Julie Webb

ARTICLE ABOUT Status Quo FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, December 20, 1975

Since the last time I was active on this blog, Mr. Rick Parfitt of Status Quo unfortunately died. He was a well-loved character among rock fans in general. He was also a very important part of a band who are one of the most successful rock bands in history. Because of Status Quo`s image as down-to-earth rock`n`rollers in denim, it is easy to forget that these guys created something that few others have managed in both record-sales and popularity. They kept their music “simple” throughout it all, but if it was so simple; why isn`t everyone doing it?
Rick Parfitt – we salute you! Enjoy the read.

IMG_0420

Quo maintain foolish image in foreign parts

`Cheapo lighters` tribute as french toilet roll brigade laud artistic triumph

By Julie Webb

“We have to be careful,” says Francis Rossi, “not to learn anything clever like or people might think we`re intelligent and that would ruin the image.”
Coming from a member of Status Quo, that`s a perceptive remark.
Actually, right now it would appear that Quo are going through an identity crisis, because backstage Alan Lancaster is doing Freddie Mercury impersonations singing Mama, just killed a man.
However, seeing as this is Alan Lancaster, by the time he gets to the “Scaramouche” bit he`s singing “Caramoo”. Mercury would not have been amused.
He wouldn`t have appreciated the references to a “hose pipe” either – but then thick witticisms are part of Quo`s charm.

The place is Paris. The venue – the Palaise De Sport. Bigger than the better-known Olympia it`s a strange/looking, tatty venue – a cross between Manchester Bell Vue and London`s Roundhouse. It holds over 5,000 people and already it`s packed with les French.
Now in England you can pick out a Quo freak a mile away. Jeans, long hair combed over face, loose neck (from too much nodding), loo roll in one hand, beer bottle in other. In France it`s slightly different. They don`t look as messy for a start – the jeans are well pressed.
In one hand there`s a pack of Gaulouise, in other a chuck-away cheapo lighter. And judging from the smell there`s a clove of garlic slung in the back pocket.
Quo are huge in France. No hype – they`ve just got a gold elpee there and only four other `foreign` bands have achieved that.
The big white chief from Phonogram, who is based in Amsterdam, has flown in especially to see them. “Yes” he confirms heavily. “They are a big band in Europe”. But not, however, one understands, as big as another of his “products” – the heavyweight, Demis Roussos. Win some, lose some.

Richard Parfitt is looking like thunder, and not in the mood for conversation.
“My gear`s buggered,” he elucidates. “It`s buzzing, but we`ve sent out for new speakers.”
… which it appears have not yet arrived.
He`s beginning to twitch.
“Nervous, course I am. Specially when the gear`s not right. Still it gives us adrenalin and adrenalin makes it sharp so it might be good after all.”
Lancaster, fresh from “Caramoo,” grabs my notebook and writes in block capitals, “We are very rusty.” Later, further inspired, he adds “We have been working solidly for ages and ages, writing, recording and bricklaying so we haven`t done any live gigs so excuse us if we`re not very together tonight.”
The `recording` part of that statement is the nearly completed new Quo album, tentatively titled “The Tuppenny Halfpenny Dance Band”.
Parfitt: “We just went in the studios and did it. No interruptions, nothing. Went in and rehearsed and recorded. We had 15 or 16 songs ready and got it down to nine numbers…”
He tails off, thinking the subject of the album is finished.
No, Richard. That`s not enough. Tell me more.
“Well, it`s black, plastic, round…”
I give up.
“There`s more variation, there are some nicer slower things, some of which we`re even contemplating doing on stage…”

IMG_0421

Manager Colin Johnson profers beer to the assembled company in an effort to maintain an air of normality while Coghlan (John the drummer) wanders aimlessly around the dressing room.
It doesn`t bode too well for the gig.
Still the audience are making enough noise. Support band Nutz aren`t exactly ripping the stadium apart but someone out there likes them.
A quarter of a hour later we`re reminded that it`s Quo they`ve come to see. A chant which at first sounds like “Sieg Heil” turns out to be “Sta-tus” and the band (disgruntled, unprepared nervous and whatever) run out on stage.
And it`s at this point that it comes home to you why Quo are the big draw they are. Okay, so the sound wasn`t wonderful but the band are incredibly good at hiding their true feelings.
Parfitt seems like he hasn`t a worry in the world. Lancaster looks far from rusty as he booms the words of “Junior`s Wailing”. Rossi is his usual cheeky self (but refrains from calling the audience Frogs). And Coghlan hardly seems to notice when half his drum kit disintegrates.
The important factor is that they`re on stage and there are 5,000 odd kids waiting for a show. So they give them what they want.

Predictably the numbers that go down best are “Roll Over Lay Down” (that`s Quo`s version of a love song incorporating those magic seductive words `Roll over lay down and let me in`) plus “Roadhouse Blues”.
In between each number the Frenchies hold Gaulouses packets aloft and with the other hand light their cheapo lighters (so much more effective in the dark than match sticks). They also stamped their feet and made appreciative French noises.
By the encore (“Caroline” and “Bye Bye Johnnie”) equipment hassles are a thing of the past. The audience have been carried by the band`s sheer energy, and the band have been swept by the crowd`s enthusiasm.

It would have been imprudent to have checked the hall for damage afterwards but obviously it wasn`t extensive since the promoter was smiling.
Mr. Big from Phonogram, along with numerous hangers-on, waited patiently for a good ten minutes outside the dressing room door for a post gig chat.
Parfitt appeared…and disappeared back to hotel for bath. Coghlan socialised; Lancaster and Rossi retired to a nearby room to work out some of the songs from the album.
So why not socialise?
Rossi: “Like I said, we`ve got to be careful not to learn anything from other people otherwise we might get intelligent.”
Quo know their onions. I look forward to New Year`s Eve when they bill top at Olympia.

IMG_0422

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: Bob Harris, Steeleye Span, Roogalator, Santana, Stephen Stills, 10 cc, Jean-Luc Ponty, Cat Stevens, Paul Simon.

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 Status Quo FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, December 14, 1974

Here is a nice article from the height of Status Quo`s success in the UK. It is easy to forget that underneath the band`s easy-going nature, this is the most successful rock band ever in the UK. They may play what many people would characterize as “simple boogie rock”, but they forget how genius it is to create so many catchy and popular tunes on the same formula. If it was easy – everyone would do it! These guys have my respect! Enjoy!

IMG_0745

27 chairs broken, front row demolished, manager speechless

Ho Ho Ho. Good fun innit? All the kids are here with their booze and their toilet rolls and it looks like being another major triumph for rockanroll music. It`s STATUS QUO on the road, and JULIE WEBB was there to see the devastation.

“It gives you a sense of power when you see chairs all busted up after a gig. It sounds corny…but as long as nobody`s been hurt all those busted chairs signify a good time.”
That`s Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt talking after their Liverpool Empire gig (27 chairs broken, front row demolished, manager of venue speechless.)
At Quo gigs you can see the pathetic sight of managers beseeching audiences to “sit down,” and adding hopelessly that “No-one is allowed in the aisles at any time”, while the crowd stand on their chairs even before the band have even taken the stage.
At Sunderland – the opening date of their British tour – the manager wanted to stop the show after the first number. But was unsuccessful.
Depending on which side of the coin you look at, Status Quo are either down to earth or common as muck. Certainly they must be the bawdiest band on the road.
(They get toilet rolls thrown at them on stage – as opposed to hats or bracelets.) And they have also, for their sins been described as lame brains.

Parfitt thinks the lame brains bit is quite funny.
“We`ve had a whole lot said about us…dandruff in our hair, lame brains, Status-Quo-are-this, Status Quo are-that- but the houses are always full.
“We`ve never tried to promote an image of being an intelligent band. We just enjoy a loon.”
He thinks for a moment, then adds:
“We`re not so much lame brains – but we`ve always had this kind of humour…basically we`re a lot of scruffy rock`n`rollers.”
Before this present tour, Quo were gigging in Australia – place they alternately slag off or praise. And one thing that does apparently get up the band`s collective nose is the Aussie press.
“Funny people out there, as it happens,” says Parfitt. “The press will build up anything into a big story. Anything seems to make the front page. There was one incident when I was supposed to have had two groupies in a lift. Well, in fact it wasn`t me – it was one of the road crew – and the manager of the hotel caught him, got abused, and came at the roadie with a tin opener.

“So now there`s this big story on the front of Truth magazine and it`s all a load of bullshit because it`s supposed to be about me and it wasn`t because I wouldn`t do anything like that.”
Parfitt doesn`t consider sueing. “I just write it off as a laugh. And we had a laugh in Australia – even when we arrived after 26 hours flying. About eight in the morning it was, and we were hustled into a press room – all TV cameras and half a dozen press men out in front with microphones asking stupid questions.”
Questions like?
“Well, one bloke asked if we played better because we`d got long hair. And there were things like, `Do you take drugs`. So you just look them straight in the eye and say, `Of course we do`. They can`t really react back because you grin at them when you say it, and they don`t know if you mean it or not.”
They look back with pleasure on a TV show.
“There was this big backdrop with Status Quo written all over it, and we were doing a very silly interview. Spud (John Coghlan) pulled the backdrop down. The interviewer lost his cool a bit, and France (Rossi) started undressing me.”

IMG_0746

If you are getting the impression that Status Quo can be destructive, you could be getting warm.
“Yeah it`s both silly and destructive sometimes. Some nights after gigs it just gets outrageous…lot of fun. When you start getting silly you want to do something to keep yourself on that level. Like, there`s a cup on the table and it`s fun to try and do a trick with it that you know isn`t going to work.
“The cup gets smashed and tea goes everywhere, and then it starts with soda syphons…”
After the Sunderland gig, at least four people got drenched by either beer or a soda syphon. Why Bother?
“It`s just the feeling of the band after a gig. It was the first night as well. There`s normally a bit of a piss up on the first night. A few drinks, chat flowing, and then it gets a bit out of hand.
“If everybody`s in the same spirit and everybody`s copped a bit…like, you might have a plate of sandwiches on your head and this bloke has been squirted with soda, then it`s fun.”

After the damages are paid for, is there any money left, one wonders?
“We make a profit in Britain. The gross of a British tour is normally fairly high, but then when everything is paid out -publicity, the hire of halls, damages, whatever – it really does cut it down in a big way. More or less by half. But we make enough out of a British tour to give ourselves a Christmas bonus.
“Financially it`s hard to say exactly where we stand because we`re putting a lot of the money into assets. Companies we`ve set up. We`re not immensely rich but we`re working for the future.
“I`d like to come out of it with a few bob. We`ve all got our houses and cars and basically that`s all we need.
“But it`s a lot of hard work – the next year is going to be ridiculous. Three American tours, hopefully Japan, Europe and a couple of albums.”
The first of those albums is nearly complete and set for release early in the new year.
“There`s ten tracks as opposed to the usual eight, and all of them should be under five minutes.”

Try to analyse Quo`s music and you run into trouble. Suffice to say wherever they play in Britain, they go down ecstatically before audiences predominently dressed in jeans, often with bottle in left hand and bog roll (ready for throwing) in the other.
Parfitt attempts to explain why the audience go wild. “I think the kids are up on their chairs because they`re a rock and roll crowd, and they know what to expect from us on stage. It`s difficult to watch us sitting down.
“We like it when they`re raring to go. It`s great to walk out on stage and see a bank of people. You can feel the electricity in the audience. We`re going on to bash out hard rock music at them, and work hard to them, and if there`s not a vibe from the audience it`s more difficult.”
On stage, Quo`s dashing and wheeling around has in the past presented problems. Rossi and Parfitt have 20-foot leads, but they still get caught up with each other.

“We`ve never had any electric shocks but we`ve often whacked one another. Once I had to follow France around the stage for five minutes because my pegs were knotted up in his hair. The roadies had to untangle us halfway through a number. I pulled half his barnet out.
“Yeah, we`ve whacked one another…but it`s great when it gets like that.”
Any real disasters?
“Well, we`ve fallen over a lot. We call that getting our wings. I remember three years ago doing a small youth club – we`d just gone on and the kids were going mad. France went dashing across the stage, turned round, fell off the stage and knocked himself out. Quite funny, as it happens.”
Everything, fortunately for Quo, has a funny side.
“It`s a kind of warm sarcasm”, says Parfitt. “We don`t think we`re rude but say there`s a bird with big tits we`ll say, nice jumper you`re wearing there.”
Like I said, depending on which side of the coin you look.

Position purely incidental.

Position purely incidental.

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: William Jellett, Mike Patto, Kilburn and the Highroads, Hank Marvin, Alvin Lee, Michael Chapman, Barry White, Sandy Roberton.

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

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

ARTICLE ABOUT Queen FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 23, 1974

My hands are hurting from transcribing this very long interview from the start of Queen`s career. But it was worth it as this is a great article from when they just started to hit the big time in Britain. And interestingly, we even get some quotes from John Deacon, which makes it even more interesting.
Enjoy!

IMG_0698

What have psychic suburbanites, middle-aged motorists, soused Scotsmen, and Endless Hordes of Frenzied Youth all got in common?
They all get off on Queen, dear

Julie Webb on the road with the Biggest Thing since Attila the Hun

In the past week Queen have sold somewhere in the region of 65,000 albums. Their single “”Killer Queen”, retains its position at number two in the charts and every gig on their second major tour of Britain so far has sold out.
Queen are, in short, Big Business. And at a period in time when there are some 20 major tours doing the rounds it’s something  of a coup to sell out every venue. At Swansea they were booked in the same week as Humble Pie and Sparks, who reportedly did  less than marvellously crowd-wise.
Queen got a capacity crowd of 1,500. That’s their starter for ten.

ALL OF this — the Queen Story Etc — will come as no surprise to the Linney family. Now the Linneys come from Hove and, back in the summer when the band returned from America, they wrote to Queen and informed them they would become “more famous than the Beatles.”
An old chestnut? Read on.
There are three Linneys; Maw, Paw, and a sixteen-year-old daughter. Evidently the daughter was a fan of the band, played their early music to her parents — and now the whole family are getting their rocks off, if you can believe it.
Says guitarist Brian May: “They wrote a lovely letter saying that we had converted them to listening to Today’s Groups and thanking us for opening up a whole new world to live in. Previously, I believe, they had only listened to classical music.”
Anyway, they came to see Queen at Southampton — along with two and a half thousand others. Before the gig, in the dressing room, the assembled company were advised not to smoke cigarettes in the immediate vicinity of Freddie Mercury since his throat was in a “dangerous” condition.

Mercury was also advised by the rest of the band not to say “it’s nice to be back in Southampton” since they had never before played the joint.
The Gaumont ìs a sizeable venue — two-tiered, with a large stage draped with their ten tons of equipment. The band walk on stage in darkness, start playing “Now I’m Here” — and as Mercury, dressed in his eagle outfit (a particularly inspired piece of black and white material draped around his torso) starts to sing the words “now I’m here” a white spot picks him out. The audience reaction is, you might say, enthusiastic.
The lights dim, and our Fred removes himself to the wings of the stage and, while personal on-the-road manager Dave Thomas holds a torch, he changes into a little white satin number. Swiftly he’s back on stage for “Ogre Battle”.
From the back of the hall, where your reporter retreats, the set sounds loud but reasonably balanced. There is the odd twinge from the equipment here and there but this is hardly dìscernable.

The lights are sheer artistry. Green red, white and blue flashing at the appropriate time, never once missing a cue.
The whole effect is quite mesmerising — which is doubtless why the audience sit watching from their seats with a certain amount of awe.
The Queen repertoire includes material from all their three albums but is a bit of a shock (for those who merely came to hear “Killer Queen”) in that the band only play about one-thìrd of the single as part of a medley. It is, in a way the one lowspot of the set — certaìnly it’s flat as far as visuals are concerned. Mercury, who up till now has been poncing round the stage, strutting out in his usual sluttish manner, removes himself to the side of the stage to concentrate on playing piano!

However, the Ancient One who, up till now, seemed totally behind the band, deserts them for their encore. The band comes back to play “Big Spender” — the bump and grind number (with Mercury this time wearing a totally tasteless tarty black ensemble.) Drummer Roger Taylor begins, Mercury emerges from the side and the guitar claps well ‘n truly out. There is a momentary panic while a roadie scrabbles on the floor before John Deacon (on bass), Taylor and Mercury improvise with a three-piece backing track until the guitar is fixed. It is to say the least, unfortunate, but it’s a temporary setback and, in the ensuing three minutes, they more than make up for it.
Afterwards, of course, there is the expected post-mortem. Oaths and curses from all members of the band save Brian May who keeps repeating “I don’t believe it”. It was, however (I am informed) not quite as embarrassing as one of the earlier gigs on the tour when Mercury, beginning hts strut on “Big Spender”, slipped and fell — somewhat ungracefully — on his butt.

“When you strive so hard for perfection, dear,” says Mercury, “it’s very aggravating. It was the simplest thing in the world that went wrong,” May explains. “The curly lead from the guitar broke — just a little bit of wire. Terrible. We have procedures for changing over if something goes wrong — standby systems and things. Its when the obvious things go wrong that there’s the most chaos.”
May must be one of the least aggressive guitarists around. And when he’s not on stage he comes across as a very gentle person —  one wonders if his illness back in the summer (which caused the cancellation of a US tour) has made him more subdued. He, far more than the others, will painstakingly talk to enthusiasts of the band about the intricacies of playing. But all of Queen are incredibly polite to those who wait outside the stage door (a true sign of a Band On The Up).
First procedure, natch, is to get safely inside their limo. Once safely ensconsed they talk and sign any amount of albums, autograph books, slips of paper. They even signed a paper bag for one young lady.
“Ere mister,” yelled one such. “Most of the band don’t bovver to talk to us or to sign autographs – it’s really nice of ya!”

Back at the hotel it’s getting rather late but, by prior arrangement, they have a meal and frineds(?-Ed.) (including their fan club secretaries waiting for them). The secretaries take care of business and then get on to the subject of Japan.
Japan!
“We’re getting so many letters from there — they don’t ask the usual questions. They seem more interested in what you think of the world situation. I mean how do you reply to a letter like that?” With difficulty, I imagine.
By 3am, the party having split up, Mercury is sitting in the foyer complaining slightly of his sore throat and how his back is “wracked with pain, dear”. Some twenty feet away sits a lonely Scotsman who proceeds to talk loudly.
“Dead, Southampton, isn’t it?”
Mercury: “Really, dear?”
Scotsman: “I tipped the porter at the station and asked him where there was some life and He told me of this little club bar thing. Terrible it was. There was a band playing there.”

Ten-second pause.
Scotsman (now pointing in Mercury’s direction): “I knew I’d seen you before. It was you playing wasn’t it?”
Mercury (keeping his cool): “I don’t think so dear.”
Chauffeur (getting very irate): “They were playing a large concert hall.”
Mercury: “The Gaumont dear.”
Scotsman: “That’s it, the Gourmet. Or was it the Gomay.”
Fred has a habit of getting recognised. The following day, en route to Swansea, at a service station on the M4, a middle aged gent approaches, shakes his hand and says, “Just want to shake your hand and wish you all the best. ‘I think it’s a smashing record.”
Middle aged? Yes. And remember those Linneys.

Freddie on stage

Freddie on stage

THE JOURNEY to Swansea is gruelling. They may travel by Daimler but it still takes some five hours. On arrival, feeling – to quote Mercury, “like a vulture’s crotch” – they arrive at the hall for a sound check. One of the road crew informs them that there is trouble with the piano. Apparently it doesn’t have the required number of legs. One ìs missing.
“My dear” says Mercury “whatever next? I mean, how can I play a piano that has one leg missing?”
It is a tense, somewhat bad-tempered sound check. The chauffeur, who has, in his own words, been “converted to Queen” informs me it will be all right tonight. “Just wait, they’ll be really good. Professional, that what they are.” Mike, it should be mentioned, is a very, er, normal sort of person — suit, shirt, tie, short barnet etc. — but he’s thrown himself wholeheartedly into the whole tour and now is the official masseur for Mercury when The Singer complains of a back “wracked with pain”.

They have half an hour at their hotel in which to relax, bathe, wash hair, or take massages, or whatever. Time for Mercury to get out his hair tongs, for Roger to have a shower (“I like at least three a day”) — time to unwind.
As an observer I feel knackered; as performers they must feel completely drained. Yet they walk in the dressing room tense but definitely ready for the gig. The crowd, we are informed, are very warm, Hustler, the support group, get a good reception. Queen relax a little.
The dressing room — as on the previous night — has a selection of fruit, cheese, crisps, biscuits, lager, Coke and orange juice. Honey and lemon for throats and a portable wardrobe where they take their clothes (some of them still damp from the night before) for stage. Once again, Thomas has Mercury’s change of clothes on hand.
The gig is electric. Audience and band both explode at the same time. The special effects of smoke (usually at the beginning and the end of the set) are a bit dodgy since there is a sprinkler arrangement in the hall and no one is is quite sure whether the smoke will trigger it off or not. So theatrics are kept off at the beginning.

Fred Mercury is going bananas — he’s caught some of the electricity off the crowd in his pants, or so it seems. He bumps and grinds, struts and pouts and generally shows off. May, in his gentle unassuming way, is spotlighted and particularly impressive on “Son And Daughter”. John Deacon on bass, who has much more to the fore, is even beginning to twitch his ass, — and Taylor on drums is Doing It like he’s a toy that’s been wound up and is scared hìs battery will run out.
It is very impressive and, whereas on their last tour there was evidence that here was a band who had great potential, now there is a flash, almost cockily-confident unit.
With so much going for them it seems a pity that there is the hang-up with the piano. A missing leg and the pick-up not working properly leaves Mercury no choice but to drop the medley (including of course “Killer Queen”). The audience, however, unaware of the numbers the band should be playing, notice nothing amiss and are ecstatic.

It is only after the Swansea gig that there is time to talk. May is still looking decidedly fragile but, before he decides to retire for the evening, he sits down to spiel about the band.
Since his illness, he, along with Roger and occasionally Fred (when he can swallow them, dear) consumes some 10 vitamin pills a day. His health has become very precious.
“It was very depressing being that ill. It takes away all your drive and creativity. I felt I could never write anything again. I don’t have the urge to do anything — nothing seemed worthwhìle at all. And that feeling persisted even after all the physical effects had gone.
“I feel okay now. l’m enjoying everything, getting ideas again. You know the second time I was ill I felt I was going back to some other world — and that I would never return to this one.”

May is the most lauded musician in the band — the one who is always getting asked about his playing. Strangely, it doesn’t make him swollen-headed — he’s still flattered by all the attention, and on occasions he’s embarrassed.
“It happened tonight. There was a guy outside the hotel and he came up and said he couldn’t believe a certain solo I’d played and how did I do it. And I didn’t think that particular part was very good tonight so I wasn’t sure whether to say ‘I didn’t feel it was very good actually’ because it would make him feel down, or to be dishonest and say, ‘Oh, yeah, great’. In actual fact I just said Thanks Very Much.”
He uses a pre-amplifier: “All that does is that the signal that comes from the guitar is made a bit louder before it goes into the amp so you can get a bit more gain from the whole system. So instead of having to push a note out you can touch a string and it plays itself more or less. All the other rubbish is a wah-wah pedal which I rarely use now. I’ve gone off it.”

May says on stage his main worry is playing in tune. “The way I play guitar ì’m pushmg the strings up a long way and there’s always the possibility of them slipping and going out of tune. It’s okay when you play the single strings but if you go back to playing chords there’s a certain point in the act where it’s very critical and I always think ‘Oh God, it’s coming up’ and you are wondering what the strings are going to be like when you play them straight. Sometimes it’s dreadful and there’s nothing you can do because both hands are busy, you can’t do any tuning or anything.
“It varies a lot from song to song. It’s a very difficult situation, sometimes, because the keener you are on something the more pig-headed you are about thinking how it ought to be. And if somebody disagrees it’s very hard to give in. Particularly with me. I’m a very pig-headed person.”
May cites Hendrix as “The” guitarist. “On hearing Hendrix my immediate reaction was, he’s done it all. It’s difficult for me to describe just how good he was.”

How does he judge a good guitarist?
“Some people see what they want to see. They see someone moving around a lot and think he must be good but that is not necessarily so. I look for the communication between head and his fingers — is he playing what he’s thinking or is he just playing.”
On to the silent bassist, John Deacon. Now there’s an underestimated man. He’s one of those clever buggers who manages to avoid getting quoted at all costs. Not tonight, Deacon. As May disappears for some trip Deacon finds himself cornered.
“I’m not that fond of interviews” he admits.
Deacon reckons Queen are doing well at the moment because of “excellent quality material, well performed and produced”. He doesn’t sound modest but, then again, Queen are doing so well he can afford to display a little pride.
“I have”,’ he adds, “the feeling that the whole thing is getting a bit more professional all round. I’ve more confidence in the whole show — it’s about time too. We are, after all, on our third album.”

Financially one wonders just where Queen will stand at the end of this tour. Taylor previously informed me that budgeting on 90 per cent houses they might break even or even lose money. Deacon comments: “We don’t own all the equipment ourselves — all the stage gear is our own but the PA and the lights are hired. It works out very expensive for just the lights. This tour and Europe will cost us several thousands. And you’ve got to realise it’s not just the hire or lights — it’s a lighting crew of five, their hotel bills, expenses…”
Someone has obviously poured a lot of money into Queen — and only now will they begìn to see any returns. When I further ask Deacon about their financial situation, he says “l’d rather not discuss it. We tour for our own satisfaction and also to increase the status of the group. It’s a long-term thing rather than a short-term tour. The important thing is that we’re not in it for any short-term breaks. If we break big we`ll be all right in the end. It’s all or nothing.

“We seem to be cracking it here but England’s not really the be-all-and-end-all because you can do a tour with a lot of equipment and you don’t make a lot of money. Even with the copies we sell of the album in England we might only break even. The new one cost £25,000 to make.”
Is Deacon surprised that the band seem to be gaining generation gap appeal with the new single? (Remember the Linneys).
“No, not really. A lot of people thought we were just a heavy group but ‘Killer Queen’ showed a completely new side to the band. Certainly the album bridges the gap — it’s more listenable and will appeal to more people.
“I’ve got more confidence in the group now than ever before. I was possibly the one person in the group who could look at it from the outside because I came in as the fourth person in the band. I knew there was something there but I wasn’t so convinced of it. Till possibly this album.”

The sad thing about the British public is that they don’t always realise they have a monster group on their hands until too late. Fortunately this is not so in the case of Queen. Despite the crappy weather, despite the fact that the music press may have slagged off early Queen material and despite the fact (I am informed) that Capital Radio got in a twist last week and announced that Queen (instead of Mott The Hoople) were cancelling their tour, the audiences have come in their droves. There are plenty of bands touring at the moment — can they all say the same?
No, dear.

Hiding behind sunglasses

Hiding behind sunglasses

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: Stacia (Hawkwind), Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jethro Tull, Pilot, David Essex, Pink Floyd, Deke Leonard (Man), Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Savile, Herbie Hancock, Kevin Coyne.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Queen FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, November 2, 1974

Here we go again with yet another fairly old and exciting article. This time an early interview with Queen`s Freddie Mercury. Always extravagant, always  a star. Lucky were those who experienced him first-hand, and got to be called “Dear” or “Darling” by this legendary frontman. It is really funny how he hints about his sexuality at this early stage of his career and it is quite interesting in the context of this time in history.
The Sexual Offences Act that Britain passed in 1967 decriminalised homosexual acts between two men over 21 years of age in private in England and Wales. The 1967 Act did not extend to Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, where all homosexual behaviour remained illegal. The privacy restrictions of the act meant a third person could not be present and men could not have sex in a hotel. This was the law at the time of the interview. Only 10 years before this interview was conducted a UK opinion poll finds that 93% of respondents see homosexuality as a form of illness requiring medical treatment. No wonder that Mr. Mercury were a little guarded about this part of his personality.

IMG_0640

The contents of Freddie Mercury`s pants are his alone. They belong to him and to no-one else.

JULIE WEBB relentlessly probes the cut and contour of QUEEN`S Lead Trouser

Funny how times change. Seems like only yesterday that people were taking the mickey out of Queen. Of course, there were some who reckoned they had a genuine talent which would come to the fore, but for many they were merely a flash in the pan.
Two hit albums and two hit singles later, the band can afford a smirk at the expense of their journalistic detractors. This week Queen began their second major tour of Britain. Last time round they were just breaking “Seven Seas Of Rhye” – this time the new album “Sheer Heart Attack” will be featured, but strangely enough not their new single “Killer Queen,” since lead singer Freddie Mercury deems it “not necessary to add to what we are going to do on stage.”

It was Mercury, you may remember, who was so sublimey confident about the band`s chances of success – and he hasn`t changed. “Queen II” may have gone silver, but he reckons “it`ll go platinum” before long. Four months ago, you might have sneered – now it`s about time you listened.
The turning point for the band is really the new single. “A double A side, though no one seems to realise it because they keep playing `Killer Queen`,” interjects Mercury. It`s a turning point in that it sounds nothing like the noisy heavy metal sound to which we are accustomed from Queen, thus justifying their earlier claim of `versatility.` It`s more of a mixture of Beach Boys, early Beatles and 1920`s music-hall. Quaite naice, actually.

Says Mercury: “People are used to hard rock, energy music from Queen, yet with this single you almost expect Noel Coward to sing it. It`s one of those bowler hat, black suspender belt numbers – not that Noel Coward would wear that.”
And you?
“Oh no dear, just a nice little black number.”
It is apparent that success (in any shape or form) has not altered Mercury, who still insists on using the suffix “dear” at the end of many of his sentences. He is also still very much hung up on maintaining the `star` image.
For a start he never carries much money round with him. It`s not that he`s poverty-stricken or even mean – just that it`s difficult to keep cash in your shoes. A star to the last, he wears pocketless trousers and keeps his finances close to his feet.
“I hate pockets in trousers,” he stresses. “By the way, I do not wear a hose. My hose is my own. No coke bottle, nothing stuffed down there.”
Of course, Freddie.

However, sticking rigidly to the star image has its drawbacks. Satin trousers aren`t that durable (“I split a pair last week”) and velvet and sequins have a nasty habit of dulling in the rain. Still, they create the desired effect of getting people to stare. Mercury still adores the stares, of course – he`s insisted all along he`s a star and thinks he should dress accordingly. But for all the high camp, he`s got some grey matter in that head of his.
It was, after all, Mercury who wrote six of the thirteen cuts on the new album and being artistically inclined it was he who provided the idea for the album sleeve.
“God, the agony we went through to have the pictures taken, dear. Can you imagine trying to convince the others to cover themselves in Vaseline and then have a hose of water turned on them?”
Sheer agony, Freddie. The end result is four members of the band looking decidely unregal, tanned and healthy, and as drenched as if they`ve been sweating for a week.

“Everyone was expecting some sort of cover. A Queen III cover really, but this is completely new. It`s not that we`re changing altogether – it`s just a phase we are going through.”
But won`t Queen devotees be a trifle worried by this new image?
“They will love it. We`re still as poncy as ever. We`re still the dandies we started out to be. We`re just showing people we`re not merely a load of poofs, that we are capable of other things.”
The album, as detailed above, boasts 13 tracks – most of them a mere three minutes in length.
“Not a collection of singles, dear – although we might draw another one off later for a single. I`m not absolutely sure about that, though. No, not all the numbers last for ages. There were just so many songs we wanted to do. And it makes a change to have short numbers. It`s so varied that we were able to go to extremes. I only had about two weeks to write my songs so we`ve been working (expletive deleted) hard.”

IMG_0641

It should be noted that the BBC seem to have taken “Killer Queen” to their collective bosom, since they`ve been flogging it to death. I wonder if they would be so keen if they realised the true story behind the single.
Mercury elucidates: “It`s about a high class call girl. I`m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That`s what the song is about, though I`d prefer people to put their own interpretation upon it – to read into it what they like.”
The British tour is their first live manifestation since their ill-fated American bonanza, when they played support to Mott The Hoople and returned early after guitarist Brian May contracted hepatisis.
As if that wasn`t bad enough, May was later informed that he had an ulcer. Currently he still has a certain air of frailty surrounding him, but he claims to be feeling “better than ever.”

Mercury advises: “Brian has got to look after himself in future. We all want to make sure something like that never happens again. So he`ll have to eat the right things and steer clear of hamburgers.”
Most inopportune, one would have thought, quitting their first US tour halfway through. Mercury however is as confident as ever of the band`s chances in America.
“We did what we had to, anyway. Sure, a whole tour would have helped us a bit more, but there`s no such thing as `we lost our chance.` I still believe that the time is right for us there and we`re going back pretty soon. We really did it – cause when we came back you should have seen the write-ups. They were beautiful and they just want us to come back as soon as we can. They are just waiting on new product.”

One particular review from the US sticks out in Mercury`s mind since it was, in a sense, on a personal level.
“We played a theatre in New York with Mott and this particular chick (well, they notice everything down to the pimple on your arse, dear) wrote that she noticed that when I did a costume change I changed even my shoes and socks. She also added she was so close she could tell what religion I was, and that I wasn`t wearing any knickers. She also pointed out that Ian Hunter had knickers on. Ian`s going to die…”
Indeed.

Since the American market is taking such an interest in Queen, it appears Japan is not very far behind.
“Queen II” was recently voted album of the year and all members of the band came up highly in the musicians` awards. “Quite a change for a country which has of late been apparently obsessed with the likes of ELP and Yes.
“We`re planning to go to Japan in the New Year,” states Mercury “Can`t wait, actually. All those geisha girls…” (he laughs) “and boys.”
Seems the Jap market have twigged quite early – even now they send presents to the band. At EMI Mercury received a Japanese wooden comb “for your birthday, please come over soon.”
Before the British tour, the main priority has been rehearsing. This time round, the sound should substantially improve, since they will be playing larger venues than before, which are more suited to their vast sound system.
“We`re just hoping to have a whale of a time. We are going to have to put across all three albums. The repertoire will be built around them. But the main thing is to put across the energy of the band and hopefully the versatility. I`d hate to just do hard rock all the time, dear. It should be good because we`ve got better lights, better everything.”

Part of this interview was conducted in a local hostelry which sold liquor. Beforehand, Mercury seemed a bit nervous about what kind of establishment it was.
“Is it working class?” he asked, in what sounded like an elitist manner. No, it wasn`t particularly rough. Even so, people did tend to stare when he entered.
“I love it, really” he commented, looking distinctly uncomfortable trying to avoid the stares of an old man nearby, whose eyes were attempting to leave their sockets.
“I just wanted to know what kind of place it was because I don`t want a load of cut-throats round me. I just wonder what they think. I mean when we walked in that man`s eyes did nearly pop out of his head.”
Does he ever get strange comments walking down the street?
“No, not really. I`ve had people try to pick me up once or twice, but I`m not intending to change into jeans because of it. I tried that a few weeks ago and people I knew remarked on that far more than my satin or velvet.”

Somehow I have enough confidence in Mercury to feel that he could carry off any occasion with typical aplomb. Just a short time ago he found himself in a somewhat embarrassing situation and miraculously escaped. But let him explain that:
“We`d had a hectic day at “Top Of The Pops” and our promotion man Eric Hall invited us out for a meal. Unfortunately the others in the band couldn`t come as they had to go back to the studio. Anyway, I had rather a lot to drink and I seem to remember at some point in the evening that someone removed my shoes and socks and hung them on a lampshade. Then I said something along the lines of `well, if you`re going to take everything off I shall remove my trousers…”
Picture this. Our hero, half under his table at a rather trendy nitespot with trousers akimbo, when the big white chief of the establishment approaches.
“I thought he was going to throw me out, but instead he said `I hear you`ve got a gold disc.` He meant to say silver. And then he presented me with a bottle of champagne.”
Now if Mercury can handle a situation like that with such style, think how easy it is for him to get everyone else convinced that he is a true star.

IMG_0642

Fashionable girls in this ad from 1974.

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 the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Peter Gabriel, Fruupp, Leslie Richard McKeown (Bay City Rollers), Steve Harley, Johnny Winter, H.B. Barnum.

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

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

ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, APRIL 20, 1974

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 is the third article in a row on this blog written by Julie Webb and it is a pure co-incidence. It is just that I have found that those articles were the most interesting to share, and I never look at the writers name before choosing the article. So no – this is not some Julie Webb fetish.
I remember from my childhood that Elton John suddenly became involved in the beautiful game through Watford. It was a big thing at the time. Throughout the 70s there was only one TV channel in Norway, and every saturday at 4 o`clock local time there was a football match from England on TV. This explains why so many men of my generation became obsessed with English football. Even today, when travelling in England, I think of the cities in footballing terms; Nottingham will forever in my mind be Forest and Brian Clough, Liverpool are red and Kevin Keegan, Leeds are Peter Lorimer and so on.
My favourite team in English football today is Grimsby Town – they may not be at the top of the league, but it is a club you will love when you get to know them. Really wonderful place to visit too.
Enough of me writing about football – here is a gem from those golden days that were the 70s.

bilde 1

The Stack-Heeled Striker

Portrait of the Star as a football tycoon. Viewed from the terraces by Julie Webb.

It was a classically tense moment. Slowly and forcefully, Elton John, big-wig of Watford Football Club, walked towards his seat in the directors` box. People nudged, winked and pointed him out; he regally carried on walking.
Only one thing broke the silence: a loud voice bawled, “You great poof.”
Football is well removed from the rock business, and since EJ is considered somewhat “us in the music industry”, he stands out like a soccer ball amid cricket stumps in the world of sport. Yet it`s a well-publicised fact that he`s now a director of the underdogs of the Third Division, a team who at times seem as competent as Inspector Clouseau and as exciting as a rotting egg.
And he takes it very seriously. You could tell that by the way he was half-way dressed in the hornets` colours of black and yellow – wearing black satin top and black trousers.

He`s already bought a Watford scarf and waves it on the slightest indication that there are any football supporters around. And believe me, it`s a bizarre sight, seeing a grown man wave a black and yellow scarf out of the window of a Rolls Corniche.
On this jaunt with Elton, we were coach-spotting on the M1 – diligently searching out the Watford coach. When he thought he`d sighted them, he slowed down to a sedate 50 m.p.h. and moved into the middle lane – only to be disappointed with the discovery that it was the Coventry City conveyance. This brought the petulant remark: “Couldn`t have been Watford, they haven`t got a toilet in their coach.”

It was at the end of last year that Elton first approached Watford – after hearing that they could do with some moral, if not financial, support. Now, he`s put in money, and has shares in the club.
“When I went down initially,” says Elton, “they were cautious because they thought I might want to do it for publicity – that it might just be a diversion, and I`d inject some money and then lose interest.”
So how many shares does he hold?
“Don`t know.”
Okay, well how much money has he sunk into the team?
“I don`t know that either. It was a five-figure fee, I know that.”

You`d think that money and shares would be enough – yet the man is so keen that he even phoned while he and the band were away in Japan and Australia, to keep in touch.
“I`ve also been to all the away games. In fact, I`ve only missed two games since I became involved. Anyone can join a club for six months and get fed up with it – but really you`ve got to be totally dedicated to it, and I am. It`s given me so much enjoyment. They say to me, `How can we ever thank you for all the publicity that you`ve got us,` but I honestly think they`ve done more for me than I could possibly have done for them.
“I`ve got pleasure from mixing with ordinary people again. You do lose the value of things when you are racing around all the time on tour. Your lifestyle changes. Your standard of living changes. And your appreciation of things lessens to a degree. You forget, for instance, how much joy you can give by giving an autograph to a person who is actually knocked out at getting it – or a record, and you think `Christ it`s only a bloody record.”

On May 5, Elton John will give his piece de resistance of involvement by playing at the Vicarage Road ground – capacity 36,000 – and donating all proceeds to the club.
“I promised I`d do this from the beginning, and I think that clinched the thing. I thought it would be nice to do it at the ground because it`ll draw more people to Watford. I mean, I could have done a week at the Hammersmith Odeon and given them the money from that – but it wouldn`t have been the same.”
Elton`s current paranoia concerns just how many people he`ll be able to pull in.
“I`m a bit paranoid about everything as far as concerts and records go. Like the record company phones me up from the States and says, `this record is going to be a million seller`, and I say `great` and jump around and think, `yeah, it`s going to be a million seller`, but I don`t really believe it till I`ve got the gold record stuck on my wall.
“So many times before I made it I was promised so many things that never happened, so I still have this built-in paranoia.”

It seems silly to think he won`t pack the place, since, as a direct result of the cancelling of the British tour, his gigs are rare events. Incidentally, he seems very apologetic about cancelling that British tour: “We`ve never really had a proper break since we hit the road, and it`s been very hard. We do two albums a year as well as tours and never get time off. None of us gets much of a personal life at all.
“We rushed off to America after the last British tour to record the new album – with the knowledge that we had to do it in ten days then fly to Japan.
“Then in New Zealand, when all the trouble started and my manager was sent to prison, we had time to talk and we all decided we were physically exhausted and the thought of going on another tour for the time being was just impossible.
“The band would have done the British tour and the European one, if we`d thought we could actually last out, but I don`t think we could have done. I think we`d have come home in the middle of the European tour and really buggered things up for the rest of the year.

Elton in the terraces.

Elton in the terraces.

“I`m very close to the rest of the band and they more or less said, `we can`t do it any more` and `can we relax for a bit?` and I think we all deserve a break. But we`re not going to become hermits – it`s just so that everyone can sit down and plan things a bit better.”
There is, says Elton, no danger whatsoever of them becoming just a studio band. He looks positively horror-struck at the mere suggestion.
“No, I really love playing, especially now because the band are getting better all the time. I`ve got somebody else in now – Ray Cooper – and we came off the road playing really well. Ray`s only playing percussion and vibes on the new album, but on stage he`s going to play electronic keyboards, vibes, clarinet and all sorts of things. In fairness to him, we had to come off the road to rehearse.”
The new album, scheduled for release end of June, and being previewed at the Watford gig, at the moment rejoices in the title “Old Pink Eyes Is Back”, and was recorded in the States.

“We did it at this ranch we heard about during the last American tour, and flew there in a helicopter to have a look. We were so knocked out that we booked it immediately. It`s about an hour from the nearest large town and very high up, completely isolated.
“It took seven days to do the tracks and voices. We had a lot of problems at the beginning – and I got depressed and did a moody for a day-and-a-half. Also, we had trouble adjusting to the American system of monitoring, so we lost three days. We literally did 14 backing tracks in three days, then did overdubs, and on the way to Japan we stayed at LA for two days and put some backing vocals on a couple of tracks.”
Highlights of the album are, according to Elton, “A rock`n`roll song called `The Bitch Is Back`, which will probably be a single, and a track we`ve already played on stage, entitled `Don`t Let The Sun Go Down`.”

This latter number he is particularly delighted with – and justifiably, since he managed the coup of getting The Beach Boys to do backing vocals.
“That came about because I know Bruce Johnston quite well – he goes out with the girl who runs Rocket in the States. In fact, at one time he was going to record for Rocket, but he`s so lazy he hasn`t done anything. Anyway, he arranged it all. Tower Of Power are also on the album and they really were fine, added a lot of balls.”
This will be the first elpee on which Elton and Bernie Taupin actually `own` their own songs. He explains:
“Songwriting really isn`t as lucrative as everyone thinks, especially when you don`t own your own songs. If you go to a publisher you have to give out – and I`m not having a go at Dick James, it happens with any publisher. It`s a 50-50 partnership, a stock publishing thing – it means he gets 50 and Bernie and I get 25 each. With songwriting you don`t get much per track. It`s much more lucrative recording. Probably Bernie has earned less out of it than anybody else.”

One project Elton is currently toying with is a song for – would you believe – the Watford football team.
“We`re thinking of writing a song about Watford, but it would have to be done in a special sort of way. I don`t want one of those awful footbally things. Just a track, not by me, by the Watford football team. I`d rather write a really commercial song and put the Watford song on the B side so that they`d earn a lot of money via the A side. I don`t want it to be one of those terrible naff football records.”
Other than being referred to loudly as “a great poof”, the most traumatic experience Elton has come across recently must have been the incident in New Zealand, where his manager John Reid was jailed for three weeks. So what really happened?

“It was at a Press reception in Auckland, held by Festival Records. And the incident occured because the reception was badly run. We ran out of booze and food after ten minutes and we just got into an argument over the fact – and the lady who was assaulted in the first place happened to be the girlfriend of the man who was running the reception.
“I didn`t see the incident and thought no more about it, then later we went to a reception for David Cassidy. Someone came up to a friend of mine and said to her, `are you connected with the Elton John group`, and she said `not really, why?`, and they said, `because of that incident this afternoon they`re all marked men!`
“And as we were going out the door, I heard that one of the roadies had been threatened with being beaten up.
“We asked who was doing the threatening, and apparently it was this little reporter who worked for a paper. I went up to him, seized him by the collar and muttered things like `you no good son of an Irish leprachaun – who do you think you`re doing`, and was just about to clock him round the face (me of all people) when my manager stepped in and hit him for me.

“So we left the club post haste, and were all physically threatened that anyone to do with the Elton John party had better watch it. Then when we got back to the hotel we got a phone call saying `there`s a car load of people on the look-out, so just stay inside your hotel`.
“The next day the police came down and we thought it would all be cleared up. They said they were just going to give me a warning and that would be that. And John Reid paid this girl a certain amount of money because she had a black eye, and that was it – but it all got out of hand.
“I was arrested the next morning for assault – even though it was a first offence – for hitting a guy and a girl we`d already paid damages to – and we`d been provoked in the first place.

“The magistrates just didn`t believe any of us had been provoked. The trial was over in 20 minutes without any of us having witnesses. It was just a joke, a farce.”
Despite all this, he says there`ll be no ban on New Zealand from his side. Still, Kiwi land was easily pushed to the back of his thoughts while Watford were on the field – even if they did only manage a goalless draw.

Purple on tour with ELF. All Purple fans knows what happened later.

Purple on tour with ELF. All Purple fans knows what happened later.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Graham Nash, Ian Maclagan (Faces), Bob Dylan, Hot Chocolate, Amanda Lear, Bill Wyman, Eddie Cochran, Mick Ronson, Sandy Denny, Roxy Music, Allen Toussaint, Lindisfarne, Alvin Lee.

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.