James Johnson

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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Did anyone ever read this ad through from start to finish? 

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.

This edition is sold!

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ARTICLE ABOUT Jimmy Page FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, APRIL 21, 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.

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Jimmy Page, the mild Barbarian

By James Johnson

Jimmy Page`s slightly timid, mild-mannered exterior is of course, deceptive. There`s no need to explain how Led Zeppelin come across on stage, while in between concerts – on the road – they`ve long been renowned for a little loose living, as hotel managers across the world will surely testify.
“Barbarians was how we were once described,” says Page, a slight gleam in his eyes. “I can`t really deny it”.
Those excesses aside. Zeppelin have always been the ultimate in anti-stars, relentlessly avoiding publicity or anything that could divert them from simply laying down their music.
Little has changed, except in a small way with a set of lights and new stage set-up prepared in readiness for their forthcoming American tour.

But even this, as Jimmy Page explains with only mild interest spreading across his almost schoolboyish face, is hardly a revolutionary step.
“It`s nothing phenomenal. It`s just that we`ve never really had any lights before, so we thought it might be fun and add a little extra atmosphere.
“Everybody else has been doing it for years but, before, we`ve always let the music speak for itself.”

It`s also well known that Page`s opinion of rock journalists isn`t too high, which perhaps helps to explain why last week he appeared so cool and reserved, picking his words as carefully as a guitar line.
At present, perhaps he has more reason to be more antagonistic towards the press after recent heavy criticism of Zeppelin`s new album, “Houses Of The Holy”.
But if Page was on the defensive, it didn`t show. Bad reviews don`t worry him.
“I don`t really care. It doesn`t really make any difference. I`m deaf to the album now because we made it such a long time ago, but I know there`s some good stuff there.
“You can`t dismiss something like `No Quarter` or the `Rain Song` out of hand. Maybe you could attack `The Crunge` or `D`yer Maker` for being a bit self-indulgent. But they`re just a giggle. They`re just two send-ups.
“If people can`t even suss that out, on that superficial a level, then obviously you can`t expect them to understand anything else on the album. It beats me, but I really don`t give a damn.

Page feels that Zeppelin`s raunchier hard rock numbers like “Whole Lotta Love”, represent only a small area of what the band have been doing on record.
“There`s been a general maturity that was showing by the third album, which a lot of people haven`t been able to come to terms with. For me, the third album was very, very good and still had more of an attack than anything before.
“But obviously, people have this preconceived notion of what to expect, and when a band is constantly in a state of change – and that doesn`t mean lack of direction but a natural change – then they can`t come to terms with it because each album is different from the last.
“How they should approach our albums is to forget they ever heard of a band called Led Zeppelin, forget about what they expect to hear, and just listen to what`s on that particular record. That`s all we ask, but we don`t get it.”

Even so, it seems that it`s the hard rock side of Led Zeppelin that remains the most popular. Says Page: “The rock and roll is in all four of us, and on stage that`s what comes through.”
Yet somehow it`s not represented much on the new album?
“In fact, we had two tracks – one called `The Rover` and another, unnamed – that we were going to use, both of which were really hard rock.
“We`ll probably use them next time, possibly re-writing one of them, but still keeping the essence.”

Clearly, as always with Led Zeppelin, there was no shortage of material when they came to record “Houses Of The Holy”.
“When we went into the studio, we had no set ideas on how we wanted the album to turn out. We just recorded the ideas we had at that particular time. We just got together and let it come out. There are never ever any shortages or stagnant periods.
“I write a lot at home, and I`m fortunate in having a studio set-up where I can try things out. Lately I`ve been experimenting with chords a lot more, and have tried a few unusual voicings. There are several ways material can come to the band, but it`s always there.”

Surprisingly perhaps being a supremely capable musician in his own right outside the context of Led Zeppelin, Page doesn`t find himself writing anything, maybe for his own satisfaction, that might never be used by the band.
“If I find a number coming that I know wouldn`t be suitable, I scrap it” he says. “I stop working on it from that moment on.”

And apart from the odd session he does “as a favour for friends”, it seems that Page`s energy is totally committed to Led Zeppelin. He can`t see himself ever wanting to play in another band, or in another line-up.
“Nothing else would gell together so nicely,” he states firmly. “I know it would be a mistake to break it up because you see it happening to other bands. They split, and what comes after doesn`t work nearly as well.
“The chemistry isn`t there. And if it`s there in the beginning, then it`s criminal to break it up.”

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In many ways, Page has always been a “one band man”. His only other band was the Yardbirds which, in a sense, was the forerunner of Led Zeppelin anyway.
He admits he wouldn`t have missed those days in the Yardbirds, but chooses his words diplomatically when it comes to talking about the troubles the band suffered, especially between personnel.
Of Jeff Beck, with whom he played in the Yardbirds during the band`s last year, he contents himself with the comment: “I used to get on very well with him at the time, and I admire him as a musician.”

He continues: “Basically the Yardbirds are, for me, a mixture of good and bad memories. There were certainly some magic moments and it was a great time to be playing, with new material coming to the public`s ears.
“It was great when we had two lead guitars with Jeff Beck, but there`s little evidence of it left on record. There was `Happenings Ten Years Time` which I feel went over a lot of heads in Britain, although it perpetuated the Yardbirds reputation in America. They were always into the more lyrical side of what we were doing.
“Also there was one horrible live album that was going to be released, which was recorded by a man who spent most of his time recording stuff like Manuel`s Music of the Mountains.
“I remember he put just one microphone over the drums, and that was over the top so there was no bass drum at all, which showed how much he knew about it. Obviously the album had to be stopped.
“It was unfortunate, though, that no live stuff was ever recorded properly.”

Page, of course, has always been best known for his work on electric guitar, which has perhaps overshadowed anything he`s done on acoustic, even though he`s featured acoustic playing on every Zeppelin album.
He says he has to treat the two instruments differently. “Simply because of the mechanics of the guitars. I don`t personally think the finger style works on an electric guitar. You just get overtones and harmonics coming out. It doesn`t sound right at all.
“Then again, an electric guitar can work for you. It can start singing on its own through the electronics, which you can`t engineer on an acoustic guitar. They`re two totally different fields. Personally, I find them both equally as fascinating.

“Probably my greatest influence on acoustic guitar is Bert Jansch, who was a real dream-weaver. He was incredibly original when he first appeared, and I wish now that he`d gone back to things like `Jack Orion` once again. His first album had a great affect on me.
“Undoubtedly, my affection and fascination for the guitar is just as strong as it`s ever been. After all, everyone`s approach to the instrument is so totally different.
“There are so many styles of playing to listen to and to get off on. You can`t help but be totally involved with it. I`m still coming to terms with the instrument even now.”

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In 1973 car radios ruled, and radio stations were even more powerful than today.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Stackridge, Argent, Traffic, Steeleye Span, Ry Cooder, John Bundrick (Free), Latin music, Keith Emerson, Captain Beefheart, Steve Miller.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Marc Bolan FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, NOVEMBER 11, 1972

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. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

I just had to transcribe this interview for several reasons. You will figure it out yourself.

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Saucy words and a lot of ooooeee…
Marc Bolan on the wind of change, Bowie, Slade and Michael Jackson

By James Johnson

It was a pretty normal day at the London offices of T. Rex Wax Co.
The ever-present gaggle of teenies hung around outside, jumping slightly in excitement when anybody however unglamourous appeared from behind the impassive black door, while upstairs the phone rang with eager female voices asking the whereabouts of Marc and being told “We don`t know. This is a solicitor`s office.”
In the back room, chairman, general manager and chief shareholder of the operation, Marc Bolan Esq. was talking brightly and with quick-witted assurance about current developments.
Despite reports to the contrary, says he, overseas expansion is going well – especially in the States – while on the home front new product is about to be released.
One thing he`s been avoiding lately are press interviews and, dropping a nugget of ice into his glass of white wine, he explains that he`s sick of answering for things he doesn`t give a damn about anyway.
“Most of what I say is supposed to be taken humourously,” he continues, “because it`s not worth saying anything seriously anymore.”

What`s happened is that Bolan has tired of some of his more flippant comments being taken out of context and allegedly used against him.
In fact, he now seems almost too sensitive to criticism, and there`s a strange contradiction. He says he knows that whatever`s said can`t hurt him, because people keep on buying the records. Yet at times he seems almost desperate to defend himself.
I mention the band`s last tour of the States and the somewhat unflattering reports of their progress, and it brings forth a speedy response.
“I just appear to be a very open scapegoat for everybody and my only answer to those people is that they should look in the America trade press and see where we stand in the charts. And they should know that the truth is we didn`t play third on the bill to half-empty houses.
“Really I`ve no time anymore for people`s opinions when they`re totally untrue and misguided. If you want to know, we`re asking a lot of money to go back and we`re going to get it.”

So how did he personally feel about the tour? “Phenominal…I loved it. At the start we were playing alright but by the end we could have blown anybody offstage and we did, in fact, in `Frisco when we played with a couple of very big bands.
“It took four years to get to the position we`re in now here – and it`s taken less time there. The thing is, we`re not a singles band in the States. `Get It On` did a million but the others haven`t meant anything.
“It`s only through lack of airplay though, like we had in the beginning over here. I`m still convinced things like `Magical Moon` and `Rumbling Spires` would have been hits if they`d been played.
“But in the States we`re an album band and it`s not the same audience. The reason why people were knocking us was because there weren`t twelve-year-old chicks screaming, but that just shows the people who are against so-called teeny-bop music are really knicker wetters themselves.”

It was, according to Bolan, quite an adventurous tour, not least because they used Aretha Franklin`s backing singers on most of the gigs.
“I like to work with people,” he remarked. “I`ll use anyone if they`re good. On the `Born To Boogie` film, Ringo and Elton John play and it still sounds like T. Rex. I just move back and let Reg play the solo.
“I like playing back a bit. I`m not an egomaniac. I love to do my bit but I love to play with good people too. I`d like sometimes not to play on a number- just to sing. I`d really dig that, with chicks and stuff.
“In fact I want to find another guitar player who can also play sax and keyboards, so I can get into more solos.
“It`s likely we`ll do some concerts round Christmas and I`ll certainly use chick singers, probably also a couple of drummers and a piano player too if I can find the right people.”
All this is part of a wind of change blowing through T. Rex; a change that`ll be particularly evident on the band`s next album, recorded in Paris on their return from the States.
“We`ve gone through a radical change,” thought Bolan. “The album is totally a heavy rock album. I used a lot of black chicks on it, also Lesley Duncan. I feature a pianist very, very heavily and I play slide guitar on every track.
“It`s a gospel album in fact. Like, the title track is seven minutes long. There`s a lot of ooooooeeeee on it.”

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What prompted all this?
“The States always does that to me and I spent time with Leon Russell, people like that, but it`s been coming for a long time. It`s just a natural thing. I`m into soul music actually but any change is just what I believe in at the time.
“I don`t believe in working out a plan saying next year we`re going to bring in flower power and next week Marc Bolan`s going to get his hair cut and every kid in the country is going to do the same. If that happens – fine – but I don`t believe in working on it.
“I don`t believe in taking fifteen full-page ads in music papers to let everybody know my name. If people come to see you for six months, they`ll know it anyway.
“You can hype it all up and ram it down people`s throats but all the experts seem pretty dumb anyway. Like, I know every rock and roll record ever made. Last night I read all the music papers in three minutes and knew everything in them. Theres`s nothing much to pore over is there?”

Back to the album: “I`m using a lot of brass and in fact a couple of saxes doing solos. I don`t know how radically different it`ll seem to other people, but I think it`s different.
“Like, I think you`ll have to agree that `Children Of The Revolution` was a change from `Metal Guru` or `Jeepster`. It was five times slower and had three string quartets on it for a start. It`s a bold album actually. Some of the lyrics are a bit saucy.”
More so than before?
“Yeah, I think it`ll upset a few mothers but then mothers are made to be upset.”
Is he still finding it easy to write lyrics? As easy, he answers, as some of his more basic bodily functions.
Yes, but lyrics people can identify with?
“Yeah, you look around and there`s a million things to write about. I`m trying to find things not to write about. I write like a maniac.”
But some of the lyrics on, say, “The Slider” seem a little obscure.
“Well, you tell me what`s obscure and I`ll tell you what it means.
“Like, somebody said to me the other day, `Marc, everything you write doesn`t mean a thing`. So I told him that for him it obviously doesn`t. I don`t mean it as a downer but that just shows where his head`s at. It just shows he doesn`t know what`s going on in mine.
“I`ve never written a line that doesn`t mean something. Like in `Baby Boomerang`, if you don`t know of Max`s Kansas City then that doesn`t mean anything. But where do you draw the line? Like, Dali isn`t going to sit there and say, `Hey man do they know what a soft clock is? Maybe I ought to paint an ordinary alarm clock.`
“But I must admit at times I`ve considered that nobody knows what I`m talking about…”
Perhaps it doesn`t matter?
“I don`t think it does. Who cares as long as it gets you off?
“The thing is, when I first started I borrowed from literary sources but now I can`t find many. Before, I was always in bookshops and now I`ve got rooms full of books I`ve never read.

What about the new line in teenage idols? Cassidy, the Osmonds, Bowie, people like that?
“Well the whole Cassidy thing is a very different scene from mine. And I think it`s much too soon, with no disrespect to David, to put him in the same class as me.
“Slade are on a different level – I`d give them that credibility but, without being arrogant or unfair, I certainly wouldn`t give it to David. He`s still very much a one-hit wonder I`m afraid. In four or five records` time it may be fair to put him in the same category – statistically speaking that is; it`s nothing to do with my own personal taste.
“Really, I`ve always thought Mott the Hoople were bigger than David. When you`re talking about him, you`re only talking about one record so far.
“I see myself put alongside all the people you see my name put alongside and I feel no kinship with them in any way. It`s not that I don`t like them, I just don`t listen to them.
“I`ve never heard a David Bowie album, or at least any of the last four. I`m not saying whether they`re good or bad, I just haven`t heard them. I`m still into Charlie Pattern or Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Leon Russell and Smoky Hogg.
“I know all the titles of these other things but I`ve never heard `Mouldy Old Dough` and don`t intend to.
“But anybody who can write a good song, to me, is a brother. People like Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne I think warrant more than some other people. And Pete Townshend is incredibly under-rated.
“As for David Bowie, I`ve known him for years and always been interested in what he did and his abilities. I think maybe he`s been sucked into something that`s unhealthy for him. I don`t know…But you can`t create an image, it`s only what you are. I don`t think you can create a James Dean.
“Also, the whole pop star machine thing is a heavy one to handle. Maybe David can cope with it. I suppose I managed, so…”

Bolan, in fact, seems to have handled all the pressures extremely well. Close to, he looks pretty healthy even though he says most of the time his system is a little done in.
“I look done in, don`t I?”, he asks. “I certainly have moments when I am.
“I suppose it`s part of the pain you have to bear as a musician. That`s how people become a great artist I suppose, it`s part of the pain they have to bear.
“I always say I`m a poet whether people like it or not. I`ve got a poet`s soul and it means you can hurt yourself a lot.”
Bolan once said he was a romantic poet and that all romantic poets have a death wish. Does this still stand?
“Yeah, I don`t know whether I`m going to be around for much longer as a human being. Like we had about four near-death plane crashes on this last tour, that`s why I can`t take everything seriously.
“I might easily stop tomorrow anyway. I don`t feel any obligation to carry on.”

Is he ever worried that in years to come he may be remembered more as a teenage idol than a serious musician?
“Look at it like this. As far as I can see, Michael Cassidy…no…that`s good, keep it in…Michael Jackson is a superb singer, unbelievable on stage. And there`s no way he`s not going to be around for the next forty years.
“If I`m still about I`d put myself in the same category, although some of the other people I`m not so sure about…namely the Top Twenty, Tin Pan Alley pop rock and rollers.
“I`m not that sort of person. I don`t mind if people think of me like that but it`s not true and never will be.
“Like the Beatles when they first came out were supposed to be the ultimately banal thing, but after five years people had just about got as far as dissecting their bogies. I don`t consider myself like the Beatles but I`ve got that credibility and I intend to use it, believe me.
“I can`t believe you would think I`m that shallow. Like, I paint. I`ve got enough for an exhibition and I`ve got five books finished which I`ve been sitting on for a long time.
“It`s not that people aren`t ready for them, it`s just at present they`re secondary to the music. There`ll be a time when they won`t be…maybe in five years` time if I get bored with being born to boogie.”

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Elton John, Ralph McTell, Blondel, King Crimson, Hawkwind, Liberace, Brewer`s Droop, Birtha, The Jacksons, Alice Cooper, The Osmonds.

The NME this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, JUNE 24, 1972

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. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

I feel a bit sad for Uriah Heep. Have they ever been fashionable? Forever doomed to be a band that`s just there, but never getting the credit they truly deserve. Still touring the world and creating records as they did at the start of the 70s.
Personally i feel that Heep is among the four originators of hard rock, and should be mentioned equally among the other three: Sabbath, Zeppelin and Purple. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame proves that it is a clueless institution with random inductees when two of the aforementioned; Deep Purple (estimated 150 million albums sold)and Uriah Heep (estimated 40 million albums sold) still isn`t inducted. But The Clash (Estimated 16 million albums sold) and Tom Waits (Estimated 2 million albums sold) is.

I rest my case your honour!

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A leap for the Heep

By James Johnson

Uriah Heep can now afford a quick smile at the expense of the heavier breed of rock critics who have sneered at the band in the past. Their new album is showing in the charts and proves that with the public at least they have quite a considerable following.
Even so, nobody could admit they`ve ever been a fashionable band. They`ve never particularly appealed to rock`s supposed intelligentsia. They`ve gone down better with the much-talked-about second generation of rock fans; fans who probably also dig Black Sabbath and Deep Purple and probably have to think twice before deciding whether they can afford this week`s gig at the local club.
Those kind of clubs, in fact, have been Uriah`s bread and butter for some time. They`ve always been a hard working band, playing the same places over and over again and drawing a few more people each time. But it needed a hit album to kill the sneers of the past once and for all.

“I think we came in at the wrong time as far as the Press were concerned,” thought guitarist Mick Box, trying to explain why they had been so often criticised. “We came in when heavy bands were going out and all the softer stuff was coming in. As we were decidedly a heavy band and promoted as such, we were going to get put down and we knew it.
“The only way for us to ride over the storm was to keep together, keep working and move forward musically.
“To be honest though, we`d always thought we`d be proved right in the end simply because despite what anybody has ever said, audiences have always been very good for us. We`ve never died a death, and when this slating was reaching a height we`d be going on and getting three encores.
“So we thought, `Who is wrong? It can`t be us.`
“Personally I don`t think the Press ever gave us a fair listen. Consciously we`ve been trying to progress from each album and I think it`s obvious if you listen.”

The band first came in for a lot of knocking at the time of their first album. It was released almost before the band had played any gigs, put on the market with a pretty appalling title, “Very `Umble and Very `Eavy”, and promoted in an enormous publicity campaign. Everybody agreed there was a whiff of hype in the air.

“Really it was taken out of our control,” said Box. “We didn`t agree with all that publicity at all but our record company at that time asked us to describe our music. We said there was heavy stuff and some lighter stuff. They went off and came back with `very `eavy, very `umble`, and when we saw the advert it was like – ugh – twinge. Even we had to admit that from the outside it looked like a hype, but it wasn`t meant to be. It was just taken that way.”

In fact Uriah Heep weren`t just an artificially created heavy group as was generally thought at the time. Each of them had been playing in groups before, and the formation of Uriah Heep was a purely natural process.
Box had previously formed a group with David Byron called Spice, and were later joined by Ken Hensley from the Gods, a group that at various times included such luminaries as Mick Taylor and Greg Lake.

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Mick Box as a young man.

“Even after we had formed the first Uriah Heep we had terrible problems finding the right bass and drummer,” said Box. “You see, we`ve never wanted any weak musicians. We`ve always wanted people with push and drive, but it took ages to find anybody. Then after a long series of changes we`ve now settled in with Lee Kerslake (drums) and Gary Thain (bass).
“It`s a really nice unit now because we`ve got five strong vocalists, five strong personalities on stage and five people who write. I think things are beginning to happen now because we`ve got five strengths to our bow.
“To me, that`s great because we really dig each other as people, and really dig each other on stage. That`s quite rare you know, because with a lot of groups it can get so bitchy, even if it`s all smiles up front.”

Do they feel they appeal to a particularly young rock audience?
“I think it`s getting younger,” replied Box. “At first we were really afraid of this, and we sat down and discussed it among ourselves. But then we thought we`re lucky because we`re still pulling in the older crowd we had before as well. They tend to sit at the back while the younger ones come down to the front and leap about. I think that`s great.
“In fact this album success has already made quite a difference to the size of our audiences already, which, of course, is very pleasing.
“We put a lot of hope into this album and I think it`s quite a big step from `Look At Yourself`, which was more of a rock thing. I feel the new one is better in every way, although we`ve always kept certain Uriah Heep ingredients.

“For instance, like it or lump it, I think our music is very honest. All our words mean something, they`re all about experiences we`ve gone through, rather than a lot of rubbish about the sky is green or the wind is brown or something.
“I feel that many groups who are classed in our category don`t worry too much about the lyrics, or even the vocals for that matter.
“Overall, we`re trying to create our own scene, something that is unique to Uriah Heep.
“And I think we`re broadening all the time. The success of this album puts us up another rung. In a way it was a sort of make or break album because by the fourth album you`ve had a chance to establish yourself. If you haven`t proved yourself by then it`s time to start worrying.”

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Some of the concerts you were able to attend in the summer of `72.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Marc Bolan and T. Rex, Pentangle, Marilyn Wilson, Robert Fripp, Andrew Oldham, Glencoe, Rolling Stones, Edgar Broughton, Chi-Lites, Slade, Mama Cass, Cliff Richard.

The NME 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 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.