THE GONZO WEEKLY all the gonzo news that’s fit to print Issue Sixty-Two January 25th
I PROMISED THIS WOULD BECOME A MAGAZINE AND I ALWAYS TRY TO KEEP MY PROMISES
NAMING THOSE RESPONSIBLE This issue was put together by me and Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent, (who is, in case you didn't know, an insane orange kitten on the verge of adulthood) ably assisted by:
Corinna Downes, (Sub Editor, and my lovely wife) Graham Inglis, (Columnist, Staff writer, Hawkwind nut) Bart Lancia, (My favourite roving reporter) Thom the World Poet, (Bard in residence) C.J.Stone, (Columnist, commentator and all round good egg) Kev Rowland, (Reviewer) Lesley Madigan, Photographer par excellence Douglas Harr, (Staff writer, columnist) Jessica Taylor, (PA and laughing at drunk pop stars) Dave McMann, (He ain't nothing but a) Newshound-dog Orrin Hare, (Sybarite and literary bon viveur) and Peter McAdam (McDada in residence)
THIS WEEK WE BRING YOU PAUL MCCARTNEY, RINGO STARR, ANNIE LENNOX, DAVE STEWART, EDWARD SNOWDEN, ANDY COLQUHOUN, WARSAW PAKT, THE DEVIANTS, JUSTIN BIEBER, GALAHAD, STU NICHOLSON, MERRELL FANKHAUSER, LIZ LENTEN, AUBURN, JEFFERSON STARSHIP, JUDY DYBLE, FAIRPORT CONVENTION, JESUS C. ESCOVEDO, THE BIKINI BEACH BAND, MICHAEL DES BARRES, XNA, CANTERBURY SANS FRONTIERES, MICK ABRAHAMS, DELIRED CHAMELEON FAMILY, JOEY MOLLAND, PERCY JONES, GARY GRIMSHAW, TWINK, ELVIS PRESLEY, THE WIGGLES, RICK WAKEMAN, YES, WEIRD WEEKEND, PETER GABRIEL, NECROWRETCH, OCEANS 5, PARADISE LOST, THE PRODUCERS, TROLDHAUGEN
This is the nearest that you are ever going to get to a posh weekend colour supplement from the Gonzo Daily team. Each week we shall go through the best bits of the week before, and if there aren't any we shall make some up, or simply make our excuses and leave (you can tell the editor once did contract work at the News of the World can't ya?)
WHO GONZO? WHY GONZO? WHAT GONZO?
What? You don't know who Hunter Thompson is/was/might have been/will be? Without Hunter Thompson there would be no Gonzo Multimedia. It would have been completely different and that would have been an unforgivable pity. So here is:
Social media stuff that I am really too old to understand, (my stepdaughter spent much of last Christmas trying to explain Twitter to me) but I am assuming that at least someof our readers are younger and hipper than I am.
It is simple; my name is Jon and I'm the editor of the Gonzo Multimedia daily online bloggything. Now there is a weekly magazine, once again edited by me and a small orange kitten from a dilapidated ex-potato shed in rural Devonshire, to which you subscribed by opting in on the website. I hope that you all stay to join in the fun, but if it is not to your liking it is easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...
I keep on thinking that I ought to have some sort of a mission statement in each issue, but it is more than a little difficult to do one. Basically, (if you don't mind me sounding more like a wishy washy old hippy than my haircut in the photograph above would imply) I think that books and music are immensely important. I look around and see that we are living in a world where the things that I think are important are valued less and less by society as a whole; a world where asinine gameshows and so-called reality TV (which is actually a complete oxymoron, but don't get me started) are of more importance to most people than anything of cultural or spiritual value.
I am also very disappointed by much of what the contemporary music press puts out, and I decided many years ago, that probably the only way I could read the things that I want to read, would be to publish them myself. So this is what I have been doing for much of my life. I am also naive enough to think that music and art can change the world, and as the world is in desperate need of change, I am gonna do my best to help.
MORE LIKE A MAGAZINE: Where are you tonight sweet Marie?
I have enjoyed putting together this edition of Gonzo Weekly. It is really getting quite exciting now. I always mean to get to the point where I have enough stuff in the can to be able to put together an issue without worrying, but I never do, and I always end up pulling the whole thing together on the last afternoon.
This issue was a case in point - one article which I had planned, and already mostly written had to be pulled at the last minute for legal reasons, and two others only coalesced properly during the course of the afternoon. But that is why I like being a journalist - it is the uncertainty, and sheer pleasure at pulling rabbits out of hats with minutes to spare.
Recently someone who really should have known better told me that they thought that the music scene was dead, and that things would be over in a few years. I really disagree with that, because I still hear just as much good music now as I have any time in the last twenty five years. And exciting news still keeps coming in. Like the story I have just received - literally thirty seconds ago - that Wilko who no-one expected to be still alive is just about to release a R&B album with Roger Daltrey.
And there is great music coming up from younger bands; not everyone under the age of 30 is entirely focussed on becoming one of Simon Cowell's puppets for their alloted fifteen minutes of fame, and I think there will be enough new stuff to keep me busy for the rest of my active life.
But enough of the ranting, enough of the polemicising, and on with the show!
THE THREE COMMANDMENTS OF GONZO WEEKLY:
1. Art is as important as science and more important than money 2. There is life after (beyond and before) Pop Idol 3. Music can and sometimes does change the world
If you think those three ideas are stupid then you should probably give up reading this magazine now. Otherwise... enjoy
As is the rest of this magazine, this is mostly about music, and the bits of contemporary culture that I find interesting, but it also has a smattering of actual NEWS, especially if there are ethical questions that effect us all, or one of those put in authority over us does something spectacularly inane. The nearest that this section will ever come to politics is laughing at politicians.
Banged to Rights. As Dave McMann writes, 'Everyone should do this!'A barman tried to put Tony Blair under a citizen's arrest while the former Prime Minister was out having dinner. Blair was eating at Tramshed in east London when Twiggy Garcia approached him. The part-time producer said he put his hand on his shoulder and said 'Mr Blair, this is a citizen's arrest for a crime against peace, namely your decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq.' Read on...
Slipped Discs. Wake Island Air Force base is located some 2,000 miles east of Japan and 2,000 miles west of Hawaii, putting it smack dab in the middle of the Pacific. During some recent renovations on the base, someone opened a door marked with a restricted area sign and made a startling discovery: A cache of over 9,000 carefully organized and cataloged vinyl records. Amazingly, the extensive collection has been valued at between $90,000 and $250,000. Read on...
And then there were two. Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are to perform at the 2014 Grammys in Los Angeles, the Recording Academy has announced. The former Beatles are to be honoured at the Academy's Special Merits Awards the day before the January 26 awards night. The day after will see a number of big artists, including the Eurythmics, playing Beatles hits at a special concert. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart will perform as a duo for The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles. Read on...
Edward Snowden risked everything to expose mind-boggling and illegal US surveillance -- and now faces solitary confinement and life in prison unless Brazil grants him asylum. Let's send the largest citizen-supported asylum bid in history to President Dilma this week, and win a battle for democracy everywhere:
The world's greatest whistleblower is stuck in the Russian winter, facing solitary confinement, ridicule, and life in prison if US agents grab him. But this week, we could help get him to safety.
Edward Snowden exposed the mind-boggling and illegal level of surveillance the US government is conducting on, well, all of us. His welcome in Russia runs out soon, and he's got nowhere to go. But Brazilian President Dilma is angry at US surveillance and experts say she might brave massive US pressure to consider asylum for Snowden!
This is about much more than one man. If Snowden's act of truth-telling leads to crippling punishment, it sends the wrong signal to abusive governments and whistleblowers everywhere. If 1 million of us take action now, we can send President Dilma the largest citizen-supported asylum bid in history -- click below to safeguard Snowden and defend democracy everywhere:
Time is running out on Snowden’s one-year visa. Sharks are circling to drag him back to the US where he is unlikely to face a fair trial, but Brazil’s president Dilma hates mega spy program PRISM, has cancelled a state visit to the US over the issue, and is working to safeguard her people from spying. If she’s to support Snowden, Dilma needs to know she can withstand tough US pressure.
Opponents of giving Snowden asylum say he broke the law and put global security at risk. Some even call him a traitor, and say letting him get away with it could open the floodgates for others. But while Snowden did break the law -- he did so to reveal a massive system of illegal global spying on an industrial scale. Snowden's heroic action can make the world a better and safer place for everyone.
And Snowden isn’t just any whistleblower; his revelations have already changed the world for the better. Germany and Brazil have moved to reform privacy protections for citizens. The issue has been addressed openly in the United Nations, and a US court has ruled some forms of NSA spying are illegal. This week US President Obama is going to change the spy practices of the NSA, in reaction to Snowden’s leaks!
President Dilma needs our support to stand up to US pressure. Let’s show her that the world’s people will stand with Brazil if Brazil stands for bravery. Join the world’s biggest asylum request ever, for Snowden:
With more than 30 million members around the world -- including 6 million in Brazil -- together we have already been key to protecting our internet from government gag laws. Now we can support the man who has sacrificed so much to protect us from a massive international spy scandal.
With hope and determination,
Joseph, Christoph, Michael, Sayeeda, Ricken and the whole Avaaz Team
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Look what has emerged from Andy's archives
The legendary Andy Colquhoun has just found something rather groovy in his archives; songs from the legendary Warsaw Pakt.
Just to fill you in. Wikipedia says: Warsaw Pakt was a short-lived punk group which were active in the years of 1977-78, though some of its members had heritages linking them to the 1960s underground. This was apparent in their sound, which was a sophisticated punk thrash with plenty of energy but also more structure than some contemporaries.
...and they continue, a few paragraphs later:
Their claim to fame is to have recorded an album (Needle Time) that was in the shops 24 hours after the first note was recorded (viz the session ended at 10 p.m. on Saturday 26 November 1977 and the album was ready to be sold by 7a.m. on Sunday 27 November 1977.). The band was trying to make a point about technology in doing this, and the album sleeve was a 12" square brown bag with stickers and rubber stamping to display the band name and album title.
He recently did an interview about them..
Real high-energy rock’n’roll in its most potent form is best captured live and in the moment. Maximum thrills, minimum frills. In 1977, London’s Warsaw Pakt took that premise one step further, recording their album live, straight through, direct to the cutting lathe – no tape master, no overdubs, no mixing. The record was pressed, packed and shipped overnight and was in the record stores the following day. No procrastination. Instant gratification.
“The idea was to bypass tape and gain a very accurate recording that would be louder and clearer than any other method then available,” remembers guitarist Andy Colquhoun.
The actual process was simple. “It was play Side One, break, tune up, play Side Two,” he explains. “This was done three times. The engineers were very concerned about us destroying the cutting lathe heads, which ran about five grand each. At first the sound in their control room at the top of the building was very restrained.
Andy has also found some live video from The Deviants, and - as you can see from the picture at the top of this piece - he has recently met with Gonzo Grande Fromage Rob Ayling and passed the tapes over to him.
So what happens next?
Wait and see kiddies, wait and see. Andy also has a solo album coming out via Gonzo in a few months time, and - of course - has the record he made with the late Mick Farren out now...
#6 makes me think of this. I wonder whether there will be a reward if we act like good citizens and dob in Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke et al
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Jessica Taylor contributed this Regular readers will know my niece Jessica who acted as mine and Judy Dyble's PA at last summer's SoL festie. She was massively amused that Justin Bieber has recently been arrested for some sort of motor vehicle and alcohol-related tomfoolery. Despite the fact that I only have the vaguest idea who he is, I thought that Jess's contribution to this week's magazine is massively amusing.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: New music from Galahad I am still hoping to be able to track down the massively elusive Stu Nicholson for an interview about the forthcoming new EP from Galahad. It seems that the final mixes have now come in and that the finalised track listing is:
1. Seize the Day (Single version) 2. Seize the Day (Full version) 3. 21st Century Painted Lady 4. 21st Century Painted Lady (Instrumental) 5. Bug Eye 2013 6. Bug Eye (Live)
However, as we reported last weekend was Stu's 50th birthday party, which according to our spies was of Bacchanalian proportions. One wonders how long the ensuing hangovers lasted. Eventually we will have that interview for you
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Merrell's Birthday Boogie Two days before Christmas 1943 a little boy was born in Kentucky. His family moved to California when he was still a relatively small boy, and he grew up to be one of the founding fathers of surf music.
Fast forward to the 21st December 2013, and two days before his 70th birthday, Merrell Fankhauser, his band and friends get on stage for his 'Birthday Boogie'. Cop a load of this...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Rob and Liz with the new Auburn album
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. The new Auburn album that I have been raving about for the last six months is finally here. If not it would seem like extraordinary lengths for singer Liz Lenten to go to get a hug off Rob Ayling!
Nashville really is an extraordinary album, and I am very much looking forward to next Tuesday when I get to see Liz and her compadres playing six songs from it live when they support the legendary Jefferson Starship in Wolverhampton.
But in the meantime, check out their page at Soundcloud. My fave is Hurtin'. Let me know what you think. However, there is more Liz Lenten below when she gives us some backstage updates from the Jefferson Starship tour.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: A blast from Judy Dyble's past I found this on Judy's Facebook page, where someone had found it on YouTube and posted it. It shows a very young Fairport Convention doing their thing back in the days when folk music was only one of the influences that had been chucked into their cultural melting pot, and the days of being the founding fathers of British folk rock were far in the future.
Watching this video you can see where the people who described the early Fairport Convention as being akin to the British analogue of Jefferson Airplane were coming from. On a personal level it is weird to see this, because Judy on April 27, 1968 when the show was first broadcast is the spitting image of a girl called Sandra who I went out with when I was a student in the early 1980s.
But my dears, it gets even better! This afternoon I had a chat with Judy about her memories of this - her first ever TV appearance - and other reminiscences of early Fairport Convention.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Dave McMann on the Bikini Beach Band The True Story of The Bikini Beach Band begins with one man - Jesus C. Escovedo - guitarist, revolutionary, ladies' man and 1956 All-Mexico Surfing Champion. Forced by his political beliefs to flee from his homeland, he escaped by stowing away on a cruise liner with only a guitar, a Hawaiian shirt and an autographed photo of Duane Eddy.
He landed in Southampton, convinced Britain would welcome his music with open arms. Sadly, this was not to be. His debut single, Gringo Woody Stomp (Mecca Recordings), was released on the same day as The Beatles' She Loves You consigned the British instrumental scene to history. But Jesus was not downhearted. He changed his name and hairstyle and tried again.
The Termytes' Mersey Tube Rider (Provincial) also failed. So he tried again, and failed. Tried again, failed; tried, failed and finally failed without actually trying.He died a bitter and broken man, in 1993.
But at his funeral, a strange thing happened. The only mourners were four young men who all arrived wearing black suits, black ties, sunglasses and fezzes. Because in all those years of touring Jesus' good looks and charm had never deserted him, and a string of beautiful women had poured sour cream on the burning chilli of his soul.
The four mourners who met that day were his sons - Miguel, Esteban, Juan and Ricardo. Stranger still, the four discovered they were all musicians; over a tequila-fuelled wake they realised they had found their mission in life - The Bikini Beach Band was formed. The music of Jesus Escovedo would live on!
Each brother added something different to the band's sound. Drummer Juan brought the big beat. The deep twang came from guitarist Esteban; his duelling partner Miguel added a swooning way with a melody. And bassist Ricardo arrived with a crate of lager he’d won in a raffle.
We have a new episode of Canterbury Sans Frontièresand there are some other exciting things afoot with another entirely new station being added to Gonzo Web Radio, and a total revamp of the radio index.
STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 55 Part One Date Published: 24th January 2014
Strange Fruit is a unique two-hour radio show exploring the world of underground, strange and generally neglected music. All shows are themed and all shows set out to give the most hardened of sound-hounds some new delight to sample. The show is also unique in providing homework for undergraduate students on North West Kent College’s Foundation Degree in Professional Writing (who dig up many of the odd facts featured in the links between tracks). Strange Fruit presenter Neil Nixon is currently working on a book about rare albums for Gonzo Multimedia.
The show is broadcast on Miskin Radio every Sunday from 10-00-midnight.
Playlist for this episode
Lorde: Tennis Court Asha Bosle: Yeh Mera Dil Yaar Ka Diwani The Open Mind: Magic Potion Stuart Masters: Bhakti Jah Wobble: Gone to Croatan Harpo Marx: Laura The Future Sound of London: Snake Hips Bill Nelson: Wildest Dreams/Contemplation Lorde: Ribs R. D Burman: Freak Out Music The Fut: Have you Heard the Word Stuart Masters: Heart Shaped Box Nirvana: Heart Shaped Box It’s a Beautiful Day: White Bird Sheila Chandra: Shehnai Song Stuart Masters: J.M. The Dragons: Food for my Soul Mogwai: My Father My King
What's been did and what's been hid Iam growing up in public, as it were. The Gonzo Weekly has been going for very nearly a year now, and we are beginning to find our feet. I am making changes as I go along, and - no doubt - some of these changes will turn out to be mistakes. So, let me know what you think. Do they work? Do you like them? Hate them? Or don't you care either way?
Please pass this magazine around as far and wide as you can. And encourage as many people as you can to subscribe. Remember it is free, and will remain so. However, I want as many subscribers as possible to move on to the next stage of the party. There might well be cake.
Remember, I am always looking for new authors. If there is something that you feel you could add to the general melange which is the Gonzo Weekly, please email me at email@example.com. The more the merrier.
Although this newsletter also goes out in a plain text version for those of you who do not trust image intensive thingys in your browser, I promise that as long as it is technically feasible (which will be for the forseeable future) the text only mailout will continue. However, I strongly advise that for you to get the best out of this rapidly evolving publication, that you really should see it in all its picture-led glory.
Please tell your friends, colleagues and family about The Gonzo Weekly, and try to persuade them to subscribe. The more subscribers we get, the bigger and better and more effective the whole thing will be.
Remember, if you want more than your weekly fix of this newsletter you can check out the Gonzo Daily, which - as its name implies - does much the same as this newsletter but every day. It also features a daily poem from Thom the World Poet, and the occasional non-Gonzo rock music rambling from yours truly, plus book and gig reviews from our highly trained staff of social malcontents. And its FREE! You cannae say fairer than that!
1. Mick Abrahams - The Guitar With Mick Abrahams In 1975 ex Jethro Tull and Blodwyn Pig guitarist Mick Abrahams released this obscure but oddly entertaining record. It is a guitar tutorial, which – considering the fact that he is one of the greatest guitarists in the business – will have helped untold thousands of wannabe axemen along their chosen path.
2. Delired Chameleon Family - Delired Chameleon Family After the release of Clearlight Symphony, the band returned to France to record their next album in March 1975 at the Pathé Marconi studios in Boulogne, Paris under the name Delired Cameleon Family. The group includes Ivan Coaquette of Musica Elettronica Viva. The music was also used as the soundtrack to the film, Visa de Censure No. X. The group were under contract to Virgin Records, but the album was issued by EMI Recordswho owned the film soundtrack rights, and effectively used its soundtrack status to do an end-run around the group's contract with Virgin, as the album is not really presented as a soundtrack. "Musique du film Visa de Censure No. X de Pierre Clementi" appears in small font at the top of the front cover, printed light blue on dark blue to reduce its prominence, and the film title is not mentioned at all on the label. The credits (in French) state: "produit par Pathé et Virgin" (Pathé Marconi was EMI's imprint name in France).
3. Joey Molland - This Way Up (CD) Joey Molland, originally in Badfinger, put out a string over massively under-rated solo albums including this one from 2001 which was originally independently released. CD Universe describes the album as: “…one of the best solo discs that ex-members of the Beatles never made. It bears repeating -- This Way Up contains the essence of what was great about those early solo Beatles albums, not surprising because Molland played on some of them. The surprise is that a sideman from those sessions has created a mini-masterpiece rivaling, and on some songs equaling, those classic and important recordings. As good as Molland's power trio is live, why it doesn't perform originals onstage the way they are presented on this disc is a mystery. Molland is an excellent guitarist, and in concert he can veer off from the hit material and rival Pat Travers. That isn't always what his audience wants -- what his audience wants are the pretty guitar lines and vocals in a song like "The Bust," a slice of the stuff that made everyone into Badfinger fans, still alive and well and current. This is a very, very excellent recording, make no mistake about that.
4. Percy Jones - Tunnels (CD) In the early 90's, Swiss born musician Marc Wagnon sought to create his own music project. He enlisted the help of bassist Percy Jones of BRAND X fame and created a Jazz Fusion dubbed TUNNELS. In 1994 they released their first album simply named "Tunnels". With Wagnon, himself a Berkley College of Music graduate, playing vibraphone and Percy Jones on fretless bass, Frank Katz, also of BRAND X, was picked up to provide percussion duties. Throughout their career, TUNNELS has worked with a variety of musicians to add diversity to their three piece format. At one time guitarists Van Manakas, Julien Feltin, and John Goodsall have either guested on TUNNELS' albums or played with them live. Percussionist Lance Carter guested on their self titled album, and took on full drumming duties on their album "The Art Of Living Dangerously".
Most of the back issues have now been archived on a dedicated Blogger site. Please use the navigation tree on the right of the page. However, please be aware that there are still a few formatting issues, and the magazine may not look as nice in blogger as we would have liked.
If, however, you are using the MailChimp archive, (below) please be warned: Magazines from #11-41 contain the cartoon at the bottom of the stressed out guy with the computer Apparently someone has accused the public domain images site I got it from of hosting malware, and even though there was none found there by Google, the fact that I used an image from the site (perfectly legally) flagged our whole newsletter up as possibly containing malware. This should only effect people using Google Chrome, and I would strongly suggest that you click the 'proceed anyway' tab, and view the newsletter as you had originally planned...
Gary Grimshaw (February 25, 1946 – January 13, 2014) was an American graphic artist active in Detroit and San Francisco who specialized in designing rock concert posters. He was also a radical political activist with the White Panther Party and related organizations.
Now, I don't know whether this is a good idea, a bad idea, or just an idea, but - as I believe you know - this magazine is put out each week on a budget of £25, and is free. It will remain free, but I would like to be able to generate some income so I can pay our contributing writers. So, 'why not flog Gonzo Weekly T Shirts?' I thought. 'Why not', I answered...
Twink is one of the legendary figures from the British 'underground', and - after a career that has lasted just over half a century, and has included working with such people as Syd Barrett, Tomorrow (with Steve Howe), The Pink Fairies, Mick Farren and The Bevis Frond (amongst a whole slew of others) he is still active. Now a Muslim and living in Morocco, although he is soon to return to the UK, he is still writing and recording, and has recently contributed percussion to the latest project by Spirits Burning.
He is someone I have always wanted to meet, and when I telephoned him, despite the technical problems caused by trying to talk to Morocco from a small cottage in North Devon, he was utterly charming, and I very much look forward to meeting him in person.
Auburn, featuring the lovely Liz Lenten are currently on tour with the legendary Jefferson Starship. We are going to see them next week at the Wolverhampton show, but decided that we wanted all the backstage gossip. So this afternoon, just after putting down the telephone on Judy Dyble, I gave Liz a ring.
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power." —Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Do you ever get the feeling we are being conned?
The banks created an international financial crisis, but it is the population as a whole who will have to pay for it. We bailed them out, and then they paid themselves huge bonuses. Meanwhile the sick, the disabled, children, the unemployed, public service workers and the low-paid are expected to foot the bill.
Some of what the large banks in the United States did was tantamount to fraud. They took dodgy mortgages and repackaged them as Triple A-rated investments. They then sold them around the world, effectively undermining the whole world financial system.
Has anyone ever been gaoled for these fraudulent practices? Of course not. It’s their own corporate lawyers who are in government these days. So not only was no one punished, but the banks were rewarded by huge injections of public cash.
A similar thing is happening in the UK. There’s a clever narrative being constructed. Whenever a minister is questioned about the cuts he puts on a regretful face. It’s all down to the profligacy of the previous government, we are told. This may be true, but the degree and the severity of the cuts, and the sections of the population who are being attacked, is entirely down to this government.
Peter Gabriel is one of those music icons who has amassed a huge following both as the singer in the original Genesis and since as a solo artist. He is a quiet, unassuming, shy man who is a tireless proponent of charity work and was one of those involved in launching the now famous WOMAD festival, which was founded in 1980 and had its first event at Shepton Mallett in Somerset in July 1982.
In this book from Omnibus Press, the author – Daryl Easlea - covers the life and career of this remarkable man. Not quite “CHAPTER ONE: I Am Born”, it does introduce us to him at a young age, when he played on his family’s farm and undoubtedly formed many ideas from the world around him for the songs that were to come. As I am sure a lot of children do, he thought he could fly. And, what is more, he could. Well sort of, decades later I saw him ‘flying’ at a gig.
This book covers his time from being a Carthusian at Charterhouse in Godalming, Surrey - his first night there clearly something of a shock for the quiet lad from the peaceful countryside - and finishes with him talking to astronauts on the International Space Mission via satellite link from Houston Mission Control in 2013.
If you are a Peter Gabriel follower, you will not be disappointed by this book. Yes, I may be biased - I first heard and saw Peter Gabriel in 1972 at Brunel University in Uxbridge. I last saw him in 2013. That’s 41 years; a lifetime of following the man who transformed into a flower, the watcher of the skies, and Britannia amongst other characters. But, even if you are just an avid reader of music biographies I would still recommend this book to you. It is interesting, well-written and a fascinating journey into the life of this remarkable man.
And with the title of a chapter being ‘Unquestionably Rhubarb’, who could resist?
MORE FROM XNA
Thanks for all the kind words and support -- it truly is deeply appreciated. At rehearsal yesterday, we were discussing all the recent praise we've been getting and feeling great momentum. It truly affects us in a very positive way. Thanks for Archie, Master Sleuth, too! Was that in honor of Season III of "Sherlock," by chance?
Hope you're well,
I blush to admit it, but I must be the only person in the western world who hasn't yet seen Sherlock. So, David, I'm afraid it was just happenstance...
I read Gonzo with interest every week, (I don't have time for the daily) suffice to say I enjoy most of the mag. Just a FUI, I am a moderator of a guitar web site called Chordie, which is a site dedicated to helping other musicians, good or bad experienced or new with any problems they may have. It's also a search engine for song words, tabs and chords. We've had a lot of complaints that Beatles songs are blocked from UK computers by (I expect) the copyright owners Sony? So I was wondering, as I read your bit about the Beatles song book for uke, how the writers would get on?
I also agree with the 1980's story, there just wasn't any worthwhile music in that decade or the 90's, that's my opinion anyway.
It would be great if Christine McVie would rejoin the Mac permanently. And finally, Can't wait for the new Yes album.
Keep up the good work.
HAWKWIND NEWS (The Masters of the Universe do seem to have a steady stream of interesting stories featuring them, their various friends and relations, and alumni). Each week Graham Inglis keeps us up to date with the latest news from the Hawkverse..
Hawkwind's plan for a tour of North America, already postponed from 2013, has been thrown into some turmoil after new announcements by the band and the cancellation of the March Toronto show.
Hawkwind have said they're going to delay confirming upcoming gigs until contracts have been exchanged. And, regarding the Toronto date-scrub, the band said:
"As no contract or deposit is forthcoming from Inertia Entertainment [promoters] to confirm the booking, it is with great sadness that we have to concede defeat on this as we simply cannot afford to finance the show ourselves in advance, with no deposit or guarantee of any payment when we arrive."
The statement also includes a reference to a possible external factor:
"Inertia Entertainment admit to having been contacted with unfounded rumours that Hawkwind are not coming, not surprisingly this has shaken [their] confidence and may go a little way to explaining the situation.
The stories put about that Dave [Brock] has not been granted a visa have been very damaging.."
Gonzo's Graham Inglis says: "I saw one of these visa allegations on Facebook several months ago. At the time, I gave a snort of contempt, and just dismissed it as trivial crap. By 2014, though, it had become clear this was just part of a wider smear campaign, presumably intended to derail the tour preparations. Not so trivial, after all.
"The Internet being what it is, allegations and counter allegations abound. Of course, Hawkwind fans know that the Hawkwind Mothership has had its moments of crisis throughout the decades - the words 'chaos' and 'Hawkwind' fit together as snugly as the words 'toast' and 'cheese' - but when sniping from the cheap seats morphs into active sabotage, and impinges upon actual gigs and actual fans, one wonders where it'll all end."
The Hawkwind website currently lists no upcoming dates in March, and American fans have to just wait and wonder...
With Rick preparing to do his expanded Journey to the Center of the Earth show, Doug checks in with a review of the Cheltenham show last year, where most of Journey and Arthur were performed, along with the very special concert the prior day with his family.
At the early age of 12 years, I went to the record store to buy my first two albums. One was “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Rick Wakeman. This began a lifelong appreciation for all the works by this brilliant keyboard wizard. Journey and it’s followup, “The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table” were pure magic to my ears. Deftly blending rock, classical, and theater, these albums fueled my young imagination and continue to provoke wonder today. I played these same records for my own kids, and one of my son’s early first purchases was Rick’s “Return to the Center of the Earth” which sported the exhilarating “Dance of 1,000 Lights.”
Last year after a prolonged period making the arrangements, Rick played most of these masterworks on two nights in Cheltenham at the Centaur. The night before these, he gave an intimate performance with three of his children, now young adults, Oliver, Jemma, and Adam Wakeman. I took my son, now 19 out from California to Britain to see these shows – they were everything we hoped and more.
The first more intimate show held at Black Friars club in Gloucester, part of a restored Dominican Friary, allowed each Wakeman to play a few of their own compositions or covers they enjoy. Rick played his Nursery Rhymes, Beatles covers, and one from Rhapsodies. Most notably the guys all played “Jemma” from “The Family Album” teasing Jemma about her bedtime ritual, ultimately ending with Rick reading a modified, sweet and humorous bedtime story. Many who read this will know of Adam and Oliver’s work – what was a surprise to us is how talented Jemma is – great keys, guitar and beautiful voice. The family shared stories and quite a few barbs at Dad on that Father’s day eve, for his many marriages and other foibles. Heart warming, endearing, and a rare glimpse into the private life of these amazing artists
The next night was the full concert with orchestra and choir. Though “The Six Wives of Henry the VIII” has been played with orchestra and choir several years prior, the Journey and Arthur material had not been played with proper accompaniment in the northern hemisphere for almost 40 years. The opportunity was taken, and the set list, and performances were spectacular. After an opening jig, the first notes of Arthur sent shivers as Rick and conductor Guy Protheroe led the ensemble through almost all of that album, with Merlin being played as part of the second set. After the bulk of Arthur, followed by “Gone but not Forgotten” and “Catherine Howard” Rick performed a special version of Cat Steven’s “Morning has Broken” with a beautiful arrangement for orchestra and choir. His rendition of Help/Eleanor Rigby ended the first half.
The Court Circular tells interested readers about the comings and goings of members of The Royal Family. However, readers of this periodical seem interested in the comings and goings of Yes and of various alumni of this magnificent and long-standing band. Give the people what they want, I say
The worldwide Freecycle Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a grassroots movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Freecycle groups match people who have things they want to get rid of with people who can use them. Our goal is to keep usable items out of landfills. By using what we already have on this earth, we reduce consumerism, manufacture fewer goods, and lessen the impact on the earth. Another benefit of using Freecycle is that it encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process.
and every wing has breath enough for a day's flight
how tiny lives can extend our eyes-
to see beyond this life-and to remember
to stay alive!
In Victorian times every well-bred Gentleman had a 'Cabinet of Curiosities'; a collection of peculiar odds and sods, usually housed in a finely made cabinet with a glass door. These could include anything from Natural History specimens to historical artefacts. There has always been something of the Victorian amateur naturalist about me, and I have a houseful of arcane objects; some completely worthless, others decidedly not, but all precious to me for the memories they hold.
But people send me lots of pictures of interesting, and, may I say, peculiar things. But once again this week it is over to my lovely wife...
We are back this week with one of those interesting little snippets of information from Curious.com . With such a deliciously irresistible name involved as The Wiggles performing their song, 'Shaky, Shaky', how could I possibly resist? And how could I not share with you such a video that will either make you smile, cringe, scream or just wiggle along contentedly. I think it may also become one of those tunes that will haunt you while you push your trolley around the supermarket. Just ‘shake a little faster’ by the deli, and ‘shake a little slower’ by the fresh fruit and veg. Oh yeah.
However, I am – in fact – digressing somewhat here. The article is actually more about a five-day Elvis festival (but then he did wiggle and shake too) so, without further ado:
“If Elvis is really dead, somebody might want to tell the people of Parkes, Australia. That's the tiny town in the Australian outback, where over 15,000 Elvis fans recently descended for a five day festival around The King's 79th birthday. Despite having no connection to Presley--he never even visited the continent--the Parkes Elvis Festival, in its 22nd year, is one of the largest Elvis events in the world. Why all the newfound love for The King down under? Nobody knows for sure, but one theory is that Elvis style music was subliminally broadcast to an entire generation of children via the Australian phenom known as The Wiggles…..” READ ON.
Oh, and doesn’t that guy in the red on the right look like he just walked off from a scene of Star Trek?
More details of the annual event can be found here and here
Or you can read an old 2009 article about nasal lavages for sale or to be more precise: “So if you had a spare $2500 would you splash out on a nasal lavage to clear out the King's sinuses?” here. Erm probably not. My sinuses are just fine and dandy thank you.
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION TIME
Just in case you are interested, here is yer beloved Editor at iTunes
There are nine Henrys, purported to be the world’s first cloned cartoon character. They live in a strange lo-fi domestic surrealist world peopled by talking rock buns and elephants on wobbly stilts.
They mooch around in their minimalist universe suffering from an existential crisis with some genetically modified humour thrown in. I think Peter McAdam is one of the funniest people around, and I cannot recommend his book The Nine Henrys highly enough. Check it out at Amazon.
Each issue we shall be running a series of Henrybits that are not found in his book about the nine cloned cartoon characters who inhabit a surreal world nearly as insane as mine...
The Weird Weekend is the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Now in its fifteenth year, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of investigators into strange phenomena.
Cryptozoologists, parapsychologists, ufologists, and folklorists are descending on Woolfardisworthy Community Centre to share their findings and insights. Unlike other events, the Weird Weekend will also include workshops giving tips to budding paranormal investigators, and even a programme of special events for children. The Weird Weekend is the only fortean conference in the world that is truly a family event, although those veterans of previous events should be reassured that it is still as anarchically silly as ever!
The event is raising money for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the world’s only full time, professional cryptozoological organisation. The profit from food and beverages goes to a selection of village charities, mostly working with children.
Brutal death metal. There, that’s it, and really that is all you need to know. If you like this style of music then you are going lap this up, if not then don’t bother. What we have here is a compilation culled from four demos recorded by France’s finest, and although the sound quality does suffer a little between the different sets of originals this is in fact a superb release. If I didn’t know the history (and the title does rather give it away), then I would think that these recordings stemmed from the beginning of the genre as this level of brutality and rawness is definitely from that time. Just playing this lets you feel the sweat and volume taking place in a hell hole of a club somewhere near you. If I had to place a geography on these guys then I would have said Birmingham, or south Florida, certainly not France. This is incredibly intense, over the top, yet always with a clarity and finesse that shows that Necrowretch are far more than just riff hard and turn it up merchants. Refreshingly heavy and definitely over the top.
OCEANS 5 Road To Mingulay (MELODIC REVOLUTION)
Now, I am a proghead and a metalhead, but to be honest my tastes are actually way more diverse and complex than that, so while the only framed record on my study wall is a 60 year old jazz album, I also listen to and enjoy folk music. Not just folk rock you understand, but good old fashioned folk, and have been known to attend folk clubs (and not just for the real ale). So, when I was presented with this album I was somewhat intrigued as the two main protagonists are from quite different areas as while Andy John Bradford (vocals, 12 string) is a folkie, guitarist Colin Tench is a proghead with a tendency to pull off wonderful runs and plenty of riffs. So what are they doing together?
Apparently Andy wanted to record a version of the 200 years old “Road To Mangulay”, and had so much fun with Colin that they decided to make it a project and bring in some others to join in the hilarity. But, in fact this is no laughing matter, as what we have here is an album that in many ways defies normal description, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.
At the heart of this album is Andy, and if you just listen to his guitar and vocals and block out everything else you will find music and vocals that could have come straight from the mighty Show of Hands, minus the fiddle. In fact, that one band kept coming to mind as I listened to this, and I kept thinking of the lyrics to “Roots” from ‘Witness’, “A minister said his vision of hell, is three folk singers in a pub near Wells”. Well, I wonder what he would have thought of this as this is folk Jim, but not as we know it. So, firstly they brought together a band to give this a much fuller sound, and then decided to let Colin have his way. There are times when he is hardly playing, just the odd touch here and there, and others where he is right in your face and the combination of folk, prog and classic rock come crashing together into something that very special indeed.
If I had to pick just one prog band as a reference then it would be Floyd, especially with some of the Gilmour style noodlings, and they convinced Lorelei McBroom to add some of her very special vocals to “6000 Friends”. But, that is just one standout track among many, and if like me you have eclectic tastes, or if you just enjoy great music whatever the style then take it from me this is immediate, accessible, and above all an incredible piece of work. For more details visitwww.bunchakeze.com/Oceans5.php - you won’t regret it.
PARADISE LOST Tragic Illusion 25 (CENTURY MEDIA)
When one sees that this is subtitled ‘The Rarities’ then one will realise exactly what we have here, a compilation of tunes from throughout the band’s career that somehow didn’t make it onto an album. One thing about a collection over this period of time is that it really displays just how many styles the bands have worked through, all in their own distinctive style. This is an album for those who already know and love the band, as opposed to a newbie, but I don’t think anyone could fail to fall in love with their Spear of Destiny cover “Never Take Me Alive” which is dark and heavy, yet light and appealing all at the same time. There are times when they are broody and dramatic, others when there Pete Steele’s bastard offspring and others when they show just how
musical and thoughtful they really can be. Of course, it isn’t possible to listen to “Missing” without comparing it to the original by Everything But The Girl, but they have given it much more depth and passion than I would have though possible and this is way better than the pop version.
Alongside the 12 rarities, the guys have also included two new version of old songs that they deliberately recorded as if they were demos, bringing back producer Simon Efemey, who of course worked on their ‘Shades of God’, ‘Icon’ and ‘Draconian Times’ recordings. These are all about the guys having some fun in the studio, and it shows. So, this is indispensible for fans of the band, and if you have ever wondered what all the fuss is about then this actually isn’t a bad place to start, and is way better than most ‘B-side’ compilations you’ll come across.
THE PRODUCERS Run For Your Life (YESTERROCK)
The Producers released their first album in 1981, when it reached #61 in the Billboard charts, and toured with the likes of Cheap Trick, but after just one more album they were dropped by their label. So, in 1985 they released their third album on a small local label and it is only now that it has been made available on CD. To be honest, this is generic 80’s AOR with an annoying drum sound, which does nothing but keep the beat, and while there is nothing really bad about it, there is certainly nothing any good about it either. But, some will find that this is an album that they will have to have as it contains the original of “Can’t Cry Anymore” which appeared on Kansas’s ‘Power’ the following year. It is really interesting to play them back to back, as although the Kansas version is a full minute shorter it contains far more drama and passion than the original. In many ways this shows the vast gap between the two bands, and while I have played ‘Power’ quite a lot (although it is one of my least favourite Kansas albums) I can’t ever see me returning to this one.
Quite unintentionally – I won’t say coincidentally as there is no such thing as a coincidence as we all know – I seem to be keeping the Australian theme going this week.
Now I am not sure whether any of you lovely subscribers have clicked on the links I have recommended in the last couple of issues; who knows, I may well have been barking up one of those wrong trees that have a habit of jumping out at you now and then. But, here again I do urge you to lend your ears to these chaps. In fact, I will go as far as to threaten you with violence if you don’t. They are clever, they are funny and they are pretty damned foot-stompingly good. They may not be your cup of tea, but please take a wee sip just to humour me. Or, if I can spur you on to greater things, you could even take a good glug and even dunk a whole chocolate digestive biscuit too. Just remember to put the cup down in between mouthfuls, or you will end up with tea stains all over the furniture once you start jumping about to the beat.
Of whom do I refer? Troldhaugen, that’s who. This description on their Facebookpage sums them up pretty well:
"Wacky Folk Metal from Wollongong, Australia"
And according to their promotional bio:
”Combining Gypsy foot-stomping and Carnivale-esque quirkiness with Technical Progressive Metal (and a healthy dose of musical humour), TROLDHAUGEN's oddball antics have been turning heads and raising eyebrows since 2008. “
This review from Drum Media may whet your appetite: "Think a resurrected Frank Zappa joining a reformed Mr. Bungle, then enlisting Devin Townsend and Shagrath to co-produce after bonding over a mutual adoration of swing records."
I am going to try to get an interview with these crazy guys sometime. I have a feeling they would brighten up my day.
And that guy Reventüsk has an amazing voice. Just listen to his fantastic range on this Abba cover.
THE BEST LAID PLANS... Life has actually been quite good this week despite burning the midnight oil somewhat trying to upgrade the artist pages on the Gonzo website (c'mon, go there and tell me how groovy they look) and also trying to get everything sorted in time for us to go away next Tuesday.
And why are we going away next Tuesday? C'mon, guys. Haven't you been concentrating at all? First thing in the morning we drive to Wolverhampton, where at some point during the second half of the afternoon we rendezvous with the lovely Liz Lenten, and hang out with Auburn and - hopefully - Jefferson Starship doing interviews and things before the gig, whereupon Corinna, Mother and I (yes, we are taking Mama with us) will be joined by my rock and roll stepdaughter Shoshannah (that's her below)...
..and her equally rock and roll husband Gavin, who is here trying desperately to get the orange cat (who used to be the co-editor of this magazine until he moved to Staffordshire a year ago, and Captain Frunobulax took over his position in the potato shed) to stop hindering his recording process.
Then after the show, we go rushing across the Midlands to Oakham in Rutland where we take Mama home for a few months before coming back to join in the madness that is my life here in North Devon sometime in the late spring.
Then on the Wednesday we drive to Norfolk to see my younger stepdaughter Olivia and her significant other, before driving back to Devon on Thursday or Friday.
Then we almost immediately start three days of recording with Mike Davis, and...........whooops, I nearly forgot, we have to put together issue 63 of your favourite weekly music magazine, so I confidently predict that by Monday week I shall be completely cream crackered!
But it will be worth it. It will be worth it because I am still living true to the concept that I first had when - in 1990 - I left my last conventional job, after having been sucked in, chewed up, and spat out by The Man. I strive to survive causing the least suffering possible, doing good and creative and positive things, and remembering the words of Bob Dylan:
"If you live outside the law you must be honest, I know you always say that you agree.."
...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.