New Musical Express

ARTICLE ABOUT Slade FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, March 6, 1976

Yet another album review. Slade tried to crack the American market with this one. They didn`t have much success there, and the album only went to number 14 in the English charts and disappeared after only 4 weeks. Not what Slade were used to at the time, but they would make a strong comeback later in their career.

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SLADE: Nobody`s Fools
(Polydor)

By Tony Stewart

Who really knows why Slade haven`t released an album for well over a year?
One guess is that they deliberately withdrew from England as a tactical manoeuvre after “Slade In Flame” because of declining fortunes and over-exposure.
And to prevent a total collapse of their stature a new market had to be opened, and so their energy was directed towards America. But apparently their trojan work schedule excluded recording.
Now, with “Nobody`s Fools”, which is really their first proper group album of new material since the `73 release of “Sladest” (“Old, New, Borrowed And Blue” and “Flame” can be discounted in this scheme of things) they`re back.
Whoopee!
But as what? Now that does seem the pertinent question.
Slade were very much a singles band, worshipped by the kiddies who turned first to the BCRs and more recently to Slik. Now Noddy and the boys have been deposed, without even the help of hearts growing fonder due to their absence, it`s likely that “Fools” is meant as a serious crack at the album market.

In certain respects their present position is not totally dissimilar to that of the Who in the 60s. As a singles band they eventually discovered they could only go so far before peaking and as a necessity realised they had to gain album respect.
The Who made it. But will Slade?
After all, can you really imagine Slade`s music receiving the same critical discussion as “Who`s Next” or “The Who By Numbers”? Eh?
Well, if this album is an accurate representation of their album-making ability I doubt it very much. Oh, Slade are an exciting band. Plenty of grit and kick, and an unrefined charm which has been captured from their live performances in the studio environment; but though superficially the music is of a reasonable standard, there`s not a lot of depth. Really the album is just a collection of hooky little singles (like “Let`s Call It Quits” and “In For A Penny” which have already appeared as such, and the title track and “L.A. Jinx” that could well do) and passable B sides (“Get On Up” and “Scratch My Back”).
Most of the lyrics are banal and drab, and the only feature which cuts through with any effect is Holder`s vulgarity, expressed on “In For A Penny” and “Did Ya Mama Ever Tell Ya.”

Whether their potential is greater than this is arguable, but as Slade exist on this album they`re working within extreme confines of style; restrictions best illustrated by the ripoff of Toussaint`s “Brickyard Blues” for “Let`s Call It Quits”, and the hybrid of a Diddley rhythm and Lennon`s “Give Peace A Chance” for “I`m A Talker”.
So there`s at least two instances of the ol` inspiration being short. Perhaps there are more.
And even the way they play the material could do with a bit of beefing up.
As it is, Holder, the poor man`s John Lennon, pretty well carries the band through, with Dave Hill sticking close to him like a piece of chewing gum and relentlessly strangling the same figures out of his guitar. Don Powell and Jim Lea (drums and bass respectively) keep a solid backbeat.
To be seriously considered as album artistes they`ve certainly got to come up with something more substantial than this.
But at least the Who can relax a while. There`s no competition.

Slade Nobody's_Fools_(Slade_album_-_cover_art)

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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Bowie, The sexual language of rock Part 2, Phil Spector, General Johnson, Climax Blues Band, Gil Scott-Heron, Slik.

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 Montrose FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, March 6, 1976

I was originally thinking of transcribing the really long article with David Bowie in this issue, but then I found it on a Bowie site, and what`s the fun if someone already did it?
So, instead of that one, I give you a record review in this and the next post. I don`t always do them, but they are great because they are relatively short and it is quite amusing to find out what the reviewers thought when the albums first were released. So, here we go with number one…

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MONTROSE: Warner Bros. Presents Montrose
(Warner Bros.)

By John Tobler

Titles like the one on this record make the title lines on a review look silly. Are they trying to get back at us for something? Anyway, this is Montrose`s third album, tidily conforming to the one album a year syndrome, and thus presumably indicating that their records sell respectable but average quantities.
Exactly what you`d expect from a middle of the table second division band who can effortlessly maintain their position without ever improving on it.
At one point, I had very high hopes for this band – their leader had played on two of my favourite records, “Tupelo Honey” and “St. Dominic`s Preview”, both by Van Morrison, as well as Edgar Winter`s “Frankenstein” thing, and original bass player Bill Church had also been with Van Morrison. A sound basis of good taste, I presumed. Then their records appeared, and it was obvious that the Winter direction had been taken, and while that`s their privilege, the heavier side of things is a much more competitive battleground than the Morrison/Scaggs area, where there never seem to be enough records to acquire.

After the first album, Bill Church left, after the second, vocalist Sam Galpin did likewise, and now Montrose and drummer Denny Carmassi are the only originals, with Bob James on vocals, Alan Fitzgerald on bass, and the addition of keyboard man Jim Alcivar. Seemingly, their intention was to write most of the album in the studio, as the first side predominantly credits all five as writers. Within the bounds that such an arrangement produces, it comes off reasonably well, with the exception of an express train version of “Twenty Flight Rock” as in Eddie Cochran, which merits kinder treatment.
The second side is considerably inferior to these ears. “Dancin` Feet” boasts a riff that I will be pleased never to hear again, and three of the other tracks, including “O Lucky Man”, the Alan Price film theme, are just ordinary. The exception is “One And A Half”, a solo by Ronnie Montrose which displays some of that subtlety I had hoped would be there in rather more force. Elsewhere, both he and Alcivar play better than competently, but there comes a point where, unless one is listening to Led Zeppelin, enough is enough of this sort of music. The production, by Montrose himself, doesn`t help much either, with a generally muddy feel and with the vocals mixed too far back for my liking. I suspect that this outing will produce no new converts.

Montrose-Warner-Bros-Presents

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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Bowie, The sexual language of rock Part 2, Phil Spector, General Johnson, Climax Blues Band, Gil Scott-Heron, Slik.

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 Trevor Bolder (Spiders From Mars) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 28, 1976

This update on my blog took longer than expected because of commitments at work, but finally; here is a new post for you all to enjoy. This time with one very important bass player. This article should be of equal interest for Bowie-fans as for fans of Uriah Heep and Mick Ronson.
Trevor Bolder sadly died in May 2013 at the age of 62 from cancer.

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“We`ve still got the Bowie costumes. We can wear those.”

…says down-home, duffle-coated, non-decadent Spider From Mars Trevor Bolder to debonair, trench-coated, cosmopolitan Lizard from Poland Chris Salewicz (late of the uncredited Gong feature on last week`s page 12). Thrill to it!

Hull. H.U.L.L.
Ah, the romance contained in those four letters: Images of a nation torn apart by the hardship inflicted on the Men Of Hull by the heinous Icelanders; a spiritual kinship with the Brest of Jean Genet; the scent of rotting fish drifting down the Beverley Road. Perhaps one day Sailor will write a romantic concept album about Hull.
Unless the Spiders From Mars beat `em to it.
It is in Hull (where else?) that the Spiders From Mars are currently tucked away rehearsing for a British tour. “A long way from David Bowie,” you might think. “How unchic,” you may well grunt. And you`d probably be right.
After all, these lads could well be accused of being a little naughty going around calling themselves by that name. Wherefore art thou, Ronno? Also half-whither pianist Mike Garson direct from working with Lulu and David Essex – who`s about to split the land back to his native USA to renew his British visa. He will not be joining the Spiders From Mars. He has, however, played on their album. He may join them for the tour, when it materialises. If they haven`t managed to find another keyboard player, that is.
And “they”? “They” are bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Woody Woodmansey. Half the original Bowie-backing Spiders. To be precise, the rhythm section.

“All depends on how much importance you put on a name and how much you put on the music and the band,” comments Trevor Bolder stunningly. We are seated on some peculiarly spine-twisting Habitat chairs (the Campus range, actually) in an office overlooking the Edgware Road at the headquarters of Pye. Not Hull in the strictest geographical sense, perhaps, but close to it spiritually.
With Trevor is Pete McDonald, the Spiders` vocalist. Pete speaks infrequently and yawns frequently. This is because he couldn`t go to sleep last night because he was driving down from his home in Newcastle to London. Via Hull, of course, to pick up Trevor from his home.
Now, Trevor. I do feel it unlikely that you would have been booked to play the few billtopping college dates you have played if you`d been masquerading as the 50% unknown band that you actually are under another name.
“I dunno. I never booked them.” More Trevor Bolder stun-speech. And then: “It`s a leverage. It`s a place for us to go from. Why the hell should I try and start rock-bottom again if I`ve got something I can use? But it`s as hard for us to use the name again as it is not to use it, if you know what I mean. Because people say `Oh, the bloody Spiders again. What they doin`?`. And then they just brush it aside.
“But we like the name and we never did get to do an album on our own as a backup band. Which was planned to be done. It fell through when we just disbanded, you know, when Ronson went and did his own album. And so we decided to do one. And we like the name. We think it`s a good name. It`s unusual. People always go `Oooo. What?`.”

And yet, Trevor, you must admit to only being half of the original Spiders.
“I think if we`re going to do anything anyway it`s going to be on what music the band gives off.” Trevor disposes with further finicky obsessions about detail with true Northern bluntness.
With the exception of Woody Woodmansey – who is at this moment ” `ammerin` out” a new drum-kit down in East Grinstead (ho-hum) and who was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar – all the Bowie Spiders recorded “Pinups”. “Pinups” was, in fact, the last time that these musicians were to record with the Beckenham Boy although no-one knew that at the time. Shortly afterwards they entered the studio with Mick Ronson in charge to lay down the tracks for “Slaughter On 10th Avenue”.
“I thought `e should have played more rock`n`roll meself to be honest,” laughs Trevor, “I really thought he shouldn`t have gone out and tried to be a singer. He should have concentrated on being a rock guitar player.”
Question voiced: So whose idea was it that he should lay down his guitar and start airing the tonsils? (Question implied: So tell me all about Tony De Fries` manipulation of Poor Innocent Ronno?).
“Is. It was `is career. `E did what `e wanted. `E `ad a free `and in everything `e wanted to do. `E wasn`t told by De Fries. I think `e just `ad a lack of experience at that point in what direction to go in and `e just got together wheatever `e could and just did an album. And `e just went in the direction it went in.”
The Pye press officer sticks his head around the door and mumbles something unintelligible to my ears.

“We`re `oping,” Trevor translates, “to be doing the big dates with Dave in London as a support band. It`s just an idea that we`ve been talking on the phone about” (the much more financially reasonable localised Hull telephone service, I expect). “Might not come off. All depends what `e feels like. But `e keeps changing `is mind. You can never tell with `im. `E`s that sort of a person,” he adds, looking knowingly at me.
You had that problem with him when you were working together?
“Oooooh. All the time.”
Because I`ve always had the impression that David Bowie is enormously together and seems to know exactly what he wants.
“Oh, `e does but I mean like. `E knows what `e`s after. `E knows what direction `e`s going in but `e changes `is mind about things. For the right time. One day `e`ll say one thing and then `e`ll realise it`s the wrong thing and `e`ll change it again. That`s the way `e works.”
As a young lady enters the room to search unsuccessfully for “Jim`s diary” – Trevor talks about DB and Money: “We was just on wages. Always was. Well,” he pauses a moment or two, “We thought it might have been different but it never was. I mean, we got good wages. The money went up as the band progressed. As it got bigger and bigger we earned more. We didn`t earn a fortune like people thought we did. De Fries and Dave earned the money. We just earned a good living.”

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So what happened after “Pinups”? Why`dja pack it in?
“With Bowie??? I didn`t really pack it in. You mean playing? I don`t know.” He says it as if the question has never occurred to him. “We never saw each other after that. I mean, I didn`t see David for about four or five months, you know, and I went off and played on Mick`s album. And whether `e thought `Eh eh? `E`s gone off with Mick and I`ll get somebody else in` I don`t know.
“But I just accepted it. I was too busy working wi` Mick.”
“On to play on `Don`t Worry`, the second Mick Ronson solo album,” I prompt?
He nods: “That was a funny album. It took months. We went to France to record it first and we used this studio that wasn`t very good and we spent two weeks there and `e only kept about two tracks, I think. Two backing tracks. And `e came back and recorded it all again at Trident. A very expensive job.
“It was just after that he joined up with Mott. I don`t know why.”
Trevor Bolder then made lengthy and abortive searches to find musicians to form a band of his own. None were suitable. One day he walked into Cube Records and met up with Barry Bethel, a MainMan organizations expatriate. Bethel recommended first a vocalist, Pete McDonald, from a Cube signed Geordie band, Bullfrog. Bolder got off on his Paul Rodgers-esque vocals. “And I decided to get together with Woody (Woodmansey) as well. And Woody thought it was a good idea `cause `e wasn`t doing anything at the time. So there was three of us and we needed a guitar player.”
Pete McDonald recommended yet another Cube artist, Dave Black, guitarist with a band called Kestrel. “Sort of McLaughlin, Yes type of thing. Different style totally from what I`ve been used to. A very fast guitar player. And we got `im down, got off on `is playing and we went from there. This is February of last year.”

Was there any period after you left Bowie where you wondered what the hell you were going to do next?
“Well, I automatically thought `What the `ell am I going to do`, you know. But I decided that there was only one thing to do and that was to form another band, you know. Get playing again. Because I `adn`t stopped playing just `cause I`d finished with David. That was all in the past.
“Even when I look back on it now it`s very hard to bring to mind all the times when I was onstage. It`s like I`ve been to the pictures and watched it at the pictures and you get like glimpses. I`d sort of forgotten what it was like playing with him, you know. It`s all sort of gone and I`m just like looking for summ`at new now.
“But I mean like you play with Dave and you play bass and you contribute to the albums with a few ideas but that`s about as far as it goes. You don`t get to write any songs.
“Whereas this way we`ve got more freedom. You can do what you want and enjoy it. Everybody gets to write and to put in their ideas and it feels more like a stable band whereas before it was a band and one man and you didn`t know what was going to happen next. And in the end, of course, we just bust up.”
Pete McDonald breaks his silence: “The writing potential`s great `cos we wrote that whole album in five days. It just seemed to click.”
And you expect the album to chart?
“Ye-ahhh,” says Trevor, just a little hesitantly,” If we get the right promotion and get the band onto a tour and let people see the band. It`s a very visual band. Very rock. We don`t just stand there.
“We`ve still got the Bowie costumes. We`ve still got the clothes. We can always wear those. But as compared to the Bowie thing it`s much more raw. Much more rock. There`s not as much theatre.”
Pete for the third time: “It`s a lot of fun as well. It`s all amusement. The serious bits don`t come into it too much. If somebody makes the wrong move they just get filled in by the others. No stars.”
“I think people take the business too seriously,” nods Trevor Bolder. “I mean, I did when I was with Dave. I used to think everything had to be so right. But you`ve got to go out there and have fun and that`s what we`re trying to do. To enjoy it for ourselves as much as the audience.”

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Those were the days – when Boots sold records! 

 
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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Emmylou Harris, The Sexual language of rock (not a band!), Dave Burland, Johnny Clarke, Steve Harley, Kokomo, 10 cc, Lee Brilleaux.

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 Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 14, 1976

I wonder what kind of guitar the Broom is? You haven`t heard of either? Well, you will read about it in this article, but I can not give you any answers. I guess that Mr. Anderson really knew how to spell this famous guitars name, especially when you know that one of his interests is Greek. The writer of this article lives in South London and runs his own company called Rexclusive these days – for the most of the 70s he worked for NME.
The other person mentioned in this article, John Birch, sadly passed away in november 2000. His company still exists under the name of John Birch Guitars UK.
Tony Iommi just recently ended all concert activity with his band Black Sabbath, one of the greatest bands that will ever exist for all eternity.

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The Secret Of The Hidden Valley

A thrilling melodrama by ever-popular Rex Anderson, in which two intrepid explorers recount the adventures that befell them in the upper reaches of the M1 – homeland of the Iommi tribe.

Somewhere in the upper reaches of the M1; in the untamed lands where the swarming bees drive the natives indoors in the summer-time and lone wolves prowl at night in search of a tasty morsel of visitor`s ankle; somewhere, on a lesser tributory of the 47th intersection is a land where no white man`s eye has ever set foot.
There lives Tony Iommi, lead guitarist of the Black Sabbath tribe with his stunningly attractive native bride, Susan, whom some believe has strange, enchanting powers and whom some call simply She.
There too, in the misty, murky foggy nights of the forgotten country-set mansions of the awe-inspiring Leicestershire landscape, dwells the great mystic witchdoctor, friend of the Brum-brogued Iommi and soothsayer to those in the lead guitar fraternity who have read the signs.
Some call him “Ablokeimet,” – but locally he is known by the strange, almost unproununcable native name of John Birch.
Our story begins one mild-but-drizzly-on-high-ground January afternoon (visibility good, outlook fair) when two intrepid explorers set out from Long Acre (the old NME base before the great river crossing) with our trusty native guide in search of the wisdom of Iommi.
We were destined not to meet the legendary Birch, but rumour has it that he speaks a strange tongue which few men (other than the mysterious tribe of Electrical Engineers) can understand, and that when he speaks this tongue he is often siezed in a mystical and sacred trance so that none can stop him for several hours.

Our journey passed uneventfully. We found the Iommi palace without mishap. It was indeed a grand residence, of such a size that Birmingham council could have built an enclosed shopping precinct in the hallway and erected a council estate in the conservatory.
We were welcomed and made comfortable by the hospitable Iommi and having put him at his ease and explained the functionings of the camera – dispelling all ideas that his soul would remain imprinted on the image of the negative – I questioned him as to his dealings with John Birch and as to what of his teachings concerning the guitar he could pass on to me.
Iommi explained, in almost perfect English, that the jungle telegraph – what he described as the grape-vine – first brought his attention to the great wizard but that at that time he was conversant in only the common magic of electronics and that it was Iommi himself who encouraged him to research the higher magic of guitar manufacture.
He said: “I went to see him with one of the guitars to do one of the pick-ups or something. He wasn`t actually making guitars at that stage, but there were so many people going to see him, asking him to repair this or that – broken necks and other bits that went wrong – that he started up a little business at home doing repairs.”
Birch`s initial interest and expertise had been in electronics, but Iommi says he became involved with the rest of  the make-up of guitars and began to criticise the workmanship in many well known makes.

Throughout the conversation Iommi referred to a guitar which he said was very popular by a strange name that I was never able to translate and so I will refer to such guitars throughout as Brooms.
Please remember that whenever I mention Brooms I really mean a famous make of guitar that, as I say, I was never quite able to catch the exact name of.
Iommi said of Birch: “He said that a lot of workmanship in the guitars was bad and I can agree with him. It is. The newer Brooms are not as well made they used to be. I have a Brooms that is badly made and it`s not even one of the later ones. The later ones are worse.”
He produced a red one which he said was terrible when he first had it but which had been doctored by the amazing Birch.
“I think if you can get hold of the older ones the work is there. Now they are mass produced. They are just churned out.”
I asked him if he didn`t think the newer ones were merely immature and that possibly the older ones seemed better because any faulty ones had been thrown away or repaired so that only the best had survived.
He agreed that there was some validity in my argument. He said that he liked to play a guitar that felt as though it had been used, and that one of the great feats of magic that the amazing Birch performed was to produce a guitar, a brand new one, with a neck that felt as though it had been matured by time and use.

“With most new guitars you buy now, the frets are rough. It just doesn`t feel right. That`s how it was with that Broom – I picked it up and it was terrible, but I knew I could get work done on it. I brought it back to John, had all the neck taken down, had new frets, new tuning keys and a new pick-up put on. It`s virtually a different guitar now.”
What is it that John Birch does to his guitars, apart from that, to make them distinctive and better than other guitars?
“The guitar itself is made of one piece of wood from head to tail – whereas Brooms are joined at the neck/body junction and they`re weak there. They`re also weak at the head/neck junction. If you drop them they snap. But Birch guitars will stand up to very rough treatment, so they`re perfect for taking on the road. Look at this Broom.”
Iommi picked up the guitar, strummed it and applied light pressure to the neck. The strings immediately dropped a semi-tone.
“You can sit down and tune it and when you stand up it goes out of tune. I like the old guitars and this one has a particularly nice feel, but there is that problem – which is why with the newer ones they`ve tried to stop it by building this heel where the neck meets the body. But I can`t say it`s a well-made guitar.”
Iommi is very critical of the instrument. He doesn`t like the heavy tailpiece, but says he bought the guitar for a particular job and because he knew he could have it worked on.

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“But you can`t compare it to one of these,” he said, indicating his Birch guitars. “Even in looks alone they knock spots off it. And now he`s (Birch) got these different pick-ups so they`ve got tone as well.
“Why people bought the old Brooms was to get that old, dirty rusty sound and because Clapton has used them and all the rest of it. But if you`re playing at volume, especially like we do (chuckle), that sound becomes squealier and howlier and God knows what else.
“I`ve had a few Brooms before. I had a rare 1951 three-pick-up model or something in the days of `Paranoia` – in fact, I done `Paranoia` on it – and as soon as you plugged it in it squealed. The coils were so loose in the pick-ups that they just used to vibrate and cause feedback.
“What Birch has done is produce the sound of the Les Pauls, that raw gutsy sound, but made it really solid so that there`s no whistling.”
Another Birch innovation is a guitar with interchangable pick-ups. The pick-up itself can be slotted in from the back. He and Iommi have a patent on this idea, which was perfected as a result of Tony`s need for one guitar with the different pick-up sounds of all the others for studio work.
“Normally you can alter the controls on the guitar or on the amp or use a different amp, but you don`t actually change the effect of the pick-up itself. If you put all the bass on the amp you get a muffly sound and if you take the bass off and put on all the treble you get a thin sound, but the pick-ups have a sound of their own and you can only build on it with the amp.

“Like the Fender sound… a Fender guitar, with those single-pole pick-ups has a thinnish sound. If you have power behind you from the stack you can get a really gutsy sound from them.
“Using an AC30 with a treble booster you can get a particularly good sound with the Strat, but I`ve tried it on recording and I find it really thin in comparison.”
Iommi has a Birch Interchangeable for recording and another Birch, with beautiful inlaid crosses all up the fingerboard, which is now his favourite for stage work. He is unstoppable in his praise of the amazing Birch.
“I think he`s a genius in his own right. The difference with him is he`s trying all the time to make something better. He`s trying to make the perfect guitar – the perfect instrument for anybody, not just one particular player.
“He can make anything you want, including the sound of the pick-ups. I tell him what sound I want, perhaps play him a record and tell him it`s something between that and this, and he can produce it. He`ll just keep doing it until it comes right.”
Birch doesn`t just make custom guitars for the stars. He also makes standard models that come off a small production line and are slowly finding their way into the musical stores.
When buying one, the customer, presumably for a fee, can request any adjustments he likes. Iommi believes Birch`s retail price for a production-line guitar is about £250.

“But people think they can get a Broom if they pay just that bit more… they think because it`s a Broom it`s got that much more in it. But it hasn`t. It fools a lot of people. If they would only pick up a Birch and feel the difference…
“Birch also has a different system for truss-rods that I don`t quite understand. And he sets all the controls in epoxy resin so everything is absolutely solid. Another nice thing is this plate right across the back so you can never scratch the wood. He only employs one type of timber now, too.”
Examining the guitar, it`s apparent that Birch has coated the fretboard with polyurethane varnish, sanding both fingerboard and frets between each coat. The result is a scalloped effect similar to that seen on some antique classical guitars which were originally made that way so that ladies would find them easier to play.
The guitar also has a virtually flat fingerboard; there`s no bevel to speak of – a feature that Tony apparently prefers.
“Nothing is impossible for him. It got to the stage where I was asking him silly things. Making things up like – can you build a little tape recorder in the guitar? And he would say: `Yes… yes I think that can be done if we…”
“He`s also got a pick-up now that`s two sounds in one. It`s got a switch to give you a different sound… He`s more or less built two pick-ups into one. He was even talking about building one to fill all the space between the bridge and the end of the neck. It would be so powerful and gutsy it would just blow the amps up. But this one is as near as damn it to the Broom sound I wanted – and he hasn`t ripped a Broom pick-up apart, he just knew what was wanted electronically.”

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The controversial LP-cover once made for the band Boxer.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Fania All-Stars, David Bowie, Sailor, Gay and Terry Woods.

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 Queen FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 14, 1976

This is a really good article about Queen, but at the end of it there seems to be some “filler” when we get an update on what Ian Hunter and Bernie Taupin is doing. But all that is fine when the rest of this is so good.
Enjoy!

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`I conquered New York in a maroon velour bath robe`

Actually it took a little more than that – like a satin jump suit slit two feet below the navel and four impressive Queen shows at The Beacon Theatre. Here`s the full story.

By Lisa Robinson

Things seem different this time around for Queen. No one has to ask who they are, there are even girl fans standing outside the entrance of the posh Sherry Netherland hotel where the band have a penthouse suite.
High-powered publicity people are taking care of the press, and an expensive party in their honour follows the first of four sell-out shows at New York`s Beacon Theatre.
And yet, once again, when Freddie Mercury and I sit down to do an interview, we both have the `flu. Even John Reid, manager of Queen and Elton John, can`t do anything about that…
“But last year, with our previous management, I couldn`t even talk to you in person,” Mercury laughed. “This year, I can at least sit up, and talk face-to-face… So that`s the difference.”
He coughed, seated on a couch, dressed in pink Biba (circa 1973) pyjamas and a maroon velour bathrobe.
Brian May also seemed a bit under the weather – but was fully dressed in a black velvet suit, having done an interview previously in the hotel dining room.
“There`s just so much to take in in New York,” said Freddie, explaining his touch of the `flu. Pressing further, I ask how much they feel their new management has had to do with their continuing rise: “Absolutely nothing!” laughed Freddie, then adds, “he`ll kill me…”
“I think it`s very hard to pin down, really,” says Brian. “We feel better. Some of the things that have come about because of John Reid have helped us settle down and finish the album.”

“It`s a whole new outlook,” said Freddie, “and certainly the new management has helped a great deal. It`s given us a release, and opened up whole new areas of thinking. We`ve done things that we wanted to do for a long time.
“And it`s just shown in our music in a way, and in the way we`ve come up with this new album… and subsequently it`s led to better chart places and sales… Things trigger off…”
What about the rumours of Brian leaving the band? “Oh, that,” May shrugged. “No, that was really blown out of… that happened a year before, it was never a serious thing. I got friendly with Russell and Ron Mael, live quite near them and we sort of got on well, and we talked of doing something together at some point. That was really as far as it went.
“It was at a time when Queen weren`t doing very much and they probably thought that I wasn`t doing very much but in fact it was when I was recovering from being ill. It was no big deal, you know; it was just a friendly talk. There was never any danger of my leaving Queen.”
“The only reason he`d leave Queen is to become an astronomer,” Mercury added, “not to join another band. My god” – he sneers.

“It`d be silly,” said Brian, “because we`re so fortunate in having this combination… and especially at this point when we`re just beginning to find ourselves. It`s all rubbish about that…”
Mercury: “Especially when it`s just starting to be fun.”
What do you mean, starting to be fun?
“Well, you know… we`re riding on the crest of a wave, and things have finally opened up for us. The rewards are finally beginning to show in the sense that we`re now being respected as musicians, and our songs are hitting the right kind of people. And that`s very rewarding.”
I wondered if, with the astonishing success of the single, as well as a worldwide prominence, they felt “respectable” in a way that had previously eluded them.
“We`d always had confidence in what we were doing,” Freddie answered, “and little things – like the press – didn`t really get us down. If it`s a bad review I tear it up.”
Brian: “It always hurts. I mean, even if there`s an audience of ten thousand and there`s one guy saying `rubbish`, it hurts.”

Queen performed at the Beacon Theatre here – four shows with about 3000 audience each night. Why not a larger hall?
“Well, all the places we`re playing are small halls that work well with the act at the moment,” said Brian.
“Instead of doing one big show we`re doing four small shows,” said Freddie.
How would the visuals change if there was one big show?
Mercury: “I`d just have to project further – grins, hand poised on his chest, which brings me to… ahhhh… his nails.
What shade of black is that? Black is really hard. You have to be careful… it can rot your nails.
“I know. I used to use Biba, but now I use Miners… do you know them? Do they have that here?”
No. How many coats to get it that dark?
“Only one,” he said, “and it goes on really smooth. Reminds me, I have to do them for tonight…”
We look over a photo of the group on stage… Who did your blouse, Brian?
“Zandra… I`d used some other things, but went back to her this time. I`m really pleased.”
“What about you, Freddie, are you changing clothes mid-show this time?
“I change after every number now,” he cracks. “You`re coming to a fashion show, not a concert…
We touch on the length of time the single`s been number one in Britain.
Freddie: “Slim Whitman in 1955 was Number One for 11 weeks… couple of others that have been eight weeks, nine weeks, but we`ve reached that, which in this day and age, I think is rather nice.”

Brian: “Once it got up there, and really caught fire, it just sold more and more. We couldn`t believe that people were still going out there and buying it.”
Freddie: “It sold over a million and a quarter in Britain… just outrageous. Imagine all the grandmothers groovin` to it.
“I think our music is becoming even more versatile, so we can please a pretty wide range of people. And the people who have come to see us, even in the few concerts we`ve done at home, have spanned a wide age group.”
Talking about “Night At The Opera” (record not film) Freddie explains: “Every molecule on that album is us, just the four of us, every iota. No session men, not for strings, not for anything… and we don`t try to reproduce that onstage, we present the music in a different way for stage.
“Sometimes we think about performing with more musicians, or a set… but at the moment, there`s just so much going within the four of us, that it would be a shame to latch onto something else. Because we haven`t quite burnt up our energies doing what we want to do now.”
“Maybe at some stage,” says Brian, “but at the moment the stage act`s evolved in its own right. It`s separate from the album. The songs are the same, but the treatment is so different, and that`s just what we do onstage. But for the moment it is what it is, this is not the time to do it otherwise.”

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David Johansen (New York Dolls) and Freddie Mercury

I`ll say Queen`s management is classy. I arrive (with a mild flu in the midst of a snowstorm) at the Beacon Theatre and, predictably enough, find two people in my seats.
No ushers to be found anywhere, and the huge men guarding the doors refuse to help. In the midst of my plight – for I am blind as a bat unless I sit up front – manager John Reid comes to my rescue. He manages to con the 7` 4″ black man at the door (after various red tape and approval) to help me get to my seat, accompanies me down the aisle, stands there while everyone in the row is checked out, and at last manages to evict the two who have obviously trespassed.
So… sometime after “Flick Of The Wrist” and before “Killer Queen” I sit down. Well, I thought, no matter how the concert goes, John Reid gets a rave review for his performance.
“HE`S THE SEXIEST THING I EVER SAW!!”, shrieked Linda Stein sitting right in front of me. “Oh my god…” I whisper to my associate, look at his… errr… “Socks?”, he asks, not hearing me properly because of the volume.
The object of these observations was, of course, Freddie Mercury, who had the audience in the palm of his hand. Dressed in white satin, chest exposed… a flash of Flash Gordon at the wrists, he was all over the stage, down the ramp (very showbiz), at the piano, and his voice was in total control in a theatre that has had its share of sound problems.
The crowd was completely hysterical with every number; “Prophet” featured a digital delay system that was dramatically effective for Freddie`s voice… technology is wonderful when it doesn`t enslave you…
At the end of that number a cone-like silver object with flashing red lights was lowered to the stage over the drums as the band went off… and when they returned Freddie was dressed in… a black version of the satin jumpsuit, slit all the way down to there.
They went straight into “Stone Cold Crazy”. Girls were literally screaming all around.

It`s easy to see why Queen have made it here; they combine a sense of the theatrical (without the outrageous gimmicks) of the biggest American band – Kiss; have a legitimate hard rock appeal – like Aerosmith; and above all, have the added aura of being a Big British Band with the respectability of musical complexity.
While some critics here find Queen pretentious, I thought this was a stunning concert; they have a keen sense of showbiz humour that saves their songs from being too heavy, and what they do is so extreme that it defines its own terms, sort of a baroque stage show.
Meanwhile, it was freezing in the theatre. Freddie sat down at the piano for “Lap Of The Gods”, and it was time for the smoke machine… This year it worked. I`m not a big dry ice fan, but this stuff certainly is a crowd pleaser…
The lights were lavish and spectacular. The audience, who`d been on their feet for the last few numbers, went beserk for an encore…
Billie Jean King (yes, the tennis player) was standing in the back of the theatre wearing a maroon sweater and skirt and a backstage pass… (I can already see the photos… Billie Jean and Freddie… King and Queen…)
Freddie came back for the encore in the flowing white satin Zandra Rhodes top… and then “Big Spender” with the strip tease… no doubt about it, next time Queen`s here, they`ll be in Madison Square Garden if they choose to.
(I later found out that the band were annoyed because the flashpots didn`t go off: “It looks like the whole stage explodes,” Reid said, and Freddie laughed. “Every time you come and see us something goes wrong technically. Last year, the smoke machine, this year, the flashpots. Come and see us tomorrow night, it`ll be so much better…”)

At Le Pouilailler, an elegant restaurant near Lincoln centre, a magnificent buffet is set. Bottles of red and white wine are on the tables, and the bar is open and well-manned.
The party for Queen is being held in this welcome contrast to the blizzard raging outside; and everyone is here.
Bernie Taupin, Ian Hunter, Todd Rundgren, David Johansen, Ahmet Ertegun, David Nutter, John Reid, Clive Davis, Mel Posner, Steve Ross, (all the WEA brass), press – including Punk Magazine! – Paul Drew (important radio programmer who was recently slapped by Bette Midler when he told her he didn`t like her record…), Ron & Ellen Delsener – celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary, Renee Wexler, Connie Pappas, Billie Jean King, Frankie Rudge, Joe Armstrong, more, more, more.
Freddie, Roger and John arrived late, seemed tired. Brian didn`t come, he obviously was hit with a serious sore throat.
Freddie, after having a thousand photos taken (with Billie Jean King, etc. etc.) finally sits down, eats some food, throws some food at – I think – David Nutter who is wearing a Stevie Wonder backstage Madison Square Garden button on his lapel, chats with David Johansen.
We all talk about Bowie (“Send him my love,” Freddie instructed), Robert Plant (“I know he`s said nice things about me but you know, it`s really true – he always was my favourite singer,” said Fred), everyone called everyone darling and it was one of those very successful New York parties.

Ian Hunter talked about his new album: “It`s called `All American Alien Boy`, I think, and it`s amazing. I thought it would take two months to do and it only took 24 days, mixing and everything… Chris Stainton played on it with me, but he didn`t produce it. People think that, but I arranged it, wrote everything and produced it.
“I think it`s gonna surprise a lot of people, and I know that some people will think it`s a heap of shit because it`s very heavy. There are cuts on it called `Apathy`… `Religion`… no rock and roll. I had too many cuts for it so I eliminated the rock and roll ones… But I`m really writing well, and the musicians on it are incredible – David Sanborn, Cornell Dupree, this great guitarist from Reno who used to be with Edgar called Jerry Williams…
How`d you get them all together?
“Money.” He laughs.
As for missing England, Ian`s American wife Trudy says she misses it more than he does. “I had to come here to write,” claims Hunter. “I was just fresh out of words there; I needed to come some place where I would have new inspiration for lyrics.”

At another table Bernie Taupin talks of his solo album: “Oh, it`s really a good laugh,” Bernie smiled, “it`s like Bernie Taupin at the bar. The name? Well… I think it might be `Bernie And The Jets`… I`d really like to use that. And I do all these versions of other people`s songs – `Let It Be Me` with Phil Everly singing on it with me. It`s really corny, they`ll love it in England. And `Cryin Time`, Ringo sings on that with me.”
As the party ends, Freddie and I discuss a story that ran here about him. An amazing Hit Parader writer named Josephine Mori had written a piece on him that was, to put it mildly, euphoric.
Speaking of sphinxes… he was a Creature to me… a 70`s minotaur, half pop artist half Arabian Knight/Night (K or N optional with reader) – an impossible combination, like singles charts and scimitars, that somehow he could make work, the way he made another impossible combination the ether of Faerie and the heavy metal of rock music, somehow work. In a sense he was no more “real” to me than Scheherezade or the Big Bad Wolf… though in my fancy at least, he might well have been a bit of both.”
Hmmmmm… the Creature that Captured New York…

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits  – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Led Zeppelin, Tony Iommi, The Fania All-Stars, David Bowie, Sailor, Gay and Terry Woods.

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.