Copy
THIS WEEK WE BRING YOU C.J.STONE, THOM THE WORLD POET, GREG LAKE, ALAN DAVEY, HAWKWIND, ROBERT CALVERT, HUGH HOPPER, PETER BANKS, YES, STEVE HOWE, JON ANDERSON, RICK WAKEMAN, CHRIS SQUIRE, GEOFF DOWNES, THEE TEMPLE OV PSYCHIC YOUTH, THE SHANGRI-LAS, SHADOW MORTON, CLOVER, JOHN LENNON, YOKO ONO, PINK FLOYD, FLOYD McCRAE, THE CHORDS, PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG, DAEVID ALLEN, BRAINVILLE, JIMMY CARL BLACK, FRANK ZAPPA, THEODORE CARTER, JESS AND MATTHEW
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?)
ALL THE GONZO NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT
Issue Eighteen        March 23rd 2013
I had been planning all week to have an Alice Cooper joke in here to mark our eighteenth edition, but I couldn't think of one that was both funny and non-obscene. So I gave up!
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.
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
Website
Website
Google Plus
Google Plus
Email
Email
Pinterest
Pinterest
LinkedIn
LinkedIn
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...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST
I have a friend called Nick Redfern, of whom you may have heard me speak.  He was born and bred in the British West Midlands, but now lives in Texas.  He is quite a well known writer, and an accomplished wordsmith, and I am doing my best to persuade him to write for these hallowed pages.  However, he is a child of 1977, and his favourite music has three chords and someone screaming "1234" very fast and very loud at the beginning. 

He also hates Prog Rock with a vengeance, and the other day, when I told him that Billy from Glass Onyon, who also happens to be the front man for the astoundingly experimental Ant-Bee, had sent me a bunch of MP3s of the new live album by Greg Lake, I won't sully these pages by repeating what he (Redfern, not Billy) wrote back to me.
One of the often repeated criticisms of progressive rock music, and in particular bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer, is that they were overblown, pretentious, and above all, pompous.  I never got that.  I actually think those criticisms can be levelled with far more accuracy at some of the heavy metal bands of the 1980s and nineties who coupled self-indulgent storylines lifted wholesale from a low-grade horror movie, with masturbatory guitar solos including a lot of widdly widdly noises accompanied by facial contortions which appeared to insinuate that the guitarist was badly constipated.

I always enjoyed the music of Emerson Lake and Palmer; I didn't even think that the final album, Love Beach was anywhere near as horrible as most critics said.  True, the cover, and even the title were pretty terrible, but some of the music to be found therein wasn't bad at all.  However, like most people, I always thought that the two peaks of their career were Tarkus (which a young adopted nephew of mine uses as make out music) and Brain Salad Surgery, which is still one of my favourite records.

So I was perfectly disposed to listen to the Greg Lake album with a positive ear, but I had no idea what to expect.  I knew that it was a mixture of music and spoken word; I also knew that it was Greg Lake solo, because I had seen photographs of him onstage with an acoustic guitar.  I had read a couple of reviews of his recent live shows which seemed to concentrate more on the fact that Greg in his sixties, was not as pretty as he had been 40 years ago.  So what?  Most of us aren't. (In fact I look better than I did in my mid-20s because I no longer have that preposterous moustache which made me look a cross between an estate agent and a cartoon goldfish). But I digress.

I don't know what I was expecting, but I certainly wasn't expecting what I got; a charming, likeable, and above all humble man revisiting parts of his life in front of an audience of total strangers.  Yes, humble is the only word that describes Greg Lake, or at least the way that he comes across on this album.  He tells the story of how he got his first guitar, how he wrote one of his most famous tracks Lucky Man, how he was overawed when he went to see Elvis, and even some amusing anecdotes about his life in King Crimson.  I could have listened to it for hours, and I was disappointed when it was over.

But what about the music?  He is after all, first and foremost, a musician, and I'm sure the readers of this little article are going to be more interested in his vocal prowess than in his talents as a raconteur.  Let me reassure you - his voice is lower than it once was, and it appeared to me (but remember this is just subjective, and I haven't got the energy to go back and compare the original versions with the versions that Billy sent to me as MP 3 files) that several of the songs had been rearranged to be in a lower key than that in which they originally appeared.  His stirring baritone brought a new dimension to some of the songs, especially those that had originally appeared on the first King Crimson LP (and by the way, I found the anecdote about the genesis of the cover of that classic record particularly touching). 

Something else which I found mildly interesting is that the version of C'est La Vie was far closer to the arrangement done by Judy Dyble on Talking with Strangers than it was to the original arrangement by Emerson Lake and Palmer.  As I told Judy when I originally interviewed her about the album, I had always loved the song, but disliked the original arrangement.  The new arrangements suit the song much better.

I was also surprisingly impressed by the way that the backing tapes worked.  As soon as I realised that these were not going to be solo acoustic performances, I was preparing to get self-righteous about artists of this calibre using pre-recorded backing tapes.  The word 'Karaoke' was not far from my lips.  But I was completely wrong.  It really didn't matter that there were no other musicians on stage with him, because his performance was warm, soulful, and intimate.  He even got away with singing People Get Ready by Curtis Mayfield, which - I'm sure you will agree - is probably the last song one would imagine  one of the premier vocalists in progressive rock music would attempt. (OK the last song would actually be that one about the mice in the windmill, but you know what I mean).

I am very much looking forward to reading his autobiography when it comes out, and hopefully catching up with him when he tours England again.  Maybe an interview is in order.

Watch this space!
By the way, I have posted links to two Greg Lake interviews on this weeks blogs:

http://gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2013/03/link-greg-lake-and-squids.html

http://gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2013/03/link-greg-lake-rock-guitar-daily.html
FEEDBACK: Bart Lancia does it again
I don't know how the man does it, but once again Bart has come up with news items of interest; and furthermore, they are news items that had completely passed me by.

In a show of support for gun control, Yoko Ono yesterday tweeted a photograph of the bloodied glasses her late husband John Lennon wore the day he was murdered. Accompanying the photo was the message: "Over 1,057,000 people have been killed by guns in the USA since John Lennon was shot and killed on 8 Dec 1980."

Read on...

Pink Floyd are inviting fans to gather on their website starting after midnight in England on Sunday – or Saturday at 8 p.m. EST – where they'll be able to stream the band's masterpiece Dark Side of the Moon in full to celebrate the LP's 40th anniversary, The New York Times reports.

Read on...

Thanks Bart. I don't know what I would do without my roving reporter...

FEEDBACK: I have another query for you
I have pretty well given up on finding the answer to my Shangri Las query, but I will reprint it below, in the vain hope that someone will be able to help me.

But I have another query that has been bugging me for years. As you know, as well as writing this newsletter every week, I also write and edit various publications involving more esoteric subjects. Add to that the fact that I have a lot of strange friends. So the really weird thing is that no-one I have spoken to (and this includes various musos, magicians, and hippies of different hues) has any idea what I am talking about.

Over the past thirty years or so I have noticed that some bands, instead of spelling the definite article 'THE' spell it 'THEE'. This is particularly prevalent amongst festiVal type bands or those with a magickal or esoteric bent: for example Thee Temple oV Psychic Youth, Thee Hypnotics and Thee Oh Cees.

Why? I assume it has some occult significance, but if so why do friends of mine who are interested in such things, have read The Lesser Key of Solomon (which I never have, despite owning a copy somewhere) and are generally involved in magick both holy and unholy, not know the answer?

Someone out there must know.

And remember I still want to know why there is a version of (Remember) Walking in the Sand which has a spoken intro that goes:

"Once there was a land where the flowers always grew, even in September.. do you remember?"

Now, my memory is not what it was, and I haven't heard this song for well over thirty years, and the month in the intro might have been November or December I can't remember. If anyone knows anything, please let me know. This has been bugging me for decades. 
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: Floyd McRae (1933-2013)
Our tribute to Floyd:

http://gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2013/03/those-we-have-lost-floyd-mcrae-1933-2013.html
I believe that I have all of Chris Stone's books, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that I really am a fan of his writing. He wrote several stories about his friend Kodan, and he wrote in such an engaging manner that I almost felt fond of him. When I read the opening words of this week's story, it was a very real shock...
Dancing With The Demons: the deadly romance of heroin

Kodan is dead. Who was he? He was a man who died before his time, of an overdose of heroin. He thought he could have one last blow-out before going into rehab. It was a blow-out all right. It blew out his life.

It’s an old story this. Anyone who has ever had dealings with junkies knows a version of this story. The junkie tries to go clean. Six months off, a year, but that old niggling urge is still there, like the voice of absolution whispering in his ear. And then one day there it is in front of him, for real, in the hands and eyes of another junkie, and he thinks, “well it can’t do any harm. Just one last time, for old time’s sake.” And the deed is done, the dose is too strong, the heart gives way and - bang! - he’s dead.

Life is cheap, they say. For a junkie it’s worth precisely ten pounds a wrap, with all the inevitable consequences: the degradation, the lies, the hurt, the betrayal of love, of friends and family, the manipulation, the theft, because to a junkie nothing really matters but junk.

It hurts to have to say this of my friend, but it’s true. In the end the person he betrayed the most was himself.

I first met him some time in the early nineties. He wasn’t really a junkie then. He was just practicing. It was late summer and the poppies were out, nodding on their stalks like little green sages with a secret message to convey. You’d be walking along with him and his neck would rise. “Pop, pop, pop,” he’d say: like that, turning his head left and right like a radar dish. “Pop, pop, pop.” And he’d leap a fence into someone’s garden and come back with all these poppy heads. And then later he would boil them up to make this awful, greeny-yellowy slop. I tried it myself once. I was sick for two days.

But I never saw any harm in Kodan’s obsession then. He was the most down-to-earth, yet the most cultured man I ever met.

We were good friends. We talked a lot, about anything and everything, about philosophy and art, about politics and religion, in the pub or at home, as we skedaddled here and there, from the far south of England, to Scotland, his home. We talked to save the world. And Kodan could listen too as well as talk. He could absorb your thoughts and play them back to you. He made you feel as if no one could understand you like he could. He was comfortable with intellectual intimacy.

So we had a bond, Kodan and I. It was only later that I discovered he had the much same bond with everyone else.

Read on...


COMING SOON FROM GONZO MULTIMEDIA:
Pierre Moerlen's Gong
To say that Gong were a peculiar band would really be an understatement. They were originally founded in the late 1960s by ex-Soft Machine guitarist Daevid Allen, who for various administrative reasons cited as ‘Visa irregularities’ but which I have always suspected were more to do with Daevid’s Situationist antics during the Paris Student protests of May 1968 which very nearly brought a successful revolution to Western Europe, he was not allowed back into the Mother Country to rejoin his Canterbury chums.
 
So Daevid went down to Deya in Majorca where he, and partner Gilly Smyth began to assemble a loose-knit collection of musicians who began recording under the name Gong. One of these musicians was Didier Malherbe (latter dubbed Bloomdido Bad-De Grass by Daevid), a tremendously gifted saxophonist and flautist, who Daevid claimed to have found living in a cave on the estate of poet Robert Graves. The rest is history.
 
Daevid, both with and without various versions of Gong, has produced a peerless body of work encompassing folk, jazz, rock and prog (often all of these things and more at once), and his musicianship and compositional skills are legendary.
 
Put like that it all seems simple, but it was anything but. After releasing You (the third part of the Radio Gnome Invisible saga, and the least silly of the albums to date) Daevid left the band. Whether it was because of personal difficulties, musical differences, or – as he claimed to me many years ago – because one night an enormous psychic force field prevented him going on stage, neither I or anyone else who wasn’t there at the time will ever know.
 
Daevid went solo, and also teamed up with Here and Now as Planet Gong, and later with the band that would later become Material as New York Gong. Eventually he would reform Gong, but that would be many decades in the future. A few years later Gilli Smyth formed Mother Gong. According to an unsourced quote in Wikipedia “Allen delighted in this proliferation of groups and considered his role at this time to be that of an instigator, travelling around the world leaving active Gong-related bands in his wake.” There may not be a citation there, but that certainly sounds like the Daevid I used to know.
 
What of the rest of the band? Well, many people believed that the idea of Gong without Daevid was like the Rolling Stones without Keith Richards, but after a stint as Paragong they regrouped as Gong with guitarist Steve Hillage at the helm. The band recorded a new album, but Hillage left before its release. Gilli Smyth and Tim Blake had left at around the same time as Daevid, so the rump of Gong now led by the only surviving founder member Didier Malherbe aka Bloomdido Bad de Grasse, found himself in need of recruiting new members. He brought in noted French percussionist
Pierre Moerlen as co-leader, and when de Grasse himself left in 1977, Moerlen was in charge.
 
The newly instated Pierre Moerlen’s Gong sometimes also known as Expresso Gong made some excellent and innovative records, and – amongst many other things – were responsible for this album. So it all comes round in circles in the end. 

COMING SOON FROM GONZO MULTIMEDIA:
Brainville


Who are Brainville? You might well ask.
 
  • Daevid Allen
 
Whichever way you look at it, Daevid Allen is one of the most interesting and enigmatic characters in music. An Australian, he was working in a Melbourne book shop when he discovered the writings of the ‘Beat Generation’, and his life was never the same again. He travelled to Europe in search of the Beatnik ‘nirvana’ in 1960, and found himself in a Paris hotel, living in a room that had only very recently before been vacated by poet Allen Ginsberg and his life partner, fellow poet Peter Orlovsky. Here he met Terry Riley who introduced the young Allen to the world of free jazz, and the notorious William Burroughs.
 
Armed with these revolutionary new ideas, he travelled across the channel to England where he formed The Daevid Allen Trio featuring his landlord’s 16 year old son Robert Wyatt on drums. A few years later in 1966 they formed the legendary Soft Machine with Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge.
 
After a European Tour in 1967, Allen was refused entry to the UK because of a visa irregularity, and moved back to France, where he became involved in the famous student insurrection of 1968. He then moved to Deya, Majorca where he, and partner Gilly Smyth began to assemble a loose-knit collection of musicians who began recording under the name Gong.
 
Daevid, both with and without various versions of Gong, has produced a peerless body of work encompassing folk, jazz, rock and prog (often all of these things and more at once), and his musicianship and compositional skills are legendary.
 
  • Kramer
 
His partner on these legendary recordings is Mark Kramer (known usually by his surname), who is almost equally as legendary as Daevid but in a completely different genre. He was a member of New York Gong and a band called Bongwater and toured with many famous acts (usually playing bass guitar) including The Fugs and The Butthole Surfers.
 
In the late 1980s he was sound co-ordinator on Penn and Teller’s Broadway shows, and later formed a band with Penn Jilette. He started his own Shimmy Disc records, and in 1992 Kramer sold his Noise New York recording studio and moved just across the Hudson River, where he'd found a house going into foreclosure with a state-of-the-art 24-track recording studio built in. He dubbed the studio Noise New Jersey, and continued to produce recordings. One of his albums that year was Who’s Afraid with Daevid Allen, and three years later the duo followed it up with another album, Hit Men.
 
Unsurprisingly when one considers that these records are a collaboration between two artistes for which the word ‘idiosyncratic’ is an understatement, the music they made together is impossible to categorise, and even more impossible to describe.
 
  • Hugh Hopper
 
Hugh Hopper started his musical career in 1963 as the bass player with the aforementioned Daevid Allen Trio alongside drummer Robert Wyatt.  There can be few other free jazz bands of the era with such a stellar line-up. Unlike other legendary ensembles such as The Crucial Three (a Liverpool band from 1977 which featured three musicians who were to go on to enormous success) the Daevid Allen Trio actually played gigs and made recordings.
 
All three members ended up in Soft Machine, which together with Pink Floyd was the ‘house band’ of the burgeoning ‘Underground’ movement which tried so hard to turn British cultural mores upside down for a few years in the latter half of the 1960s.  (Hopper and Wyatt had also been in another legendary Canterbury band called The Wilde Flowers).  Hopper stayed with Soft Machine (for whom he was initially the group’s road manager) until 1973 playing at least one session with Syd Barrett along the way.
 
During his tenure the band developed from a psychedelic pop group to an instrumental jazz rock fusion band, all the time driven by the lyrical bass playing of Hugh Hopper.
 
After leaving the band he worked with many pillars of the jazz rock fusion scene such as: Isotope, Gilgamesh, Stomu Yamashta and Carla Bley.  He also formed some co-operative bands with Elton Dean who had also been in Soft Machine, and made some excellent and demanding records with Kramer. No, not the bloke from Seinfeld with the silly haircut. Aren’t you paying attention?
 
  • Pip Pyle
 
Pyle joined Phil Miller, a friend from kindergarten, and Phil's brother Steve, in forming Bruno's Blues Band, which rapidly evolved into Delivery. However, Pyle left the band in 1970 after arguing with singer Carol Grimes. He briefly played in blues band Chicken Shack and Steve Hillage's band Khan.
 
In 1971, drummer Robert Wyatt asked Pyle to play instead of him on one track of Daevid Allen's solo album Banana Moon. From this, Pyle joined Allen in Gong. While only in the band for eight months, Pyle plays on both Camembert Électrique and Continental Circus. Pyle was replaced by Laurie Allan, but rejoined Gong for a period in the 1990s.
 
In 1972, Pyle worked with Paul Jones (who had been singing with Manfred Mann), before founding Hatfield and the North with the Miller brothers in 1972. Steve Miller was soon replaced in the band and the line-up eventually settled on Pyle, Phil Miller, Richard Sinclair and keyboardist Dave Stewart. Hatfield and the North was released in 1974, while a second album, The Rotters' Club, followed the next year. As well as drumming, Pyle wrote many of the band's lyrics.

Following Hatfield, Pyle joined Miller and Stewart in National Health as well as playing in other projects, including Soft Heap with Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean and Alan Gowen. He also played on Neil's Heavy Concept Album (1984), a spin-off from the television series The Young Ones with which Stewart was involved.
 
So how did these four guys, for whom the word ‘maverick’ was probably coined, come to work together? Well, it was all down to Kramer. He had made a couple of albums each with Daevid and Hugh, and with the benefit of hindsight it seems that it was always going to be only a matter of time before the three of them worked together. And when they did, who was the most obvious choice as a drummer?
 
When you put it like that it all seems remarkably logical dunnit?
THE YES CIRCULAR - THE WORD IS NOW
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 a busy week for the Yes camp, and for the various Yes alumni in their various solo projects. We posted an interview with Steve Howe this week, which you can read HERE. Surprisingly there is a dearth of live reviews from the current tour. Apart from several from the Los Angeles show (a good one and a not-so good one), there haven't been any others yet, or not that I have found.

If anyone out there in readership land can find any, please email me at the usual address.
We also posted an interesting interview with Chris Squire and a very revealing interview with Geoff Downes (who is, as I have said before, as far as I am aware, no relation to me whatsoever).

We also found a nice mini documentary on the late Peter Banks, and Jon Anderson paid a gracious tribute to his erstwhile bandmate. Rick Wakeman's biographer also had a few words to say...

The jury is still out on the question of  whether the new line-up will convince the fanbase that they are the bona fide wearers of the Yes crown, or whether the fact that neither Rick Wakeman or Jon Anderson is involved, is just too big a blow. I don't know about you, but I am finding this all immensely fascinating, and cannot wait to see what happens next.

Watch this space!
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (UK)
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (USA)
THE BOOK OF YOU!
perhaps started as a squeal,a squeak,
a song,a hiss-perhaps even silence
proceeded into photograph,records,documents, school records,certificates
a little library - a paper trail - a passport, awards, accreted family histories
Archives become necessary as paper ages like us.We grow gray as they yellow.
Where shall we index you? By surname or first? By achievements?
Every little Wikileak relies upon a Wikipedia. Whistleblowers need records!
Little libraries accumulate data. We become Akashic. Remember memories?
Chronicles, histories - all stories begin like this - a tale shared, collected, remembered
Then the organizing of texts - assembling like soldiers in the war on memory
Forgetting is our foe - we remind war he fails peace. Austerity fails prosperity.
We must not fail our Libraries. Remember - we are all books. Archive us gently.
Remainder us rarely. Antiquarians. Bibliophiles. We are all self-published. Rare!
We must not fail our Libraries. Remember - we are all books. Archive us gently.
Remainder us rarely.Antiquarians.Bibliophiles. We are all self-published. Rare!
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 which came from our old mate Graham Inglis.

Hawkwind eased off appearing at small English festivals in the '80s but still did a few, here and there. Ditto the '90s, and one appearance in North Devon was something for the organisers to trumpet. They produced an eight-page booklet for their Summer Daze festival in 1996:


 

 

Held on Stapleton Farm near Stibb Cross, I attended with several mates, one of whom couldn't remember, the day after, anything about the Hawkwind performance. I remembered having had a head-bang / hair-shake to "Hassan i Sahba" (the one with the chorus line about hashish) but couldn't remember anything else.

Must've been a good show, then!


Read on...


CLOVER: Unsung Heroes
The Clover story begins during the "Summer of Love" of 1967 when the band played their first gig. Before we go any further however, it might be prudent to say that although many people regard Huey Lewis as the main member of Clover, mainly due to the subsequent success of Huey Lewis and The News, he didn't join the band until 1971.  In fact Huey doesn't even feature on the band's early albums recorded for Fantasy.
 
The band played a number of gigs with an amazing array of high profile artists including, Canned Heat, The MC5 and Steve Miller Band.  Signing to Fantasy Records in 1969, where the band became label mates of Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Clover recorded their debut self titled album. In the meantime Hugh Anthony Cregg III, joined the line up initially playing harmonica and occasionally stepping up to the microphone for vocals.    Hugh Anthony Cregg III of course was Huey Lewis, although initially he called himself Hughie Louie after two of Donald Duck's nephews! With Huey on board the band continued.
 
In 1976, following a gig in a club in San Francisco, which was witnessed by Nick Lowe, the band were persuaded to up sticks and move to the U.K., where the "Pub Rock " scene was well established. The band soon secured a deal however with Phonogram records. The Clover, recorded two albums for Phonogram, with the second being produced by a young Mutt Lange.   Neither album was a success and despite being the backing band for the Elvis Costello album, ‘My Aim Is True’,  they headed back to America and split in 1978. Both Huey and John McFee would go onto bigger success.  Huey, with Huey Lewis and the News and John with the Doobie Brothers.
CLOVER AT GONZO (UK)
CLOVER AT GONZO (USA)
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Introducing Jimmy Carl Black the Indian of the Group

Jimmy Carl Black started recording two years before he joined the band that became Frank Zappa's legendary Mothers of Invention.  That early group was The Keys, whose 1962 single ‘Stretch Pants/Just A Matter of Time’, is a prized rarity.  Jimmy was the drummer and sometime vocalist with the Mothers of Invention from 1964 until 1969, when Frank Zappa fired the entire band. 

After the split, Jimmy continued to work occasionally with Frank, most notably appearing in the film, ‘200 Motels’, in 1971. During the seventies he played with Captain Beefheart and in the eighties, formed The Grandmothers, with other previous members of the Mothers of Invention. Jimmy also made a number of solo albums as well as touring regularly with the Zappa/Beefheart tribute act, The Muffin Men, until his death in 2008.

CHECK HIM OUT AT AT GONZO USA
CHECK HIM OUT AT GONZO UK
COMING SOON: Classic Robert Calvert
by Graham Inglis

 

In the 1980s Bob Calvert - the late resident poet and on-and-off frontman for the space rock kings, Hawkwind - was developing a musical career of his own until he suddenly died of heart failure in August 1988. Development of new songs, experiments with commercial electronic music and the reworking of old songs was carried out at his home in Margate. Absorbing this material into his overall stage repertoir , he'd then go 'out on the road' and perform it. This release covers both aspects of this process.
 
He was, sadly, never really noticed by the wider public or by the general music broadcast media. He just never became fashionable. His output has been compared to such diverse performers as Gary Numan, Syd Barratt, Brian Eno and Michael Moorcock but perhaps there's only one label that really counts: Bob Calvert. 
 
This pairing, then, is a 'must' for all fans of the man's work, displaying both musical sides: the flamboyant stage performance, and the quieter and more thoughtful feel of the studio. "Blueprints From The Cellar" is a CD version of some home created demos and experiments, originally released informally to fans by mail order as "The Cellar Tapes" - available in cassette tape form only. Many fans of Calvert and the general Hawkwind-related music scene were unaware of these two cassette releases, as promotion was by word of mouth only. Ah, the days before the World Wide Web.
 
Many of the tracks also appeared on his albums "Test Tube Conceived" and "Freq" and many were performed on the live portion of this release: "At The Queen Elizabeth Hall".  This performance was recorded live in October 1986; it was originally released on vinyl, but sadly in very limited quantities and sadly - since it was his first live album - after his premature death.
 
Stage performances in 1986 were enabled by accompanying bands Maximum Effect and then Krankschaft. Maximum Effect was formed from Nik Turner's band Inner City Unit. Also in this year his own recording of poems - collectively called "Centigrade 232" after the temperature at which paper will burn - saw its first audio release. 
 
Most of his gigs consisted of a mixture of poems and songs, and sometimes sketches and tangential interractions with the audiences. Sometimes under some pressure to "do some Hawkwind" he often preferred to be thought of as a poet and playwright. Space rock, he told me once, is "old hat." That was way back in 1977!
 
The second half of this pairing, the "Blueprints" disc allows us to, in effect, peep over the shoulder of a craftsman honing his musical creations in his workshop, the spools on the old Revox sedately turning.  Some of the songs done during this era were developed and augmented to the point of being ready for transfer to the next-intended studio album; others were little more than rough outlines or embryonic ideas that weren't carried forward to fruition.
 
Songs about diamond mines, and Soweto (a shanty town area of the city of Johannesburg) remind us of his interest in his country of birth: he was born in South Africa, although he left there at the age of two when his parents emigrated to England.
 
Lyrics like "home computers now / that can keep an eye on you" make one wonder what Calvert would have thought of the current age, 25 years on, where computer-assisted spying is part of normal everyday life.  Other themes that he explored range from the interations between people and technology through to feelings and fears - and even the worlds of factory work and espionage! ("In a house-boat on the Nile...... secret papers from a file....")
 
While the audio quality falls somewhat short of that of a soundboard recording, it is an invaluable document of this era of the Captain's composing and performing genius. 
 
ROBERT CALVERT AT GONZO USA
ROBERT CALVERT AT GONZO UK
FRIENDS AND RELATIONS:
A wonderful book

I get sent a lot of books, but seldom have I been sent one as immediately engaging as this one. This is a delightful collection of peculiar (and sometimes beguilingly macabre) short stories with Fortean themes.
 
Carter is a particularly elegant writer, and he provides a series of unique takes on familiar Fortean phenomena. For example in 'The Who Doin’ Doll' he deconstructs the familiar mythos of the voodoo poppet, and his boy who could walk on water did so for completely secular reasons.
 
In the same story he provides a delightful twist on modern cultural mores. The first reaction to the previously mentioned boy walking on water is that a fervent Christian journalist accuses him of mocking Christian values, and a right on Liberal complains that such actions within the public school system are mocking the separation of church and state.
 
In another story he looks at a young man with a particularly sensitive nose, and we discover how this turns out to be more of a curse than a blessing. And another story starts off with someone throwing up a live goldfish.
 
There are times, as I get older, that I begin to feel jaded, but it is the discovery of books like this, that come out of nowhere from someone that I have never actually heard of that gets rid of that feeling. Theodore Carter is a very talented writer with a spectacularly mischievous imagination, and I am very much looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next. JD

Check it out at Amazon


THE BEST LAID PLANS...
And so, once again,  another week, and another newsletter comes to a close. Today's issue was done despite the fact that my adopted niece Jessica and her boyfriend Matthew have been in and out of the office all day doing important cleaning up and tidying tasks, and distracting me beyond measure with teenage prattle. 
By the way, I would like to point out that I am very fond of them both, and value my uncledom highly. I love having them around, and wouldn't have it any other way. However, they do distract me.

Please forgive me if you have written to me over the past seven days and have not yet received a reply. I have been rushed off my feet with stuff, and the next few weeks are going to be even more hectic. Nevertheless, I do try to keep on top of my correspondence, and I always get there in the end. Honest!

I have spent much of this last week integrating my new recording equipment, and so I think that it will not be long before we have an audio component  to these newsletters, for those as wants to listen. There is also likely to be a monthly magazine in both digital and hard copy formats at some point, as soon as I have managed to attract around me more like-minded souls who want to contribute.

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,
Slainte

Jon Downes
(Editor)
Copyright © 2013, Gonzo Multimedia, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Jon Downes,
Editor.
Gonzo Daily/Weekly,
Myrtle Cottage,
9 Back Street,
Woolsery,
Bideford,
North Devon
EX39 5QR

Telephone 01237 431413

Fax+44 (0)7006-074-925
eMail
jon@eclipse.co.uk
unsubscribe from this list   update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp