This is the nearest that you are ever going to get to a posh weekend colour supplement from the Gonzo Daily team. Each week we shall go through the best bits of the week before, and if there aren't any we shall make some up, or simply make our excuses and leave (you can tell the editor once did contract work at the News of the World can't ya?)
Issue Seven         January 6th, 2013
So what is this all about?

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

You subscribed to it by opting in on the website. I hope that you all stay to join in the fun, but if it is not to your liking it is just as easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...
I always quite like the first week of the new year. The truth is that I don't actually like Christmas very much, and I always quite like getting back to what passes for normal in my rather odd life. Everything seems dormant over what is euphemistically described as 'The Festive Season', and then the music industry bursts into life as the year begins.

It has been quite a jolly week; in fact it is the first week since I started doing this weekly screed seven long weeks ago, that no-one who does the sort of stuff that we cover has died. In fact, nothing much has happened at all, except for the fact that I read several of my Christmas books, most notably Philip Norman's remarkably bitchy biography of Mick Jagger, and Rob Young's Electric Eden which covers almost a century of British music, that eventually metamorphosed into the sort of 'acid folk' that I love so well.

Last week's issue had more feedback than usual.  Bart Lancia from somewhere in northern New Jersey wrote: "Enjoying your e-mails immensely..keep it up,mate", and Brian Reasoner was rather chuffed to have been mentioned last time: "Blimey!  I feel bloody honored to have been mentioned in your latest newsletter, thanks!  THANK YOU, too, for the Gonzo-US links." Finally, Sally from New South Wales wrote asking for something on Kevin Ayers. Well, Sally, my dear - your wish is my command!

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.

Hawkwind are planning a “day of celebration” this summer to mark the life and career of guitarist Huw Lloyd Langton, who died last month. His colleagues and family welcomed fans to his funeral service on December 20, (which was also attended by our own Graham Inglis) but a bigger public event is being put together so more people can pay their respects.

Read on...

They were magnificent last year, so check 'em out
Last October, Graham and I went to Southampton to film Jefferson Starship, and their support act Auburn (who are a band of whom I am very fond). Considering that the two front men David Freiberg and Paul Kantner are well into their 70s, and guitarist Slick Aguilar is very ill and awaiting a liver transplant, I will admit that I didn't know what to expect. Bloody hell they were good! It was one of the best gigs I have seen in years., so I am very much looking forward to the forthcoming tour...

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 magnificant and long-standing band. Give the people what they want, I say
Last week I posed a conundrum to Jon Anderson fans. I was sent this video of Senor Anderson strutting his stuff somewhere in Latin America, but I didn't know where it came from.

Al Dell' Angelo wrote to me in reply: "This definitely was from the 1993 South American tour (coinciding with the release of Toltec, I believe). It was released as a VHS and CD, but it was not endorsed by Jon. It was released without his authorization by someone who had access, and I remember hearing an interview with Jon in which is he was not happy about the release because it "was not a finished product". I am not sure if the "Owner" segment is on the actual VHS". Thanks Al! 
Also, whilst on the subject of Jon Anderson, he has been talking this week about his ongoing project to record a sequel to his first solo album of three and a bit decades ago. Yup, Olias of Sunhillow II is in the works. Read all about it.
Yes, which at the moment consists of Chris SquireSteve HoweAlan WhiteGeoff Downes (no relation) and Jon Davison are about to embark on a new tour where they play no less than three of their classic albums in their entirety. However, there is also some talk of there being a new Yes studio album in the offing, although some members sseem less sure.

Chris Squire talks on the subject...

And whilst on the subject of Yes alumni, this week Rick Wakeman took a well deserved pop at the current 'Fame Culture' and how it effects contemporary museums. I agree with every word he says!  Check it out.
CORKY LAING: The ongoing saga of the drummer, the academics, the opera and the ethics of genetics 
Last week we gave you the first in a multipart series on the new project by Corky Laing. (pictured on the left with Gonzo grande fromage Rob Ayling) is a legendary drummer. He joined Mountain just after Woodstock, and has been playing with the seminal Canadian hard rock band on and off ever since. But he has also had a rich and varied  solo career, and - in a pattern which is beginning to seem familiar - is now involved in one of the most peculiar, demanding, challenging and certainly interesting projects of his career.

We have now posted the complete interview plus some other stuff, so, just in case you missed it, check it out in its entirety:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Check out Corky Laing at Gonzo UK
Check out Corky Laing at Gonzo USA
MARTIN STEPHENSON: The Bard of the North East
Martin Stephenson is one of the many artists who broke through in the early eighties, but he managed to retain not only his fan base, but also his credibility.  This was despite the fact that his career had taken a number of twists and turns, seeing him move with ease from eighties pop, through to roots music, with a few other stops in between.

Born in County Durham on the 27th July 1961, Martin first became aware of music as a teenager. In fact it was down to an older friend at a youth club that the young Martin first heard the music of Frank Zappa. Other influences however were about to be brought to bear as Punk exploded across the nation and Martin was fired up enough over the ‘anyone can do it’ ethic, to take up the guitar himself.

Whilst working as a carpet fitter by day, Martin played guitar at night in his first band, The Strange Relations. By the age of nineteen, Martin heard ‘Runaway Boys’, by the Stray Cats on the radio and was inspired enough to give up his day job,  fully immersing himself in music, which he did at first by busking on the streets. Shortly after however, Martin formed the Daintees and things began to move quickly. By 1982 the band were recording and became one of the first to sign to the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne label, Kitchenware, which released the debut single ‘Roll On Summertime’. Shortly after this Martin and the band signed to the major London Records Label, an occasion that was celebrated by a meal of fish and chips, eaten at the local chippy.  Thus so it was, that Martin and the band signed their major record contract, on a wall outside a chip shop!

The Daintees released five albums during their initial period together, with the band reforming in 2001, resulting in a live album.

Following the initial break up of the Daintees, Martin headed out on a tour of highland café’s and folk clubs.  This was probably a kick against the commercial direction the record label had wanted him to move in. By the time of his album ‘Yogi In My House’, Martin had signed with the independent, Demon Records label. The album was an eclectic affair, although considered by many to be one of his best.  Featured tracks included, ‘Dance The Last Goodbye’ and ‘Gone The Gypsy Davey’, which reflected Martin’s roots influences. The album also contained performances from friends like Jools Holland and Pauline Murray, who was another native of the North East, having fronted the punk band, Penetration. The album was one of two released in 1995, the other being ‘Sweet Misdemeanour’.

The rootsier side of Martin’s influences however  have never been far from the surface. As far back as the Daintees debut album ‘Boat To Bolivia’, there had been a track dedicated to the Reverend Gary Davis, titled, ‘Tribute To The Late Gary Davis’.

In 2000 Martin was invited to take part in a project which was dear to his heart. He was invited to  North Carolina to make field recordings with Dolphus Ramseur, who guided Martin around the region and recorded him playing with some of the older musicians such as, Etta Baker. The resultant double album ‘The Haint Of The Budded Rose’ is a veritable musical journey through a particular region, rich in music and folklore, which bears repeated listening.

Another recent project is ‘Down To The Wood’, which is again a field recording of Martin alongside Jim Hornsby.  This was recorded in the Shining Cliff Woods, Ambergate in the Peak District. Other roots based albums have followed including ‘The Disciples Of Merle and Doc’, ‘The Church and The Mini Disc’ and ‘The Lilac Tree’. A more recent recording has been ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ featuring, Johnny 'Fats' Sutherland and Isaac Sutherland.

In an industry which sometimes celebrates mediocrity, it is the very diversity of Martin Stephenson's material that makes him such a highly thought of and individual talent.  Martin stands apart in a class all of his own and one that ultimately provides a refreshing change from the norm.
Martin at Gonzo UK
Martin at Gonzo USA

Kevin Ayers listened to this recently discovered collection of his private demo recordings and out-takes, and found them to be a refreshing reminder of a musical innocence, unique to the nineteen seventies. Much more than nuggets from a golden era, these songs remain compellingly personal in their simplicity, and sit alongside sunny instrumentals featuring friends David Bedford, Mike Oldfield, Archie Leggett (1944 – 1997), and Robert Wyatt. Of special note is the fourteen-minute private demonstration for the Doctor Dream suite, a stunning 'audio letter' synopsis with acoustic performances and wry commentary. Never has Kevin Ayers' voice and guitar been captured in such natural intimacy. These beautifully recorded reel-to-reel tapes are an indispensable portrait of an artist as a young man. Or to convey the response from manager Tim Shepard, "This is Kevin's Holy Grail!" What more can we say?

Read on...



Expect fireworks with the release of the new ATKINS MAY PROJECT CD. Following in the footsteps of their successful debut release “Serpents Kiss” was never going to be easy! After receiving worldwide critical acclaim great expectations were created for their second album. Here once again, the men from the “Black Country”, namely Christian guitar wizard and producer Paul May and former Judas Priest singer and founder Al Atkins have produced an album of outstanding quality straight from the “Home of Metal”.

This excellent collection of songs see Atkins deliver up some stand out vocal performances and May shred the Axe like the old guitar masters. “VALLEY OF SHADOWS” offers 10 “Killer” tracks that burst with melody and Metal mayhem.

You’ll take a journey through what seems to be an “evolution” of Rock. with all the elements of “Classic” Hard Rock & Metal, yet retaining an underlying Progressive core, “Valley Of Shadows” will not disappoint fans of the genre who decide to take the ride!

Label: Gonzo
Catalogue Number: HST121CD
Price: $14.99
Available: In Stock

Catalogue Number: HST121CD
Price: £9.99
Available: In Stock


I cannot say that this was another week in which everything went according to plan, because -unusually for me - I had absolutely no preconceived ideas whatsoever about what was going to be in this week's issue (except, of course, for the rest of the Corky Laing interview). And so, as the late, great George Harrison once said, "if you don't know where your'e going, any road will take you there", and we got here in the end.

The more eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that, although this newsletter comes out every weekend, there is no fixed day or time in which it does so. This is correct, and I am not even going to try and make excuses for this. It is just the way that my own particularly bipolar cookie crumbles. I have been quite unwell for the past few days, and although I am OK today, I have a lot to catch up on, which is why this particular edition is charging through the aether towards you early on sunday afternoon.

There is only one other thing that needs to be said this week. My old friend Davey Curtis, who is a regular contributor to Gonzo Daily, either ranting on about Hawkwind or doing live reviews, is just about to become a Grandfather for the first time. Congratulations old friend!

And on that note, I am going to get on with the rest of my life. See you next week, and blessings on you all.

Jon Downes

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Gonzo Daily/Weekly,
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