Rick Wakeman

ARTICLE ABOUT Rick Wakeman FROM New Musical Express, May 1, 1976

Wakeman is one of the most creative and talented men in the modern music industry. Beside playing on several albums with Yes, Strawbs and several other artists, touring with a lot of those bands and releasing more than 90 solo albums, he has also found the time to write several books and contributing to the “Grumpy Old Men” comedy series on BBC and also running his own radio show on Planet Rock.
This article shows that he always may have enjoyed a good laugh. Have fun!

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Art with a Capital F

RICK WAKEMAN on the aesthetic of bodily functions, as applied to rock concerts.
Dressing-room confidante: CHRIS SALEWICZ

Rick Wakeman returns from the Hammersmith Odeon backstage bar to his dressing-room: “`Ere. Fluff`s just told me this great joke. It`s alright.
“It`s clean,” he considerately points out to photographer Pennie Smith and Dee, the lady who designs the cloaks that hide the Wakeman paunch from his audience in those onstage moments. “There`s this randy eagle who fancies coming across a female eagle…”
He rambles to the end of the joke.
Then Brian Lane, his manager, walks in the door, which pleases Rick very much indeed, since he can start telling Fluff`s joke again to a new audience.
Brian Lane all the money is
purging,
With the Westminster Bank
he is merging
He says, “Nothing for you”
Like a typical Jew,
He`s as tight as an ant that`s
a virgin.
That`s a little extract from the concert`s programme, which Wakeman wrote in his spare moments.

Here`s another little extract:
“Martin Shields (Fartin` Martin), Brass and Vocals: It has been said that when Martin takes field he goes like the wind. It also smells like the wind. A former baseball player, he was forced to quit because his pitching was so bad, an attribute matched only by his singing. Martin gets scared before the big occasion, his wife tells us, as she has to wash his underpants after concerts.”
This is, in fact, a reference to a gig that the English Rock Ensemble aka ERE. (Couldn`t think what we were going to call the band and everyone`s going round saying “Ere? What we going to call ourselves.”) played in Seattle. During the first number Shields had a slight accident.
Ummm. Why did he… Urrrhhh… Do It, Rick?
“Well, when you`re playing high notes on the trumpet you tend to tense up, and he – how shall we put it? – overtensed.”
Now, gentle reader, there`s absolutely no reason to feel bashful when reading about that little incident. Why, Martin is such a friendly soul that he even doesn`t mind his boss telling it to all the audience after the first number of the set. Doesn`t even mind being made to bend over with a spotlight shining on his bum.
In addition to this, Wakeman, when onstage, is very keen on frequently suggesting that the audience visit the toilets.
Crumbs, Rick, why are you so obsessed with bodily waste matter?
“I don`t know, really. Perhaps because there`s so much shit in the rock`n`roll industry.”
It`s a man`s life in the English Rock Ensemble.

The last couple of years have not really been too good for Rick Wakeman.
The Heart Attack was not much fun. Unlike journalist James Cameron, Wakeman does not look back on his coronary thrombosis and view it as a fascinating experience. There will be no concept album based on it. No, Rick is able to say quite positively, “I don`t want to have another one”. There is apparently not much likelihood of this. “I was lucky. I was young. And as long as I look after myself I`ll be alright.”
(It puts him one up on Steve Emerson, though).
Then there was “Journey” and Rick`s rather dumbly believing that it was economically viable, after the album had already peaked, to tour the States with a full orchestra in tow.
And then, of course, there was “Arthur” on ice bringing the total loss up to somewhere around the quarter of a million mark. Wakeman would probably still do “Arthur” all over again. It would probably be necessary for him to find a new manager, though; Brian Lane candidly assesses it as having been “a total disaster”.
Apart from “Arthur” being a financial disaster, the Wakeman musical reputation was also severely damaged by the whole fiasco. Even though Wakeman defends the album artistically, and by pointing out that it had much higher sales than “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth” (“it was huge in Belgium”), the record remains a brainstorming, clumsily produced turkey. The frozen version was a little better, but not much. Ultimately not even pantomime skating horses could prevent “Arthur” from being a downright, boring drag.
A certain sense of guilt and dishonesty, then, runs through this writer`s spirit as he waits for Rick Wakeman to turn up in his dressing-room. The interview will, almost certainly, be thoroughly painless, but there is the possibility, going on past form, that the gig may deserve tearing to shreds.

Could I eat a man`s bag of crisps and then slag off his synthesizer playing? Of course I could.
This Wakeman character that`s put on display for the public is, it must be said, thoroughly bizarre. The boozing Man Of The People – though his guts may well be a miasma of Watney`s Special and “red `ot Ruby Murrays” (curries to you and me) slides his oversized lips round a can of Coke. (It had been whispered that strenuous attempts were being made to keep him off the more potent stuff until after the show) and discusses his persona as rock`n`roll oddity:
“I honestly… I don`t… It`s very difficult to explain, you sod!!!
“I think it`s a big disappointment for lots of people when they see someone onstage, or read what they say in interviews, or see them on the box or meet them and they`re different characters. I hope that I`m not any different when I`m working and when I`m not working. I don`t think I am. Just a stagestruck layabout, I suppose.”
Do you see yourself as part of modern showbiz, or as an important figure in contemporary music?
“It`s very difficult to answer without being egotistical. I`d like to think I was a part of showbusiness, but in the same breath I`d like to think that some of the music might stand up in twenty or thirty years` time. Or even later. I`d really like that.”
You`re concerned for your immortality, ehh?
“If there`s such things as dear little astral plains and ghosts that can have a look down on what`s happening, I`d love to look down in a hundred years` time and hear someone playing a piece of my music.
“It`s an egotistical view, but I think everyone`s got an ego.”
You`ve got to have an ego to be a rock`n`roll musician and go out there onstage surely?
The considered balanced front falls away. “Yeah,” cackles Wakeman, “I`ve got terrible stage ego. I love it. I hate to say it.”

It should go without saying that Rick Wakeman “never” suffers from stage fright.
I put it to him that without the humour that`s found in a Wakeman show – from the onstage clowning to the programmes themselves – much of his audience might well find his lengthy “pieces” a bit heavy going. With them the seriousness is deflated and the music becomes far more accesible.
He agrees: “We like to make them feel part of the concert because then we can feel part of them and really close that gap between the stage and the audience.
“That`s what I enjoy about it. Love it, in fact. Can`t help it.”
Very much in the Music Hall tradition…
“Oh yeah. I wouldn`t disagree with that one iota.
“The one thing that`s lacking in all the rock concerts or shows that I go to – unless they`re pure comedy bands – is that they`re all very serious. There`s easy bits to listen to, and some bits that you have to concentrate quite hard on, there`s often bits of music that are quite sad, but the one thing that`s always lacking is that people never laugh. And people wanna laugh.
“The point that really proves this is when you get the guy who`ll go up onstage and say what to me is a totally unfunny line – something amazingly unfunny – and the audience will howl with laughter. Because they want to. I`m sure you`ve seen it; you know, the guy says (John Denveresque accent): `Oh dear. My string`s broke`. And they`ll go `Aaaaaaarrrgggghhh Haaaaaaarrrrgggghhh.` Howl with laughter.
“And I`ll think `Bloody idiot`. I howl with laughter when I see that.
“So what you try to do is that you take the music very seriously and break it up with a couple of little musical bits which we hope the audience will find amusing. In “Anne Boleyn” we do a big piss-take of virtually every form of music going. From Classical to out and out rock`n`roll. And we tell a few funnies which we hope string the show together.

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“Basically, I`m trying to put on the show that I would like to go and see.
“If I emerge as an absurd idiot – which most probably I am – then I`d like the audience to come and take the music seriously, but also see what this is all about. It`s all very genuine, so I just see it as I would like to see it if I was coming to see Rick Wakeman.”
Maybe the “Daily Express” in his briefcase is a clue. Maybe you should just glance at the titles of Rick Wakeman`s albums – excluding “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth,” of course – there`s more evidence of Englishness in the titles of “The Six Wives Of Henry Eight,” “Arthur” and the Stonehenge cover shot of “No Earthly Connection” than is osmosed by any other British rock musician to the right of the folk scene that I can think of. Excepting Ray Davies of course.
Consider the considerable number of Wakeman extracurricular activities – the upmarket hire-car firm, the flight case firm, the musical instrument company (How many companies do you have, Rick? “Cor. I`ve got a memory like a nun`s sexual diary. A complete blank.”) – and his overlordship of his band (“Billy Fuehrer they call me. It`s very sad.”) and the country house and even the Arthurian cloaks he sports onstage. I`m convinced that whether Wakeman admits it to himself or not he`s revelling in some curious character combination of overgrown schoolkid – the lavatory jokes etc – and feudal baron.
Is Rick Wakeman a nation of shop keepers? Or is he St George?
“It`s subconscious he tells me, with a nervous batting of the constant tic his right cheek suffers. “It`s not conscious because you can`t create things… I mean, you can create a situation like that if you want to. It`s just what I am. It`s why I think the music press either hate me or like me because you either have to take me as I am or forget it, because I can`t change.”

Neither, apparently, can his approach to his work: You never lie awake worrying that you`ve driven up a blind alley with the scale of the compositions you`re working with?
“You can always climb over the wall at the other end. A lot of people said that we`d hit a brick wall at the end of “Arthur” but we climbed over the wall. You don`t turn back or wait for The Relief Of Mafeking.”
Yes, that`s right. Rick Wakeman would not dream of getting down and getting funky and making a rock`n`roll album filled with three minute songs.
And why does he only get involved with “weighty concepts”?
Ummmm… I don`t know. I really don`t know. I just find them good to write for and good to write to. It`s like painting a picture.
“Without dropping myself in a lot of trouble there`s a lot of difference between painting a Van Gogh and painting by numbers.”
Yikes!!! Maybe you could cut your ear off onstage during the encore tonight.
The Man Behind The Music ignores the suggestion: “I`d rather spend a lot of time and do what I believe is a Van Gogh – Which is important to me – than get my Toyland Book For Beginners and do an album.”
The backdrop is suitably ambivalent: castle spires/organ pipes/clusters of swords. Very Charlton Heston. Very Camelot.
A very large part of the Wakeman appeal is certainly attributable to the soulwrenching need for a keyboards hero. A frisson of sheer delight runs through the audience during the first number – an “Arthur” number – the first time he plays two keyboards together. During those fractions of the set when he isn`t holding the reins on the sound with at least one set of keyboards Rick Wakeman dances a sort of constipated – sorry, all this scatological imagery is catching – Twist, accompanied with an insane grin.
He is also completely asexual.

His playing is very good. Wakeman`s favourite composers are Mozart for melodies, Rachmaninov for orchestrations, and Chopin for style. The last is very evident. He also rates the Vanilla Fudge highly, maybe that`s where he gained his sense of histrionics.
This is the first time I – and almost certainly most of the audience – have encountered Wakeman without orchestra. The English Rock Ensemble may cluster about The Star like a set of six portly plastic garden gnomes surrounding the Big Ears model, but they`re no slouches when it comes to the music. Not great musicians, perhaps, but quite able to hold down their instruments` roles as well as the roles that the orchestra had written for it and crawl about the stage with their boss making faces at, say, John Dunsterville during his acoustic guitar solo in “Catherine Howard.” Vocalist Ashley Holt also runs up and down the stage with arms stretched out aeroplane-like when Wakeman goes into a synthesizer solo in “Catherine Parr.”
This concert, though it may have the trappings of a mediaeval pageant, is definitely closer to Music Hall. There is, for example, “The Roadies Lament” – a reworded “Lumberjack Song” – that opens the second half of the show and there is the constant banter from Wakeman: “Sir Lance-A-LOT” (nudge nudge).
Material is played from all four Wakeman albums – five if you include a snatch of Liszt`s Hungarian Rhapsody Number 13 during the encore – and it`s really rather good if not exactly intellectually edifying. Whereas so much of the material featured at the “Arthur” show was weak and insubstantial, now it`s fiery and, yes, at times I can even see why so many of the audience find it raunchy. Not my sort of raunchiness. Indeed, on record not my sort of music whatsoever but as A Good Evening Out… Yes, it works.

To make it work in the way it does, it has been suggested that Wakeman merely picks up his ability and “plays down” to his audience?
“No way. You can`t play down. It`s impossible. Absolutely impossible.
“Rock audiences have a lot more intelligence than classical audiences. If you`re playing a piece of music from an album they`ve got, they`ll know the piece really well. You can`t possibly play down: The kids know exactly what they want to hear, how they want to hear it, and how they want it done!!
Wakeman and the English Rock Ensemble leave the stage of the Hammersmith Odeon for the third and final time on this tour.
They probably have a rider in their contract which specifies that ERE`s dressing-room must contain a communal bath into which the seven leap after the gig ends to hold farting contests deep into the night.

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Yes, finally! I think…..?

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: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Graham Parker, Louis Jordan, Jimi Hendrix, Horace Silver, Jimmy Castor, Nazareth, Bill Bruford.

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 Rick Wakeman from New Musical Express, June 7, 1975

Very busy at work lately, so I am a little behind my ordinary schedule. But here is a short one that will please the Yes and Wakeman fans. In the article there is a number of 243,000 dollars mentioned – to get some sort of understanding of the relative value of this amount, this would be about $ 1,070,000 today.
Have a nice read.

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Arthur: only myself to blame…

Demoralised Wakeman spills the beans…

By Tony Tyler

Rick Wakeman picked me up outside the manufactory of King & Hutchings, Printers to the Gentry. He was driving the Rolls.
“What`s happened to the other cars?” I enquired. “Had to sell `em didn`t I?” said an ashen-faced Wakeman. “To pay for `Arthur`.”
“Tell me about it,” said I. “Let`s have a drink first,” said the chalky-visaged Rolls owner.
“First thing to emphasise,” said he, taking an uncharacteristically small sip of his light `n bitter, “is that others lost just as much money as I did.”
How much?
“Well…a lot,” said Wakeman, lighting a Tom Thumb and inhaling cautiously.
“I must emphasise,” emphasised Wakeman, “that I`m not exactly broke. Not broke. I`ve still got me assets – me companies, me synthesizers.
“I just haven`t got any cash”.

It transpires that Wakeman also lost 243,000 dollars on his recent tour of America with “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”.
This is heavy news.
“But I gotta own up. I gotta say that I was strongly advised not to do the American tour – by Brian” (Lane) “by my accountants, by everybody who I pay to give me advice.
“I overrode `em all. It`s my ego that`s to blame.”
But no punters, Rick`s not defeated; by no means. His characteristically honest owning-up procedure is Wakeman`s own way of initiating a catharsis within himself and thus restoring his morale. He still likes his music, although he`s willing to concede that the Arthuriana semi-shambles was a severe tactical error – as was the American tour.
“I didn`t need to do that tour. By the time we got there the album (Journey To The Centre Of The Earth) “had already sold all it was going to sell and all we got was minimal sales as a result.
“I didn`t have to do this Arthur thing. I just wanted to.”
So let`s go into the fax.

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The fax are that when Wakeman announced his May concerts at Wembley, “no-one else was plannin` May concerts. The datesheet was clear. Then, all of a sudden, there`s Zeppelin, there`s Elton… and the kids don`t have that much money to spend – and we can`t put ticket prices up, no way – and they have to choose which concert they can afford.”
The original intention – when the gig was announced – was to play three evening concerts plus a matinee on the Saturday. “The whole thing cost about, say, £50,000 to put on and the extra show – the one extra show – would have given us the possibility of making a small profit. `Nough, say, to encourage us to keep it going.
“Then, when all those other shows got going, we knew we`d have to blow out the matinee.”
So you knew long before the concerts that you`d probably lose money?
“Yeah. But I was committed – and I don`t mean just financially. I`d said what I was going to do, against all the best advice, and no way could I pull out, even if I`d wanted to.
“Which I didn`t.
“There`s no-one else to blame but me.”
How`s your head?
“I`m a bit demoralised. Not destroyed. Demoralised.
“We had a meeting with the accountants. They said `First, Rick, is it possible to put on more shows without the orchestra and choir?` Well, it is. And that`s what I`m going to do.

“We`re going to Brazil.
“Pretty soon, in fact. With the six-piece band.
“And I`m getting my new album together. It`s going to be called `The Suite Of Gods` and it`ll be much closer to the `Six Wives` thing: six parts, each dedicated to a particular God of various mythologies… Zeus, Thor and so on. No orchestras. Just the six-piece.”
But he still defends “Arthur”.
“I stand by it musically. I did an incredible amount of research in order to make it work. See, I believe that people want some visual thing – not just me plonking about…”
Why not Just You Plonking About?
“Cos I`m not that sort of feller.”
So a quick summary of Rick Wakeman`s post “Henry VIII” solo career would appear to be…
“Wrote `Journey`. Recorded it. Album sold well. Was advised against going to the States. Went anyway. Lost 243,000 dollars – which I`ve only just found out about, by the way. Came back via Australia and Japan, where we did about 14 gigs in 50 days. Lost money. Back to England. Did `Arthur`. It sold well. Did the concerts. Lost money.”
So it`s Farewell Grandiosity. Hello The Simple Life, eh?
“You`re not kidding.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own  webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Billy Connolly, Sailor, Status Quo, Elton John, Henry Cow, Robert Wyatt, Report on New bands in New York, John Cipollina, Herb Rooney (Exciters), Chris Squire, Cecil Taylor, Patti Smith and Television.

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 Rick Wakeman (Yes) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, December 21, 1974

This may well be the article that gets my blog 10.000 views, knowing how interested Yes-fans are of reading about past and present members of the band. I will celebrate with something a little stronger than beer. Kind of a strange article this, and I never knew that Mr. Wakeman was so fond of beer. Is he still?
Have fun!

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We could have talked about his latest epic “The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare”…we were even ready to discuss his Keyboard Technique…but he preferred to talk about drinking. Accordingly, we preshent-

The RICK WAKEMAN Consumer`s Guide to Beers of the World

The management reserved rights to refuse admission to Chris Salewicz (words) and Joe Stevens (pics)…but they came in anyway

“On our rider for the tour of America – for the seven of us – we had twelve six-packs of Budweiser, two bottles of tequila, two bottles of scotch, two bottles of brandy, a bottle of grenadine and a bottle of orange juice to mix Tequila Sunrises. This is apart from all the ordinary lagers and other beers you get.
“And on the very first gig we had to send out for more at half time.”
Yes, Rick Wakeman likes the old tipple. In fact, one could go as far as to say that he regards himself as something of a connoisseur when it comes to booze. And I`m not just thinking of anything as crass as the fact that there was invariably a pint pot within reach whenever Wakeman was on stage with the Topographic Travellers – or “what Yes eat is what I bring up in the morning after a heavy night`s drinking”. No, that`s all become somewhat unnecessarily over-emphasised.

Because right now we`re going to talk about BEER – A Man`s Drink. So snuggle up close, you big butch creatures, and come on down to the Anglesea Arms, 15 Selwood Terrace, London SW7, which has been specially selected for the Rick Wakeman`s Consumers Guide to this liquid – for the quite basic reason that it`s a Free House (i.e., it`s not owned by an particular brewery) and stocks twenty-seven different brands.
Oh, then, to the first pint: Young`s Special. Wakeman dips his face into the glass and consumes roughly half of it. He seems satisfied: “Very difficult. First of the day, you see. I`ve deliberately been starving myself of liquid refreshments.
“And that first pint always does tend to taste just that little bit watery. It`s a very good bitter, although.”
It`s decided that the various beers to be tasted should be awarded star ratings with a possible maximum of ten.
The artist who is currently transforming the sensitive Arthurian legends into a musical form glugs down the final half of yet another aspect of his heritage.

Froth from the beer delicately mats together the hair of his freshly trimmed moustache.
“It`s a nine,” he declares. “Definitely a nine star out of ten rating.” And he lets forth a quaint belch before telling us that he`d cancelled studio time so that he could keep his appointment. Obviously a man who has his priorities right, is Rick Wakeman, as his reaction shows when it`s mentioned that the pub is rather absurdly crowded and that we could, if it were felt necessary, move on to somewhere with a little more room to breathe.
A look of extreme concern appears on his face: “Yeah, but the thing is they all close at eleven and the more walking about that we do the less alcoholic beverage time.
“One finds this problem a lot,” he adds, before lumbering up to the bar to personally inspect what is available. He returns with a pint of Watney`s Special!
“This, of course, though,” says Wakeman apologetically, “is the kind of beer that I was actually weaned on. Watneys provided me with my very first pint when I was thirteen years old – I can remember drinking it but I can`t remember the aftermath.
“Chemical beer does, of course, lay more heavily on the stomach.

“Now one beer which you can`t actually get there – Ind Coope…”
Ah, but one can, however, purchase Ind Coope`s Double Diamond.
This satisfies our guinea-pig: “While Double Diamond has the sweetness and the glorioso of wandering through a forest on a spring day with the sight of those first leaves and the gentle tweeting of birds…it does make you fart,” states Wakeman, almost with anguish. “Most of the band drink Double Diamond…I do find that if you drink a lot of it you tend to pebble-dash the toilet in the morning. Which can be a bit awkward especially if you`ve got a busy day ahead of you.
“I really do quite like this (Watney`s) actually,” he says a little defensively. “Because you know how you get accustomed to a taste.”
A certain gassiness about it, though.
“That doesn`t worry me because I normally drink light and bitters. I used to drink bitter all the time but I found that going from pub to pub the bitters would vary and I`d find bitters I really liked like…Well, for example I was one of the people who really liked Charringtons Bitter – I think it`s quite a pokey little beer, actually. Quite like Young`s bitter, in fact.

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“But then you might go somewhere and have Truman`s Bitter which is really….Anyway I used to play in a little dance band and one of the guys said to me `You`re mad to drink bitter all the time because you can never be assured of a good one. The way you want to make sure that you`ll always have a good pint is if you have a light and bitter because if the beer`s horrible and flat a light ale will always buck it up a bit`.
“So when I was travelling around in bands that`s what I always used to drink because it assured that the pint tasted relatively the same wherever I was.”
There is however, another answer to this admittedly perennial problem: what is known in parts of the North as a pint touch. Now this involves the slightest amount of lemonade being poured on top of the beer. Wakeman`s eyes light up: “Down where I`ve got a place in the West Country they call that a bitter dash.”

At this point, though, the arrival of a pint of every draught beer sold in the Anglesea brings an end to the discussion of the more esoteric aspects of the brew.
“Lowenbrau…,” gurgles Wakeman through a Teutonic mouthwash, “I don`t like lagers…I really don`t like lagers. I always wake up with a headache. It just spoils a good night`s drinking.
“On a star rating…Actually we haven`t graded Watney`s Special yet. On a star rating I`ll have to give an eight to the Watney`s.
“Because I do like Watney`s, you know,” he adds, perhaps noticing my displeasure. “It`s always consistent.
“Now this lager…Extremely disappointing, I`m afraid. The Lowenbrau only gets five stars.”
A pint of Double Diamond (Works Wonders) slides down Wakeman`s Deep Throat: “Always tastes to me – Double Diamond – as it… do you remember the early days at the dentists when they used to give you gas? Actually, it wasn`t so much the gas as the rubbery smell of the mask….But it always reminds me of that. So because of that I can only give it a six star rating, I`m afraid. What`s next?

“Skol!?!
“Oh, I`m afraid I`ll have to link this with the Lowenbrau,” bellows Wakeman irritably, spilling at least a third of the pint over my jeans. “Once again you get a horrendous headache. It does make you pebble-dash the toilet seat…”
Back to the ale. So the Lowenbrau and the Skol both got no more than a miserable five stars each. So much for internationalism. But what about the Ruddles County? How dedicated drinkers have been known to come from all over London to the Anglesea Arms simply for a mere taste of this rare non-chemical beer. Many would argue that Ruddles County is the very finest beer currently being brewed within these shores.
Rick Wakeman gazes at the full pint for a full five seconds before taking that precious, first swallow: “It`s bloody `orrible,” he screams, turning faintly green. “That is awful.
“That is one of the worst things I have ever tasted in my whole life.”
But it`s renowned for its quality, Rick.

“It`s like an off barley wine.
“I`ll give that a two star. And the only reason I`ll give it that is because there`s a pint of it and I might have to drink it before the night`s out.”
Try the Worthington E.
“Flat. It`s normally quite bubbly. Bit tasteless, that.”
Plainly in a tantrum after his disappointment with the Ruddles County, Wakeman awards the Worthington E the staggeringly low rating of minus three stars, though the Watney`s Red Barrel (“it`s one asset is that it`s the same wherever you go”) fares better with six stars. His comments on the Rigers weren`t exactly flattering and he refused to even attempt an assessment of its worth.
Grabbing at another pint of Young`s Special, Wakeman rinses out his mouth and departs with a crazed look on his face -loudly demanding to know the direction of the nearest Star Of India restaurant.

From the touring adverts

From the touring adverts

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bryan Ferry, Sparks, Gong, Rolling Stones, Big Jim Sullivan, Dizzy Gillespie, Otis Redding.

Sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Yes (Rick Wakeman) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, APRIL 22, 1972

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

I still have a lot of hits on this blog from Yes fans, so in this edition it was an easy choice to choose a interview with Rick Wakeman. Enjoy!

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Rick Wakeman embarrassed by success

By Spike Taylor

Rick Wakeman is self-conscious about Yes` last American tour. The reason is that the recent coast-to-coaster was such a howling success that Wakeman is slightly embarrassed to talk about it.
“It was a riot”, he says, looking ashamed. “Fantastic. We got caught on the hop, you see. When we came back from the previous tour on December 30, the Yes album was motoring nicely around the 30 mark. We thought that `Fragile` would need promoting when we got over there.
“Well, `Fragile` came out and it went to No. 4 in three weeks. The day we arrived it was at 4, which, as I said, caught us right on the hop. The actual weekly progression was 151, 51, 4”.

Wild scenes followed. “The New York Academy of Music – for which we`d been booked for just one date – actually sold four days. We were a bit worried, actually, because although the act was a hell of a lot tighter, we hadn`t really got any new material. So we went on and, as you know, they play `Firebird Suite` as our theme.
“We`re all standing there in the darkness, having a quiet tune, and then `Firebird` played and the place erupted. I know it sounds as if I`m on a big ego trip, but I`m not. They just went barmy. This happened all over the States.
“We did one gig where there was a hotel next door. The hotel part was about fifteen stories up, and some of the people from the hotel hoisted ropes and ladders to try and get in the hall where we were playing”.

For Wakeman these tremendous scenes were difficult to handle – because, at the same time, his wife was expecting a baby and was having to cope with moving house. She was in fact, safely delivered of the child while Rick was somewhere in the midwest, and mother, child and new house are all doing well.
This was a worrying period for Wakeman, but another bummer for the lad was the rumour – started in New York and circulated in an ever-changing manner to the West Coast – that Wakeman was leaving Yes.

“That hurt a lot,” says he. “When you`re on tour, the minute you get into a hotel, everybody phones wives and girlfriends and says `Howya doing` and all that, and when I spoke to my wife she said `You`re leaving`. I said `What?` and when I put the phone down and went into the corridor all the group were coming out of their rooms having heard the same thing. They were very uptight.
“What happened, I think, was that at the Academy of Music gig the Mellotron packed up, and the amp as well. Somebody in the audience must have noticed, and the story that `Wakeman refused to play` soon became `Wakeman`s leaving` when it got to California. The band, of course, didn`t know what was happening and they freaked out”.

But California does have its compensations, and for Wakeman, a self-confessed car freak, Los Angeles – the only city in the world designed by the Automobile – proved a goldmine of wheeled joy.
“I saw this classic fifties Cadillac rotting in a car lot on the last tour,” he recalls with pleasure, “and I couldn`t believe that such a vehicle could be falling apart like that. It was 300 dollars.
“Anyway, A & M bought it for me as a Christmas present. It cost them 300 to buy it, but I`m afraid they got caught, because when it needed re-building they had to pay another 6,000 dollars. And when it came through Customs last week they enclosed a slip saying it cost 300 dollars, but it was in such good nick – completely rebuilt and with a brand new engine, that the Customs got on to Cadillac who told them it was worth about 6,000 dollars. But it`s incredible, it`s beautiful and it`s outside my house now. It does four miles to the gallon.”

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Reports also reached Britain during the Yes tour that Wakeman was planning a solo album. Was this true? “Although I`m obviously into the Yes thing, there are certain things inside you as a musician which aren`t suitable for the group in which you work.
“It hasn`t anything to do with musicianship or anything like that. It`s just something you have to get out. They`re all instrumental pieces – I can sing in tune but my voice is horrible and my lyrics are even worse – and I used the guys from Yes on the opening and closing pieces. Most of the middle is me on the various keyboards I use.” When will the Wakeman album be released? “I hope around July or thereabouts.”
“The album will be based round a book I read on a plane – you know you read a-book-a-plane on tour? – called `The Private Life Of Henry VIII.`
“I`ve always been duff at history but this really fascinated me. I couldn`t believe that all these women could have such different personalities – from Anne Boleyn to Catherine Parr who outlived Henry. So the album will be based around them and their characters and will be called `The Six Wives of Henry VIII`.”

Such a theme should prove a strong showcase for the flourishing, graceful style of Wakeman`s keyboard work – which has evolved markedly since he joined Yes last year after a long period with the Strawbs.
From Strawbs to Yes to magic tour to sell out album to solo album is a series of hefty giant strides for the genial blond pianist. And Strawbs keep coming into the conversation. Wakeman is happy with their latest success, and considers that “Grave New World” is probably the best thing they`ve done.

“I said so at the time. I was sure that if I left it would be the best for all parties – including them. And now they make this album which proves it. I don`t want to sound egotistical or anything, but in Strawbs I was never really musically challenged.
“Dave (Cousins) would bring me songs and I`d say `Yes` or `We could change that` and they`d accept it. In Yes it`s completely different. Everybody`s at least as good as me which is much more of a challenge.
“If we don`t like things we say so. And we`re all completely co-operative when writing. Like, I might listen to some words of Chris`s (Squires) and they might spark off eight bars that I was fooling around with a few months ago.
“Then Steve (Howe) might say `I`ve got a bit that`s better than the last four bars of yours but not as good as the first four`. And Bill might suggest a time change or something. That`s how we do things – we spark each other off”.

To say Wakeman is modest about his success would be a gross understatement. As i said earlier, he`s positively embarrassed by it. “I consider myself extremely lucky. I just can`t believe how lucky I`ve been. It wasn`t so long ago that I was bumming the price of a Wimpy off my publishers.
“Now I`m in Yes, I`m financially secure, I`m playing what I want to play, I`ve got a baby son… It just can`t go on. I`m so lucky”.

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I found this ad on the last page of the newspaper. Nice enough to frame!

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Curved Air, Juicy Lucy, Mick Abrahams, The Osmonds, Fairport Convention, Moody Blues, Claire Hamill, Edgar Broughton, Genesis, Allman Brothers, Stud, Wishbone Ash, Graham Bell.

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

  1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
  2. The offer should be around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, March 4, 1972

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

I didn`t choose to print this concert review with Yes only because I like the band. The last time I printed an article about Yes I got a lot of hits on my blog, and I really do like hits like dogs like to lick their balls. So as an gesture to the Yes fans, and a small hint to other fans – get me readers, and your favourite band or artist will be featured more prominently here.

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YES in America

They`re bringing some of the old British
mystique back to the U.S. rock scene, reports Anne Tan

The scene is the Academy of Music, fast becoming a not-very-worthy successor to the defunct and lamented Fillimore East. The first two groups have gone on and off – a rather incompetent American group called Compost and a British offering of excellent musical standard, the Mark Almond Band.

The time is late Saturday, early Sunday morning. The auditorium is quiet with the occasional restlessness of a crowd waiting for the headlining act – Yes.
The tape goes on. It`s loud and clear, the majestic strains fill the converted cinema and, in the darkness of the stage, is the sudden small glow of a hand-held flashlight – light applause goes through the audience.
The tape ends, Rick Wakeman lays down the opening chords of “Roundabout” and the stage lights go on.
The auditorium erupts into one seething crowd of ecstatic Yes fans, shrieking, applauding, stomping, whistling, some already on their feet.

TOP BILLING

Yes has arrived. Yes has reached top-billing status in the tough, cold town of New York. Yes has reached this status all over the country.
Their fourth album, “Fragile” is No. 4 in the charts. This tour is different from their previous ones. On the first, back in the late summer of 1971, they were third on the bill to Humble Pie and Jethro Tull, although ask lead guitarist Steve Howe about touring with Jethro Tull, and he sighs for the kind of rigorously supervised perfection of that tour and the kind of kinetic excitement of playing in superlarge auditoriums.
“You don`t feel closed in,” he says, “it`s free. I like playing those big halls, you feel it`s really worth it knocking yourself out to give a good show.”

LOST SOUND

But New York City doesn`t have a suitable big hall. There is Madison Square Garden, but the drawback here is that sound gets lost beyond the first twenty or thirty rows of seats. To overcome that takes a tremendous amount of money invested in equipment.
There is Carnegie Hall – usually the ultimate downfall for a group because the acoustics defy description.
Not that the Academy of Music is any great acoustic bargain. The first time I heard Yes there they played through a sound system that had been giving them problems all night and wound up being inaudible vocally, Chris Squire`s bass getting totally lost as did the lower notes of Rick Wakeman`s keyboards.
But success is its own reward. The reward of having your album high in the charts translates neatly into terms of billing.
As the top act Yes can now command the kind of public address system it wants.

Tonight, as most nights, the Academy of Music has attracted a strange audience.
There are the younger people from their sheltered homes out on Long Island who flow in for a concert, get stoned on pills, and disappear afterwards back to stable security.
There are the pleasantly mellowed heads, some of the customers of the former Fillmore East, with their hash.

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LETHAL

Finally there are what are called the ripple-and-red crowd. Reds are secconals and ripple is a kind of sweet, fruity wine, and the combination is lethal – the head is aggressive and paranoid and the vibrations of such freaks are bad. Here is the stuff of which riots are made.
There are the perpetual encore-demanders, the threateners, the hasty hecklers, the loud-mouthed yellers, and they always take up their seats towards the back, which means they get small satisfaction both aurally and visually during the concert.
Yes is playing to one of these audiences. They have clapped enthusiastically, cheered, whistled, stomped, but there is a bulk of the nasty crowd which has interrupted Steve Howe`s acoustic solos a few times.
They don`t think too much of the classical background which shows very prominently in Rick Wakeman`s keyboards solo, and Rick is labouring under the strain of an ill-tempered mellotron.
The show is over and the group holds its customary post-mortem.
Chris Squire, looking rather worried: “I don`t know about your solo, Steve, it seems the acoustic break goes on too long…you know, it brings them down too much.”
“I don`t think the acoustic numbers are quite what they meant before,” Steve says. “I mean, before they were meant to be just that, you know, a quiet break.”
They go through different ideas – maybe the possibillity of playing “The Clap” before “Mood For A Day”, although this presents technical problems.
“You see, `Mood For A Day` I play with my fingers and `The Clap` I use the plectrum, so it`s better for me to play the one with the fingers first while they are supple – but I could try it,” says Steve.
“Anyway,” Bill Bruford says, `Yours Is No Disgrace` just isn`t the right encore – it`s much too long, an encore should be just a taste of what`s gone before. In fact, I am against the whole idea of playing encores at all.”

RIOTS

You can`t get away with not playing encores. The audience can get nasty if denied them – chairs have been thrown, halls have been torn up.
Rick Wakeman sighs in the face of this fact: “Even if we played for four hours, they`d still demand an encore.”
Rick points out that “Your Move/All Good People” fits in much better at the end, it`s a great finishing song. Everyone agrees.
“You know, we`re a very conservative group,” Bill Bruford says thoughtfully. “I mean, we tend to find something that`s good and stick with it, but I think sometimes that we should change for the sake of change.”
So they go back to replanning their set.

OVERLONG

They are supposed to get up to Burlington, Vermont the next day, but the night is running overlong and the snow has been falling hard and fast all day so there is the possibility that the Vermont trip is out for the next day.
It`s exhausting. As Steve says: “I have a date sheet that shows another 33 dates, I don`t want to think about anything else.”
On this tour they are combining the West and East Coasts, with most of two weeks concentrated on the East and finishing off with dates in Los Angeles and San Diego.
This means moving equipment over vast areas of territory and the only time off is the day they fly to California.
Steve, Chris, Rick, Bill and Jon are sighing for their return to Britain and the old familiar halls where the audience is a kind of family.
If anything, America is a little pie-eyed over anything out of Britain, but Yes are bringing some of the old British mystique back into the American rock-and-roll scene.

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Some of the concerts that week around the U.K. A really exciting time for music!

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Don McLean, Felix Pappalardi (Mountain), Dave Cousins, Carly Simon. Denny Cordell, Bob Dylan, Tommy Hunt, Hookfoot, Gilbert O`Sullivan, Paul Williams, Greyhound, Mahalia Jackson, Chicory Tip, Curved Air.

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

  1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
  2. The offer should be around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.