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?)
Issue Four         December 15th, 2012
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 was rather a strange week. Here at Gonzo Weekly HQ I interviewed the mighty Corky Laing of Mountain, about his new project - a multimedia opera being staged together with a slew of hi-powered academics. At last I have interviewed someone who was at Woodstock. This new project sounds fascinating, and we will be posting the interview very soon. In the meantime enjoy this recent benefit concert featuring the man himself.

The two most impressive musical events of the week have been faithfully recorded on the Gonzo Daily, but - sadly - do not concern Gonzo artists. Firstly Kim Wilde in her cups performing an impromptu set on a tube train, accompanied by brother Rick. And secondly, Paul McCartney and the surviving members of Nirvana playing an elegantly brutal noise which gives one hope for the world.

Last week's issue was the most popular yet. I was touched by the people who e-mailed me privately after reading the obituaries and asked for me to pass on condolences to the bereaved families. Several people are becoming regular commentators, and the features on Jon Anderson and Yes were particularly popular. "What other Yes-related items do you have for sale?" asked Patti from Stevenage. Well, just for you, my dear, this week we have a brief rundown of what is available.

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.
THOSE WE HAVE LOST:  Ravi Shankar, Sir Patrick Moore
This has been another sad week. Two people we very much admired at Gonzo Weekly have left the building for the last time. This is what we wrote about them:

Thom Woodruffe remembers Ravi Shankar
Graham Inglis remembers Sir Patrick Moore

I know we posted his obituary last week, but the tributes keep coming in:
Huw Lloyd-Langton tribute
Thom the World Poet remembers Huw Lloyd-Langton
A Christmas single with a difference, and news of a new live album...
I always enjoy talking to Michael Des Barres; he has a ridiculously hectic schedule, and does some fascinating things, but his underlying philosophy is very similar to mine. Yesterday afternoon I had two film directors here, they were talking to Corinna and me about a film project based on our monthly webTV show On The Track. 

In the middle of this my housekeeper Helen and her irrepressible daughter Jessica (to whom I have been Uncle Jon for most of her life) arrived, and then - with all this madness around me - I telephoned Michael.

Read Part One of the interview
The original Fairport Convention, Trader Horne, and Giles, Giles and Fripp chanteuse talks about her latest album, her next album and why she likes greyhounds

As regular readers of the Gonzo Daily will be aware, I am a big fan of Judy Dyble's latest album Talking with Strangers which Gonzo are releasing in the USA next month. It is a fantastic record, and I cannot praise it highly enough. Regular readers will also be aware that last week I telephoned Judy and had a very pleasant chat, which almost immediately was swallowed into the interstices of the internet aether. However, after various rituals and supplications at the altars of the Gods of hi-technology, we managed to retrieve them, and here they are: Part One and Part Two and Part Three


The other day as part of an interview with their keyboard supremo Erik Norlander I posted news about the new single from Asia Featuring John Payne. It really is a jolly good record, and I am sure that people will be going out in their droves to buy it.

Now, basically because I nicked it from their Facebook page, (and they are always very kind and don't mind me doing stuff like this) here is the cover art. Wow!
I first heard Yes when a bloke on my school bus in 1973 had a badly recorded cassette tape of 'Close to the Edge'. I was dumbstruck – I thought that there was some kind of law saying that pop songs had to be 3.5mins in length, and that there was a proscribed list of subjects that could be written about. This one took up the whole side of an elpee, had chord changes and key changes beyond the limits of my imagination, and I had absolutely no idea what it was about! I was completely hooked, and have been a devotee of the band ever since. I am very pleased to say that there are three DVDs and a double live CD available through Gonzo Multimedia. These include live material from the controversial Union tour, and some early footage from near the beginning of their career.
As regular readers will know, back in October, Graham and I went to Southampton to film the legendary Jefferson Starship supported by Auburn, another Gonzo Multimedia act of whom I am very fond. This little film tells the story of how everything went horribly wrong, and then (through crass incompetence) we managed to salvage victory from the jaws of defeat.

But HERE is the first properly edited three camera video...

Check out Auburn at Gonzo

Gong came into being almost by accident in the late sixties when Daevid Allen was refused entry back into Britain following European dates with Soft Machine. Deciding to stay in Paris Allen began working alongside Gilli Smyth and various musicians on what would eventually be recognised as Gong.

The first recognised recordings from the band were Magick Brother, Mystic Sister in 1970. Followed by albums such as Camembert Electrique, Flying Teapot, Angels Egg and You. These last three albums followed the fortunes of Zero The Hero and told the tale of the pothead pixies and was told over the course of the three albums and became the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy.

Shortly after the release of You in 1974 Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth left the Band and Steve Hillage became the de facto leader although he also left in 1975 for a solo career. The band did continue in a more jazz oriented direction which was far removed from the original musical output of the band.

The material on the DVD features two distinct periods of the bands history with the earliest footage coming from an in the studio performance filmed in 1971 for French television. This is a rare outing and a rare line up of the band which during this session featured Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Didier Malherbe, Christian Tritsch and Laurie Allen.

The material featured on this DVD will also include further footage from 1972 and 1973. In fact there is good news for fans of the Angel’s Egg period as there is over twenty minutes of footage featured on the DVD. None of this rare footage has ever been made available commercially making this release a real treat for fans of Gong who in 2009 re established themselves in both the live arena and the albums market.


"This DVD surely is an interesting package for all the Gong fans… The disc includes five different clips of early 70’s Gong freak-out that have been shown on French television. First, we’ve got about 25-minute-long, very interesting black and white documentary from autumn 1973 when the band was about to leave their commune in the middle of forest near Sens. We get to have a peak into the daily routines and weird rituals of the commune and hear how they run their chores and what occasional problems turn up when you live together with little money. They of course also believe that their mansion that hadn’t been lived in for twenty years is haunted and stuff like that… The locals only give positive comments about the collective. On this section we also see tracks ”I Never Glid Before” and ”I Am Your Pussy” and the going is really psychedelic.

Then we see a rarer track ”Never Fight Another War” in colour and this one was shot in the studio in January 1971 for the Pop Deux program. As usual, Allen talks pretty much nonsense in the short interview section and we get some more freaking-out too. The section filmed in May the same year for Jazzland is really psychedelic jamming and entitled “Dreamin’ It”. There’s also some violin on this one. The black and white video for the track “Dynamite” filmed outdoors in 1972 is guaranteed Gong foolery and finally we still get an amazing clip of the track ”Fohat Digs Holes In Space” shot at a live gig in April 1972 at Nanterre University. The DVD also includes a 12-page booklet about the early Gong written and illustrated by David himself. This is a must-have for all the fans of the band." Santu Laakso, Psychotropic Zone

Check out Gong at Gonzo

The footage contained on this DVD is a real find for Frank Zappa fans being as it is an extended interview with Frank conducted in June 1970 The footage here is the original unedited footage and once again in keeping with the Lost Broadcasts series much of this interview is previously unseen. Frank Zappa as well as being an incredible music artist was a highly intelligent and articulate man and later in his life was even able to talk at a very high level about the concerns of censorship in music and the arts even butting heads with Tipper Gore who in the mid eighties headed a group called the Parents Music Resource Centre. Gore’s view was that music should be “stickered” giving a warning as to content. Frank Zappa as you can imagine saw this as a form of censorship and attended many public committee meetings and spoke intelligently and articulately against any such censorship.

The interview here filmed in June 1970 covers many subjects such as the control that television had on the viewing public, Drugs, The media and the new Mothers of Invention line up which at the time included drummer Aynsley Dunbar and former Turtles vocalists Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan and interestingly the interview also touches on political subjects but we must bear in mind that this interview was conducted in those pre “Watergate” days when a “Rock Star” rarely talked about such subjects. Here as throughout the interview Frank Zappa gives relevant articulate and intelligent answers.

The length of the interview is interesting in itself considering in the modern era when artists rarely allow themselves to be interviewed at length about anything other than the current product, be it an album film or a book that they want to promote. Interestingly Frank talks about his thoughts on people’s perception of himself as an artist and as a composer. The interview as a whole is incredibly honest and again Frank Zappa is articulate and intelligent in his answers to the interviewer’s questions.

Edited portions of the interview were subsequently broadcast in August 1970 and again in December 1970 but the full length interview which runs to 86 minutes now makes its commercial debut on DVD and for Frank Zappa fans this interview will be of immense interest.



I am really rather enjoying being the editor of the Gonzo Weekly, and in the same way as it is a fairly logical progression from the Gonzo Daily online magazine that we have been running since March, I would like to see the whole project expand into a more conventional magazine at some point. However, I have been trying to be the editor of a music magazine for many years.

I first met Gonzo grande fromage Rob Ayling  in 1988 when I was editing a small-press fanzine that no-one much read. The main thing that we had in common was that we both took music far too seriously, but that was enough, and we soon became firm friends. He and I both had dreams; I was going to travel the earth in search of monsters, and he was going to start a record label for the delectation of those people who also take music far too seriously.

Twenty-five years on, we have both realised our ambitions, and what other two disparate middle-aged men can claim that?

If I have learned anything during my career as an editor, both of music magazines and periodicals covering such esoteric subjects as tropical fish and forteana is that despite all one's best intentions one always ends up getting overtaken by events.

So although I am hoping to have more Auburn video, some exclusive film of a Jefferson Starship soundcheck, an interview with Don Falcone of a massively cool band called Spirits Burning, an interview with Alan Davey ex of Hawkwind and all sorts of other stuff, including of course two more slices of the Michael Des Barres interview, and a particul;arly interesting chat with Corky Laing which are already in the can, and which will (barring disasters) appear this week..

In non-Gonzo content (because although I am supposed to be writing about Gonzo artists, the Cheesemeister  doesn't mind if I digress on occasion) I am expecting a live review of The Damned somewhere in the North-east, a live review of Peter Hook in Exeter and a review of his extraordinarily funny book about the disastrous period in which he and his bandmates in New Order ran the Hacienda (I'm sorry, but I haven't got the right font to do the little squiggly cedilla under the C.)

But like I said at the beginning of this column, if I have learned nothing else as an editor it is that I am always being overtaken by events, and so  I would not be surprised something completely different arrives in your inbox over the next week.

I hope that you, the readers, enjoy this newsletter each week. If you have any bright ideas about what you would like to see in it, and even if you have always harboured a hidden desire to be a journalist yourself then please do not hesitate to get in touch. The 21st Century has seen the end of the music industry as people like me knew it, and the emergence of a brave new set of disciplines to tantalise our senses. It is an exciting time to be involved in music, and I hope you all stick around for the ride.



Copyright © 2012, Gonzo Multimedia, All rights reserved.

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Jon Downes,
Gonzo Daily/Weekly,
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Telephone 01237 431413

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