This is quite simply the best magazine you will ever find that is edited by a mad bloke (and his orange kitten), and produced from a tumbledown potato shed on the outskirts of a tiny village that nobody's heard of in North Devon. The fact that it is published with Gonzo Multimedia - probably the grooviest record company in the known universe - is merely an added bonus.
all the gonzo news that’s fit to print
Issue Fifty-Three    November 23rd 2013
This issue was put together by me and Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent, (who is, in case you didn't know, an insane orange kitten on the verge of adulthood) ably assisted by:

Corinna Downes, (Sub Editor, and my lovely wife)
Graham Inglis, (Columnist, Staff writer, Hawkwind nut)
Bart Lancia, (My favourite roving reporter)
Thom the World Poet, (Bard in residence)
C.J.Stone, (Columnist, commentator and all round good egg)
Kev Rowland, (Reviewer)
Lesley Madigan, Photographer par excellence
Douglas Harr, (Staff writer, columnist)
Dave McMann, (He ain't nothing but a) Newshound-dog
and Peter McAdam (McDada in residence)

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?)
What? You don't know who Hunter Thompson is/was/might have been/will be? Without Hunter Thompson there would be no Gonzo Multimedia. It would have been completely different and that would have been an unforgivable pity. So here is:
C.J.Stone suggested that as well as explaining Gonzo to those wot don't understand, we should do a weekly quote from the great man himself. So here goes:

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” 
                                 Hunter S. Thompson
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
It is simple; my name is Jon and I'm the editor of the Gonzo Multimedia daily online bloggything. Now there is a weekly magazine, once again edited by me and a small orange kitten from a dilapidated ex-potato shed  in rural Devonshire, to which you subscribed 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 easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...

I keep on thinking that I ought to have some sort of a mission statement in each issue, but it is more than a little difficult to do one. Basically, (if you don't mind me sounding more like a wishy washy old hippy than my haircut in the photograph above would imply) I think that books and music are immensely important. I look around and see that we are living in a world where the things that I think are important are valued less and less by society as a whole; a world where asinine gameshows and so-called reality TV (which is actually a complete oxymoron, but don't get me started) are of more importance to most people than anything of cultural or spiritual value.

I am also very disappointed by much of what the contemporary music press puts out, and I decided many years ago, that probably the only way I could read the things that I want to read, would be to publish them myself. So this is what I have been doing for much of my life. I am also naive enough to think that music and art can change the world, and as the world is in desperate need of change, I am gonna do my best to help.
MORE LIKE A MAGAZINE: Hello, good evening and...
Welcome to another edition of a magazine which is growing far more quickly than I had ever imagined. We have another couple of new features in mind, but - already - I cut and pasted the magazine into MS-Word the other day, and it is basically now the equivalent of fifty plus A4 pages a week. Eventually I intend to double that, add some paid advertising and be able to pay contributors. But one thing I can assure you - this magazine will ALWAYS remain free!

There might end up being an option where you can buy a hard copy version, or something like that, but this edition will always remain free.

I am particularly pleased with this issue, especially the Keith Levine interview. He is someone that I have always wanted to meet, and it is always gratifying to fulfil one's ambitions. Off camera he told me that the reason he likes Gonzo Weekly so much is that it has the spirit of an old punk fanzine. This is something with which I have to agree, and it is an attribute of which I am very proud, because I planned it that way.

This magazine takes a lot of work from quite a few people (ten at the moment and rising almost weekly) but it is, and will remain an idiosyncratic and slightly cranky labour of love put together by people for whom music is an immensely important part of their lives, and the world is ever-so-slightly surreal, and getting weirder and more incomprehensible by the day.


1. Art is as important as science and more important than money
2. There is life after (beyond and before) Pop Idol
3. Music can and sometimes does change the world

If you think those three ideas are stupid then you should probably give up reading this magazine now. Otherwise... enjoy
As is the rest of this magazine, this is mostly about music, and the bits of contemporary culture that I find interesting, but it also has a smattering of actual NEWS, especially if there are ethical questions that effect us all, or one of those put in authority over us does something spectacularly inane. The nearest that this section will ever come to politics is laughing at politicians.
Dave McMann sent this one....
On November 11th Labour-Led Camden Council passed a resolution which criminalised the playing of music in ANY public space in the borough without first obtaining a licence from February onwards. Under this contentious piece of legislation playing a guitar in the street for fun, even without any container for donations, has become a criminal offence punishable by a £1000 fine, the seizure of instruments in the streets by force, and the sale of those instruments to pay the fine after 28 days. Read on...

and this...
Ministers have been urged to tackle 'mooning' after a Tory Peer witnessed schoolchildren indulging in the practice on a bus while he was driving to a rugby match. Lord James of Blackheath said his wife was  horrified that police were doing nothing to deal with groups of school children showing their naked backsides and said the perpetrators should be jailed if they are caught. The pair witnessed 40 children exposing their bottoms as they travelled to watch England play at Twickenham.
As you may know, downloads were banned from Mediafire a while ago and since the closure of Megaupload by the FBI the traditional downloads hosting website were becoming more and more unreliable. To address this problem, decided to launch its own dedicated server to host the downloads.  Read on...
Last issue we told how Paul McCartney had written to Russia's President Putin interceding on behalf of the gaoled Greenpeace protesters. Whether or not it was the result of this letter, something certainly seems to have worked as this Huffington Post news story reports...

The six Britons held by the Russian state over charges relating to a Greenpeace protest have been granted bail, with five of the six released on Friday following an International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, sitting in Hamburg. Read on...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Roy Harper - Man and Myth
Roy Harper has just released an extraordinary album called Man or Myth and as the accompanying PR Blurb says quite truly: "first studio album in 13 years, isn’t just proof that one of the leading, most erudite and passionate orators of the British folk rock renaissance hasn’t lost an iota of his gifts, but also timely evidence for anyone who has wondered why so many musical luminaries have been lining up to praise this enigmatic and legendary singer-songwriter."
It is an extraordinary album, and one which I have no hesitation in recommending. Sadly, however, Roy has been in the news for other reasons this week. As The BBC reports:

The veteran folk and rock performer Roy Harper has appeared in court charged with a series of child sex offences. The singer-songwriter did not enter a plea during his four-minute appearance at Hereford Magistrates' Court.

Mr Harper, of Rossmore, near Clonakilty in the Republic of Ireland, is accused of two counts of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 13 in the 1970s. Mr Harper, 72, also faces three charges of indecent assault and four charges of gross indecency.

Bearing in mind that I am openly an anarchist, and have often expressed my lack of faith in the rule of law this might seem a peculiar statement, but I would like to point out that under British Law the accused is innocent until proven guilty, and I would like to think that the British media, and the general public at large will remember that fact. 
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved and their families, and hope that the matter will be swiftly brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Steve Hackett Tour dates
Steve Hackett's Genesis Extended
Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett has announced his Genesis Extended Tour, featuring a selection of classics to include some of the gems he had to sacrifice on the Award winning Genesis Revisited live shows. With a career and repertoire spanning decades between Genesis and his outstanding solo work, this will be the last opportunity for fans to see Hackett perform a whole set from the seminal prog band's catalogue.

An enthusiastic Steve Hackett explains: "Due to the success of the Genesis Revisited shows, in 2014 we're extending both the dates and the concept. We'll launch into a full Genesis set with favourites from this year such as The Musical Box, Dancing with the Moonlit Knight and Supper's Ready along with the addition of other Genesis classics which are often requested and the audiences deserve to hear... I'm really excited about this!"

Steve Hackett was Genesis' guitarist from 1971 to 1977 and is the first ex-member to re-record and tour that part of the band's material in Genesis Revisited I (1996) and II (2012). Taking the stage again with Steve Hackett is an exceptional team of top class musicians, including Roger King (Gary Moore, Snoop Doggie Dog, Jamelia) on keyboards, Gary O'Toole (Kylie Minogue, Chrissie Hynde) on drums, percussion and vocals, Rob Townsend (Eddie Henderson, Bill Bruford, Django Bates) on sax, flute and percussion, Nick Beggs (Kim Wilde, Steven Wilson) on bass & twelve string and Nad Sylvan (Unifaun, Agents Of Mercy) on vocals.

The Genesis Extended Show will visit some of the locations that Genesis Revisited missed, and will also return to London where the two previous dates - Hammersmith Apollo and Royal Albert Hall - completely sold out. It will be a chance to celebrate the success of the Genesis Revisited - Live at Hammersmith CD/DVD box set and Hackett's recent Prog Award for best Live Event, again for that famous Hammersmith night.

Talking about Hackett's astounding live performance, Classic Rock Prog magazine wrote:'a faithful, inspired trip down memory lane which reaffirms the majesty of many of progs defining moments. Hearing a packed house inquire in unison, 'A flower?' is a spine-tingling experience'; 'spine-tingling' was also the word used by the Newcastle' Chronicle to describe the brilliance of his guitar solo, while Fireworks called the show 'magnificent in every respect' and Classic Rock Society defined it as 'two hours and a half of pure joy for any Genesis fan'. The Daily Mail was particularly impressed with Steve's band, able to'match the studio recordings and even improve on them'.

If you missed the show or the show missed your favourite track, here's your chance to relive the timeless magic that is Genesis, thanks to guitar wizard Steve Hackett and his remarkable live band. Once again, back to make everyone happy.

There will be an exclusive VIP experience to meet Steve before the show.

Click here to get your hands on these exclusive Meet & Greet packages

Please note the ticket price is included in the package
The Genesis Extended tour will hit the UK in October 2014, dates as follows:


Tue 21st Oct IPSWICH Regent Theatre 01473 433 100
Wed 22nd Oct BRIGHTON Centre 0844 847 1515
Fri 24th Oct NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall 0115 989 5555
Sat 25th Oct GLASGOW Clyde Auditorium 0844 395 4000
Sun 26th Oct YORK Barbican 0844 854 2757
Tue 28th Oct SOUTHEND Cliffs Pavilion 01702 351 135
Wed 29th Oct SOUTHAMPTON 02 Guildhall 023 8063 2601
Thu 30th Oct CARDIFF St David's Hall 02920 878 444
Sat 1st Nov LONDON * Eventim Apollo 0844 249 4300
Sun 2nd Nov SALFORD The Lowry 0843 208 6000
Mon 3rd Nov GUILDFORD Glive 0844 770 1797
Tue 4th Nov BIRMINGHAM Symphony Hall 0121 345 0602


Ticket prices for all venues except London are £29.50 and £27.50 all seated (except Guildford seated/standing) and London* £35 and £30. 24hr Ticket Hotline: 0844 338 0000 Online: (Agency & credit card bookings subject to booking fee) Showtime for all shows is 7.30pm (plus support).


Labour frontbencher Jack Dromey was left red-faced after it emerged he added a Twitter link to a gay porn website to his list of ‘favourites’. The shadow policing minister - who is married to Labour deputy leader, Harriet Harman - linked to a tweet about well-endowed black men. The link showed a picture of two men engaged in a sex act.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Unreal City to host Prog Festival in Parma
The other day I was chatting to the lovely Francesca Zanetta of Unreal City who told me: Well, we're writing new songs and our 2nd album will be recorded in 2014 and released in early 2015
and we are organizing a progfest in Parma which will take place in March 2014. It will be dedicated to all young prog bands that still exist in Italy. We, as unreal city, have the artistic direction of the festival its name will be "Prog in Parma"

More details as we get them
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  A brief update from Galahad
This is a very brief update, but any news from the Galahad camp is always welcome. I had a brief chat with Stu Nicholson this week. He told me: Hi Jonathan, not a lot at mo, other than we have finished recording for our three forthcoming EP's which will be mixed in the next couple of weeks or so..."
DAVE McMANN WRITES: At last the Internet is Safe

I am sure you will all join me in thanking David Cameron for cleaning up the internet.
For far too long when we have used Google we have been utterly bombarded with images of child sexual abuse*, haven't we? But thanks to Cameron that is about to stop. Hurrah, those sick scumbags who are into those vile images will now not be able to see them and rightly so. Well done Prime Minister, now please go after the free press, blogs, those trouble makers in Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, writers, poets, documentary film makers, John Pilger would be a good start, in fact, anyone who brings facts to the people. I demand that the head of Mediawatch becomes culture secretary...
*Strangely enough, I have seen many things, but thankfully never that.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Dylan Howe Kickstarter Triumph
Following on from the exclusive interview he did with Gonzo Weekly last month, on the 21st, Dylan Howe posted this on his Facebook page: "It's three hours to go on the Kickstarter clock and it's just amazing - 119% funded - THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH - what an amazing thing. To everyone that has pledged, shared and commented, thank you! Makes me think of a Sun Tzu quote “Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?” - well, now I can - thanks to all of you"

Congratulations mate. You deserve it.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Exciting news for fans of Auburn and Jefferson Starship and I'm a fan of both
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: And whilst on the subject of Jefferson Starship
 Rick here, I do the website for Jefferson Starship (not Starship-no, no). I also keep in touch with several old Bands. Always enjoy the Hawkwind updates and sometimes try to get Kantner and Brock together when the band is in England. Came close once...
 That site is
 Thought some of your readers might enjoy this classic show:
 I have a site too:
Got some music:
and for a very rare CD by Paul Kantner and an all star lineup (This is the shameless capitalist part of the e-mail.):
 featuring the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra - first time on CD (from the RCA Archives).
 I don't really know how I get the Gonzo e-mail, but thanks just the same.
Rick McNamara
Troy, NY

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Curious Caption Competition
It is the Grande Fromage with Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, and Rob has promised a cracking prize for the best caption emailed to me  before the end of this week...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Though Cowards Scoff and Traitors sneer....

Judy Dyble never ceases to amaze me. Check this out.


  • Customer (featuring Attila the Stockbroker)

  • Relentless (featuring Judy Dyble)

  • Employment

  • Thee Faction’s Christmas Song

This new EP will be available at our next London gig. On the 28th November. Buffalo Bar. With Keith TOTP and his Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band. And also with Abdoujaparov (Fruitbat off of out of Carter USM’s current band).

Judy writes: "...and what's more I will be at this and I may be singing a bit of 'Marx, My Main Man'"

On Thursday 28th November legends of Socialist RnB Thee Faction visit fashionable North London's fashionable Buffalo Bar to launch our new EP. It's called 'Songs To Remind The Class of The Glorious Victory to Come, And The Work That Must Be Done To Get There'.

You can buy it on the night for £3 on CD. It includes a reworking of 'Customer' with Attila the Stockbroker on lead vocals, a hymn what we wrote called 'Relentless', sung by Judy Dyble off of out of Fairport Convention, our dramatic work in which Billy Brentford plays the part of the lick-spittle running-dog capitalist hyenas we oppose while Kassandra Krossing et al play the revolutionary proletariat ('Employment' off of our current album Good Politics), and 'Thee Faction's Christmas Song', which acts as a message to Christmas's semi-official sponsor.

Here is a trailer for it. It's not limited edition or anything bourgeois like that, but we've pressed up very few of them and won't be pressing up any more. The Buffalo bar gig will be brilliant because it's with Keith ToTP's band, and Fruitbat off of out of Carter USM's band, and it'll all be lovely and comradely. Get your tickets here:
We have a new show for you this week - the latest from Matthew Watkins but there are some other 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.

Date Published: 23rd November 2013

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

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

I also plan to include guest one-hour mixes from various musicians from the current music scene in Canterbury (Episode 2 features a mix from Neil Sullivan from Lapis Lazuli).

And for those of you who wonder what Matthew was referring to when he writes about Canterbury Soundwaves we have brought you all the back catalogue of that as well. Those wacky guys at Gonzo, eh?

ISSUE NINE: Hugh Hopper and Richard Sinclair collaborating, Steve Hillage with Gong and The Orb, an excursion into 70s dub, King Crimson from '71, Byrne and Eno from '81, Bobby Hutcherson, the Third Ear Band, and more from Robert Wyatt's recently released '68 demos. From the current Canterbury music scene: Syd Arthur, Arlet and Koloto, as well as the second half of Boot Lagoon drummer Seth Deuchar's guest mix documenting the history of electronic music (this time covering 1968 to the present).

Playlist for this episode

isten to the show

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

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 very nearly a year 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.
1.  Sky Architect: 'A Billion Years of Solitude'
Dutch prog rockers SKY ARCHITECT return with their brand new album "A Billion Years Of Solitude” Two years after their ambitious "A Dying Man's Hymn", SKY ARCHITECT are now back with "A Billion Years Of Solitude". Prepare for a launch into space. Prepare for wormholes. Prepare for planet eaters, supernovae, and lots of unexpected twists and turns. This time heavily inspired by the vintage science fiction classics, SKY ARCHITECT boldly venture into new territories, once again proving themselves to be pioneers within the genre.
2.  Fankhauser Cassidy Band 'On The Blue Road'
Merrell Fankhauser is considered one of the main innovators of surf music and psychedelic folk rock, and is widely known as the leader of the instrumental surf group The Impacts who had the international hit “Wipeout”. His travels from Hollywood to his 15 year jungle experience on the island of Maui have been documented in numerous music books and magazines in the US and Europe. Merrell has gained legendary international status throughout the field of rock music; his credits include over 250 songs published and released. He also made this classic album with legendary drummer Ed Cassidy.
3.  Felix Pappalardi 'Don’t' Worry Ma'

As a producer, Pappalardi is perhaps best known for his work with British psychedelic blues-rock power trio Cream, beginning with their second album, Disraeli Gears. Pappalardi has been referred to in various interviews with the members of Cream as "the fourth member of the band" as he generally had a role in arranging their music. He also played a session role on the songs he helped them record. He also produced The Youngbloods' first album.

4.  Revolution Soundtrack

The soundtrack to a long forgotten psychedelic movie which mines the deep and mellifluously rich vein of blues which ran fairly close to the surface throughout the culture of psychedelic bands in the San Francisco Scene. And this soundtrack album features three of the best: Steve Miller, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Mother Earth

5.  Brand X  'Is There Anyone About?'

Brand X was another one of those bands who were beloved of other musicians, and the more discerning of critics, but which despite everything never had the commercial success that it deserved. They were a jazz fusion band active 1975–1980. Noted members included Phil Collins (drums), Percy Jones (bass), John Goodsall (guitar) and Robin Lumley (keyboards). Not long after jazz/rock fusion greats Brand X put out their 1980 album, "Do They Hurt?", the band members went their separate ways (until their comeback in 1992 which only featured Goodsall and Jones).

6.  Gary Windo 'Steam Session Tapes'

Gary is one of those people who never really achieved the recognition that was due to him. Not while he was alive, at least. A highly original musician with an instantly recognizable style, Gary Windo was part of the Canterbury scene in the Seventies. Most notable was his work with Robert Wyatt on the albums Rock Bottom (1974) and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975), and Hugh Hopper on 1984 (1973) and Hoppertunity Box (1976). He was also a member of the Carla Bley band for three years.

7.  Pierre Moerlen's Gong 'Live at the Bataclan, Paris'

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 excellent live album. So it all comes round in circles in the end.

8.  Mick Abrahams and the This Was Band  'This Is!'

Mick Abrahams and chums toured in 1998 playing the entire Jethro Tull debut album This Was, authentically recreating the live sound of Jethro Tull, 1968 style. This superbly recorded CD is a great reminder of the tour if you caught it, or a scintillating taste of what you missed! 

9.  The Deviants 'Dr Crow'

The legendary Mick Farren, for nearly forty years their singer and guiding light has stated that The Deviants were originally a community band which "did things every now and then—it was a total assault thing with a great deal of inter-relation and interdependence". Musically, Farren described their sound as "teeth-grinding, psychedelic rock" somewhere between The Stooges and The Mothers of Invention.The Deviants have been described as a transition between classic British psych and the punk/heavy metal aesthetic of the 1970s. They were the glorious sound of rebellion and a true people's band, or a bloody awful row, depending on your viewpoint. Personally I favour the first description. 

10.  Percy Jones 'Cape Catastrophe'

After his years in the heyday of British fusion and art rock, Jones moved to New York City and began occasionally showing up as a performer on the so-called downtown scene, as logical a place for him to attempt a fresh start as any. He recorded Cape Catastrophe in 1988 and 1989 at a studio in East Harlem. Using an array of the era's available hardware (including, as the product-placing liners indicate, a Casio synthesizer, Roland sequencer, Yamaha drum machine, and Korg digital delay), Jones laid down tracks ranging from two-and-a-half minutes to over 23 minutes in length, and then accompanied the tracks live on his five-string (Wal V, for those interested in brands) bass as the direct-to-digital recording was made. The results were generally quite impressive, and stand the test of time well over two decades later.

And on DVD:

1.  Rick Wakeman 'Live at the Maltings 1976'

This album was recorded at Farnham Maltings in 1976; a year when Rick was just about to take a break from his solo career and rejoin Yes for the triumphant album that was Going for the One. It was actually broadcast in the same evening that it was recorded, and The English Rock Ensemble featured a new guitarist John ‘Dusty’ Dunsterville, who – it has been rumoured – was a relative of the man upon whom  Kipling based the eponymous hero of Stalky & Co, whgo was also my late Godfather’s Godfather. Weird old world innit?
2. Nic Jones
    'The Enigma of Nic Jones - The Return of the Lost Folk Hero'

In 1982 Nic Jones was at the peak of his career, but driving home from a gig one night a near-fatal car crash changed his life forever. Almost every bone in his body was broken and neurological damage meant that he would never play his guitar in front of an audience again. Apart from a couple of tribute concerts, Nic Jones disappeared from the public eye for thirty years. Then in the summer of 2012, encouraged by friends and family, Nic returned to the stage to play several festival performances accompanied by his guitarist son, Joe Jones and keyboard player Belinda O’Hooley. The concerts were a resounding success and for his old and new fans, a moving comeback for their musical hero.
Most of the back issues have now been archived on a dedicated Blogger site. Please use the navigation tree on the right of the page. However, please be aware that there are still a few formatting issues, and the magazine may not look as nice in blogger as we would have liked.

If, however, you are using the MailChimp archive, (below) please be warned: Magazines from #11-41  contain the cartoon at the bottom of the stressed out guy with the computer  Apparently someone has accused the public domain images site I got it from of hosting malware, and even though there was none found there by Google, the fact that I used an image from the site (perfectly legally) flagged our whole newsletter up as possibly containing malware. This should only effect people using Google Chrome, and I would strongly suggest that you click the 'proceed anyway' tab, and view the newsletter as you had originally planned...

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THOSE WE HAVE LOST:  Georgina Anderson (1998-2013)
Georgina Anderson was a singer from Marske-by-the-Sea, Teesside. She died of cancer at just 15. Her posthumous 2013 single, "Two Thirds of a Piece", made #63 on the UK Singles Chart. I will admit that I had never heard of her, but this is a story that cannot help but touch your heart.

Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind. The natural state of the universe unmanifest. Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it. It is your own true nature, it is home.
                                                          -Tibetan Book of the Dead
Youtube amplified you-now your single
will rise in charts in memory of your life
(just 15 cycles round one sun-
even cancer cannot silence
Georgina Anderson
You channeled Bonnie Raitt
then wrote originals
Your voice heard at football 
Now we have only images and sounds
of a life that found harmony in family
and the love of those who value song.
Georgina Anderson is gone
Her voice lives on

                                    Thom the World Poet
Now, I don't know whether this is a good idea, a bad idea, or just an idea, but - as I believe you know - this magazine is put out each week on a budget of £25, and is free. It will remain free, but I would like to be able to generate some income so I can pay our contributing writers. So, 'why not flog Gonzo Weekly T Shirts?' I thought. 'Why not', I answered...
FRONT COVER STORY: Cyrille Verdeaux remembers 'Clearlight Symphony'

Clearlight Symphony is one of those exquisite records that somehow slipped through the gaps of public consciousness at the time. But now its back, and you have the chance to revel in a warm bath of psychedelic weirdness. CYRILLE VERDEAUX, native of France, was born July 31, 1949 in Paris. In 1963 at the age of 14, he entered the prestigious French National Conservatory of Music in Paris studying composition, harmony, and piano. From 1966 to 1968 he won first place in student composition three successive times. During the student uprisings of 1968 he was dismissed from the Conservatory for his revolutionary activities. He then attended the Nice Conservatory earning a Masters diploma, returning to Paris to form the band Babylone with guitarist Christian Boule.

In 1975 Virgin Records released the first album of Cyrille Verdeaux compositions titled CLEARLIGHT SYMPHONY. Clearlight became the first French progressive rock band signed to a major British record label. Gathering accolades for its unique compositions and keyboard stylings, the music spanned from classical romanticism to lush experimentation. Primarily psychedelic, but also serving as a forerunner of new age music, the album's musical style manages to blend seemingly contrary elements: the symphonic rock concept is flexible enough to permit extensive jamming in both rock and jazz fusion styles.Clearlight Symphony does not officially have an artist name, but is now regarded as the first album by Clearlight who adopted the name later that year, after briefly using the name Delired Cameleon Family. Side one features group member Cyrille Verdeaux and three members of Gong; side two features the group that would become Delired Cameleon Family (Clearlight). Neither group is explicitly named as the artist.

The album was recorded for Virgin Records in 1973 (and probably completed in 1974), after the label's first and highly successful release, Tubular Bells (1973) by Mike Oldfield, and was one of several subsequent Virgin albums that attempted to copy Tubular Bells' format of long pieces in a symphonic progressive rock style; in this case, exactly copying its structure of two pieces titled "part one" and "part two". Since the title Tubular Bells was initially better known to the general public than the name of its artist, Virgin Records decided that Clearlight Symphony would be a one-off album project with a title, but no artist name.

Recording was initiated with a session in which Cyrille Verdeaux, alone, played two 20 minute piano solos, which became the basic tracks for the entire album. In later recording sessions at David Vorhaus' Kaleidophon studio (side one) and the Manor (side two), Verdeaux and other musicians overdubbed more instruments onto the piano solo to create a complex arrangement. When recording was completed, one piece was performed by Verdeaux and members of Gong, and the other by members of the group that would become Delired Cameleon Family (and later, Clearlight), although neither group is explicitly credited.

Clearlight's remarkable music is being released again through Gonzo, and therefore to mark this momentous occasion, we emailed Cyrille to ask him about his memories of that first Clearlight recording.
1. Can you tell me a bit about your memories of making it..
Oh is still fresh in my memory in spite of this 40-year-old adventure. The Clearlight Symphony is the first composition I had ever done. It came one night, summer 1973. It was full moon, I was alone in the house and I started to improvise on my piano without any precise idea. I had a revox at this time, so I pushed the record button before to start playing, and that was a good idea because a couple hours later, I had on tape most of what became my first album and the best seller so far. Without the recording, it would have been lost, I never remember my improvisations unless I record it and learn it by heart.

I didn't change my way of doing music since then. To favour the "here and now" moment is the trademark of my Clearlight music (among others, of course).

So I rarely write music down, except when a soloist needs some guidance and some chord charts...But I personally improvise, record and then learn by heart all the notes of the parts.
So with the recording tape of the solo piano part of the C S, I sent it to some French label A & Rs, but the format was basically 2 pieces of 20 minutes non-stop each, as was Tubular Bells a year before, and yet they were not interested because no radios would play this music. After 6 months of failures, a friend, Jean Pierre Lentin (RIP) suggested that I present my work at Virgin, the label having released Tubular Bells and gave me the address of Tim Blake's squat in London, because GONG had just signed a contract with Virgin and JP thought that Tim could introduce me to Branson.

I followed his advice, took the boat with my tape of piano, knocked at Tim's door in London and a few days later, I was in Virgin's office, in Black Lion yard.

They listened to the 10 first minutes of the tape, were not afraid of the length and decided to sign me, with Tim being the sound producer to help me because I was totally ignorant of what was happening in a 16 tracks recording studio!

Fortunately, I am a fast learner  concerning music and with Tim's help I could recreate a bit of what I was hearing in my head; the symphonic parts. Pre-programmed synthesizers didn't really exist at this time; there were some prototypes here and there and Tim was one of the happy few having one, a Synthi with beautiful effects, but I had no idea how it was working, so I decided to take the mellotron option to recreate the symphonic background, and I used all the possible programs that Mellotron was offering at the time.

It is quite tricky to play mellotron, because after 6 seconds exactly, the tape arrives at the end of its length and produces a loud  "CLAC", so I had to remember for each finger playing to release the note before 6 seconds and at first it was quite a disaster, but as I say I am a fast learner, so I ended with what I wanted without any CLAC...
2. What are your memories of working at the famous Manor Studio?
I did it on two different occasions. The first time, the Manor studio was booked for only one afternoon to record the acoustic piano part and I was putting all the electric instruments at David Vorhaus studio, called "White Noise studio" because I had a little budget for my first musical work.

But the problem was that I was playing alone my acoustic piano first part and as an ignorant beginner, I didn't ask to play with a click track. With the click, it is easy to record the drums, bass and other rhythmic instruments after. But without it, it is way less evident, because my rhythm was fluctuating, as it happens in the classical music. But when Pipe Pyle, (the drummer hired for the occasion along with other GONG members) tried to put drum on it, my tempo was too irregular and changing to be able to have Pipe record anything professional...

So we kept the part with the Manor's piano that didn't need drums and bass; the parts where Hillage, Blake and Malherbe played on. But half of it wasn't really usable. Fortunately, Virgin gave me a second chance.

Back to Paris, I asked to some French friends, Christian Boule (guitar) and Gilbert Artman (drums) to help me to record all the parts that needed drums and we worked together for a few weeks, having understood my first mistake.  When we were ready, we went to the Manor for a couple of days and recorded all the side A; the side B being devoted to Gong's musicians, Steve Hillage, Didier Malherbe amd Tim Blake.

The daily life at the Manor was luxurious, and the breakfasts awesome. I loved every second of it and could have lived there for the rest of my life!

I also came back there to record my 2nd album, Forever Blowing Bubbles, with all my crew. We were 4 musicians this time, Joel Dugrenot, Christian Boule, Jean Claude d'Agostini, all French plus a Greek drummer, Chris Stapinopoulos, and the 3 women of the French musicians were pregnant, approximatively 5 months each...Something must be in the air 5 months before for Clearlight musicians, I don't know...But it gave us a strange reputation for this reason, lol
3. What were the 'Revolutionary activities' that got you dismissed from the National Conservatory of Music in 1968?
Oh, they were very basic. I was a member of the committee linking all the Universities together and I was delivering speeches of freedom through the megaphone. But this instrument was not part of the classes, so I didn't get my first degree for that but got dismissed instead. No problemo!

I went to Nice, where my uncle Pierre Cochereau was director of the Conservatoire de Musique, to continue my musical studies there for few more years, and I don't regret it a bit. Nice was a wonderful little city to spend my years as student. The campus was gorgeous, the climate perfect, and I was living with my first love. A very happy segment of my life, thanks to May 68's sequelles!
4. How much of Clearlight Symphony was written before you went into the studio?
Not a single one. I usually don't write music. I only do for other musicians, when I see they are not very inspired by themselves.  It's rare but it can happen. Then I write a part so that I am sure to hear something coherent with the piece.
I wrote enough at the conservatoire for years, I guess, and in the written music there are so many magnificent masterpieces, it was difficult for me to even dream of matching these genius, Bach, Liszt, Chopin. Rachmaninoff, etc.
From day one, I wanted to do something that didn't exist yet. This is why I didn't become a classic pianist, so to speak. I had the call to explore the opposite side : the HERE and NOW dimension coming from my mind, probably due to my way of life at this time, mostly oriental.

The method I use to get my music is always the same since day 1 : I meditate a bit, load myself with energy through breathing exercises, then I improvise on an acoustic piano mostly and I record it. After, I listen to it (I usually don't remember a note, being in an other time and space when I play) and I begin to put it into its final form and when it is done, I learn it by heart and record it with all the other sounds of instruments that come into my head. This is how my first album CLEARLIGHT SYMPHONY came to life and released by Virgin Records in 1974. My new album, Impressionist Symphony, has been created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of my first album. And I hope to be here to celebrate the 50th also.
5. Why did it originally come out with no artist's name? Was that something with which you agreed?
In fact, I took the decision to take the name of a band mainly to imitate the others, I guess, like Genesis, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Gong, Magma... And since I was at the time deep into the buddhist philosophy, I liked the pseudonym of Clearlight to honour Timothy Leary's teachings that were interesting me a great deal.
7. How long was the band together before you recorded the album?
It was difficult to call it a band...Gong musicians improvised and recorded everything in one day. For the other side, I spent one week with the musicians, but they were not part of my band, having their own bands to take care. With Forever Blowing Bubbles, I got a real band for a while...

EXCLUSIVE: Keith Levine interview
CAPTION: Keith converses with Gonzo Grande Fromage Rob Ayling (pic: Graham Inglis) 

After about a year wandering around the countryside being kicked out of various jobs, by the autumn of 1978 I was back living with my parents in the little village in North Devon where I once again live today. I had always seen punk rock as an art movement rather than anything else, and by this time The Sex Pistols had let me down with a bump as they became a cabaret show rather than a rock band. John Lydon had been suspiciously quiet for some months, and most of the rest of what had first enthused me about the movement had disappeared into a maelstrom of self indulgence, and crass commerciality. I felt isolated and very alone.
Eventually the day came: Public Image, the first single by Lydon's new band Public Image Limited was out. So, making some convenient excuse to my parents (who were probably only too glad to get rid of me for the afternoon) I went into Bideford, made my way to the long defunct Braddick's record shop, which had fuelled my adolescent musical explorations for so many years, and purchased the 7" artefact.

On returning home, I - almost reverently - unwrapped it and placed it on the turntable of my crappy little mono record player. I had built it up in my mind as something extraordinary. This was going to be a record that would make 'God Save the Queen' sound like The Bay City Rollers. I was certain of it. As I lowered the needle onto the slab of black vinyl, I held my breath in anticipation...
...It was different. It was very different. Rotten's voice, as scabrous as ever, wasn't raging against the machine. Or at least he wasn't raging against any machine that mattered to a nineteen year old manic depressive living in a tiny village that no-one has ever heard of. He seemed to be railing against the media, or maybe it was people like me who had never understood what he was actually talking about:
Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello.
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.
You never listen to word that I said
You only seen me
For the clothes that I wear
Or did the intrest go so much deeper
It must have been
The colour of my hair.
But the thing which really affected me was the guitar sound. I had been expecting the over produced heavy metal thunder of Steve Jones, but instead got a shimmering, acidic sound like shards of broken glass, but with an unearthly beauty. The guitarist was Keith Levine.
For the next four or five years I bought every PiL record as it came out. The unholy trinity of Levine, Lydon and Jah Wobble on bass until leaving before the 1981 LP 'Flowers of Romance' was recorded, produced scary, but gloriously beautiful music that ticked much the same emotional boxes for me as did Yoko Ono's early Plastic Ono Band records and provided a perfect sonic bridge for me between the noisy rock and roll music that I loved and the avant garde soundscapes that I admired. The reviews always hagioligised Lydon and Wobble, but I already semi-worshipped at the altar of Johnny Rotten, and - at the time - I didn't have a hi-fi that did justice to Wobble's avant-dub bass playing. No, for me, it was always about Keith Levine's extraordinary guitar soundscapes, and when he left the band in 1983, they lost something which has never been replaced.
A couple of weeks ago I received an e-mail which led on to me talking to the man himself and eventually doing an interview on the balcony at 'The Flyover' in Ladbroke Grove. You can watch it here.
A few days after I returned to Woolsery absolutely exhausted from my trip, and three subsequent days recording with Mike Davis, I received a zipped copy of Keith's download only release 'Search for Absolute Zero'. 
What can I say? It is - I am glad to be able to report - exactly what one would have hoped of it. Icy slabs of metallic dub which continue in a vein that has always intrigued me. Dub, being an offshoot of reggae is by its very nature a tropical, sunny type of music. Except, and this is the bloody big EXCEPT when Levine and or Wobble do it (and I think that Wobble may be on some of these tracks). Their take on the legacy of U Roy is ice cold and frozen, like the soundtrack to film of Greenland's most isolated and formidable glaciers. This is winter music; great shards of broken sounds jutting out like broken teeth from the relentless rhythms.
These forbidding but irresistible songs are interspersed by some surprisingly warm and melodic, almost melancholy songs including an acoustic reworking of George Harrison's 'Within You, Without You' which has no peers in its dexterity. This is a peculiar but totally essential album, and makes as much  sense to the strange disjointed Britain of 2013 as 'Metal Box' did to the strange disjointed Britain of 1979. I am so happy to say that Keith is - once again - continuing to plough his own idiosyncratic sonic furrow, and I - for one - cannot wait to see what is going to happen next.
EXCLUSIVE: Andy Thommen from Clepsydra
The one thing I want to know is how come an old prog-head like me had never heard of Clepsydra? I knew Andy, of course, because of his work with Zenith; their album The Chandrasekr Incident was one of my favourites in 2012, and following my first conversation with Andy he sent me the other Zenith albums, which I enjoyed immensely.  But, last night, after my first aborted attempt at telephoning Switzerland, Andy was kind enough to send me the mp3 of the four Clepsydra albums.  I had a joyous experience today, listening to them in full, back to back as I went about my daily business.  Seldom have I been so impressed.
The thing which I think is most impressive is that these albums were made on – comparatively – primitive equipment; the first album – for example - was recorded on 12-track analogue tape, which – as Andy wryly pointed out – is like something out of ancient history technology wise. 
I was surprised to find out that, although when the band first arrived they were concurrent with the early 1990s British prog dream which produced bands like IQ, and Pendragon, and our very own Galahad, Clepsydra didn’t even realise that they were part of such a movement.  As Andy told me, they were aware of Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Marillion – three bands that they love very much – but had no idea that a few thousand miles away in the UK other young men and women were mining this rich seam of 70’s prog to produce something new and exciting.  The fact that they evolved along similar lines, but totally in isolation, is – to my mind - extraordinary.
Andy described the process of recording these early albums as a labour of love.  They made music purely for the innate joy of doing so, with no commercial considerations whatsoever.  I enthused about the record to Andy during our second aborted attempt at recording our call and he told me that he was almost jealous of me; having the experience of discovering these sounds for the first time, and it reminded him of the joy of exploratory creation which produced these four extraordinary records.
Next year they are touring for the first time since the 1990s and Andy assures me that he hopes that they will be able to find a promoter willing to book them to play in the UK.  The limiting factor is their keyboard player who is a college mathematics professor, which means that the band are only able to tour at weekends and in the school holidays. 
I have somewhat of a proselytising zeal about me at the moment.  I am playing Clepsydra to everybody who will listen.  This evening, for example, my friend and colleague Richard Freeman who has just returned from a successful cryptozoological  expedition to Tasmania, were listening to the second album while we downloaded 3,000 photographs from one of the camera traps.  The music goes surprisingly well with images of inquisitive Tasmanian devils, and the elusive spotted quoll. 
Although it is no substitute for my planned podcast, which I intend to do as soon as we can sort out the telephone problems, I sent a few questions to Andy by email, and he was kind enough to answer them. 

1. Why did you decide to reform after all these years?
It was the right time. In December 2012 I met Aluisio at the funeral of Paolo "Scandy" Scandella (Shakary). This was the initial spark for me to call the other guys.
2. Describe the remastering process
All four albums span a decade of technology, so the process required different tools and tweaks for each of the albums. Consider 'Hologram', produced in 1991! 22 years ago we hat much more limitations than today. This album has become brilliant and shiny. 'More Grains of Sand' required very little intervention. On 'Fears' and 'Alone' we were able to take away that little harshness. We modified also the track binding on 'Alone'. All songs with parts I/II/III are now single tracks.
Then we added the bonus material. This was a clockmaker job. We wanted to fill as much as possible the discs with the 77-minutes limitations, so the final result is about an hour of additional material.
3. When you started to play together again after all these years, had you changed as musicians?
I would say yes. We're not kids anymore. At least, that's how I remember and feel we were in the 90s. We are still excited about what we do, as we were in the beginning, but there's much more grasp and less rap in the room now. In the past I always said that the eagerness between Clepsydra members is the foundation of our music.

Not that now there's complete harmony, however the discussions are more solution oriented and shorter. 15 years and 8 children, 4 wives and 1 girlfriend later... certainly we have changed. As musicians? Well, not really. We still try a lot of things, variations & alternative versions sounds and solos, watch the details and then choose together the best outcome.
4. Have you played together in public yet?
No. The first step on a stage will be in The Netherlands in April 2014. We'll do a private dress rehearsal with families and friends before that. I was on stage with Zenit several times in the last years, and Marco also with his project, that's it.
5. Are there any plans for new material?
Yes, there are plans for a new album. We're now focussing on the live show, but next year we'll start demoing new songs.

This story was first published in the Guardian Weekend October 26 1996. It was the first in a series of travel pieces called CJ Stone's Britain. This is the original version of the story. The published version was less than a third its length, and didn't include the all-important Church of the Resurrection story.

Dog's Bollox

There's an apocryphal story about Cardiff, that during the plague they buried some of the victims alive. People say that this is the reason that Cardiff has so many delinquents and messed up people wandering about

Illustration by Graham Rounthwaite
Illustration by Graham Rounthwaite

"It's the Mothership!" he said, leaping across the room to pump Steve's hand. "I always call him the Mothership," he added, turning to me, "cos that's what he is."

We're in the Flyhalf and Firkin in Cardiff, drinking Dog's Bolter, at a scuffed wooden table, on scuffed wooden chairs, surrounded by all the necessary accoutrements and symbols of a bar that takes its theme from the game of Rugby. The beer is glutinous and sickly and very, very strong. You get the feeling that it was supposed to have been called the Dog's Bollox, only the brewery had backed down. The stranger beams us an extravagant smile, and purses his lips. He has on a striped Burton's shirt with the cuffs ripped off, and his hair is cut short at the sides but long at the back. He is noticeably thin. That smile is almost child-like. It's as if he's trying to please the grown-ups. His eyes are charged with electricity.

"You're looking well," Steve says. "What have you been up to?"

"I've been in hospital," the other says. "I've been trying to get off the whizz. Two weeks without, and they chucked me out with a handful of Valium and a prescription for Temazipam. What good's that gonna do? So I had to get in a little powder to keep me goin', you know. But I'll be off it next week, you'll see. I'll be clean by the end of the week. I'll probably do a yard of whiz, and then that's it. I've always wanted to do a yard of whizz."

"Yeah, yeah, sure," I was thinking. "Where have I heard that before?" But it was a new one on me, hearing Steve described as the Mothership. Very apt: because there is something of the Mother about Steve - something nurturing and protective - while at the same time he reminds you of The Creature That Came From Outer Space. He's like a confused alien stranded on the planet, still trying to work out what the Earthlings are actually up to.

Read on...



(The Masters of the Universe do seem to have a steady stream of interesting stories featuring them, their various friends and relations, and alumni). Each week Graham Inglis keeps us up to date with the latest news from the Hawkverse..
Hawkwind startled their fanbase this week, by announcing a one-off Space Ritual charity show scheduled for next year.

The 22nd Feb event is in aid of several animal welfare groups at the O2 Empire in Shepherd's Bush, and will be compèred by friend-of-the-band Matthew Wright - a vocalist on the "Spirit of the Age" single who recently survived strange experiences on the TV show "I'm a Celebrity".

On Hawkwind's Facebook page, some overseas fans have said they'll be flying in for this one, and tickets will probably go fast.

It's not - at least, so far - being billed as a reunion. Motorhead are scheduled for a show in Paris on that particular night, for instance, so that presumably counts Lemmy out. And no-one's announced that Nik Turner will be a special guest.

If, at the show, Matthew Wright gets a buzzing in his ears, hopefully it won't be a cricket this time!
It might seem ironic me and Graham posting a cartoon about alcohol blood levels, and they do - of course - say that people in grass houses shouldn't get stoned, but this cartoon of Senor Kilminster did make us giggle, and it seems to fit in rather well in to this section of the Gonzo Weekly this week. It is good to see that the dear fellow does seem to be somewhat on the road to recovery...
Goblin Haunts
I’ve always been a junky for the exploitation cinema of my youth – the b-movies peddled from the 1960′s through the 80′s as double features, which included any number of horror, science fiction, martial arts, biker, and other films of the era.  Of these, many were international movies, from France, Germany, and in particular “giallo” works from Italy.  I saw every Mario Bava giallo film before being old enough to realize what a genius he was, instead just reveling in the colored lighting, unique cinematography, and parade of troubled killers.In 1977 one of my best friends moved from our neighborhood in southern California to Philadelphia, and it was during our trip out there we ducked into a trashed downtown theater of the “grind house” variety to see the latest Italian import, “Suspiria.”  As the movie began with the sound of bells, bouzouki, and demonic voice chanting “la, la, la, la, la, la, la…, la, la, la, la, la……witch!”

I knew this was no low budget import, but something more accomplished and frightening, driven by the bizarre prog-horror-rock music of Goblin.  We were very well scared by this movie, and it’s become a favorite – I’ve kept upgraded versions in my collection ever since this first viewing in that creepy run down theater.  After this film, and 1978′s “Dawn of the Dead (Zombi),” more of the soundtracks produced by Goblin came to my attention, along with their first two releases – 1975′s “Profondo Rosso” and their progressive rock debut – 1976′s “Roller.”  I also purchased their strange and challenging progressive rock release “Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark” from 1978, which includes vocals in Italian.

Read on...
Goblin is a band formed in Italy who wrote and played on many horror film soundtracks in the 1970's and who also released several progressive rock albums in their own right.  The most well known soundtracks would be Suspiria (1977) and Dawn of the Dead (Zombi - 1978)  Their album Roller (1976) is a classic of Italian prog rock and would be well received by fans of early Yes, ELP, and Gentle Giant.  If you've not heard the band, these videos from the current touring lineup would be helpful:

Roller - From Roller (1976)
Suspiria - From Suspiria (1977)
Profondo Rosso - Live (2011)
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

After last week's issue when there was no news whatsoever from either the Yes camp or from any of the multitude of Yes alumni, I received this letter:

Hello Jon,

Should there be a continued shortage of YES news, you may wish to flag the following tribute in next week's issue as it is respectful and provides a number of images even hard core fans may have not seen before including a very young Chris Squire:


David (from somewhere in Canada).
And Dan Wooding also wrote to me this week:
HI there Jon:
I've just posted a fascinating interview with Tony Anderson, the elder brother of Jon Anderson. If people would like to hear it, or read the print story called "The Rock Star and the Priest" that I did about Tony and his wife Sue, 
Best wishes,
And this week we actually do have a couple of Yes-related stories for you, both regarding Jon Anderson. Firstly, an enthusiastic article about the man with possibly the most unfortunate title that I have yet seen, and secondly a very interesting interview with him.

Things, however are remarkably quiet in all things Yes related, and I hope that they will pick up again soon. If you see Yes-related items of news that we have missed please email them to me.
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! 
under adult violence
we watched and waited as witnesses
World slow as sunrise/school/Sundays
We grew like sunflower stalks/slim
Now temptation is to gild the lily-
to look back @a sepia still life
Lily pad and rural folk
instead of the hard dust grit of growing
bit in the teeth/tedious sermons
long days of nothing/followed by longer nights
when time never seemed to move.Now dog time gulps years
Flash!You look back/nostalgia clears the forest
You live in a house of memories.And they are foreclosing

In Victorian times every well-bred Gentleman had a 'Cabinet of Curiosities'; a collection of peculiar odds and sods, usually housed in a finely made cabinet with a glass door. These could include anything from Natural History specimens to historical artefacts. There has always been something of the Victorian amateur naturalist about me, and I have a houseful of arcane objects; some completely worthless, others decidedly not, but all precious to me for the memories they hold.

But people send me lots of pictures of interesting, and, may I say, peculiar things. Like this Sandy Denny - 19 X CD Ltd Box Set from 2010. I am sure that it is fantastic, but is it really worth nine hundred quid?

Just in case you are interested, here is yer beloved Editor at iTunes

Bipolar, Jon Downes Lost Weekend, Jon Downes Hard Sports - EP, Jon Downes The Man from Dystopia, Jon Downes

Check it out now...
There are nine Henrys, purported to be the world’s first cloned cartoon character. They live in a strange lo-fi domestic surrealist world peopled by talking rock buns and elephants on wobbly stilts. They mooch around in their minimalist universe suffering from an existential crisis with some genetically modified humour thrown in. I think Peter McAdam is one of the funniest people around, and I cannot recommend his book The Nine Henrys highly enough. Check it out at Amazon.
Each issue we shall be running a series of Henrybits that are not found in his book about the nine cloned cartoon characters who inhabit a surreal world nearly as insane as mine...

The Weird Weekend is the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Now in its fifteenth 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.

the running order (so far) for the 2014 event
Kev Rowland
It has been seven years since Drottnar’s debut ‘Welterwerk’, but at long last the Norwegians are back with their second. This is a highly impressive album, bringing together elements of technical, black, death, industrial, avant-garde and just about every form of extreme metal one can think of into something that is colossal in so many ways. The sound is incredible, large, loud and incredibly clear and concise so that one can hear just how much the bass is adding in terms of nuance, and all power to Tom Kvålsvoll (Emperor, Arcturus, Borknagar) for a wonderful job on the mastering. Although this album is technical on so many levels, with a cold bleakness that makes me think of an industrial complex in the middle of winter, there is also something that is inviting – as if there is a fire made of burning branches to welcome in the traveller.
The complexity of this music cannot be understated, with incredible note density that can give way to emotion and angst, or dischord that can almost (but never quite) give way to harmony. It is frightening; it is compelling, schizophrenic and all encompassing. This is not music for everyone, as its’ very nature will push many away, but if you want your music to be extreme yet always maintain a sensibility and power then look no further. The very first time I played this I was incredibly impressed, and repeated plays have only cemented that opinion. This could well be the extreme metal album of the year…..
The last time I reviewed a Kreator live set was some ten years ago, with ‘Live Kreation’. Then, as now, that was a double CD set that was released in conjunction with a DVD – of course now it is blu-ray and if you were to purchase that then you would have access to even more music, but as it is there are 24 songs here. These guys need no introduction whatsoever, formed as long ago as 1982 with their debut in 1985, these guys have kept the flag flying for Thrash with an uncompromising approach and with a fanbase that know what they want when they attend a Kreator gig, and the band are going to give it to them in spades. This is a brutal onslaught from start to finish, but with a melody that is often missing from other bands of this genre.

Mille is the master frontman, commanding both the band and the audience who gladly provide backing vocals on “Enemy of God”. Recorded at their homecoming show at Turbinenhalle on 22nd December 2012, this is a band and their fans 
sharing a special occasion. The call and response of “Phobia” is wonderful, with the audience as fired up as the band. It sounds like this was a very special night indeed, and the band definitely react to the response that they are receiving. Kreator in full flight are a sight to be heard, and if you get the blu-ray then you will be able to share in that visually as well. It doesn’t get much better than this.     
MR. SO & SO Truth, Lies & Half Lies  (INDIE)
I was recently asked for a photo of myself in the early ‘Feedback’ days by Mick Magic of Music & Elsewhere, and the one that seemed most relevant was one where Artur Chaclowski of MLWZ was visiting me at my home in England approximately 20 years ago. The reason for putting that at the beginning of a review? I was wearing a bright red So & So shirt. I first became aware of the band when Steve Paine of Legend sent me their demo tape, as he was going to be recording their debut album at Pagan and releasing it on the label and he wanted to know my opinion. I was blown away, not only by the musicianship of the band (they met at music college) but the incredible driven arrangements, and it was only then that I found out that they were still very young.
Over the years I reviewed everything they released, and Dave Foster (guitar) and I kept in close contact. I managed to see them in concert a couple of times, and they changed from a four piece to a five as Charlotte joined as a second singer. For one reason or another they broke up, but Dave and Charlotte formed Sleeping Giant, before the decision was made that the time was right for Mr. So & So to start up again. Only Magoo (bass, vocals), The Dave and Charlotte were back for the ride but the resulting ‘Sugarstealer’ four years ago was a real ear opener. And so, here we are in 2013 with an album that certainly looks promising from the outside with stunning artwork that is so good that the band didn’t put their name or a title on the front. But what about the music?
The introduction to “Paperchase” is metal, which turns into prog metal, before settling down into a duet that is quite different to what has gone before. The band keeps crunching back, then letting the singers in, with a beck and call that is both effective and compelling. It is obvious from the off that this is going to be a very different So & So album as they have brought in some more overtly commercial elements, yet are tempering that with chunks of Tool and even some Zappa. Musically there has been a shift in the bass playing as well, with Shaun no longer driving as much as he used to, which used to be a key part of their overall sound, but Charlotte is now firmly embedded in the overall sound and it is hard to imagine her not being there.
Musically there is so much going on that it is difficult to know where to start, with Dave being strident and powerful when required, or delicate and almost invisible at others, while Stu has brought an almost jazz-like feel to the drumming with some wonderful counterpoints and great use of cymbals. Vocals are incredibly important with some lush harmonies and even a little a capella and Shaun is definitely singing the best I have ever heard, while there are more ballads in the mix. I have to be honest and say that there are large parts of “You’re Coming Home” that make me think of The Beautiful South, but way more lush, and should be released as a single.
But for all the complex arrangements and dynamic overtones that are being portrayed throughout the album as a whole, it is the fifth “Looking Glass” that brings it all home for me, with Andy providing some delicate piano that allows Charlotte to really shine, with just slight harmonies from Shaun here and there. It is very reminiscent of Anna Ryder, emotional, fraught, genuine and honest. The album is a real mix of styles, and it does take a while for the listener to ‘get’ the album as a whole instead of just a collection of numbers, but to me that is a strength as it really does reward repeated plays and the more I have listened to it the more I have got from it.
I am always nervous about receiving an album from certain bands, as I have known them personally for so long that I know that my attempted objective view will be tempered by history, so what happens if they release a duff one? Happily I have not been put into that situation here, and these guys just keep maturing and changing without totally losing their roots. Just listen to the guitar break in “Jingo” and you’ll see what I mean as Dave cranks it up and totally changes the direction and impact of the song. You won’t be disappointed
OMB  Swinesong  (WARD7)
I had heard quite a bit about this band before I came across their music, so was intrigued and very interested when I was sent the album. I have come across a few progressive rock bands from Israel, and they have always produced something out of the ordinary, but having now played this many times all I can say for sure is that these guys have done just that. But the real question is, is it any good? They are doing an awful lot in the space of just one album, so expect metal and lounge and ‘straight’ prog mixed in with jazz, pop and pretty much anything you can think of, but I kept coming back to the same basic premise, of was I enjoying what I was listening to? There are passages here that are superb, quite breathtaking in their audacity, but there are others where I just kept asking myself “why?”
To say that I have eclectic tastes is something of an understatement, and I can go from folk to death metal on a whim, I am as happy at a Rick Wakeman solo piano concert as I am at Behemoth, but I just don’t ‘get’ this album. I listen to ‘free’ improvised jazz and that makes more musical sense to me than this, but I keep thinking that it is probably me that is missing the point here and that there are many others who are going to have very high opinions of this. To my mind it is still a solid 3* album, but I keep having that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I should mark this higher but I just can’t bring myself to do so. When it is good it is very good indeed, but to me it misses the mark on too many occasions.  
COMING SOON: Percy Jones 'Tunnels'
Brand X was another one of those bands who were beloved of other musicians, and the more discerning of critics, but which despite everything never had the commercial success that it deserved.
They were a jazz fusion band active 1975–1980. Noted members included Phil Collins (drums), Percy Jones (bass), John Goodsall (guitar) and Robin Lumley (keyboards). Not long after jazz/rock fusion greats Brand X put out their 1980 album, "Do They Hurt?", the band members went their separate ways (until their comeback in 1992 which only featured Goodsall and Jones).
Jones’ utterly idiosyncratic bass playing defined the sound of Brand X as much as Phil Collins’ drumming, and the band would not have been anywhere near as interesting without him. He also appeared on classic Brian Eno LPs as Another Green World and Before and After Science.
In the early 90's, Swiss born musician Marc Wagnon sought to create his own music project. He enlisted the help of bassist Percy Jones of BRAND X fame and created a Jazz Fusion dubbed TUNNELS. In 1994 they released their first album simply named "Tunnels". With Wagnon, himself a Berkley College of Music graduate, playing vibraphone and Percy Jones on fretless bass, Frank Katz, also of BRAND X, was picked up to provide percussion duties. Throughout their career, TUNNELS has worked with a variety of musicians to add diversity to their three piece format. At one time guitarists Van Manakas, Julien Feltin, and John Goodsall have either guested on TUNNELS' albums or played with them live. Percussionist Lance Carter guested on their self titled album, and took on full drumming duties on their album "The Art Of Living Dangerously".
Violinist Mark Feldman appeared on both their live album and guested on their 2002 release "Progressivity". Recently, long time drummer Frank Katz has parted way with TUNNELS and has been replaced by John O'Reilly who appears on their 2006 album "Natural Selection". The trio creates a strikingly unique Jazz Fusion sound largely thanks to Marc Wagnon's rather unique instrument and choice of synth sounds. Rhythmically the band resembles Brand X. Not surprising considering at one point 2/3 of the band was previous members of Brand X. They're also heavily influence by Mahivishnu Orchestra, and that influence often shines through in their playing.

Preorder (UK)
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My assistant editor Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent and I have had another rather a nice week. It is always a pleasure to have Mama-in-law staying, and she spends quite a lot of the time in the office chatting.
No sooner had I returned back from London at the beginning of last weekend that I immediately jumped into the midst of three more days recording with my friend and long time collaborator Mike Davis. We recorded three songs:
  • A rather swishy ballad called If Only featuring rather lush orchestration from yours truly
  • A rockier number called He. When Mike and I first played and sung together during the summer of 1982, we would - invariably - end up playing Velvet Underground songs. Now, back in the potato shed, and along with the fact that Lou Reed has just died, we both felt that we should do a little homage to him, to say thank you for the three chords which have got us through our lives.
  • A psychodance song called The Mind You Lost. Mike played me this song fully formed on Friday. That night I dreamed that I was back in Exeter in 1990 when, as a tyro music journalist I met and interviewed Will Sinnott of 'The Shamen'. We had a long conversation about fusing dance music with acoustic instruments and found sounds, but we were sadly interrupted. He died a few months later, but on Friday night we finished our conversation. I have a sneaking idea that this song is some sort of a result of that.
This organic dance music is something that I have been experimenting with for some years, and is a direction which I have every intention of continuing upon until I get bored, which I don't think will be any time soon. I am always looking for collaborators on my various recording projects, and whilst I can't afford to pay anyone, may I point out that my wife does make extremely nice cake.

One thing that I really meant to mention last week, and - in the excitement of it all completely forgot - was that at the Farren Memorial show I finally met Dave McMann and his lovely lady Lesley in the flesh for the first time, after exchanging peculiar bon mots with him over the internet for the last seventeen years.

What a weird world we live in, eh?

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