...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.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

GONZO WEEKLY #80

John Mayall - A Special Life

File:John Mayall 1.jpg

The godfather of British blues returns with his first studio album in over five years, plus a mega tour that currently sees him performing in the US. And he is sharing these events with fans and colleagues by celebrating his 80th birthday. A special life indeed!

With a career spanning several decades, the former Bluesbreaker collaborated with the finest (ranging from Eric Clapton to Mick Taylor and John McVie), and influenced countless other artists. As 2013 came to a close, blues veteran John Mayall took to a studio in North Hollywood together with his band of seasoned musicians that include Rocky Athas (guitar), Greg Rzab (bass) and Jay Davenport (drums). Add special guest and accordion legend C.J. Chenier and co-producer/engineer Eric Corne, all of whom contributed to what was to become one of Mayall’s finest and most personal albums of his entire career.

The album is an intoxicating mix of blues, blues-rock and Americana, and is further testimony to Mayall’s seemingly endless energy and enthusiasm for the genre. Opening with ‘Why Did You Go Last Night’ (written by Grammy-award winner Clifton Chenier) the number is an upbeat and intoxicating mix of Cajun-inspired rhythms, neatly tied together courtesy of son C.J. Chenier’s accordion play and boogie-woogies piano.
‘Speak Of The Devil’ grows horns thanks to fuzzy guitars, an overall fast and punchy beat that is more rock orientated, and blistering solos.

A sizzling mix of traditional blues-rock and rockabilly is ‘That’s All Right’, complete with catchy hooks and harmonica. ‘World Gone Crazy’ starts out with a drum solo before piano, bass and harp work joint miracles and turn this ditty about religion, fanatics, bad politics, and bombs in Iraq into one of the finest tunes on the album, albeit with heavy lyrical content.

Albert King’s ‘Flooding In California’ here get’s a more fast-paced makeover, more blues-rock than roots rock, however, the result is a damn fine cover version for sure, with stretchy Hammond interludes and guitar solos. Another excellent cover is Eddie Taylor’s ‘Big Town Playboy’ – here delivered in lively honky-tonk fashion and dominated by superb piano and harmonica play by the maestro himself, John Mayall.


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £9.99

GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Corky Laing - Like a Rolling Stone



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO
Playing God
CD - £9.99

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 appearances 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)

WHERE YOU ARE AND WHERE IT IS @
it helps to find more than your own shadow
and to know sunshine/moonlight/stars/waters.
Better if trees still talk with each other-in groves/stands/wild
not yet cut down to chairs and sheds
Springs are extra-fresh ,flowing-threatened ,natural,sweet
You can drink the waters(before chlorine and fluoride
Forget perennial gridlock,allergies,police
Alive to seasons-Festivals,reasons to gather
Independent bookstores,coffee shops,
All of this began before you and will continue after
Best to be-in community.If none-start one!

There’s a lot more to the capital of Texas than you ever realized. Prepare to be surprised.
movoto.com

Lost In Music: Grace Slick – Dreams

Grace SlickRather unbelievably 34 years has already passed since Grace Slick unveiled her most commercially successful and still incredibly relevant sophomore studio album Dreams back in 1980. At the time Slick was still best known for her work alongside Jefferson Airplane (although she had also experienced critical acclaim as part of The Great Society), with her work in Jefferson Starship slightly overshadowed by the band’s issues with her alocoholism. Having unveiled her debut solo release, Manhole, in 1974, it was always apparent that Slick had ambitions outside of her band setting, but it was not until the release of Dreams that these would be realised on a global scale.
Unlike its predecessor, Dreams was recorded away from the security of the Jefferson groups. While all the members of Jefferson Grace+Slick+-+Dreams+-+LP+RECORD-247854Starship appeared in some form onManholeDreams‘ psychedlic rock tones were completely Slick’s own creation. With the album having been nominated for a Grammy Award, and charting in both the US and UK album charts, there is no denying that at the time of release, Dreams was celebrated for its innovative approach and Slick’s unforgettable contralto voice.
However, unlike many of her contemporaries – Kate Bush, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell – Slick’s solo legacy appears to be often overlooked. For although Slick continued to record solo material for a further two albums – 1981′s Welcome To The Wrecking Ball! and 1984′s Software – her brief return to Jefferson Starship, followed by Jefferson Airplane and her retirement from the music industry has resulted in the focus on her celebrated art career overshadowing one of the strongest and most inspirational releases of the early 1980s.
CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Berkeley in the Sixties
DVD - £9.99

Review: Fairport Convention, Lowdham Village Hall

"Tomorrow is our 47th birthday," announces Simon Nicol. "We first played 27th May 1967." There is no doubt that Fairport Convention have now got the hang of it.
The line up has included such luminaries as Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings and Dave Swarbrick. However, the current format of Nicol, Dave Pegg, Chris Leslie, Ric Sanders and Gerry Conway has been the most enduring.
Nicol further noted that, although they are often called legends of folk-rock, in fact there are actually few traditional songs in the repertoire but rather use of the imagery and themes of the genre. In this Warthog gig, Fairport went back to their formative years. Opening with Walk A While from the early 70s, they also included several numbers from the acclaimed Liege and Leif album: mystical Crazy Man Michael, the stirring Lark In The Morning tune medley, and a rousing Matty Groves which brought the gig to a close.

Read on...


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO
Live In Maidstone 1970
CD - £7.99

Live At Maidstone Castle 1970
DVD - £9.99

Friday, 30 May 2014

PLAYLIST: Strange Fruit #73

Pennywise:       Fight It
The George Garabedian Playters and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms: Up up and Away
The  Bible: She’s my Bible (demo)       
Octopus Syng:  Avant Gardest
The Seldom Scene:       Wait a Minute
John Lennon and Yoko Ono:    Do the Oz
Ronald Kovac Set:       Birth of a Saint (The Master Said Parts 1 & 2)
Octopus Syng:  Diamonds and Emeralds
Charlotte Hatherley:      Firebird
Goldie Hawn    I’ll be Your Baby Tonight
Octopus Syng   Cuckoo Clock Mystery
Martin Archer:  All the Wars Were Lost/Picofarad
Combat Astronomy:     Inverted Universe part 2
The Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere:          Their Dark Presence Stretches Through the Void
Juxtavoices:      Nine Entries From the Encylopaedia of Natural Sexual Relations
The Inclusion Principle: Factory Upsetting
Julie Tippetts and Martin Archer           Should I go Home/ Atonement, The Way Back


In conversation: Chad Smith with Ginger Baker - video edition

Ginger Baker and Chad Smith, photographed at the Dream Hotel, NYC
Last week, millions of viewers watched in stunned amazement as Chad Smith was robbed of the Golden Cowbell after his drum-off with Will Ferrell on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Prior to that, he faced an even more formidable opponent in the drumming world: Ginger Baker.
Landing a face-to-face sit-down with the notoriously reclusive and press-averse Baker was a passion project for Smith, who counts the Cream legend among his biggest heroes. And although he heard for years the stories of Baker's combative approach to interviews, when word came back that the drumming great was amenable to a meeting, Smith grabbed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Live
DVD - £9.9

GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Chris Judge Smith - Curly's Airships - "A byronic sort of blighter" (with Hammill)



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Zoot Suit
CD - £9.99

The Climber
CD - £9.99

Orfeas
CD - £9.99

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 appearances 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)

WHEN I DROVE A VOLKSWAGEN
all i saw were Volkswagens!
especially the same colored ones!
Same with Volvos,Hondas and Toyotas-
seeing is selective(as is memory!

when i remember you,it is partially
emotions phase and return intermittently
most of my life -fragmentary

people say they lose more as they grow older
i believe we have more to relive


that is why i wish to live forever

Eric Burdon, A Conversation With Rock and Roll’s Original Animal

Eric Burdon, the lead singer of The Animals, and truly one of the all-time great Rock and Roll vocalists, was kind enough to take a few moments of his time during his European tour to promote his outstanding new CD ‘Til Your River Runs Dry, to answer some questions from BloggeroverMiami.com.
    Eric Burdon live (1)
  • It was reported last March 2013 that the new Eric Burdon biography “Breathless” would be released later in 2013. As of May 2014, it has not seen the light of day. When can we expect it to be released to the public.
I’m always working on it, when I’m not on stage, which takes a lot of my time. I’m less worried about when I get it finished than I am with presenting something I’m really happy with. There are a lot of stories I want to tell that have not been told before and others I look forward to putting to rest.
  • In the previous two books, there were reflections on the other members of the band. Since Chas Chandler is no longer with us, can you talk about your relationship with him and how was it towards the end of his life before he passed away.
Chas was my friend since we were very young but hadn’t seen much of each other in the last ten years or so of his life. He was back to performing and had played just a few days before he died, in our hometown of Newcastle. He had a heavy heart from an early age and he always questioned whether he did the right thing quitting as Jimi’s manager during “Electric Ladyland.”
  • For fans who don’t know, can you discuss your friendship with Jimi Hendrix and talk about the details of his passing. The morning of Sept. 18th 1970, your recollections. 
That is one of the stories I have written about for my new book, which I hope to finally lay to rest.  I hope he’s finally at rest, nearly 45 years later, considering how much speculation about him still exists.
  • As a follow-up Ray Manzarek and Danny Sugarman said in an interview in 1995 that you were the only one that could “control” Jim Morrison. Can you briefly discuss that relationship and can you recall the last time you saw Jim.
I wouldn’t say I could control Jim. Nobody could do that. But being a few years his senior and having been ahead of him by a few years, career-wise, with basically the same influences and many of the same weaknesses, it could be said that he looked up to me slightly, so to speak. We finished off more than a few bottles together and somehow, I was able to survive it where he was not. It’s a pity because he would have made a lovely elder bluesman and poet.
  • Finally on your relationships with rock icons of the past, any memories/stories you can share regarding the late/great Keith Moon.

Read on

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

Barbara showed many talents


Barbara Dickson at St Mary-in-the-Castle, Pelham Crescent, Sunday, May 10. Review by Marrion Wells. How many of the audience who filled to capacity St Mary’s auditorium had come with memories of Barbara’s remarkable victory over the elements in her visit last summer and how we admired her fortitude in ‘giving the audience their money’s worth! ‘ And then some!

This time within the lush confines of the concert hall Barbara again gave her audience their money’s worth and many times more. With her backing group of keyboard, drums and bass guitar, and a whole family of various types of guitars, Barbara did not have to resort to gags about bagpipes and haggis but charmed her audience anew with music with a true Scots flavour.

Her debt to the late Gerry Rafferty, with whom she had an enduring working partnership whose passing three years ago left such a hole in Scots traditional music was acknowledged with Tell Me It Isn’t True. The wistful lyric of Where Am I Going? was received with rapt attention by the audience.
From Willy Russell’s Easy Terms came the number Every Lttle Thing. This was but one of many extolling the virtues of her home country of which Barbara reminded us. Barbara showed her versatility as actress, vocalist, and musician with her forays on the keyboard, particularly the standard Answer Me.

Read on...

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Che Faro
DVD - £12.99

B4 74 - The Folkclub Tapes
2CD - £11.99

Full Circle
CD - £9.99

Into The Light
DVD - £12.99

Time And Tide 
CD - £9.99

Clearlight Canadian review

http://www.jerrylucky.com/

Band: Clearlight 
CD Title: Impressionist Symphony
Band Website: www.clearlight888music.com
Label: Gonzo Multimedia
Label Website: www.gonzomultimedia.com
Release Date: 2014

If you’ve been around the Progressive Rock genre as long as I have you will no doubt have heard of Clearlight, or Clearlight Symphony as they were first known. This is the music of French keyboardist Cyrille Verdeaux and Impressionist Symphony is his 20th studio release. As before he’s called upon friends old and new to complete his musical vision so besides Verdeaux (piano, synthesizers) we have Didier Malherbe (wind instruments), Craig Fry (violin), Vincent Thomas Penny (guitars), Paul Sears (drums, percussion), Linda Cushma (bass), Chris Kovacks (synthesizers), Remy Tran (synthesizers), Steve Hillage (guitars) and Tim Blake (xils synth, Theremin). The music is best described a classic symphonic with touches of electronic sprinkled here and there.

Impressionist Symphony is best described as Verdeaux’s musical interpretation of eight classic impressionist painting. He would gaze upon the works of Renoir, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh and others of that era and have each painting create a musical theme in his mind. To lighten up such a heavy exercise each title is a bit of pun on the artist’s work such as track seven “Lautrec Too Loose”, it’s very clever. The music, while richly orchestrated and quite symphonic in spots never fails to return to a Progressive Rock foundation. Each of the tracks is longer, six, seven, eight minutes or even longer than that allowing for some serious compositional structure and development. The classical approach is everywhere as tunes will ebb and flow is one direction only to shift time and tempo with any number of musical change-ups. The sound itself will go from heavy symphonic and by that I refer to the classical aspect to more avant-garde segments to jazzy and then of course to rock. Sometimes the music takes a serious approach and other times it can be quite light and bouncy depending on Verdeaux’s response to a particular painting. Being instrumental this is very much a showcase for the performers and their instrument of choice with each having an opportunity to shine.

There’s a little over an hours’ worth of music here and it’s a very satisfying listen for those who enjoy the more classically flavoured side of the symphonic Progressive Rock genre. This is a great release and reminds me of the feelings I had when I first heard Clearlight Symphony so many years ago. It was music like this that demonstrated just how wide-ranging the Progressive Rock genre could be and opened my ears to new sounds and styles. I highly recommend Impressionist Symphony to everyone.

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Flashback | Frank Zappa Visits Mike Douglas Show

Longtime afternoon TV talkshow host Mike Douglas was so square—and seemingly so self-aware of his basic squareness—that he ended up being one of the most unlikely “hip” people on American television in the 60s and 70s. Mike Douglas didn’t try to be “down” with John and Yoko, Malcolm X, The Rolling Stones, Sly Stone, The Vanilla Fudge, Angela Davis, Moby Grape or any of the other counterculture types who occasionally came on his normally staid Philadelphia talk show, but he was unfailingly friendly and cordial to them all and genuinely interested in what they had to say. That Patti Smith made a couple of early appearances on his show (she brought her mother, a huge fan of his, to one of the tapings) says much about how agreeable and open to new things the guy was, but he never pretended to be anything that he wasn’t. (Fun fact: Mike Douglas provided the singing voice of Prince Charming in Walt Disney’s Cinderella.)

Read on...

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO
The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £9.99

CRYPTOZOOLOGY ONLINE: On The Track (Of Unknown Animals) Episode 80

 The latest episode of our monthly webTV show from the CFZ and CFZtv, bringing you news on our activities within cryptozoology and natural history as well as the latest cryptozoological, and monster hunting news from around the world. I can't believe that we have done this every month for over six years now - 80 episodes. Golly!

This episode brings you:

CFZ in Spring
New faces
Charlotte's guinea pigs
Mystery cavies in The Canary Islands
A bevy of newts
A wildlife pond
refurbishing the Conservatory
Black Shuck discovered? Probably not
European swallowtails in the UK
Out of place birds
New and Rediscovered: New isopod
New and Rediscovered: New bat
New and Rediscovered: New snapping turtles

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 appearances 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)

LESS
stick figure elders
cracked joints
knee/hip replacements
once were balloon boys&girls
Buddha beatific!Diet,illness,age
makes clothes too loose,Lautrec!
sparrow seed breakfasts,
thin soup evenings-they cross borders
in their day dreams.Munch and muse
Memories return to feed their beds
when they cannot fill them
Build a nest for the bird
of your soul is about to fly!
Hospice from hospital-hurry!
Getting needle thin
Cracked voice
Relatives cry
Bird outside window

Rises!

GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart - Revenant



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO
Behold The Action Man
CD - £9.99

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Gary Windo UK review

http://www.terrascope.co.uk/Reviews/Rumbles_April_14.htm

"Dogface," "Deep Water" and "Steam Radio Tapes" collects the work of noted sax player and session man from decades past Gary Windo, whose credits include a long line of the great and the good, not least Nick Mason and Robert Wyatt. Inevitably filled with jazz chops and the atmosphere of smoky late-night bars, the music (mostly instrumental, though with vocal inclusions) evokes in particular the world of Canterbury bands and the 'seventies jazz fusion scene. "Steam Radio Tapes" has an astonishing guest list - Mason and Wyatt, plus Julie Driscoll, and others. The story here is that Nick Mason wanted to test the new Floyd studios, so he asked Windo to make an album there, ending up playing all the drums. The music is jazzy and funky. "Deep Water" is a different kettle of jazz fish - more of an eighties production, the cuts not so inspired, with the exception of the violin-enhanced 'Breakfast In Bed.' "Dogface" is by far the best of the trio, with energy to spare. A live feel pervades the whole album, though this is studio work. Great stuff.

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:

Steam Radio Tapes
CD - £9.99

Dog Face
CD - £9.99

Deep Water
CD - £9.99


Clearlight US Review


When I first started to listen to the CD Impressionist Symphony by Clearlight, I didn’t think I was going to like it. The beginning starts off with some soft piano and just thought the album was going to kind of bore me. While its not a very heavy it did put me in a good mood.

I decided I’d listen to it while I was making dinner and after the first bit Impressionist Symphony picked up a little bit, adding in some nice electric guitar a violin. It kind of reminds me of Trans Siberian Orchestra but a little softer with more classical and jazz style influences. The guitar was more of a background instrument but it blended really well with everything else. 

Clearlight did a really good job on this album though I think some of the synth effects could have not been used it was still really nice and relaxing to listen to.

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:


Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Live 1974 Box Set Out This Summer

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Joel Bernstein
May 22, 2014 8:50 AM ET























After years of rumors, premature announcements and even disagreements over what to call the thing, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young are finally ready to release a box set of live recordings from their 1974 reunion tour. CSNY 1974 hits shelves on July 8th in a variety of formats, including a 3 CD/DVD set, a Pure Audio Blu-Ray (192kHz/24-bit) and a 16-track single CD. Many of the sets will have a 188-page booklet, and there will also be a limited edition set of 1,000 copies featuring a coffee table-sized book and six 180-gram 12” vinyl records. A pre-order of CSNY 1974 will be available next week on the band's website.

David Crosby Talks New Solo Album, Hopes for CSNY Reunion Tour

The set was produced by Joel Bernstein and Graham Nash. "This is the most difficult project I've ever done in my recording life," Nash tells Rolling Stone. "That's largely because of other people's agendas and trying to please four people at the same time. It only took us a year to actually do the physical work, but it took three or four years to get that work together."

One issue they faced was Neil Young's intense focus on audio quality. "Neil Young, God bless his cotton socks, has always wanted the audio to get as close to the recording experience as possible," says Nash. "He wanted us to do it in 24/192, and that's what we did. Of course, that happened one-third of the way into the project, so we had to redo an awful lot of stuff. But it sounds totally amazing. There's 40 songs and they'll show people that we were a very, very decent rock band."

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1974 reunion trek was one of the most ambitious tours attempted up until that point. They played 30 shows at American arenas and stadiums as well as one gig at Wembley Stadium in London, with the group playing upwards of 40 songs over a four-hour period during some shows. "It was a very challenging tour," says Nash. "We tried to keep our spirits up and keep ourselves focused as a band, but with all the chaos going on and the distractions and the drugs, I'm amazed we got away with what we did, quite frankly."

Nine of the shows were professionally recorded on multi-track tapes. "We wanted the best performances of each song for this collection," says Nash. "So Joel and I listened to every single minute of the multi-track shows and chose the best. We'd take, say, the best performance of 'Almost Cut My Hair' and send it to David [Crosby] for his approval. We did the same with Stephen [Stills] and Neil."

Read on..

STEVEN STILLS AT GONZO

The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £9.99

Yes, we were the original Spinal Tap, says Rick Wakeman of Seventies prog-rock supergroup

We were playing a gig at the Manchester Free Trade Hall when I realised quite how different my lifestyle was from that of the other members of Yes.

Tales From Topographic Oceans, our grandiose 1973 album, was regarded by fans and critics alike as our most 'challenging' and I was really struggling with the tour.

Not because it was hard work - quite the opposite, in fact. As the keyboard player, there were quite a few passages where I had nothing to do or was just holding down one key.



Golden years: Rick Wakefield at the height of his fame in the Seventies
There was a mad percussion section where everybody banged things. It lasted about ten minutes, though it felt like a year and a half when playing it - and probably when listening to it. It was a bit dull.

In those days, I used to have my roadie actually lying underneath the Hammond organ throughout the set. If anything went wrong he could try to fix it. Also, he could continually hand me my alcoholic drinks.

We'd often have a little chat and on this particular evening in Manchester, I thought he said: 'What are you doing after the show?'

'I'm going to have a curry,' I replied. 'What would you order?' It seemed a strangely specific question but I didn't have much else to do so I told him. 'Chicken vindaloo, pilau rice, half a dozen poppadums, bhindi bhaji, Bombay aloo and a stuffed paratha.'

About 30 minutes later, I started to get this distinct waft of curry. I looked down and my roadie was lying there holding up an Indian takeaway. 'What's that?' I asked.

'You said you wanted a curry.' 'No. I said I wanted a curry after the show...' However, it smelled really good so he passed up the little foil trays and I laid this lovely spread out on top of the keyboard and ate it.

The rest of the band weren't best pleased - after all, there was a certain mystique surrounding Yes.

The singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer were all thoughtful people - interested in philosophy and alternative lifestyles and this was an image at odds with the fact that the keyboard player was a beer-swilling, darts-playing, meat-eating oaf, one who would happily eat a curry in the middle of a show.

I had joined Yes in 1971. I was a classically trained musician who had worked with numerous artists as a session musician. I played on David Bowie's Life On Mars, Cat Stevens's Morning Has Broken and even on some Des O'Connor records, though I kept that quiet.

Yes was already well established as 'progressive rock' band and had a reputation for lengthy numbers, complex music and cerebral lyrics.

It wasn't the sort of outfit that attracted groupies: our fans were more likely to throw synthesizer manuals on stage than knickers.

The other four members of the band - guitarist Steve Howe, singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White - were all technically gifted musicians and, without being immodest, we were a huge band with massive record sales. Our live shows were sellouts and very ambitious.

Indeed, sometimes I needed directions just to get to my keyboards.

'Take a left here, Rick, climb over that giant mushroom, past the spaceship and just behind, beyond that cloud, are your keyboards.'


Enlarge



Rick, centre, with Yes members (l to r) Alan White, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Jon Anderson

There are people who think the film This Is Spinal Tap is simply a very funny 'mockumentary'. Well, with Yes we lived it.

Take the hilarious scene in the film in which the bass player is trapped in a giant pod - that actually happened to Alan one night.

It also occurred during the Tales From Topographic Oceans album tour. That was not my favourite Yes album and I said so at the time. Maturely, I renamed it Tales From Toby's Graphic Go-Kart.

The grandiose elements of Yes were spiralling out of all control and the stage set was unbelievable. It had been designed by Roger Dean, who had done the album cover, and reflected the record's artwork.

The drum kit was inside a giant seashell, which would open after the show started, revealing Alan doing his stuff. However, one night when the curtain went up the gearing jammed and he was trapped inside.

The problem was, it was a sealed unit, so Alan quickly began running out of air.

Read on... 

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Live At The Empire Pool - King Arthur On Ice
DVD/CD - £9.99

1984 - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1981
DVD/CD - £9.99

Live in Lincoln Cathedral
2CD - £7.99

Live At The Maltings 1976
DVD/CD - £9.99

Video Vaults
6DVD box - £85.00

Cirque Surreal 
CD - £7.99

Gole 
CD - £9.99

1984
CD - £9.99

Cost Of Living 
CD - £9.99
 

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