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 Eleven       February 3rd, 2013
Social media stuff that I am really too old to understand, (my stepdaughter spent much of last Christmas trying to explain Twitter to me) but I am assuming that at least some of our readers are younger and hipper than I am.
Google Plus
Google Plus
So what is this all about?

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

You subscribed to it by opting in on the website. I hope that you all stay to join in the fun, but if it is not to your liking it is just as easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...
This week has been even stranger than usual because we have been away from home for a week, with only sporadic internet access. My co-conspirator – the orange cat –  is still with my eldest step-daughter, the vet, and will stay there for the time being. It might even be that he will stay there for good, if it is decided that it will be better for him during his declining years to be in a centrally heated house with a tame vet, rather than in a tumbledown cottage with a bunch of social malcontents. He is nearly 14, and that is quite old for a cat. Thank you to everybody who sent in good wishes to him.  I am sure that he appreciates them. I certainly do!

This has been the best week ever in terms of reader feedback.  Alun Thomas writes:

"Saw Episode Six play a free gig in Greenwich many years ago, in the 60's. Was in London on holiday at time. Was in park for a walk with my family. Remember buying the single Mozart v The Rest. Sadly my record collection was lost in 1985 when an arsonist set fire
to my removal van. Strange, but true !"

Continuing on the Episode Six theme:

James Waterworth wrote: "Thanks for the weekly newsletter, it's very enjoyable and always includes some interesting nuggets and good news (this time, for me, the Steve Hillage DVD reissue)." 

He continued: "Your story about Episode 6 got me perusing my music bible (Terry Hounsome & Tim Chambre's "New Rock Record") to check up on the other members of the group. Interestingly, the later line-up included drummer Mick Underwood, who was previously a member of the UK band The Outlaws, which also numbered in its ranks Chas Hodges and Ritchie Blackmore!" 

So I decided to check them out. Look at this! And some people think Blackmore's Night is a strange departure for our Ritchie.
And whilst on a mild medievalism trip (and I am not taking the pee, my wife is very much into all this stuff) Alan Dearling wrote us a very kind letter describing the Gonzo Weekly as:

"A fun, quirky diversion to start a Sunday...thanks for my bit".

Apparently he then went off into the woods to do his Robin Hood thing. My lovely wife Corinna also has a bow, and various items of medieval weaponry (including a battle axe) up on walls around the house.

I also got another note from Gerard York, with whom I have been discussing various bits of contemporary Americana:

He writes:

I see UNCUT is doing an album by album feature on Emmylou Harrris in advance of her new album!

That is something else that I have to go out and buy. I have been a great fan of Emmylou Harris ever since she sang along with Gram Parsons back in the day. For those poor benighted fellows who have no idea what I am talking about. Check THIS out.

I also received a lovely letter from Kevin Crossley. I was only going to post an excerpt, but it cheered me up so much on what has been - for all sorts of reasons - a pretty horrible day, that I couldn't bring myself to edit it down:

Hi Jon!

Just a quick note to let you know how much I enjoy your weekly missives about all things rock! My own taste in rock is fairly limited compared to most alumni within the appreciation fraternity, so I'm not familiar with the music of many of the bands that feature in your updates I'm afraid! I'm a huge fan of YES, and would eagerly scroll to those paragraphs relating to The Royal Family, but I soon found myself waylaid, reading your accounts and thoughts about people and bands unfamiliar. Your easy-going manner and enthusiasm are infectious, which is all the encouragement one needs to check out new sounds I think!

I was interested to read that bit about possible contributions. I'm a writer and illustrator, working in Fantasy/ comics, but I do love music. All sorts of it. Like yourself I obsessed over it in my teens (in the 80's!) embracing my dad's 70's rock collection. It resonated with a profound and solemn empathy that sank deep into the bones of who I was, and became the crucible, forging who I would become. From the omnipotence of Floyd and Purple to lesser known bastions like Barclay James Harvest, through to more radio friendly acts that split opinion in the UK, like Alan Parsons, ELO, Mike Oldfield and the criminally under-rated TOTO, I was simply astounded at the range, scope, quality and seemingly endless variety just waiting to be discovered.

Now, 25 years later I'm still on a journey, discovering bands new and old.. In the 80's I was a fan of Rabin-era Yes, in 2011 I finally tuned into the awesome magnificence of Classic-Era Yes.. How did I never hear Awaken when I was a kid?!?!? Last year I finally understood heavy metal, and how important and significant it was through all those decades passed. An established follower of The Mission, I went to their double-header with the Cult, (shame on Killing Joke for dropping out!) ..and 25 years late I discovered an entire back catalogue of stupendous rock 'n' roll classics in Fire Woman, Wild Flower, Rain and of course She Sells Sanctuary. What discoveries await me in 2013? The prospect of finding out puts iron in the blood!

Anyway, I hope you don't mind my warbling on like this, but then you should count your column at least partially to blame! I don't know if I could contribute in a meaningful way to your newsletters etc, but if you think I could, and you have any gaps, just let me know!

All the best

Kev Crossley

PS: in case you're interested, my art website is here:
You really have to check out Kevin's website. His artwork is amazing! I am sure that we shall be hearing more from him in the near future.

Mick West wrote: "Gonzo Multimedia? I presume, the same company that recently(ish) put out those wonderful  "Lost Broadcast" dvds? I have the Third Ear Band and Beefheart ones... Fantastic stuff!"

Yes, Mick, that's us. Check this out! And possibly this! And maybe even this!

To all of you who write to me, I really do appreciate it. I am, as you may know (because I have never made any secret of the fact) a manic-depressive, and letters like these really do help me through my day. Especially when it has been a difficult one like today!
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.
Patty Andrews, (1918-2013) Aged 94, American singer, last surviving member of The Andrews Sisters, natural causes.
Gonzo Daily says goodbye

Cecil Womack, (1947-2013) 65, American singer, musician (Womack & Womack).
Gonzo Daily says goodbye

Keith Christmas 'Live at the Pump'
In 1970, Keith Christmas was the opening guest for the new acoustic music club (you could call it folk but that wouldn't describe the range of music and artists on show at the time) in a small barn behind The Lamb in Trowbridge. This club went on to become the renowned Village Pump festival, so it was fitting that when Keith decided to record his first live set in 2012, it should be back there.
15 digitally recorded live tracks cover the range of Keith's current set, the slide songs such as 'Fat Cat Big Fish' and 'The Days Are Long', ballads such as 'Duty Days' and 'Light of the Dawn' and several of Keith's ever-popular songs from the 70s, 'Travelling Down', Evensong', 'The Fawn' and 'Forest and the Shore' all make up a great range of exemplary fingerpicking and passionate singing.
To add to this there is the blisteringly fast 'Rock Star' (not played since the 80s, when Keith unveiled it at a bar in Spain the crowd leapt to their feet shouting “olé”!) and three bonus tracks recorded live in the studio, 'Plunder Town, All My Life' and 'Falling Rain'.
Keith has been a name people have known in the acoustic scene for over 40 years and he is enjoying something of a revival in the national media. His playing is still as practised as it has always been and at last it is possible to enjoy this legendary artist live, banter, jokes and all!

I have to admit that although I had been vaguely aware of him for yonks, I have only just discovered what a super artist Keith Christmas is. Keith Christmas recorded his first album 'Stimulus' back in 1969 when he also played the acoustic guitar on David Bowie's first album 'Space Oddity' and appeared at the first Glastonbury Festival. Throughout the seventies he recorded four more albums 'Fable of the Wings', 'Pigmy', Brighter Day' and 'Stories From the Human Zoo' while touring with and supporting acts like The Who, King Crimson, Ten Years After, Frank Zappa and Roxy Music.

He stopped playing through the 80's but formed the blues band 'Weatherman' in 1991 with some friends and an album of the same name was released in 1992. In 1996 he suddenly started to write a different kind of acoustic material which almost immediately led to the release of a new album 'Love Beyond Deals' on HTD records. He has continued writing since then and has been described by a major festival promoter as 'a songwriter at the peak of his powers'.


Hugh Hopper started his musical career in 1963 as the bass player with the Daevid Allen Trio alongside drummer Robert Wyatt.  There can be few other free jazz bands of the era with such a stellar line-up. Unlike other legendary ensembles such as The Crucial Three (a Liverpool band from 1977 which featured three musicians who were to go on to enormous success) the Daevid Allen Trio actually played gigs and made recordings.
All three members ended up in Soft Machine, which together with Pink Floyd was the ‘house band’ of the burgeoning ‘Underground’ movement which tried so hard to turn British cultural mores upside down for a few years in the latter half of the 1960s.  (Hopper and Wyatt had also been in another legendary Canterbury band called The Wilde Flowers).  Hopper stayed with Soft Machine (for whom he was initially the group’s road manager) until 1973 playing at least one session with Syd Barrett along the way.
During his tenure the band developed from a psychedelic pop group to an instrumental jazz rock fusion band, all the time driven by the lyrical bass playing of Hugh Hopper.
After leaving the band he worked with many pillars of the jazz rock fusion scene such as: Isotope, Gilgamesh, Stomu Yamashta and Carla Bley.  He also formed some co-operative bands with Elton Dean who had also been in Soft Machine
Previously Dean had been in a band called Bluesology, whose keyboard player Reginald Dwight had come to the conclusion that his was not a name that had much commercial potential, so he pinched Dean’s Christian name and as a surname chose part of the name of Bluesology’s lead singer, Long John Baldry. 
The Monster Band was a 1973/4 ensemble formed by Hopper as a touring band, with Dean, drummer Mike Travis from Gilgamesh, and two musicians from the French band Contrepoint with whom he had toured France the previous year. The Monster Band album also includes some extraordinary recordings made by Hopper solo. It is a very satisfying experience to be part of the team instrumental in bringing this music back into the public eye after so many years. 

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
Chris Squire has been the most visible member of the band this week. In a major interview he discussed the forthcoming tour, and was also the subject of a retrospective article about his seminal album Fish out of Water. 

There is also exciting news that - just like Rick Wakeman did last year - Jon Anderson is to perform some shows in New Zealand!

There has been a lot of Hawkwind news over the last week, partly because they have been on tour, and partly because whilst Corinna and I (and the orange cat, for that matter) have been away, the Captain's Helm has been manned by my old friend and compadre Graham Inglis, who is a massive Hawkwind fan..

Hawkwind in Manchester
Hawkwind in Bedford
Alan Davey Celebrates Space Ritual
A rare collector's item

and this; the ultimate desirable residence for Hawkfans

A unique piece of Rock and Roll history rediscovered
Anyone who has ever read Nick Hornby’s 1996 novel High Fidelity will remember how the protagonist, Rob (a record shop owner) spent much of his time with his two fairly socially marginal employees making lists, such as their top five “track one side ones” and their top five “Bands or Musicians Who Will Have To Be Shot Come the Musical Revolution”. One of the reasons that I empathised with the book was that I have spent much of my life engaged in similar pointless exercises in cataloguing musical ephemera. And one of my favourite bits of musical ephemera to debate with my equally OCR buddies is “the top five bands who should have been huge, but weren’t”. And whenever I have played this amusing little game, one band always makes the list. A band called Detective.

In 1974 the highly acclaimed Glam band Silverhead split up, and singer Michael Des Barres, who had already packed a lifetime of experience as an actor, musician, singer and songwriter into his 26 years on the planet, moved to Los Angeles. Over the next few months and years he started playing with a veritable Who’s Who of rock and roll. He started off jamming with the Sales brothers, later of Iggy Pop’s band and the criminally under-rated Tin Machine with David Bowie, and together with Spooky Tooth’s ex-bass player Chrissy Stewart and future Wings drummer Denny Siewell, they performed under the name Buck. Stewart left, and was replaced for a brief time by Nigel Harrison (now best known as the bass player with Blondie) who had played alongside Michael in Silverhead, and was to do so again the best part of a decade later in Chequered Past. Then along came the ex-guitarist of Steppenwolf and a little bit of  history was made.

In the mid-1970s, Led Zeppelin followed the lead of The Beatles (Apple Records), The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stone Records), and The Moody Blues (Threshold Records) by starting their own record company, and from the beginning they made it clear that unlike some of their contemporaries (mentioning no names) this was to be no vanity project. This was to be a very real record company promoting the careers of acts that they liked! Jimmy Page said in January 1975:

"...the label was never right from the top Led Zeppelin records. It's designed to bring in other groups and promote acts that have had raw deals in the past. It's a vehicle for them, and not for us to just make a few extra pennies over the top".

Amongst their signings were Bad Company, The Pretty Things and Maggie Bell, and also a band called Detective. Decades later, their singer remembers:

“We played “Johnny B. Goode” for four hours. He came down again the next night with Robert [Plant] and Peter Grant and some people, and we got on the label.”

Detective were one of those bands that looked good on paper and sounded even better on vinyl. Fronted by Michael Des Barres, the European Nobleman (at the time, fashionably debauched to the Nth degree) blessed with one of the greatest doses of rock and roll sensibility since Mick Jagger, and featuring Michael Monarch, the original guitarist of Steppenwolf, and Tony Kaye the original keyboard player with Yes, as well as a rock-solid drummer Jon Hyde, how could they go wrong?

Well the answer to that is simple. They didn’t. The two studio albums that they made were fantastic, featuring hard rockers like One More Heartache alongside more reflective material, like the extraordinary Nightingale (which is one of my favourites to this very day).

Michael remembers:

“The Detective albums were made under such a darkness and incredible indulgence.  I always describe Detective recording in a studio as – it was three months just to get a drum sound. It was so costly, it cost 1 million bucks, and then we did it again.  Those albums were under the  aegis of the mightiest rock and roll band in the world, and they could do whatever they wanted. As a result we could do whatever we wanted, so … cocaine makes you particularly analytical <laughs> and we were particularly analytical to such a degree that the studio incredibly over-recorded.  When we played live, it was completely different.  As you know, live rock and roll is what I live for, so that Detective live album is fantastic. Because it really captures what we were really capable of when you’re not thinking, when you are just being and doing, and as you know that is what I love the best. Spontaneous, chaotic rock and roll.”

‘Unfair’ is a word that comes up again and again when people talk about Detective. They were a fantastic band, and after all these years I still don’t know why they weren’t enormous! Led Zeppelin obviously had faith in them. But after two albums and a promotional-only release they went their separate ways.
This record,  Live From The Atlantic Studios, a promotional LP recorded only for radio broadcast in 1978, has long been a highly sought after artefact, both by Michael Des Barres fans, and Led Zeppelin/Swansong collectors, of which there are many. But because it was only a promotional item, there were only a limited number made.
It’s unfair. But the fact that Detective didn’t become as big as their Swansong stablemates Bad Company is unfair. There is no competition as to who was the better band. But, sadly life often is unfair, and in an implacable universe fairness is only one of the dodgier human concepts. But now we are in a position to redress the balance.
In 2012 Gonzo Multimedia were proud to release Michael’s album Carnaby Street; an earthy return to his mid-‘60s blues/soul roots, and now we are overjoyed to be bringing you the reissue of a record from his distant past; recorded when Michael was a very different fellow to the healthy, happy man he is today.
Prepare yourself for an absolutely magnificent slice of rock and roll. By turns elegantly brutal, and soft and sensitive, in some ways this is a band that sounds even better now, thirty-five years after they made this recording, before going their separate ways. This record is one of the great-unsung documents of hard rock perfection, and now finally, after all these years, it is freely available to everyone who wants to hear it.
Golly, I love my job! 
Michael Des Barres at Gonzo UK
Michael Des Barres at Gonzo USA
The Magic Mushroom Band first came together in 1982 when they began playing their brand of “Psychedelic Space Pop”. It was said that one of the original members Kim Russell (or Kim OZ), was discovered by another founder member Gary Masters (or Gary Moonboot), when he heard her singing in the bath and promptly climbed through the window and invited her to join the band. In addition to becoming a member of The Magic Mushroom Band, Kim has subsequently become Mrs. Masters.

 The band has had many members over the years, coming and going in twos or threes, although the core trio of Kim, Gary and guitarist Gary Twining have remained throughout. 

The Magic Mushroom Band  worked with former Van Der Graaf Generator saxophonist, David Jackson and he is featured playing sax and flute on the tracks’ Astralasia’,’ Pictures In My Mind’ and ‘It Just Takes Time’.  David is also featured playing bagpipes on the cover of ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’!  

Initial recordings from the band were released as a limited edition cassette of 1,000 copies. The cassette idea was to remain popular, even while proper albums were being released, with the cassettes becoming highly prized collectors’ items.

The band also has a penchant for selecting tracks to cover, and then turning them into Magic Mushroom songs, lending them a whole new slant.   The covers included,  Pink Floyd’s, ’ Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’, The Byrds’,  ‘Eight Miles High’, Hawkwind’s ,‘Hurry On Sundown’ and ‘Tomorrow’s My White Bicycle’. These tracks however were no simple re- treads.  The Magic Mushroom Band manage to inject enough of themselves into the covers and you will be surprised at just how well these songs work in the context of the band’s original material.

The Magic Mushroom Band released nine albums of mostly band generated original material in the period 1982 through to 1994. In 1990 however members of The Magic Mushroom Band, known as the Mushies, embarked on what was to be initially an offshoot band or part time project. This project was the ambient trance band Astralasia, which although sharing members of the Mushroom Band, were actually more dance oriented.

By 1992, the band was devoting about 50% of their time to the offshoot band Astralasia and were experimenting more and more with the ambient dance led direction. Gary Masters and Kim left The Magic Mushroom Band in late 1995, prompting a hibernation of sorts which shows no sign of ending.

In Edo Period Japan, the game of  Hyakumonogatari - or one hundred stories - was a popular pastime. A hundred candles in blue lanterns were lit and placed on a table before a mirror. Each person would tell a story of a ghost, monster or strange occurrence, then blow out one of the candles. When the last candle was blown out it was said that a horned blue spirit, Aoandon, would manifest in the mirror.

Hyakumonogatari grew so popular that in 1908 the Japanese government forbade the telling of horror stories. Doubtless the gatherings carried on as a clandestine thrill, and what stories must have been told!

Japanese folklore is the strangest on earth. Its monsters and its ghosts (collectively known as yokai) outstrip any other culture in their sheer weirdness.

Here, in the first of a four-volume collection, is the beginning of a modern Hyakumonogatari. This menagerie of yokai includes hair-eating horrors, spawning dragon-gods, zombie whales, venomous rats, cannibal skeletons with slime-mould brains, ancient hominans, perverse water imps, devils of straw and monsters of cloth.

Sick of vampires and werewolves? This night parade of Japanese daemons will re-light your love of horror with a whole pantheon of new ghosts and monsters from the pen of Richard Freeman who brought you the acclaimed horror collection Green Unpleasant Land: 18 Tales of British Horror.

Check it out!

I would like to apologise for the lateness of this week's newsletter. We didn't get home until late on Saturday night, but I wrote and laid out some of it then. However, half way through doing the Gonzo blogs this morning my computer (or to be more accurate, the hard drive containing all my Gonzo stuff packed up on me, and I found myself without pretty well everything that I have been working on for the past few weeks.

This is, I am aware, a common complaint of the impecunious scribe at the beginning of the 21st Century, but it was still a blow from which it will take me some time to recover. So today has not been the most fun of days.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Graham Inglis, my co-conspirator of many years standing, and my remarkably adept nephew David Braund-Phillips, our internet service here is still diabolically slow, and things which should be taking minutes are taking hours. So things are not as bright and good as I would usually have liked them to be.

However, during my sojourn in Rutland last week, I had lunch with Gonzo supremo Rob Ayling and we discussed all sorts of exciting things. Gonzo Multimedia is truly on the up and up, and despite my very short term setbacks of this weekend, the future does indeed look remarkably bright.

I would like to apologise to all the people who have written to me in the last week offering to contribute to this ramshackle newsletter thingy. I will be writing to you all in the next week or so, and with web radio and podcasts also in the offing this is really quite an exciting time to be involved.

Now fingers crossed that I can get the computers, errant hard drives and even more errant internet access back to scratch and we can really start making a noise.

Until next week,

Jon Downes

Copyright © 2012, Gonzo Multimedia, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

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

Telephone 01237 431413

Fax+44 (0)7006-074-925
unsubscribe from this list   update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp