Martin Hayman

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

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

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Fraser walks the line

By Martin Hayman

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

RECAPTURE

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

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TENSION

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

FACELESS

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

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
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ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM SOUNDS, September 6, 1975

Just as Kiss did some years later, taking off their make-up and revealing who they were, so did Alice by being very open and honest about the fact that Alice Cooper was just a character made up for stage. By doing this some of the magic disappeared for both. Not that I don`t love Kiss or Alice just as much, but I think there is a certain element that got lost when they suddenly became “ordinary” people.
Anyway, a good article, so read on!

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A teddy bear`s picnic with Alice

Martin Hayman talks to Stephen, the man behind the mask of Alice Cooper

If we looked at Alice Cooper as a latter-day Mr Bojangles he would probably be flattered. Fred Astaire would certainly be puzzled and the thousands of Cooper fiends would look askance at the connection: what sort of a snake is Ginger Rogers?
But if the all-singing, all-dancing and definitely showbiz Alice isn`t doing a contemporary version of blackface (exorcising through the medium of stage lampoon) the lurking chilly fears then I`ll trade in my hi-fidelity stereo system for a bag of golf clubs and sign myself Bing Crosby.
Meanwhile back at the headband conference, Alice, Mr Nice Guy, hangs out in a suite at the Savoy and, for the benefit of reporters` entrèes, takes in a little target practice with plastic spring guns shooting rubber-suckered darts with dubious accuracy. Acolytes range themselves in front of the shooting range – a number of Heineken cans perched in a row along the top of the TV, which is noiselessly flickering images of white-flannelled heroes on the green sward – and adopt a variety of shooting positions, from Widmark to Bronson.
Alice – for so his entourage describe him to a man, though Cooper is later to deny that such a person exists outside the confines of a stage – is smaller and slighter than you expect, and is wearing a pair of immaculate white trousers and, on his torso as well as, one presumes, the rest of his body, an almost insultingly healthy tan; though one remarks with satisfaction that his thin aquiline beak is just beginning to peel. Too many lingering hours on the links? one speculates.

MADNESS

Alice Cooper, unsurprisingly, is here on tour. In fact his sojourn at the Savoy is a mere break, for the European operation, campaign you might say, will have begun in Scandinavia by the time you read this. For a man who has just completed a 66 city tour of the US (which his record company dutifully reports was seen by one million and a quarter people) and is about to embark on a further 14, his affability is unflagging.
Particularly as he too confesses to the touring madness: “After about five shows I lose track of where I am I call up the roadies and ask `Where am I`? You get to a mentality where you don`t care what city you`re in, there`s always a Holiday Inn and a MacDonald`s. In Europe it`s different though. You learn to love it… or you get a nervous breakdown.” He laughs. It does not sound like the hysterical laugh of a man on the brink. “It`s a lot easier to get to love it. Breakdowns take too much time.”
He says his favourite stop on the route is going to be Munich, “just because it`s such a party town – I love it. And the girls there! And they do have Budweiser, too.” This is a reference to Alice`s favourite brand of beer, without which no interview with Alice would be completed. Rarely can one man have done so much to promote his favourite beverage; he surely must be to Budweiser what Rod Stewart is to football, or the Bay City Rollers to Tartan scarves.
A propos of football, Cooper reports that the game is really beginning to get a hold in America, and that newly sprung up leagues there have succeeded in attracting no less a talent than Pele as a professional coach. He had to confess himself – ah – stumped by cricket, though doubtless the TV watching which goes so agreeably in hotel rooms with a crate of chilled tubes might induce some understanding of this extraordinary form of competition. If it`s showbiz, Alice can dig it!
Still on the subject of beer: “You know, I never did a paid advertisement for Budweiser. But I`m a real beer drinker,” he says with a broad smile and a hint of confidentiality. “I wake up at 7 am and I have to have a Budweiser. It`s better than coffee. Actually I don`t drink beer to get drunk, I drink it as a habit. I drink Seagram`s whisky to get drunk. Beer just keeps you on a nice even keel.”

This all on a slightly ribbing note; when the serious word habit is murmured there is a hint of a cloud and, unsolicited: “I don`t do any drugs at all, just because I saw too many of my friends dying – Morrison and Hendrix were good friends of mine. If any good came of their deaths, it`s that people tended to move away from them.
“I used to sit around and get drunk with Morrison a lot. It`s too bad a talent like that was lost… he just wouldn`t take care of himself. If I drank a bottle of whisky he`d drink three.” Something like a death wish? “Mmm…
I think it shows up. He`d jump out of moving cars, never go to the doctor if he was sick. Everything about him was really original but he was always trying to destroy it. I don`t think he liked the responsibility of being a spokesman, though he was a natural.
“I think the whole culture is turning away from drugs. I`ve noticed that everybody is drinking a lot more. Maybe it isn`t bad, but it`s legal at least you don`t go to jail for drinking… unless you`re Keith Moon.
Alice chortles at the joke on his confrere and neatly ducks out of what was starting to look suspiciously like a bit of hobby-horse riding. The mention of Moony provokes recollections of his (Moon`s) party at LA, and how Peter Sellers had donned his `Pink Panther` persona Inspector Clouset. Alice chuckles with mirth at the idea of his pal Sellers muttering and bumbling his way through detection of the “guilty party”.
Alice says he`s a great fan of Sellers and the Pink Panther, which he had been to see soon after his stage accident: “I went to see it and I was laughing so hard I swear I had to turn away from the screen at least three times because it hurt me so much. It`s hard to laugh when you`ve got cracked ribs.”
On cue, Alice demonstrates one of the ribs which is sticking out at an odd angle from his bronzed torso. It was one of the six; he also sustained facial injuries in the accident at Vancouver necessitating 12 stitches, but they aren`t evident. The incident occurred when one of his stage props collapsed. It`s a point when Stephen (Alice`s persona for the `Nightmare` show) thrusts the dancers back into the “toybox”. The lid of the box collapsed, overbalancing Alice into the eight-foot orchestra pit, where he hit a photographer en route.
“It totally knocked me out. I just couldn`t focus on anything. But I went straight back on because I had so much adrenalin going. It was only when I realised that I couldn`t focus on anything that I thought I must have a concussion. You have super powers when you`ve got the adrenalin going.”

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Happily for the customers this was the 63rd show of the tour so there were few who got the abbreviated version. All credit to Cooper for keeping the show on the road despite the injuries: “All we had to do was re-schedule the show so that I wasn`t on as long as I should be. But also when you`ve got broken ribs you can`t hit the notes. But after a week of rest it was OK.”
It also meant the deletion of some of the more risky, or should I say spectacular parts of the show such as when the nine-foot cyclops picks Alice up and hurls him bodily across the stage. This was more complex than might appear, for the whole show is tightly produced by choreographer David Winters and re-arrangement of any part affects cues for the action.
“The whole show is programmed like a musical, not a rock show,” says Alice. “I would hate to say rock opera, because it`s a musical. The whole idea is of Alice playing a character called Stephen. I`m not actually Alice Cooper, it`s just a stage persona.”
Alice explained that the theme of the show was this nasty, bratty kid-brother called Stephen waking up in the middle of the night to find that his teddy bear had turned into a cyclops and his toy-box disgorged by monsters.
“Everything that he`s very familiar with turns into a nightmare in front of him.”
The production is filled with clever props, including a piece of back-projected film which features Stephen, pursued by monsters, rushing headlong toward the stage. At the point the film image disappears Alice emerges from a concealed trapdoor on the stage (in person) leaving the monsters to beat helplessly at the celluloid barrier. All rather “Alice through the Looking Glass”-ish, but it calls for impeccable timing and unwavering discipline on the part of musicians and dancers; and also of course sizeable funds – the “magic screen” device represents 45,000 dollars` worth alone.
Alice Cooper – we`re talking about the real Mr Nice Guy and golfer now – believes in the showbiz production through and through. “I really believe that rock and roll should go into that level,” he says. “At seven dollars, why should an audience just go and see a rock band play? It`s much better to produce it visually. As far as I`m concerned I don`t care how much it costs as long as the audience get their money`s worth. Why not do a Barnum and Bailey? I wouldn`t feel right in pair of Levi`s.
Cooper is certainly putting his mouth where his money is, for the American tour was an unprecedented success and, so they say, sold out LA`s 18,000 capacity Forum in a phenomenal 17 minutes. It`s the attitude that`s  all-important, he thinks: “I never go on and think, here goes, I hope you`ll enjoy it. I like to really take hold of them – it`s almost a sexual thing. I think people like the sensationalism.

BRAINLESS

“When I first came over here people thought I was the devil incarnate. The rumours that preceded me were so diabolical they almost scared me! They understand now that the Alice Cooper thing was total showbiz – it`s fun. Nobody should ever take Alice seriously as a horror show. He was always a fun ghoul.”
Al`s taste for the bizarre was fostered from an early age when he used to see old Bela Lugosi movies which, he says “used to scare me out of my pants”. But it`s healthy enough he reckons; balance in all things. “For every John Denver you have to have an Alice Cooper, for every Elton John you have to have a David Bowie.
“So many people think that rock and rollers are brainless idiots with loud guitars, but if you want to make rock and roll showbiz then it can be. I think the audience love that. Rock and roll can`t just stay in the same place for ever – I`m so glad Elton has got into that. Everybody`s gonna have to get into it sooner or later. People just won`t have that old stuff any more.
“The difference between a star and a superstar is that the superstar can not only sell his music but sell himself visually as well – though the audience sometimes do love to see the artist blow it. On the `Billion Dollar Baby` tour for example we had a show where everything fell apart. I was stuck in the guillotine without a microphone. That night the audience just laughed, and I realised the only way to play it was slapstick.”
So we`re invited to notice the wink behind the mask of terror? “As much as a character Alice is an attitude,” says Cooper. “He`s a brat, the kid that puts the tack on your chair, a bratty little brother – but everybody likes Alice. I like Alice. I like being Alice – once a night. But when I get off the stage, that`s when I leave him behind. I never become Alice off-stage. I would get into trouble, he`s got such an arrogant attitude, he thinks he can get away with anything.
“When I first created Alice I thought I had to play him out. I wore black leather and drank about a bottle of whisky a day and got into fights in bars.
“But now I put the eye make-up on and become Alice, but as soon as I come off I take off the make-up and stop being Alice. I remember one time this guy who must have weighed 240 pounds came on stage, crazy-drunk, and I – or rather Alice – got hold of him and threw him about 10 feet across the stage. He looked really surprised that this skinny little punk did it. But it was Alice that did it. Like a character inside me.
“But Alice has toned down a lot now. He`s more directed than before, he`s not as crazy as he used to be. I used to do anything for sensation, but now we direct the energy.”
Before leaving, I venture that, if showbiz ever palls, or if the public move on to more and more grandiose spectacles, Alice could always become a golf pro (he has a handicap of nine).
“Yes,” he returns, quite seriously, “I`d like that.”

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

ARTICLE ABOUT Mott The Hoople FROM SOUNDS, April 13, 1974

I`m not especially fond of these articles where the journalist speak more to the reader than the artist, but when it is done in this style I can be very forgiving. A great for one for all the fans of Mott and Ian Hunter out there, including, but not restricted to, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard.

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Mott find a formula

As Mott`s new album, `The Hoople`, hits gold in the States Ian Hunter talks to Martin Hayman and asks “how can you go too far?”

“I was sat in the dressing room before the gig, tuning up my guitar on the automatic tuning-up machine. I was there alone. Suddenly the door flies open and I hear `Look who`s preparing to face his public then`. It was `im – Mick Jagger, and David. I say `Well you`re not doing so bad yourself after ten years` – and so it went on – it was great. I`ve always admired him. He`s the guvnor controller, really, and that`s what I try to do.”
The scene is the Hammersmith Odeon, just before Christmas last year. Mick Jagger and David Bowie are paying a backstage visit to Mott the Hoople`s lead singer and popular hero Ian Hunter. The banter continues at a laugh-a-minute; later, during the performance, the two muckers stroll around the stage, unnoticed, watching Mott`s heavy, menacing act and marvelling at the way Ian himself has joined the ranks of controllers: the select few who can put an audience exactly where they want it.

MASTERY

During the quiet “Rose”, Ariel Bender fiddles with the stone in a bracelet he`s wearing (flash bastard). It looked as though he was looking at his watch. The same stylised London accent jeers from the sidelines: “You`ve still got forty minutes to go, you lazy sods.” Such was Mott the Hoople`s mastery that even when our two spectators make their way round to the front to catch a punter`s eye view, nobody noticed them… I know, I was right there in the front row. I had eyes only for the group on the stage. But David, silly fellow, blew it when he started pinching the girl`s bums…
Fuller of themselves than they`ve ever been perhaps, the band plays on and on… the safety curtain comes down… Morgan Fisher shoves his piano under it to prevent its descent… Hunter and Bender advance forwards over the catwalk into the very audience… V-signs are flashed and punches thrown… the bouncers put up a fierce last-ditch stand but the front-row kids, Mott`s long-time “Lieutenants”, swarm on to the stage… chaos. Rock and roll madness rampant.
It will surely go down as one of the historical gigs when the annals of rock and roll are finally compiled. At the final judgement, Mott will be tried in the balance and not found wanting. It was their coming-of-age, just as surely as “All The Young Dudes” was their arrival at the age of consent. For those who have never been to a Hoople gig and know them only through their quirky, eccentric and compelling singles their huge cult following can seem incomprehensible; and even their fans here would find it hard to take in the audiences which they now draw in the US of A. For their latest and looniest album “THe Hoople”, a week after its US release, has already gone gold. It`s a mighty long way…

GORGEOUS

And did you see Mott the Hoople on Top of the Pops last week? A mild sensation, to say the least. All those gorgeous chickies dancing away to “The Golden Age Of Rock And Roll”. A pretty contrast to the band`s act, the degutted emptiness of the mime, but so like the constant swirling, relentless motion of a live gig, a perpetual flux which has been their trademark since so early on, but now, oh so much more stylised and directed, from Pete leaning back on that huge, arrow shaped bass to Ian`s flamboyant wristy gestures round the microphone. But Ian doesn`t think that much of it as a single, thinks it a bit too throwaway.
Reviewers have thought of it as another rock and roll nostalgic disc; they`re wrong. It`s about the much trampled-on 96 dBa limit proposed by Leeds Council for rock concerts. It`s Mott the Hoople`s – specifically Ian`s – comeback at those who for supposedly well-meant reasons would wish to degut the music Mott has been fighting to make for five years. It comes straight off the streets, and out of the immediate concerns of rock fans. It`s like a speech, it`s a political weapon that can be wielded only by those with the power of control.
And it`s not nostalgic. “The last five years have been much more the Golden Age of Rock and Roll than anything that went before,” says Ian in Mott`s dressing-room at TOTP. He`s right you know: so maybe there were a lot of great records cut in – whenever your favourite period happens to be – but it`s as absurd as it`s snobbish to suggest that one period has the edge over another. There are more, and greater, rock artists now than ever before; and rock and roll belongs to everybody. It can`t admit to a caste system where the oldies have the goldies and the youngsters – such a shame! – get the post-Golden Age dross. Ian`s no youngster, himself; he`s seen them come and go. He`s not hung on keeping the rock and roll he knows to himself.

OBSERVATIONS

He does not keep much at all to himself. He writes out his views of life in his songs, and inevitably has become identified with his own observations: the public face is of one who`s tough, brusque, doesn`t suffer fools easily and who has an unshakeable faith in the commonsense and good nature of the working man and woman. But the more your life becomes public property, the more tenaciously one holds on to the remaining corner of privacy.
Trudi, his long-time American girlfriend whom he married recently, is wonderful at just pricking Ian`s ego enough: enough to make him laugh a little at himself, when he gets overburdened with the things he sees and feels compelled to make public; and a very real defence, too. One time at a reception or whatever in New York, where Mott are the biggest, a girl was making mouths at Ian across the room: Trudi urged her to go speak to Ian if that was what she wished. As she engaged Ian in some (presumably suggestive) conversation, Trudi saw a flush coming over Ian`s face; whether or not it was embarrasment or anger, who knows? But the slight but vividly attractive Trudi didn`t like it: more out of solicitude than jealousy, methinks, she launched a flying kick at the rear quarters of this appalling groupie. (It was left to the down-to-earth Stan Tippins finally to eject her from the room; hell hath no fury etc.).
But enough of these intimate insights – let`s hear what Ian, of all the rock and rollers I`ve met one of the most media-conscious, has to say about the group; with comments appended by such as drummer Buffin – also with his new wife (their reception was part of the festivities of the Hammersmith gig), and sorry, his name is now Dale Griffin; by Pete Watts, spraying silver glitter on his hair and talking about cars; and Bad Company`s Mick Ralphs, who they just can`t seem to keep away.

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Our interview started with the usual criticism of the critic; on balance Ian liked our verdict, but disputed that “The Hoople” went over the top: “How can you go too far?” he asked. The album, of course, was recorded at around the time of the recent General Election campaign. It gave Ian plenty of opportunity to reflect on the political charade which the people of this country had to put up with: “I was sitting there in front of the box, watching all these actors, bad actors – and it really got up my nose. I wasn`t trying to be heavy or anything it was just the things that I observed. There are fifty-two million people in Britain and at least thirty million of them talk pub politics. But I don`t want to be defensive about the album, `cos I`ve got no need to be. I don`t want this interview to be a downer – I would like it to be an upper, `cos that`s how we feel now.”
Pressing the point I suggest that the album could well be a downer, and that even if the lyrics were only his own personal observations, the energy released by the music, by the group`s dynamic and involving stage presentation would be channelled through the slogans of the song. It`s a point which I always bring up when questioning Ian: he`s astute at evading it. You can`t have sheer power politics, the control of the masses, without a strong moral purpose, in my view. You have to direct that power, use it responsibly. In the past I`ve felt that the release of energy is purely gratuitous, and an end in itself.
“I don`t see how you can go over the top,” contends Ian. “Either it`s good or it`s bad. I don`t see it, Mott ain`t too far. As I see it, Mott ain`t a vanguard – we`re a group. I do feel a sense of responsibility when I`m writing a lyric – I don`t go out for cheap gimmicks. I think music is candy-floss really; I firmly believe in what I write, though I`m not advocating it. It`s the truth to me. It`s like Gleason says: `You can trust the music but not the artist`.”

Ian is just talking about his words here. When it comes to the total effect, the complete impression of the words and the music and the indefinable presence, the character which comes across from the inanimate wax, it`s total conviction: “We wouldn`t spend a fortune if we didn`t want to get the sound and the lyrics across. I mean I could`ve sung all the words on an acoustic backtrack and the whole thing would`ve cost two and a half quid instead of sixteen thousand.”
This is the very substantial sort of money that it takes to record Mott now: a far cry indeed from the ramshackle, all-flying-everywhere sound on their first albums. The madness is still not far away though. An incident at Advision made them less than welcome there: suffice to say that damage was done, and restitution insisted upon. “When you spend twelve hours getting a drum sound for the back-tracks and when you go in the next night and find it`s different again it does you in,” suggested Ian.
The end product is eminently satisfactory though, and figures speak for themselves. It will stand them in good stead on their next US tour; by the time you read this they will already have started. It`s eight weeks at six gigs a week, some nights with two shows. It`s starting to look like more than success, like really big business really. The problems are very real. Ian cites as the biggest single one that of keeping his voice in good shape. “The only remedy for that is a lot of sleep, ten hours a night, and keeping your trap shut, not talking. It`s not much fun.”
Did he have any idea why the Americans had taken to Mott in such a big way? Ian cites the examples of Slade and T. Rex, both of whom were trying to break in America at the same time as Mott – with more confidence and less apparent success. “I think they fell in love with the fact that we were a bunch of losers. I think we approached it with more… we persuaded them to come to us.”

Enter Dale Griffin for a word or two. “Mick (Ralphs) has been saying some funny things about Ian in the papers. What he`s been saying… it wasn`t right. What it comes down to is that Pete and I have a big say in what goes on, and Ian does the writing. There never was any preference in what material was used. I don`t know why Mick should think Ian was omnipotent in the band. There seems to be a feeling that the group is controlled by Ian, but he comes to us with his material and we sort it out. The only time we did anything that we weren`t sure about was `Whizz Kids` and in the end it worked out OK. I`ve seen the way a lot of groups work and for democracy this one is really good.”
About a quarter-hour later Mick Ralphs breezed into the room – warmly greeted by the Herefordshire contingent. He comes over to Ian and asks what the problem is, he hasn`t seen the offending piece. “Well Mick, I don`t know whether it`s just me being paranoid…” I slide off, for such conversations are the private property of musicians. Later on, Ian and Mick are sitting at the dinner table together, swopping old stories.
Mott have been offered various production deals recently. It prompts Ian to define his view of what makes success: “It`s a simple formula. A group has to have a good song, they must be able to play it well, onstage, with visuals, and in the studio. That`s what I look for. It`s as simple as that. What`s happened is that groups over the years have disappeared up their own arses looking for something original. I`ve seen groups who couldn`t play a song and they`ve taken people in.
“It`s a simple formula but it took us four years to find it; it sounds easy but it`s very difficult. And it`s much harder now than it was for Mott the Hoople at the start. My advice to young groups is work on the songs, work on the visuals, and don`t get too frightened when you first step inside a studio.”
Finally, and something by the way of a confidence, Ian told me that he`d been offered a movie part. He`d read the script, and liked it. Evidently he`s torn between accepting it, with a new dimension of glory, and his suspicion of the film industry, where he would be a beginner, a greenhorn all over again in games which are if anything less manageable than those of the rock business. “Go on,” says Trudi, with a good-natured mocking laugh, “you will.” Ian denies it; but deep down you feel he wants to really. But it`s the drive to lead really; maybe he`ll make a politician one day.

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

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Elton John, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, Refugee, Queen, Uriah Heep, Sweet, The John Peel Column, Little Feat, Sparks, Strawbs, Ducks Deluxe, Alquin,  Dr. Feelgood, Jimmy DeWar.

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

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

ARTICLE ABOUT Queen FROM SOUNDS, January 5, 1974

With the new Queen movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” now out in theaters everywhere, a movie I most definitely will go and see, I think this article can be interesting to look back on. Here they still were in their infancy and not yet the mega-band that they were to become. It must have been nice for Mr. Hayman, or anyone else for that matter, to meet such an influential band this early in their career. That`s sure something to tell your grandchildren or anyone else that have just a little bit of interest in this extremely creative and wonderful band.

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Queen: Britain`s biggest unknowns

By Martin Hayman

Queen are being hailed as the natural successors to Led Zeppelin on the other side of the Atlantic. This may cause an outburst of derisive laughter, hoots, boos, jeers and catcalls from those who think Zep are the cat`s whiskers. But most of the people who have seen Queen agree that they are pretty hot.
They have been touring with Mott the Hoople and make a good showing on what is now a pretty tough assignment, opening the show for Mott: They write and play punchy songs, they are loud and aggressive to the right degree, they look good and move well on stage, especially their singer Freddie Mercury, who besides strutting and prancing has an excellent sharp-edged voice with a lot of power.
It makes one wonder why the New York Dolls were so lavishly feted on their derisory couple of British gigs. I reckon that a British provincial audience would have pulled the Dolls apart in a jiffy; Queen handle them well, and they were getting encores on their set.
And the public are giving them the thumbs up too, which is reflected in steady sales of their debut album – standing now at 15,000 in Britain and a quite incredible 85,000 in the States, where it has crept into the lower reaches of the album charts. Not bad when you think how comparatively unknown they are even here. Evidently not as unknown as we imagine. You might say they were Britain`s biggest unknowns.
I went to Trident Studios on a rainy night before Christmas to find the band hard at work trying to complete their second album before the inevitable cutbacks in production at EMI slowed up their progress. For at this point Queen are at a crucial stage of their career – just before the break, as they say in the business. If they are to maintain the initial impetus it is essential that they get out another album – and preferably a single too – and then get a support gig with a big British act in America.

Business-wise Queen seem to be quite well set. They are signed to Trident Audio Productions, the production and management arm of the studios. Queen are TAP`s first signing and this is likely to give the group considerable leverage with EMI. They are no newcomers to the music scene though, it`s only in the last year that they have turned to music full-time. Bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor had been in a semi-professional group called Smile for a year or two while at college, but it was not until singer Freddie Mercury`s arrival that they named themselves Queen. Wisely they all decided to finish their respective courses before going professional.
John, originally from Leicester, had been at the Chelsea College of Arts and Technology; Roger, up from Cornwall after leaving dental college, joined up with Freddie to run a stall in the Kensington Market; Brian May the guitarist took a degree in Physics and went on to do a Ph.D. in, believe it or not, infra-red astronomy; and Freddie they just describe as a “Kensington poseur”.
I talked to John and Roger in Trident`s re-mix room as they played through such rough mixes as they had finished. The sound was still a bit raw and ragged, but there was no mistaking the originality of the songs and the thrusting energy of the playing, the kind of buzz you only get from a new band whose creativity has not yet peaked.
First song up was “Fairy Feller`s Masterstroke”, so titled after a painting by the Victorian Richard Dadd (it hangs in the Tate Gallery). “Freddie just wrote a song using all the characters in the painting – it`s fairly incomprehensible,” commented Roger. Next up were “Loser In The End” and the atmospheric “Ogre Battle”, with bumping and grinding effects. Freddie (the one with the Bugs Bunny mush and the wigwam of dark hair) is the principal writer, followed closely by Brian, although Roger occasionally turns in a song.

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The band were complimentary about the way their first album had been handled by the American record company Elektra, who had used the original cover art-work supplied by the group, which EMI here had not done. They also complained that the record had gone out of stock for six weeks in this country, which could have done them a lot of damage if they were not pushing hard.
It`s to avoid such complications that they are working so hard on the album, to give plenty of margin for other people`s errors. They have their heads screwed on, these fellers, following the business manoeuvres with an interested eye, and Roger was able to give me a sort of market breakdown of Queen`s global trading position – they are especially strong, it appears, in Germany and Sweden as well as the US.
But closer to home, they feel that they acquitted themselves fairly well on the recent Mott tour, despite an outdated PA – actually David Bowie`s old Ground Control. “It was the first time we`d done gig after gig, night after night,” says John, “but we were really pleased with some places – Newcastle and Glasgow and, strangely enough, Bournemouth, seemed to know about us.”
Continued Roger: “I`ve been with the band two and a half years and I`m the newest member. Queen was Freddie`s idea really, about three years back. We`d like to make it everywhere, but we are placing a lot of emphasis on America, but we don`t want to go out there too soon and blow it. For example we`ve been giving a lot of thought to getting in a keyboard. We may get another guy in. It would thicken the sound up. It`s a bit limited with only three instruments on stage, but we don`t really want to make it a five-piece. We`re going to do a tour of concerts before we go to the States. That`ll probably be in April. It`s got to improve a lot yet, the stage sound has to be good every night.”

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

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Denny Laine, Hughie Nicholson, Savoy Brown, Deep Purple, Greenslade, Gary Glitter, Dave Lambert.

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

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

ARTICLE ABOUT Lynyrd Skynyrd FROM SOUNDS, October 13, 1973

This album review will be liked by every southern rock fan out there, except maybe for the spelling of Ronnie Van Zant`s name. So enjoy!

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Album Review:

“Lynyrd Skynyrd”
(Sounds Of The South MCA 363) Import

By Martin Hayman

This group with the rather tricky name hail from the Southern States of America where, as you know, so much good music has already come. Al Kooper says he saw the group playing in a club in Atlanta, Georgia, and promptly signed them up for his new MCA-backed label Sounds of the South. He told me in a recent interview that Lynyrd Skynyrd play “the most real rock and roll you ever heard” and after listening to their first album, which has had astonishingly widespread airplay across the USA, I must agree absolutely. The shock of hearing this music is comparable to that of first listening to Chuck Berry ten years ago: its strength and crude raunchiness just bowls me over. Not only that, but the purity and the originality of the music, coming as it does straight out of the swamps and subjected to no commercial refinement or adaptation, just straight into the studio and record what they had been playing for years together. Lynyrd Skynyrd are seven men plus various additions. Ron van Zaart is their singer and is co-credited with composing all cuts with either guitarist Gary Rossington or Allen Rossington, also guitar (with guitarist Ed King on one song; along with Al Kooper and drummer Robert Burns on another). There are three guitarists in the band and they swop with ease from lead to rhythm and bass, indicating that each one knows the score: rock and roll is based on rhythm instruments. And they show on the strength of this album that there are few groups around who could even hold a candle to them. Perhaps they might sound a little scrappy by comparison with Redwing or Little Feat; But they make both these groups sound effete, combining their grasp of the feel of blues and country with the sheer energy of our own Status Quo. To check this out I would suggest a listen to the album`s last cut “Free Bird”, opening on a doomy note with piano and organ and impressively thunderous tympani introducing a medium-pace drawling blues with beautiful slide guitar work from Allen Collins admirably underscored by measured rhythm section work, which then takes off to a chugging beat and a guitar solo which gets faster and faster and faster. Just rock and roll played as tough and uncomplexed as it can be; enough to make anyone want to disappear back into the wilds and find out what it`s all about.

Lynyrd

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

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Dave Mattacks, David Crosby, The JSD Band, Phil Manzanera, Status Quo, Jerry Shirley, Sutherland Bros. and Quiver, Jo Jo Gunne, Allan Taylor, Geordie.

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

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