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Issue Forty-One    August 31st 2013
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?)
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 some of our readers are younger and hipper than I am.
Google Plus
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So what is this all about?

It is simple; my name is Jon and I am the editor of the Gonzo Multimedia daily online magazine. Now there is a weekly newsletter, once again edited by me and my trusty orange cat from a dilapidated ex-potato shed  in rural Devonshire. 

You subscribed to it 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 just as easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...
This is my favourite time of the year - it always has been. As a child I always loved the late summer and early autumn because my birthday is in late August, and the beginning of the new school year had the promise that it would be better than the last one (which it very seldom was). As an adult I love this time of year because, once the Weird Weekend is over and done with, I can get on with my normal life secure in the knowledge that the stress and general upheaval which always surrounds the event is over for another year.

So I am writing this issue of The Gonzo Weekly in an uncharacteristically laid back and mild-mannered frame of mind. Which is probably a good thing.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The return of Mike Davis
My old friend Mike Davis, who I first met when he was hitchhiking from Dawlish to Exeter back in 1982 turned up to do some recording. It was the first time that we had made music together for the best part of twenty years, but we were both pleased with the result. Hopefully it will see the light on my own label via Gonzo before the end of the year.

Back in the day, Mike had quite a cult following amongst the alternative community in South Devon, but in the late 1990s he upped sticks and left for pastures new. After some years living in one of the nicer suburbs of south London, he ended up in western Wales about ten years ago, but for various reasons (which I know, but don't intend to share) he had left his musical days largely behind him. 
Now he is back.

His creative renaissance began about a month ago when - totally out of the blue - I had a telephone call from him. It was only about the third time we had spoken in the past decade, and although I knew that he had a new girlfriend and was living in a caravan in Pembrokeshire, we had pretty much lost contact. I was sad about that, because Mike has always been one of my esoteric friends of whom I was fondest.

I have also always been a massive fan. I have been privileged to know many songwriters (some of them very famous) over the years, but I truly believe that Mike is up with the best of them. And when he is at the top of his game that he is truly world beating.

This week we did some recording together. This video is a rough cut of an early mix of one of the songs. Have a listen. I think you might just be rather impressed.

Check it out

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  The Stuart Maconie/Mark Radcliffe controversy
Over recent weeks we have been chitter chattering about Stuart Maconie's new book, which I disliked intensely, despite being somewhat of a fan of his other writings. Last week, I printed a letter from one of our lady readers which included these lines:
‘Thank You For The Days’ by Mark Radcliffe was better – he links particular songs to times in his life and I feel closer to this as I have family in Lancashire.
For reasons which I will explain later, I was up late last night, and some brandy was consumed. While I was decompressing I watched a BBC iPlayer documentary about the ten most lucrative songs in the world. It was fascinating, and not at all what I was expecting. I had been expecting Mull of Kintyre, Candle in the Wind (both versions, and since it is the sixteenth anniversary of Princess Diana's death today as I write this, I shall refrain from making the sarcastic comments that so readily come to my lips whenever this song is mentioned) and certainly Do they Know its Christmas to feature. But none of them did.

Is this because record buyers have taste? Nope. Its because none of them have ever been used in major films, and that is where the money is these days. But I digress.

I have read various things by Mark Radcliffe (who presented the show), but this was the first time (with my senses hypertuned by stress, hard work and brandy) that I had ever taken notice of him  as a TV presenter, and I have to say that he was excellent.

I am going to go and see if I can get a copy of Thank you for the Days...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Alan Dearling writes about Stonehenge
Hi Jon
I was sent this from Sid Hope on Facebook. I think it is a cause that might interest the Gonzo Tribes.
luv n' respect
Press-Office Loyal Arthurian Warband

Many are grateful that druid priest 'King Arthur Pendragon' has brought about media & public attention to the removal of important ancient 'royal' remains from Stonehenge & opened up serious intelligent debate about the ethics of archaeologists disturbing & removing human remains.
Back in April '12 in support of Arthur the 'Stonehenge festival campaign' wrote to Mike.P. Pearson & his team asking whether he would assure us that the remains taken would be replaced in their original sacred resting place. No such assurances were given. Today, again in support of the Warband campaign, an email was sent to Loraine Knowles. I urge everyone do the same. Truth, Honour, Justice. Common Sense!

There is only one new show for you this week, jam-packed with all sorts of groovy stuff.. There are also some exciting things afoot with another entirely new station being added to Gonzo Web Radio, and a total revamp of the radio index.

Date Published: 23rd August 2013

We at Gonzo Web Radio are very proud to bring you Canterbury Sans Frontières a podcast dedicated to the music of the 'Canterbury Scene' and more. Creator Matthew Watkins writes: 

As with Canterbury Soundwaves, a new three-hour episode will be released with each full moon.I decided to wind down Canterbury Soundwaves so that I didn't end up (i) repeating myself, (ii) scraping the bottom of the Canterbury barrel, or (iii) becoming increasingly tangential. This new podcast broadens the musical remit, so it'll be about one-third 'Canterbury sound', together with progressive/psychedelic/experimental music from the Canterbury of today, the remainder being a mix of music from various times and places which I feel to be in a similar spirit of creative adventurousness. I'll be doing a lot less talking, and the programme will be less expository – so no interviews, barely-listenable bootlegs, etc.

I also plan to include guest one-hour mixes from various musicians from the current music scene in Canterbury (Episode 2 features a mix from Neil Sullivan from Lapis Lazuli). And for those of you who wonder what Matthew was referring to when he writes about Canterbury Soundwaves we will be bringing you all the back catalogue of that as well. Those wacky guys at Gonzo, eh?

EPISODE SIX: Featuring the first half of a guest mix by Seth Deuchar of Canterbury's The Boot Lagoon, documenting musique concrète and electronic experimentalism from 1948-68. Also, a tribute to George Duke (RIP), more krautrock, an Alice Coltrane/Carlos Santana track sampled and reworked, two Soft Machine trio lineups live ('67 and '69), Hugh Hopper with Bone, an Egg curiosity, Cardiacs playing Gong and a hypothesis involving Marcel Duchamp and the East Kent town of Herne Bay."

Playlist for this episode
isten to this episode

For more news on Strange Fruit CLICK HERE
For more news on Canterbury Sans Frontières CLICK HERE
For the Gonzo Web Radio homepage CLICK HERE

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Dave McMann goes to see the Bikini Beach Band
I went to Victoria Park yesterday to see Bikini Beach Band play on the bandstand, if they ever play near you, go see them, they are absolutely brilliant. They play surf music, but with a twist, you haven't lived until you have heard Radiohead's 'Creep' in surf, or Megadeth, Nirvana or Amy Winehouse... etc!!!

I took over 180 photos which I am slowly working through. Everything from the way they dressed to their vintage guitars and stage antics was too good for me not to stop shooting.

Only mistake of the day was, as the Mayor, Luftar the Bastard, has decided that all alcohol is banned in the park, I only took one beer along, a protest beer if you like. I get there and find mostly everyone had lots of drinks with them, even the bands and the crews were drinking, one woman even had a bottle of champagne, so I'll be ignoring that next Sunday as I return to see the London Saxophone Choir.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The Gospel according to Bart
Once again my favourite roving reporter has sent me things of interest beginning with some peculiar news from the online streaming service Pandora:

"Pandora is loosening its mobile listening cap while introducing a new feature — and a new restriction. The streaming service will end its limit on mobile listening on September 1st, according to Billboard; the cap was introduced this past February in an effort to reign in royalty costs tied to the service's most active mobile users. However the cap caused a drop in listening hours, with a 12 percent fall recorded this past April".

Read Pandora's Response to Pink Floyd's Royalty Accusations

Read on...

Bart's other gift to the Gonzoreadership was a link to some interesting previews of Jon Anderson's long awaited Zamran project (a sequel to his first solo album Olias of Sunhillow)

Bart wrote: "Jon's been promising this for awhile... Will try to send you more.... Hope all is well.... Trying to send you and your readers lots of 'goodies'.... Bart in America"
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The Sex Pistols challenge
This week Thomas Alun wrote:

"On Friday, a letter was published in The Metro, from 'Old Punk - Aberdeen' asking if the Sex Pistols were the best band ever ?
Really !
If you or any of your readers interested in challenging this absurd statement, plese write to ''
Responses should be interesting.
I suppose if you like your heros to be advertising butter and appearing on Question Time, well that might be your idea of Rock and Roll, but it isn't mine..
All the best.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: A quicky from Merrell
This week I received a brief note from the one and only Merrell Fankhauser:

Heres a link to my June 1st, 2013 Coast To Coast AM radio interview!

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: What's been did and what's been hid
I am growing up in public, as it were. The Gonzo Weekly has been going for nine months 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 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!
Each week, some of you seem to recognise me. Yes, I am indeed that weird bloke off the telly who chases mythological animals. I have a day job as Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and also the editor of the CFZ Blog Network, and publisher of a plethora of books about mystery animals.
Newsletter #36  Newsletter #35  Newsletter #34  Newsletter #33 Newsletter #32  Newsletter #31  Newsletter #30  Newsletter #29 Newsletter #28  Newsletter #27  Newsletter #26  Newsletter #25  Newsletter #24  Newsletter #23  Newsletter #22  Newsletter #21 Newsletter #20  Newsletter #19  Newsletter #18  Newsletter #17 Newsletter #16  Newsletter #15  Newsletter #14  Newsletter #13 Newsletter #12  Newsletter #11  Newsletter #10  Newsletter #9 Newsletter #8  Newsletter #7  Newsletter #6  Newsletter #5 Newsletter #4  Newsletter #3  Newsletter #2  Newsletter #1
THOSE WE HAVE LOST: ...........................
It is very nice to announce that - for once - no-one in the Gonzoverse, or the other areas where the Gonzo Weekly mothership boldly goes, has died. There are no obituaries this week. Instead there is a picture of Wally the Comedy Rhinoceros, who - as anyone who ever reads the CFZ blog will attest - is a stand up comedian of some renown.
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...
COVER STORY: A conversation with Barbara Dickson
This is rather a strange one. Some weeks ago Barbara Dickson contacted me about her new album To Each and Everyone: The Songs of Gerry Rafferty which is out imminently through Greentrax Records. 

Like everyone in the known universe I know some of Gerry Rafferty's songs, but not many, and my knowledge of him is mostly of his sad decline and fall.

This is where it gets weird, because I am a drinker, and I come from a lineage of drinkers, whose behaviour would these days be probably classed as alcoholic. I don't consider myself an alcoholic because I don't drink every day or even every week, and my life is not defined by alcohol. But I do drink, and sometimes when I drink, I drink heavily.

So the story of Gerry's decline and fall is one which resonated with me, and so behind our discussion about her new album, my conversation with Barbara had a strange subtext...

JON: Tell me about the new record

BARBARA: I must tell you that regardless of what happens to it, it’s a bit like having had a very, very lovely baby. I have now done my job, the baby is born and the baby has a life of its own.  And regardless of where it goes in its life, it will still be absolutely gorgeous to me, and I love it unconditionally. And that’s what I am like about this album.  Sometimes I say that to people I don’t know very well and there’s perhaps a little bit of a  fingers crossed behind my back when people can’t see me, thinking ‘well I am not sure about that track but I hope people like it’. I don’t feel like that at all about this.  This album because it came at me on a sort of sideways way, has been almost like – I hate to be metaphysical here – but it’s almost like fate. It’s come at me.  I didn’t think of it.  It wasn’t my idea to do a Gerry Rafferty album, it didn’t occur to me, but lots of people said to me, ‘When Gerry died,’ and I am still really grieving for him, but when he died at the beginning of 2011 - in my opinion extremely prematurely and that was another reason why it was so sad for me – I really did think to myself that that’s it now. I will still sing the odd Gerry Rafferty song here and there which I do in my set, I do Over my Head and I have done The Right Moment a great deal, that is another great favourite of mine, and these pop up in my concert set and I have got rather emotional while singing them since he died. But lots of people said, and my husband was one of them, he said ‘You know what, you should an album comprising songs of Gerry’s because you have every right to do that.  You have loved him since you were young, you’ve sung his songs, you’ve been a great exponent of his music and him as a songwriter and brought his music, in some cases, some songs to people who wouldn’t know his work apart from maybe Baker Street or something. You’ve got every right to do that.’ 

A German fan of Gerry’s sent an email to my website saying, ‘Dear Miss Dickson. It would be a very good idea if you did a whole album of the songs of Gerry, we love him…….’  And other people as well.  Strange little kind of messages were coming at me, and so I was going to do an album with Troy  Donockley  anyway and I said to him, ‘Look can we take a sideways step here, Tory.  What do you think about doing an album of the songs of Gerry Rafferty?’  Now he didn’t really know Gerry songs because Troy is not quite 50, so he’s 15 years younger than me, and consequently wasn’t part of the Stealers Wheel/Gerry Rafferty 1970-1982 real massive success. So he said to, ‘Yeah’, because he knows the songs that I’ve done of Gerry’s and I said ‘Listen I’m going to go away, would you be up for this?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, what would we play?’  And I said, ‘Let me go and think about it.’ So cut to about 6 weeks later; I came back to Troy having listened to everything that Gerry had ever recorded, disregarding the rarities – I looked at the rarities that were sent through by Alan Rafferty who is Gerry’s cousin, and decided they were sort of rarities for a reason and that reason was that Gerry was not sure about some of them – you know – and he hadn’t continued with wanting to keep that stuff alive. So I went back to big repertoire and looked at it and the album tracks and I was very lucky – it wasn’t like doing Beatles songs where most of the songs are very familiar to people.  It was extraordinary how little people knew about Gerry’s work.  They all knew Baker Street, some knew Right Down the Line, one or two knew one or two others, but basically it was Baker Street.  He was the man who did Baker Street, and that’s all they knew about him. And even then they didn’t know anything about Baker Street. It was just dah…dah… de…de…de, that’s all they remembered. 

So giving this work to somebody like me was an absolute busman’s holiday because having done songs of Gerry’s in the past and felt that they really spoke to me; I mean sometimes male songwriters write songs that don’t speak to female interpreters of songs. Sometimes it is what Hugh Murphy, my friend – a late record producer – used to call geezer’s songs. ‘That’s a geezer song,’ he would say, and he was quite right. You know, there’s all sorts of songs that are geezer songs and don’t work for women. I don’t know what it is about it, but it can be quite, quite subtle I’m saying.  So Gerry’s songs were not geezer songs, apart from the ones about his ex-wife where he is sort of doing a bit of a rant. That didn’t speak to me either. But loads of others did. So I came back to Troy and we did this extraordinary thing where – I think I must have told you about before – I took the songs (he didn’t know the songs) and I listened on my IPod without him listening and just kind of got a feel of what I saw the song as being, sang it in his ear acappella, so Troy wasn’t listening to the track.

Read on...

Last week we posted the story of a new download by Galahad which celebrates the life and work of their bassist Neil Pepper who sadly died recently...
Just in case you didn't read it, here's the story again...

Galahad have released a track written by late bassist Neil Pepper, with proceeds from sales to be given directly to his family.

He died of cancer two years ago next month. In his memory, the band have repaired the cassette recording of Outerlife, which also features The Pineapple Thief’s Bruce Soord.

Galahad frontman Stu Nicholson says: “Outerlife was recorded around 1997 with Bruce on guest vocals. Unfortunately only a cassette version exists but the sound quality is not too shabby.

“It costs a mimum of 45p – a bargain, really – and all proceeds will go to Neil’s wife Jojo and their three young children Rosie, Poppy and Finn. Plus, of course, you’ll be helping keep Neil’s memory alive.”

But during the week we caught up with Galahad singer Stu Nicholdon, who told us more:
"Neil has a few pieces of music in the archive that have never seen the light of day so I just thought that it would be great to get some of it out there, as it were, plus it's also a way of keeping his name and memory alive plus it will help his family too, so all good. It also seemed appropriate to make it available around the anniversary of the time of his passing (he sadly died on the 2 September 2011).
I'm also hoping that it will be available on ITunes from the 2 September. Fingers crossed."
It is also streamed on Soundcloud HERE, and the band write:

"As many of you will know, our long time Bassist Neil Pepper sadly died of Cancer of the Oesophagus two years ago this September.
He did, however, leave a compact but interesting musical legacy and thus we have made available one of his tracks, ‘Outerlife’, for streaming.

‘Outerlife’ was recorded around 1997 and features Bruce Soord of The Pineapple Thief on guest vocals. Unfortunately, only a cassette version exists which we have converted to MP3 and the sound quality is not too shabby. So please listen and enjoy..;-)"
As regular readers will be aware, I am a fan of Ms Carol Hodge aka Miss Crystal Grenade, and introduced her music to our beloved Grande Fromage upon which he decided to sign her. The album is due imminently, and I am delighted to bring you a sneak preview of the cover and the blurb which will accompany the record (written by yours truly)
Carol Hodge was last seen in November 2011 on stage at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.  She was holding the hand of the one-time Crass vocalist Steve Ignorant as they closed both Ignorant’s world tour and his career of singing songs by the one-time Kings and Queens of anarchopunk, with a massively emotional version of Bloody Revolutions.  Even watching it on YouTube brings tears to my eyes, so I can only imagine what it would have been like being in the audience, or even more on stage. Carol joined Ignorant’s world tour half-way through after the previous female vocalist had dropped out for family reasons.  And she had some pretty big shoes to fill (I suppose if I was clever enough I should make some sort of reference here to Crass’s notorious song about Chinese footbinding, but I can’t think of one).  And she filled them righteously.  After all, having to perform songs made famous by the doyenne of anarchapunk, Eve Libertine, cannot have been an easy task.  One of my favourite moments from the tour was also from the last show, when Eve joined Carol on stage for a particularly blistering version of Shaved Women.
But what happened next? 
Carol has adopted the personality of Miss Crystal Grenade; an existentialist Victorian artist, singer, and freak show performer with a peculiarly deformed hand. Accompanying herself on piano, and with some songs featuring multi-tracked vocals (presumably by her) this music fills the same sort of cultural territory as did the recent BBC detective series Ripperstreet; a gloriously aesthetic re-creation of the latter days of Victorian London. In Miss Crystal Grenade this slice of ur-historical synthesis now has the perfect soundtrack.
It’s impossible to categorise with any degree of satisfaction.  The nearest I can come to her vocal phrasing is – of all people - Elton John’s eponymous second album, where he sang against strings produced and arranged by Paul Buckmaster. But the songs sound nothing like him, and there are no strings, merely some gloriously rococo piano. Then again, bits remind me of Dead Can Dance.  But they sound nothing like them. Does that even begin to describe the music I have been listening to all morning?  No, of course it doesn’t.  But it will have to do. 
The year is 1892, the place Victorian England. Dim gaslamps lend a cobwebbed ale house a sepia glow. The sound is dull murmurs from blunt mouths, the scent unwashed sweat and sawdust. In the back room of the bar, a strange performance is unfolding, one of horror and beauty as yet to come...
Singer, pianist, freak show personality and melancholic muse, Crystal is a woman wading through existentialist dreams whilst living hand to mouth.
Born with a rare hand deformity that statistically makes her one in a million and logistically means a life of peculiar charm, Crystal scrapes a living through song and chance.
In a world where the past is revoked in all its putrid glory, she clings to piano keys with all seven lucky fingers whilst opening the emotional floodgates. A voice of gentle pain or unapologetic rage, her honesty shall ever prevail. Join her in the search for salvation.
Brand X was another one of those bands who were beloved of other musicians, and the more discerning of critics, but which despite everything never had the commercial success that it deserved.
They were a jazz fusion band active 1975–1980. Noted members included Phil Collins (drums), Percy Jones (bass), John Goodsall (guitar) and Robin Lumley (keyboards). Not long after jazz/rock fusion greats Brand X put out their 1980 album, "Do They Hurt?", the band members went their separate ways (until their comeback in 1992 which only featured Goodsall and Jones). This is a soundboard recording from one of Brand X’s shows recorded at the Roxy Theatre, Los Angeles, California on Sunday, 23rd September 1979 11:30 pm to 1:00 am, recorded shortly after the release of Product.
The following is culled from an internet review of the album:
As an historical document, it’s interesting to hear Phil Collins and the band ham it up (“You’ve been a credit to Poland…”) with silly asides before launching into lifelike versions of not-so-old favorites plus new songs from the just-released Product. The group did a limited tour of the UK and US to support Product, using the same setlist from night to night and alternating beetween “Nuclear Burn” and “Access To Data/The Ghost of Mayfield Lodge” as the encore. If you’ve exhausted all of the official releases and are looking for something to nibble on late at night, Live At The Roxy L.A. has its appetizing moments. “Dance of The Illegal Aliens” and “Nuclear Burn” (the encore for this evening), for example, seem to take on a life of their own on stage.
To date, I’ve only seen the one official live album (Livestock) and two shows from the 1979 tour preserved (the second was at NYC’s Bottom Line). If you want to experience the band’s live show intact, Live At The Roxy L.A. gives you a more authentic experience than Livestock. It’s raw, sure, but history shouldn’t be handled with white gloves.
Review of "she dances on Jackson": a book of photographs by Vanessa Winship

First of all the title: “she dances on Jackson”. It’s written in small case letters, almost as if it’s being whispered. It’s there on the cover, though you'd be hard put to find it at first glance, discretely tucked away on the bottom right hand corner of this beautifully bound book of photographs, blending into the image, which is a picture of a tree with a flock of birds taking flight from a rust-coloured background.

Actually it sounds like a song title to me, and – I can’t help it – I've been singing Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter ever since I received my copy of the book.

We got married in a fever

Hotter than a pepper sprout

We been talkin ‘bout Jackson

Ever since the fire went out

Oh I’m going to Jackson

I’m going to mess around

Yes I’m going to Jackson

Look out Jackson town.

Winship explains the title at the end of the book. It involves an incident on Jackson subway, a girl who dances to a busker on the platform, who gets on the train with her mother, sitting opposite the photographer for their journey, and who then gets off at the same station.

It’s an odd little story as a justification for the title of the book as there doesn't appear to be any actual photograph of the incident, nor even a photograph of the protagonists, although they do exchange a few words at the end...

Read on...



(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..
It's been announced that Hawkwind are to headline one of the nights - Saturday 7th - of a new event called "Planet Rockstock" that will be held over the weekend of the 6th - 8th December.

Organised by digital radio station Planet Rock, the website describes it as "three days of rock 'n' roll excess taking place in Great Yarmouth."

Uriah Heep are the headliners on Sunday, and other bands include Fish, Snakecharmer, Slam Cartel, The Quireboys, and The Jokers, performing across 2 indoor stages at Great Yarmouth's Vauxhall Holiday Park. It's early days for the line-up info, and more are set to be announced over the coming weeks, including who's headlining Friday.

Planet Rockstock also is set to include activities such as the Ultimate Anorak Quiz where you can test your rock knowledge, and Rockaoke, which is billed as a chance to perform in front of a live band. Presumably not Hawkwind, though.

The website also says that "Planet Rock DJs will be stepping out from behind the mic to take part in the weekend's activities too." One of their DJs is the very well-known pop-rock performer Alice Cooper, who I believe lives in America nowadays.

 It's stated that ticket prices for the whole weekend start from £120 per person but that does include accommodation for two - presumably within the actual holiday park - so that sounds quite a reasonable price really.

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

It has been quieter week amongst the various Yes alumni, but we still have a bunch of interesting stories for you. We will start off with an interesting look at Chris Squire's bass playing influences, followed by a review of Rick Wakeman in Edinburgh. There is a rare interview with Patrick Moraz which is well worth a read, and a preview of the next Cruise to the Edge which I am afraid seems to me an unfortunate title, somewhat reminiscent of a Stephen King novel I have just made up wherein a load of music fans on a boat are stalked and killed by a mystery axeman. There is probably a lead guitarist joke here but I am afraid I am too dumb to make it.
And that is - I am afraid - that, for this week.
I am probably getting a bit OCD about all of this, but I find the Yes soap opera of sound to be absolutely enthralling, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next! 
why not both?
You say Maria's Taco Express
I say Taco Maria's
Why not both on Tuesdays?
You say Twin Oaks
(Means the same thing 3rd Fridays
You say NeWorlDeli
I Austin Poetry Society
(same Fourth Thursdays!
You say Austin Salon Poetic
I say Headhunters
First AND Third Mondays!
Both mean Sundays!
You say Austin Writers Roulette
I say Stomping Grounds
2nd Sundays 4-6pm
You say Austin Bahai Center
First Saturday Theme readings
You say 120 Frog Pond Lane
Third Thursdays yes!
i say First Thursdays
San Marcos comes alive!
You say poetry and music
We need more to come 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 things such as this collection:

This week someone seemed to be selling an awful lot of memorabilia by The Nice, and I assumed that it was all for sale from the same vendor. But upon investigation, it seems to be a pure coincidence (although as a Fortean I don't believe in such things) because they come from a number of different vendors...

Read on...


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...

Kev Rowland
THE TWENTY COMMITTEE A Lifeblood Psalm (INDIE)        
One of the major benefits of being involved with a site such as is that I am sometimes approached by a band that have seen some of my reviews, asking whether I would be interested in writing about their latest album. Such is the case with The Twenty Committee who was only formed in 2012, but have already released their debut album.

Now, I am a recent member of the Crossover Team so wasn’t involved when these guys were submitted, but I can see totally why my colleagues voted to include these guys in that subgenre, as they are mixing pop sensibilities (think Coldplay) with progressive (think Gentle Giant) with rock (think John Miles and City Boy).
The result is something that is complex, simple, yet stacked full of melodies and vocal harmonies that many bands would give their eye teeth for. I am always a sucker for a good key change, and the use of that technique in “How Wonderful” provides an added sense of drama that has already seen twin lead vocals, twin lead guitars, being driven along by piano with the whole band just firing. In many ways it reminds me of the first time I came across Salem Hill, with the same sense of constrained power that gives them a real edge. There are loads of nuances and frills just thrown in that add to the overall sound and feel, and the more I play it the more I like it. Although they don’t contain the menace and angst of Discipline, they definitely have something in common with them in the way that a pure piano sound is so important to much of what they do.
In many ways it is quite commercial, and these guys definitely understand late Seventies melodic rock (without ever falling into the sappiness of mass AOR). Whatever song I am listening to is the favourite, and the main question to ask is given that they have delivered this so quickly what have they got left? I know that at the end of the year this is going to be sitting comfortably inside my Top Ten. For more details visit
THE MUGSHOTS  Love, Lust and Revenge  (BLACK WIDOW)
The Mugshots are an Italian rock group who state that their influences are primarily Alice Cooper, along with The Stranglers and The Misfits. The quintet from Brescia have already released two albums and several EPs, which is presumably one of the reasons why they were to attract Dick Wagner to be involved as producer. He has certainly assisted with getting a very authentic Alice feel to the band, although this is the side of Alice that is all about controlled melody and hooks as opposed to bombast.

What many people still fail to appreciate with Alice Cooper is that over the years the band/singer have produced some stunning albums full of incredible songs. I have never seen Alice in concert, but I have plenty of his albums as I enjoy the music so much. 
It is this element that Dick has really brought to the fore, with the drums and guitar sound on “Curse The Moon” in particular sounding as if it is straight from ‘Billion Dollar Babies’.
But, these guys are doing much more than just a straight Alice copy and are bringing in elements that are much more progressive in certain aspects, with the result being a controlled melodic rock EP with plenty of piano and twists that is sure to interest a lot of people. It may not fit in with the style of music normally released by this label, but is a damn fine piece of work and I look forward with interest to see if the relationship with Dick will continue.
Skinflint, who were formed in 2005,) is a three piece African Heavy Metal band from Botswana consisting of Giuseppe Sbrana aka Juice (guitar/vocals), Kebonye Nkoloso aka Raskebo (bass) and Sandra Sbrana aka Hurricane Sandy (drums). They have toured and headlined festivals across Africa, as well as supporting acts such as Carcass. This is their fourth full-length album, but the first that has been made available as an official release as opposed to a CD-R. Their aim is to mix traditional heavy metal (which has been very influenced indeed by early Iron Maiden) with African lyrical ideas to create something that in many ways is different to the musical scene in their own country, and also different to the metal scene outside of Africa.

Raskebo is the person driving the main difference, as he is using a plectrum which gives the bass a very distinct sound, and is at the forefront in a manner not often heard outside of Maiden. It isn’t unusual for him to be taking the lead, or providing a direct harmony to Juice. They somehow manage to often produce a sound that really doesn’t sound like a trio as there is the impression of more guitars even though in reality they are not there. Juice has been listening a lot to Max Cavalera in terms of vocal approach, which gives the band a harder edge than the music actually deserves, as it is only when listening intently that one realises that in reality there isn’t anything incredibly special going on after all. There is no doubt that these are one of the top metal bands in Africa, but it doesn’t really translate into the wider world scene. This is okay, nothing more or less, but it is going to take more than this to enable them to break out of Botswana and make a real impact in America or Europe.
When I was asked to join the Crossover Team on PA I had many email conversations with the team leader, Marty, who asked me if I knew that it was possible to search for band by country and provided a link. I wasn’t aware, so immediately went off to have a look at NZ as we aren’t exactly a prog hotbed down here. I commented that some bands were probably missing from the list, but was surprised and pleased to see that there were some active bands around, which is how I got in touch with Matt Deacon. In 2004 he released an album under his own name, which was more ambient but with some prog leanings, and he felt that if he was going to release something that was very different then perhaps he should use a pseudonym, so due to his interest in UFO’s he chose the name Bob Lazar (a controversial figure in the scene who claims to have worked with extra-terrestrial technology). 
The first time I played this I was just blown away, as here is another artist unknown to me (and many others), who is bringing together elements of Zappa with Seventies progressive music in a guitar-driven album that is impressive to say the least. Matt is a wonderful guitarist with great feel, and is happy to use acoustic or electric, whatever the requirement is for the piece, and will bring in heavier elements or jazz as the mood strikes. Most of the drums on this album are a machine, but actually isn’t as intrusive as it could be, and Matt brought in some mates to act as session musicians so that it has more of a band feel. There are times when it blasts into something avant-garde that could have come straight from the Art Zoyd playbook and I love it.
There is a real melange of styles throughout this album, with the only constant being Matt’s guitar,  which is often, although not always, driving the proceedings forward. He has an incredible fluidity to all that he does and I am sure that if he was based in the UK or America as opposed to down here in NZ then he would be really well known within the scene. He provided me his own views on the songs and they are worth repeating.
  • “Levers Of Doom” – Acoustic intro over feedback fades in to main section of eastern tinged melody, back to acoustic, then heavy outro.
  • “ThreeFourFaster” -  Reworking of tune from first album. Heavier, faster. With theremin. This one has been # 1 in the all time guitar charts on Rock) for the last year.
  • “Double Turn Double Safe” – Heavy, heavier, then country.
  • “Heavy Sandwich” – Groovy first section, then acoustic solo, then outro section with monster sax solo.
  • “Greengold” – My ode to Spirulina. Percussive intro, grinding odd time riff, keyboard feature, space out then key solo and guitar solo outro.
  • “Son of Six” – Another old tune reworked into a more acoustic feel. I really like this one.
  • “The Progressive Adventures Of Foodstool” – Weird and wacky, several different directions explored in one song.
  • “I Didn’t Get Anything Off That” – Epic outro, building from humble beginning featuring Tanya Didham on spoken word stream of consciousness.
All in all this is a wonderful album that those into Zappa style inventive guitar driven prog seriously need to investigate.

It has been a bad year for losing people I admired, and one of the sadder events was the death of Kevin Ayers...
I couldn't sleep properly last night. The wife of a very dear friend of mine is in hospital. I have only met her the once but she touched my heart and I hope that it doesn't sound too horribly new age of me, but I feel their pain.

(And - by the way - this issue of the magazine is dedicated to her)

So I sat up late, when I couldn't sleep tried a quarter bottle of Happy Shopper brandy (a birthday present from Emily) as a tranquiliser, and as a consequence I overslept this morning. I was woken up by the sound of our own little pack of Canis lupus familiaris charging downstairs to greet the postman (Prudence adores him, Archie wants to rend him limb from limb). He was only delivering a new garden hose, which seems a little anti-climactic after all the sound and fury.

So I was in a fractious and grumpy mood this morning.

Then I watched Galen Ayers's eulogy for her father Kevin, and found it so touching that I was moved to tears. It is on the Gonzo blog this morning - check it out. You won't be sorry.

Check it out...
My assistant editor Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent and I have had a nice week, mostly recording with Mike Davis, as described earlier in this issue.
Things are actually going rather well at the moment, and the next wave of Gonzo grooviness is imminent. As you know, I already do various podcasts for Gonzo Web Radio and I am toying with the idea of expanding this to something special, and doing a series of podcasts featuring music unavailable elsewhere, especially for subscribers to this magazine. 

Remember that it doesn't cost anything to subscribe, and that in doing so you are joining an elite, and rapidly expanding group of music fans who believe that we are not being given the music or the cultural coverage that we deserve. We are living in disturbing and strange times, but ultimately they are very interesting ones, and continuing to chronicle the Gonzoverse is an immensely rewarding thing to do. Thank you for reading.

Until next week,

Jon Downes
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