...BECAUSE SOME OF US THINK THAT THIS STUFF IS IMPORTANT
What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?
Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Hard to believe but February this year saw the twenty ninth anniversary of the death of Scottish Rock musician Alex Harvey. As famous as he was for his recordings with the Sensational Alex Harvey band there was another passion in Alex’s life and that passion was The Loch Ness Monster. Shortly after taking time out from the Sensational Alex Harvey Band in 1977 Alex took the time to document the sightings of the said Beastie and the resulting album was briefly available on the TV advertised label K-Tel. The album has been long out of print and somewhat of a collector’s item and never released on CD, Gonzo have reissued the album on CD as a limited edition package
The vinyl edition is extremely hard to find these days and it is hoped that this release will appeal to both collectors of Alex Harvey's releases and also people interested in the Loch Ness Monster phenomenon.This version comes as part of a limited edition booklet restricted to 500 copies.
It can be ordered directly here:
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 15:18
Gonzo will release a rare Live DVD/CD package from Eric Burdon and War in April. Part of the Lost broadcasts Series the live performance was captured in a German TV studio in late 1970. Eric Burdon first encountered War in 1969 in San Francisco and the musical rapport was immediate. With War Eric recorded two well received albums, “Eric Burdon Declares War” and “Black Man’s Burdon”. It was shortly after the release of the second album Black man’s Burdon that this session was captured for broadcast. Shortly after the recording however Eric Burdon was taken ill and left the band mid tour. Footage of Eric Burdon and War is extremely rare and this footage has rarely been seen since the original broadcast in 1970. The tracks featured include an extended version of the bands hit single Spill The Wine and a cover of the Rolling Stones song Paint It Black. The DVD/CD package will be available to order directly from the Gonzo website.
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 10:48
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Concert Marking the 75th birthday of the composer and bandleader Mike Westbrook
Mike Westbrook celebrates his 75th birthday in style with a series of concerts and a radio broadcast.
The Concert takes place on Saturday 2nd April at 8pm at Kings Place 90 York Way London N1 9AG This concert will see the World Premiere of “The Serpent Hit” a composition for Voice Saxophone and percussion. Written by Mike Westbrook and Kate Westbrook
There will also be selections from the latest Westbrook album Fine ‘n’ yellow
The band features: Mike Westbrook piano, Kate Westbrook vocals, Chris Briscoe saxophone, Andy Tweed saxophone, Karen Street Saxophone/accordion, Simon Pearson percussion and Steve Berry bass.
Check out Mike's website
The concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 for “Jazz On 3” and there will be a preview on March 31st between 5-7pm on BBC Radio 3 in the programme “In Tune
Tickets are available here
King’s Place box office 020 7520 1490
Open Mon-Sat 12 noon- 6 pm
Sun 12 noon - 4pm
Tickets £9.50 online £11.50 offline
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 11:13
Andi Sex Gang is involved in an exhibition of art under the title “Art of Inclusion” An email from Andi himself explains what it is all about.
“This week sees the opening in Leipzig of the ´Art of Inclusion´, an exhibition of collaberative works by the German artist Gee Vero with renown figures from the world of film, politics, sport and music.
The Art of Inclusion is a project in support of the Leipzig Autism Ambulance Charity.
The exhibition which runs from 1st -10th April, includes works by Sir Ben Kingsley, Sky Dumont, Dieter Hallervorden, David James, Joachim Loew, Angela Merkel, Richard von Weizsaecker Udo Lindenberg and myself.
The plan is then to auction off the pictures through Ebay, all proceeds of which will go to the Autism Ambulance Charity.”
Check out the attached picture.
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 10:49
Monday, 28 March 2011
Hawkwind have announced two live dates in the UK during May these are
Sun 15th May Assembly Rooms Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Mon 16th May The Brook Southampton, Hampshire
These dates are in addition to the previously announced date
12th of August at the Princess Pavilion, Falmouth Cornwall.
More details can be found at the Hawkwind website here:
Gonzo also has a large selection of Hawkwind archive material to order directly from the Gonzo website please go here:
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 10:30
Just a reminder that you can check out Gonzo’s very own little space in Cyberspace radio by going to Live 365 This online radio network hosts the Gonzo web radio shows and we are currently playing out the popular Gonzo Mix n Match programmes. There are a number of shows to listen to and there will be many more on a regular basis.
You can check out the programmes by going here
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 10:21
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Coming Soon as part of the Lost Broadcasts series of releases is footage of Fotheringay the band formed by Sandy Denny following her departure from Fairport Convention in early 1970. The set which features DVD footage of the band performing in the studio for German television will also include a CD as part of the packaging. The songs are Too Much Of Nothing, Gypsy Davey, Nothing More and John The Gun. Only Too Much Of Nothing and possibly Gypsy Davey were aired at the time with Nothing More and the early version of John The Gun remaining in the vaults.
Footage of sandy Denny with Fotheringay is extremely rare and as such this release will; appeal to the large and devoted Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention fan base.
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 12:22
Gonzo will be releasing a Cat Stevens DVD/CD later in the spring. The package is part of the Lost Broadcasts series and features performances from German television previously thought lost. The Sessions stretch across two distinct periods in the sixties and early seventies. The songs featured include I’m Gonna Get Me A Gun, Lady D’Arbanville, Wild World and Hard Headed Woman.
Cat Stevens converted to Islam in the late seventies and became Yusuf Islam. These performances will however appeal to the still large fan base commanded by the former Cat Stevens
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 12:19
Corky Laing takes time out from his Mountain activities to perform a show in New York on Friday 25th March. CLMT which stands for Corky Laing and the Memory Thieves play a concert at the Turning Point Music Cafe' 468 Piermont Ave Piermont, NY. The band is onstage at 9pm and you can buy tickets here
For those fans of Corky Laing you can buy Corky’s spoken word album which consists of Corky telling anecdotes about his career or you can buy the double CD Mountain First Steps which consists of early recordings from both Corky’s pre Mountain bands and Leslie West’s pre Mountain bands and also Mountain outtakes. Finally there is an exclusive interview with Corky Laing which can also be heard on the Gonzo Website. All the links are below.
Corky Laing Stick It
Mountain First Steps
Corky Laing Interview
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 11:58
As many will know Annie Haslam has a long career in music behind her and continues to write and perform both as a solo artist and occasionally with Renaissance. What many might not know is that Annie is an accomplished artist and recently she has had some of her work displayed at an exhibition entitled Art of The Guitar at the Morrison Hotel Gallery Loft in New York.
Annie also has one of her painted guitars on display at the Hard Rock cafe Cleveland Ohio (See Photo)
Check out her website for more amazing pictures of her unique art!
You can also buy Annie’s CDs including Live In Philadelphia from the Gonzo website here
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 11:41
Friday, 18 March 2011
Those kings of Rock n Roll Showaddywaddy hit the road for a series of dates in March and April. The band who celebrates more than thirty five years as a group play selected dates across the UK. Showaddywaddy released The Sun Album which gained excellent reviews when released in 2008. The album found the band in the Sun studios Memphis recording songs from the Sun records catalogue
The album along with a Greatest Hits and a Live DVD are available to order directly from the Gonzo website here
As ever before travelling please check with the venue:
Sat 19 Mar Pavilion Rhyl
Wed 30 Mar Grove Theatre Dunstable
Fri 1 Apr Festival Theatre Pitlochry
Sat 2 Apr Palace Theatre Kilmarnock
Sat 9 Apr Festival Drayton Centre Market Drayton Shropshire
Sun 10 Apr Empire Theatre Halstead Essex
Fri 15 Apr Palace Theatre Newark
Sat 23 Apr Winter Gardens Ventnor Isle of Wight
Fri 29 Apr Carnegie Theatre Workington
Sat 30 Apr Plowright Theatre Scunthorpe
For More Shwowaddywaddy dates please check the bands website
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 10:38
Thursday, 17 March 2011
Atto IV have released their most recent album Shattered Lines. High hopes are resting on this album the bands first with their new line up. Atto IV have tracks featured on the current list of Gonzo Mix n Match podcasts and if you check out the bands website you can download a free MP3 sample track from the album and also watch the video for the track. Just go to
In the meantime Galileo Records have released this press release for the album.
After two years of conceiving, composing and experimenting, "Shattered Lines" is the brand new album from ATTO IV; a work that presents the band not only with a new line up renewed in the way they p-resent their sound and present the concept of Progressive!
Many influences converge across the nine tracks of the album; Fusion, Heavy Metal, Alt Rock Electronic and even Pure Noise are just some of the perfectly proportioned ingredients that make up Shattered Lines all of which lays down a bed on which lyrics concerning Man, his contradictions, alienating idiosyncrasies and how they wind through his life and relationship with others.
Every song is a trip through contrasting atmospheres, free association of ideas and recurrences both sonically and compositionally structured consciously but also with sudden digressions and improvisations.
Shattered lines is about breaking the continuity, to interrupt a course both good and bad the Yin and Yang and yet also the uncontrollable fragmenting of existence moving towards unknown directions.
Atto IV Shattered Lines Track Listing
1.The Persistence of Memories , 2.Bad Dreams , 3.THE MINDS' ARABESQUE - A Second , 4.Burning Ashes , 5.Ecce Homo , 6.In Circle , 7.THE VOYAGER - Dark Earth , 8.Deep Air , 9.Final Rush.
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 10:25
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Gonzo are proud to announce that they are working on an archive DVD from Van der Graaf Generator. The DVD is due for release in late spring and Gonzo MD Rob Ayling says the DVD will certainly please the fans as it has not been widely seen before and has never been out on DVD. More news as and when we have it.
Watch This Space!
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 13:53
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
In 1989 former Yes-men Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe, longing to rekindle the magic that defined Yes music in the 70’s, joined forces to record and release a new album. Dubbed simply “Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe,” they released the album to critical acclaim as fans around the globe watched in wide-eyed amazement at this most unlikely turn of events.
The album was to sell incredibly well in many territories and unsurprisingly perhaps well in America where it made the Billboard Top 30. Two singles from the album Order Of The Universe and Brother Of Mine also made the singles chart with Brother Of Mine reaching number two in the Billboard mainstream Rock Chart
Now over twenty years later the album has been released again re mastered and expanded to include singles mixes and live tracks. The album comes as a limited edition in a digi pack with booklet containing lyrics and press release. The second bonus disc contains many alternate mixes that were released as singles and also a short promotional recording made by Rick Wakeman that was circulated to radio stations at the time of the album’s release.
This limited edition will only be available to order from the Gonzo Website and will not be available in the shops. The standard edition in standard packaging will be available at a later date.
Order the Limited Edition Here!
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 14:20
Monday, 14 March 2011
There are five new Mix n Match podcasts live now to hear on the Gonzo Web radio Channel on Live365.com. The podcasts feature music from Yes, Daedalus, Atto IV Michael Bruce, Astralasia, Random Hold, Annie Haslam, Renaissant and many more plus information on how you can download a free track from the new Atto IV album Shattered Lines from their website.
To listen to the shows just go here:
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 16:59
The latest edition of Classic Rock Presents Prog features a lengthy interview and feature on Van Der Graaf Generator concentrating on the years following the bands re formation in 2004. The article also recommends the Van Der Graaf Generator DVD Live at the Paradiso which is available to order directly from the Gonzo website. There is also a double CD available of the show as well for those who also want the audio equivalent of the DVD.
Classic Rock presents Prog describes the paradiso release thus:
Captured At Amsterdam's renowned rock venue on April 14th,2007 and an early gig for the now three-piece Generator, this low-key fan-friendly CD/DVD release is a sizzling account of a band mutating into something neoteric and undeniably thrilling.
With an emphasis on new material,but also taking in career highlights like the terrifying Gog, Live At The Paradiso is a must-have for all Van der Graaf Obsessives
Buy them Here:
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 09:59
Friday, 11 March 2011
Win a copy of the limited edition version of the yes UNION release!
Yes in the latest edition of Classic Rock Presents Prog you too could win a copy of the Limited Edition of the Yes Union package. There is also a rather nice review in the magazine courtesy of Classic Rock presents Prog Editor Jerry Ewing
For those of you who prefer not to leave things to chance you can still buy a copy of the Limikted Edition package of UNION Live directly from the Gonzo Website here:
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 13:18
Thursday, 10 March 2011
At long last the simply wonderful Gong DVD from the French Television vaults is now available to buy.
The DVD which features two distinct periods from the bands long and illustrious history is now available to buy directly from the Gonzo website. The footage covers the band in the studios in 1971 performing live for the cameras and also a later film made in 1973 at the bands house in the French countryside featuring the Classic Angel’s Egg/You line up both performing and being interviewed.
For long time Gong fans this is a release containing extremely rare footage of the band from its classic period and a DVD that you most definitely will want to add to your collection
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 15:42
Just a quick reminder to the massive Yes fan base, what with Join Anderson about to head out on a series of live dates in North America and Rick Wakeman in the midst of some UK dates, we thought it would be prudent to mention some Yes and Yes related releases now available and coming soon!
First of all the Yes Union standard DVD and CD releases are now in stock and ready for despatch directly from the Gonzo Warehouse. There are also just a few of the limited edition 2CD/2DVD packages available with loads of bonus material not available on the standard releases. Be quick though as we are down to the end of this fantastic release.
You can order them directly from here:
Also we have new stock of the Anderson Wakeman album The Living Tree which can be ordered from here:
Finally we will be making an announcement soon concerning the release date of the forthcoming limited edition of the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe expanded edition
In further exciting news we also have a major Rick Wakeman Archive project ready for announcement shortly Watch this space!!
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 12:53
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Fish plays a series of English dates as part of his current European Fisheads Acoustic tour in April. The gigs are acoustic gigs just as the rest of the European tour has been. The dates are below and you are advised to check with the venue before travelling. Further information can be found at Fish’s website here
In the meantime you can purchase a live acoustic DVD Acoustic Live in Krakow filmed in 1995. The DVD along with other Fish CDs and DVDs can be ordered directly from the Gonzo website
Tuesday 26th April Cox’s Yard Bridgefoot, Stratford Upon Avon Warwickshire CV37 6YY
Wednesday 27th April Cox’s Yard Bridgefoot, Stratford Upon Avon Warwickshire CV376YY
Thursday 28th April The 12 Bar 179 Westcott Place, Swindon SN1 5HT
Friday 29th April The Attic 61 Newton Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0HQ
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Quiet Rebellion AKA Shaun T Hunter ventures south for an acoustic gig in London in April
The Concert is at The Icarus Club in Hither Green London on Thursday 28th April As ever check with the venue before travelling and the Quiet rebellion album Thinnest Hopes magnified is available to order directly from the Gonzo website.
In addition to being confirmed for the Friday night of the Night Of The Prog festival in Loreley Germany on July 8th Sky Architect also have a series of concerts in Holland in March and April. The band who release their second album A Dying Man’s Hymn in June play the following dates. Always check with the venue before travelling! You can see a preview of the album artwork which was designed by Mark Wilkinson at the bands website.
Sat 19.03 JJ music house, Zoetermeer NL
Thu 31.03 Café Under the Bridge, Alphen a/d Rijn NL
Sat 02.04 Lantaren-Venster, Rotterdam NL
Sun 01.05 Progfrog Presents Sky Architect 't Blok, Nieuwekerk a/d Ijsel NL
Monday, 7 March 2011
A Very Intimate Evening With Rick Wakeman
Rick Wakeman undertakes a series of live concerts stretching from March through to the summer
The concerts are billed as “A Very Intimate Evening With Rick Wakeman” and are a One Man Show. The tour dates are below and for full details check out Rick’s website
It is also hoped to announce a major Archive release from Rick shortly however for those who can’t make the gigs and can’t do without their “Rick fix” you can order the Yes Union limited edition DVD/CD package or pre order the forthcoming Deluxe Edition of the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album. There are also a number of Rick Wakeman solo albums available to order from the Gonzo website!
12/03/11 St. Andrews Hall Norwich
26/03/11 Mercury Theatre Colchester
02/04/11 Garrick Theatre Lichfield
08/04/11 Sheffield Cathedral Sheffield
16/04/11 The Harrogate Theatre Harrogate
23/04/11 Pacific Road Arts Centre Birkenhead
15/05/11 The Anvil Basingstoke
22/05/11 St. George’s Hall Bristol
26/05/11 Regent Centre Christchurch
29/05/11 Sketchley Grange Hotel Hinkley
03/06/11 Queen’s Hall Edinburgh
04/06/11 Grand Theatre Swansea
10/06/11 The Forum Barrow-In-Furness
16/06/11 The Playhouse Nottingham
09/07/11 Thoresby Hall Hotel Ollerton
Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy AKA System 7 have announced confirmed Festival dates for System 7 this coming summer. Steve of course was busy touring with Gong last year and also performed as the Steve Hillage Band. You can buy the Steve Hillage Live CD Live at the Gong Unconvention 2006 directly from the Gonzo website
Along with the Gong Montserrat DVD and Gong Live at the UnCon 2006 DVD
Sat May 14th - Hendre Hall, Bangor Nth Wales - System 7 / Alex Paterson / Mannaseh
Wed May 25th - Concorde2 - Brighton - System 7 Live
Thurs May 26th - The Junction - Cambridge - System 7 / Eat Static
Sat May 28th - Off The Tracks Festival - System 7 Live & Mirror System DJ Set
Fri June 3rd - Sunrise Celebration - System 7 Live
Sat June 4th - Sunrise Celebration - Mirror System DJ Set
Fri June 10th - Indigo Festival - Israel - System 7 Live
Fri June 17th - Willowman Festival - System 7 Live
Sat July 9th - Hadra Festival - nr Grenoble - France - System 7 Live
Sat Aug 13th - Sonica Festival - Ulcinj - Montenegro - System 7 Live
Graham Bonnet is still trying to sell his rather nice Vintage Gibson guitar in order to make room for more guitars. So Rock n Roll!!!! He is now open to offers. You can see Graham playing the guitar in the picture we have included. You can also order Graham’s albums Underground and No Bad Habits directly from the Gonzo website!.
Anyway you can contact Graham through his Facebook page.
Graham describes the guitar below
“I've got some new guitars coming into my collection this weekend and need make room. If anyone has an interest in purchasing my 1957 GIBSON ES.125, ARCHTOP ELECTRIC GUITAR." make me an offer! E-mail me if interested!”
Galileo Records is proud to announce that the Galileo Band SKY ARCHITECT will take part in this year’s prestigious Progressive Rock festival Night Of The Prog 6 in Loreley Germany.
The full line-up is a fantastic collection of bands and if you want to attend the concert you can buy tickets and pay using PayPal from the Galileo website here:
In only a few years this progressive Rock festival has become one of the leading Progressive Rock Festivals in Europe and possibly the world. The VI Night Of The Prog Festival will take place on July 8th and 9th 2011.
DREAM THEATER are confirmed as the Festival Headliner of the 6th Night of the Prog Festival. The bill will also include German Prog Legend ELOY who will be performing their first show for 12 years on Friday July 8th . RIVERSIDE will close the Friday as Co-Headliner.
IQ and ANATHEMA are confirmed to appear on Saturday 9th HAKEN, MOON SAFARI and MARTIGAN have also been added to the Line IP.
Finally SKY ARCHITECT, RPWL and THRESHOLD are the 3 final acts now confirmed completing the festival line up.
Friday 08. July 2011 Get In 16 h
MARTIGAN 16.15 h
SKY ARCHITECT 17.30 h
THRESHOLD 18.45 h
ELOY 20.30 h
RIVERSIDE 22.30 h
End 00 h
Saturday 09. July 2011 Get In 12 h
MOON SAFARI 12.15 h
HAKEN 13.45 h
RPWL 15.15 h
IQ 17.15 h
DREAM THEATER 20.00 h
ANATHEMA 22.30 h
End 00 h
Saturday, 5 March 2011
Delaney Bramlett had a fascinating career playing as he did with some of the biggest names in popular music over a long and successful career. Starting his career in the house bandfor Shindig the American music programme Delaney was considered a mover and shaker in the mid sixties;of course many will remember him as being half of the duo Delaney and Bonnie. With his wife Bonnie and a group of musicians labelled Friends Delaney and Bonnie enjoyed worldwide popularity between 1967 and 1972 with a period round 1969 1970 when people like Eric Clapron George harrison and dave Mason joined the band. Delaney and Bonnie and Firends continued until 1972 when they seperated bth professionally and personally. Delaney continued through the seventies to make solo albums and produce artists.
Taking a sabbatical of over fourteen years to spend time with his family Delaney re emerged with the release of the album Sweet Inspiration.
This album has recently been re released however when the original album was released in 2004 fdelaney took time out to talk to Jon Kirkman about the album and his illustrious past.
Sadly Delaney Bramlett died inlate 2008 however his daughters are now organising a campaign to have him inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Hopefully the organisers and board of the Rock n Roll Hall of fame will recognise the worth of inducting Delaney Bramlett a musician who more than most deserves the resepct and his place in the Hall of Fame!
Delaney Bramlett: Talking Sweet Inspiration
Delaney Bramlett is probably best known for his partnership with his former wife Bonnie. The duo first met up in the sixties when Bonnie was a member of the Ikettes singing backing vocals for Ike and Tina Turner. The couple were married within seven days and recorded an album for Stax Records. “The Friends” aggregation drew some of the best musicians together and toured heavily including a tour supporting Blind Faith. Eric Clapton was so enamoured of the band that he subsequently left Blind Faith and toured with Delaney and Bonnie and recorded a live album with them in Europe in 1970.
Following the tour Eric went back to America with Delaney and recorded his first self titled solo album in Los Angeles with much input from Delaney. Other high profile musicians attracted to the Bramletts were Dave Mason, George Harrison and John Lennon. The duo recorded a number of albums before divorcing following which Delaney began making solo albums. This continued until the late seventies when Delaney dropped out of view to concentrate on his family. Sweet Inspiration was recorded in 1989 but remained unreleased until 2004 when Delaney spoke to Jon Kirkman about the album.
Jon Kirkman This album was recorded in 1989 but it had been a while since you had a deal. Why has it taken so long to be released?
Delaney Bramlett Well I don’t know really. In all that time I didn’t have a record deal with anybody.
JK Was that through your own choice or was it because you couldn’t get a deal at that time?
DB I was really concentrating on my family although during that time I wrote about 400 songs a lot of which people haven’t heard yet but may do in the future. So while I was concentrating on my family situation all I was doing was writing.
JK The title track which is the opening track of this album is Sweet Inspiration which of course was written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham who were responsible for some incredible material, presumably this must be one of your favourite songs?
DB Oh yeah, I wouldn’t have recorded it if I had not loved the song.
JK How did you come to work with Spooner Oldham because he plays on the album as well?
DB We met many years before this and he was one of my favourite piano players and writers and he moved out to here (California) and he was in my band for about three or four years. We also wrote some songs, one of which is on this album (Funky) and a few others that may see the light of day on other albums yet to be released. So that is how that came about. We have been basically friends for so many years.
JK In my opinion the album is a really good mix of rock and soul, would that be a fair comment to make?
DB Yeah, that’s pretty fair.
JK Another interesting track on the album that a lot of people will recognise is Let it Rain, which of course you co wrote and recorded with Eric Clapton for his solo album in 1970. The version on here is quite a radical reworking however. There are two versions on the album, one of which is an alternative mix, the other, as I have said is a pretty radical arrangement. Where did you get the idea for that?
DB You mean the version with steel drums on it?
JK Yeah that’s right.
DB Well that is the way I heard it when I first wrote the song. I wanted steel drums on it and that is the way it is on my version but when Eric did his version we didn’t really disagree but Eric just wanted it more rock ‘n’ roll. So that is what we did.
JK The alternate mix contained on the album is a little more rock ‘n’ roll, presumably you put that version on so people can make their own mind up as to which version they like?
DB That’s what I had in mind you’re right. You’ve hit the nail on the head.
JK With regards to some of the people who play on the album, in addition to Spooner Oldham on keyboards you have Chuck Findley on trumpet, Clydie King on backing vocals and your daughter Bekka Bramlett on backing vocals; presumably the remainder of the musicians are your regular band?
DB Oh yeah, I have a great band that I play with and in my opinion, it’s the best band I have ever played with. Obviously Chuck Findley is one of the best trumpet players in the world; he played in the band on the Tonight show. I have got Hank Barrio on guitar and Peter Klimes also on guitar alongside me.
JK The album has taken a long time to come out so you must be happy that it has finally been released.
DB I am, I always thought that when we first recorded it it deserved to be heard but you never know about these things and rap music was popular at the time. I do not like rap music.
JK Do you think the time is right now for an album like this then?
DB Yeah I think the time is right for this album and also for my new album, which I have just finished.
JK With this album getting a general release and another album about to be released, things must be pretty good for Delaney Bramlett at the moment?
DB Yes things are very good for Delaney Bramlett thank you very much. We have done a few concerts and they have sold out and we had a lot of fun. Like I said I have got the best band I have ever played with.
JK That must be saying something considering the amount of talent that passed through Delaney, Bonnie and Friends including Eric Clapton, Dave Mason and George Harrison.
DB Oh yeah and remember I played with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the Plastic Ono Band. You have no idea how special that was for me. To me he was the Beatles. I have never played with Paul McCartney but I have played with Ringo and George became a very good friend but for me, oh I don’t know I may be wrong, but John Lennon for me was the Beatles and I was thrilled to do that.
JK Well having played with all these incredible people and you still consider your current band to be the best you have every played with, I think that is the ultimate accolade for the members of your band.
DB Well it is but I really mean it, they are great.
JK Thanks for talking to us today and best of luck with the album
DB Thank you Jon and you take care.
At the end of the interview Delaney was going off to play on a session with Ike
Turner. After almost fourteen years away from the business and a general
release for Sweet Inspiration and another new album in the pipeline, it would
seem that Delaney Bramlett is back in the thick of it, which I am sure will
please his many fans the world over.
©Jon Kirkman May 2004 and again 2011
Sweet Inspiration can be ordered directly from the Gonzo website here:
Friday, 4 March 2011
Snowy White has had an extraordinary career over the last forty years. He has played with a diverse group of artists ranging from Peter Green through Pink Floyd,Thin Lizzy and currently as part of the Roger Waters band. he has also more importantly led his own band for almost thirty years and recorded and released many successful albums and even enjoyed a massively popular hit single with Bird of Paradise. The interview below was conducted just before he embarked on a series of his own dates and subsequently re joined the Roger Waters band.
An in depth DVD interview and documentary is available to order directly from the Gonzo website
The Way It Is
British born guitarist Snowy White (Born Terence Charles White) first became interested in music at the age of eleven when he was inspired by blues musicians Buddy Guy and B.B. King. He pursued his blues style in a number of bands however during the seventies Snowy made a reputation for himself playing numerous sessions for a wide variety of musicians such as Al Stewart, Cliff Richard and Peter Green. More famously Snowy toured as second guitarist with Pink Floyd augmenting the bands sound on the tours to promote the Animals and The Wall albums. By late 1979 however tiring of the session scene Snowy accepted the offer to join the rock band Thin Lizzy. Snowy recorded two albums with Thin Lizzy (Chinatown and Renegade) and completed a number of successful tours before deciding that the bands music and more importantly their lifestyle wasn't to his taste.
He formed his own band featuring drummer Richard Bailey and bassist Kuma Harada. With this band he recorded his first solo album entitled white Flames. A single lifted from that album (Bird Of Paradise) became a surprise hit reaching the British top ten in early 1983.
From here Snowy White recorded a number of blues based albums all of which were warmly received by the blues audience his records are aimed at.
His latest album The Way It Is was released in 2005. Jon Kirkman spoke to Snowy about his career and the new album.
You released your most recent album The Way It Is at the end of 2005 and one of the songs featured on the album is the song Bird Of Paradise which was your debut solo hit. Why have you chosen to re record that particular song?
Well the basic reason why I recorded Bird of Paradise again was because I wasn’t happy with the sound on the first recording and although I liked the performance and I liked the atmosphere, I though it came out well, the actual track was recorded in a rehearsal studio and it never sounded the way I wanted it to sound. I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder about it over the years and I just decided for my own peace of mind really to have another go at it and make it sound a bit more like I thought it should sound. I changed it quite a lot and it sounded ok so I decided to put it on the album. So it was really just for me.
When Bird Of Paradise was first a hit in 1984 it was totally different from the sort of music people had previously associated with you having been a member of Thin Lizzy. First of all briefly tell us why you left Thin Lizzy and was it a surprise when the single was such a big hit
Well the reason I left Thin Lizzy was that I was getting a bit frustrated. The reason I joined Thin Lizzy was because I thought they were a great band with good songs, Phil was a great front man. They had a good future in front of them and there was talk about giving me some space to do my thing in the band, being the sort of blues musician type but it never came about. Phil got into more and more drugs and became more difficult to work with and I just got more and more frustrated with it in the end. When it came time to start recording the third album with me I knew that when I got to the studio Phil wouldn’t be there and so I didn’t bother to go in and decided I had had enough. I didn’t see Phil again.
As for having a hit single. It was a big surprise when Bird of Paradise was a hit. When the record company wanted to put it out I didn’t really like the way it sounded; as I said I felt I could make a better job re-recording it. I agreed to have it released because they said nobody would actually hear it! So that was obviously wrong because Radio 1 started playing it and in those days Radio 1 was the place where you got your music played to get hits. It surprised me and I think it surprised the record company and everybody.
I notice that Bird Of Paradise is conspicuous by its absence on the new live DVD (The Way It Is Live). Was there a reason for this?
Well,I find that Bird of Paradise is not a good song to do live and I don’t actually enjoy playing it live to be honest and it is a really old song. When I have got a four piece band there aren’t enough musical instruments to give it the full sound it really deserves. There are many other songs I would prefer to play live other than Bird of Paradise. I have done it occasionally when I have had desperate requests from somebody who has travelled three hundred miles to hear it or something like so I will try it. But it is not a track that automatically pops up onto the set list when I am making them out.
There are a couple of well known players on the album in addition to your regular band like Max Middleton and Rabbit Bundrick, presumably you know these guys from the numerous sessions you guys have played over the years.
Yeah, Max Middleton and Rabbit, Richard Bailey on drums are my band at the moment. I have known Richard since he was fourteen years old; in fact Richard played on the first version of Bird of Paradise and all my first albums. Kuma Harada plays for me a lot – I have known him since he first arrived in England in about 1970. Walter Latupeirissa ( however is my current bass player, I have known Walter for about ten years so in fact I know and respect these guys, I love these guys. They are great musicians who play because they love playing music and we have got a good atmosphere going whenever we get together. I thoroughly enjoy being on the road with these guys, and I love the gigs we do so I think I am very lucky.
Away from the album for a moment and looking at your influences many guitarists over the years have been fans of one of the 3 Kings so which if any are your favourites is it Albert, BB or Freddie King
Well, Yeah, one of the first guitar players I ever heard playing blues was B.B. King and I loved it, I really loved it. I listened to Albert King and Freddie King, Otis Rush and J.B. Lenoir, all these guys. They were all great; they all influenced me. So I sort of dived into that area of blues music and I knew that was how I wanted to play. I just wanted to play that sort of thing. That was my ambition when I started playing the guitar actually, to just play blues and earn a living playing it.
We’ve already mentioned your live DVD but there is a limited live CD as part of the package and there are a couple of Peter Green tracks on there and on The Way It Is you have re done Black Magic Woman. You also played on Peter's solo album of the seventies In The Skies. Do I take it Peter Green is also an influence?
I have always loved Black Magic Woman which was a Peter Green Fleetwood Mac song back in about 1968. It was great and although a lot of people think that Santana is the original version of course Peter’s was. It has been one of my favourite songs since then and I have always wanted to do it and I have. A Columbian guy I know came up with an arrangement for it which to me really worked and we tried it and it sounded ok. I enjoyed it and I thought I would put it on the album. I thought it would come out very well. Peter Green is obviously a big influence on me. He was wonderful with beautiful, soulful guitar playing; it was a lovely sound – yeah, he was a big influence on me as well.
Most of the album is self written so how easy or hard is it to come up with an entire albums worth of material in the modern blues genre?
I don’t find it too difficult, not really. Writing music for albums is a pleasure. I have got so many ideas in my head and when I am thinking about how a song will sound I am always imagining my guys in the band playing it and interpreting it. That gives me a lot more inspiration when I think of it like that. When we get to the studio I don’t fix on it – before hand we kick it about as a band. It becomes a band song. It is a pleasure; I really enjoy having all these ideas and trying to get them down. The only frustration normally when I record albums is the fact that there are financial restrictions and that I can only spend so much money. So even though I may feel like re-recording some of it and make a better job or have a new idea quite often I can’t go that far. I have to be content with how it is at the time. It can be frustrating that but generally I am very pleased with the way things go because really it is just further steps along the road where I want to get to and I am playing great music with my band. It is all positive stuff.
With your solo career stretching to over twenty years now do you have time to play any sessions anymore as you have in the past worked with the likes of AL Stewart, Pink Floyd, Peter Green and obviously more famously Thin Lizzy.
I don’t do any sessions. Very occasionally I will play on a friend’s album or something but I have never been a session player. I don’t know where that came from. A session player to me is someone who can go in and play all styles of music, pick things up quickly and play other people’s music. I can’t do any of that. Nobody really asks me to do any of that any more. I am very happy doing my own career and just doing my own music.
You seem to play a great many live gigs and you play a great many of those gigs in mainland Europe but where do you see your main audience. Is Europe and particularly Germany a particularly good market for you?
Yeah, Europe is a good market. That is where we do most of our live stuff. I thoroughly enjoy going over there; it isn’t very far away and it is easy travelling. When I am with my band, touring around and playing gigs every night it feels like it is where I should be. I am totally content so I consider myself to be very lucky to be in this position.
Aside from your recent album and DVD there is also another DVD out at the moment entitled Live From London which dates from an early period in your solo career and comparing the two it can be seen that you have been incredibly consistent throughout your career. You seem to have found exactly where you want to be and consolidated that position through sheer hard work would you agree with that.
Not sure whether I have been incredibly consistent throughout my career. I am also not sure I am where I want to be. It feels like it is a journey and I don’t know where it is going to. I don’t really know what I am looking for – I know I am looking for something but I don’t know what it is. It is an endless journey and it is an exciting journey. It makes it exciting and it just goes where it will. I feel I have got a lot more travelling in me yet and I am up for whatever the future brings.
Well the album is out and you also have a couple of DVDs on the market as well which kind of book end your career so what's next for Snowy White?
Well Snowy White and the White Flames, our next thing is to carry on and try to do more of the same – more playing, more gigs. As I said before I have no trouble with material for albums, I have a lot more in my head for a new album when the time comes for that. In the meantime I am looking to put a lot more live work together in 2006 and getting out there and playing my guitar, playing my music. Hopefully people will enjoy it because I will and that is what I am looking forward to. That is what I do and what I hope to continue to do.
© Jon Kirkman 2006 and 2011
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 09:53
Attrition are considered one of the founding fathers and early movers from the Industrial movement. The band regularly release albums and also tour. below is an interview with Attrition founder Martin Bowes conducted in 2006 at the time of the release of the bands compilation album Tearing Arms From Deities.
A great many Attrition albums including Tearing Arms From Deities can be ordered dirtectly from the Gonzo website
Tearing Arms From Deities
Attrition was formed in 1980 by Martin Bowes. The band has undergone a number of changes over the last twenty five years with various vocalists coming and going whilst al the time retaining their cutting and experimental edge. 2006 will see the release of the album Tearing Arms From Deities 1980-2006 which is a celebration of the bands twenty five years success outside of the mainstream. Also planned for 2006 is an extensive touring schedule and plans to re master the bands back catalogue. Martin Bowes laid out the bands manifesto for the next twelve months and what it was like looking over his shoulder at the last twenty five years.
Attrition are about to release their latest album which is entitled Tearing Arms From Deities 1980-2005 which is a collection of some of the bands best material the first question must be what was it like looking back over twenty five years of material.
It was really good. I don’t listen to much of my older work, well not that often… so I actually learnt a lot from doing that. In perspective I changed my mind on the effectiveness of some of the pieces I’d done and could see much more clearly what I was attempting on others. I also think I regained a few things I had lost along the way.
There’s that thing about learning from the past and I think it applies to the arts as much as anything…We should all do this every 25 years or so!
How did you choose the material that appears on the album and how do you approach re working or remixing material of that age without trying to re write history.
Well I took some time with this. Wanted it to be the definitive collection, which wasn’t easy after 15 to 20 albums. I didn’t want a simple singles collection or just to throw a track off each album on there as some kind of sampler. I wanted something very special that would last as a document of my work and something as much for old fans as for new ones. So I made sure that “Tearing Arms...” worked as an album in itself, that it flows as a complete work. And at the same time it reflects some of the varying styles I’ve worked with…from dark ambient to neo-classical to harder industrial and experimental works…
As the pieces I chose were freed from their original albums I could work with different mixes or edits that worked here. I also revisited the original 4 track tapes from the first 2 albums and was able to remix them and enhance those tracks…there wasn’t an attempt to re-write anything but more the chance to improve on some of the production and make the album flow even though the pieces varied a lot in sound quality with over 20 years separating some of the recordings..
I actually took the same approach with the attrition artwork and in the booklet that comes with this release you will find re-worked and rare versions of the art that accompanied many of these albums and sleeve notes I wrote which go some way to explaining what the tracks are about as much as I actually can do that!
So it all works as a whole and I’m really pleased with this release…
How did the band fit in with some of its contemporaries twenty five years ago such as Cabaret Voltaire and the Legendary Pink Dots? It seemed to be a very explosive and creative time
We were really born in that post punk wave which was very strong here in the UK and there was so much going on. Bands like Cabaret Voltaire and Joy Division were a big influence to us to start with and like anyone we expanded our influences pretty early on There was a second wave of more experimental and electronic UK bands in the early 80’s and we were very much a part of that alongside people like The Legendary Pink Dots, Coil, Portion Control, 400 Blows, Bushido.We met the Pink Dots in 1983 and toured with them in Holland soon after that and ended up living in London in the same house for a while. It was a very creative time but the music was much better received over in the rest of Europe where we started to tour more and more and many of the musicians ended up living there…
I think the UK was all the poorer for that but these day’s music is much more universal than it was then…it doesn’t matter so much where you live…
With a catalogue so wide ranging not only in style but also in terms of material. How do you approach the re issue side of things. There is an immense amount of material to consider.
Yes. I didn’t realise when I started out that 20 years down the line it would be a massive part of your work as a musician just keeping your back catalogue alive!... but it’s a very necessary thing. We have done pretty well at keeping the albums in print over the years but there are titles that are unavailable now and I have decided to re-issue many of them as 25 year anniversary editions, re-mastered with extra tracks and new artwork. I’m also working on some very rare early recordings that haven’t seen the light of day since the early 80’s cassette boom where we appeared on lots of compilations and some live recordings over the years. All these are on our new label “Two Gods” so there is a lot to do…
You had a collection entitled Recollection 84-89 and this covers just five years how much more difficult was it to compile this album. Common sense dictates that it would possibly be five times more difficult is that so?
That album was our first CD release and compiled the first 4 albums and
singles…mostly for the USA as it was released on our old label there, Projekt.
Obviously “Tearing arms” required a lot more thought and took me a lot longer but at the same time it was easier in a way as I had so many tracks to choose from I and it was easier to find a selection that best represented us and that I was also pleased with as final mixes etc. I also pretty much filled the CD space with the new one. I could almost have gone for a double album…
Attrition could be seen to be at the vanguard of what is termed “Underground” but is it any easier to work outside of the mainstream than inside or part of the mainstream.
Well we have always been somewhat outside the mainstream. We don’t write pop music and I don’t really think I ever will. It’s not that Attrition’s music is that inaccessible in fact I think it has been more accepted as the times have caught up with us.(We don’t get told to get a drummer and a guitarist any more!...as we did and many electronic bands did in the early ‘80’s!) There is a certain acceptance…
It’s never easy being a musician or artist in any scene mainstream or otherwise… but if you care about the music I think it can help you get through the difficult times. We all want to be more “successful” in whatever we do and that’s in a creative way as much as a financial way and I am no exception but at the moment I am pretty happy with things as they are…
Your recent album Dante’s Kitchen took some time to see a release which begs two questions First of all was there a deliberate decision to leave almost four years between Jeopardy Maze and Dante’s Kitchen and secondly does this album mark a return to regular activity from the band.
Oh yes…I think we are busier than ever at the moment. It certainly feels like that. There were some personal reasons for that 4 year gap…some technical…I felt like spending some time taking on board the massive advancements in music technology that have happened over the last few years and experimenting with that…to come up with a next stage in my music. I never want to keep re-treading the same ground… well not too much…maybe occasionally to see if there’s anything I’ve missed… but the more important reason was a major life crisis as I split up with my long term partner and had to rebuild my life. I had to fight through the courts to get to see my lovely children. I went through 2 years of hell and I found out a lot about how the English justice system treats single fathers…. Things have worked out well now and the album “Dante’s Kitchen” is a very dark album as a result but it’s there as a reminder. I don’t want to forget that…
You have worked with a number of female vocalists over the years. Could you tell us something about some of those and who are you working with presently?
I worked for year with my original vocalist Julia, although about 10 years ago she decided she didn’t want to perform live any more…which meant I had to approach the band in a different way, and since then I’ve worked with a number of different singers…and still work with Julia on recordings… for the last year or so I’m working with Laurie Reade…I was recommended her by my old US label… she’s based in Minneapolis and I’m in England!... but it works…we do a lot more touring in the USA so it works pretty well… I’ve just come back from a fantastic show with her in New Orleans at the Convergence gothic festival there…
This may sound like an obvious question but perhaps a necessary one with any band. How does the predominantly electronic sound transfer to a live setting? What are your touring plans?
It’s always been a problem for electronic musicians of any genre…how to do this thing live…I look at It that, with the exception of the violin parts, almost all the music is created by me on machines…and they really don’t play live!...so I prepare drums/bass/sequences…very much the machines part as backings …and as they are pre-programmed I allow a lot of improvisation over that from the “live” musicians…synths/keyboards..And mine and Laurie’s vocals…There’s a lot going on. I think it works…
We also work in a strong visual presence to the show… which is just as important and I think that side is often overlooked by more traditional “rock” bands…
We’re working with an artistic statement rather than a “show”…
We have offers to tour the USA this summer and to return for two more festivals after that…Laurie will be bringing her own musical project High Blue Star with us on that tour.We are also planning our first trip to Mexico and working on a UK and European tour in the autumn… you know how it changes all the time…but there’s a lot of possibilities for us this year…
In summing up what can we expect from Attrition in the future? I believe you are readying further albums for re issue in an updated style in terms of re mastering and possible bonus tracks
Well I am working on those series of re-issues and two new soundtrack works. I have been getting increasingly involved with film work and I’m also working on production for a few other projects and am well into writing the next Attrition album proper which I’m planning for a 2007 release…
We’re busier than ever and I’m pleased with all this. I do invite people to check out our website for all the latest information…
and also our mysace.com page…which is getting increasingly important…
© Jon Kirkman 2006 and 2011
Posted by Jon Kirkman at 09:14
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
The 14th of March sees the release of the first album in the partnership between European Progressive Rock label Galileo and Gonzo. Atto IV release their first album for Galileo entitled Shattered Lines. As a teaser for the album you can download for free the first single from the album A Second as an MP3 from the bands website. You can also watch a video of the single there too.
The Atto IV album is the latest rtelease in what is hoped to be a successful union between Galileo and Gonzo with more albums to come in the coming months
Hawkwind have been in existence now for more than forty years and seem to be almost a permanent fixture on the touring circuit. The band still record albums and tour and in 2011 Hawkwind are due to play Japan for the first time in their forty plus year career.
The interview below took place at Dave Brock's Farm in the summer of 2006 when the band were about to relese their then album Take Me To Your Leader. The album was a very successful one for the band and re establishd them both as a touring and recording entity.
An audience with Dave Brock,
Take me to your Leader Earth Date July 2006
In the summer of 2005 Hawkwind were gearing up to perform a series of concerts at a variety of festivals across Europe. The band, which started life as Band X and Hawkwind Zoo were celebrating their official thirty sixth anniversary. Leading the band from the front as he has been for the last thirty six years through success and slumps alike; Dave Brock settles down in the living room of his farmhouse to talk about the bands latest album “Take Me To Your Leader”
Dave was in optimistic mood and eager to talk about the album which features the current line up of Hawkwind which aside from himself includes long time member’s bassist Alan Davey and drummer Richard Chadwick alongside newer member Jez Huggett on Keyboards. The album also features a number of special guests including former Hawkwind member Simon House. TV personality Matthew Wright and long time Hawkwind fan provides vocals on a re make of Spirit Of The Age and Arthur Brown features on a couple of tracks. Just for good measure Lene Lovich drops in to lend her vocals to the track Angela Android.
Jon Kirkman began by asking why it had taken so long for the album to come together:
JK The new album Take me to your Leader is coming out in the near future but it was recorded over a long period of time wasn’t it?
DB We actually did record it then we did it all again. We were learning how to operate a computer and we sort of recorded a lot of stuff that sounded rather sort of wishy washy so we did it all again later on as we got more knowledgeable on the computer.
JK I find that quite odd really. When you think Hawkwind you think very futuristic and here you are saying you have now worked out how to use the computer.
DB We were barbarians with electronic equipment that’s why! We’re not that genned up you know.
JK You always manage to use the technology to your best ability don’t you?
DB Yeah, if you use the machine rather than the machine using you. It is very easy to actually get into a situation where you can loop everything as lots of people do on a computer. It makes it very easy to play the minimal guitar and loop things. You end up doing loops that sometimes take hours and hours where could play in. It is much more fun playing in.
Now, Spirit of the Age, as most Hawkwind fans know is a track that was originally on Quark Strangeness and Charm. Why have you decided to re-record it? Matthew Wright the TV guy is on this particular version isn’t he?
DB Yeah, he is and that is the reason we decided to put it out. He was doing a radio station in London and I went on there. He said he was a big time Hawkwind fan and I said, “I bet you are!” – doubting that he was, you know. He said he knew all the songs so I asked him if he knew the words to Spirit of the Age which he did, reciting them perfectly. I found he had been to Stonehenge and was a staunch Hawkwind fan. I asked him if he would like to come and do Spirit of the Age with us on stage reciting it as a poem actually. Also a lot of people don’t realise that he does write some really nice poetry. He is quite politically orientated and so on – an interesting character. Consequently we asked him to come and sing on the album, so that’s the story.
JK I suppose with a band like Hawkwind – you have been in existence 36 years, does it ever surprise you some of the people who come out as Hawkwind fans these day? I guess there must be a few strange incidences like that.
DB How do you mean?
JK Well years ago people would have said it was a guilty pleasure liking Hawkwind but now a lot of people say they are big fans of Hawkwind. Matthew Wright does not look like your average Hawkwind fan.
DB That’s true but I am sure there are. I do recollect the head of Lloyds saying he likes Hawkwind. It doesn’t give us any free insurance though does it!
JK I suppose these people were sat in a field as teens listening to Hawkwind somewhere down the line weren’t they?
DB Yes I would say so; there were a lot of free festivals that we used to do and such. As they go on through life with their children, believe it or not their kids come down and say to us that they used to hate their dad’s Hawkwind collection but now they think it sounds really good. So we are becoming in vogue again! (laughs)
JK I suppose it is a case of if you are round long enough you will come back into fashion anyway.
DB I think so, it is like a long term sort of graph that goes up and down and then a long line for a while and it will peak a little bit here and there. We have just come back from Germany playing a festival with Jefferson Starship, Robin Trower and the like, sort of old bands and an interesting line up. There were a lot of people so people do like to see old bands because they are pretty good normally.
JK You are reasonably happy being the founder member of Hawkwind just continuing. There has been a constant thread of yourself all the way through although Hawkwind has maintained this very high profile within the rock business. What do you put the longevity of the band down to?
DB Stamina! (Laughs) It fluctuates so dramatically. There are times when you feel like giving up when things go wrong. Music is supposed to be a pleasure that is the mainstay. You are trying to do shows that are interesting and sometimes a lot of bands are similar to us, you have your good and bad days. One day somebody might come to see us and we are mediocre and then the next day we’re fantastic. That is what it is like when you are a musician. It makes it interesting for fans to see if we can keep that level I suppose.
JK Let’s look at the track Greenback Massacre. I am figuring that there might be a message here with this particular track. Would I be right?
DB Yes, It is written by Alan Davey and it is all about the American greed for oil and suchlike as we all know.
JK I think what I like about Hawkwind is that there have been occasions when people have thought that they are just a standard rock band but there have been some songs that have had a very pertinent message. I can go back as far as Urban Guerrilla. There must be a feeling that you really want to comment on something like that.
DB Obviously you have to and loads of bands are doing it now. What you’re trying to put across to a younger audience is look what is going on here. They are all aware of what is going on and it is up to them to try and change things. As you get older you tend to lay back a bit more but words to songs are a good way of putting across these messages the same as poems used to do years ago. It is the same sort of thing.
JK The title track of the album is Take Me To Your Leader there must be a story about that! It is a very Hawkwind title to an album actually.
DB Well it was taken from this little alien doll I was given that when you press it, it goes,”Take me to your leader!” That was where we go the title from. Then we did actually write a lot of philosophical words to go with it.
JK Sometimes album titles come from the strangest sources don’t they?
DB Yeah I think so. That old Sci-fi book, I can see it now. Do you remember 1950s sci-fi books with girls clad in bikinis striking these poses as a monster is grabbing hold of them.
JK The creature from the Black Lagoon!
DB Yeah,Take me to your Leader was one of those as well.
JK Obviously it is a Hawkwind album but you have some special guests on it apart from the track Spirit of the Age with Matthew Wright on. Arthur Brown appears on two of the tracks, we’ll talk about the other in a minute but he is on Sunray. Arthur and Hawkwind must go back a long time.
DB I suppose we do go back a fair time because Arthur is a continuing artiste really. Our paths have crossed a few times and the first time was when he was doing the Canterbury festival. He was doing Silver Machine there and he sang with us. We asked him to come and do the tour which he did. In fact we saw him just two weeks ago at another festival we were at.
JK How do you feel about bringing special guests in like that? Some bands think it is great but others don’t want to dilute the thing and draw attention away from the fact that it is their album.
DB That’s true. It is interesting and it makes it interesting for the audience really to have guests. If you do parallels with jazz musicians, they very often have guests coming along. It is good for the band too. It makes a band pay attention sometimes because you have to keep yourself together and pay attention to what Arthur’s doing. (laughs) He still tries to clamber up the side of the speaker cabinets! We’re shouting, “Arthur, take it easy now!” He gets carried away.
JK In a live situation that adds to the spontaneity though doesn’t it?
DB Yes it does. With Lena(Lovich), Arthur had put us in touch with Lena about doing some vocals with us and what we did was sent Angela Android up there to her studio in Cambridge and she sent various bits and pieces of her voice back down to us which we put in as the android on Spirit of the Age. She sings actually on Angela Android.
JK A lot of people will remember Lena Lovich’s big hit at the turn of the seventies. She has a very unique voice. How does that fit into the Hawkwind mix?
DB Well quite well I think. She is an interesting character and she does have a very individual voice and style of course.
JK I believe the single is going to be Spirit of the Age, is that right? Why do you think that is right as a single now?
DB Well if you use the word relevant, they have been relevant always because ever since the ideas of cloning and so on although there is more of it now of course. They would just go on being relevant. Until they get android sex dolls to do whatever you want them to do it will be relevant won’t it?
JK I suppose this album more than anything proves that Hawkwind are a relevant band. You probably have people who knock the band and say you are just seventies has-beens but an album like this means you are aware of what is going on musically and can see where Hawkwind fits into that.
DB I suppose so. It is like Crosby, Stills and Nash. They have just had their son work with them a while ago and it was fantastic. Look at Man you know with Martin Ace. They have got their boys playing in the band and they are really good hot bands. They are really in touch with what is going on. I think a lot of these bands are good.
JK This begs the question, the way that the philharmonic orchestra carries on with different members, could you ever imagine a time when Hawkwind could continue without any of its original members maybe in another twenty five or thirty years?
DB Yeah! I say yes because as you know there are quite a few bands like Jefferson Starship who only had one original member but they sound like the original band. It is not a bad thing. A lot of people do want to see what these bands were like and that is the nearest you are going to get. There was the Illegal Eagles that do a total take off of the Eagles show and they sound very like them.
JK Have you ever seen a Hawkwind tribute band?
DB There are quite a few actually.
JK There is Spacehead isn’t there who do some very good versions of Hawkwind songs.
DB Yeah, there is also Silver Machine too, there’s a few I can’t reel them all off. They have sent me a few CDs, Time Brothers from Scotland is another one. They have done the whole of the Space Ritual in their show.
JK Where do you draw the line between being flattered and upset about these things?
DB It is the audience that matter. They might want to see the original if you are putting on a good show. It costs a lot of money to get a big show with a light show with four or five people operating lights, dancers and roughly about eighteen people on the road. Obviously they have to be paid if you are putting on a good show. You couldn’t do this in small clubs it would not be possible.
JK You were talking about the band doing a lot of festivals. There seems to be a never ending supply of festivals these days all over Europe and in the UK. In the summer months there seems to be a festival every week end.
DB Yeah but we are not playing on them though.
JK You have played a few of them this summer haven’t you?
DB Yes in Europe, not over here
JK What do you think of Glastonbury? I suppose people would associate Hawkwind with Glastonbury wouldn’t they?
DB They do but we don’t play there either. We always used to play at the free festival at Stonehenge. Having said that we topped the bill in 1981 but unfortunately the stage got destroyed. It was supposed to finish at twelve o’clock and everything had run late. New Order were on before us. They finished at quarter to eleven and we went on at quarter past. It got to midnight and the chief of Wiltshire police was saying that everything had to finish at twelve o’clock and we had to end it and apologise. We had this big firework display that never went off and everyone started smashing the stage up and someone set fire to it. I think we were banned from ever playing there again after that. We went back in 1989/1990 and we did In Travellers Field and we got in trouble for doing that with Michael because we were playing at five o’clock in the morning and waking everybody up.
JK Surely everyone at a festival is meant to be awake at that time?
DB A lot of them were in bed, I was in bed. Then there was this knock on the door and I told that we were going on stage!
JK Digital Nation is again a very Hawkwind sounding title, obviously these things just come to you. How difficult is it to keep coming up with something that is not only relevant to the band but going to relate to your audience? That must be hard after thirty six years.
DB Sometimes! Sometimes not! You don’t actually write stuff all the time. In the course of a year you might write a lot of songs and different tunes but maybe at the end of the day only use four. The members of the band have different ideas of writing. You might have twelve or fourteen numbers in there and you decide which ones you are going to use for an album and to go on the road with. It is always better to play these things live at first before you record them because then they flow nicely. Quite often we do it back to front unfortunately and you will find most bands do a similar thing and have the same problems that we do. It’s all the same.
JK Another important track on the album is entitled A Letter to Robert; it is another track that features Arthur Brown. Am I correct in thinking this is another link to your past here – something to do with Robert Calvert?
DB That was one of those magical moments. Richard (Chadwick) and I had actually done the backing track for this, we were mucking around and made up this electronic track. Arthur came down one day and we were talking about Robert and we had a rough idea of what we wanted to do a song about. Arthur went off on one of his ramblings which was a magic moment captured there and then that I thought was quite brilliant.
JK A case of the right place at the right time then?
JK I suppose a lot of people do associate Robert Calvert with Hawkwind and rightly so. Do you think he would have been pleased by the end result himself?
DB I think he would be pleased because he was an artist whose stuff we are still going on doing. Some of his old songs we do differently. We are actually going to be doing the Calvert album putting a lot of his poems to music which is totally different to what I have done. It has still got Richard(Chadwick) and Alan (Davey) on it but we have got this black singer from Bristol who has got a fantastic voice and she does some weird things as well. I think he would love all that.
JK Here we are in the summer of 2005 and the album is due for release. I presume there will be a tour to promote this album.
DB Yeah we are doing a tour in December..
JK How much of this album can anyone reasonably expect you to include in the set? You have to draw the line between playing the songs that people want to hear but you are tied to promoting the new album as well.
DB We are doing three or four tracks. I mean, we have been doing them for the past year to see how they go. Obviously we can’t do the ones Arthur is on but you never know he might pop up and do the Astoria with us, who knows?
© Jon Kirkman 2006 and 2011
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Iona are a Celtic Progressive Rock band. Led from the front by guitarist and vocalist Dave Bainbridge. The band have released a series of hugely popular albums over the last twenty years. They have a new studio album due in the sumnmer of 2011.
The interview below was with Dave Bainbridge who was then promoting their current studio album The Circling Hour.
Interview with Dave Bainbridge:
The Circling Hour
Over the last fifteen years Iona has built up a solid reputation as one of the premier Celtic Rock Bands. Over series of well constructed and classy albums the band has established itself not only across the UK and Europe but even as far afield as America and Japan. Following the album Open Sky in 2001however the band decided to take a break.
The main reason being vocalist Joanne Hogg started a family. During the hiatus the various members all busied themselves with other projects. Most notable of these were the solo albums from Dave Bainbridge (Veil of Gossamer) and Troy Donockley (The Pursuit of Illusion). There were even a couple of albums a DVD and selected live dates from Troy and Dave.
In late 2004 however the band once again picked up the reins and began once again performing selected concerts. It was to be but a short step to think about returning to the studio for the next Iona studio album. That decision was made in summer 2005 and the new album The Circling Hour is due in the summer. With the first album in almost six years ready to go Jon Kirkman spoke to Dave Bainbridge about the new album and the bands hopes for the album and plans for more live dates to promote the album
Jon Kirkman It’s six years since you released a studio album, for those not in the know, could you tell us why the band took a break.
Dave Bainbridge Well basically we had planned to get the next studio album out around 2002 but whilst we were in Japan Joanne (Hogg) announced that she was pregnant and over the next couple of years had two boys who are now 2 and 4. So for the last few she has been being a mother most of the time so that has restricted what we could do with the band,
JK Of course these things do take time and it’s important for most people to spend time with their young children.
DB Well for Jo it was quite miraculous because she and her husband had tried IVF and that had all failed and then out of the blue she got pregnant. It was great really for her. Obviously there were implications for the band but we have tried to be supportive and tried to work around the time she can still work with the band. The writing took a lot longer because she was preoccupied with other things!
JK There were other projects that other members of the band were involved in weren’t there? You recorded an excellent solo album entitled Veil of Gossamer, Troy recorded a couple of solo albums and there was a couple of Troy and Dave albums as well so you weren’t exactly sitting back were you?
DB As soon as Jo announced that she was pregnant for the second time we realised that we wouldn’t be able to do any gigs for a while. I had been planning on doing a solo album for ages so that gave me the opportunity to do that. I started it in November 2002 and most of 2003 was spent writing and recording that. Troy and I also got together to do some duo gigs because we needed the money (Laughs) but also we thought it would be a great opportunity to do something slightly different, with some Iona stuff, some more traditional stuff and some solo album stuff in a format that gave us a bit more freedom. When you play live with a band, the arrangements of the Iona stuff could be quite complicated and have to be fairly set. We found that with the duo we could leave more spaces open where we could just improvise or bounce back off each other live which was really nice.
JK As we are speaking now in April 2006 you are nearing completion of the new album which is called the Circling Hour. When was the decision made to look at a new Iona album?
DB It was really probably last July. We have had a few writing sessions over the last few years so some of the bits on the album have been formulating since the end of the Open Sky album. There is one of the tracks which is called Wind, Water and Fire in which there is an opening section that is keyboard and violin based, we actually recorded that with Troy and Frank the drummer at his home studio. Those were our initial sessions for the studio album so we have had one or two times together. We had a good session in Ireland a couple of years ago where probably four or five of the songs took shape but we have been really seriously recording it from July last year.
JK You’ve played some gigs as Iona and recently released a live DVD. Was any of the new material tried out in a live setting? I know some bands like to do that but did you?
DB Yes we did actually. We would have tried it more if it was Britain. We had three tracks that are on the new album that we played live. What we did was play them on the live DVD recording in London and also on some gigs in Holland and Germany. One track was called Strength, Factory of Magnets for the Soul which is quite an interesting title (both vocal songs) and then Wind off the Lake which is one of Troy’s tracks. It has got some vocals but is a longer instrumental featuring Troy We did that one live but it has mutated into a sort of a huge epic piece.
JK You find that sometimes don’t you when you work songs in live. You think this is a great song, let’s try it live and then it becomes something slightly different when you come to record it.
DB That’s true. The track’s strange actually, when we played that live we didn’t really have a set chorus for the song it was just an improvised vocal line with a bass and guitar riff underneath. Then when we came to record the vocals for it, we came up with this really nice vocal hook line which has really lifted the song up to another level. We got a good reaction from the audience when we played the tracks live so that gave us quite a boost knowing that they were going to be liked.
JK I have listened to some of the album; it’s not finished yet – and if I am honest, some of the tracks on this album are rockier than you have ever attempted before with Iona. Was this deliberate attempt to move in a different direction?
DB Yes a while back, it could be back in about 2001 actually; we had released Open Sky and we had various discussions about the direction of the next album and I have always collected notes I can use when I am writing and I wrote down a load of comments from the band members. The general consensus was that it would be nice to have an album that has a more “up” feel with more rhythmic stuff going on. On Open Sky there was quite a lot of long ambient passages which were great for that album but we did not really want to repeat ourselves. I think it makes more of a statement as well because there hasn’t been a studio album for so long that we wanted it, from the very beginning, to come in with a bang.
JK Do you think that some of the long time fans will be surprised by the direction you have taken? Certain tracks really hit you right between the eyes. It is certainly a statement of intent in some ways isn’t it?
DB Well I think it is still very much Iona. It has got all of the Iona elements; you know Jo’s voice and Troy’s pipes and the keyboard textures and my guitar and stuff so I think fans will like it. It is still unmistakeably the band which is the main thing.
JK With a band like Iona that has a fair bit of history behind it now, how difficult is it to come to a new album? It is like trying to re-invent the wheel? Does it feel like that for you?
DB It’s not like we haven’t been working together for the last six years so it is not really re-inventing the wheel.
JK No, I mean in terms of having so many albums out and having some sort of legacy. There is the need not to repeat yourself.
DB I think there is probably a danger that people are going to expect the same sort of thing and the band gets stuck into a rut of sounding the same. I think that is one of the reasons we have tried to be more rhythmic and more rocky this time.
JK I suppose there is an element of having to give the fans a little bit of what they might expect but something new as well in order to make it interesting for you guys as a band.
DB Really we have approached it more in terms of what the best materials that we have at the time and then tried to interpret that through the band’s musical filter I suppose. Sometimes what you intend to do on an album doesn’t happen. We had two more tracks that we were going to include in the album which we have left off because one of them was quite an ambient instrumental track and the other was a slow ballady vocal track. We realised as we were gathering material that it was becoming too much like the previous album with the amount of slower material so we had to make a conscious decision to prune that a little bit.
JK Is it difficult to take that decision though, after all artists don’t write to order generally. They create and therefore it must be hard to have to lose that track.
DB Yes it can lead to quite heated discussions sometimes. It is usually down to me, being the producer of the album. I think it is good that it is quite a long time before we decided the kind of album we wanted to make. That gives me an overall perspective of how the tracks fit together and if some do not fit into that secure vision for the album then you have to make a decision on whether they stay or not.
JK The album is in the final stages of production now; you are still doing some mixing I believe. Are you looking at an early/mid summer?
DB I would think so yes.
JK I know you have some live dates planned before then. Following the release of the album, what are your touring plans?
DB The band has some live dates in Holland, Belgium and Germany at the end of April and the first half of May. We can’t really commit to doing a lot of touring because of Jo’s home situation. It is sort of three gigs here and three gigs there sort of thing. We are doing a couple of UK stints. We have some gigs lined up in October and November; it could be just about six gigs. We will probably just continue doing that really and fit around Jo’s schedule, maybe three gigs a month in the UK. We do want to try and get to some places we haven’t been to for a long time.
JK How does it feel as a band going out on the road with a new album? I would imagine it is very exciting.
DB Yeah, we can’t wait to play some of the new tracks; we will see how that goes. We have got some rehearsals actually starting tomorrow. There is quite a lot of stuff to learn. We’re not playing the whole of the new album initially any way but we will probably do something like six new tracks.
JK Having heard a fair bit of the album I would say that a lot of it would translate rather well to the live arena. Parts of Wind, Water and Fire would make a really good showcase for part of the concert.
DB Well there are two long tracks on the album, one is called Wind off the Lake which we are doing live. Wind Water and Fire is the longest track on the album, about fourteen minute’s altogether. We are not going to be initially tackling that one because it is too much to learn in a very short rehearsal time. Certainly we will look at doing that for later in the year. By the time we get to the UK gigs we might have that one ready for playing live.
JK I would love to hear that live. I can imagine the lights and everything for that number! I guess you guys can see the potential in that.
DB Yeah, where we can we take our own lighting engineer with us but it depends on the venue and the size of the concert we’re playing. When he is there he is very good at responding to the mood changes and everything.
JK With the situation regarding Joanne and her family commitments and touring other parts of the world, I know you and Troy did some gigs in Japan about eighteen months ago, would that be an option or would that perhaps be too far?
DB At the moment we are restricting band gigs to UK and Europe and we will see maybe in a year or two when both of the children are at school, it might be a different situation then. In the meantime Troy and I are looking at doing other gigs as a duo and possibly even doing countries like the USA. We know about lots of different players in lot of places who are really great players. We would love to be playing Iona music with them. We did this when we were in Japan. One of the gigs we did we had some Japanese musicians; they learned a few of the Iona tracks. We just had a rehearsal in the afternoon then played them in the evening and it worked out really well.
JK For an artist that must incredible; it mixes the elements of the familiar with the unfamiliar.
DB It was strange at the time because we had never even met these Japanese musicians prior to playing with them. We had heard them and knew that they were great. It took a bit of adjusting but after about an hour of playing with them it sounded great. We thought maybe we could extend this idea to other countries in the times that Jo isn’t available, to go on tour and maybe do some of the big instrumental tracks using local musicians in different places.
JK That would be an interesting thing to develop.
DB We have already got someone who wants to put on some concerts in America and in that area we know some great musicians. That is all down to the visa situation though.
JK I hope that comes off. Meantime the Circling Hour is hopefully released in the summer, with some gigs before that and in the UK at the end of the year. There is plenty to look forward to and for those places that can’t see Iona live, there is the live DVD.
DB It is brilliant to finally have that out. We have been talking about doing a live video for years. Now we thought we could do something really representative of the band as it is now. So I am really pleased with it.
© Jon Kirkman 2006 and 2011
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