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Issue Thirty-Eight    August 10t 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
Google Plus
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...
I am in the particularly unenviable position of putting together two editions of The Gonzo Weekly at the moment, because next weekend is my busiest time of the year. It is the annual Weird Weekend promoted by The Centre for Fortean Zoology, an organisation of which I have the honour of being the Director. So my house and garden will be full of the great and good of European Forteana, and various of my adopted neices and nephews (I seem to be Uncle Jon to half of North Devon) in tents.

So it is not really the time or place to be writing deathless prose on the subject of Rock, and possibly Roll as well, and as a result I am trying to write next week's magazine at the same time as this one. But I hope that although there may be deleterious effects on my blood pressure or blood sugar or both, that there will be no lessening of quality and that both editions are as entertaining as ever.

I would also like to welcome a new columnist to these hallowed pages. Kev Rowland is another Devonshire boy, like yours truly, but he now lives in New Zealand, from whence he produces weekly musings on the subjects of the less well travelled roads within progressive and metallic music. Welcome aboard Kev.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: School for Clowns redux
Last week I wrote about my long term quest for a DVD copy of School for Clowns written and performed by the late great Ken Campbell. I also wrote about the fact that in all the years I have been an avid disciple of the work of Professor Molereasons (who lives in a hole-reasons) and his motley covey of pupils, I have never found anyone else that likes it. This week that changed with an email from Dr Jeff Merrifield
Hello Jon

We have a mutual friend in Alan Dearling and 'twas he who put me on to you. I must say that you brought me very sad news with the passing of Mick Farren. I was a huge fan way back and only yesterday, for some inexplicable reason, had dug a Deviants album out of my vinyl stash and played it loud. I guess I now know why. Hmmm.

Alan tells me of your interest in Ken Campbell and 'School for Clowns'. I knew old Molereasons (for the twitchity old embattled rogue headmaster was indeed modelled on Campbell himself - as most actors who worked with him, including the likes of Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent and Bob Hoskins, will testify) for several decades - since 1968 in fact - and I miss the old bugger very much.

I have a PhD in Ken Campbell and he was VERY PROUD of the fact that he had now become a SUBJECT in a University - especially as that university was Liverpool, a city he loved very much.

Since Ken died I have written a book - a large book - which glories in the title of SEEKER! - the Five Amazing Lives of Ken Campbell. This reflects the vast amount of work that he accomplished, enough to fill five 'normal' lives, the fact that he was told at a very early stage of his career that things are much better if they are described and thought of as AMAZING and that he regarded all his efforts as that of a Seeker in the fine old Fortean tradition. He was a remarkable man and the whole world should know more about him.

There's an extract from SEEKER! in the International Times archive at -

The other likeable and important person we have in common is/was Kevin Ayers. I was a life-long fan and booked him several times, bringing him over to England for his final time for a gig in Essex. He read my book on the Cathars (he lived in the Languedoc region) and wrote me a very nice dedication for it. Another man I loved like a brother.

You sound like a very fascinating person and your magazine looks like the sort of thing I should be more in touch with up here in Shetland, where I now live. Please tell me more.


I met Ken on a number of occasions, but we were atually introduced by my old mate Tony "Doc" Shiels at the Fortean Times Unconvention in 2002 or 3. I had my guitar with me, and was playing a rudimentary blues thingumybob, whilst Doc was extemporising lyrics about the passers-by and busking for free drinks. Ken wandered over, and the good doctor, immediatly incorporated him into his act, with feats of prestidigitation which included pulling empty beer bottles out of Ken Campbell's nether regions.

Good days!
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The peculiar saga of Eric Burdon's Israeli gig
Something is happening but you don't know what it is, do you Mr Burdon. One of the strangest, and most controversial stories of recent weeks involves the incomparable Eric Burdon, who - at 72 - is still singing his own, inimitable take on the blues, like no-one else. I have always been a fan of Eric Burdon, since I first heard him on Tony Palmer's All My Loving but I have told that story in these pages before, and it doesn't really bear repeating.

However, the old bluesman has been embroiled in a new cause célèbre which shows no sign of abating. We have been following this story on the Gonzo Blog, and I think that, purely because it is so peculiar (and as far as I can see, without precedent), I think that it bears repeating.

Basically the story started in late July when Burdon's management cancelled a scheduled show in Israel. His management said:

 â€œWe’ve been receiving mounting pressure, including numerous threatening emails, daily. The last thing I intend do is put Eric in jeopardy,”

But then things started getting weird. Less than a week later the concert was back on. The concert was back up on Burdon’s website and was again listed among the concerts at the Zappa Shuni Amphitheater in Binyamina. No reason was given for the cancellation of the cancellation.

Then Burdon, himself spoke for the first time. Some reports implied that the whole thing was a mistake and that the concert had never been cancelled in the first place, but after mounting tension, with the Zionist press in particular getting increasingly belligerent, Burdon is quoted as saying:
"It was not my decision to cancel the show, it was my manager's, who as a result of lots of threatening emails she received, was genuinely afraid for my life," he said. "I'm not afraid to perform here and very happy to be back in Israel"

He continued:

"Above all, it is important for me to convey a message that the past is not important, and the most important thing is and I came to Israel, as I wished to. It was important for me to play here and I'm concentrating all my energies towards the performance. We are going to give a great show to the Israelis."

The gig went ahead as The Electronic Intifada claimed that there was no evidence whatsoever that the death threats had taken place in the first place. I would not be surprised if this actually means that Burdon's management couldn't be bothered to answer a belligerent e-mail from some impertinent blogger. The gig itself appears to have been great as this version of Don't let me be Misunderstood shows.

But then things get really weird, with national newspapers quoting and misquoting each other, and issuing apologies about it. The whole saga has got completely out of hand, and I have no idea what is going to happen next. 

But I can't wait to find out.

In the meantietime, it might be worth seeing what Gonzo have available from the mighty Burdon:

Thom the World Poet writes:
ON SEEING ERIC BURDON @72 (singing in Israel)
It did not matter that he missed some notes
nor that he changed his hits via new instruments
embracing technology and astonishing guitar
What mattered was the ferocity of his presence
feted fifty years ago and still singing like a star
with young women responding to his call
He was the Pied Piper of our youth
in 2013,we still resonate to his white man's blues
"Baby,Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood!"
"We Gotta Get Outta This Place!"
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Steve Hillage's video mystery
Another little drama which unfolded this week involves the mighty Steve Hillage and a video for Hinotori recorded with Japanese band Rovo.

This report appeared in Progsphere:

Steve Hillage, one of the original members of the British prog rock band GONG, wants to set the record straight about this ground-breaking promo video which combines live performance footage with state-of-the-art Japanese animation.

“The video was initially taken down in connection with the use of original Hinotori images from the Manga animation pioneer Osamu Tezuka, who has been a huge influence on the Phoenix Rising project,” says Hillage.  Â“Tezuka Productions, the Japanese company that manages the Tezuka creative legacy,  demanded a change in the precise wording of the copyright notice after the end of the video. This has now been resolved.  Our Japanese video production company wish to apologise for the temporary YouTube removal.”

Read on...

The record in question isn't on Gonzo, but a new DVD most certainly is.

Steve Hillage first came to prominence as a member of the multi-national rock band Gong.  Steve appeared on successful albums such as Angels EggYou and his final album with the band Shamal.  Steve recorded his first solo album in 1975 entitled Fish Rising.  This album was recorded whilst still a member of Gong.  Shortly after however, Steve and his partner Miquette Giraudy left Gong embarking on a career that continues to this day under the name System Seven.

In 1976 Steve recorded the album â€œL” with Todd Rundgren producing.  The album was a huge success and Steve subsequently formed the Steve Hillage Band which included former Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker and future Camel bassist Colin Bass.  The band made its live debut at the Hyde Park concert staged by Queen in September 1976.  Following the live debut the band played toured extensively during 1979. This DVD captures a stunning performance by this great line-up of the band.

The track listing of this fabulous performance from the first Steve Hillage Band includes: Salmon Song, Hurdy Gurdy Man, Solar Musick Suite, Lunar Musick Suite, It`s All Too Much, (Lunar Musick Suite)/ It's All Too Much II, Aftaglid Pt. I, Elecktrick Gypsies, Not Fade Away.

The CD comes with a bonus DVD which also includes an exclusive interview filmed at Steve and Miquette’s studio in London in January 2007 where Steve and Miquette discuss the Steve Hillage Band, and also the recording of their albums.   

Tracks: Disc 1 , 1. Salmon Song , 2. Unzipping The Zype , 3. Hurdy Gurdy Man , 4. 1988 Activator , 5. Unidentified (flying being) , 6. It's All Too Much , 7. Radio , 8. Light in the Sky , 9. Interview 2006 , , Disc 2 , 1. BONUS DVD - Salmon Song , 2. Unzipping the Zype , 3. Hurdy Gurdy Man , 4. 1988 Activator , 5. Unidentified (flying being) , 6. It's All Too Much , 7. Radio , 8. Light in the Sky , 9. Interview 2006.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The Gospel according to Bart
Yay! Bart is Back. My favourite roving reporter sent me a couple of news items this week. One was the sad news about J.J.Cale, which you can read below. But the other is this: Mate... Received this from my friends at Marillion... Look at the 'Progressive..' poster... Could be a great time.... All the best.. Bart

It certainly does. 

And Bart also sent this:

In case you missed the news the first time round, we are pleased to announce that Marillion have been nominated in four catagories at this years Prog Music Awards. The nominations are as follows:

Live Event - For the Marillion Weekend event.
Album of the Year - For 'Sounds That Can't Be Made'
Anthem - For 'Gaza'
Band/ Artist of the year.

There is less than a week left to vote, so make sure you visit to register your votes.

There are two new shows 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.

Watch this space.

Canterbury Soundwaves #22
Date Published: 9th August 2013

Before Canterbury Sans Frontières was Canterbury Soundwaves a show which creator Matthew Watkins described as "exploring the so-called `Canterbury Sound`, its many roots, branches, twigs and accompanying mycelia in 28 episodes (November 2010 - January 2013). We, the little fellows hiding behind the scenes at Gonzo Web Radio are proud to announce that as well as Canterbury Sans Frontières episodes as they happen, all 28 of the back catalogue will also be hosted.

EPISODE TWENTY-TWO: This time it's a poetry and spoken word special, co-presented with (modern) Canterbury's premier psychedelic poet, Tim Munton. We hear Daevid Allen and Lady June reading their poems in a French restaurant in Deya, Mallorca in '78, local character Robert Graves reading one of his (in an unsurprisingly posh accent), Ivor Cutler demolishing the edifice of scientific rationalism in 32 seconds flat (and showing up at the end of Robert Wyatt's finest album), Kevin Ayers singing a William Blake poem, Robert Wyatt singing one of his wife Alfie's and one by a Nobel Prize winning Greek haiku poet, and Gilli Smyth reading fromThe Book of Taliesin. Also the Soft Machine at London's UFO club in the summer of '67, the eccentric American producer who first got them in the studio that summer, National Health speaking French very badly, more Floating Anarchy from Planet Gong and the mice from Bagpuss singing ragtime (honestly!).

Playlist for this Episode
Listen to this episode

EPISODE TWENTY-THREE: A chat with local pianist Sam Bailey about the recent Free Range series of experimental music, film and poetry evenings in Canterbury, with various excerpts from the series and a preview of what's to come. Also, some of the musician involved collaborating with Elton Dean, Hugh and Brian Hopper and members of Led Bib. Plus Gong live in Canterbury in 2000, Kevin Ayers live in London in 1972 with a 12-piece orchestra, an extended Hatfield set live in Paris in 1973, an underrated Robert Wyatt EP and Lol Coxhill answering a zen koan.

Playlist for this Episode
Listen 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: 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.
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THOSE WE HAVE LOST: George Duke (1946-2013)

It has been reported veteran jazz, R&B, funk and fusion keyboard virtuoso George Duke has died aged 67. This news comes after a difficult period for the acclaimed keyboardist and composer whose wife Corine passed away just over a year ago.

Our tribute to George
eorge Duke at Wikipedia

A homage to the memory and musical Legacy of George Duke.
It is with great sadness that I have heard of the passing of George Duke. He was without a doubt, one of the most inspired and versatile Jazz keyboardists, composers, and producers of the last 50 years! I greatly admired his amazing playing and his professionalism in every musical situation. 
It has been my pleasure, over the years to have acquainted with George, at different Jazz Festivals and various musical Conventions.  My last meeting with him was in Switzerland, during the Jazz Festival of Montreux, where, on a lovely summer's night we had dinner on the terrace of an Italian Bistro and spoke of music and the old days…  

...It will forever remain a wonderful memory of a great evening with a "true musical genius".
I would like to offer to George's Family, my deepest respects and condolences in these difficult and sad times.
God Bless and Musically Yours!
Patrick Moraz
COVER STORY: Liz Lenten in Nashville
Some weeks ago we posted an interview with the lovely Liz Lenten of Gonzo, in which she told us how she had borrowed a vintage Martin guitar, written and demo'd a whole slew of new songs, and was off to Nashville to record her new album.

A few weeks back she sent me copies of the new songs, straight from the Nashville sessions and I was overawed. Now I can share some of the fruits of her labour with you...

First up comes a peculiar and very stylish little video which heralds the new album in the same way as The Silver Surfer did Galactus.

Then we have another video, this time about the making of the album. This video features the song Sitea Bay which I only found out yesterday is written about Liz's holiday retreat in Crete.

Then comes a smattering of songs from the album itself, including my personal favourite Hurting.

Then, yesterday I had a long telephone conversation with Liz in Greece, which you can listen to HERE.

And finally, a total exclusive. Herewith the front cover for the album, for - as far as I am aware - the first time anywhere.
As regular readers of both the Gonzo Daily and the Gonzo Weekly will be aware, I am particularly fond of Judge Smith, both as a person and as an artist. He has a particularly cool new album out. It is called Zoot Suit and it is a remarkable piece of work.

Yesterday afternoon I telephoned him to ask about it.
British blues-rock legends Blodwyn Pig, featuring original Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams, have released a new compilation of rare unreleased recordings titled 'Pigthology' on Gonzo MultiMedia UK. Along with Abrahams (vocals, guitars), the band featured Jack Lancaster (saxes, flutes, violin, keys and wind controllers), Andy Pyle (bass), and Ron Berg (drums) and was later joined by Jethro Tull's Clive Bunker on drums. Produced by Mick Abrahams and Jack Lancaster, 'Pigtholgy' features re-mastered recordings of Blodwyn Pig's most beloved and successful songs “Dear Jill”, “See My Way” and “Drive Me”, along with unreleased live and studio material.
Blodwyn Pig in its first form was a legend in rock history hitting the top of the LP charts in Britain and elsewhere around the world. The band received new recognition and inspiration when the track “Dear Jill” was used in Cameron Crow's movie 'Almost Famous'. Many bands credit Blodwyn Pig with being a huge influence at the start of their careers, including rock legends Aerosmith. There are several fan sites across the internet which still attest to the group's popularity. Through the years several bands have recorded covers of Blodwyn tunes, the most noted being Joey Ramone's version of “See My Way”.
Blodwyn Pig played alongside Led Zeppelin, The Who, Procul Harem, BB King, Miles Davis, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd and Joe Cocker at the Isle Of Wight rock festivals, and the Reading rock festival. The “Pig” completed two successful American tours, playing venues like the Filmores, numerous universities and the LA Forum. Most of the recordings on 'Pigology' are from this period.
A few notes from Jack Lancaster: “On 'Baby Girl' Mick played piano as an overdub, otherwise the track was played live in the studio. 'Cosmogrification', this was a reformed Blodwyn with Clive Bunker on drums. We only did a short tour. Clive joined because of Rin Berg's illness. I play piano on 'Monkinit' – I mention this because normally we never used keyboard on tracks.”
Tracks include:
  1. See My Way – recorded at Mick Abrahams studio (date unknown)
  2. Baby Girl – recorded at BBC Maida Vale studios, John Peel show (1970)
  3. Dear Jill – recorded at Mick Abrahams studio (date unknown)
  4. Monkinit (A tribute to Thelonious Monk) – recorded at Verdant studios Hollywood, CA (date unknown)
  5. Drive Me – recording location unknown (1970)
  6. The Change Song – live at the Marquee Club Soho (1969)
  7. Cosmogrification – live at Luton Town Hall (1973)
  8. Same Old Story – recorded at BBC Maida Vale studios, John Peel show (1970)
  9. Hound Dog – recorded at Mick Abrahams studio (date unknown)
  10. Sly Bones – recorded at Mick Abrahams studio, Verdant studios Hollywood, CA (date unknown)
  11. It's Only Love – outtake, Morgan studios (1969)
  12. Stormy Monday – Mick Abrahams studio (date unknown)
“This is an anthology of the greatest moments of the original band's career. Every track is a gem, and I cannot recommend it highly enough!” - Jonathan Downes, The Gonzo Daily
A Photograph and a Memory

I was born on the 16th June 1953 in the great industrial city of Birmingham in the West Midlands. I had a very happy childhood.

I went to University in Cardiff in 1971 to study English Literature, having got 2 Bs and a C in my A levels.

The photograph above was taken about two years later. I’m in my early 20s. I’m sitting on the roof of Cardiff University main building overlooking the concourse in the centre of town, within walking distance of the Arts Block building and the Art Gallery & Museum. In order to get to the roof I’ve had to climb through an open window from a corridor on the second floor. It’s strictly out of bounds and I’m very nervous.

I’m wearing a white linen jacket with a red and green felt flower in the lapel. Around my neck is a green scarf on which is embroidered a racing greyhound. I have on monkey boots and brushed cotton loon pants. My hair is quite long and, as yet, without any sign of grey.

I thought I cut quite a dashing character, colourful and flamboyant, though really it was a disguise to cover up my innate shyness.

As you can see, I’m clutching a camera case. The camera belongs to my friend Lois who took the photograph. Later that year Lois and I were married. It was a marriage of convenience. Lois, being from Zimbabwe, needed a British passport in order to stay in the country. I agreed and it is a measure of the time, and of my attitude, that the reason I gave for the marriage was so we could throw a party.

Lois and I are still very good friends.

There’s one curious anomaly in the photograph: that ring on my right hand middle finger. You can see it more clearly when the photograph is enlarged. It looks distinctly out of place since, in my own mind, I’m not the sort of person who ever wears a ring. It has taken looking at the photograph for me to remember it.

It was given to me by my parents to mark my 18th birthday, which means that by this time I‘d been wearing it for at least three years. It’s a gold signet ring. I remember my grandfather wearing a similar ring when I was a child, but, up until this moment, I had no memory of me wearing one.

That ring marks a change. At some point I must have taken it off. There was a decision involved. Before that I was the sort of person who might wear a ring, like I might wear a scarf with a racing greyhound embroidered upon it, or a white linen jacket with a felt flower in the lapel. After that I became the sort of person who never wears a ring. I was fixing my character, tethering it like a boat to a dock, in order to secure it.

In fact over the years I’ve not just tethered my character, I’ve built the dock around it.

This is how we become who we are. Bit by bit, year by year, we build the structures that define us, in repeated patterns of behaviour. We grind them into our souls. We say, “this is me, this is mine”, referring to our habits of thought, our likes and dislikes. We define our tastes. We weigh ourselves down with opinions and anchor ourselves with beliefs. We start to say we know who we are.

I look at that young man on a roof outside Cardiff University library, and I remember some things about him. I remember how nervous he was that day. I remember his friends and where he lived and how he spent his days. He smoked a lot of dope back then and read a lot of books. He was searching for something, something hazy and ill-defined. For his character, perhaps.

But his character was never a fixed thing. It was more fluid and playful back then, more sinuously alive. Sometimes he was sunny, sometimes he was serious, like the flow of days around him. Sometimes he was in strong pursuit of an ideal. But the character was more like a river than a building, free-flowing, sparkling, rolling easily around the objects in his landscape, always moving, never fixed. More natural, in fact.

And then one day he took his ring off and he thought, “I’m not the sort of person who ever wears a ring.”

And he's been building on that moment ever since.



(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..
Recent rumours that Motorhead bassist Lemmy had died were quashed by Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell, who put fans' concerns to rest when he tweeted, "Contrary to some reports, Lem is alive and kicking so take no notice of these rumors from asshole tweeters."

Twitter is (as its name might suggest) a hotbed of unsubstantiated gossip, so that news was rather a relief. The scare story was reportedly traced back to a blog posting by a promoter in Brazil.

Meanwhile, a Hawkwind information talk-group on Yahoo is experiencing the sometimes-difficult balance between freedom and control, with regular outbursts of vitriol and off-topic ranting. Twitter is currently trying to deal with this conundrum, although rather more publicly, of course, and which has led to arrests by the police of several countries.

"if you've got a bad apple in the fruit bowl, do you leave it there to spoil the others or do you do something about it?" asks one Hawkwind fan, plaintively. 

We shall see.

Someone who knows a little about Hawkwind's past history might guess that these wrangles are of a Brock versus Turner nature, but in fact it appears that psychedelic rockers Monster Magnet are the bone of contention.  Or one bone, at least.  They once did a cover version of Brainstorm and have occasionally performed other Hawk-material, but are not normally renowned for stirring up any cyber-storms.

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

There have been insane amounts of Yes and Yes-related stories on the Gonzo Daily this week. We kick off with a review of the Yestival  and then the news of Jon Anderson guesting in John Payne's Raiding the Rock Vault show in Las Vegas.  We then have an interview with Steve Howe during which he deftly ignores questions about whether Jon Anderson will ever return to the band., which as the next item is an interview with a confident sounding Jon Davison would seem a very questionable question. We have a rare interview with Alan White   and an interview with Rick Wakeman.
There is another interview with Alan White, which might mean that the first one wasn't as rare as I originally implied. And finally, a feature on a forthcoming Steve Howe release of songs originally recorded as demos.

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! 
they are blessed by sharing.One has a dream of a leaf
The other is a forest.She is a river.The other a cast iron furnace
Crystal chipping@Great (and minor)Mysteries/each holds
a fragment mirror in her hands,raising it to moon on waters
so Light becomes both reflected and refracted.Sounds beneath /
world outside the door.Hear the chatter before formal speech,and afterwards
when chairs are stacked for new adventures,another mystery is solved-
why only eleven feminist bookstores survive in USA 2013.
It is because they ask essential questions/and respond in rhyme and reason
Laughter has a home here-conversation and respect.
Books are on the shelves-but also on this tiny stage.The whole winged world is watching
Every bird is listening.Your future is winging in..SING!

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..

I used to be a collector of rock and roll memorabilia, but most of my collection went into my solicitor's pocket during my divorce from my first wife, and I never had the stomach to build the collection up again. However, people send me pictures of interesting things such as this rather nifty thing. It may be just coincidence, but I find myself enjoying a cuppa whilst I listen to Senor Fripp and his gang...

Read on...

On the third weekend of August every year for the past fourteen years we have had the weirdest weekend you can imagine. The Weird Weekend is the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Now in its fourteenth year, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of investigators into strange phenomena.
Cryptozoologists, parapsychologists, ufologists, and folklorists are descending on Woolfardisworthy Community Centre to share their findings and insights. Unlike other events, the Weird Weekend will also include workshops giving tips to budding paranormal investigators, and even a programme of special events for children. The Weird Weekend is the only fortean conference in the world that is truly a family event, although those veterans of previous events should be reassured that it is still as anarchically silly as ever!
The event is raising money for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the world’s only full time, professional cryptozoological organisation. The profit from food and beverages goes to a selection of village charities, mostly working with children.
How do you fancy spending three days of high strangeness, good food and great beer, together with the cream of British Fortean researchers in the middle of the glorious Devon countryside? By the way, I am sorry to have to say this, but as this is a fundraising event, tickets are non-refundable, although you are free to resell them should you be unable to attend.
Lee Walker: Dead of Night
Andrew Sanderson: Russia Expedition report
Lars Thomas: The Natural History of Trolls
Judge Smith: Life after Death
Jon Downes/Richard Freeman: Intro to Cryptozoology
Nick Wadham: You will believe in fairies; you will, you will!
Tony Whitehead (RSPB): Starslime
Glen Vaudrey : Mystery animals of Staffordshire
Darren Naish: Adventures from the world of tetrapod zoology
Richard Freeman: Expedition repoort Sumatra 2013
Sarah Boit: Orbs from a photographer's perspective
James Newton (London Cryptozoology club): Bigfoot
Shaun Histead-Todd: Pre Columbian civilisations in america
Ronan Coghlan: Amphibians from Outer Space
Jon Downes: Keynote Speech
Speaker's Dinner at the Community Centre
Tickets are only £20 in advance
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
Brazilian act Vandroya started life as a covers band, but as they became more involved in the metal scene they started writing their own material, which led to the ‘Within Shadows’ EP that was released in 2005. It took until 2010 for them to start work on their debut album, and until 2013 for it to be released. So, although it has taken a while to get to this point, now they have let’s all hope that they get the recognition they deserve.

As is my preference, I played the album the first few times before I had read the press release and to my ears they sounded like a cross between Angra and Helloween with some Stratovarius thrown in for good measure. So, when I saw that they are countrymates of Angra then it started to make some sort of sense.
This is power metal, with elements of symphonic (and even some prog metal to be honest), and the guys are musicians of the top order and seem to be at their happiest when they can storm through a song in the manner of Dragonforce. Mind you, the break in the middle of “Within Shadows” is way more laid back with a great bass line and funky piano. But, what takes this band to the next level are the powerful vocals of Daisa who is an incredible singer. She has no problem standing loud and proud in front of a metal band, knowing that she is always totally in control of the situation and can handle whatever they are throwing into the mix. No matter if they are running along as if they are Helloween reborn, or if it is something slower, she is always there taking centre stage. But, this is very much a band effort with singer and musicians in perfect harmony creating some incredible metal. It is hard to realise that this is just a debut album, as it rarely gets much better than this. For more details visit
This is the third album from this Gothenburg outfit, and guitarist/founder Stefan Lindholm has moved on from the contemporary neoclassical metal sound with which the band made their name. He explains it by saying  “I’m no longer the same person as I used to be, so now I am going for a simpler approach and it’s more in your face. ‘Cage of Infinity’ definitely contains a lot of immediate hooks and choruses. At the same time, I think it just may be more metallic than previously. Possibly a tad Judas Priest-ish, but I'll leave that for the listener to decide!!!”.
Keyboard player Pontus Larsson and bassist Nalle Påhlsson (Therion, Treat, Zan Clan, Last Autumn's Dream) are still here, but there is a new drummer in Henrik Hedman and a new singer in Marco Sandron who has replaced Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, Glory,Kharma, Xsavior). .
Marco was previously with power metal outfit Eden’s Curse, and he has fitted into the new sound of this band with ease. Strong, and always melodic, there is a powerful bottom end with this album and it is Stefan who drives this band forward. There are some incredible shreds here, and having not heard the earlier albums I found myself wondering just what they are like. The reason for that is while this is a very powerful album, and well worth discovering on many levels, there is always the nagging feeling that actually Stefan is capable of much more than this. Comparable in many ways to Dragonforce, it his solos that really lift this album.
Only time will tell if this is the permanent direction of the band or if he moves in another direction, but for this now this is definitely worthy of investigation while not being indispensible. For more details visit the label site as
A2athot is a solo project, with the artist trying to bring together elements of psychedelic and experimental Doom Metal. He lists a whole host of bands that have inspired him in this work, including Anathema, Sunn O))), Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Radiohead, Jane's Addiction, System Of A Down, Neurosis, Ufomammut, Cathedral, Isis, Russian Circles, Queens Of The Stone Age, Pentagram and Opeth among others. Even the press release states that the result is a “weird combination” of different genres, and that is something that I definitely agree with. Doom is the basis of everything he is doing, with some experimentation over the top so that at times it comes across as Hawkwind and at others just something very strange indeed. The one thing I can’t really make my up my mind over though, is whether or not it is any good.
He recommends that the listener pay close attention to the music by playing it through headphones without any distractions, but I found that I was soon getting bored and wondered when the experience would be over. Whenever I start looking for the end of an album I know that it’s a bad sign and I found that I was having to force myself to keep playing this to be able to try and get into it enough to be able to provide a fair review. But, at the end of the day there isn’t enough going on to keep me interested with the experimentation often not working with the rest of the music. I’m not frightened by strange sounds and musical combinations, I happily listen to Can and Art Zoyd when I’m in the mood, but there needs to be more to it than this. Just three songs, at a little more than 24 minutes long, I can’t see me returning to this very often.
A BIG GOODBYE Sounds & Silences Pt 1 (Indie)
This is the debut album by American trio A Big Goodbye, and was released in 2011. Now, that is bad news as it means that I missed it when it first came out but the good news is that the next one is due very soon! This is the first in a three album series, with the overall theme on this one being about emptiness. Lyrically it deals with relationship struggles, particularly “The Great Divide”.  The final song on the album, “Memories” is also the longest at fourteen minutes. This is about the main character, who having killed the woman who betrayed him is now contemplating killing himself. Together they had a child called “Autumn”, which will be a song on the next album. The story has deliberately been chopped about so that it is not in sequence, rather like Saga’s “Chapters”.
So for their debut they decided that from the off it was going to be a trilogy, and if that isn’t a strong statement of self-belief, how about the music they have pulled together to accompany the words? The band itself is comprised of multi-instrumentalist Matt Glisson, his brother Andrew on drums and singer Daniel Mills plus three guests, Adam Cambria (sax), Joseph Castleberry (trumpet) and Paul Boatwright (trombone). Yep, here we have a prog band that have brought in a brass section. If that wasn’t enough, how about complex math-rock sections where they come across as Protest The Hero, combined with complex prog metal where they are Dream Theater, or dramatic acoustic where musically (if not vocally) they are Roy Harper. Often all in the same song! Daniel has a strong clear voice and sometimes it is only his vocals that are keeping it all together as the band splits and changes in a myriad of different directions. If you want a dramatic emotional rollercoaster of a prog album then this is it.
There is no doubt that this is one of the most exciting debuts I have ever come across. Roll on the next one! 

I was going to print this letter last week, but in view of what happened to dear old Mick Farren, I held it over...
Hi there Jon,

hopes you are good there and all good with you. Nice entertaining read again! Great seeing Bob Calvert's Hype. I have that and read it years ago (along with the album).

The album launch Sat 13th July went really well, and we had a fab set from Nik Turner's PROJECT 9. Nik also joined us for our second half of our set, playing on Crystalized Moments, Points Of View, title track Take Me To The Future, State Of The Nation, and then encored with a track from the first album These Days. We also had the lovely Miss Angel Flame grace the stage and dance on several songs.
Suffice to say, haven't found a reviewer, but thought I'd attach some great photos, Emma Matthars (Neil the bassist's wife)
took, to give you an idea of the gig. Also attached is our poster for next Sat's Brighton album launch (why have one launch when you can have two lol!!)

Off to Kozfest tomorrow in Devon. Jaki's going for it, doing the Borderline with the Dev's Sat night then driving to the festival for our 4-20pm slot Sunday. I am gusting with ex Here & Now's Steffe Sharpstring's SENTIENT and also Ron Tree's GREEN RITUAL (and possibly a couple others n'all!) So better get back and start packing!

Cheers and speaks soon

The last week has been a little fraught here in the badly converted potato shed where my new assistant editor Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent and I labour on all the different projects that I do. My poor wife Corinna has managed to get an infected salivary gland and her poor face blew up like a pumpkin. However, after being faffed about by our medical centre, a friendly dentist has performed arcane rites and prescribed antibiotics and she is on the mend.
As I said last week this is the busiest time of the year for us back in CFZ Towers, and for the next two weeks I shall be rushing around like a headless chicken trying to organise the annual Weird Weekend that is held each year in the village where we live.

I have been running it for fourteen years, and am very tempted to make this year our last. Basically it is all getting a bit much for me, and I would prefer a tad more peace and quiet in my life.

But I doubt whether I shall get it! As I sit in here typing on a balmy Saturday evening, there are sounds of merrymaking from the next room. My friend and colleague Richard Freeman (explorer and cryptozoologist of some renown) is sharing amusing and somewhat surreal anecdotes with another old friend, Geordie musician Davey Curtis of Happy the Man and his wife and daughter, whilst my student (Sheri Myler, from a college in the frozen north, who is doing her degree placements under me at the CFZ) gazes on in amazement, and my dear wife sits there in the midst of this ocean of chaos like an oasis in a desert of surreal silliness.

Things are only going to get more complicated over the next week, as more and more esoteric oddballs arrive (including Judge Smith, who is interviewed elsewhere in this issue) and a party of Danish zoologists (OK, just one, and his teenage son) and an elderly Irish academic who is madder than a bagful of cheese. I love them all very much!

I will be very glad when the Weird Weekend is finally over. Part of me wants to make this the last one; I always said that I would do it for ten years, and this is the fourteenth, and I am getting older, and more infirm and irascible, but I think that there is every possibility that I will be talked into carrying on.

The future is unwritten. Watch this space.

My rationale behind the Weird Weekend is much the same as my rationale behind this magazine, the CFZ, and pretty much everything I do. There are things that are valuable and important that are largely ignored by our trite and increasingly facile society. It is our responsibility to promulgate them. Each person on the Earth has a responsibility to try and make the world a better place. If you don't at least try you are traitors to our species and to the planet on which we live. And one of the ways that I try to do this is by publicising music, books, films, research and ideas that are in danger of being forgotten.

I am very pleased with this issue; each time we get closer to my ideal of an anarchic journal of sounds and letters and ideas that I have been trying to put together for at least thirty years. Once again many thanks to Rob Ayling for giving me the opportunity to do this.

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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