Penny Valentine

ARTICLE ABOUT The Who FROM SOUNDS, July 20, 1974

When it comes to Rock Operas, it is difficult not to the mention the Who. Due to their success with those, they became a very visual band and that led them into the world of film. Here is a report from the set of “Tommy”.

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Jolly Roger

Penny Valentine meets the most expensive prop any film ever had, Roger Daltrey.

In about an hour`s time Roger Daltrey, attired in nothing more protective than a loin cloth that closely resembles a baby`s nappy, will be pinned inside a silver iron maiden and have over 100 butterflies crawling and fluttering all over him.
Right now it`s lunch break on the set of “Tommy”, Ken Russell`s latest extravaganza, and Daltrey – the man who humbly calls himself “the most expensive prop any film ever had” – is incongerously merry in his dressing room at the Ladbroke Grove film studios.
There aren`t too many people that, faced with the prospect of “things” crawling all over their bodies could lash into a steak with as much relish as Daltrey is now, or indeed be laughing about it at all. But then filming the Who`s prodigious musical under Russell`s extraordinary visual eye has, as I find out, been an excellent lesson in survival. Man against cameras and effects. Almost a film within a film.
It is not surprising that people report tales of Daltrey`s explosion three days into filming, when he turned round to those nearest and cried in desperation: “This is the first and bloody last film I make”. Russell likes his stars to come hardy.
First there was the saga of the filthy pond water being hosed all over Roger, complete, as it transpires, with the fish that were harmlessly lying on the pond bottom.

Then there was the moment when Daltrey was thrown on set as part of the action and unfortunately missed the mattress that was supposed to break his fall. The result of this was that Daltrey had concussion and was unconcious for seven minutes. At the end of which time our hero came round to feebly enquire: “Did you get that take, Ken?”.
The fact that Roger now boasts absolutely no hair on one arm shouldn`t worry anyone either. Just a little incident, I hear, of walking through banks of flames in a thin T-shirt.
Of course the rest of the set and crew were wrapped up in asbestos suits at the time. And Daltrey did weakly mutter, “I think I`m burning, Ken” before going into what he described as a “yoga like trance and oddly dancing over the broken glass and through the heat not feeling a thing”.
When you hear all that, and think that there`s only three of the fifteen weeks filming to go, perhaps it`s a little easier to understand why the prospect of being locked in with butterflies for a couple of days should hold no worries for Daltrey.
He`s really enjoying the process of filming – the novelty of it, the professionalism, the ability to create the role in yet another way. And he does look shatteringly well, tanned boot polish brown from the filming at “Tommy`s holiday camp”. He`s happy too that Russell is pleased with the way things are going and confident enough to offer him the starring role in his next epic on composer Franz Liszt. Certainly things couldn`t be going better for Roger Daltrey ex-sheet metal worker.

But like everything in life Daltrey`s glee is not 100 per cent infallible. Over lunch it`s apparent that all is not as well as it would appear and rumours that the Who are coming close to their millionth reported break-up is obviously having its usual effect.
For the last two years Daltrey has had this somewhat frantic desire to keep everything going at top rate all at once – of being offered chances he couldn`t turn down, but only doing them when it suited the band he clings on to like a lover. He has always jealously advocated the group`s right to be bigger and better than they`ve ever been. And it has always been Roger that has somehow tried to use the things he`s been offered outside the group to give them a kick into action when things looked like they were getting too quiet.
Today it`s questions about the next film – due to start in January – and maybe the recording of his own second solo album that seems to suddenly bring things to the fore. The fact that the progress of the Who has always been Roger`s biggest worry is not helped by the current rumours that Moon wants to go and live in America, and that Pete can`t decide whether he wants to keep going out on the road. And Daltrey really does need the Who more than maybe anyone realises. To him the band has always been his security, his jumping off board. To make films and solo albums – a rewarding and ego boosting experience though it may be – has really always taken second place to the band and the three guys in it.
The frustration at the situation right now is easy to see in Daltrey`s eyes. The fact that it`s something that has become harder to sort out privately but has to be done in the constant glare of public attention only makes the situation worse.
“Bloody news stories”, he suddenly says pushing away the half eaten steak. “Stupid bloody news stories. As far as the papers are concerned the Who have bloody well been breaking up since the day they formed. And this situation now – well it`s the same one that was going on last year. It`s just that we`re going through a difficult period. It`s not down to breaking up. Everytime the Who are a bit quiet that starts. But it`s not. It`s down to – where do we go from here?”

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And where DO they go from here?
“I think we`ve got to start thinking bigger than we have done. I think we`re going to do a TV special after this film – because once this film comes out believe me it`s going to make us important. I mean it`ll be bloody lunacy for the Who.
“But right now we need to go and record another album. A Who rock and roll album. “Quadrophenia” got blown out of all proportion. No, WE blew it out of all proportion.
“I thought `Quad` had that old Who thing but somehow it didn`t, it got lost again. It`s partly because we tried to do too much ourselves again and because we didn`t have a producer.
“And I think now`s the time we could all do a lot more in films. I mean we`ve got this one which, in Russell`s hands, is going to give us all another new dimension. I mean Moon for instance is fantastic in it. His Uncle Ernie is a bloody classic. No, I haven`t seen any of my own rushes yet, I don`t think I want to”.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand Roger…….
“Yeah, well we`ve wanted to do film things for the past four years and after this thing up and even if I do Liszt I`ll only do it if it says in the contract I can still work two days a week with the band. I mean we`ve GOT to work on the road and make more than one album a year. Otherwise it`s not the bleedin` Who, it`s a joke – like a session band.
“Look it`s not as upsetting as it could be because we`ve been through it all before and come out of it. It just gets me down when we play badly and those four nights we did in New York a couple of weeks ago weren`t good. Oh I mean the kids enjoyed it, but they`d have been happy if we`d got up there and farted. But there was only one night out of the four where we really played well and that`s just because we don`t work enough.
“Either we work or we don`t work. I`m not going on and on like this, because the Who are a bloody good band, they`re not a shit band.But we`ve got to stay on the ball. Gawd,” he sighs. “It`s at times like this that I wish the group wasn`t a name group. I wish we were small again so that we could just get on stage and gig. I think we should get out and play England in any little pissholes we can find”.

Daltrey has a habit of making you feel his frustration. Suddenly and strangely you`re getting as involved as he is, as worried that what he`s saying into a tape machine now is going to come out in cold print like a death knell. Good God y`ll what is happening here……?
But then maybe it`s not so strange. Ten years ago I looned out on Monday nights to The Scene Club to have my hand stamped in fluorescent ink and watch a band called the High Numbers. When, then, rock music was an exciting and unreliable child this band reflected it all. And that they became the Who and kept all that excitement is one of music`s more honourable hours.
Nostalgia may not be what it used to be, but the Who are definitely a band that hold a special place in everyone`s affections.
“Roger!” – the air of doom which suddenly hangs over our heads is whipped away by the entrance of the Who`s press brain, Keith Altham, bearing the trade papers. “It`s all conjecture” he says calmly. “After all how many other bands get involved in sole efforts and don`t split up. You`ve always had this “split” thing hanging over the Who right from the start – everything`ll be alright”.
Nice one Keith. Daltrey looks cheerier and starts leaping about getting ready for the afternoon`s shooting. Activily back to normal. Doug Clark comes breezing in to tell Roger he`s got to go to make up. Big next to Roger`s small brown frame, and with a creasing smile Doug is “Batman” to Daltrey`s “Robin”.

The stories start flowing again. The one about Moon getting so engrossed in his role as Uncle Ernie that where all the other actors used to filming – Oliver Reed, Jack Nicholson – could switch off their parts after a day`s work Moon couldn`t. And so Moon was Uncle Ernie morning, noon and night flashing raincoat and all.
The one about Roger having already started some background work into the life of Franz Liszt, discovering the fellow was pretty damn lary, and so christening him Franz Lust.
They reel out and we reel round some, I fear, just not printable here. But one of the best clean ones comes from Doug…
While they`ve been working in London some miles from the Daltrey manor house they`ve been staying in a penthouse on the 18th floor of a nearby hotel. One night last week, coming off set after ten hours solid slog, they staggered into the hotel in their T-shirts and jeans and went up to wash and change.
As they emerged from the penthouse lift, relates Doug, he was attacked by a frantic hotel employee who had leapt into the next lift and followed them up.
“Look here” he said grabbing Doug`s arm. “Don`t you realise that you building workers aren`t allowed up here on the 18th floor”.
Luckily the lead singer of the Who and the man about to immortalise Franz Liszt on celluloid was busy negotiating the lock on his room door and so was out of earshot.

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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: The Graeme Edge Band, Robin Trower, Man, Nigel Thomas, Chris Stainton, Chilli Willi, Robert Wyatt, J.J. Cale, Dobie Gray, Nazareth, Sonny Rollins, Druick and Lorange, The SHF Band.

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 Keith Moon (The Who) FROM SOUNDS, May 5, 1973

This number of Sounds was very reduced and presented as the “Emergency edition”. This was because of what Sounds called the “May Day industrial disruption”. But still, this interview with one of the legends gone too early, Keith Moon, was still available for us to read. And it is a good one.

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Bored Side Of the Moon

Penny Valentine meets an old friend

Keith Moon, it was rumoured, was bored. Normally I wouldn`t have believed it. I mean Moon over-zealous, Moon looning, Moon causing riots across the globe? Yes – such rumours I would have believed. But Moon bored, actually BORED? No indeedy.
Still, such tales emanated from a good source. Pete Townshend in fact. There I was standing in Wardour Street at around 6 p.m. the other day (waiting to get home I assure you) when Townshend loomed in the distance, on his way to the station, and we cheerily shared a cab.
On the way we talked of many things – shoes, ships, sealing wax… and Keith Moon`s boredom. Pete, it transpired, had tried to cheer him up with tales of `only two weeks to go and we start on the next album.` But Moon had stuck firm and said, somewhat gloomily, that two weeks was a damn long time to wait for activity – or words to that effect.
Pete had taken the whole thing with humour – a man obviously well accustomed to such tales of woe within the Who, a group let`s face it who do not like inactivity at the best of times.
So when, some days later, it was set that I should parlay to Mr. Moon over a few brandies in a local pub I put it to him straight. What, I enquired, was it all about? And indeed was it a fact?
Needless to say when we got to the nitty gritty things weren`t quite as dastardly and dramatic as I had at first supposed.

“Mmm well,” and he stuffed a cigarette into a long holder with great dash – if not applomb – “I suppose I must have been when I spoke to Pete. But I do manage to stave off a lot of the boredom I could suffer when we`re not working. Like doing the film, other incidentals.
“I think it`s important to have a `hobby` outside the band. If all your energies were directed into the Who it would be very easy for the whole thing to just take you over. It`s important that there are other things going on that we can all get into so that the Who doesn`t become a chore.
“It`s also important that those things stay simply hobbies and that the Who is the utmost thing in all our minds – which, I may say, it is.”
For those of you who are the smallest bit fashion concious I feel I should, at this stage, point out that this very day Mr. Moon is looking quite resplendant. He is wearing a three piece suit (yes a suit) topped off with a very large spotted bow tie – and that cigarette holder.
He also now sports a gap in his front teeth. Very endearing when he grins, which he does a lot, and an addition which heightens his strange resemblance to the late Robert Newton (famous, you may recall, for his rousing TV performances in “Treasure Island” and a gentleman whose impersonation Moon has off to a fine art. Much “argh Jim M`lad”).
Keith is also sporting an air of some sobriety – a fact that also comes as a surprise today. The main reason being, I am informed, that he has promised to be very upright indeed when he appears later this very afternoon on Radio 4 giving a talk on “The Care of Guns”. Somehow this all adds to the amusement of the day.

Interviewing Keith Moon can be dangerous. He is extremely likeable. He is also very very funny. But unless people know him well they tend to shy away from his image of achetypal maniac, in fear that they may never be seen again once having trotted off to have words with him.
In fear, indeed, of meeting a ghastly end in some far flung public call box at his wily hands. It is this image that Moon has carried with him since the very earliest days of the Who – somehow setting the whole atmosphere of the group at large.
They have gained from it – just as they have sometimes suffered from it. Moon is not a man to be ignored. And yet he can be serious, down to earth and beguiling. He tries hard today to smother the obvious temptations to have me curling on the floor in hysterics, unable to set pen to paper. Indeed for the first quarter of an hour of our conversation he is damn near solemn.
We talk about this image of his and whether he ever feels the other side of his character is being swamped by it. His answer is brief and to the point: “I find it very difficult to be serious – put in a ready laugh there would you? (Okay Keith – ha ha ha) I always see things in a very funny way. I can see any situation at any time and see the funny side to it.
“Anyway there`s bugger all I can do about my image. I`d have to change my whole lifestyle if I wanted to do anything about it.”
We also talk about his extra-curricular Who activities – like “That`ll Be The Day”, and the yet to be seen film with Harry Nilsson. The part from “That`ll Be The Day” was especially written in by Ray Connolly – after they`d met on the set. Originally it didn`t have a line of dialogue. Then Connolly met Moon and… well words had to be found from somewhere.

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Since that film Keith has also started work on a film script – something he wants to get into much more at a later date: “I met a lot of people during filming that started me thinking about working on various other things. The thing is that within the Who I`m not as into the music side as they are, I`ve always been more involved in the visual side of the group.
“There were several suggestions that with Roger doing an album and John doing his I should do a comedy album. But I was a bit dubious about the idea. So much of what I do is purely visual.
“I just can`t imagine doing `Eight million ways of falling over` for instance, on record. I feel that might get rather lost`.”
Next week the Who go into the studios and start work on the grand double album enterprise from Pete Townshend`s brain. Maybe it`s the proximity of getting back to work that`s cheered Moon up – 18 months is a long time without something other than an arm to get your teeth into.
So bored, a little, Moon might have been. But idle? Never. Aside from the filming there are all kinds of jollies to impart – very tempting sagas they are too. And by another couple of brandies Moon is telling them with some relish.
There is the saga of the Monty Python football match, for instance. Moon`s team, it transpires, were not doing very well. Python`s mob were tromping them soundly: “I`d say the result was two goals, a try and two submissions.
“During the first half we brought all these little kids into our goal mouth. They stood looking winsomely across the pitch and everytime Python roared across we yelled `Mind the kids`. Very good, and it worked.”

During the second half Moon moved a bar, well equipped, into the goal mouth instead. This time cries of “Save the ale!” caused Python to disband in some confusion. No more goals were scored.
There is also the saga of Moon `touring` in the Australian production of “Tommy”. Aside from Graham Bell, moon was the only other original member of the Rainbow cast that accepted the invite to do a two week run in Australia. His Aussie version of Uncle Ernie apparently was something to be seen.
“Because we hadn`t worked for so long I needed the money – and also there`s a great duty free shop in Singapore, so I thought it would be a good idea. I wasn`t really looking forward to it because the last time I`d been in Australia was in `68 and it wasn`t a very happy tour.
“I`d never met such a lot of pig headed bastards and we had all these hassles with the press and the authorities. They weren`t into a lot of long haired idiots coming over and spearing the bearded clam – it upset them.
“But this time everyone was great, I did 4 TV chat shows and the whole place felt different. We were only supposed to do the show for a week but we sold out so many times it went into two. In the end I could see myself spending the rest of my life shuttling between Melbourne and Sydney.

“I think my Uncle Ernie over there was even grubbier than it was here. I really played him as a dirt-ridden old pervert – type casting you may think. In the breaks between shows I used to go into the park in my filthy old mac and straggly beard and jump out from behind the bushes. It terrified all the audience that had just come out.
“You know the only instructions I got on how to play the part for Australian audiences was from the director who came up one day and said, `Moon if you go on sober again I`ll sack you`.
“Apparently he didn`t feel I was really getting all the relish I could into the role because I was behaving myself. After that I got better.”
So Moon emerged from the `new` Australia a wiser and richer man? Well, no, not exactly. Unfortunately his returning plane to London stopped over in Singapore for a good 24 hour period. And that`s where that really good `duty free shop` lurked. And that`s where Moon lurked. And that`s why he didn`t return to London laden with wealth.
Still he had a good time. And he certainly wasn`t bored.

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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: Glencoe, Chris Wood (Traffic), Davey Johnstone, Tom McGuinness, Groundhogs, Beach Boys.

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 David Bowie FROM SOUNDS, March 3, 1973

This was a really strange idea. Put the staff of Sounds in a room together and let them discuss one contemporary artist, then print it in Sounds later. Does it have value? Not so much at the time maybe, except for the fact that these people to a certain extent were closer to Bowie than most other people. Today I would say that this article have more value than when it was originally printed, as these are first-hand impressions of the man as he was seen by these writers at an early point in his career. This is what people actually thought at the time, and because of that it is quite interesting to read.
Enjoy this one.

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A new series in which Sounds` staff analyse today`s leading artists

OUTERVIEW

Bowie: Man and the mask
“Nobody knew how to handle Bowie – he was a total unknown quantity right up to `Hunky Dory` really”

Sounds writers, I assume like Sounds readers, tend to spend a fair amount of their time sitting around talking – about music and musicians as often as not. As a change from straight interviews or the single-minded bigotry of our personal opinion pieces, Jerry Gilbert (hereinafter referred to as JG) had the bright idea of recording a series of these conversations and getting them down on paper – some multi-minded bigotry for you. So, the scene is one rainy night in the Holloway Road in an otherwise deserted office, on the desk is a tape recorder, a bottle of wine, several packets of peanuts and a stack of David Bowie albums, and sprawled around it are JG, Penny Valentine (PV), Martin Hayman (MH), and myself, Steve Peacock (SP). We chose David Bowie as the first subject for these highly subjective quadrologues. We hope it provides you with some food for thought, and maybe some fuel for your letter-writing pens.

SP: The point that struck me listening to some of those earliest songs was that he seems to have projected himself totally into a certain image for that album, and the same applies to “Ziggy” – he`s put himself completely into this figment of the imagination which is Ziggy Stardust. It seems to be an approach he`s used fairly consistently.

IMAGE

PV: But he must be very upset at the moment that his image has taken over from his songs.
SP: No, I`d think he`s very pleased. What used to upset me, or annoy me, when “Ziggy” came out and all these new people started going for David Bowie, was that the guy who`d made “Hunky Dory” was getting lost somewhere back along the line.
I think that`s true still, but I think it`s his intention that David Bowie doesn`t really exist, and all that really does exist at the moment for the purposes of music and performing is this creation, this mask which at the moment is Ziggy Stardust but which is gradually being phased into Aladdin Sane or whatever comes next.
MH: So he`s operating from behind a mask, which releases his personality to do and think as he likes.
PV: But there`s still a difference between the live gigs which he did, say, three or four years ago and the live gigs he does now, as far as image is concerned, because he was just David Bowie sitting on stage with a guitar – there was no outward show except that he was pretty, basically, and perhaps a little bit vulnerable. That`s where the difference has occured so much, in the live performance.
The point about Bowie which is maybe responsible for how he is today, partly anyway, is that when he released that very first album everybody within the business thought it was an incredible album for that time because nobody had been writing those kind of songs before within that context, but he couldn`t get any commercial success – partly because he wouldn`t do many live gigs and he wouldn`t take the business seriously. Or so he said anyway.
They were really the first songs that were slightly quirky, slightly unusual in that way – even the early Beatles` things were fairly simple. I think he was the first English “pop” artist to really bring any kind of lyrical quality, and even melodic on occasions, peculiar little ideas into music. It was commercially unviable at the time and he had no real direction through a lot of his work, and I think this was half of his problem, and I think this is why he`s so strong on direction at the moment – at last he`s found “A Wav”.

But the fact about Bowie is that I think in many ways he felt very insecure for a long time because I don`t think anybody actually ever believed in him – I don`t know whether he believed in himself, but certainly there was never any direction within himself about how he would go. He would only do the odd concert, he would never do anything…
SP: You knew him at the time. Did “Space Oddity” take him by surprise when it became a hit? Because he didn`t follow it up.
PV: Yes, but you`ve got to remember that at that time he didn`t want to do any gigs – he did one tour with Humble Pie when they first started, which was a complete fiasco of a tour, and what he found was that when he sat on stage with his guitar and sang numbers like “Cygnet Committeee” for instance off that album, the audience were incredibly restless – all they wanted to hear was “Space Oddity”. And he became incredibly disillusioned in a funny way, because I think he felt that “Space Oddity” would be a kind of lever to get all his other songs heard, but because it was such a commercial proposition, far more than his other songs on the face of it…
JG: But if you can forget that “Space Oddity” was a hit, was that a stronger song than his others of that period?

FLASHY

PV: I`d say as a commercial proposition it was.
SP: I think the point comes out that his commercial success has always come with a rather flashy, rather flip and superficial kind of imagery – I mean “Cygnet Committee” didn`t make it, but “Space Oddity” did. It was a clever little story, a bit “weird” because it was about space and stuff….
MH: Spacey things were very much in vogue then, because it was about the time of Hendrix and the Byrds… it was in the air as it were.
SP: OK. Then he dived, and then came back with this mythical Ziggy Stardust figure.
MH: No, no, no – Ziggy Stardust surely was preceded by “Hunky Dory”.
SP: But “Hunky Dory” wasn`t a success commercially – it didn`t sell well at the time.
JG: Even so it did sufficient…
PV: But the thing you`ve got to remember is that up until Ziggy Stardust there were very few people who`d seen Bowie live on stage – I`d reckon that probably only five per cent or less of the audience he gets now ever saw him live up until then, and I don`t think they even knew about him until then – he was a minority appeal artist.
MH: It seems to me he`s gone from one extreme to another – from being extremely elitist with only a small band of people who were going to get into what he`s writing, to a very, very broad spectrum. It seems conscious.
PV: I have a feeling it was more very clever timing – whether on his part or not. His career went through so many peculiar patches and up until “Hunky Dory”, say, I`d seen him a lot and he never, never wanted to get involved in the business, never wanted to do gigs, couldn`t take it seriously. I don`t know how much of that was that he had no confidence in himself, which might partly be because he couldn`t get off the ground, couldn`t do any big gigs, but he always said he didn`t want to.
SP: So what do you think changed his mind?
PV: I think having a new manager.
SP: So why did he get a new manager?
PV: I don`t know what happened. I know that he was with Ken Pitman. I know that came to a halt. His argument directly after that and just before DeFries – he told me about DeFries – was that finally he found somebody who gave him confidence. I think more it gave him direction. See, nobody knew how to handle Bowie – he was a total unknown quantity, right up to “Hunky Dory” really.

DIRECTION

He had these ideas about mime and things like that, and the business as a whole couldn`t quite see him in any kind of context. It`s very difficult to find out whether suddenly he fitted in or whether he suddenly found a direction.
SP: At the time of “Hunky Dory” or just after, I felt he started consciously creating this kind of wall between him and the public David Bowie.
PV: Well yes, but since none of us have met him since it`s hard to tell which is which now. The only thing that gives you a clue – from our experience at work – is that it seems he doesn`t want to talk to anyone who might have known him earlier on and all he seems to want is somebody who will reflect the image that he has now.
JG: So why is it that a few people have suddenly become a whole lot of people – is it just the songs, is it the image…?
PV: I don`t think the actual songs have changed much over the past, say, six years, so it must be that the audience taste has changed, that the promotion`s better…
JG: The presentation`s changed completely, not the songs.
MH: I think Bowie`s appeal now is very broadly based. I mean obviously – shall we say discriminating listeners – realise that the guy`s got quality, real quality to his songs which is something that he`s always had but hasn`t been appreciated up until now, plus the image is much more broad based – this kind of hermaphroditic thing that he has means that he appeals to blokes as well as chicks. Also in a fairly broad spectrum; young kids can take it straight because he`s a beautiful character, and the 25-year-olds can appreciate that he`s got this mask and is working the business very cleverly from there, and still appreciate that he`s writing good songs.

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BALANCE

PV: The only worry I have about him actually is that at the moment – and I don`t think this is going to last because I think the image will finally die and the songs will stand up – the majority of people buying the albums are buying them because of Bowie. I don`t think the songs have the importance the image has, I don`t think the balance is there.
I think he`s being very clever in a way, getting the songs to the people, and I think eventually the importance of the image will fade slightly and the songs will be left.
JG: Do you think they will, or do you think the songs will fade too?
PV: No, I don`t think the songs will fade – well, as much as anyone can say.
If you look at him and hear him now, he`s the epitome of everything that`s happening in its strongest and most obvious way now, in the same way that Pete Townshend was the epitome of everything that was happening in its most volatile way at that time (the time of “My Generation”). I can`t quite express it, but he seems to have captured the freneticism of the kind of 1984 syndrome – I see something from the future as opposed to something that`s happening now.
JG: A sort of “Clockwork Orange” future.
PV: Yes, very much – he always reminds me of steel buildings. Very strange.
SP: But to put it another way, he`s not so much a projection of the future, as of a kind of future he`s created that wouldn`t necessarily have happened without him. He`s taken a load of elements from science fiction and all that kind of stuff and made himself into a kind of hero of that generation – and people are beginning to believe in it.

PV: The other great thing about him is that he has this sense of outrage where he outrages all but his followers – when you think how the Stones used to outrage all the adults, he brings out that same kind of response.
Half of the attraction young kids have always felt towards a hero – and you can forget all these little groups who wear make-up and all that rhubarb, they`re not heroes – is something that another generation would maybe find slightly distasteful. And I think to a great extent he`s taken a lot of his influences from what`s going down in New York, for instance, which is not particularly happening in England but which English audiences like to relate to because they love to relate to things American, to something they haven`t actually experienced but it is a kind of trend image. I think Bowie and DeFries between them decided to go out and provide a great shock factor to English rock music – it may not be so much that now, but certainly at the beginning it was; there`d never been that kind of a person up from the British rock scene, ever.
JG: Bowie`s American thing though was very strange – he had the tour set up, and he did it, and he did it really well, and then they started ploughing in these extra dates on the West Coast, until he got to San Francisco which is where I saw him on Hallowe`en. And it was the freakiest show I`d ever been to in my life – I could have sworn I saw Bowie four times before he actually got out on stage, there were people there who looked so like Bowie, but then there were hardly any people there anyway.

FREAKS

The general consensus seemed to be that San Francisco, which is supposed to be the great trend maker, has got its own freaks and it doesn`t really need imported English ones.
PV: Which is why I don`t think he could have started this whole thing in America, or in New York, but the English rock audience by and large is wanting to get in on what`s going on there but is still alienated by the distance…
I think the thing is, you see, that Bowie has at last found a place to belong, after all these years – I mean it`s been a long time he`s been ligging about, whether he took it seriously or not, for all the mitigating reasons that he didn`t get off the ground. I think at last he`s found a place he kicks off from – everyone needs a jumping-off point and I think he`s got it now.
JG: But I just think the metamorphosis might start wearing very thin very soon and I don`t think he can keep forcing a concept change without the material. I wonder whether his sort of end was after “Hunky Dory”, because I find the rift between “Hunky Dory” and “Ziggy Stardust” rather more… I mean “Hunky Dory” turned me on to David Bowie who I`d always been aware of, but “Ziggy Stardust” held me by virtue of the image but not by virtue of the songs, and the next album won`t do that for me.

CRITICAL

PV: Yes, but you`re now sitting in a critical capacity – you see things in a different way, we all do, let`s face it, and I don`t think you can say he hasn`t got a lasting quality just because it did that for you. I think the fact is that after all these years he`s got success, what he does with it is another matter, but I don`t think he`s very easily going to let it go. But the other thing is that a lot of the things he`s always wanted to do, like the mime company and things, he`s now able to do because when you get success you have the facility to do things like that.
SP: People say that, people say that the success of having hit records and being on the front pages of the papers, has allowed him to put into practice the ideas he`s always had – but I thought the Rainbow concert with the mime company was mediocre in the extreme. It didn`t take the mime far enough, it didn`t take the music far enough, the musicians were used as props, stuck under bits of scaffolding.
So does it mean that having got to this pitch of commercial success, he isn`t really able to put into practice the things he was doing before – that the commercial pressures on him make him water everything down for public consumption? I didn`t speak to anyone else who felt it wasn`t as good as it could have been – everyone I spoke to thought it was great, Bowie has brought mime to a mass audience. Yet what he`d done was to bring an apology for mime to a mass audience, and they loved it.

MH: And his policy of record releases seems to be taking him further and further away from the kind of audience he could present a mime show to – for example to me, “The Jean Genie” sounds exactly like T. Rex on a pub juke box.
PV: This is what makes me think that he`s been so influenced by Bolan, from an outward point of view, from a show point of view. They`ve been friends for an awful long time, so now you think of a guy that cannot get any success, and who`s been sort of half trying – I mean, despite the fact that he always denied he wanted to be involved. I`m sure that you don`t make records unless you want people to hear them and you want to get some kind of recognition. So he sees Bolan suddenly projecting an entirely new image to an entirely new audience – I think it had a great influence on him, far more than he`d ever admit to.
I think their careers run very parallel actually, except that T. Rex supplied a want to a very young audience and Bowie has manoeuvred his image in a slightly different way.
SP: I`d say T. Rex supplied a need whereas Bowie created a demand.

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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: Darryl Way (Curved Air), Geordie, Nazareth, Steve Marriott, Average White Band, Elton John, Francis Rossi (Status Quo), Slade, Thin Lizzy, Stackridge, Peter Gabriel, Mike Heron, Jesse Winchester.

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 Rick Wakeman FROM SOUNDS, February 10, 1973

At a time when Britain were quite vulnerable in the “keyboard maestro” stakes, this album came as an revelation. Supposedly.

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Album review:

Rick Wakeman: “Six Wives Of Henry VIII”
(A&M AMLH 64361)

By Penny Valentine

Although Wakeman has been chalking up success as a keyboard musician through every band or session he`s ever worked on, this is really the first chance people have been given to hear what he can do off his own back both technically and as a writer. The result is a very attractive album based round the separate personalities of the, by large, rather unfortunate succession of ladies who came to court in the 1400s. Some people have said that this album brings Wakeman up to rival Keith Emerson. I personally think it finally brings him to emergence as the only other keyboard maestro that Britain possibly possesses aside from Emerson. If you are going to compare him to Emerson then I think it bears saying that his work – as shown here – has a more gentle touch than Keith`s and equally Keith scores better in the passages of direct light and shade. Anyway the rivalry and comparisons should be aside from the product – the thought of a barrage of letters about who`s better than who imitating “The great guitar war” is something I shudder about. On this album Rick plays two mini-Moogs, two mellotrons, a Hammond organ, grand piano, electric piano, harpsichord, ARP synthesiser and the church organ of St. Giles Cripplegate. Backing him on his selections are four bass players, three guitars, three drummers, two percussionists and a five girl vocal back-up team (the latter brought in particularly effectively I felt on “Catherine Of Aragon”). The whole collection here and indeed the liner notes on the Queens compliment each other very well. The album itself is a mix of the emotional flash, the calm and gentle, the grand and the simple. A good mixture. And while my own favourite is “Jane Seymour” particularly because I have an affection for the sound of a beautiful church organ, I think this is an album that is both an excellent showcase for Wakeman and a well presented musical work.

Rick Wakeman Six

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 Lambert, Beck, Bogert & Appice, Isaac Hayes, Peter Frampton, Rory Gallagher, Dusty Springfield, Syd Barrett, Stevie Wonder, Badger, Judy Sill, Jennie Hahn, Help Yourself, Ian A. Anderson, Pete Townshend.

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 Rick Wakeman (Yes) FROM SOUNDS, January 27, 1973

The story of Wakeman`s first solo album and a little bit about Yes. Worth a read! 🙂
Enjoy!

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The six wives of a Yes man

Penny Valentine talks to Rick Wakeman

Rick Wakeman was on a plane when the idea came to him. Now you may not think being 25,000 feet in the air between Richmond, Virginia, and Chicago a very good place for inspiration to strike – but stranger things have happened on vast musical treks across the USA, and that`s a fact.
Anyway there was Wakeman with a choice before him. As he has a healthy terror of flying he was either going to get drunk or read. And as he didn`t feel much like arriving at Chicago to be thrown head-first into a ton of black coffee, he somewhat surprisingly chose the latter.
With his reading choice at Richmond airport slightly nullified to yet another book on 49 positions, he embarked clutching “The Private Lives Of Henry VIII” – why, he`ll never know, as he`s always hated history.

EXTENSION

But he did and it`s just as well for – like all good stories – this has a happy ending in that it brought our keyboard man extraordinaire to a decision that materialises next week in the release of his first ever solo album, suitably titled “The Six Wives Of Henry VIII”.
The album – on which Wakeman plays everything from moog to harpsichord – brings to life a musical tapestry of the individual personalities of the six tormented and colourful ladies of the court. And it`s timing and content is healthily aimed at yet another extension of Yes and all Wakeman has brought to that band since he joined two years ago.

TRACKS

The idea for a solo album started way back in the latter part of 1971 – just after Rick had put down the tracks for his first Yes album “Fragile”. Contracted as he was to A & M through his time with the Strawbs, Wakeman was to come up with so many albums over a period of five years.
Recording separately for Atlantic with Yes, his position became comparable to that of Rod Stewart`s arrangement with the Faces. The only problem was the increasing difficulty Wakeman had in setting down any tracks he liked:
“I wanted to do an album without vocals because I can`t sing. Well,” he says, screwing up his face, “I can sing but there`s more to it than simply singing in tune. I can`t write lyrics either. Dirty poems yes, lyrics no. So I wanted to take pieces of music and build them up.
“We came back from the first American tour and I was very depressed. It was a good tour for them, but I`d played badly and I was pretty miserable. I thought the best thing was to go into the studios and do some tracks and cheer myself up.”

GLOOM

The result, it transpired, was anything but cheering. Rick took the tapes home, listened to them, and sunk in gloom that one would certainly never associate him with:
“The numbers just weren`t going anywhere, they could have been for a detergent commercial. I really began to panic. I thought `I can`t do an album of any consequence`. What I`d done would have detracted from Yes and wouldn`t have helped me at all. And it was very important for me that this album would be the best I could contribute, and done to the best of my ability.
“But when I opened that book on the second tour I started reading about Katerine of Aragon, and this first theme I`d laid down earlier came into my head. It sounds daft but it really was a surge of excitement, because suddenly I`d found a concept which was what I`d always needed but hadn`t realised. After that it all seemed much easier.”
In February 1972 Wakeman was back in the studios. That year was a heavy one for Yes, full of touring – eight months in the States to start with – and Wakeman`s recording schedule dragged on.
Finally he gave himself a solid two weeks, and last October with musician mates like Dave Cousins and Dave Lambert from the Strawbs; Squires, Bruford and Howe from Yes; and Alan White, he finally completed the work.

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DISTORT

“The real advantage of having laid down those first early tracks was that I could see exactly what musicians I needed – people that would enjoy just playing one piece each. I think of all the `wives` Jane Seymour present me with the worst problems because she was so different to all the others.
“In the end I decided to use the church organ at St. Giles, Cripplegate. I`d used it for some parts of `Close To The Edge` and I wanted to go back to record just one chord for Anne of Cleeves – she goes a bit bonkers and I wanted to distort the organ chord. It was lovely when I cut the Jane Seymour track there, the rain pattering on the roof, nice atmosphere.”
In the end result Wakeman, not wanting to make Seymour too ethereal or religious, has broken up the track by putting unexpected flashes of drum, moog and harpsichord where you least expect it. Now the two-year suffering is over, Wakeman is obviously very proud of his album – the only sad note being that it`s unlikely any of its content will be included in Yes`s stage act. An odd fact when you consider how closely much of it is aligned to what the band do.
However, Mr. Wakeman can be seen with his silver cloak flashing in the lights on various TV programmes, and the pressure of time on the band is such that it`s doubtful anyone would have much time to rehearse the new material – especially with a new Yes album about to be cut this summer.

Meanwhile what plans for Yes? Well, they`re currently mixing the live triple album and then they scoot off on their “world tour” of – as Wakeman puts it – “Neasden, Grimsby and Cleethorpes,” although, in fact, it takes in such places as Japan and Australia, both new concert markets for the band:
“That`s one of the reasons for the live album – certainly not because `Close To The Edge` was a difficult one to follow, no, no,” Wakeman shakes that long mane emphatically. “Although `Fragile` and `Edge` both did very well in Australia and Japan, they`re both places we`ve never done concerts in before and we felt it was important for people to really hear what we did on stage. I think we`ll be doing some British dates towards the autumn.
“You know, I had this great idea about renting the Rainbow for a week and laying on special trains from all the other cities, to bring people down and take them back. We have a lot of technical problems touring in England, getting the equipment set up at the right place in time. I thought it was a great idea because it would mean we were assured of a good sound system for one thing, which is very important for the band. But it got blown out – shame really.”

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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: Pink Floyd, Tony McPhee, Alice Cooper, John Martyn, Graeme Edge, Jimmy Karstein, Stevie Wonder, Roxy Music, Colin Blunstone, Jerry Lee Lewis, Todd Rundgren, Gerry Lockran, Stomu Yamash`ta, Alan White, Bob Henrit.

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.