YES

ARTICLE ABOUT Rick Wakeman FROM SOUNDS, August 28, 1971

This excellent article is also an example of how I think when I DON`T edit what I think may be a mistake in the text of an article. In this article there is a mention of someone called “Nick Simpler” who I think may be the former Deep Purple man Nick Simper. I don`t edit this in the small chance that there actually was someone called Nick Simpler jamming in Brentford. So now you know – I`m not just totally ignorant of these things.
Have fun reading.

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Just another Yes man…

By Penny Valentine

When he was six years old Rick Wakeman`s father dispatched him to a very fine lady piano teacher in Harrow. Two lessons later the infant Wakeman had decided to be a concert pianist. He never actually made it to the concert platform – all kinds of other small diversions like football, girls, and bands kept getting in the way. But he did make it to the Royal College of Music in London, where, at his first clarinet lesson, he stunned the entire teaching staff. Not exactly by his brilliant virtuosity, but because he collapsed at their feet in a drunken stupour.
From such humble beginnings mightly acorns grow and today Rick Wakeman is a fine musician who last week started a new and happy chapter in his life by joining the increasingly talented Yes.
To be honest he didn`t exactly look ENTIRELY happy when I met him on Wednesday, but then it had been an exhausting five days. After 124 hours without sleep our tall thin blonde hero was beginning to wilt – not unexpectedly. His days split between recording his first album with Yes and then rushing off to Trident to complete session work he was committed to and only time for a quick breakfast at home in between.
Musically his joining up with Yes couldn`t have come at a better time. The band had already decided that for their tour of Britain this autumn they would work on a whole new stage concept barring all old material in the act. So Wakeman comes in at the beginning of a new Yes era able to add his ideas and become an integral part of the band from scratch.
As the temperature soared into the clammy 80s in London, and we threw down as many cold cokes as we could. Rick brightened up and agreed that – by pure accident – it had all been a very lucky series of coincidences:

BENEFIT

“I think it got to the point with the Strawbs when we just weren`t right for each other. I`m sure we`ll all benefit from the split because we were beginning to compromise a lot on ideas – like we`d use half of my ideas and half of theirs – and I don`t think it was helping what was eventually coming out. We ended up lacking challenge. Complacency set in, and for the last couple of months we just weren`t working. I went back to doing a lot of session work and then three weeks ago, Steve Howe, phoned and asked me if I`d like to go along and play a bit with Yes and see how we all got on.”
For Yes, Rick turned out to be exactly the musician they needed – a man with ideas a very high standard on five keyboards including Moog and organ. For Wakeman, Yes turned out to be the most enthusiastic hard working band he`d ever met:
“I found all the ideas I`d had before but never used, waking up and coming to the surface. And what happened on the first session was that I found the ideas. Yes had about their music and direction were very similar to mine. We have a complete understanding and they`re incredibly enthusiastic. I think Yes are going to get much bigger than they are now and if they don`t, well, all I can say is that it certainly won`t be through lack of work or enthusiasm – I`ve never known a band work so hard it`s a wonder they haven`t all collapsed by now.
Yes, of course, it`s been great coming in now when they`re working on all new material. On the tour I think only about ten minutes out of the hour and a half act will be old stuff. Like they`ll probably have to do “No Disgrace”, and there is a piano solo I did with the Strawbs we`re thinking of putting together with Steve`s guitar solo “The Clap” but that`s all. I don`t think you can integrate old thought and new thoughts.”

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On stage Rick plans, for the first time, to use all five keyboards and so Yes`s live sound will have a chance to expand even further:
“I suppose it sounds a bit flash but it`s really for the sake of having exactly the right sound. We`re using four keyboards on the album and I think it`s only fair to an audience to get the sounds over live the same way – I don`t like substitute sounds anyway. If something`s definitely needed than I don`t see why you shouldn`t use it.”
Wakeman`s reputation as a musician has grown so huge over the past couple of years, he`s been one of those people that you think has been around for ever that it comes as a surprise to discover that actually Yes is only the second professional group he`s played with.
He started with semi-pro bands at 14 when he was still at school and the recollection of those halycon days brings him out in a rash of laughter. His first great break came with the “Atlantic Blues”, band where he played a Woolworth`s organ using the speakers from two old radios (“Needless to say the result was – dreadful”) and one of their first gigs was at the Neasden Mental Home.
“I think the crunch came when we were the interval group at the Byron Greenford for 30s. We were so bad it was the shortest interval in the history of the place.”
But things picked up after that. Fast and furious he moved into a trio dance band for gigs at the British Legion Greenford and Rick became the richest kid in his class, then to Ealing Social Club (£12 a weekend); Brent Borough Social Club (£15 a week); his own band at 16; Ronnie Smith`s dance band (£15 a week) where he joined the “ranks of the moth eaten jackets and punch-ups”. After joining the Royal College he worked as a freelance and then started session work for Denny Cordell and Tony Visconti. Then back to Ronnie Smith (£28 a week this time) because he`d just got married and needed the money. By now he`d left the Royal College and had started doing sessions with a band called The Strawbs: “The highlight of my week was at the Red Lion Brentford where jam sessions went on with John Entwistle, James Royal, Nick Simpler, Mitch Mitchell -everyone turned up for these incredible rock and roll evenings, and I was really honoured to be there playing with these great musicians.”

FAMOUS

By now Wakeman`s session work was becoming famous. He played the classic mellotron passages on David Bowie`s “Space Oddity”, and was a regular session man for Al Stewart, Ralph McTell, Cat Stevens only recently popping up on T. Rex`s “Get It On”.
The Strawbs, who he`d worked with on “Dragonfly”, one day said why didn`t he rehearse with them? And promptly turned up with a crate of beer and offered him a place in the band on piano:
“We had some fabulous times, there`s no doubt about it. I was knocked out the first time I saw my name in print when I was with them. It may sound flash but it`s great, I just sat there staring at it. But at that time the band were incredibly in debt and the equipment was farcical. I had an old Hammond I`d jumped up and down on for years and was a wreck and we had to shift all our own equipment because there were no roadies. Then we got new management and things picked up. I think the standout point was when we did the Kilby Hall gig it did us so much good it just built up from there.”

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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: Ten Years After, Elton John, Link Wray, Richie Havens, Tom McGuinness, Terry and Gay Woods, Monty Python, Bo Diddley, Edgar Broughton, Mike Harrison, Sam Charters, Miller Anderson, Allan Taylor.

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.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM SOUNDS, JULY 3, 1971

This is a really fun article featuring Yes as they still, even after three albums, were a somewhat “small” band in the scope of things to come. The new guy at the time, Mr. Howe, turned out to be a very important member of the band.
If someone know who the original journalist was that wrote this article, please give me a hint so he is given his due when it comes to credits for this article. The name was not printed in “Sounds”.
Enjoy this great time travel, back to a time when Yes were a student band.

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CAMPUS

Yes is one of those bands that everybody who knows about music claims to admire, but who have nevertheless never gained the recognition or the success that they deserve. They are, inevitably, one of the most popular bands on the college scene today -inevitably, because they are a profoundly musical group at what is, by present day standards, a very reasonable price. Like Quintessence, and Argent, Yes are a group that seem to have been waiting at the door for a long time.

HAPPEN

There are strong indications, though, that Yes are beginning to happen and if they do it will no doubt give great satisfaction not only to them but to the many social secretaries who have booked them in the past, and who have later told me just what good value they are, both onstage and off.
I had the chance to talk to Jon Anderson of Yes a couple of weeks ago about the university and college scene in general, and he showed a sympathetic understanding of the problems which student organisers have to face.

SYMPATHY

Jon didn`t think that his music was any better received by students than by anyone else. Reaction from all kinds of audience tended to be much the same – which is how it should be, of course, since students don`t have a monopoly of musical appreciation (though some of them seem to think so).
“We like to play colleges and clubs because that way we reach the widest possible audience. For instance, if we play an ordinary date in Manchester then at the university, we`ve reached as many people as possible unless we did the Free Trade Hall.
“I also think that a concert at a university – any concert – is a good thing because it brings the students together under one roof. In large places like Leeds, Birmingham or Portsmouth, where they`re scattered about all over the place, this is particularly good.”
John had a lot of sympathy for college promoters in a lot of the technical colleges in the cities.

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AWFUL

“Some of them have halls that are pre-Victorian, and they are very badly supported, often because they`re competing with a university up the road with much better facilities.
We played in one hall once, it was twice as high as it was long. The acoustics were awful – the sound came out really distorted. You can`t expect to hold concerts in a place like that. But compare that with somewhere like LSE. They`ve only got a small hall – I don`t suppose it seats more than 900 people – but its got a tremendous atmosphere, good lightshow and so on.”
I asked Jon about the band`s future plans. He told me that they were going to America with Jethro Tull (they should be there now, in fact) and they were very hopeful that they would be able to build on the small but solid foundations laid by their previous two U.S. tours. The band will not be appearing in this country again until late autumn – Jon hopes to do a tour then, to coincide with a new album which he hopes will be released towards the end of the year. They would fill in the gaps between now and then writing and rehearsing new material.

BRUNT

The inclusion of new member Steve Howe means that the main brunt of writing has been taken off Jon: he and Steve now do a lot of composing together. This has the additional advantage of providing one more direction to the already wide range of Yes` music. Some of Steve`s work appeared on their most recent album, but he is coming even more into it as the re-constituted group finds its feet.

HELP

Then, in the autumn, a few more college gigs. It may be that by then Yes will have achieved the recognition that has been predicted for them for so long. I doubt if this will mean that they will stop doing college and university dates, though, even if greater commitments prevent them playing at them quite so often. Jon`s sympathy for what most student promoters are trying to do (even if they so often fail through lack of experience or whatever) is apparent. When I asked him about the bad experiences Yes had been through, or the colleges he wouldn`t go back to, he said there were none.
“We`ve had a few problems, I suppose, but I don`t want to put students down. Even when they cock things up, they`re trying to help us and that`s what counts.”

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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: Traffic, Bronco, Humble Pie, Kate Taylor, Gary Burton, Tony Williams, Stephen Stills, Murray Head, Sandy Denny, John Sebastian, Clouds, Heads & Hands and Feet, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Curtis Mayfield, Scotty.

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 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 Patrick Moraz (Yes) FROM New Musical Express, April 17, 1976

Due to the amount of readers on Yes-related articles, I chose to print this one ahead of two long articles about Sweet and ELO in the same issue. Readers are king! Enjoy!

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`Flying Saucers landed on my turntable`
– Exotic musician`s amazing claim

Patrick Moraz has dreamed a great dream. Soothsayer Steve Clarke doesn`t like the sound of it.

“What did you think of the album, by the way?” enquires this sweet-tempered European called Patrick Moraz – he of those perfectly (too perfectly?) contoured Latin features.
Yikes! – the question I was most dreading. And own up, Patrick, there`s no bloomin` “by the way” about it. He`s been itching to ask me that question right from the moment his housekeeper ushered me into the Moraz pad, a third floor job on the Bayswater/Notting Hill Gate border, just a nose away from colleague Jon Anderson`s own villa in the Gate itself.
The pad`s spacious, well-furnished in a lived-in way, and positively reeks of coffee. I`m sitting in, rather than  on, a comfy sofa in the lounge. Nearby there`s a hi-fi set, on the turn-table of which squats Moraz`s pride and joy, his first solo album, “I”.
That`s right, “I”. Not “I Ro” or “U Roy” but just “I”.
There are reasons why Patrick called this piece of now dormant vinyl “I”, and he`ll be glad to tell you all about them a little later on.
There`s also a whopping great grand piano in the room, and a couple of pairs of cans (headphones to you), and assorted tapes scattered on the floor.
The Man is a little overdressed considering it`s just turned noon and this is, afterall, His Pad. He wears a lot of leather, semi-denimed white leather pants, white boots and black leather jacket. There`s a cluster of heavy jewellery around his neck, and the Moraz wrists are not naked either.

The first time I met Patrick I was struck by his charming, courteous manner. Today is no exception, and rather than going for a quick `In and Out` interview, Moraz insists that I relax and take it easy. He asks me how I`ve been, organises some coffee, shows me some photographs he took of Chick Corea`s band when they visited Chez Moraz. He tells me there`s some projected plans for a joint-keyboard album which would feature himself, Corea and Herbie Hancock.
Time passes, the coffee is brought, Moraz really looking the part as he re-enters the room, tray in hand.
But to business. I ask a fairly unprovocative question about whether the rapid succession of Yes solo album releases is damaging to sales.
No, that doesn`t bother him. “We don`t do albums for sales,” he says with a knowing laugh. “The sales are record company business. Of course it`d have been better if the releases were more spaced. But as long as the record is out, I think whoever is interested…” the sentence fades.
And then, the Big Question, “By the way…”
That`s where you came in.
Moraz joined Yes midway through `74 and his playing has beefed up the band`s live performances no end. It`s been claimed that Moraz is a better player than either Wakeman or Emerson, and certainly Moraz doesn`t consider these two his peers, although he appreciates what they do. He has in fact jammed with Emo.
But give him players like Corea, Hancock, Oscar Peterson. For Moraz, they`re the real masters.

When it comes to Patrick`s own musical vision, outside the context of Yes, I`m not so sure. Before talking to him I`d only played side one of “I”, just once. It completely by-passed me.
To answer his question honestly and diplomatically, I tell him it confused me.
“Confused you?”
“There was so much going on.”
“Really?” he queries, coming on all concerned and earnest.
I tell him I`ll have to sit down and listen to it under more suitable conditions. He agrees.
“I think probably some of it is very instant. But did you find it confusing?”
Diversionary tactics are called for. How long did it take to record? He`s not interested in the question.
“Not long when you consider how much went into it. Have you heard it on a good system?”
Fairly good.
“Because you could listen to it on mono – even on a cassette recorder, and I think you`d get the message, the spectrum of sounds. I mixed it at a very low volume so that really anybody can listen to it.
“It`s the first time I`ve been told it`s confusing. It surprised me, you know, but as long as it`s objective.” He uses “objective” a lot – “funky” too.
The inevitable comes. “I`d like to play it to you.”
Sure.

Stylus hits vinyl, loud electronic noises emanate from the stereo speakers. Moraz becomes animated, talking his way through the album`s first side – though much of what he says is inaudible because of the loudness of the music.
We drink more coffee. It is, unsurprisingly enough, a concept album, and a cosmic concept album at that. Stall your groans. You haven`t heard half of it yet – where Moraz got the inspiration from, i.e. the story which motivated the music. The story itself is written out in flowing prose, by Patrick, on the album`s inner sleeve.
A quick precis goes like this; `I` is a building, a hotel and all who enter this building have to ascend its 900 floors (Patrick will explain about that later) and jump from the top. If, however, one discovers the key, love itself, the Big Jump is the take-off for infinity. Or something like that.
The story is, of course, an allegory for life itself. Over to you, Patrick:
“I believe so much in love,” says he, looking a shade embarrassed, “It`s so important to… It`s the message in the end.”
He tells us where he got the idea for The Story. “It came from a dream and various situations in the States when I was touring with Yes. In different hotels I was staying in, I realised a lot of situations people were in. Then I went down to South America and the story developed, more and more.
`It was a very, very strange dream which is very vivid indeed.”
Describe it. “There was the building, and going down from that building there was a bridge. Under the bridge there were some very icy waters. On the other side of the bridge there were a lot of markets with thieves and prisoners and so on. I was at the same time trying to help the people who needed help and also trying not to get conned by the crooks and thieves.

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“And then I arrived at the bridge and I was taken by… it`s crazy to say this” – Moraz breaks even, looking even more sheepish – “I was taken onboard this flying saucer…”
Streuth! Must be something in the brown rice…
“It was so vivid. It appears very crazy, but it was so strong in my mind and I had that dream a long time ago.”
Well, what can I say, man.
Wakeman was never like this.
On with the show, “I chose I because it`s the ninth letter of the alphabet which is also a symbol for life and reincarnation, and love. The building is meant to have 900 floors,” he says, laughing at the seeming absurdity of it all.
“But also I found the number nine very attractive. You know, when I joined Yes I was their ninth member and I did their ninth album, and their ninth American tour. And all these nines coming at the same time… You probably think I`m talking crazy.”
You should hear Jon Anderson sometimes…
I ask him howcum all you boys in Yes think in these, er, cosmic terms?
“In fact the way we think is very natural. We don`t search for it. That kind of dream I had was very natural.”
Were you the same before mixing with the rest of Yes?
“Yes. I had communication with people who thought in that kind of bracket. When I came to South America to do the backing tracks for this album I had very cosmic relationships with people.

“They`re very influenced there. They`re very illuminated, in a way. I think South America is a very important ship of civilisation. I can`t find the right word for it. It`s a very important… How do you say when a little child is born, you put it in a…?
Cradle?
“When he is born and you go and walk with him?”
Pram.
“Something like that. It`s a pram of civilisation and the civilisation there didn`t stay in that pram. They have a great evolution. The people are very aware and very cosmic.
“Whenever I can, I always go and live in the mountains for two or three days to get nearer to nature. I don`t attach any kind of importance to material things as such.”
Hang on, this is `76. Surely Patrick old son, you wouldn`t be able to lig about the world without…? He cuts me off, guessing my question. “No. No. No. That`s not what I mean. Beyond the needs I don`t attach much importance to material things.”
Surely “I” cost a lot of bread to produce?
“It cost more energy than it cost money,” he says typically. And I soldier on with the fact that people like drummer Andy Newmark (who appears on the album) doesn`t work for the proverbial peanuts, and that the two villas he hired in Switzerland for the duration of the recording weren`t paid for by hot air.
The question is evaded. “I`m a very economic person. As I was the album`s executive producer I watched the expenses very closely. I put an emphasis on the people participating in the album being taken care of very well. Anyway, if ever it`s money spent, it`s my money. It`s not record company money.”

As things turn out, Moraz himself doesn`t come from a wealthy family. His father was an entertainer – of just what nature Patrick never told me, although he does get to tap dance some on “I”. In fact, Moraz says his family are one of the poorest living in Switzerland, and if it hadn`t been for a Hungarian concert pianist taking the fledgling Moraz under her proverbial wing when he was just nudging his teens, he wouldn`t be where he is now.
Just delving into the man`s background a second or two, let`s say that it`s an eclectic one to be sure. On leaving his family at 17 he worked on building sites. Coming to England, he worked as a school cook and somewhere between then and now his job list takes in – and wait for this – being a male model in Hong Kong, inspecting military planes in Turkey, selling carpets, working as a photographer in Japan and Hong Kong, running an African safari, and being an import/export man.
It`s not as if Patrick Moraz has led a sheltered life.
Ah, the album. Somewhere between all this, Moraz has played me “I” in its entirety. And “different vibes,” I guess, is one way of putting it, since “I” includes everything ranging from the customary electronic wizardry, pastoral piano, more accepted rock forms, Brazilian percussion and a group of Swiss schoolkids singing an endearingly innocent theme.
While one doesn`t doubt Moraz`s sincerity for a second, my final feelings on the whole thing are (a) Moraz is putting together things which don`t belong together, (b) the vocal sections just don`t make it because the singer`s voice (John McBurnie) isn`t suitable and, (c) most importantly, Moraz is attempting to bring off something he isn`t yet capable of, and while some of the themes are attractive enough there is no over-all identity.

If only these undeniably talented players wouldn`t plunge right in at the deep end.
Still, “I” has picked up good reviews and is selling like hot cakes.
I tell him perhaps I`m not qualified to give a `valid decision` in that my knowledge of classical music is zilch. He tells me he hasn`t got much more background than I have – the point of which I don`t see, because after-all Moraz is a classically trained musician.
Not surprisingly, he says he`s trying to break the barriers, “As I`ve had the luck to be classically trained, I want to give people who haven`t had the chance to enjoy some sounds they`re probably not aware of in the context of something they are aware of.
“I`m following a movement in that respect, and my role in the music business or whatever is to give whatever I can to people. I could have done a pure, simple rock record and indulged in very simple kind of things, but there are a lot of people doing that who are very good at it – although I could do it as well cause I love to play, I love to jam, I love to communicate with people.
And finally, Yes. He says the solo albums have brought the group closer together. He describes their relationship as “very funky”. In fact as the interview comes to an end, he looks at his watch and realises he`s already late for a Yes rehearsal. The group are working on a set which will include material from all five solo albums, plus older material and new group songs.
Because of tour commitments there won`t be a Yes album until late summer at the earliest. Even Moraz thinks that would be a little too much on top of five solo elpees.

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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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Radio Luxembourg, Frank Zappa, Sweet, Third World, Wings, Pavlov`s Dog, Hello, Joe Walsh, ELO, Wilko Johnson, Bill Evans, Michael Pinder, John Denver.

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 Alan White (Yes) FROM SOUNDS, March 13, 1976

Great to read a interview with one of those people that usually miss out on the attention from music journalists. So, for once, a drummer claims the spotlight in this interview with Vivien Goldman. Miss Goldman is known as the “punk professor” but have written several books on reggae. Still only 62 years old, she lives in New York and have her own web-page for those of you who want to check her out a little more: http://viviengoldman.com/
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Can a White man sing…..?

Alan White shows Vivien Goldman where you put the vegetables if you want to make a solo album.

`Now tell me honestly, what did you really expect when you came to meet me?` The disarming question is posed as yet another Yes album hits the turntable, placed thereon by the toughened hands of Alan White, drummer in officio to Yes themselves.
Well, pal, you`ve got me there. At the time you asked me my mind went completely blank; I think basically I`d had no preconceptions about you, but in retrospect perhaps someone a little more – errrum – pretentious, and shall we say, humourless?
Because try as I might to `get into Yes`, those adjectives recur with alarming frequency.
Heavens be thanked, Alan White is another kettle of seafood entirely, being as he is a charming, mellowed-out individual with an endearing capacity of respecting the fact that you don`t dig his band, although you do dig him. Fair enough, old thing?
But each to his own, and as my papa used to say, if we all liked the same things what a dreary place the global village would be.
It don`t worry Alan none, firstly because I`m sure he`s doing very nicely thank you, what with Yes being the second-biggest selling band in the whole of South America and all that, and secondly he digs them and that`s what really matters. To elaborate in his own words, “I believe in music that Yes play, and I never get bored playing with them. That`s the whole thing about Yes music, it always keeps you interested. I`ve been playing with them since 1972 and I find Yes as incredible now as I did then.”
Can`t say fairer than that, what?

So how did you get involved with them in the first place?
“I was on tour with Joe Cocker in Europe, on the same tour with Chris Stainton`s All-Stars, and I got a phone call saying the band wanted me to join them.”
That was rather flattering surely? I meantasay, Yes weren`t exactly peanuts in 1972 either.
That aspect of things doesn`t seem to have occured to Al – he looks bewildered for a moment. “Yes, I suppose it was kind of flattering in a way, they did pick up on my playing just from hearing me on records, but it was a split decision in a way.
“I didn`t really know whether I wanted to join a band like that – a progressive band, I mean. I`d always been happy just playing the way I was, with musicians I enjoyed playing with. And the music I was playing was usually a funky kinda thing. But it was a challenge, playing with Yes.
“It took me about a year to learn to play with the band, like something always moving forward with your instrument, learning to develop the sound in a certain way, and still keeping the basic roots of your instrument in the music. It really works now.
“You`ve got to remember that I`d been very ignorant that Yes were ever around in the first days. I remember when I used to play with Terry Reid in the way, way back days I heard an album, and was very interested in the kind of things Yes were up to.
“I was living with Eddie Offord, who was Yes` producer, in London, for about a year. I never actually met them, though I went down the studios to hear them a couple of times.”

Was it very difficult to fit into such a tight unit? For example, everybody knows, that Yes are ardent vegetarians. Was there any conflict there?
“None at all, because I was a vegetarian before I ever joined up with Yes. Eddie Offord was the guy who turned Yes onto vegetarianism, and he got me into it at the same time. I feel much better for it as well. Steve Howe`s probably going to stop eating dairy foods as well… there`s a lot of energy in the band that I think comes out of their vegetarian attitude, the band can communicate on a much higher level because of it.
“If most people thought about what they were putting into their bodies (shudders with disgust/distaste) I agree with you, though, the self-discipline on its own has a lot to do with it. Steve Howe and myself own a health food shop, y`know, in Hampstead High Street, the one with the bear on the front window, Brownies`.”
Great, does that mean I get a discount? (“No.”)
The point of all this pleasant social intercourse is (yup, you`ve guessed it, isn`t it always?) Alan`s new Solo Album. It`s called `Ramshackle` and is released on the Atlantic label.
“It`s an enjoyable little collection, with a spot of this and a spot of that gracing the black wax (vinyl, actually). There`s a touch of soul, a touch of funk, a touch of Yes-ian acrobatics, and even a Touch Of Reggae. That`s not so unusual these days, but more on that point later.
And by the way, weren`t you always noted as a funk/soul drummer all through your days with Griffon (“NOT to be confused with Gryphon,” Alan points out with a delicate combination of anxiety and boredom)?

Alan comments modestly, “If you count soul as swinging and playing in 5/4 time and yet funky, I suppose I might be. But there`s a load of different things on the album, the numbers change from number to number. (Yes, he really did put it like that, but who can blame him? I mean, after a while you get tired of scrabbling around for other words that means the same as `number`.)
“I tried to get a lot of different kinds of music on the album because I like playing lots of different kinds of music.”
Does that indicate that within Yes you`ve generally got to play the same kind of music?
“Not at all, because within Yes you can express your feelings of doing something nobody`s ever done, we`re always trying to see round the corner or over the hill, trying to take your particular instrument in a new direction. It`s quite simple, I just made an album of music I really enjoyed playing with a good band.
“It`s really a drummer in a band`s album, rather than a Yes solo album. The band on the album is the kind I`ve been associated with for the past four or five years, we were all in Griffon together.”
So tell us summat about these lads, then.
The keyboards player (Kenny Craddock) came from Lindisfarne, he`s not doing too much now, sessions mostly. The guitar player`s (Peter Kirtley) last band was called Riff Raff, and he was involved with Carol Grimes for a while. Basically they`re all really good musicians that are trying to find their hole… the bassist (Colin Gibson) plays with Snafu.

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“They`re all really good friends of mine from up North. I come from Durham City. Why the accent? (a strange hybrid of Northern English and L.A.) My girlfriend comes from America and we`ve been together for a few years, and I`ve spent lots of time over there anyway. EVERYONE asks me that!” (despairing) You win some, you lose some, I guess.”
So will there be any special Alan White Band gigs to help promote `Ramshackle`?
“Unfortunately I don`t have time to gig with the band because of Yes` commitments, we`re pretty committed for the whole of next year, in fact.
“But there is talk of a Yes gig sometime with everyone doing some numbers from each of their solo albums at the end of the show – this is the third solo album from the five of us, Y`know – it would be nice, but I don`t know whether it`ll happen.
“I was having a good time living out a lot of memories from the past and really enjoying myself, believing in a certain type of music that was conceived over a number of years. I finally had the chance to let it come out to the public, and this was the first opportunity I`d had.
“It has been an ache for a few years, but Yes is my first commitment right now. In fact, at the end of the album, I really needed to get back to Yes, to the adventurous kind of music that Yes play. I`m really very happily surprised perhaps at the amount of good reaction to my album, especially as it hasn`t stuck as closely to the Yes format as Steve`s (Howe) or Chris`s (Squire).”

Do you think the drums are very differently positioned, much more prominent than they would have been had it been a Yes album?
“I`ve been told they are more prominent, but I didn`t put them there! (laughs). The person who brought them out was the engineer/producer, Bob Potter, he`s a good friend of mine, used to do the Grease Band. People usually complain that the drums aren`t loud enough on Yes records.
“One of my faults is that I always listen to the drums first, and then up through the music to the singer. But through producing an album you learn to listen to the whole unit much better. I`m not finding that I play differently now, but I`m more aware of the role drums play in a band now.
“Usually when we`re producing a Yes album there`s five pairs of hands controlling exactly what they hear their own instrument doing and putting it onto the record, and sometimes it gets all cluttered and squashed in. But through each member doing solo albums, I think that when it comes to the next album, which we`re rehearsing right now, everyone`s gonna sit back a little more, and see their own position in the music much better, it won`t be as cluttered.”
Let`s get back to album specifics for a moment. That reggae track, `Silly Woman`, how come that got on the album?
“They wanted to release that as the single, y`know, but I wouldn`t let them do it because it`s too obvious, I didn`t do it because it was in vogue. It was really because I`d spent the last two Christmases in Jamaica and really enjoyed the music, and a song came up that was appropriate for the reggae rhythm. It`s a white reggae, really.”

Did you design these macho lyrics deliberately to fit in with the reggae?
Ahh you silly woman I`m beginning to believe you can`t even see. Why aren`t you here next to me. I don`t want to mock you. I know you`re running to be free, it`s just the way you`ve been carrying on I ought to put you across my knee.
“No, they`re just a bit of fun! I didn`t write any of the lyrics, I`m not a lyricist in any way. The guy actually wrote it from personal experience (launches into an involved and highly personal story of love, betrayal, to-ing and fro-ing in young couples, winding up with `so we can`t play it when that chick`s around because it`s about the other chick.` Got that?).
And how about the `Song Of Innocence` track, taken from the poem of the same name by Wm. Blake?
“I`m not as clued in on Blake as some people but I do like him very much, I`ve read his biography and a couple of books about him. His pictures drive me round the bend (grins enthusiastically) they`re fantastic, the colours, the themes…”

And talking of pictures, how about the rather risque offering on the inner sleeve? It`s an old geezer whose visage is composed entirely of naked female bodies.
“Oh, he`s a 77-year old artist I`ve known for a long time. The original version from the 50`s is on the label, look. I own the copyright on the new one, you see he did it slightly differently. He came down to the studio and really enjoyed the music we were making, he doesn`t like knocking around with old people too much… that poem on the back of the sleeve, that`s by a poet called Tom Pickard, he`s a guy from Newcastle that everyone`s known for a long time.”
As Alan genially led me to the door of his manager`s plush golden office, we were standing on the gi-normous carpet in the shape of the Yes logo (pretty shprauntsy, that one), and was studying the pencil drawing of Alan on the white sleeve. It doesn`t look much like you, I commented (it doesn`t).
“You`re right,” said Alan, with a pleased grin, and quipped, it doesn`t really matter, does it – all that matters is what`s on the vinyl!” And on that heartfelt note, I took my leave.

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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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Evelyn Thomas & Ian Levine, Shaun Cassidy, Jimmy Page, Cate Brothers, Julie Tippetts, Adam Faith, Pat Travers, Deep Purple, Jesse Winchester, Phil Collins.

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.