I have been trying to interview Don Falcone from Spirits Burning for weeks, but every time I tried something happened. We had technical problems, health problems, family problems and even times when I needed to be dealing with various arcane animal related issues from my day job, but eventually we got together through the magick of those jolly nice people at www.recordyourcall.co.uk but for whom I really would not be able to do a lot of what I do.
JON: I’m afraid the new CD is the only stuff of yours that I have heard. That and the one thing Rob sent me on YouTube so I didn’t actually know that you did so much with Bridget. I thought that the era when Bridget was fronting Hawkwind was one of the most interesting eras that Hawkwind did.
DON: Yeah, it’s wonderful stuff. That period was probably my last favourite period of Hawkwind. There’s been many periods of them that I really love a lot. I remember when I bought Space Ritual and I was not sure what to make of it, and then really did like it. But that ‘74/’75 period right after I loved. I loved Calvert, the stuff with Ginger Baker was intriguing. I am someone who did like the Moorcock stuff in the early ‘80s – not so much the hard rock Elric period. The Bridget stuff I thought was really refreshing and I thought they were getting back into a new era, and in retrospect, I think that they didn’t take advantage of her. She plays the EWI – the electronic wind instrument. They could have had her doing sax and sounds on stage.
The other thing about her that I discovered working with her so much over the last few years, is that she is also a really good song writer and has a good sense of song structure, and she really hadn’t quite gotten to that point when that could have happened with Hawkwind. What happened with her – I don’t know if you read up on this on line, is I basically – in my hunt to keep Spirits Burning fresh - I am always looking for new people that would be interesting to be part of the collective. And a few years ago a guy named David Law – I think he’s running the Hawkwind site now – he used to have a thing called the Hawkind Museum, and he did an interview on Bridget. It was the first time I had heard of her in years, as she pretty much disappeared after the Hawkwind years. And I asked him if he could put me in touch with her and give her an invite. She was kind of concerned about it because the last thing she wanted to do was get back into music, she had her daily life going on. And she said yes, she would give it a try, and she sent me some vocals that she did.
And so I basically said, OK, now I have these vocals. How do I put them in time and create a rhythm, keyboards and do something to start – you know a drummer and a bass player and a guitarist could now make this into a song? And that piece we called Salome and that ended up on the Spirits Burning “Alien Injection” release, which is on Black Widow Records. And she was really happy with it, so she said I’ll send you another one and we did a second piece. Both were on that CD, which was also actually released on vinyl because Black Widow often does both. After that release, we got talking even more and she felt a bit more comfortable with it and through long distance started to build up a trust – a respect of each other – she said what do you think of doing a full length CD? So we did, for Voiceprint, the Earthborn CD and we did the second one, which was Bloodlines, and we are now working on a third one that’s called Make Believe It Real.
JON: And that’s going to be for Gonzo as well?
DON: Well as long as Rob continues to be happy with Spirits Burning.
JON: Well I know Rob has always spoken very highly of you, and he said man you’ve got to interview this guy so…..
DON: Yeah, he’s been very supportive, and I do feel a sense of responsibility to him and the label and I also feel a responsibility towards musicians on the CD – trying to make each piece, each CD, be intriguing and be worthwhile so they feel good for being involved and maybe would want to be involved again.
JON: I don’t know if you read the Gonzo Daily..
DON: I read parts of it. And I saw the breaking news that Steve Howe quit
JON: That was quite a shock to everybody I think.
DON: I do look at it, because it comes in, but I find with so much happening that I am scanning it more. There are certain things I will read more than other things... there’s like a long-distance vibe I get from Judy Dyble and I remember reading most of her interview.
JON: Oh she’s a honey. She’s someone you ought to think about doing something with.
DON: Yeah I had thought of that. One idea I have is doing an acoustic space rock album and one thought would maybe make that more instrumental, but another thought would be, hey, add vocals, and she would be someone who would be good for that. We actually had a piece a few years ago we asked Judy to be involved with and I think it was in the wrong key for her – this wasn’t for vocals. She plays a little harp – and it’s tuned to a couple of keys. And so the piece we had just wasn’t a good fit. But we did try once, and I have learned over the years, it does make sense to try again.
JON: It sounds a lovely idea.
And so the interview finished, mostly because my telephone handset batteries were running out. But over the next few days I listened to a lot of his music, both with and without Bridget Wishart and much of it is nothing short of extraordinary. Last night I was listening to one of the albums featuring Bridget Wishart and was completely blown away. This is as exquisite a piece of edenic electric folk as anything within the pages of Electric Eden, and it can only open the doors to more gloriously surrealchemical music in the years to come