may be argued that there is a qualitative difference between music made out of necessity (i.e. to fulfil a contractual quota) and music made purely for the sake of enjoyment derived from making it.
David Bowie didn`t have to make this album.
After completing his work on the movie soundtrack of “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, he was supposed to take a holiday until the New Year (this one, putzo) when he was/is scheduled to go into rehearsal for the European tour and, presumably, the next U.S. tour.
However, he ended up writing a batch of songs and flying his band into L.A. from New York to go into the studio and make this; an “extra” bonus album, if you like. Kind of like “The One That Got Away” in reverse.

2. The album opens with the sound of mighty trains chuffing determinedly from speaker to speaker (must be a real trip in quad, Jim), heavily phased to suggest (“allude to” would be more precise) the ambience of the white noise you get when you twist a radio or TV dial attempting to local a channel. (Not to mention “station-to-station” (as opposed to “person-to-person”) long-distance `phone calls).

3. The title song, which opens the album, runs 10.08 (at least, that`s what it says on the label. I haven`t checked it). Bowie doesn`t make his vocal entry until the track is nearly three and a half minutes.

4. If Bowie was James Brown he could well have entitled the second, up-tempo half of “Station To Station” “Diamond Dogs `76”. The dominant sound of this album overdubs the claustrophobic guitar-strangling garage band chording of “Dogs” (plus, to a lesser extent, the howling, wrenching lead guitar of “The Man Who Sold The World”) over the itchy-disco rhythms of the “Young Americans” album, while Bowie`s vocals evoke the lugubrious, heavily melodramatic vibratoed almost-crooning of Scott Walker.

5. “Golden Years,” the album`s Big Single, is placed in the middle of the first side. The placing of an already-familiar single on an album of otherwise new material is always crucial, since it automatically provides a period of decompression, a relaxing of the concentration necessary to assimilate new music.
“Golden Years” is a masterstroke of a single (though not quite in the same exalted class as the masterly “Fame”) and it`s quite the most compact and direct piece on the album.
Elsewhere, Bowie lays out vocally for quite considerable lengths of time – particularly on the title track`s companion Marathon, “Stay”, which can be located over on the second side – leaving the band to cook uninterrupted.
His vocals are not only sparse, but mixed right down and mumbled into the bargain.
In the days when I was into lyric sheets (i.e. before I remembered that Dylan never provided a lyric sheet in his life, and realised that a crucial part of my enjoyment of “Horses” was down to listening to the words as part of  the record and comprehending/understanding/deciphering more of them with each listen instead of copping the whole thing off a dessicated cribsheets) I would have bitched about not being able to do the heavy lyrical analysis schtick straight off.
As it is, I find myself listening to the sounds of the music (and the music of the sounds, man, far out!) rather than even trying to make out the lyrics.
On a purely audio basis, therefore, “Station To Station” represents a solid triumph for Bowie as an organiser of music. Maybe if I had the sleeve I`d know whether it was a concept album (heh!) or not. Hope it isn`t, though.

6. Musically, the biggest surprise on the album is the intro to “TVC 15,” the first track on the second side.
It`s rolling bar-room piano (vaguely reminiscent of Climax`s “Loosen Up”) with Bowie copping the “Oh-woa-hoo-wo-ho” vocal intro from the Yardbirds` “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” (the man is nothing if not eclectic) before settling into a tight but relaxed groove with a great chorus in which Bowie carols, “Transition/transmission”. It`s one of the craziest things I`ve heard in a long while.
Incidentally, I have no idea of what the title means. My theory (which is my own, etc., etc.) is that it refers to Channel 15 on Los Angeles TV, but on the other hand Joe Stevens suggests that it`s the register number of the video course that Bowie`s supposed to be taking at U.C.L.A., while Mick Farren opines that it`s a gearbox of some sort (alternate meaning to the “transmission” motif).
To coin a phrase, I await further enlightment.

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7. “Stay” features a lurching raunch guitar part performed, or so Mr. Kent informs me, by Ron Wood.
It confirms my belief that the standard of Mr. Wood`s playing is entirely determined by the company he keeps, a belief initially fostered by a comparison of his playing at Eric Clapton`s Rainbow Concert and on Rod Stewart`s sole albums (sublime) and on the vast majority of Faces manifestations (ridiculous), not to mention a brief earful of a recent Stones bootleg.
Here he gets plenty of room to smear funk all over the scenery, ably supported by Willie Weeks on bass (and presumably therefore Andy Newmark on drums).
Bowie`s vocal line, embellished by female back-up voices singing octaves, is quite absurdly effete – not to mention loopily wacky a la Sparks – but it seems almost logical when juxtaposed with Wood`s funk riffs.
Since I`m working from a blank sleeve with no info, I can give you no exciting tidbits about the world-famous musicians, engineers, producers, arrangers, derangers, freerangers and so forth who are doubtless embroiled in the proceedings.
I can hazard a guess, though, that Tony Visconti is present in some productorial capacity and Paul Buckmaster in an arrangerial ditto, whereas the other musicians are simply whoever was in Bowie`s road band at the time, with another Carlos Alomar or Earl Slick (or both) on guitars. The more Ronsonesque guitar leads on the album are certainly reminiscent of Slick`s work on the live album.

8. In addition to the above-mentioned songs, the album also includes two real croonaruskies on which Bowie – and this is Ian Mac`s idea, not mine, Dave ol` pal (heh heh) so don`t git mad – sounds totally drunk.
Dig the scenario – the bar`s closed, the proprietor`s sweeping the floor and stacking the chairs up on the tables with their legs in the air like abandoned mannequins, and this turd in the corner just won`t stop singing along to the backing track in his head.
More so than anywhere else on the album, Bowie discards the conventional tradition of rock singing (i.e. non-realistic, purporting to be a stylisation/abstraction?) of the way the singer “normally” speaks and by extension therefore is) in favour of an abstraction of the styles of the so-called “Balladeers”.
Both these songs are placed at the end of their respective sides; “Word On A Wing” comes at the end of side one, while “Wild Is The Wind” ends side two.
The latter was written by Toimkin and Washington (the only non-Bowie song); Tiomkin is presumably Dimitri of the Ilk, and is therefore, equally presumably, a theme-from-the-movie-of-the-same-name.

9. The main lyrical motif of the title song is “It`s too late (to be grateful)/It`s too late (to be hateful)”.

10. “Station to Station” is a great dance album.
It`s funk on the edge, the almost claustrophobic rhythms of “Fame” diffused through the tortured guitars of Ziggy`s memory tapes, plus that new vocal style, simultaneously ugly and mesmeric.

11. Let`s hear it for the title guy in the baggy suit.

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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 a great, big thank you 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: Cat Stevens, Patti Smith, Grateful Dead, Albertos y Lost Trios, Bob Dylan, 10cc, Dion, The Great British Music Festival.

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 David Bowie from New Musical Express, October 18, 1975

A really strange one this. Should it have been in print at all? Is this something that people needed to know? NME thought so, but I am unsure. In Norway the Press have made some ethcial rules for themselves called the “Exercise Caution – Placard”. It contains a set of rules that journalists are obliged to follow. The placards last words are written in uppercase letters: “WORDS AND IMAGES ARE POWERFUL WEAPONS. DO NOT ABUSE THEM!”
I don`t know if something like this exists in other countries, but it certainly should. The written word can be incredibly powerful, and sometimes people may have to be protected from themselves (But not in a oppressive regime kind of way). This one is out there already, and that`s why I chose to print it on my blog. The story told between the lines may be of interest to Bowie fans.

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A Mother`s Anguish

David never comes to see me

David Bowie`s mum pours her heart out to Charles Shaar Murray

Mrs. Jones lives in a fairly pleasant block of flats on one of those wide, tree-dotted Beckenham streets that seem to display examples of every conceivable variety of 20th century British tack architecture.
Her flat is a curious mixture of the commonplace – i.e. the kind of stuff that you`d expect to find in the home of a middle-aged lady living alone – and the unexpected. Like the stack of David Bowie albums over by the TV set mixed in with the movie soundtracks and the better-known classics, the huge, garish Bogart poster over the Bahaus table, the display of gold discs propped face-backwards against the wall in the hall, the family-size black and white print circa “Space Oddity” David Bowie ranged dead centre on the living room wall, the painting of Bowie-as-Ziggy in the corner.
Mrs. Jones is David Bowie`s mother.
She phoned up the NME office a week or two after our Bowie/Hitler cover story, and said that she thought that her boy was “a terrible hypocrite” and that she wanted to do an interview and elaborate on same.
Which is weird in the extreme. I mean, I`m entering my sixth year of writing-about-rock-for-fun-and-profit and one thing I`d never encountered before was the act`s parent ringing up to do some vicarious scolding of their famous prodigy. The closest parallel was the infamous affair of John Lennon`s dad back in `63.

Halfway up the stairs and Mrs. Jones is waiting in the doorway. Paul McCartney would probably describe her as a sort of mum kind of thing. She`s wearing a sleeveless floral dress and sensible shoes, and around the mouth and eyes she looks very much like Mr. Bowie.
“The only thing that a person over sixty can say to me,” Lenny Bruce once said, “is `Have you had enough to eat`?” In short order, I`m supplied with a glass of lemonade and an Embassy and the brass tacks are gotten down to.
What had initially aroused her ire was Bowie`s spiel about how morals had become so disgusting and how it was time for a bit of good ol` fashioned fascism etc. etc.
“But he changes so, doesn`t he? He`s changing his views about everything all the time. He`s like a chameleon. There`ll never be a dictatorship here, and why he says he`d want one I don`t know.”
Uppermost on her mind, though, is her own particular situation. “What about his mother?” she asks rhetorically. “I`ve been widowed five years, and at the beginning of my widowhood he was very good to me. This” – she gestures round the flat – “is my property, but he furnished it for me…”
Which figures. The furniture definitely bears the stamp of Bowie`s taste circa `71.
“… and then he got the contract with that awful man DeFries.”
Cue dramatic background music.

“Then he seemed to change. I`m a very sensitive person – in fact I`m oversensitive – and I get upset very easily. If it`s anything to do with David, it breaks my heart. We sent him to boarding school, he`s had a home always, he was always able to go to his father for everything… and since he went to America I`ve only had one phone call from him, and that was last Christmas. Mind you, he was very good. He sent me a mink coat, something I`ve never had before. I`ll show it to you. I was really chuffed with it, and then I thought, it`s lovely to have a mink coat, but where can I go to wear it? I`ve got no money in my pocket. I`m an old-age pensioner. I`m living on £11.50 a week.
“David said in a paper – I think it was the Sunday Mirror – that he left home when he was 15. That`s a lie. He was at home until his father died five years ago. His father supported him financially. He and his father were like THAT, but he didn`t get on so well with me because I`m a very erratic person.
“I can`t see both sides of an issue; I can only see one side.”
It begins to add up. Bowie is the possessor of what we might politely describe as a somewhat fluid personality, a character trait that he would seem to have inherited from his mother, and it was this aspect of him that made him tend to gravitate towards his late father, a solid and dependable man, and on the death of his father to Tony DeFries, who, despite his own comparative youth, emitted a decidedly patriarchal aura.
Over to you Sigmund.

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Mrs. Jones produces a sheaf of letters from Tony DeFries, originating out of MainMans`s New York office, all of which coldly interrogate her for production of receipts and a precise accounting of her expenditure as a pre-requisite for the payment of any of her bills.
“DeFries rang me up one day and said, `You must understand that David is under no legal obligation to finance you.`
And then he said, “Why don`t you go out to work? My mother did.”
“Don`t think,” she says, “that I`m a pathetic mother. I never have been. My husband and I lived for David. We approved of his work. My husband said to me, `Love, if we don`t let David go into this business he`ll be frustrated for the rest of his life.` I was frustrated. I would have loved to have been a singer. My own father was a musician – he used to play the clarinet. This is where David gets it from. My husband and I encouraged him right from the very start, and when his father died he said to me, `Mum, don`t worry. I`ll always look after you.` And he did until Mr. DeFries came along.
“I saw Angela in May, and I went to the Ideal Home Exhibition with her. She has always been very kind to me and I think very differently of her than I did at the beginning.
“When I lost my husband I lost my prop. I lost somebody who understood me, someone who had a lot of tolerance. He always used to say to me, `Don`t worry about David, love, he`s going to get on and he knows what he`s doing.` I don`t bear David any malice. I can`t bear him any malice because I love him too much. He was such a dear little boy.
“So intelligent.

“When he was at Bromley Technical College he started getting rebellious. He seemed to resent it if I said anything to him, and it hurt me because I`m so sensitive. I used to burst into tears. If anybody mentions David I cry. I`ve got all his records and I play them and I sit here howling my eyes out.
“Terry (David`s half-brother) is such a loveable chap. He`s so loyal to me, and that`s what I want David to be. To show a little care and sympathy.”
It all comes pouring out. I don`t think Mrs. Jones` motive in getting in touch with the NME was to get any mileage out of pillorying Bowie in public or to pull any sensationalist numbers. She just seemed to want to talk to someone – anyone – and get it all off her chest.
Really, it`s an action replay of “She`s Leaving Home” – the classic syndrome of what happens when a kid grows up in the early 60`s and turns into something that the parent(s) just can`t understand, and when a cultural mutation of that kind takes place, the old `we gave up the best years of our lives for you / sacrificed everything / gave you everything you ever wanted` bit just doesn`t cut any ice whatsoever. Because that just ain`t the point, and it never was.

Part of Bowie`s progress over the last few years has been dependent on the systematic progressive rejection of his past, the discarding of his old skin, so to speak. So it goes, as Mr. Vonnegut would have it.
As time passes, Mrs. Jones` anguish at her plight begins to dissolve, eroded by motherly pride in her son. She hauls out his school photographs and affectionately recounts his teenage anecdotes, as if they`d happened just last week, as if David Bowie was still that person. “I bought this record” (the Decca reissue of “Images”) “even though it was all old songs, because it had such a nice picture of him on the cover. One of my neighbours said to me, `You must be in love with him.` Of course I`m not. I love him because he`s my son.”
As photographer Kate Simon and I prepared to leave, she impulsively says to Kate, “May I kiss you goodbye?” and hugs her. As we say our goodbyes outside, she turns back to us.
“I`d like to thank you both for coming to see me. So few people ever do.
“I must be the loneliest person on the street.”

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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: The Who, Eric Clapton, The Tubes, Blue Oyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, Bert Jansch, Van McCoy, Budgie, Gerry Johnson.

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 Alice Cooper FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, April 19, 1975

This is certainly a strange article. First, it tells us almost as much about Detroit and Suzi Quatro as the main subject, Alice Cooper. Maybe that was a point from Mr. Murray as he most certainly didn`t like the directon that Alice was moving into. Like most fans, and as much as fans today, he clearly feels a little betrayed when a favourite artist of his suddenly moves away from what they originally represented. In Mr. Cooper`s case, it is important to understand that he now was a solo artist, despite keeping the same name as when the original Alice Cooper band played together. In effect, this was the first tour of the first album in his solo career. I like both periods of Mr. Cooper`s career – even if his solo albums are a little bit more polished than they were with the original band. And I highly recommend the album “Welcome To My Nightmare” – it is considered a classic today for good reason.
Have fun!

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Welcome to Alice Cooper`s new show. It`s good, honest music,delivered with minimal hype.*
Alice just knows you`re gonna love it.

*In a Pig`s Eye, mate.

Feature: Charles Shaar Murray
Pics: Bob Gruen

I do not believe this hotel room.
It looks as if all of Led Zeppelin had been partying it for a week. The heating`s on full blast, there`s stained sheets all over the floor, someone`s vomited in the bathroom, half-empty booze glasses, over-flowing ashtrays, torn-up magazines all over the place and an all-pervading sweaty odour of Essence of Musk.
Hmmmmm – snf snf – make that Led Zeppelin and two camels.
At that moment Room 2137 in the Sheraton-Cadillac right there in the colon of beautiful downtown Detroit (Michigan) ranks about 2,137th on the Cosmic List Of Places To Be, so there`s nothing to do but hit the bar and wait for someone to start cleaning the place up. Downstairs, the place is swarming with well-dressed spades, all of whom look like Second Div Motown acts. They all have little plastic badges pinned to their lapels (or equivalents thereof).
“Hey, Berry Gordy just checked in,” someone mutters. They do a lot of shouting in the corridors. The next day it turns out that they`re all social workers.
After all, tonight is Hometown Night. Alice Cooper, who classifies as a Favourite Son even though he spent more of his youth in Arizona than anywhere else, and Suzi Quatro, Detroit`s fave emigree, are in town tonight, and Detroit looks after its own. Alice hasn`t been on the road since `73 and Suzi`s only played one Detroit date since her reincarnation as High Priestess Of Idiot Pop and God`s Gift To The Dry-Cleaning Industry, so tonight`s concert instantly attains Event Status. Besides, no-one big`s played Detroit since Led Zep blew through a couple of months back.

Detroit is Heavytown, U.S.A. The usual litany of social evils: unemployment, mass scag use, pollution, violence, all of which are usually blamed on the spades. “I got nuthin` against them – don`t get me wrong,” rasps the limo driver. “They`re great people, ya know? But you go round to their houses and they gotta goddam Cadillac outside and it cost more than everything in the house.”
There ain`t a single black kid in the hall, though. Detroit has two music myths – Berry Gordy`s revolutionary cross-breeding of soul, MOR and wimp right alongside the pharmaceutical lunacy of the MC5-Iggy-Cooper-Grand Funk-Mitch Ryder white industrial rock thing – and never the twain shall meet.
The Detroit Olympia is kind of like a squashed-down Madison Square Gardens which means that it`s a massive toilet with a multi-tiered people gallery and a stage at one end. Into the valley of dope-smoke ride the 16,000 – and friends, these happy peaceful kids are a credit to their parents, their generation and Alice Cooper. Only a smattering of top hats and sloppily applied eye makeup, less glitter than you`d find at the average Budgie gig, and v. clean hair. The only real peculiarity is that nearly half of them wearing glasses.
Scooting backstage looking for hot teenage gossip, free booze and a chance to get in there with the pop stars, I bump into Susie Q. fully be-leathered and scampering bogwards. The band are seated morosely around the dressing room, which is not exactly overflowing with well-wishers, friends and fans. We go through the oh-what-look-who`s-`ere-orright-then-`ow-yer-doin`-`ow`s-it-goin`-man routine which is obligatory under such circumstances: Nobody says anything about pig brains. Len Tuckey`s slimmed down to touring weight and his hair is almost overwhelmingly clean.

Quatro jogs back in like a bantamweight lady wrestler warming up for the Big Fight. Folks who`ve visited her backstage immediately prior to British gigs have suggested that she hits the vodka pretty hard before meeting the public. However, this is Detroit and Susie is sober as the proverbial judge. “I just had a pee,” she announces. “`Ow was it?” grunts Tuckey, staring into his beer like he left his teeth in it. Her face lights up. “It was wun-der-fullll.”
Up front, the kids are clambering around the hall in best Notting Hill Gate adventure playground style. In England, audiences locate their seats and either stay there or gravitate to the bar. In the States, they swarm all over the place, climbing over barriers, standing on seats and generally making themselves at home. The other main difference over here is that blowing a joint during a gig (especially during intervals when the houselights are turned on) is a pretty furtive enterprise, whereas over there the children of the revolution glug their wine and toke their grass with perfect equanimity -and no-one messes with them. The police who roam the hall walk right through the clouds of smoke without even turning round.
Every so often someone fires a cap-gun, though there`s the odd diehard traditionalist who`s still into such recherche pursuits as firecrackers and sparklers. Which begs the question: if the security are allowing people in with guns – even cap guns – it means that no-one`s worried about the Coop getting shot on stage any more, which is not illogical since (a) no self-respecting nut would be seen dead at an Alice Cooper gig, and (b) he`s no more likely to get shot than Bob Hope.

Anyway, the man with the rheostat turns down the houselights and a gorgiously tacky backdrop emerges from between the twin turrets of a collapsible plastic gothic arch on the stage. The P.A., which has hitherto maintained a decorous silence, clears its throat and trolls out Elton`s “The Bitch Is Back”, while figures scuttle over the stage switching on amps and distributing guitars.
Quatro bounces on to the stage like a Mexican jumping bean and launches into “All Shook Up”, while the band chug earnestly in the background. The sound is a trifle on the thin side (particularly the guitar and bass) which could well be attributable to the well-known tradition of only allowing the support group to use two-thirds of the P.A.
In Detroit, our Suze puts on a fairly respectable rockanroll show; a no-nonsense rock set for a rock audience. She does “Your Mama Don`t Like Me”, which sounds okay live if you turn a blind ear to those unbelievably crass lyrics, and “48 Crash”, which doesn`t happen on any level at all, but the rest of the way it`s all rock standards like “Shakin` All Over (complete with Long Solos By Everybody – Quatro`s is finger-popping` good, but Tuckey`s catcheth not fire) and home-grown stuff by Tuckey and Ms Q. One of them, entitled “Michael” and cast in a vaguely similar mould to “Cat Size” (the standout cut from the “Quatro” album) is undoubtedly the best thing she`s ever done, and I start muttering “Heyyyyy -Instant Credibility!” I later find out that she wrote the song nearly a year ago, and that Chinn, Chapman and Most have been sitting on it ever since. Good taste is timeless…

…and the Youth Of Detroit are doing their adventure playground number again. Yours Truly is getting righteously climbed over – me, the idol of millions!
“Hold this joint!” snaps a feminine voice due north of my left ear. The owner thereof is a small and devastatingly agile blonde who`s having a quick clamber over a balcony. “Take a hit,” she orders authoritatively (glurk!). She casts a critical eye over the reporter`s tokemanship, sneers, “Ah, keep it!” and vanishes into the darkness.
Which sets the scene quite nicely for Alice Cooper.
The stage is loaded down with props. There`s a giant bed right in the middle of the stage and – lemme just strain my eyes a little for you right here – a massive toybox and – uh – the aforementioned plastic battlements and looming dimly in the distance, the band. When I say distance, I kid you not. If they were any further away they`d be in the parking lot.
Then it`s heads down for the dry ice. Detroit applauds. (Rock audiences always applaud dry ice). The only act that can follow dry ice is a mirror ball, or maybe even two. (Always works). The Floyd have pioneered the use of dry ice and mirror balls to the extent that the audience probably wouldn`t notice if they didn`t show up on their next tour. Still, the Coop`s above all that stuff. He`s here, folks, he`s actually here. Right there in the middle of all that dry ice, crooning the opening lines of “Welcome To My Nightmare”.

The band are now visible to the more long-sighted members of the audience. Togged out in absolutely faaabulous undertaker`s capes and top hats, will you please meet and greet Josef Chirowski (many different keyboards), Dick Wagner (lead guitar and prognathous jaws), Penti Glan (drums and alleged Finnish accent), Prakash John (bass) and Steve Hunter (more guitars).
Cooper is doing his patented prowl in more or less standard apparel. He is encased in tattered white leotards and his standard make-up. His hair looks positively insanitary, and he is earnestly attempting to resemble whatever he thinks a psychopath ought to look like.
Hello! Hooray! Let the show begin!
The first thing that becomes apparent is a weird kind of distanced effect. Normally at a rock show, whether you`re digging it or not, you become involved; you notice a sense of nearness and immediacy. You are drawn into it and unless the show is genuinely dreadful, it holds your attention for the duration. After all, you`re looking at a stage, people are doing things on it and an event of some sort is taking place before your very eyes.
Somehow, the Cooper show doesn`t really work like that. It`s more like watching a movie than a stage show – and more like watching TV than either. In performance, the stage is changed by the events taking place upon it, whereas a movie screen remains essentially the same even when someone`s pointing a projector at it and a few hundred people are watching. As Cooper gets into his show, it seems like a a recording of something that happened two months ago in rehearsal, like those 3D laser holograms that he was supposed to be getting involved in a year or so back. There is no real excitement, no sense of occasion. It`s just something to sit and watch, and you can`t even switch channels.

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Apart from “I`m Eighteen,” a medley of “Billion Dollar Babies,” “Elected”, “No More Mister Nice-Guy” and the inevitable encore of “School`s Out”, the show is basically a canter through the “Welcome To My Nightmare” album, all staged with razor-edge precision, 400 megaton special effects and a cast of thousands. Dancers flit around the set, pop up from the toy box and have periodic tussles with Alice, who portrays Steven, junior bull goose loony and trainee parenticide. When he sings “The Black Widow”, dancers in spider costumes loom from a gigantic cobweb that rises from the floor. When he sings “Only Women Bleed”, a life-size rag doll that he`s tossing around metamorphoses into a real live danseuse. At one point someone in an incredibly cheap-looking cyclops costume waddles out and shambles all over the stage.
The killer effect, though, is when a “magic screen” is used to combine film and live action, and it really looks great. You see, on the screen, Cooper running towards the camera and just as he reaches it, the real Coop slips through the screen and runs out to the front of the stage. Then the dancers do the same stunt and climax the whole deal by carrying him back through/onto the screen. Boy, does Alice give his audiences value for money!
Yet, curiously enough, the “Nightmare” show has but an iota of the power and craziness of vintage Coop. He`s got an infinitely better band, far more expensive props, far more complex effects and all manner of lavish stuff, but all that clowning around with cyclopses and spiders and so on seems far less nightmarish than the death-and-impotence theatre of “Killer” days, when he actually confronted genuine everyday demons, horrors that actually had some relevance. Now, he`s action-replaying the gimmicks of the less inspired type of horror movie, devices that have become so hackneyed through the afternoon and late late show TV with which Cooper bombards his beer-fertilized brain cells that nobody could actually get a fear buzz off them. Instead of relating the macabre to the genuine terrors of the 70s, he`s simply putting on a kiddie version of “The Rocky Horror Show”.

And nowhere – nowhere – is there a moment as apocalyptic as the set-piece in the last show when he confronted the audience with their own mindlessness by inducing them to stomp each other to get their hands on cheap posters and fake money – and then letting them see how much of themselves they`d betrayed. Now he contempts himself with the whole tawdry, meaningless “Who got thuh powuh?”/”We got thuh powuh” claptrap.
Remember when we used to speculate what the Stones` show would be like when they started playing Vegas? Or even when Alice played Vegas? Speculate no longer. The show that Alice is doing now is pure Vegas-rock. It`s unbelievably slick, empty as an upside-down milk-churn and contains instant repeats of well yawn-worn Cooper preoccupations. Just the kind of thing to watch while you`re choking on your scampi and chips. Forget Vegas, Coop – when are you playing Batley`s?
It`s really cute irony, too. Big bad Alice, the most perverse, vicious, conscienceless and demonic rock star of all is now among the most respectable. He ain`t a rock star, he will say in the morning at his Press reception, he`s an entertainer. He claims that the chickenshit-and-sawdust show he`s putting on now is giving rock validity.
But nobody storms the stage. Nobody flips out. Nobody screams out song titles. Nobody throws things. They just sit in front of the show, watch it, do their ritual encore howl and then they leave. Quietly. They have been Entertained in the best All-American tradition of the Big Big Show and they`ve gawked at the sets and grooved on the songs and then filed out like a nice little audience should.

The last time I`d seen Cooper had been at the Madison Square Gardens in New York, and an uglier, meaner and more dangerous crowd it`s never been my privilege and pleasure to sit amongst. The old-style Cooper audience, as was appropriate to the old-style Cooper show, was ornery and crazy and potentially uncontrollable. Every amphetamine fantasy of rock as subversion and bloodbath trigger come to life.
Now it`s 1975 and it`s all just family entertainment. Bring the kids! Bring the old folks! A great night out! Entertainment! “Just entertainment,” to quote the Coop himself. And maybe that`s why it was ultimately so cold and lifeless and irrelevant. words of one syllable, it was slick and tepid and it was about as exciting and dramatic as a ninety-minute monologue by Bob Harris.
The Press conference is set for 10 a.m. the following morning, which is a smart move. Most of the invited press were pretty much wiped out the previous night and are calculated therefore not to be at their sharpest by ten o`clock. Cooper, however, can function at more or less any hour of the day or night and therefore has nothing much to worry about.
Another aspect of Press conference which is calculated to work in his favour is the strange fact that there`s usually safety in numbers – for the act. When a dozen reporters are all gathered together interviewing the same act, they tend to get in each other`s way, plus they hang back on the really heavy, hostile questions in case the act is smart enough to outwit them and they get put down or outargued in front of their peers.
Not that very many rock stars are that bright, but it`s 10 a.m., room service has been too slow to get everybody their breakfasts and no-one thinks too fast with a hangover.

By ten, Cooper is curled up on a sofa in a direct line with the TV clutching a Budweiser (from which he doesn`t drink). He`s wearing a T-shirt inscribed with the legend “Goochie” (and I don`t know what it means, so don`t ask) and a really disgusting pair of crocheted trousers. The stubble is already starting to show.
Yes, he really likes the new show.
No, he`s not sure if he`ll be working with the old band.
Yes, he`s still contracted to Warner Brothers.
Yes, he did sing on Michael Bruce`s solo album.
No, he`s not concerned with politics, he`s just into entertainment.
Yes, he knows that “Department Of Youth” is “School`s Out” part two, but it just came out that way when he was writing it.
No, he hasn`t started on a new album yet.
Yes, he has started thinking about his next stage act. (Work that one out if you can. I couldn`t).
Yes, he thinks it`s great that a rock artist has cultural validity (he means himself, gang).
Yes, he`d love to work Vegas.
No, he doesn`t read.
No, he doesn`t go to the movies.
Yes, he just watches TV
And so on and so on and so on.

Alice Cooper doesn`t matter any more. He still fills halls, he still sells records, but what he is and what he does no longer has any relevance to what rock and roll has got to do if it`s going to survive as anything more than – to use the Coop`s own phrase – “just entertainment.”
What Alice – by the way, you don`t call him “Coop” any more, you call him “Boss Vinnie” (urp) – is doing is just entertainment. It`s entirely devoid of any central thesis or any governing aesthetic beyond the idea that if you put enough on a stage and keep it fast and loud and extravagant, then nobody`ll bother to ask what the point of it all is, what any of those dummies and dancers and sets are actually doing.
Hurry up and get to Vegas, Alice. You sure got no reason to stick around here with us any more.

YES is the band and Gryphon was/is their friends!

YES is the band and Gryphon was/is their friends!

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: Phil Manzanera, Curved Air, Tammy Wynette, “How to compile an album”, “An investigation into Japanese Rock”, Grand Funk, David Crosby, Hedgehog Pie, Ralph McTell.

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 12 $ (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 Ian Hunter FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, April 5, 1975

People sometimes forget that Mr. Ian Hunter Patterson has reached the grand old age of 76 this year. He seems so youthful in the way he presents himself, so it is easy to forget that he is older and wiser than most people you know. We hope to have him around for a long time as Hunter continues to tour extensively across Europe and North America.
In March 1975 Hunter joined forces with Mick Ronson, and released his first solo album in april after recording sessions at AIR Studios in London. A great album that also features the much-covered song “Once Bitten Twice Shy”, originally written by Hunter alone.
Check it out, if you for some strange reason have missed this great song.

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AARGH!

That was our Lay-out Man`s reaction when he discovered that Charles Shaar Murray had written his Runter-Honson interview in a slightly eccentric manner. Pennie Smith (who still thinks Ronson is an electric shaver) took very normal pictures.

Haul ass, Ronson. It`s exactly four steps from where the band coach is parked to the stage door of Newcastle City Hall and there`s a mean wind blowing, but even before one scuffed green shoe – which goes great with the black suit with the gold piping and the green T-shirt – hits ground zero, the chicks are there with the autograph books out. “Over here, Mick! Hey, over here, Mick!”
Ronson`s ready for them, and as his hand goes out to pick up the first pen, Ian Hunter in massive leather coat, has slipped around the cluster of girls and is almost home free before one spots him – “and can I have your autograph too?” He signs the book like he`s clocking in for work. Thank you, Masked Man.
Freeze it. Voice-over: “He`s got an incredible fan following, and he looks after `em. Mott was always a guys` band, and now all of a sudden I`m with Mick and there`s chicks camping out outside his door. I think it`s great for me and `im, because it adds an extra element. Mick`s a great-looking guy and he doesn`t ignore his fans. He talks to `em, he`s forever writing letters to `em, and I was never particularly into that. He`s been going on at me to talk to `em.
“See, I left Mott and so most of the Mott fans didn`t like me, made me the bad guy. Mick`s got his fans, but I`m in a kind of limbo and all I`ve got`s my music, and I`m so hot on the music that I don`t really care. But at the same time I see what happens when the chicks are all screaming for him and I think that we need that. Because it`s something that Mott never had…”

Unfreeze. The assembled company straggle into the hall and commence sound-checking. Bad Co`s album plays through the P.A.
For some unearthly reason there`s 75 loose volts of best quality high-grade electricity floating around Hunter`s vocal mike. Apart from that, Ronson`s sustain pedal has gone on the blink, which is quite a problem as it`s a special one whipped up by someone Pete Townshend knows and it`s not the kind of thing you can schlep into your local Newcastle music shop and have fixed while-U-wait.
The building is icy cold. On the stage, Blue Weaver is checking out his various keyboards. The reason that it`s Weaver up there and not Pete Arnesen is that Arnesen is currently recuperating from an operation, and so Weaver, who played organ on Mott`s last American tour, was flown in at a few days` notice to take over. Principally an organist, he`s not used to playing the pounding rock and roll piano that Hunter and Ronson require, and so his nails are battered and broken.
On a podium in the centre of the stage behind a massive double drum kit is Dennis Elliott, who looks to be about nineteen and is whomping his way around his drums while Hunter and Ronson stand about three-quarters of the way back relaying instructions through the talkback mike on the mixing desk.

Last up is Jeff Appleby, bass player and charter member of the Hull Mafia. He looks startlingly like Ronson with his bleached hair and peaky features. The three of them run through “Truth The Whole Truth Nuthin` But The Truth” before Hunter wanders up on the stage to join them. It`s what you call your cooperative sound check, with Hunter and Ronson checking their sidemen`s sound together and then each of them doing the others. Hunter slams through some power chords, and Ronson instructs him to use the middle pick-up switch position before the two swap places.
Unlike the roadies, who`ve been vaulting on and off the stage as if they were in training for some weird kind of Roadie Olympics, Hunter climbs onto part of support group Jet`s Fender piano as one of the stages in his descent. Unfortunately it starts to topple, and if it hadn`t been for a roadie who happened to be standing in the way at the time, Hunter and the piano would`ve taken quite a nasty little spill across the front couple of rows of Newcastle City Hall.
Ronson takes the stage, clambers into his guitar and rambles around a few riffs, testing out his pedals and gadgets. For a second he hits the riff from “Once Bitten Twice Shy.”

Cut to Hunter playing the same riff at the start of the evening`s show. The hall is around three-quarters full and for the past five minutes there`s been a steady chant of “Ron-son! Ron-son!” Eventually the band stalk on, the sidemen in black and Hunter and Ronson in white outfits which glow sickeningly under the ultra violet lights at the side of the stage. Ronno`s suit is emblazened with painted eyes, as if in some kind of compensation for Hunter`s invisible peepers. A spotlight hits Hunter`s guitar as he bounces the Chuck Berry riff around for a few bars, and then he moves to the mike with that flat “`Allo” and the band hit the groove and the lights come up and, and…
The sound is hideous. All you can hear is Hunter`s guitar and vocal and Elliott`s drums, though occasionally a bit of lead guitar and piano shine fitfully through the fog. It gradually cleans itself up as the show progresses, with Hunter and Ronson scrupulously sharing the vocals, trading off one for one and two for two. Curiously, for the first half of the set, Ronson`s performances seem better received than Hunter`s, though it must be borne in mind that Hunter was performing songs from an album which nobody in the audience had at that time heard, whereas Ronson was drawing on his two solo albums – and I`d bet cash money that at least half of the population of that hall had one or the other.
He seemed infinitely more confident sharing the stage with Hunter than he had performing those same songs last year on his own tour, though the audiences were approximately the same size. Had Hunter traded in his huge Mott audiences for the appreciably smaller Ronson public?

Make no mistake about it, a solidly Ronson audience it was. Monsoon could stand in shadow at the back of the stage by his amp while Hunter was in the spotlight singing, suddenly raise his hand and have the hall explode to order.
Hunter`s time finally came during “Boy”, probably the solo album`s major song. Strumming away at a totally inaudible acoustic guitar, he aimed his shades at the gallery and sang his goddam heart out against the band`s rising storm and got his first ovation of the evening. The Ronson audience had become a Hunter-Ronson audience.
Freeze it. Voice-over: “Ronno`s fans were probably wondering what this great lumbering lumberjack from the outback was doing with `im, and the strident Mott fans were asking me why that bleedin` pansy was playing guitar with me…”
Unfreeze. By the time the band got into an uproariously ramshackle version of Uncle Lou`s “White Light White Heat”, the teenagers are down the front grabbing at Ronson`s lissome young bod. Memo to Monsoon-san: learn the words son. Singing the first verse six times is definitely a no-no. The high point of the number is a totally crazed guitar duel where the rhythm section drop out and Ronson`s rat-in-a-trap lead comes up against Hunter`s chordal volley. The first kamikazes of the evening scale the stage, and one guy gets slung right off, flying gracefully back into the throng. Hands reach out for Ronson`s foot, only a few inches back from the lip of the stage.

Freeze the kid in mid-air a few seconds before he lands. Voice-over: “Pete Watts was the ace at accidentally leaving a leg over the edge of the stage. I can`t be bothered with it; I never could, but Mick`s an arch-exponent of it. He knows how to handle those people. He digs it, he gets off on it. He really wants `em to grab his leg because he feels that that`s what they really want to do. He was upset because it got a bit `eavy down the front there…”
Unfreeze. Blue Weaver starts playing intro from the title song of “Play Don`t Worry.” Ronson steps forward, but instead of starting to sing he raises his hand for silence and says, “I`d just like to ask the security men to be a bit less heavy if they can. They just wanna come down the front, they ain`t doin` any harm.” Hunter breaks in: “And remember that if you break any seats I`m payin` for half of them and he`s paying for the other half.” Laughter and applause. Hunter may not be much into dangling his leg off stages, but he`s a past master at relating to audiences. Everybody relaxes as Ronson sets into the song.
Lower sound-level. Voice over: “I was really in a bad way while I was doing that album. I was feeling really depressed and I didn`t want to `phone anybody or see anybody or talk to anybody…” Hunter: “Tell him how many Mandies you were doing.” Long pause. Very long pause. “I went through two bottles of fifty in a month. The words of that song were sort of to myself, really…”
Fade up on lyric of chorus: “Play, don`t worry/play don`t be scared, don`t you think about them, start your dreaming again of tomorrow…”

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Right now Ronson ain`t worried. He`s in his element. The band`s roaring behind him like some great raging beast, his guitar`s bucking and screaming like he`s tearing it to pieces and it`s trying to get away, his face is contorted into a triumphant snarl, girls are grabbing for his feet and trying to get up on to the stage, Ian Hunter`s stalking around the stage beating his own  guitar halfway to death and egging the band on before returning to his side and, inches away, howling at him to goad him past the edge, probably rasping, “C`mon ya bastid c`mon ya bastid, play you swine rip it out”…something like that as the song crashes to a halt and Mick Ronson looks most unlike a man with a confidence problem.
Voice-over: “You go back to the `Mad Shadows` album and listen to `No Wheels To Ride`. I was working on Ralpher then and he was playing incredible stuff. I really like to push guitarists over the edge. Ronson`s a bit better that way; he really likes me to goad him on. I goaded him on in `Truth` and I was a little worried in case I pushed him too far, because when a guitarist is playing a solo it`s like a lyric, and you mustn`t push `em too far because it`s very personal to `em…”
“Truth”, which is Ronson`s guitar showpiece on the album, doesn`t really happen at Newcastle. Maybe it`s the sound, maybe it`s the duff sustain pedal, but he just strains and strains and hardly anything comes out. Occasionally a squeal, sometimes a whine, maybe here and there a dazzling lick which blows everybody`s mind and then long tortuous pauses before Hunter comes back into the vocal. Voice-over: “Oh, in Glasgow he played this great enormous solo which went on for about twenty minutes, and we just rode along with it. I forgot half the words because I was listening.”

During “Slaughter On Tenth Avenue” Ronson`s playing suffers badly because he`s in acute danger of losing his guitar throughout most of the song.
Somehow he keeps playing even with a girl or two hanging on to him, but it`s difficult to keep your solo together with someone wrenching on your arm. Eventually, Hunter leads into the medley of Mott hits which climaxes the set; “Roll Away The Stone” first slowed down and then, as per record, “The golden Age Of Rock And Roll” and “All The Way From Memphis”. Cut to strobe-speed selection of stills of various Mott line-ups, settling finally on film of Mott performing the same songs.
Voice-over: “I can remember in Paris on the last tour with Mott, there was something up with me. I was really feeling rotten. We did the Olympia and we went down a riot and we came off and Tony De Fries was in the wings and he came up to me-you see, Tony`s a very good friend of mine – and he was concerned and he said to me, `That was great – but what are you gonna do?`
“Now, Bob Hirschman was one of my managers at that time and I was going to dinner with him and Tony said, `Come to dinner with me`, and said that I couldn`t because my manager was there. And all the way through that dinner I remembered Tony saying, `What are you gonna do?` I couldn`t understand what he was saying, but I couldn`t get those words out of my head. In the end it wound up around two o`clock in the morning at Tony`s hotel, and he and Ronson were sitting there waiting for me. Ronson`s been in the band a month and had already talked to Tony at great lengths about it. Tony knew I`d be round there. I said, `We played great, what do you mean “what am I gonna do?”` and he said, `It`s over.`

“Mick knew. Mick had sussed it, because he`d been in Mott a month, and he said, `I think you must get out and do your own album`. I never had enough confidence to think that I could just get out and do it and that annoys me intensely. Bowie had said to me in `72 that I had to lead Mott and take them over and I already thought that, but I needed a second person to say it to me. So there we were again. I was totally mixed up, I didn`t know what I wanted to do, and he said, `You got to do your own album`. I was already thinking that.
“I thought that he was trying to get out of Mott as soon as he got in, and he said, `No, I don`t wanna get out; I wanna do your album with you.` And I was thinking, `This is it, this is all over. Then I went to the States because I hadn`t signed the final papers for the house and I realised that I could no more go back than fly. I could go and play with Hawkwind, I could go and play with Ducks DeLuxe, but I couldn`t have gone back to Mott. I hated it so much that I was willing to drop the English tour, because if I`d done it I`d`ve freaked. It would`ve been really embarrassing. Mick was saying, `I`ll do the English tour if you want, but you really shouldn`t be doing it.`
“I`d been trying to drop hints to Pete and Buff, but they didn`t pick up on them. See, I love Pete. If he rings me up tomorrow and asks for me, I`ll be there. Buff – long pause – is a funny guy. I can`t knock him, but he gets very mixed up, and he was upsetting me a lot, but he couldn`t help it. I`d stood it for so long and I couldn`t take it no more. He`s no kind of bastard, but he gets real nervous and he gets me at it and I get twice as bad as him. Pete was taking everything very easy and relaxing and thinking that it would all go on forever, and I kept on hinting to him and saying, `Don`t rely on me.`

“I think they thought I was there for life. I shouldn`t be too romantic about it…I think they were taking me for granted. When Mick Ralphs left he kept saying to me, `You must keep it going, you must keep it going.` It was a guilt thing because he felt that he`d left us in the shit, and I know now how he was feeling. They`re in an awkward position, because Bad Company`s doing good, me and Ronson`s on the road and it must be really frustrating for them…”
Off to a conflagration of applause and a renewed barrage of stomping and howls for “Ron-son! Ron-son!” intermingled with the odd shout of “`Untah!” They wait for just the right length of time before returning and cartwheel into “All The Young Dudes”, for which things really break loose.
Before coming out for the encore, Hunter has donned an absurd white top hat with a long plume which waves as he takes a gulp of air and launches into the first line. Weirdly, the song seems to recall the glittering MainMan empire of 1972, when, in addition to Bowie, Lou Reed, Mott and Iggy Pop had joined up. Superimpose the famous still of Bowie, Reed and Pop and pan onto Tony DeFries in the background.
“Tony got the feeling that he could do it all the time, and he tried Mott the same way; trying to get Mott a mystique. Mott were known, Mott were the kids next door. We were a street-corner band, but we went along with it because the guy had the gift at the time. I still love Tony and Tony`s friends are few and far between these days, but I still love him and I think anyone with any integrity should love him too, because he tries to do something. He made a lot of mistakes and he crapped on a lot of people, and when Tony DeFries drops a bollock it`s a big one…”

Pan back onto Iggy, almost as an afterthought. Voice-over: “I think Iggy`s the most overrated rock star ever. Iggy has all the attributes of stardom except that he doesn`t deliver on any level. I`m a mate of his and he`s a mate of mine, but Iggy does not deliver on any level. He`s the all-time should-have-but-didn`t, and it`s because he`s just not quite good enough. Dave`ll tell you different, but it`s not happening and it never will with him. Everybody`s working for Iggy, everybody thinks Iggy should be a big star, but he`ll never be a big star as long as he`s got a hole in his ass. It`s not the laziness either – if Iggy worked 24 hours a day he still wouldn`t do it. Alice Cooper made it on Iggy. He sat and watched and decided to take it to extremes…”
Somebody mumbles about how Bowie drew a lot on Iggy as well. “David is a piece of transparent paper, but he has a lovely way of transferring things and putting them out as…don`t let`s talk about Dave.”
“Dudes” ends, followed by a ramshackle version of “The Girl Can`t Help It”. As the band leave the stage, slow pan through the audience finally focussing on The Critic. He turns his head to the camera and remarks, “There is much about this band that needs working on. They still haven`t gotten their sound right and they`re still not quite used to each other yet, but if nothing goes wrong they should be doing some tremendous things before long. Ronson, in particular, is clearly benefitting from his surroundings and Hunter really seems to enjoy being a sideman now and then. Like their album, their concert performances deliver just enough to suggest that they`ve hardly started yet in terms of what they can produce…” The camera pulls away as he keeps talking and his voice is drown-by the sound of a hallful of people looking for their coats.
Fast flashback to pre-gig dressing room. Hunter finds the piano, and is informed that the scratches on it were inflicted by Alan Price when he opened a bottle of beer on it during a scene from “Don`t Look Back”. Hunter instantly pounds through his audition piece, the song that he played when he was after the job with Mott The Hoople those many years ago. It`s “Like A Rolling Stone”.

Cut to hotel, post-gig. It`s beginning to get early again, and Mick Ronson is up and drunk. Even after a successful gig, about the only way that he can wind down is to climb into a battle of wine and pull the cork in after him. At half-past four on a chilly Newcastle morning, he`s sprawled in a sofa near the hotel entrance and for long periods of time it seems like he`s passed out. Voice-over: “Mick gets a little funny when he`s pissed… Mick wonders why he`s one of the Top Ten guitarists in any poll in the world and he`s got no money. He was doing gold albums on wages, and maybe he thought at the time that if he cut up they`d just use someone else, which of course wouldn`t have been the case. Mick really thought that he could never leave Dave, that nobody else would want him. He`s crazy – there would`ve been a queue a mile long…”
But at half-past four Mick Ronson is facing his own private demon. Flanked by his girlfriend/assistant Sue Fussey and Big Dave from Sturico, he relentlessly refills and refills his wine glass in spite of their efforts to get him upstairs. Eventually The Critic, who is in fairly poor shape himself, ambles over. “They`re trying to get me to go upstairs,” says Ronson from the depths of the sofa.
The Critic thinks it over. “D`you want to go?” he says at length. Ronson looks up at him in horror. “You`re not trying to get rid of me as well, are you?” And the demon is firmly on his back. At this point in time nothing can convince him that he`s really liked and wanted, despite the affection and concern that everybody around him shows towards him, despite the audience reaction and the last couple of groupies still waiting for a chance to talk to him (Aw shucks.-Ed.)
He struggles to his feet and something clicks into place inside him. Clearly and distinctly, he enunciates, “Everybody thinks I`m a nutcase because I blow all me money. But I`m not. I`m not. They`re the nut-cases.” Then Dave and Suzi led him off to the stairs.
Freeze. Roll end titles.

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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: Ace, Keith Emerson, Slapp Happy & Henry Cow, Alvin Lee, “New California Rock”, “Country Special”, Gloria Gaynor, Swamp Dogg, Michigan Flyers, Leonard Cohen, Tom Paxton, George Melly, John Helliwell.

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.