...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.

Monday, 31 December 2012

LINK: Crass Love Songs (Totally off topic, but I owe a great debt to this bunch)

http://crassahistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/love-songs-book/

Friday 12 March 2004
The Guardian
Anyone who saw black-clad anarchist punks Crass play live, or took a cursory glance at their record sleeves, may be surprised that they considered their output to be songs of love rather than hate. It was easy to miss amidst the buzzsaw guitars and expletive-laden lyrics, but Crass never went about anything in an orthodox manner during their tenure as fomenters of dissent from 1977 to 1984. Living as a collective on the edge of Epping Forest, where growing organic vegetables was more important than tour schedules, Crass were on the end of a large amount of invective from the music press. This is why the likes of Garry Bushell and Tony Parsons come in for a fair bit of stick in this collection of the band's lyrics set out as poetry and revealing which band member wrote which song. Previously the words were credited to the band as a whole, an important part of their "no celebrity" stance. Shorn of the music, the lyrics lose none of their power and act as an essential, insightful piece of social history. They also go a good way towards explaining how the band came to spawn the anti-globalisation and modern animal rights movements, as well as get up the nose of police, security services and politicians.
Update December 2012
LoveSongs1
Exit Stencil Press Gee and Pennys publishing  house have produced a beautiful  Hardback version of the book, Listed on the southern website as
Spinelogo350px__87636.1349783847.1280.1280
Coverembossing350px__65981.1349783844.1280.1280Hardback, 304 pages, 12.7 x 19.5 cm. Litho printed, embossed heavy card cover bound with litho printed spine tape.
Love Songs is the book which compiles all of the words to all of the songs by Crass. Originally published by Pomona in 2004 as a paperback,  and out of print for a couple of years and so we felt it was time for a resurrection.  Love Songs seems a fitting endpoint to the Crassical Collection - the remastered and expanded CDs of Crass' studio albums.
Photos curtesy of Southern.
There are still copies available from the southern web site

THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Gerry Anderson (1929-2012)

THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: George Harrison 'Ding Dong'




All religions are branches of one big tree. It doesn't matter what you call Him just as long as you call. Just as cinematic images appear to be real but are only combinations of light and shade, so is the universal variety a delusion. The planetary spheres, with their countless forms of life, are naught but figures in a cosmic motion picture. One's values are profoundly changed when he is finally convinced that creation is only a vast motion picture and that not in, but beyond, lies his own ultimate reality

THE DAILY HENRY: Henry at the Grassy Knoll

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. This week 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...

CORKY LAING: The ongoing saga of the drummer, the academics, the opera and the ethics of genetics (osa kaksi)

Corky Laing (pictured on the left with Gonzo grande fromage Rob Ayling) is a legendary drummer. He joined Mountain just after Woodstock, and has been playing with the seminal Canadian hard rock band on and off ever since. But he has also had a rich and varied  solo career, and - in a pattern which is beginning to seem familiar - is now involved in one of the most peculiar, demanding, challenging and certainly interesting projects of his career..

Now, this is very difficult to explain, so forgive me if - over the next few days - I give you a series of glimpses into this remarkable project. If you missed it, you can read Part One Here.


JON: How did you get involved with the project in the first place?

CORKY: They came to the shows.  Mountain did some shows in Manchester  and the professors came – they are big Mountain fans. And they came and we got to be friendly and then we went back to play in Sweden on Rock the Boat, where they have these boats that rock bands go out from Copenhagen and all the way to Helsinki – you know out in the ocean, 5,000 of these kids, drink themselves to death for three days and they go on the boat and you play.  It’s a huge ocean liner.  It’s quite fun actually, so these professors came on and at the time I was doing some lecturing at the University of Western Ontario – I put a course together for … I guest lectured at Mcgill  University, the University of Montreal – my brother helped me with that. There was a great deal of interest and it wasn’t all about – it wasn’t a celebrity thing, it was kind of a survival thing. 

The University of Western Ontario is like the Yale or Harvard of Canada, a very serious college, with a serious and conventional cause, they have a huge business administration department, and they have a huge music facility so my job was to go in and create a course where they were able to take the music and the business knowledge and put it together and make a freaking living in this business, in the industry.   So they felt that as I had spent 40 odd years doing just that, doing the music and the business, because I was VP of A & R for Polygram for 7/8 years in Canada, so I knew both sides of the desk, it’s not like I was just running around getting high and drinking, and falling down for 40 years, I was curious about the business aspect so I went into publishing for Chapel Music and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to do it, because it’s not easy when they don’t  look at general music people in the business arena – they frown upon musicians doing any kind of responsible position, but they believed in me and I had a great time – it was a great time being on the other side of the desk in A & R. I was the one they went to when they wanted to get signed to Polygram Canada – it was quite an ego trip, that was a bigger ego trip than playing Carnegie Hall.

It didn’t necessarily come from drumming, it came from when I saw these people on the boat – they had seen on line where I had been teaching at when I was teaching at the University, I had a little background there, and they said we would like you to be our guest lecturer at Helsinki and from Helsinki I went to …. I guess there’s some sort of circuit there for guest lecturing, I mean there’s a lot of rockers that are doing it, I think the drummer from … well there are a lot of musicians doing it. 

Who is the band who has a lot of masks,  the haunting Friday 13th masks? 

JON:  Slipknot?

CORKY: Yeah, Slipknot that’s it.  They were  friends on the bus. The drummer from them was lecturing – his lecture was on don’t have dreams. He went to Oxford I think over in England, I think in the music department, and he was telling them that dreams are ridiculous – they’re unrealistic, you don’t have dreams you go out and you just do it. And I thought wow how basic. The whole idea in both art and music is to have dreams.  I mean I just thought it was a strange approach. 

JON: It is a very odd approach.

CORKY: I was curious about it when I saw he was doing it and wanted to see what he was talking about.  And of course there’s people in films, there’s actors doing it – they have New York Times conversations with mostly celebrity types where you can ask them questions.  I guess it’s sort of like the artist studio/actor studio type of thing where you have the audience participation, Q & As, but in my case as you can see, I don’t like to talk a lot so I keep quiet. So that’s it, that’s how I got to meet the professors – it was on Rock the Boat and they invited me.  And of course they had this skeleton idea of writing a rock opera. And to me an opera is like huge, you know.  Over there in Finland I would look at it as more of a musical but they call it an opera. I think why they call it an opera is because the government when you say you need a grant for an artistic programme event and you say opera, they say ooh well yes this is a cultural thing – I think it draws more cultural vibes. That’s what they called it, but basically it’s a musical.

How much have you heard?

JON: I’ve only heard the one song which Rob sent. 

CORKY: The College Girls?

JON: Yes.  Which is absolutely fantastic.

CORKY: Thank you so much.  Well that’s sort of the energy that we are trying to create with the opera – I would say it’s heavy metal, but heavy. The two girls in the band that I play with – Denny and Bonny – they’re in the play, they act the female parts and it’s fun.  That’s where the challenge comes.  To take the opera and put it on stage, and turn people on – it’s a conceptual idea and we’re trying to keep the concept very sharp and very vital, like College Girls.  I love it too.  

But the idea of the perfect child is the .. this is Tony, you know, the parents have made him the perfect child and they expect the very best from him. And here he comes back saying fuck it, I’m partying. But Tony goes through a lot of changes because he doesn’t like being perfect, he doesn’t like that kind of pressure and he and his twin brother, who is perfect but doesn’t have the same responsibilities, he’s not quite as perfect, so there’s a sibling rivalry there. And then they are fighting for the same girl who is deaf. It just goes on, it’s kind of funny.  But these things are real and I don’t know if there’s a Tony in real life. I don’t know if they’ve actually made a clone, I know they have animal clones – I think it is against the law of the world to make a person. 

To be continued tomorrow...

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet, is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearences with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)

MEETING THE MOMENT

to undress the past/to express where we are
to meet match merge moments
we had to leave all pasts behind
this is an exploration.We have no maps-only blank ones
when we voyage into the knew,we choose to re-align
not with past riffs or familiar safety zones
more with the sweet kiss of the indefinite
black swan economics/catastrophe theory history/we
become more by exploring than repeating.Only plan is to open
Then the sweet sap of each diamond breathing is revealed
Yoga ,feng shui,tai chi,poetry,music,art-all partial truths
The real garden is within.Seeded moments,awaiting harvests!


THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Fontella Bass (1940-2012)

Sunday, 30 December 2012

LIAM DAVISON: Not at all what I was expecting

I don't know what I was expecting when I sat down with my mother-in-law and the orange cat to listen to Liam Davison's album A Treasure of Well Set Jewels, but by half-way through the second track I was completely beguiled.  Liam must have a similar record collection to mine, because there are traces of all sorts of influences including (in no particular order) later period Pink Floyd, The Beatles round about 1966, and the immortal Steve Hillage.  In fact, thinking about it, Steve Hillage was the biggest parallel here; not because the music sounds more than passingly like him, it doesn't, but in the late 1970s Hillage mixed together a mishmash of hippy, psychedelic, and then contemporary influences, (including Pink Floyd and The Beatles) to make a rich and heavy gumbo which sounded completely unlike anything being put out by his peers.  Davison has done much the same thing. Except, because the album is made at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st Century rather than the end of the seventh decade of the 20th, there are thirty something more years of influences and technology that Liam has to play with.

I don't know as much about contemporary neo-prog as I probably should; in the past 10 years (no, make that 20) my tastes have veered away from prog and heavy rock towards the land inhabited by the artier end of the Indie groups, the more sophisticated and experimental end of dance music and a lot of what is broadly known as acid folk.  But since I started writing for Gonzo nearly a year ago, I have re-evaluated the genre and found that I have been missing out on a lot of great music.  Therefore I only have the vaguest idea of who  Mostly Autumn are.  However, I have been informed that young Liam is one of the most favoured alumni of the band, and that various other members of the band have joined him on this solo project.  Well, to other nusos of my generation I say that you better go and check the parent band out, because this focused and well constructed slice of literate contemporary prog has captivated me.  Even my mother-in-law quite liked it, but the orange cat? Aaah, that would be telling.  

MICHAEL DES BARRES AT THE ROLLING STONES TRIBUTE SHOW

I pinched this from Michael's website...


A tribute concert to The Rolling Stones, celebrating their 50th anniversary, was held at The Satellite on Silver Lake Boulevard, LA on December 18th.
Michael was one of the artists taking part and did two songs; “Brown Sugar” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. A video clip of the first song can be seen on YouTube.
Other artists performing included Brett Anderson (The Donnas), Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters), Harlan and The Dustbowl Revival.

CORKY LAING: The ongoing saga of the drummer, the academics, the opera and the ethics of genetics (osa yksi)

Corky Laing (pictured on the left with Gonzo grande fromage Rob Ayling) is a legendary drummer. He joined Mountain just after Woodstock, and has been playing with the seminal Canadian hard rock band on and off ever since. But he has also had a rich and varied  solo career, and - in a pattern which is beginning to seem familiar - is now involved in one of the most peculiar, demanding, challenging and certainly interesting projects of his career..

Now, this is very difficult to explain, so forgive me if - over the next few days - I give you a series of glimpses into this remarkable project. First of all, here is an email I received from Tuija Takala: 


Hello Jon,

I understand that you've been in touch with Corky regarding this.

And that you might be away this week, but least I, again, forget, here's some general info about the project.

The original idea for Test: the Rock Opera is based on years of academic work on the ethics of genetics by Matti Häyry (prof at the University of Manchester, UK) and myself (University of Helsinki, Finland). Our combined publications in the field include more than a dozen international books and numerous scientific articles. 

The initial storyline was developed on the back of some of our research topics (savior siblings, immortality treatments, genetic engineering, and designer babies), but soon, as an American-Canadian-Finnish-Swiss collaboration, it became to include the expected human interest stories of rivalry, jealousy, love and death. To help with the music, Corky was invited to join us, and he has since become an integral part of the production team more generally.

The long-term goal of the project is a full stage production, but we are proceeding in stages. During 2012 we’ve written and recorded 22 key songs for the Opera. The album, Playing God, will, the plan is, be released in early 2013 and distributed by Voiceprint. After the record release there will be concert shows and then, eventually, the full stage production.

One of the key advantages of this project is its close connection with the academic world. The idea for the rock opera has already been presented at Universities in Finland and in the UK, and at international academic meetings. The response has been enthusiastic. For Summer 2013 we so far have two concert shows lined up at international academic conferences in Europe (Paris, France and Basel, Switzerland). In addition, there will be seminars and workshops in University settings in Europe.

However, while the Opera rests on solid academic research, it is intended for the public at large. The University connections are important and provide a good starting point, but the music and the storyline are definitely meant for to reach larger audiences.

Attached please also find a very short draft synopsis of the Opera with references to the songs on the album.

That's it for now, I suppose.

Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to do. And feel free to forward me any questions you might have.

Best,

Tuija

That was intriguing enough, so I telephoned Corky:

JON: Tell me about this opera of yours, it sounds wonderful.

CORKY: The opera is building brilliantly.  The idea of the association with the universities is really cool.  You are aware that we are doing a consortium and a show in Paris at the university there on June 19th next year which we perform the songs from the opera like a live show.  It won’t be staged, so it won’t be a staged opera, it will be presenting the audience with the storybook of the opera and they will read along as the songs are performed I believe. 

And then we are going to Basle, Switzerland August 15th to do a show at the theatre there.  When I started it, I just sort of looked at it and thought well it could be very interesting to get into.  I was doing some lecturing at the university regarding the ethical lifestyle of a rocker – in Europe and especially Scandinavia they take heavy metal rock as much more that just sort of a frivolous music thing; it’s part of a lifestyle, archival history – I guess it’s a sociological humanity thing like why do people have tattoos? Why are they putting rings in their ears?  What’s the story about that?  They are not really asking the question and they are trying to figure out what it’s all about. I don’t think there is any judgement.  

There’s this very unique association with the university, the academic approach to the ethical lifestyle of people in the last 50-60 years living in rock and roll without any rules, it was basically a controlled chaos that started way back, and I guess my role in this, if I may be so presumptuous, is since I have the pulse, I’m still living and I basically carried on with my life in a non-celebrity aspect, but just on a basic, I would say even blue collar attitude with rock and heavy metal.  I am a drummer and I managed to stay alive in a world of decadence etc.  And this is before it became corporate – I go back to the ‘50s when I was playing – I was a little kid but I still made money playing drums even at 12 and 13. And not a lot by the way. But I guess that is my value to these people who are studying the humanities and are saying what was it like in the music industry in those days?   

<I hadn't realised, but Corky had drummed for the legendary Ink Spots back in the late 1950s. My late Mother would have been seriously impressed by me interviewing a member of her favourite group>

There wasn’t a music industry, there was just this thing you did – a sort of entertaining thing you did.  This was pre-Beatles and you’re talking basically about be-bop.  I go back and my sister – she actually took goofballs – you ever hear of goofballs?  I love that.  It describes speed – they are speedballs basically.  

What happens is, I was living and breathing music before there was really an industry and then the industry came in and again there were no rules – in the last 20 years there are rules, you have your stadiums, it’s become major corporate, USS feel, the whole thing, and it’s actually the music industry and business – there are two things for me, there’s the industry and then there’s the music business.   

The music business is dead – it is gone the way we knew it because there was so much greed they actually sucked out everything in the music business that had any mystique.  You’ve got The Voice, you‘ve got the X-factor, you’ve got all this bullshit.  It’s got nothing to do with the heart and soul of music inventory which comes from the heart, so I am telling you that the value of I guess they looked at my value to the university, if there is one, to try to intelligently inform them as much as I can about and describe the lifestyle over 56 years in this music form or art form or however you want to describe it.  That’s where I came in to meet these academics with these professors, who came to shows – they are heavy metal fanatics themselves, but they teach philosophy so when I go to do the lectures at the university of Finland, and I went to the show at the Central Lancaster University in Preston, and that was great because I wasn’t in the music department, I was in the philosophy department because that is the interpretation – that is where I get my association with the colleges, it is not the music department, which I sort of get a kick out of, because I know nothing about music really.  I just do it, and you know, it’s great. But I am saying to you, what was I doing in the philosophy department – bio-research like a research situation.  I almost feel like a guinea pig and I’m way past the guinea pig part of it.

So that’s where the opera and my association came in.  I don’t know if you know this, but there are more heavy metal bands per capita in Finland than in any other country in the world.  They really love their heavy rock.  So that’s where I believe they asked me to come in.  I have been very fortunate to be a part of some good songs and some good bands and so that’s a nice catalyst there and so we started with the opera. And of course the opera steps off into the bio-genetic manipulation – the gift of life to really make the perfect person, but much more on the stem cell aspect, you know.  It’s more on the fact that you can get a person who can’t hear to hear, which is interesting because the deaf protagonist in this opera, the parents don’t want her to hear – she’s deaf, they want her to stay in the loop with them, and apparently this is common around the world is that deaf people have their societies and they don’t encourage their offspring to get their hearing back, which is possible in many ways.  And I thought this was amazing because everyone wants to hear, and why  would the parents not endorse that?  So that’s one of the things. 

Very serious stuff. And it’s becoming currently very topical around the world, because, you know, but they’re already doing all that stuff.  They are already genetically manipulating people  all the time. They started with animals and now …. but so does that give you a basic idea of my participation and what this opera is about, and I believe it’s a long term situation.  I don’t believe – I mean if we can establish this opera I think it’s going to be relevant.  

We have run out of room, so will be continuing tomorrow...

THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012)

JON ANDERSON: Does anyone know where this is from?

Its professionally filmed, and comes complete with a caption that reads: "Busco informacion de este concierto,me indican que fué filmado en el Palacio de los deportes." This translates as "Searching for information about this concert, I show that was filmed at the Palais des Sports." The bloke who posted it is from Costa Rica, so it seems a good guess that this is where the show was filmed....unless someone knows better

HELEN McCOOKERYBOOK: Pantomime review

It is writing like this which makes me so fond of the effervescent Ms McCookerybook....

It had to be a trip to the panto this year so I looked at the reviews... The Thetare Royal Stratford was cheaper but all booked up so off we went to Hackney. From the start, the omens were good. I have honestly never been part of such a mixed audience in a theatre before; all ages, all nationalities, big family groups, solo flyers, the lot. The atmosphere was wonderful and there was a welcome lack of pompous 'been there, done that' types.

Our first character was a mildly annoying Hindu fairy who looked so fabulous that she was instantly forgiven; from then on we were introduced to the various characters:  a proper thigh-slapping Dick, a tumbling cat, a totally camp and gigantic dame complete with regular outrageous costume change, Idle Jack who fell asleep and had to be woken up by a lot of yelling by the audience, a wise-cracking Alderman who specialised in sub-cracker-joke humour, a fiendish King Rat whom we booed loudly, and a beautiful leading lady who was a tomboy adventurer. The action didn't falter for a second; one minute you were groaning at a terrible joke and the next you were standing up singing a really corny song about paws and claws.

Read on...

GONZO DAILY TRACK OF THE DAY: Annie Haslam 'Ave Maria'



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO

Live Under Brazillian... 
CD - £7.99

Still Life
CD - £7.99

Live In Philadelphia 
CD - £7.99

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet, is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearences with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)

in another language(waiting
they search each truck driver
for a day's salvation

Buddhist beggars
@every intersection-
Veterans(of forgiveness)

Jesus is a Spanish name
he knows 4 letter words-
"work""love"

Saturday, 29 December 2012

THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Ray Collins (1936-2012)



Ray Collins, singer-guitarist and co-founder of The Mothers Of Invention, died Monday (24 December) in Ponoma, California, after being admitted to the hospital on 18 December for cardiac arrest. He was 76 years old. Collins' musical career began in Ponoma, where he sang in various doo wop and R&B groups. In the early '60s, he fronted a cover band called The Soul Giants. Following a dispute with the group's guitarist, Collins sought a replacement and remembered a young musician that he had met some years earlier: Frank Zappa. Zappa quickly became the guiding musical force of The Soul Giants. The band changed their name to The Mothers Of Invention and ditched cover tunes in favor of Zappa's original compositions, a innovative mix of free-form rock, jazz and classical, with satirical lyrics that praised non-conformity.

Read on...

CLASSIC ROCK ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

AND LOOK WHO IS AT #27...

http://www.classicrockrevisited.com/BESTRELEASES2012.htm

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet, is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearences with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)


rats,cockroaches,snakes,sharks
after JAWS(1-3),shark stocks diminished alarmingly
fear projection meant we became predators(not they!
some species of shark are now threatened species.
Post-Chenobyl and Fukushima,mutant creatures thrive
with high radiation counts,strange limbs and now part of our food chain
Total habitat destruction has seen foxes and kangaroos invade cities-
forced by drought and hunting to become urban opportunists
(much like rats and cockroaches).We disturb/disrupt /displace Nature.
We selectively cull cattle,sheep and keep companion rabbits,horses,cats,dogs,birds.
French eat horse and rabbit and regard them as standard fare
Japanese eat puffer and stinger fish.Diet and executions culturally specific.
We cull ourselves(one child policy in China/India)selectively
We enforce capital punishment(selectively).Euthenasia and abortions,too.
Science fiction posits soylent green as our future.Cannibalism survives.
What we eat we become.In a state of siege,we eat everything.
Global warming,sustained drought,world food stocks at risk-
consider food values of insects,rodents,road kill and ourselves.

GONZO DAILY TRACK OF THE DAY: Martin Stephenson and the Daintees

LINK: Chris Thompson interview


One of a few singers on this planet whose voice is familiar to almost everyone, even to those who doesn't know his name, Chris Thompson is a musicians' musician. Having shot to worldwide fame with MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND in 1976, when they brought Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded By The Light" to the mass attention, Chris quickly established a reputation that, over the years, made such different artists as Brian May and Sarah Brightman call for his help. And then there was "You're The Voice", that he co-wrote but gave to John Farnham to chart with it. Twists and turns abound, Thompson is still, at 65, doing what he does best, and still delivers, to which his recent album, "Berlin Live", is a nice testimony. And still many people mix him up with another veteran of the same name. That's where our long conversation started.

- Chris, I see you're being mistaken for a folk artist named Chris Thompson too often...
(Tiredly.) Oh yeah. I saw him the other day, actually.
- Are you comfortable with that?
That's why I put "Chris Hamlet Thompson" on the first CD. It's unfortunate we both come from New Zealand. He's a very talented guy. We had a school reunion at the beginning of this year, and I saw him [there] and we were both complaining that our songs get mixed up. But I don't think there's many people confuse us anymore.
- You just have to look at Allmusic.com where you're not only mixed up with him but also with a female singer Chris Thompson! Still, coming out of New Zealand you were born in Great Britain, so at which point you decided you had to break it big back in the UK?
I didn't really think about doing anything else [than singing] and New Zealand just didn't offer me any kind of challenges any more. I was in the great band, and we were doing very well in New Zealand, but I didn't have anywhere to put the songs that I was writing. We were a covers band, and I didn't want to do that anymore, so the only thing to do was to go to England. Luckily, I had a British passport so I could go there and work and not worry about that.

Read on...


LINK: Lotsa Atkins/May stuff


“Welcome To The Nightmare”, the new video from ATKINS MAY PROJECT, the band featuring original JUDAS PRIEST singer Al Atkins and Christian guitarist and music artist Paul May, can be seen below. The song comes comes off the group’s sophomore album, “Valley Of Shadows”, which is available on Gonzo Multimedia. Here once again, the men from the “Black Country” industrial area in the Midlands of Great Britain have produced a CD of outstanding quality straight from the “home of metal.” This excellent collection of songs sees Atkins deliver some standout vocal performances and May shred the axe like the old guitar masters.

“Valley Of Shadows” offers 10 “killer” tracks that burst with melody and metal mayhem. You’ll take a journey through what seems to be an “evolution” of rock. With all the elements of “classic” hard rock and metal, yet retaining an underlying progressive core, “Valley Of Shadows” will not disappoint fans of the genre who decide to take the ride.

Says Al Atkins: “We have kept the same format for ‘Valley Of Shadows’ since it worked really well for our debut album, ‘Serpent’s Kiss’, so we thought why change a winning formula.” Paul May adds: “I think the new album definitely leans more towards that ‘classic rock’ feel, with some modern twists thrown in for good measure, retaining its metal edge.”

Regarding the lyrical concepts covered on “Valley Of Shadows”, May states: “The album is mainly about facing trials of life and the ‘demons’ you encounter on the way. It’s about standing up and being counted when you understand who you are. The title ‘Valley Of Shadows’ relates to many things… that dark night of the soul that finds us all.”

Read on...

Friday, 28 December 2012

AN INTERVIEW WITH THOM THE WORLD POET

Liz Hall-Downs: Thom, you're a very well-known figure in Australia, especially on the Melbourne scene, after 20 years spent running Street Poetry venues. Can you comment on the philosophy behind 'Street Poetry', and say a little about its beginnings and how the movement has impacted (or not) on OzLit? 

Thom: Street Poetry is premised upon the idea that poetry belongs to EVERYBODY-that poetry is a living, breathing art form and not just a museum of antiquities - and that access to poetry can and should be universal and a positive experience for all who choose it. In terms of impact-open mikes still flourish in Melbourne more than in any other Australian city - and independent publishing is acknowledged as a solution to the impasse of publishers who spend time NOT publishing poetry! Certain Street Poets are still active - Bridh Hancock, Ken Smeaton, Pamela Sidney - and a new generation of feral poets are simmering in Melbourne coffee shops and even inner city pubs. Street Poetry had theatres (Living Room Theatre, Carringbush Theatre), Coffee Shops (e.g. Parachute, Raglan Cafe, New Commune, Cafe Jammin), and even pubs (e.g. Rochester Castle, Provincial, Albion), although we were always more an ALL AGES, ALL SEXES, ALL COMERS phenomenon - with outreach to Bendigo, Daylesford, New England (Tamworth), Sydney, Adelaide , Geelong and anywhere Street Poetry was possible. Certain heroes are remembered: Zonk! (who joined the Krishnas - "better food, more money"); Dr Rod Bretherton (RU486 advocate), Stuart MacDonald (Geelong Street Poets); Alicia Stammers (Women's Street Poetry), Anita Sinclair (Workhouse Theatre). Some have died or moved on to other pursuits-poetry was always a joy rather than a crusade-and Street Poetry remains largely a memory for the participants (and those touched by their work!) Those sheets of Street Poetry in the LaTrobe library (Victoria) under Ephemeralia (500 sheets of poetry distributed daily at the corner of Swanston and Flinders) and later 3000 at lunchtime in the Bourke Street Mall - and many many given out at rock concerts - all remembered by those who choose to. 

Read on...

LINK: Yes' Steve Howe Looking Forward to the Band Playing Three of Its Albums on Upcoming Tour



Yes is preparing to hit the road for a unique tour that will feature the veteran prog-rockers performing three of their studio albums in their entirety at nearly every show.  The band will be playing 1971′s The Yes Album, 1972′s Close to the Edge and 1977′s Going for the One throughout the trek, which is scheduled to get under way on March 1 in West Wendover, Nevada.
The tour will mark the first time Yes has performed any of its albums in full since 1973, but guitarist Steve Howe says if he’d had his way, the group would have mounted a similar outing a long time ago.
“I was pushing for it years ago so it’s been kicking around,” he explains to Noisecreep.  “But as a band we thought it would be nice to put all of these albums, which are very near and dear to us, in their full and proper context.”
He notes that the band will be playing the albums’ tracks in the exact order in which they appeared on the recordings, which, he maintains was important “back when people actually sat and listened all the way through a long form piece of work.”

GONZO DAILY TRACK OF THE DAY: Eric Burdon and The Animals - When I Was Young (1967) HD & HQ



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO

The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £9.99

The Animals And Beyond 
DVD - £9.99

Beat Beat Beat - Eric Burdon..
DVD - £4.99

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet, is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearences with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)

MANUFACTURER OF SHADOWS

by the side of offshored industries
piecework workers mend broken shadows
they recycle romance novel Charles Dickens scripts
melodramas,novellas,soap operas,Charles Chaplin's maquilladores
tearjerking sentimental Stephen Spielberg soporifics/ sedation songs
country AND western,jukebox tragedies,drunken marriages
all kitchen sink grit ,gross and grime added to sell new scripts
TV is full of it!TURN IT OFF! Watch the emptiness!
It is as full of nothingness as banal lives.Suburbs do not sing!
They complain via text or remote control.They store weapons for futures
that will not happen like the past.New shadows wait to claim and to reclaim-
names,addresses,pasts,personal details-all hacked for surveillance universal
We are all in this film.Darkness has no reason (to fear Light
Living on the edge allows all the shadows to survive(inside us)
"Language is a virus from outer space"(William Burroughs)

COUNTDOWN FROM CHRISTMAS:


Christmas music can lift your heart, move you to tears and be a genuinely spiritual experience. On the other hand it can make you want to throw up! We have asked a whole slew of Gonzofolk for their top five favourite Christmas songs (secular, sacred or both), and will be printing a list, and showing a video every day until after Christmas.

The trouble is that I didn't really think this through, and I both didn't start early enough and asked too many people, so the series continues until today, which is actually the last. So say hello to the lovely Ms McCookerybook:


Rocking' Robin- Jackson 5
This Christmas- Donny Hathaway
In the Bleak Midwinter- Christina Rosetti
It's Going to be a Blue Christmas- Elvis Presley
Got a definite unfavourite- that Pa Ru Pa Pum Pum one. Ugh!


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO

Hamilton Square
CD - £9.99

Take One
CD - £9.99

Poems And Rhymes
CD - £9.99

MICHAEL DES BARRES PODCAST


Look what I just found on Michael Des Barres' website:
Michael was a guest on the Rock Solid podcast last week, December 20th.
During the 1-hour conversation with hosts Pat Francis and Gary Lucy, Michael shared many stories about his bands and acting roles, as well as Carnaby Street and his upcoming projects. He also brought a guitar and did acoustic versions of “Obsession” and “Forgive Me”.
The whole podcast can be downloaded at rocksolid.libsyn.com and on iTunes.


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO

Thursday, 27 December 2012

INTRODUCING THE VICAR



DGM Ltd.
P.O. Box 1533, Salisbury
Wiltshire SP5 5ER
(44) 1722 780 187 Tel
(44) 1722 781 042 Fax
Robert Fripp - Managing Director
David Singleton - Label Manager

Dear Team,

A call to action and engagement for all who share our sense of injustice at the practices of the major record labels (spit spit) and our belief that there is a better way.

As many will know, DGM hosts THE VICAR CHRONICLES, semi-fictional stories about the inner madness of the music industry (“Sherlock Holmes meets Spinal Tap”), which have grown into a groundbreaking multimedia project covering Novels, Graphic Novels, Videobooks, Audiobooks and the first Songbook by The Vicar himself – a project that would normally need the financial and marketing clout of those self-same major labels (more spitting and cursing).

This project deserves to succeed on its own merits, not on the “unmarketing” of which we were recently accused on the DGM Live website.

QUOTABLE QUOTES ABOUT THE VICAR
I would like to put on public record right now, once and for all: I AM NOT THE VICAR” - Brian Eno
The Vicar saves musicians. Simple.” – Emma B
The Vicar? Half Budhha, half backstreet ****” – Nick Cave
Throughout my life I've frequently found myself, metaphorically speaking, sat on the Vicar's knee…”  - David Sylvian
Since working with the Vicar I can NEVER...EVER feel the same way about Alpacas…” – Andy Partridge
“THE VICAR is a genius. He didn’t pay me to play on his record, but he paid me to say that.” - Bill Rieflin
All we are saying, VICAR, is Give Drums a Chance” – Bill Bruford

The wondrous world of The Vicar is only a click away on iTunes and Amazon. Dear Innocents, please sample, share and part with your hard-earned pay if you deem the Vicar project worthy; and even if you don’t. Along the way, perhaps we can discover and create an alternative model for this industry.

David Singleton and Robert Fripp
CHRONICLE THE FIRST
The Mysterious Case of Billy’s G String
(Novel)
Amazon US $2.99 (Kindle)
Amazon UK £2.46 (Kindle)
iBooks US $2.99 (iPad)
iBooks UK £2.49 (iPad)
CHRONICLE THE FIRST
The Mysterious Case of Billy’s G String
(Graphic Novel)
Amazon US $9.99 (Kindle Fire)
Amazon UK £7.49 (Kindle Fire)
iBooksUS $9.99 (iPad)
iBooks UK £6.49 (iPad)
THE VICAR Songbook #1
Amazon MP3 US $8.99
Amazon MP3 UK £7.49
iTunes US $9.99
iTunes UK £7.99
HD Tracks US $14.98

Digital release November 2012.      Physical release Books - 28th Jan 2013. CD/DVDA - Feb 2013
www.thevicar.com


GONZO DAILY TRACK OF THE DAY: Mountain: Leslie West, Corky, Richie-Nantucket Sleighride



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM MOUNTAIN ON GONZO

Live In Texas 2005
CD - £9.99

Live At Scala Ludwigsberg 1996 Bootleg Series Vol 15
CD - £7.99

Live in Tempe Arizona 1982 Bootleg Series Vol 16
CD - £7.99

Canadian Festival Express 1970 Bootleg Series Vol 10
CD - £7.99

Live At the Brandwine Club 1981
CD - £7.99

Live At Pineknob Theater 1985 Bootley Series Vol 8
CD - £7.99

Bootleg Vol 3 
CD - £7.99

Live At The Capitol Theater 1974 Bootleg series Vol 6
CD - £7.99

Live At The Capitol Theater 1973 Bootleg series Vol 3
CD - £7.99

Live in Shepherds Bush 1997 Bootleg Series Vol 2
CD - £7.99


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM LESLIE WEST/CORKY LAING ON GONZO

Mountain First Steps
2CD - £9.99



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM LESLIE WEST ON GONZO

Phat Ass Guitar
DVD - £12.99

The Great Fatsby
CD - £9.99

Theme
CD - £7.99

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM CORKY LAING ON GONZO

Stick It
2CD - £5.99

Makin' It On The Street
CD - £7.99
 

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