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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 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.
THE GONZO WEEKLY
all the gonzo news that’s fit to print
Issue Forty-Eight    October 19th 2013
I PROMISED THIS WOULD BECOMING A MAGAZINE AND I ALWAYS TRY TO KEEP MY PROMISES
NAMING THOSE RESPONSIBLE
This issue was put together by me and Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent, ably assisted by Corinna Downes, Graham Inglis, Bart Lancia, Thom the World Poet, C.J.Stone, Kev Rowland and Peter McAdam
THIS WEEK WE BRING YOU  BRUCE STERLING, SHISHO, PAUL MCCARTNEY, ROBERT SHEA, ROBERT ANTON WILSON, ERIS, PETE SINFIELD, ROSEANNA ARQUETTE, CAL SMITH, GORDON GILTRAP, OLIVER WAKEMAN, DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS, PETER BANKS, JOHN HOPKINS, SANTANA, ALAN WHITE, JON ANDERSON, VANGELIS, PINK FLOYD, PSEUDO/SENTAI, SHINEBACK, EQUILIBRIUM, PERCY JONES, PETER GABRIEL, NEIL NIXON, STRANGE FRUIT,  MICK FARREN/ANDY COLQUHOUN, GARY WINDO,  MICHAEL DES BARRES, HAKEN, ALAN MOORE, JOHN HIGGS, DAN WOODING, KING SQUEALER, MAURICE O'MAHONEY, RICK WAKEMAN,  ROB AYLING, HAWKWIND, YES,  THE NINE HENRYS
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?)
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.
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Website
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Google Plus
Email
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LinkedIn
SO WHAT IS ALL THIS ABOUT?
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. You subscribed to 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.
THE THREE COMMANDMENTS OF GONZO WEEKLY:

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
MORE LIKE A MAGAZINE
I have been an editor of various music and Fortean publications for over thirty years now (in fact, longer if you count my three forays into anti-establishment school newspapers as a boy) and one thing that has become clear to me over the years is that somehow there are interconnected patterns between news stories which arrive in the media. One good example occurs in this issue when two entirely disparate articles (both written by me) have as a subtext the peculiar fact that Paul McCartney is much weirder, and more creative than he at first appears.

Another pattern which has been running through my life in recent weeks was sparked by reading John Higgs' extraordinary biography of the KLF. He cites Alan Moore, best known as the author of some of the most important graphic novels in the genre. However, he is also a proponent of magickal thinking, and has proposed a concept called IDEA SPACE which he describes as:

"...a space in which mental events can be said to occur, an idea space which is perhaps universal. Our individual consciousnesses have access to this vast universal space, just as we have individual houses, but the street outside the front door belongs to everybody. It's almost as if ideas are pre-existing forms within this space… The landmasses that might exist in this mind space would be composed entirely of ideas, of concepts, that instead of continents and islands you might have large belief systems, philosophies, Marxism might be one, Judeo-Christian religions might make up another."

Twenty years ago I first read The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling, in which (in a pre internet culture) he described CYBERSPACE as being the place where a telephone call takes place. I wondered then that if this were so, and never having owned a computer most of this book was theory at best to me, where was the place where two people's thoughts met? Where was the place where one fell in love? Where was the place (sexual pleasure being largely psychological) where two people made love?

This concept of IDEA SPACE ticks most of those boxes for me. And it also explains why my assertion that music can actually change the world, might actually be true.
Thank you once again to Rob Ayling, the Gonzo grande fromage for allowing me the chance to do something as insane as this magazine, and above all a big thank you to YOU, the readers, for having borne out my assertion that there are indeed people who listen to both Crass and Fairport Convention and like everything from Prog Metal to Folk to Punk to Avant Garde noise. Frunobulax and I are truly not alone.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The Spirit of the GTOs
You really have to check out ShiSho. If you can imagine two teenage girls who sound like a cross between The GTOs (featuring Michael Des Barres' ex wife Miss Pamela, interviewed here by Michael on his new radio show) and the spikier end of the output of They Might be Giants then you might have some sort of an inkling about this peculiar little ensemble.

Their Bandcamp page claims:

Real-life sisters Vivian and Midge Ramone are the art band ShiSho from greater Akron, Ohio. At 16 and 13 years old, the girls have been writing and recording for 9 years. ShiSho performs their own brand of quirky indie pop on accordion, guitar and ukulele. 

This would imply that they girls formed the band aged 4 and 7. This would be strange enough, but the really remarkable thing is how good they are.

"I hate my life, you hate yours
let's go to a shopping mall and burn down all the stalls"...


Check them out now. Your life will be enriched.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Mick Farren Memorial gig announced
Following Mick’s funeral last month, it was decided to hold a much bigger occasion where friends and colleagues could gather together, share stories, laugh and reflect on the life of a friend who left us too soon. 

At its heart, this event will be an opportunity to finish the set Mick and the Deviants started on that fateful night, Saturday, 27th July, at the Borderline. There will be live music from the Deviants, Slim Tim Rundall, and guests, drinks from the cash bar of the Flyover, situated right under the Westway, a venue Mick played on a number of occasions, and not far from the Chesterton Road flat he lived in during the years leading up to his departure for America. 

ADMISSION: Free (but donations welcome).

THE FLYOVER, 3-5 Thorpe Close, Under-the-Westway, Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5XL
STORY OF THE WEEK: Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

Rock of Ages: Taste in music DOES change over a lifetime - and even punk-loving teens will listen to classical music in middle age
  • British scientists found tastes shift in line with 'key life challenges' 
  • Teenagers like 'intense' music, while those in early adulthood opt for 'contemporary' and 'mellow' choices as they search for close relationships
  • The study by the University of Cambridge, used data from more than a quarter of a million people over a 10 year period

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2460668/Scientists-prove-taste-music-DOES-change-lifetime.html#ixzz2hq8cVS7f

I
 think that many of the readers of this magazine would disagree with this..
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The new album by Paul McCartney
The problem with Paul McCartney is, and pretty well always has been, that his music is deceptively suburban. Possibly because he is such a consummate tunesmith, and furthermore one to whom these tunes come ridiculously easy, it is always a temptation to dismiss a McCartney record out of hand; and as I have found over the years, this is quite often a mistake. For example, nearly thirty years ago when I was at the height of my Beatles obsession, he brought out an album called Press to Play. I bought it at W.H.Smiths in Exeter, played it once and absolutely hated it. I then spent much of the next three decades slagging it off whenever the subject of ex-Beatles came into conversation.

The other week I read, and reviewed, a new biography of McCartney by Tom Doyle, and after I did so, being an OCD type of fellow I worked my way through all of McCartney's solo albums on Spotify. And guess what. When I got to Press to Play I nearly skipped it. But being obsessive I put it on, and - to my chagrin - whilst not his best work, it was a bloody good and solid album. Because on first hearing it was bland muzak, I missed the subtleties, the experimental bits and the musical jokes, which sounded fresh and endearing as I sat in the  converted potato shed in which I spend most of my life these days.

This week McCartney's new album came out. It is called New, and I put it on with great expectations. And guess what....I hated it.

I was just about  to discard it out of hand when I remembered what had happened thirty years earlier. In thirty years time both McCartney and I will probably be dead, so this time I didn't have the luxury.  So, with the volume turned up, I drank a cup of tea, smoked a cigarette and listened with new ears. 

And guess what.....It is not only a damn sight better than I had originally thought that it would be, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is destined to be seen as a classic.

The tunes are, of course, to die for, but there are a lot of deft touches and musical jokes here and there, and it certainly doesn't sound like the work of a seventy year old who started out in a skiffle band before I was born.  It is deceptively light, but when you listen closely the guitars and drums are actually pretty meaty, and there are all sorts of peculiar little muso tricks which harken back to things that he and his compadres did back on The White Album and Abbey Road. In fact, I would say that on the strength of a few days' listening that this is the most Beatlesesque album he has done since,ermmmmm Abbey Road probably. And I am not just talking about the use of a line which originally appeared on the 1967 Christmas flexi disc either.

If you think about it, it makes sense. He has spent the last forty years trying not to make a record that sounds like the most famous band of all time just because he was their bass player. Now, he can do what he wants. The two most credible members of the band (in many people's eyes) are long dead and the rhythm section are in their seventies. He has nothing left to prove to anyone except (one imagines) to himself, so why the heck shouldn't he look back at his past? Most men do at an earlier age than him.

And like Bob Dylan did last year, he has produced a bloody fantastic record. Well done sir...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Blame it on the Stones
The night before last I watched The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park (2013) on BBC iPlayer. It was billed at featuring Mick Taylor as a "special guest" so I was expecting some classy blues stylisations like the ones from the Glastonbury show, but my favourite guitarist was - I am afraid - conspicuous by his absence except strumming along on the encore. Disappointing, I am afraid. However, he is there for everyone to see on the live version of 'Tubular Bells' (also on BBC iPlayer). The Mike Oldfield documentary is also well worth a look...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Still pootling about with Eris
Again I must refer to the book by John Higgs that I briefly mentioned in the earliest paragraphs of this week's issue. As a result of his extraordinary book, and in preparation for interviewing him I read a couple of books he cited including  Principia Discordia and The Illuminatus Trilogy. Mentioning this in passing on one of my daily blogs I was touched to receive an e-mail from an old and dear friend warning my against the literal chaos that would ensue if I encouraged the Goddess Eris into my life.

This is something that I have no intention of doing, and I reassured him thus. However, I do find the cultural nuances which are permeating across the multiverse that I have recently begun to think of as IDEA SPACE rather interesting. Check out some of the main characters, or rather the names of some of the main characters of these and other famous science fiction anarchists on Facebook. There is something brewing and a game is afoot. For the moment I shall just stay on the sidelines taking notes, but I suggest that you watch this space.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Gonzo Web Radio
We were supposed to have a new show for you this week - Strange Fruit #46.  What? You say. You posted #47 last week? Well whoever said that the space-time continuum was linear man? 

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.
STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 46 Part One
Date Published: 20th October 2013

Strange Fruit is a unique two-hour radio show exploring the world of underground, strange and generally neglected music. All shows are themed and all shows set out to give the most hardened of sound-hounds some new delight to sample. The show is also unique in providing homework for undergraduate students on North West Kent College’s Foundation Degree in Professional Writing (who dig up many of the odd facts featured in the links between tracks).  Strange Fruit presenter Neil Nixon is currently working on a book about rare albums for Gonzo Multimedia.  

The show is broadcast on Miskin Radio every Sunday from 10-00-midnight.

Listen


STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 46 Part Two
Date Published: 20th October 2013

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

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Pete Sinfield has heart attack
Pete Sinfield
Manticore
Songwriter and recording artist Peter Sinfield, whose early career included a stint with King Crimson, is in recovery after suffering what is being described as a “non-fatal” heart attack.
The news comes courtesy of Sinfield’s Facebook page, whose admin announced on Oct. 17 that the crew at his website, Song Soup on Sea, is “patiently awaiting the return of Peter … following a non-fatal heart-attack from which he is recovering well in the local hospital. Any well wishes will be passed on and he looks forward to returning home shortly.” The post didn’t go into details, but it did mention that they’d been waiting for him to come home for two weeks.
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Desperately Seeking Michael
I really couldn't resist that title. Roseanna Arquette was a recent guest on Michael's radio show. Read all about it...

MICHAEL DES BARRES AT GONZO (UK)
MICHAEL DES BARRES AT GONZO (USA)
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: 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 jon@eclipse.co.uk. 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.
GONZO RELEASES FOR OCTOBER 2013
1.  Zoot Suit by Judge Smith
Judge’s 11th solo release is an album of songs, and only his third full-length collection of songs in twenty years. Featuring the spectacular arrangements and production of David Minnick, and some amazing American musicians, ‘ZOOT SUIT’ is perhaps Judge’s most accessible and downright entertaining album to date.

2. Live at the Roxy by Brand X
Recorded at the Roxy Theatre, Los Angeles, California on Sunday, 23rd September 1979 11:30 pm to 1:00 am. This recording of Brand X captured live at the peak of the bands career has never been previously issued.

3. Lo and Behold by Miss Crystal Grenade
The year is 1892, the place Victorian England. Dim gaslamps lend a cobwebbed ale house a sepia glow. The sound is dull murmurs from blunt mouths, the scent unwashed sweat and sawdust. In the back room of the bar, a strange performance is unfolding, one of horror and beauty as yet to come... Singer, pianist, freak show personality and melancholic muse, Crystal is a woman wading through existentialist dreams whilst living hand to mouth.

4. Leaving Home Blues by Mick Abrahams
Over the years he also recorded a number of solo albums, steeped in the delta blues DNA that had mystically been passed down to him by Robert Johnson. Mick is 70 now, and not in the best of health, but he still has the heart of a bluesman and the remarkable musicianship on this gem of an album pays testament to that. 

5. The Woman in the Black Vinyl Dress by Mick Farren and Andy Colquhoun
Mick was a crazy-passionate activist, anarchist, and street politician. When I met him, about a month before his death I asked him whether he was still a revolutionary. He bristled “Certainly”, he said, and went on to describe the ills of modern Britain, the iniquities of the Government, and his hope that the new technology of the 21st Century might bring about the anarcho-syndicalist utopia that he dreamed of. All the time he was talking, he quaffed Jack Daniels, and smoked my cigarettes, while taking the occasional toke on his oxygen mask. We were surrounded by friends and well-wishers, and it was obvious that here was a man that demanded great love and respect. This is his final album, recorded and written with old compadre Andy Colquhoun.

6. Dogface by Gary Windo
Gary Windo was one of those people who never achieved the full recognition due to him. At least, not while he was alive. A highly original musician with an instantly recognizable style, Windo was involved in the Seventies with various musicians of the Canterbury scene. Most notable was his work with Robert Wyatt on the albums Rock Bottom (1974) and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975), and with Hugh Hopper on 1984 (1973) and Hoppertunity Box (1976).  His first released solo album, Dogface (1982) is an unsung classic, I am very proud to be part of the team that has finally made this peerless record available again.
BACK ISSUES OF THIS PERIODICAL
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...

Newsletter #36  Newsletter #35  Newsletter #34  Newsletter #33 Newsletter #32  Newsletter #31  Newsletter #30  Newsletter #29 Newsletter #28  Newsletter #27  Newsletter #26  Newsletter #25  Newsletter #24  Newsletter #23  Newsletter #22  Newsletter #21 Newsletter #20  Newsletter #19  Newsletter #18  Newsletter #17 Newsletter #16  Newsletter #15  Newsletter #14  Newsletter #13 Newsletter #12  Newsletter #11  Newsletter #10  Newsletter #9 Newsletter #8  Newsletter #7  Newsletter #6  Newsletter #5 Newsletter #4  Newsletter #3  Newsletter #2  Newsletter #1
THOSE WE HAVE LOST:  Cal Smith (1932-2013)
Calvin Grant Shofner (April 7, 1932 — October 10, 2013), known professionally as Cal Smith, was an American country musician, most famous for his 1974 hit "Country Bumpkin."

The Lord knows I'm Drinking 
THERE IS NOW A GONZO WEEKLY SHOP
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... 
http://www.zazzle.co.uk/gonzoweekly
COVER STORY: GORDON GILTRAP AND OLIVER WAKEMAN
Photos (including front cover) by P. Werninck, courtesy Sue Holton
I have always been mightily impressed by the prowess of legendary guitarist Gordon Giltrap. I saw him live on several occasions about 20 years ago, and he never failed to astound me. Now, his most recent project is an album called Ravens and Lullabies; a collaboration with Oliver Wakeman. It is his first rock record for over thirty years.

Last weekend Giltrap and Wakeman, together with a specially assembled band played a unique live show. Mike Stranks was there:
What a night!

An enthusiastic audience greeted the Ravens and Lullabies Band very warmly indeed as they took the stage.

Gordon was probably reassured to see the massed ranks of Giltrapites right at the front of the audience area - no seats here - all sporting their Giltrap tee-shirts. 

Others can comment better than I about the audience's perceptions of the event, but from where I was at the side of the stage I could hear the enthusiastic applause, whoops, shouts and sheer appreciation of a crowd that not only remembered Gordon from his Giltrap Band days and the magnificent three albums from that period, but also responded very warmly to the present band and the new material. Of course, any reference to, or playing of, material from that era brought the house down!

Being so close to the band two key things struck me: Firstly, the sheer professionalism and musical chops of them all. Considering that this was in many ways a 'scratch' band with very limited rehearsal time their tightness and delivery was astounding. You'd have thought they'd being playing together for years. Secondly, the sheer respect - and indeed affection - they showed to Gordon. Here were people clearly very accomplished in their own spheres who recognised not only the heritage in which they'd been invited to share, but also someone who can still cut-it with the best of them after almost 40 years in the business.

(It has to be said that they were all exceedingly nice people too. Each of them individually took the trouble to come up and thank me for my own VERY small contribution to the proceedings - effectively 'Mr Shifta'.)

I knew instinctively what the encore would be... a full, album-length, version of Heartsong. I moved position so that I could see Gordon for that one... how would it go? From the first few chords I knew that 'the boy was back in town'. (Of course, all of us reading this know he's never been away....). To hear the full band version with all the old arrangements we all know and love so well with some tasteful new additions brought a glisten to the eye and a lump to the throat of this old codger who's seen and heard so many bands over the years. There was Gordon very much in the driving seat powering the whole band through this iconic piece. 

As the music played I was taken back to that time in the late '70s when I was first introduced to Gordon's music... It brought me great pleasure at the time and made me an avid collector of his material. Twenty years later I was introduced to Giltrap Mark 2 and again found music - above all, tunes - that delighted and entranced.

Thank you Gordon for the pleasure and delight you've brought to so many with your music - not just last night, but for 40 years.
 
And there's more. To celebrate this unique event, we telephoned Oliver Wakeman, and we ended up having a long conversation including some interesting snippets about his time with Yes. Listen to our conversation HERE
EXCLUSIVE:  DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS
Days Between Stations is a partnership between guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes. They named the band after the 1985 novel by Steve Erickson. Samzadeh describes the band's sound as "art-rock", while Fuentes describes it as "post-prog". I don't know what it is, but I like it very much. Their second album, 2013's In Extremis is a concept album about a man at the point of death. The title "In Extremis" refers to the Latin term "In extremity" – A term used in reference to the last illness prior to death, and amongst other high profile guests contains one of the last studio performances by former Yes guitarist Peter Banks.
 
I caught up with Sepand for a chat...

JON: I really enjoyed the album.  Billy sent me a copy of it a while back and I thought it was really, really impressive.
 
SEPAND: Thank you so much.  I can’t imagine how many albums you listen to so I appreciate that.
 
JON:  I have a wonderful job; I listen to music most of the day and I listen to dozens of new records a month, you know, but I was really impressed by yours.  I like the way it’s a particularly 21st Century way of working isn’t it?  You’ve got a core duo and then you work with so many collaborators.
 

SEPAND: Yeah, you know, we are a couple of guys in like a room that is 8ft by 10ft. We are stuck in the basement; our wives think we’re just tinkering with toys down there. And then all of a sudden you’re catapulted into this realm of working with your heroes and it’s just – I can’t tell you of the feeling – they inspire us really.
 
JON:  Because some of the stuff on that last album of yours, you’ve got an amazing collection of people on it.
 
SEPAND:  It’s just a dream come true. I can’t really – you know working with Pierre, with Rick, with Colin.  It actually started as a joke. We were working on Visionary and Oscar said ‘you know, Tony Levin stick bass would sound fantastic here’ and I said ‘oh yeah, yeah’, so naively I just e-mailed him and two hours later he’s agreed to it and it was just amazing. We are still pinching ourselves, so to speak.
 
JON: Do they come into the studio with you, or do they send the music files over the internet?
 
SEPAND: Billy was in the studio with us, everyone else was via the internet. Tony was touring with Peter Gabriel and when he did the bit, he was in New York at the time and he did most of the tracks and then we lost him for a week and a half and I was just wondering what was going on. We found out later that he was working on the David Bowie album secretly, and then Rick and Colin – everything was done through the internet. I’m usually against that sort of thing, but when people get it, get the music and what it’s about, it’s really the thing.
 
JON: The thing that I was most impressed by was that despite the fact that you were all in different places, it sounds like a bunch of musicians sitting in a room together. It’s got that sort of human feel to it.
 
SEPAND:  It really does.  I was really scared about that, but it really does. With the first album Oscar and I just worked together and we brought the local musicians in, but this had a really cohesive sound to it. And it really worked.
 
JON: And of course it’s of historical importance as well because of what happened to Peter.
 
SEPAND:  Yeah.  Peter was a fan of the first album.  I have to admit right off the bat that I’m not a prog guy.  I am more the arena rock/pop rock kind of guy, and I hadn’t really listened to Peter Banks’ work or Rick’s work or Yes or any of those bands. Once our first album got released we got compared to King Crimson and Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream, that’s when I started listening to them.  And Peter was a fan of the first album and we wrote back and forth and he seemed to have interest in working with us on the next record and he was the first one who we approached. And I was kind of worried of having a second guitarist.  Worried is not the right word.  I didn’t know how that would work, especially with someone across the great pond. But Peter really – you know I can predict Jimmy Page, I can never predict Peter.  And I just remember when he sent the track I had no idea what I would hear and he just – you know – blew me away. A very underrated guitarist.
 
JON: Yeah and a great loss.
 
SEPAND:  Wonderful man.
 
JON: Yours were pretty much the last sessions he did wasn’t it?
 
SEPAND: Yeah.  He worked on Billy Sherwood’s  Prog Collective 2, but Eggshell Man was the second last song that he did and In Extremis was the third last song that he did. Most artists will go ‘Oh I love your music, everything’s great’, and you pay them and they disappear but Peter wasn’t like that at all.  He really listened to the music and I was shocked when he sent the tracks for In Extremis – he sent 33 guitar tracks – you can imagine how much thought he put into layering, and sound and solos and it was just incredible.  His heart was really into it. And something that kinda - I just realised - was we sent them this song called In Extremis which is about a man at the point of death because Peter knew he was sick, and I had described the story of the concept of the album is of a man at the point of death reflecting on all of his memories, each song being a memory and he wrote me back and said ‘I was very touched by what you said’.  You know, I didn’t know he was sick so it was very personal for him.  And Eggshell Man is about a guy who has finally built his empire but everything collapses and he keeps getting back up, and keeps falling down again. And I think that touched him too. And we didn’t realise that all this stuff really was personal to him, we just never knew about it. 

JON: That’s really poignant. It’s a really, really heavy thing, very touching.
 
SEPAND:  It really is, yeah. Not being from the prog world I guess I wasn’t  a threat to him, so I didn’t know about anything about the past  and about Yes and Flash.  He started opening up to me towards the end, and I can call him a friend.

JON: Well that’s really special. Did you ever meet him?
 
SEPAND:  No I didn’t.  We talked over the ‘phone quite a number of times. And when I heard the news – you know I like to think I’m thick-skinned once in a while, it hit me.  My baby was about a month old and I just called my wife upstairs and said, ‘Just hold him’.  I remember that.  My knees just buckled and I cried for about two days.  I just talked to him 15/20 times and I kept thinking to myself why is this upsetting me so much, and – you know – we really connected on a very deeper level. It still affects me, and I was really upset that he couldn’t join us on our next effort.
 
JON: I was really surprised.  I had never really rated Billy as a drummer before. I didn’t know he could play drums like that. 
 
SEPAND: <laugh>  I was shocked. Again, I am not a progger, I don’t know much about Billy.  I was thinking vocals but he said let me play drums too and I said okay. And wow. One of my favourite moments of that section in Showman where he’s just going crazy on the drums before Rick’s solo comes in, and he blew me away.
 
JON: He was in the studio with you all the time?
 
SEPAND:  Yes. 
 
JON: So did you put down your two bits and his drums at the same time, as if you were a sort of a live band?
 
SEPAND: When Oscar and I took the videos we’d leave a spot out for Rick to play but we have most of the parts written out on a very primitive level so the very silly quick track or the electronic drums he was playing to but he just came up with something else. What happens is when we are doing the demo version the sound’s really two-dimensional and once you have people like Peter – actually Peter and Billy were the first ones to join in – it just elevates the music; it creates a three-dimensional aspect to it where you can really feel it and it actually energises us because wrote In Extremis – that song took us about four years to write it - and it just becomes alive to us all of a sudden. All these ideas just kept pouring in, so …..
 
JON: I was also impressed because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a record that has had people from Yes and people from XTC on the same record.  I’ve always liked both bands. You made it mesh in a way that I really wasn’t expecting.
 
SEPAND:  I think it really has to do with the relationship Oscar and I have.  Oscar listens to a variety of music and of course his background is Mexican.  I have a rock and experimental pop rock sort of background so – you know – Oscar and I you can say are married and there’s compromise and that what happens.  We can do a Bohemian Rhapsody but we can also have a Radio Gaga in there too at the same time.  It’s what we enjoy. You know with first record we had a very, like a dark song, and when we threw in a song like Radio Song it represents us as a band.  We have our dark heavy moments, but we are also dorks  and we like to joke around and have fun. It’s just our personality and I think it just comes through.
 
JON: How do you choose the guests you are going to have?
 
SEPAND: We hear their parts. And, for example, I mentioned Tony Levin.  We heard his parts, Rick Wakeman, Colin, we just hear them, and all we’ve done so far is just ask, and it’s come through.
 
JON: It must be amazing being able to work with people who have inspired you so much.
 
SEPAND:  It’s a dream come true.  It really makes me feel like I did something in my life, you know, and most of the time I think Oscar and I question ourselves so much.  I don’t think we have an ego – if anything it is a lack of ego – so to have people of that stature approve in a sort of way because they are on the album really gives us a lot of confidence.
 
JON: It does make it difficult to do live though doesn’t it?
 
SEPAND:  We will. We can always strip down. Or bring in other musicians to do it. It’s do-able and we are  working on it. 
 
JON: I’d love to see some of those songs played live.
 
SEPAND: It’s basically me holding us back.  I have a stage fright issue, but we’ll get over it.  Maybe we’ll do some children’s parties first and then move up.
 
JON: <Laughs>  I think the songs are a bit dark for children
 
SEPAND:  I can just see In Extremis during a birthday party.  Very dark, you’re right.
 
JON: <laughs> and you’ve got a lot of 7-year olds sitting there in tears.   So what are your next plans?
 
SEPAND: We are working on a couple of films on a very independent level. We want to get a little inspired through that.  Oscar is very open to doing anything really.  He doesn’t think too far ahead, just likes to be in the moment.  As far as myself I want to be a little bit more experimental and push the musicianship as much as we can this time around as well. 
 
JON: Have you got stuff planned for the next album?
 
SEPAND:  We have basically three albums’ worth of material but the question is how do we feel about the present moment; is it something we want to do or not?  I don’t want to rehash another the same as the second album.  I really want to try something a little bit different. So we are probably going to sit down and talk about it next week; we are still trying to catch our breath.
MICK FARREN'S LAST INTERVIEW AND MUCH MUCH MORE
As any reader of this magazine will probably know, I was a great fan of the late Mick Farren, and was pretty devastated (although not particularly surprised) when he died the night before I was due to visit him with wife and niece in tow.

So when I received this DVD in the post, together with an email from Rob at Chrome Dreams telling me that he thought I would particularly appreciate it, because it includes what turned out to be Mick's final interview.
I have read a lot about the early days of the British underground from books like Farren's Give the Anarchist a Cigarette and Jonathon Green's Days in the Life, and I knew about the vast majority of the things covered in this excellent DVD, but knowing about something in an intellectual way is a million miles away from being able to see a mixture of archive footage and pictures and interviews with those of the luminaries of the underground who are still alive today (or in Mick's case, who were still alive when the film was made).

As I have intimated elsewhere in this issue, Paul McCartney is a very complex dude, and it is undeniable that (at least until Yoko came on the scene) that he was the weirdest, artiest and most avant garde of The Beatles

However, (and this is turning into almost a companion piece to the critique of his new album which is earlier in this issue) his avant garde credibility has always been tainted by the fact that whereas John Lennon looked like he was channelling some Lovecraftian genius from Miskatonic University, and George looked like he was a personal mate of the Dalai Lama who had the keys to universal consciousness hidden in his tunic pocket, Paul looked as if he worked at Nat West.

Even now seeing this straight looking bank-clerky dude talking about his LSD use, and even more so the socio-political implications of the daily newspapers publicising the fact of his LSD use, is a truly shocking thing. Watching Jagger and Richards smirking on the courthouse steps with scarves and cigarettes (and the eternally shamed femme fatale Marianne) is no shock. They look like members of any pop group before or since who have got busted for drugs and other behaviour which may or may not have included Mars Bars. But the sight of this carefully spoken and dapper young man, not yet 25 being faced with the enormity of being the most famous bass player in the world and still trying to have a private life is shocking in the extreme.

Possibly the interviewee who I found most interesting was John "Hoppy" Hopkins, very frail, but still a revolutionary in every cell of his body. Now 76, and looking older he gave a unique insight into the movement in the mid 1960s because he was its first martyr.  In court on 1 June 1967, Hopkins explained that cannabis was harmless and that the law should be changed. The judge, describing him as "a pest to society",sentenced Hopkins to nine months in prison for keeping premises for the smoking of cannabis and possession of cannabis, although he served only six months.[3] A "Free Hoppy" movement sprang up and, as one particular consequence, Stephen Abrams began co-ordinating a campaign for the liberalisation of the law on cannabis. This led to the publication in The Times on 24 July of a full-page advertisement which described the existing law as "immoral in principle and unworkable in practice", signed by Francis Crick, George Melly, Jonathan Miller and the Beatles. Paul McCartney, initially clandestinely, arranged the funding for this advertisement as a tribute to Hoppy, at the instigation of Barry Miles.

I met Mick Farren once, I met Joe Boyd a couple of times, and saw Miles on TV on a number of occasions, but this was - I believe - the first time that I have ever seen Hoppy tell his own story. And it was an intensely moving experience.

This DVD is an incomparably valuable slice of social history, and I truly cannot think of any way in which it could have been bettered. Go and buy it now...

Watch the trailer HERE
QUESTION: Is this little snippet from Corinna just an excuse to post links to the 'Dutch Woodstock' DVD which contains bits by Santana?

ANSWER: Yes

Peculiar quote of the week, one Saturday in 1973
 
Location: Record shop in Uxbridge precinct, Uxbridge, Middlesex
 
Name of band:  Santana
 
Name of single: Samba Pa Ti
 
Quotee:  A friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous
 
Quote: “Salmon pâté by Santana, please”
 
Embarrassment level:  probably around 9 out of 10 at the time
THE DUTCH WOODSTOCK AT GONZO (USA)
THE DUTCH WOODSTOCK AT GONZO (UK)
A SNEAK PEEK AT THE NEXT BOOK BY DAN WOODING
We will be publishing extracts from this massively exciting book over the next few issues. This week, here is an excerpt from Chapter Four...

Sadie and Sonia were in their thirties, as hard as nails, and apparently without any feelings for their clients. All they wanted was to screw as much out of them as they could, while their customers screwed them. They knew every hustling trick in the book and upped their price before each under-garment came off. They picked their clients carefully. Those who were well-dressed and appeared to have plenty of dough to indulge their sexual whims, were always given priority. Poor punters from the provinces never got a look-in.
 
‘Look Mo,’ said Sadie one night at the club. ‘Why don‘t we do a deal?’ I thought at first she meant going to bed. ‘Look love, I’m not into that. I never pay for my sex,’ I said.
 
‘No, Mo, we’ll give you information, and you can burgle the places we tell you about. Then you can give us a percentage.’
 
These well-worn hustlers were very good at their profession - they had to be at their age to survive the rigours of their unpleasant occupation. Our lucrative business partnership lasted for several months.
 
This cunning pair of whores also devised a blackmail scheme aimed at key workers at Heathrow Airport, London. They had managed to bed several security officials at the massive airport, and then had threatened to tell their wives of their misdeeds if they didn’t steal valuable goods from baggage passing through their hands. The frightened men did just as they were told and then received a small rake-off from the girls . . . plus, of course further favours.
Sadie and Sonia, who incidentally ‘starred’ in a succession of sordid blue movies and was also a lesbian, were not my only informants. I remember one burglary being put up to me by an apparently respectable businessman whom I had got to know. Over cocktails in a hotel bar one night, he told me of the gaff of a friend in Willesden. ‘This chap keeps several thousand pounds there in cash,’ he told me as he downed a gin and orange. ‘He has it all stashed away in a bureau. All you’ve got to do, Mo, is get in and ransack the bureau.’ He told me the man was out at work each day, and his wife loved bingo and attended sessions twice a week. I kept a discreet observation on the flat and found out that she went chasing a full house each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.
 
One Tuesday I decided to have a go at robbing the ground-floor flat. I watched the bingo addict leave for a chance of winning a small fortune, and then had my own go at gaining a jackpot. As always, I first rang the bell of the flat. If there was an answer, I would, as they say in Fleet Street, make my excuses and leave. There was no reply this time, so I popped the pane of glass in the top of the door with an automatic centre punch, put my hand through the hole it made and let myself in. A quick search of the premises confirmed that there was nobody in, and it also brought to light a varnished brown bureau in a small study. Just the piece of furniture I was looking for, and I’d found it so quickly, I thought. I searched through it, but could find no sign of money. There were a lot of documents, but not a banknote to be seen. I got more and more frustrated as I hunted. Maybe my informant was mistaken.
 
I gave up on the bureau and looked for an exit point, just in case I was disturbed. This was always my practice - and it’s one that has paid off over the years. As I looked for an escape route, I came across another bureau, this time in the dining room, I again began ransacking it, but could still find nothing of importance. I stopped work for a moment for a breather, and rested my elbow on the top of the bureau - and abracadabra! A secret cavity began to swing open. I gave the rolling bottom ledge a bit of help and resting there all snugly rolled up, were bundles of one and five pound notes. I quickly counted up £5,000. What a find. I pocketed the money, shut up the cavity and then went through to the bedroom and lifted some nice jewellery and a mink coat and jacket. I then made my escape by the rear door and slung the minks in the boot of my car which was parked nearby. I sold the furs for a total of £500 and I got a further £250 for the jewellery. But it was the cash that thrilled me. My informant got £500 for his help. With friends like him, who needs enemies?
 Sadie and Sonia were in their thirties, as hard as nails, and apparently without any feelings for their clients. All they wanted was to screw as much out of them as they could, while their customers screwed them. They knew every hustling trick in the book and upped their price before each under-garment came off. They picked their clients carefully. Those who were well-dressed and appeared to have plenty of dough to indulge their sexual whims, were always given priority. Poor punters from the provinces never got a look-in.

 
‘Look Mo,’ said Sadie one night at the club. ‘Why don‘t we do a deal?’ I thought at first she meant going to bed. ‘Look love, I’m not into that. I never pay for my sex,’ I said.
 
‘No, Mo, we’ll give you information, and you can burgle the places we tell you about. Then you can give us a percentage.’
 
These well-worn hustlers were very good at their profession - they had to be at their age to survive the rigours of their unpleasant occupation. Our lucrative business partnership lasted for several months.
 
This cunning pair of whores also devised a blackmail scheme aimed at key workers at Heathrow Airport, London. They had managed to bed several security officials at the massive airport, and then had threatened to tell their wives of their misdeeds if they didn’t steal valuable goods from baggage passing through their hands. The frightened men did just as they were told and then received a small rake-off from the girls . . . plus, of course further favours.
Sadie and Sonia, who incidentally ‘starred’ in a succession of sordid blue movies and was also a lesbian, were not my only informants. I remember one burglary being put up to me by an apparently respectable businessman whom I had got to know. Over cocktails in a hotel bar one night, he told me of the gaff of a friend in Willesden. ‘This chap keeps several thousand pounds there in cash,’ he told me as he downed a gin and orange. ‘He has it all stashed away in a bureau. All you’ve got to do, Mo, is get in and ransack the bureau.’ He told me the man was out at work each day, and his wife loved bingo and attended sessions twice a week. I kept a discreet observation on the flat and found out that she went chasing a full house each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.
 
One Tuesday I decided to have a go at robbing the ground-floor flat. I watched the bingo addict leave for a chance of winning a small fortune, and then had my own go at gaining a jackpot. As always, I first rang the bell of the flat. If there was an answer, I would, as they say in Fleet Street, make my excuses and leave. There was no reply this time, so I popped the pane of glass in the top of the door with an automatic centre punch, put my hand through the hole it made and let myself in. A quick search of the premises confirmed that there was nobody in, and it also brought to light a varnished brown bureau in a small study. Just the piece of furniture I was looking for, and I’d found it so quickly, I thought. I searched through it, but could find no sign of money. There were a lot of documents, but not a banknote to be seen. I got more and more frustrated as I hunted. Maybe my informant was mistaken.
 
I gave up on the bureau and looked for an exit point, just in case I was disturbed. This was always my practice - and it’s one that has paid off over the years. As I looked for an escape route, I came across another bureau, this time in the dining room, I again began ransacking it, but could still find nothing of importance. I stopped work for a moment for a breather, and rested my elbow on the top of the bureau - and abracadabra! A secret cavity began to swing open. I gave the rolling bottom ledge a bit of help and resting there all snugly rolled up, were bundles of one and five pound notes. I quickly counted up £5,000. What a find. I pocketed the money, shut up the cavity and then went through to the bedroom and lifted some nice jewellery and a mink coat and jacket. I then made my escape by the rear door and slung the minks in the boot of my car which was parked nearby. I sold the furs for a total of £500 and I got a further £250 for the jewellery. But it was the cash that thrilled me. My informant got £500 for his help. With friends like him, who needs enemies?

BUY IT AT AMAZON (UK)
As Rick Wakeman wrote the foreword to this remarkable book,  this seems a reasonably sensible place to point out that there are a number of groovy Rick Wakeman records on sale via Gonzo
RICK WAKEMAN AT GONZO (UK)
RICK WAKEMAN AT GONZO (USA)
Review: From ACT UP to the WTO Edited by Benjamin Shepard and Ronald Hayduk.

Everybody likes to think that they were THERE: that they were at the beginning of something, the first to engage in some activity which later became of cultural significance.

Maybe you saw Pink Floyd at theUFO club in Notting Hill Gate in 1967? Or the Sex Pistols on theirJubilee bash on a boat on the Thames ten years later? What about the massive rave at Castlemorton in the 1992? Or the road protest on Twyford Down near Winchester which kick-started the anti-roads movement at around the same time?

Personally, I always like to say that I am responsible for Reclaim the Streets. The basis for my claim is that before the first march and rally against the Criminal Justice Bill, in May 1994, my name was one of three registered at Scotland Yard as being responsible. It was a beautiful sunny day and people danced in the fountains at Trafalgar Square to the Rinky Dink bicycle-powered mobile sound system. Later, maybe, people thought that it would be a good idea to hold a party in the street.

It’s an absurd claim, of course. I can imagine veterans of RTS going purple in the face right now, knowing that CJ Stone hardly ever attended a single meeting, certainly took no part in any action, and that when he did attend meetings, he made no noticeable contribution to the proceedings.

It’s true. And yet I still maintain that I was there, on the ground floor as it were: in spirit, if not in body. It’s possible for many people to have the same thought at the same time.

The word is Zeitgeist. The spirit of the times. To have been around in any era, to have participated, even on a peripheral level, is to have absorbed some of its imperatives, some of its meaning. So even if even you didn’t actually see the Sex Pistols in 1977, you will have understood their milieu, you would have been a part of the movement that brought them about.

I can’t speak for people younger than me. Chances are you will have your own cultural moments: your own measure of what is significant to you. Possibly the anti-capitalist mobilisations in Seattle and other places - in Prague or Genoa - will be part of that.

Read on...


SOME BOOKS BY C.J.STONE

 

 
 
 
HAWKWIND NEWS
(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 fans have been interested to read of a data record of four minutes of archive Hawkwind in a database run by the British Film Institute, which was set up in 1933 and which sounds like a place that injured or dying movies end up.

Described as "An extract from the group Hawkwind's musical stage act 'Space Ritual'," the database references a 4-minute performance that's starkly lacking in other details. Given the recent progress in the unearthing of long-lost Dr Who episodes (some of which were found in the archives of a TV station in Nigeria) Hawkwind fans might allow themselves to hope... just a little. 

Yes, maybe one day we'll have a wide-screen stereo release of a 1973 or 1974 ciné film of a Hawkwind concert - but it's not a prospect that many would care to bet much money on!
THE YES CIRCULAR - TIME AND A WORD
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 several weeks of me complaining about the dearth of Yes-related news, I am pleased to report that things are picking up (and that is not including the two interviews in this week's magazine). We have an interview with Alan White who, as regular readers will know, is probably my favourite drummer. We have a review of Oliver Wakeman's shows with Gordon Giltrap. We have news of some Vangelis reissues including ones with Jon Anderson, and whilst on the subject of Jon Anderson, here's some big news.
http://gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2013/10/yes-keyboardist-rick-wakeman-had-to.htmlWe have the story of why Rick Wakeman turned down Bowie and joined Yes, and we have an account of a particularly fraught South American gig. Not bad for one week, eh?
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! 
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (UK)
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (USA)
RICKETS, RICKETY
IN THIS HOUSE OF BONES
i dance around/slower now
with less obvious sounds
Spare parts getting harder to find
without them,i am in a bind
You see,even my century has left me
collections of cassettes and videos too
now i do not know what to do
antique ?or retro?i do not know
No player can be repaired(like me/so
i must keep or throw away
that which has no parts today
I am my age/and it shows
every thing i see and say is RETRO-
so my long train of memories
gets shunted into HISTORY
and when i seek to share and say
Younger flesh just walks away
I,too,sought fields to play
But that was "YESTERDAY"

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 things such as this. This is a really rare thing, and one which provokes that old familiar stirring in the bottom of the mitral valves of my collector's heart. A snip at £5,300  What's more, the person selling it obviously has a genuine sense of humour, so I quote his blurb in toto.

Read on...
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION TIME

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...
INTRODUCING THE NINE HENRYS

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 WORLD OF KEV
Kev Rowland
PSEUDO/SENTAI  There’s Always a Fucking Problem  (BANDCAMP)
22 songs, total length less than 45 minutes, and an album title that is strong to say the least, this sounds far more like an extreme metal outfit than something that is deemed ‘Crossover Prog’. But, that is what we have here and the Americans have come up with a collection of songs that are diverse, sometimes commercial, sometimes challenging, instrumental, poppy and so on. I have been racking my brains to come up with an accurate comparison and the closest I can come up with is the mighty Cardiacs, but even that isn’t quite right. Some progressive bands take a whole load of ideas and then find a linking theme to combine them into epics, whereas these guys take a far more direct approach and if they want to have a song that is under a minute in length then that is absolutely fine by them.
 
Some of the songs are very staccato in nature, very abrupt and ‘pronk’ (hence the Cardiacs reference), but others are far more dreamy, so much so that at times it feels that there could well be different bands involved. There is always a real alternative lo-fi feel to what is going on, so much so that one could imagine this being delivered out of a bedroom in the early Eighties and then being devoured by fans on one of the many independent labels that were around at the time. This would never have been mainstream prog, but it may well have found friends in that underground subculture when the music scene was just exploding with new ideas and styles. Fast forward to 2013 and although the independent label is now Bandcamp, in many ways this is very true to that period, even down to some of the keyboard sounds being used (just play “AP4: Ghostman (Boss  Battle)” to see what I mean). There are times when the vocals are almost throwaway, when at others we have harmonies, always with passion and angst.
 
This album is always going to appeal more to those who enjoy their music to be a little less refined, and want to be constantly challenged and this is an album that definitely does all of that. This is a band that keeps coming up with new ideas, and the result is an album that in many ways is all over the place which means that if you don’t like the particular style or song don’t worry about it as another will be along in a minute literally. Easily the best of their work that I have heard so far.
 
SHINEBACK Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed    (BAD ELEPHANT)
This is a new project by Simon Godfrey of Tinyfish fame, and he has brought in some guests to work on a concept album which is interesting, compelling, dynamic and very layered. There are times when it is very dark indeed, which is not surprising given the subject matter. It is possible to read the complete story that goes with the album by visiting the website, but it starts with “My name is Dora. I am, and have been for many years, a permanent guest at the Wychwood Centre for the criminally insane, for killing my father. Which I both did, and did not do.” Intrigued? There are parts of this album that blow me away with the sheer audacity of what is being done, and yet others where I shake my head and ask why?
 
I think that part of this is down to more of my own musical tastes than it is any fault with the album itself. I enjoy music that is primarily made by musicians, whether that be prog, metal, jazz etc., but have some real issues when it comes to any of the dance genres, or most pop in general, which I believe to be artificially created, often by those who have little or no musical talent or skill. So, when I come across an album which does feature some of these styles I naturally have some issues. When Fear Factory first hit the scene it took some serious listening on my part to be able to work out if I felt that they were doing something exciting and new or whether it was just an aberration (I decided on the former and was extremely vociferous in my support). But, there we had genres hitting headlong to create something new, and here there are passages where if it was taken out of context of the album then it could be played in the clubs in Ibiza. “Crush Culture” is very much like this, and I know that this is just part of the story, but isn’t the sort of thing that I listen to given the choice.
 
I have read a fairly lengthy review of this album where this is compared to “The Wall”, and the statement is made that if that album was written now it would sound like this. While I do feel that this is boundary pushing in many ways, somehow I don’t think that this is in the same level of importance. When these guys were offered to the Crossover Prog team for consideration it was a fairly easy vote regarding the sub-genre, but I am still getting to grips with the album as a whole. It is an audacious piece of work, and I think that only many listenings will allow anyone to fully get to grips with it. 4*’s for now, but part of me feels that this just may be a 5* album that I have yet to come to terms with.   
EQUILIBRIUM     Waldschrein     (NUCLEAR BLAST)

Given that the new album is still a year away, Equilibrium have decided to release their first ever EP to given an idea of what they have been working on. Produced by guitarist René Berthiaume in Helion Studios and mixed and mastered by the Resetti Brothers ‘Waldschrein’ includes the brand-new title track, an acoustic version of the same song, a re-recorded and extended version of “Der Sturm” from ‘Turis Fratyr’ (originally sung by ex-vocalist Helge Stange, now by front man Robse Dahn), a previously unreleased song “Zwergenhammer” as well as a cover version of Skyrim’ opening theme. 
 
The result is something that has certainly got me itching for the full album as this is just wonderful as it blends metal with symphonic and folk to create something that is vibrant, fun, complex, layered, simple and extremely powerful indeed. Hearing music as exciting and vibrant as this makes all of the hours I spend listening to ‘new’ bands (to me, these guys have already released three albums) more than worthwhile. This is great stuff.
HAKEN       The Mountain      (INSIDE OUT)
I was sat at my desk the other day when I was asked if I had yet played Haken’s ‘The Mountain’. When I responded by saying that it was on my list and hadn’t got to it yet, I was told that I needed to. So, when I got home that night I made the time to actually play it for the first time. It was a lot later when I was asked if I was actually going to go to bed, as I had just sat there in awe, taken away into a new musical world. To say that this is one of the finest albums to ever come out of the prog scene is something of an understatement, but accurate. I’ve just had a quick look on PA to see what others feel about this and note that there are two collaborator/expert reviews, both of whom give it 5*’s, and I am convinced that the only reason they have done that is because we’re not able to give it any more.
This is absolutely stunning stuff, arguably taking Spock’s Beard to a whole new level. But, that argument would in itself be flawed as they have instead looked to one of SB’s influences, the incredible Gentle Giant (surely still one of the most under-rated British prog acts ever, and I know that they are rated highly, just not highly enough), and have moved on from there. Honestly, I have no idea where to start with writing about this. The vocals and harmonies are incredible, and they go from full on metallic monstrosity to a cappella in a way that should never be possible, but somehow with these guys it makes total sense. Metallic riffs combine with harmonies, strong bass with ‘out there’ keyboards, and the feeling that here is a band very much in control.
 
It is just not possible to fault this album, everything they do is accomplished and polished yet never loses that feeling of spontaneity and rawness that is so important. Unlike some progressive acts, there is nothing here that sounds contrived, the music just oozes honesty and passion. This is not something created by navel gazers in a sterile environment to prove how clever they are, but rather is the product of a band that are not going to conform to any pre-conceived ideas of what they should be producing but instead are out to do whatever they damn well please. I mean, what on earth is a prog band doing starting a song with a barbershop quartet? (“Because It’s There”), but within the feel of the album as a whole it makes total sense with what they are doing.
 
My album of the year, of any genre, is Clive Nolan’s ‘Alchemy’ (yes I know it’s only September, but given how often I am playing it I just can’t imagine anything else getting even close). But, although that features many famed progressive performers, it is in fact a theatrical musical production as opposed to a prog epic. When it comes to prog, I am convinced that I have found my album of the year and am listening to it now, as this is one of the most exciting and vibrant pieces of work that I have ever come across. The way that they can go from complex bombast to restrained and simple beauty, such as on “As Death Embraces” where the vocals and piano interplay is quite different to what has gone before, but still contains a compelling majesty.
 
Looking at reviews that have been posted in various places I note that not everyone shares my opinion, but life would certainly be boring if everyone had the same view on everything. However, if you have never heard Haken then the time to do it is now, and if you have, then you can rest assured that these guys have kept pushing the envelope to create something which is stunning, just stunning.     
 
PERCY JONES
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).
 
Dave Lynch writes: “Fusion bassists, including the utterly unique and underpraised Percy Jones, have always laboured in the shadow of Weather Report's Jaco Pastorius. Of all the musicians who strapped on fretless electric basses during the '70s through to today, Jones certainly deserves attention beyond the seemingly inevitable Pastorius comparisons”.
 
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.
 
Dave Lynch continues: “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 a decade later.
 
There is certainly a lot here for electric bass-aholics to enjoy; Jones' burbles, pops, and plonks are all here, and his tone on the sustained notes is rich with harmonic overtones as expected. But the music through which the bass slips and slides is often more like twisted instrumental techno-funk than fusion, along with ominous electronic textures that sometimes sound like an ethereal choir or gruff, agitated shouts distorted beyond recognition. Sometimes the rhythms are steady enough that dancing wouldn't be out of the question (on "Hex," for example), but most of the time, Jones' drum machine is used to syncopate even the conventional four- or eight-beat measures in jarring and unexpected ways, which would probably send today's dance-oriented audiences into conniption fits. “
 
Jones composed everything on the album himself, except for the closing number which – of all things – everything on Cape Catastrophe except the final track which, surprisingly, turns out to be an arrangement of Thomas Arne's Symphony in F major, tinged with a bit of the feeling of  Krautrock experimentation.
 
THE BEST LAID PLANS...
My assistant editor Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent and I have had a hectic, but quite enjoyable week. We are carless at the moment because the trusty old Daihatsu failed its MOT terminally and will have to be replaced. I am looking for an elderly Mercedes, but they are few and far between in rural North Devon.
This is a particularly hectic time at the CFZ. Graham is away with his mother and sister, and Richard is here all week. I was recording all yesterday afternoon and evening with Mike David, and he (together with a young lady from Fremington who apparently has a Joss Stonesqe bluesy solu voice) will be back later, and also tomorrow. Expect some new material imminently.
 
This, however, is where I should probably warn you about the events of next weekend. Corinna and I will be away on Thursday and not returning until Saturday. The blogs will continue uninterrupted, and the next week's issue of Gonzo Weekly will be out either before we go or when we come back. BUT, and this is the big BUT, because neither Graham or me will be here, and because Richard has the computer skills of a three toed sloth with some peculiar learning disorder, there are unlikely to be any e-mail notifications for a couple of days.
 
Why? Corinna and I are going to Manchester to see Peter Gabriel, and then down to Oakham to collect Mother and bring her down here for the winter. Normal service will, I sincerely hope, be resumed by next weekend...

But as far as the magazine is concerned: Remember that it doesn't cost anything to subscribe, and that in doing so you are joining an elite, and rapidly expanding group of music fans who believe that we are not being given the music or the cultural coverage that we deserve. Please pass this magazine on to as many of your friends, relations, and whoever else you can, and do your best to persuade them to subscribe. It will make an ageing fat hippy very happy.

We are living in disturbing and strange times, but ultimately they are very interesting ones, and continuing to chronicle the Gonzoverse is an immensely rewarding thing to do. Thank you for reading.

Until next week,
Slainte

Jon Downes
(Editor)
Copyright © Gonzo/CFZ Press 2013  All rights reserved.

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