This is quite simply the best magazine you will ever find that is edited by a mad bloke (and his orange kitten), and produced from a tumbledown potato shed on the outskirts of a tiny village that nobody's heard of in North Devon. The fact that it is published with Gonzo Multimedia - probably the grooviest record company in the known universe - is merely an added bonus.
all the gonzo news that’s fit to print
Issue Fifty-Eight December 28th
This issue was put together by me and Captain Frunobulax the Magnificent, (who is, in case you didn't know, an insane orange kitten on the verge of adulthood) ably assisted by:

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

This is the nearest that you are ever going to get to a posh weekend colour supplement from the Gonzo Daily team. Each week we shall go through the best bits of the week before, and if there aren't any we shall make some up, or simply make our excuses and leave (you can tell the editor once did contract work at the News of the World can't ya?)
What? You don't know who Hunter Thompson is/was/might have been/will be? Without Hunter Thompson there would be no Gonzo Multimedia. It would have been completely different and that would have been an unforgivable pity. So here is:
C.J.Stone suggested that as well as explaining Gonzo to those wot don't understand, we should do a weekly quote from the great man himself. So here goes:

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.”  
                                 Hunter S. Thompson
Social media stuff that I am really too old to understand, (my stepdaughter spent much of last Christmas trying to explain Twitter to me) but I am assuming that at least some of our readers are younger and hipper than I am.
Google Plus
Google Plus
It is simple; my name is Jon and I'm the editor of the Gonzo Multimedia daily online bloggything. Now there is a weekly magazine, once again edited by me and a small orange kitten from a dilapidated ex-potato shed  in rural Devonshire, to which you subscribed by opting in on the website. I hope that you all stay to join in the fun, but if it is not to your liking it is easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...

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

I am also very disappointed by much of what the contemporary music press puts out, and I decided many years ago, that probably the only way I could read the things that I want to read, would be to publish them myself. So this is what I have been doing for much of my life. I am also naive enough to think that music and art can change the world, and as the world is in desperate need of change, I am gonna do my best to help.
MORE LIKE A MAGAZINE: Unhappy Anniversary
The forthcoming year is the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War, and I wonder how the media are going to deal with it. I don't mean the documentaries, the political analyses, and the special tie-in book from Downton Abbey, but the entertainment business, and more particularly the music business.

Ever since 1984, when everyone went Orwellian at least once, I have been expecting another big cash-in year. OK it happened in 1999 for the millenium, but I was expecting everyone to embrace fictional space travel, or at least make documentaries about Arthur C Clark in 2001, and do a remake of Raise the Titanic in 2012, but the first didn't happen at all and the second was somewhat muted.

Both my grandfathers fought in the First World War: one in the Royal Flying Corps, and the other in the Royal Horse Artillery. The latter was seriously injured and finally died of his condition in 1954. One of my grandmothers was a Land Girl, and the other a schoolgirl who saw Zeppelins fly overhead, and so my childhood was immersed quite strongly in family memories of the conflict.

So what's going to happen? In 2014 will we be too immersed in our own sense of self-importance, or preoccupied with our own problems to care about what happened 100 years before? Or will Simon Cowell present a "Salute to Passchendaele" and The Spice Girls reform again to sing "Keep the Home Fires burning", while an inner city grime artist will name herself "Dolly Gray" (getting the war completely wrong) to present an urban version of Eric Bogle's elegiac "The Green Fields of France".

Or will no-one care, and will "time, like an ever rolling stream" have indeed borne "all its sons away"? Ask me again in another 12 months.

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

If you think those three ideas are stupid then you should probably give up reading this magazine now. Otherwise... enjoy
As is the rest of this magazine, this is mostly about music, and the bits of contemporary culture that I find interesting, but it also has a smattering of actual NEWS, especially if there are ethical questions that effect us all, or one of those put in authority over us does something spectacularly inane. The nearest that this section will ever come to politics is laughing at politicians.
  • Pop star Ian 'H' Watkins tweeted his anger after he was mistaken for his Lostprophets namesake for a second time. Last month, a picture of the former Steps singer was mistakenly used on celebrity website E! Online instead of the disgraced paedophile rock singer. Former Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins was jailed for 35 years at Cardiff Crown Court on for a string of child sex offences... Read on...
  • LONDON – Sunday 23rd February – Doors open 8pm
    'THE PITY OF WAR', the complete 'War Poems' of Wilfred Owen recited by Penny Rimbaud with Liam Noble on piano and visuals by Gee Vaucher. In memory not of victory, but of the terrible darkness brought by war; in memory of those on both sides of the divide who died for the arrogance of their leaders and the illusions that they were fed by them.
    Vortex Jazz Club, Gillet Square, Dalston Kingsland
  • More than four decades after Carlos Santana and his drummer Marcus Malone parted ways, the two were reunited on the streets of Oakland, California, where the talented musician has been living after falling on hard times.  The heartwarming encounter was made possible thanks to the efforts of local news reporter Stanley Roberts, who came across Malone earlier this month while reporting on illegal dumpsites for his segment 'People Behaving Badly' for the station KRON4. When Roberts first interviewed Malone, the unkempt, bearded man in a big red parka was rummaging through piles of garbage. Read on...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: The new Auburn video
As I leaked, exclusively, to you last week, the new video from Auburn's fantastic new album Nashville was released to the omniverse on Christmas Eve; a little Christmas gift from the band. 'Hurting' is my favourite song on the album; an exquisite slice of the rich seam of Nashville grooviness that the lovely Liz Lenten and her compadres mine on this wonderful record.

Auburn’s ‘Nashville’ to be released January 27th on Scarlet Records with tour dates supporting Jefferson Starship

“Understated and more often than not charming Liz Lenten’s pop styled folk has a beautiful and on occasions a quirky feel” (Flying Shoe)

“Fronted by a tremendous vocalist in Liz Lenten, whose influence bears hallmarks of some of the great dreampop singers, but with more singer songwriter approach, the group create mature heartfelt melodies for a new generation” (Morning Star Online)

‘Well-woven tales with gorgeous melodies – it’s a fine album’ (Ectophiles guide to good music)

One of the break-out releases of 2012, UK acoustic ensemble Auburn's 'Indian Summer’, gathered rave reviews worldwide. Featuring singer/songwriter Liz Lenten, Auburn reunited in 2011 after an almost 10-year break while the band members focused on personal projects.

Following live dates in 2012, including ‘The Blue Nile Club’ in New Orleans, and a 10-date UK tour with legendary psychedelic band JEFFERSON STARSHIP, Liz went back into the studio to write new material. InJune 2013 she took her new songs to Nashville TN, to record with award-winning producer THOMM JUTZ,and a collection of Grammy-winning musicians.

Thomm said: â€˜Liz approached me about me about producing a record for her earlier this year. Our mutualfriend, master songwriter Gretchen Peters had suggested to Liz that working with me, here in Nashville might bea good idea.Liz and I had some great conversations on the phone and she sent me her songs. I immediately loved the material and the singing - I knew I had to think outside of the box for this project, and that's always a good thing.

All the players loved working on this project. They understood that playing freely without stylistic constraints was the order of the day here. Everybody approached these songs with an open mind, especially, Liz - and that isone of the greatest qualities an artist/writer can have. It was a joy to make this record, from beginning to end. It was a creative adventure for all of us and that's when making music is at its most magical.’

Entitled ‘Nashville’, the resulting album’s sonic world showcases Liz’s many and varied musical passions,including elements of southern blues, country and jazz, and with influences ranging from Billie Holiday to Bonnie Raitt and Ricki Lee Jones. Choral-director and artist/label manager (Eliza Carthy, Shane Macgowan & Galia Arad) Liz, whose voice has been described as “so sweet it'll make your hair curl” and “husky, with an emotional frailty”, isn't afraid to show her full range of vocal tones or emotions.

Her vocals on this album have already been likened to those of Karen Dalton, Dusty Springfield and Norah Jones.Selected tracks from the album were made available pre-release on ReverbNation, and within a few weeks had reached No.1 in the UK Americana charts and No.7 in Global Americana charts, with over 45,000 songplays!

Auburn were delighted to be asked once again to support Jefferson Starship on their forthcoming tour (see dates below).

JAN. 2014
  • 20 St. Albans Albans Arena
  • 21 London The Borderline
  • 23 London, The Borderline
  • 24 Clitheroe The Grand
  • 25 Norwich Epic
  • 26 Skegness Skegness Rock & Blues Fest
  • 28 Wolverhampton Robin 2
  • 29 Bromsgrove The Artrix
  • 31 Frome, Cheese & Grain
FEB. 2014
  • 1 Manchester Manchester Academy
  • 2 Hertford Corn Exchange

Tracks: 1. Sitia Bay , 2. Let's start over , 3. Hurting , 4. Crazy people , 5. Pride is a thief , 6. Butterfly , 7. Maybe tonight , 8. Full to the brim , 9. I would fall down , 10. Leaving day , 11. If you knew , 12. I'm lost.
Iceland's hidden elves delay road projects

In this land of fire and ice, where the
fog-shrouded lava fields offer a spooky landscape in which anything
might lurk, stories abound of the "hidden folk" — thousands of elves,
making their homes in Iceland's wilderness.

So perhaps it was only a matter of time before 21st Century elves got
political representation. 

Read on...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  A Taster for Clearlight's Impressionist Symphony
I am getting increasingly fond of Cyrille Verdeaux, both as an artist and as a person. A few weeks ago you may remember that he sent me the unfinished masters of his new album 'Impressionist Symphony'. I was massively impressed and wrote: "...he has finished a series of recordings of pieces of music about French Impressionist artists (including Toulouse Lautrec) and he has been kind enough to send me a set of MP3s from the session. And bloody hell they are good!

I had originally planned to try and give a brief thumbnail portrait of each of the eight pieces of music but found the task beyond me. The music is gloriously lush spanning neo-classical extravaganzas, jazz, little bits of rock and roll, and a surprising amount of bluesey feel.

Highlights to me are the multi-tracked Mike Oldfieldy guitar which keens like bagpipes during the middle section of Pissaro and the glorious oceanic fantasia which is in the tune dedicated to Paul Gaguin, one of my favourite painters who - like Jacques Brel - lived out the final years of his life on the tiny island of Hiva Oa in the French Marquesas islands in the South Pacific. This gloriously sexy but liquid elegy does the man who may have been a syphilitic libertine with a taste for the fruit of the poppy, but was one hell of a painter, proud.

The rockiest track is that dedicated to Renoir, and despite the lush orchestration and manic fiddle rocks like a bitch!"

But despite the fact that I have spent most of my adult life writing about music, I have always found that the only real way to experience something is to hear it for yourself.

I always hate appearing elitest, and feel mildly embarrassed when I write about music that I have got copies of but which I am unable to share with the readers of this magazine, or - for that matter - anyone else. But now I can.

Over Christmas Cyrille sent me this trailer for the new album , writing: "The Impressionist Symphony focusses on the celebration of the wonderful French impressionist painters...This new Clearlight album, composed 40 years after the Clearlight Symphony will be released by Gonzo Multimedia international early next year...Stay tuned ! Happy New Year 2014".

He goes on to write:

1st extract : RENOIR EN COULEURS 0 to 1'46"
Cyrille Verdeaux (Keyboard Kurzweil 2600) Steve Hillage (guitar) Paul Sears (Drums) Linda Cushma (bass) Dider Malherbe (sax) Craig Fry (violin) 
2)- TIme is MONET 1'47" to 3' 05"
Cyrille Verdeaux (Bosendorfer 290 Piano, classic percussions) Paul Sears (classic percussions) Craig Fry (violin), Didier Malherbe (Flute)
3)- PISSARO King 3' 06" to 4'29"
Cyrille Verdeaux (Keyboards) Neil Bettencourt (drums) VIncent Thomas Penny (Guitar) 
4)- DEGAS de la Marine 4'30" to 6' 10"
Cyrille Verdeaux (Piano bosendorfer 290, kurzweil 2600) Paul Sears (percussions, Drums) Chris Kovacks (Lead Synthe) Remy Tran (Cosmic sounds)
5)- VAN GOGH un  6' 11" to 7' 24"
Cyrille Verdeaux (Kurzweil 2600) Steve Hillage (guitar) Paul Sears (Drums) Linda Cushma (bass) Chris Kovacks (lead synthe)
6- LAUTREC too loose 7' 25" to 8' 47"
Cyrille Verdeaux Kurzweil 2600, Drums program) Vincent Thomas Penny (electric and acoustic Guitar)
7)- GAUGUIN comme l'autre 8' 48" to 10'26"
Cyrille Verdeaux (Kurzweil 2600, classic percussions) Paul Sears (classic percussions) Steve Hillage (guitar) Didier Malherbe (Flute) Craig Fry (violin)
8)- MONET time for duo 10'27" to 11'52" 
Cyrille Verdeaux (Bosendorfer 290) Craig Fry (violin) ï»¿ 
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Merrell makes the Top 10
Just before Christmas Merrell Fankhauser wrote to me:

Rainbow Bridge Revisited made it in the top ten for 2013 releases at a big site here in the U.S.

They even included the Gonzo video sample!

BEVERLY PATERSON WRITES: Less than two months before he left his earthly body for greener pastures on September 18, 1970, guitar god Jimi Hendrix played a free concert on the slopes of Haleakala, a volcano located in Maui, Hawaii, that was forever immortalized in film and on record.

Merrell Fankhauser, an amazingly brilliant fretman in his own right, not only salutes his dearly departed peer in an impressively credible manner here, but he also contributes a stash of spectacular self-composed tracks to the collection. The package further contains a DVD featuring interviews with folks who appeared in the Rainbow Bridgemovie.

A shimmering instrumental version of “All Along The Watchtower” opens the ceremonies on Rainbow Bridge Revisited(Gonzo Multimedia), while a cover of “Waterfall” remains loyal to the initial recording, which floats and glides with beauty and grace. Original numbers like “Calling From A Star,” that expertly fuses a bobbing Bo Diddley styled beat with washes of spacy psychedelic effects, and “The Wall,” a blues rooted groover riffing on lip-smacking licks and potent harmonica work, dial in as the ultimate definition of cool, and then there’s instrumentals such as the jazzy hard rocking lounge pop of “Hookipa,” the gorgeously textured “Mother Sea,” the catchy and crushing grip of “Last Wave At Hanalei” and the driving vintage surf sounds of “Monster Swell” and “Surfin’ 101″ that sit tight as additional top-drawer dandies.

Flickering and flourishing with creative melodies, compact arrangements and expressive guitar exercises by the score, Rainbow Bridge Revisited exposes Merrell’s talent for bringing a variety of moods and shades together in a single light. Jimi Hendrix tributes may be a dime a dozen, but this baby offers something off the beaten path. And what’s even better is that it is brought to you by a fellow, who for five decades, has been producing some of the most awesome music imaginable.

Rainbow Bridge was a peculiar 1972 film featuring Jimi Hendrix (who had died two years before) and a cast of local eccentrics using Hendrix’s music and a whole slew of UFO sightings to explore their spirituality. 41 years later, musician and film maker Merrell Fankhauser revisits the film to explore its message more fully.

He told us: “As you know I lived on Maui for 14 years and I moved there in ‘73 just a year after the Jimi Hendrix Rainbow Bridge came out. And when I moved there I met a lot of people that were in the movies, and a lot of them were hippies, surfers and cosmic people that were seeing UFOs and everything, and they said Jimi was really into the whole UFO thing, and that there were even some hovering about when they were shooting over there. So we contacted the ones that we still knew where they were over there and we went over and interviewed them and it was really interesting what some of them had to say about hanging out with Hendrix and everything and then we went down to Southern California, because some of them lived down there, and we interviewed a few of those so we’ve got some really interesting interviews with, I think, an insight into some of the things that were going on with that movie with Hendrix hasn’t come out.

In the original Rainbow Bridge if you saw it, it follows Pat Hartley the actress from the Sunset Strip over to O’ahu and then to Maui where she meets all these characters, and ultimately Jimi. And the message because of all of her travels and the way it was put together kind of got lost a little bit in the different scenes and things and I talked to one of the guys from Warner Brothers who was in on the editing and he said that when they brought the film over it was in all of these bags and there was sand in it and they were almost afraid to put it on their machine, and had to clean it all and they kept going through this stuff and it was just a lot of hippies talking about cosmic stuff and getting high on drugs, and everybody kept saying “Where’s Jimi, where’s Jimi? Where’s the concert?”

You know they were afraid they weren’t going to have enough to make the movie really good, but finally they got to the movie part. So what we did, we kind of condensed these interviews down and we would segue into some really great surfing on big waves over there, because a lot of the people that were interviewed were surfers and we have old footage of them surfing, and then we cut to surfing footage from now, and I have about ten of my newer instrumental surf songs in there with the surfing, and then it would go to a couple of band performances – there were two Maui bands that we have over there: Omar and the Wavestop Spies and The Space Patrol, who actually – the lead singer – Les Potts was in the original Rainbow Bridge movie and he’s the guy that’s shown cutting up this surf board that they smuggled some hashish I think it was to the island, and he takes a big toke and coughs his lungs out, and that’s in the movie”. It sounds just as eccentric a project as the original, and – personally – I can’t wait.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  Some news from Genre Peak
Martin Birke writes: 

Hey guys just wanted to inform that Grammy-nominated bassist Edo Castro (Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin) is joining the star studded ranks of Genre Peak.
We are tracking all winter.
I'm trying to get David Torn too.

Happy Holidays !


Explore New Music
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: It is not too late to buy Michael Des Barres' festive song
I had forgotten quite how cool Michael's festive anthem was. As a terribly overweight bearded fellow with a plethora of bad habits, it feels good to recommend this hymn to Santa's sobriety and physical fitness. And it rocks like a bitch. Well done Michael...

Rock n Roll Santa - Michael Des Barres
Download via iTunes: Chosen by SiriusXM Radio as "The Coolest Song in the World" ...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST:  The Gospel according to Bart
This week my favourite roving reporter sent me possibly the most peculiar story that he has ever sent me - David Bowie delivering a Christmas message, via a radio show hosted by the three surviving members of The Clash - in which he pretends to be Elvis Presley.

Admit it, that is weird!
We have a new episode of Strange Fruit and 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. 
STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 52 Part One
Date Published: 28th December 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.

Playlist for this episode



STRANGE FRUIT: Episode 52 Part Two
Date Published: 28th December 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
What's been did and what's been hid
I am growing up in public, as it were. The Gonzo Weekly has been going for very nearly a year now, and we are beginning to find our feet. I am making changes as I go along, and - no doubt - some of these changes will turn out to be mistakes. So, let me know what you think. Do they work? Do you like them? Hate them? Or don't you care either way?

Please pass this magazine around as far and wide as you can. And encourage as many people as you can to subscribe. Remember it is free, and will remain so. However, I want as many subscribers as possible to move on to the next stage of the party. There might well be cake.

Remember, I am always looking for new authors. If there is something that you feel you could add to the general melange which is the Gonzo Weekly, please email me at The more the merrier.

Although this newsletter also goes out in a plain text version for those of you who do not trust image intensive thingys in your browser, I promise that as long as it is technically feasible (which will be for the forseeable future) the text only mailout will continue. However, I strongly advise that for you to get the best out of this rapidly evolving publication, that you really should see it in all its picture-led glory.

Please tell your friends, colleagues and family about The Gonzo Weekly, and try to persuade them to subscribe. The more subscribers we get, the bigger and better and more effective the whole thing will be.
Remember, if you want more than your weekly fix of this newsletter you can check out the Gonzo Daily, which - as its name implies - does much the same as this newsletter but every day. It also features a daily poem from Thom the World Poet, and the occasional non-Gonzo rock music rambling from yours truly, plus book and gig reviews from our highly trained staff of social malcontents. And its FREE! You cannae say fairer than that!
Each week, some of you seem to recognise me. Yes, I am indeed that weird bloke off the telly who chases mythological animals. I have a day job as Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and also the editor of the CFZ Blog Network, and publisher of a plethora of books about mystery animals.
1. Gong: Live in Sheffield
Many people believed that the idea of Gong without Daevid was like the Rolling Stones without Keith Richards. However, they had already played a stint as Paragong in 1973 while Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth took a 6 week break so they regrouped as Gong with guitarist Steve Hillage at the helm. The band recorded a new album, but Hillage left before its release. Gilli Smyth and Tim Blake had left at around the same time as Daevid, so the rump of Gong now featuring Didier Malherbe aka Bloomdido Bad de Grasse, Mike Howlett on bass and noted French percussionist Piere Moerlen.

2. Quicksilver Messenger Service: Live in Hawaii
By 1970. the band were working and recording largely in Hawaii. The next two albums, Just for Love and What About Me?, are sometimes called the Hawaiian albums because they were recorded mostly in a studio in that state, and both have a similar Hawaiian motif to their cover designs. This excellent live album captures a changing band at the peak of their game. A real treat for psychedelic music fans.

3. Joey Molland: Return to Memphis

Joey Molland, who had written the vast majority of Badfinger's later output, remains an immensely under-rated and very talented songwriter, whose career has been blighted by the appalling catalogue of disasters which had overtaken his band, But now he is back with a fantastic new album: “ I did the record in Memphis and so it’s called Return to Memphis. I started out loving Memphis music …Elvis and all that. A lot of great rockers came from there. So I opted to go down there and make a record and it was a great experience.”
4. The best of Clearlight

In 1975 Virgin Records released the first album of Cyrille Verdeaux compositions titled CLEARLIGHT SYMPHONY. Clearlight became the first French progressive rock band signed to a major British record label. Gathering accolades for its unique compositions and keyboard stylings, the music spanned from classical romanticism to lush experimentation. Primarily psychedelic, but also serving as a forerunner of new age music, the album's musical style manages to blend seemingly contrary elements: the symphonic rock concept is flexible enough to permit extensive jamming in both rock and jazz fusion styles.
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:  Ricky Lawson (1954-2013)
Ricky Lawson (1954 – December 23, 2013) was an American drummer and composer. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he worked extensively as a session musician, collaborating with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Steely Dan, and other artists. He co-founded the jazz-fusion band the Yellowjackets and won the 1987 Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance for "And You Know That" from their album Shades.
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...
EXCLUSIVE: Crystal Grenade interview
Erich Kästner prefaced one of his acclaimed children's novels twice: there was the 'Preface for Beginners' (for those who had not read his previous novel featuring the same characters) and the 'Preface for Experts" (who had). Whilst never claiming to be a writer of his calibre, I am gonna do exactly the same thing. Hands up you in the class who have NOT heard of Miss Crystal Grenade (aka Carol Hodge). If you haven't then you had better go to the next text box and check her out. For those of you who have, and want to hear her going through her debut album with me, track by track, with incessant asides about things like Berthold Brecht (the two of us even sing a line of Seeräuberjenny together, then you can listen to our conversation here.

Carol Hodge was last seen in November 2011 on stage at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.  She was holding the hand of the one-time Crass vocalist Steve Ignorant as they closed both Ignorant’s world tour and his career of singing songs by the one-time Kings and Queens of anarchopunk, with a massively emotional version of Bloody Revolutions.  Even watching it on YouTube brings tears to my eyes, so I can only imagine what it would have been like being in the audience, or even more on stage. Carol joined Ignorant’s world tour half-way through after the previous female vocalist had dropped out for family reasons.  And she had some pretty big shoes to fill (I suppose if I was clever enough I should make some sort of reference here to Crass’s notorious song about Chinese footbinding, but I can’t think of one).  And she filled them righteously.  After all, having to perform songs made famous by the doyenne of anarchapunk, Eve Libertine, cannot have been an easy task.  One of my favourite moments from the tour was also from the last show, when Eve joined Carol on stage for a particularly blistering version of Shaved Women.

But what happened next? 

Carol has adopted the personality of Miss Crystal Grenade; an existentialist Victorian artist, singer, and freak show performer with a peculiarly deformed hand. Accompanying herself on piano, and with some songs featuring multi-tracked vocals (presumably by her) this music fills the same sort of cultural territory as did the recent BBC detective series Ripperstreet; a gloriously aesthetic re-creation of the latter days of Victorian London. In Miss Crystal Grenade this slice of ur-historical synthesis now has the perfect soundtrack.

It’s impossible to categorise with any degree of satisfaction.  The nearest I can come to her vocal phrasing is – of all people - Elton John’s eponymous second album, where he sang against strings produced and arranged by Paul Buckmaster. But the songs sound nothing like him, and there are no strings, merely some gloriously rococo piano. Then again, bits remind me of Dead Can Dance.  But they sound nothing like them. Does that even begin to describe the music I have been listening to all morning?  No, of course it doesn’t.  But it will have to do. 

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.

Born with a rare hand deformity that statistically makes her one in a million and logistically means a life of peculiar charm, Crystal scrapes a living through song and chance.

In a world where the past is revoked in all its putrid glory, she clings to piano keys with all seven lucky fingers whilst opening the emotional floodgates. A voice of gentle pain or unapologetic rage, her honesty shall ever prevail. Join her in the search for salvation.

EXCLUSIVE: John Goodsall interview

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). 

I caught up with John Goodsall just before Christmas:

JON: I thought there was always some very cinematic about Brand X.
JOHN: If you look back through the old catalogue,  X-Communication, when we were a trio, it was pretty much pure jamming on themes – a lot of improv in between – it was like it could be an opening theme. An eight minute jam. It was just magic stuff.  And a lot of it was cinematic and it was dynamic, and it would go quiet, and it would go spacey and it would come out strong, and that particular album, Steven Segal wanted to use it on Under Seige 2.  And I still think we could go back through the catalogue which we own which is the stuff after the Hit and Run track with Collins, everything after that Percy and I have the rights to, I’m pretty sure – well I’m not sure those companies exist any more, and publishing wise and all the rest of it.  All that stuff is pure Brand X and it’s just pure improv and it’s a lot of great incidental type music.  There’s even themes there. It would be great music for movies.  If you guys could try and get us in a movie we would all come out smelling like a rose.
JON: Sounds wonderful
JOHN: I’m about ready to go into the studio and lay down some new tracks.

JON: That’s fantastic.  Are you going to be playing live with them?
JOHN: There are not a lot of musicians around here, but there was one band that was great called Cat Blue – they were sort of a hard rock trio and they do originals and they’ve got two albums but they do mostly rock cover tunes but the drummer sings and plays great and their bass player is an awesome musician.  The guitar player moved 800 miles north of here and the recording studio I mention is their recording studio and I’m supposed to go in there – they are having an open house; they have just rebuilt the place - its called Dungeon Studios – and I’m probably going to get to use the remaining two guys for some of my tracks and hopefully I’ll take them out and we can either do live or at least they’ll have me replace the other guy in what’s basically a cover tunes band playing classic rock, but it’s fun and they play good.  And I think I could probably use them because the stuff that I’m doing now is a bit more prog; it’s not quite Brand X’s stuff I’m doing now.  It’s like thematic prog; big, long Yes type arrangements.
JON: That I’d like to hear.
JOHN: It’s good stuff and I’m excited and I think I’ve come to a certain point here and I’ve had a lot of time to think about it and a lot of time to come up with what I really want to do. I’ve always loved the big, grandiose prog like Transatlantic, Neil Morse and all that, and Yes and all that, and I’ve always kind of aspired to that and I’ve come from the same part of the world as a lot of those people and now I think I’ve got my hands on to some tracks and some musicians that might be able to pull it off.
JON: Have you done demos of any of these songs?
JOHN: No, what usually happens is I just put a little guitar note down on a cassette usually, you know.  I’m not really savvy, I’ve got recording software in both of my computers – well I’ve got rough bits and pieces, but nothing’s finished.  You know what I mean?  It’s all work in progress, so what I’m doing now is just looping it all together in some type of structure and hopefully I’m going to go into the ‘Dungeon’ some time in the next few weeks and start laying some of it down.
JON: Is this stuff going to be instrumental or will it have vocals?
JOHN: There are vocals in it.  There are words, there’s lyrics, there’s beautiful melodies in it. It’s a lot of instrumental though; it’s a lot of open sections for jams, for solos; piano solos or guitar solos.  There are a lot of like pretty intense – if you can imagine the prog type riff music – it’s pretty wild stuff.  It’s mostly instrumental, but there are vocal themes and there are some great songs in there too. 
JON: Will you be doing the singing or are you going to find another vocalist?
JOHN: When I write it, I sit in the house here and sing it.  People tell me I sound great, but as a performer I am not really used to doing that and that’s why I am interested in having this drummer, because you won’t believe this guy – he’s a f******g animal. He can knock a beautiful, heavy rhythmic beat and scream his head off at the same time. The guy’s a monster really – this guy can really scream his head off - Larry Crawford – he’s a great drummer and when I need the vocals done I’m thinking it’s going to be his high voice doing the lead vocal and I’ll probably chime in a little bit too, you know.
JON: I’m looking forward to hearing this stuff. 
JOHN: It’s almost there.  It’s probably been 20 years in the making and I want to just make sure nothing goes wrong because it’s almost there, and I’ve got the studio lined up, and I’ve got the arrangements worked out – some of them anyway – and I’ll go in and finish it in the studio. I’ve developed stuff in the studio as well. That’s how Brand X, and a lot of those bands like Weather Report, they just went in and jammed in the studio – a lot of their stuff was created right there while they were recording it, you know.   And there will be some of that on my new stuff as well.
JON: That’s wonderful. I really look forward to hearing it.
JOHN: I don’t want to let you down, and I hope I can deliver something soon. This is my swansong, if you like.  This is my thing that I’ve always tried to do and it’s a lot bigger; it’s a huge thing, and we all have our personal lives that get in the way and this and that, and problems and all this crap. It’s a huge thing and meanwhile I am right there for anything that comes along – Fusion, going up and jamming with Prince or whatever, you know. Whatever opportunity arises, I’ll be right there with my guitar, but meanwhile behind the scenes this is the thing I’ve been trying to build for the best part of my musical life, and it’s getting very close to being realistic.
JON: Of course, Prince is Minneapolis isn’t he?
JOHN: Yeah, he runs a jam session up there – they want 120 bucks to get in through the door if you are going to jam with him. But I’ve been intending to go up there and do that.  He’s two hours away up in Minneapolis. I’m down in the south end of Minnesota, by the Iowa border.
JON: What was the last recording you did then?
JOHN: The last recording I did was – I believe it’s on your label – it’s called Cymbalic Encounters.
JON: Oh, I’m talking to Mark Murdock soon
JOHN: ...that’s me and Percy all over that record, yeah.  We’ve even started a new one with him actually. 
JON: Oh cool.  He’s in Japan isn’t he, at the moment?
JOHN: Yeah, he sends the tracks over here and I go down to my little local studio down here – not the ‘Dungeon’, there’s another place I’ve been using called The Red Star which is really great. Some of the results we’ve had out of there is some of the best stuff I’ve ever done. And it’s all through the internet, you know. We never actually sit in the studio together, but sometimes we do. I did a lot of his record there. 

JON: That’s cool.  I like this 21st Century method of working.
JOHN: The digital stuff has made it so much easier to do everything and everybody said at first, ‘oh the sound ain’t as good, CDs don’t sound as good as vinyl, la-di-da-di-da,’ well guess what, now people are beginning to understand how to use digital and the possibilities are endless. Mankind is not going to go backwards, you know what I mean?  And the sound quality is better, if you know what you’re doing.  

Please Help Break the News Blackout on Hersh's Lies-for-War Report


Pulitzer Prize journalist Seymour Hersh made public the atrocities in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and many years earlier broke the horrific story of the massacre of over 500 civilians in My Lai village in Vietnam - both war crimes committed by the US military. He has a proud history of major exposés of this nature.

In 'Whose Sarin?' Hersh uncovers a war crime on a far far greater scale from the very peak of US power, but, though it's all over smaller mostly net-based news sites, mainstream news media doesn't want to touch it either side of the Atlantic in a damning show of uniform subservience to political power.

Please help break this blackout - read, sign and share the petition widely - and send a message to political leaders and news editors that they should exist to serve the public, not the powerful, and if they can't be reformed they need to be dumped. If they are allowed to so easily silence such an esteemed journalist to block the mass of the public from learning about lies for war, who and what stories can't they silence? And how many will die based on the next round of lies? Please support this petition.

And here is the story:

Wishing a happy New Year to you all


"Stone writes with intelligence, wit and sensitivity."
Times Literary Supplement

"Wry, acute, and sometimes hellishly entertaining essays in squalor and rebellion."

"The best guide to the Underground since Charon ferried dead souls across the Styx."
Independent on Sunday


Housing Benefit Hill:


And so a big thanks to everyone making the last to gigs we did, on our extensive tour with INNER CITY UNIT , starting at Windsor Firestation Arts & Culture Centre  Friday 6th December and ending back at our favourite haunt the Black Velvet venue in West London last Saturday 7th December. Both gigs were a real blast, and great to see old friends and new. Thanks to all the staff at both venues, and a big thanks to Nik 'Thunderrider' Turner joining us on stage again and to INNER CITY UNIT Steve Pond, Nazar Ali Khan and all the way from Italy Dino Ferrari. And thanks also to genial host Kozmic Ken and Glyn Collins ending the night with his tribute on flute to Nelson Mandala.

So next out, will be the digital audio/video release of our TAKE ME TO THE FUTURE shortwave radio mix. We'd like to say a big thanks to Ben Rollo-Hayward whose done an absolutely fantastic job of filming, compiling, editing and creating the video and also to the contributors for their footages. The official release date of the single is 01.01.2014 so please go grab it! And the exclusive link to view the video below.


And so to our next, and first gig of 2014, we return to the Real Music Club, the Brunswick pub on Saturday 25th January 2014.

This will be Susi Oddball's Celebration of Life birthday party. This is a RMC special, as Susi was diagnosed with cancer last year, and this year she won her battle against the big 'C'. Susi was the founding member of Brighton and Hove Community Radio, with the late great Judge Trev, who as you know, passed away after losing his fight with pancreatic cancer. Entry is a £5 suggested donation with proceeds with this gig will go to MacMillan Care Support and also BHCR.


As anyone who knows me will attest I have a great love of rock and roll biographies, especially those which are about, or involve The Beatles. So you will not be at all surprised to find out that when it was announced that Mark Lewisohn was to write a three volume biography of the band that I would be very excited. I mean look at what Amazon have to say:

This extended special edition of Mark Lewisohn's magisterial book Tune In is a true collector's item, featuring hundreds of thousands of words of extra material, as well as many extra photographs. It is the complete, uncut and definitive biography of the Beatles' early years, from their family backgrounds through to the moment they're on the cusp of their immense breakthrough at the end of 1962.

Designed, printed and bound in Great Britain, this high-quality edition consists of two beautifully produced individual hardbacks printed on New Langely Antique Wove woodfree paper, with red-and-white head and tail bands and red ribbon marker. The two books will sit within a specially designed box and lid featuring soft touch and varnish finishes. The whole product comes shrinkwrapped for extra protection.

Mark Lewisohn's biography is the first true and accurate account of the Beatles, a contextual history built upon impeccable research and written with energy, style, objectivity and insight. This extended special edition is for anyone who wishes to own the complete story in all its stunning and extraordinary detail. This is genuinely, and without question, the lasting word from the world-acknowledged authority.

But I didn't ask for it as a Christmas present, nor have I bought it yet. Why? Merely a list price of a hundred and twenty quid, even though you can get it on Amazon now at a post-crimbo knock down price of £71 which is really going to piss off the people who bought it at full price for their loved ones.

The real question at stake is not can I afford £71? I can. And not will it be worth it? Almost certainly, yes. But do I have the cojones to write a polite letter to the publishers, Messrs Little Brown, asking for a review copy?I have done stuff like this before. I got a review copy of the 50th Anniversary book for this very magazine. But that was only £20. I got a copy of Mike Bascombe's The Butterflies of Hong Kong for Animals & Men magazine, but that was only £60 and I am a specialist publisher in the area. I even got a copy of a two volume encyclopaedia of cryptozoology worth well over £150. But that was again, a subject in which I am one of the world's best known experts (if you will forgive me blowing my own trumpet a little). 

But this is a book about the world's most famous pop group, and proud as I am of this magazine we don't have as many readers as Rolling Stone or Mojo.

So what do I do? Do I draw a deep breath and write to their publicity department? Or do I take an equally deep breath and reach for my credit card? Which would you do?
(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..
Christmas is customarily a quiet time for Hawkwind news, and Xmas 2013 proved no exception. In the week to December 25th, there were 19 posts on the Hawkwind Yahoo Group... of which 17 were on the partially-related topic of the return of radio's "Sunday Space Rock Show."

This show last graced the airwaves in 2009-2010. Hosted by Dave Adams, formerly of Hawkwind tribute band the "Assassins of Silence," it's perhaps not surprising that some Hawkwind makes the playlist each week. This time around, the show is part of the BroseleyFM schedule - Broseley
being a small town in Shropshire, England, that most people likely have never heard of.

Perhaps it was in keeping with the traditional nature of space rock that this first "Sunday Space Rock Show" contained no verbal information at all - due to "microphone / mixer problems at the moment."  Nonetheless, the show - which has followers in North America as well as Britain, thanks to the internet -  likely pleased Hawkwind fans, who probably approved of an inaugural show that opens with "Master Of The Universe" from the "In Search of Space" album!

2013 has been quite a year for live music.  We made it to over thirty shows including a few festivals – Coachella in Palm Desert, Outside Lands, and Not So Silent Night in San Francisco.  I had the chance to travel to Britain twice – once for the Stone Roses followed by two Rick Wakeman shows, and later this fall for a long weekend of gigs including Steve Hackett, Brian Ferry, Peter Gabriel and Camel – what a amazing time that was!  The day after Steve’s show we met Peter briefly at the train station in Manchester before the last night of his “Back to Front” tour.  I told him we had been to see an old friend of his and that tears were shed during “Dancing a With The Moonlit Knight.”  He seemed pleased :)

There were a couple of bands we missed – I know if we had been able to see Steve Wilson, Ozric Tentacles or Atoms For Peace they would have made the list – having said that here are the top 13 shows we did attend, in order of rating:

1. Camel, the Barbican Theater, London – speaking of tears being shed, they flowed for Andrew and company at this amazing display of talent so long absent from the stage.  “The Snow Goose” was wonderfully recreated along with a second set of classic Camel tunes.  To be in London in an auditorium of adoring fans, cheering long for this oft forgotten band was an amazing experience.

2. Steve Hackett‘s Genesis revisited tour, Royal Albert Hall, London – Just attending a show at the RAH was one thing, but to have it be Steve playing all early Genesis tracks, and including “Return of the Giant Hogweed” and the aforementioned Dancing was heaven.  Ray Wilson joining to sing two of the tracks was priceless.  The show was really a dream came true for this one, being raised on Genesis and loving it all.  Looking forward to seeing them again on Cruise to the Edge in 2014.

3. Rick Wakeman, family show, Gloucester – I flew over from California with my son to this show and the next night’s stop in Cheltenham.  Have to put this one at the top of the list, as Rick played alongside three of his children, now all grown, as they each performed a couple of tracks, told stories, and even explained Jemma’s bedtime routine to the song of the same name from Family Album.  An afternoon I hope never to forget!

4. Goblin, The Warfield Theater, San Francisco – their first time in the states will hopefully not be their last – a tight set of horror movie soundtrack gems, with backing film clips and a dancer, especially appropriate during “Suspiria.”  This along with a handful of their progressive rock compositions made for a great night with the Italian prog pioneers.

5. Peter Gabriel, Back to Front Tour, Manchester – a great set that began with highlights from Peter’s catalog, followed by the entire So album in proper sequence, with two encores.  It was hard not to miss the darker period just before So, particularly after rousing versions of “The Family and the Fishing Net” and “No Self Control” from his prior two releases.  But all in all, amazing musicianship and exciting delivery recalling the original tour and mid point of Peter’s remarkable career.

6. The Stone Roses, Coachella, Palm Desert – somehow I missed this band on their first time out in 1989.  This year I found their guitarist John Squire, vocalist Ian Brown and the rest of the guys to be a very pleasant surprise – their psychedelic sound revival finding its way back to the stage at what seems like just the right time.  Had the chance to see them again in London a few weeks later with all of us – seemingly everyone in the crowd – singing at the top of our lungs.  Music as the catalyst for love and devotion!

7. Black Sabbath, Shoreline, California – if you suggested in 2012 that these founders of heavy metal would make my top list this year I would have scoffed and made some crack about Satan and bats – but after releasing a stellar album 13 and clearly back in form, we found ourselves head banging joyfully to the actually somewhat proggy sound of these survivors.  Am so glad to have seen and heard Tony live showing his riffs along with most of this band still intact.

Read on...

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
Even though it is Christmas, the current glut of stories featuring Yes and their ex members continues apace, starting with an interview with Steve Howe and a whole bunch of interesting links from s devoted Rick Wakeman fan. Next we have a review of the Yes albums between 1969 and 1987,  and a photograph with no story showing Alan White with Herman out of Herman's Hermits (Peter Noone), a story about Rick Wakeman going to Israel, a BBC session from Rick Wakeman and finally a documentary about 90125.
Next is a look at the latest heritage version of Close to the Edge followed by a feature on their 1987 track Shoot High, Aim Low  and a rather intriguing cover version. Then we have an article praising the band's "bombast" and an angry Rick Wakeman on the lack of music education in schools. More Rick Wakeman coming up with a technical hitch causing a venue change on next year's tour and finally Rick Wakeman's guide to buying electric pianos.

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! 
For the death of a bird ,a tree,a friend,a love,a life
Grief comes in and takes over .Every thing,every one.
You cannot talk to grief.Implacable as Fate/Destiny/loss.
More unconditional than love.Stronger than life itself
Able to reduce towers to tears,tall men to children babbling
Grief goes to the core like the spear of Longinus
Makes liars of heroes,red anger from white walls
 Steals time and emotion,side tracks devotion
Makes us less than we were before.Grief says it is natural
that loss is the human condition.That we are all passing
and even the sun makes shadows.But we are those shadows!
We are living,and must love our way through loss
Tears ,emotions,reactions,responses also change us
All forms of purification remain with us .Like phantom limbs..
In Victorian times every well-bred Gentleman had a 'Cabinet of Curiosities'; a collection of peculiar odds and sods, usually housed in a finely made cabinet with a glass door. These could include anything from Natural History specimens to historical artefacts. There has always been something of the Victorian amateur naturalist about me, and I have a houseful of arcane objects; some completely worthless, others decidedly not, but all precious to me for the memories they hold.

But people send me lots of pictures of interesting, and, may I say, peculiar things. But once again this week it is over to my lovely wife...
Message on a Bottle

As I mentioned last week, this is the rather good item I found to share with you, but couldn’t because I was avoiding the ancient potato peelings that were being lobbed from the converted potato shed by the editor.  It is a tad more convoluted than the item I revealed to you then, and time was of the essence.  
Okay, so this was news back in June this year, but that is what happens when you search the internet looking for a suitable item to place on the shelves behind those hallowed glass doors that open to reveal the wonders within the cabinet of curiosities.  I have found stuff going back to 2009, but as interesting as they are, I reckon 4-odd years ago is probably a little too long a time to have lapsed to bring them to your attention.  But, of course, they may well be very useful should a dearth of up-to-date curiosities occur.  
So back to the here and now, sort of – give or take a few months.  And, before I go any further, I have to ask, is it:
Creative?                             Definitely
Original?                               No – not really, considering
Pointless?                            In the grand scheme of things, probably
Interesting?                          Yes
Good advertising ploy?        More than likely
 As the article begins:
“The German-based beer company Beck’s is publicizing their new “record label” based in AucklandNew Zealand with a distinctive musical playback system: a glass variation of the old-fashioned phonograph technology invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison (the same year Beck’s was founded in Europe). Replacing the 19th-century phonograph’s wax cylinder with a machine-made green glass beer bottle, the process is also highly contemporary as the music is etched into the glass bottle using a hard drive arm to encode the digital track as the Beck’s bottle was turning on a lathe. The result is being billed as the world’s first glass bottle to be encoded with a music recording, and was unveiled at the Semi-Permanent Design Conference in Auckland, New Zealand last month.”
Click on the links in the above paragraph to have your palate tantalised and perhaps even be amazed, and/or just read on (depending on how adventurous you are feeling):
And just because it is THAT time of year, and just because I am that sort of girl, I am going to treat you to two items to look at in the posh cupboard of oddities this week, this second one being led by a fairly thought-provoking question:

Is there no end to the morbid business of pop memorabilia?  asked Lanre Bakare of on Thursday 14th November 2013 at precisely 08.00 GMT. 
To which, with regard to this particular section of the Gonzo Weekly, we should probably answer ‘We hope not, because then this section will no longer be viable’.
However, here is a snippet to further whet your already tantalised palate (if you read the above article that is):
“There were a lot of double takes at the news that a kitchen table which belonged to Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis was for sale on eBay last week. In a few weeks time you can bid on John Lennon's school detention records and earlier this year you could throw your hat in for Eminem's derelict childhood home (the same one that featured on the Marshall Mathers LP cover).”

Read on if your excitement levels can stand it .....

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

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

Check it out now...
There are nine Henrys, purported to be the world’s first cloned cartoon character. They live in a strange lo-fi domestic surrealist world peopled by talking rock buns and elephants on wobbly stilts.

They mooch around in their minimalist universe suffering from an existential crisis with some genetically modified humour thrown in. I think Peter McAdam is one of the funniest people around, and I cannot recommend his book The Nine Henrys highly enough. Check it out at Amazon.
Each issue we shall be running a series of Henrybits that are not found in his book about the nine cloned cartoon characters who inhabit a surreal world nearly as insane as mine...

The Weird Weekend is the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Now in its fifteenth year, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of investigators into strange phenomena.

Cryptozoologists, parapsychologists, ufologists, and folklorists are descending on Woolfardisworthy Community Centre to share their findings and insights. Unlike other events, the Weird Weekend will also include workshops giving tips to budding paranormal investigators, and even a programme of special events for children. The Weird Weekend is the only fortean conference in the world that is truly a family event, although those veterans of previous events should be reassured that it is still as anarchically silly as ever!

The event is raising money for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the world’s only full time, professional cryptozoological organisation. The profit from food and beverages goes to a selection of village charities, mostly working with children.

the running order (so far) for the 2014 event
Kev Rowland
Never let it be said that I don’t do my research, so here are a few facts regarding IKYWMC’s home country, Indonesia. While many people, especially those from the Northern Hemisphere, may be working under the assumption that it is just a small group of islands somewhere north of Australia, it is, in terms of population, the fourth largest country on earth (behind China, India, and the US) with a current estimated population of 250 million, which is somewhat different to the UK’s 65 million and NZ’s 4.5!! It is an archipelago that comprises over 17,000 islands, which go to form a land mass equating to 1,919,440 square kilometres (735,355 square 
miles) which means that it is the 19th largest country in terms of land. As well as being one of the largest countries in the world they are also mad on music, which is why Leo spends so much time down there unearthing real gems, and yet again he has made a rock solid find with the debut from this instrumental quartet.

These guys have been influenced by progressive rock, psychedelic rock, improvisational jazz and other forms and have brought it all together in an incredible fusion album showing elements of Jimi Hendrix, Soft Machine, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis and Hatfield & The North among others (just to name a few). Incredibly, this album was recorded in just 18 hours, with most of the material being either first or second takes. Although there are large elements of ‘free jazz’ in what they are doing, there is also a great deal of structure and the melodies and intricacies are sublime. They are also very conscious of the arrangements and need for space, and it is not unusual for there are to be long passages where only one or two are actually playing and the others let them get on with it. It is going to be very easy for the rhythm section of bassist Enriko Gultom and drummer Alfiah Akbar to be overlooked, as although they display incredible skills and intuitive playing they are there for the supporting roles behind the two writers and soloists, guitarist Reza Ryan and keyboard player Adi Wijiya. They combine, separate, let each other take the full spotlight, with a delicacy of touchy and fluidity of playing that is quite inspired. Adi’s playing, especially when he is using piano, is full of emotion and lightness of touch while Reza is for me channelling the skills and dexterity of a young John McLaughlin. Although the closing song “A Dancing Girl From Planet Marsavishnu Named After The Love” may not have the spelling quite right, I am sure that it is a tribute to the man himself, and is one of two where they feature some wonderful guest sax from Nicholas Combe who sounds right at home.
The album is a delight from start to finish, and I have to concur with the statement from Sid Smith that is included in the digipak “The time you spend getting to know this music will be time well spent indeed”. If this is their debut, what on earth are they going to come up with next? Fusion really doesn’t get any better than this.

IMPERA            Pieces of Eden           (ESCAPE MUSIC)
Here we have the second album from this supergroup, who are comprised of Matti Alfonzetti (Jagged Edge, Scott Gorham, Road To Ruin, Red White & Blues), Tommy Denander (Toto, Paul Stanley, Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper), J.K. Impera (Bruce Kulick, Graham Bonnet, Vinnie Vincent, John Corabi), Mats Vassfjord (Vinnie Vincent, John Corabi, Grand Design). They say that they got together due to a shared love of Kiss, and that has carried through to some of their music, but it is more the polished Eighties version as opposed to the kick ass 70’s. But, this is a mighty fine melodic hard rock sound with some metallic elements. Apparently Tommy has now played on more than 2000 albums so it is no surprise that he knows what he is doing, 
while the others all have an incredible pedigree and it shows in how this all comes together, but it is very much a group album as opposed to an assortment of session musicians and they carry a nice bluesy edge which makes this album feel quite ‘real’ as opposed to too much saccharine.

I have to confess that the cover song threw me when I was playing this in the car the first time, as there is no mention of a cover in the press release, and I initially pegged it as Kiss, but somehow that didn’t seem right. A further flicking through the musical files in my head and I realised that “Goodbye” is from Paul Stanley’s debut solo album in 1978, which is probably my second favourite album of the four (Ace being first). But, this is one of the few occasions where they have taken the original and actually made it better, without doing anything dramatic with the arrangement. It is just that here it is sung better, played better, and produced better than Paul managed 35 years ago (now I feel really old – I bought all four when they came out and had the posters on my wall).
Class and finesse from start to finish, melodic hard rock rarely gets much better than this, although to get 5*’s it would have even more balls, but that is probably me just being picky.           
KONGH            Counting Heartbeats            (AGONIA)
The first incarnation of Kongh originated in Vetlanda, Sweden in 2004 when David Johansson (guitar and vocals) and Tomas Salonen (drums) got in touch and decided to start a band together. The two were from different musical backgrounds involving grindcore, punk and blues, but had a common desire to play in a new band without any musical boundaries. It needed to be monstrously heavy, and with a total lack of restrictions in terms of structure and length of songs. That was the foundation of the band, and as a result, the two-piece started to meet in the rehearsal space every weekend, drinking large amounts of beer and exploring the depths of heaviness. As time went on, real songs started to come to life, and by summer 2005, the beast had gotten the name Kongh.
In early 2006, they had written four songs they were really satisfied with, so they decided to go to the local Teknikkompaniet studio with engineer Peter Lundin, and the result was the 45 minute long ‘Demo 2006’. Shortly after, the band line-up was completed when bass player Oskar Rydén joined the band. The demo was released in May, put online and submitted to some magazines, and by the end of the summer, the band had gathered a decent fanbase and had signed their first album deal with Stockholm based label Trust No One Recordings (Switchblade, Breach, Isis). The rest of the year was spent working on material for the album in 2007 they went back into the studio to record ‘Counting Heartbeats’, which was widely acclaimed and was even nominated for a P3 Guld award in the ‘Best rock/metal album’ category.         
So why all the ancient history? Well, Agonia have made this available as a deluxe double CD which includes not only the debut album, but the ‘Demo 2006’ recordings plus the 25 minute long “Drifting On Waves” which was released on a split album with Ocean Chief. Yes, doom/sludge/ stoner/post-rock/black metal fans, we have here a ten song set that is more than 130 minutes long. As this is such an old album I knew that there would be plenty of reviews on the web, so I went trawling through quite a few of them, and was somewhat surprised to see that this album is seen as something of a revelation, and is undoubtedly incredibly important within the genre. But, I like to be different, and I just can’t agree with the comments.
I listen to everything metallic, but there is something about this that just doesn’t connect with me. True, there are moments within it where the band really hit a strong melody, but there are plenty of more where I just find it boring. That they have brought together many styles of metal is never in doubt, nor is the fact that it is incredibly heavy with riffs of lead, but it just isn’t something that I enjoyed playing and only worked my way through all the material a few times because I had to. I am sure that fans of the band will be very pleased indeed to be able to get this (if you buy this from the record label site and are one of the first you will also get an exclusive t-shirt), but I’m not one of them. 
PINKISH BLACK     Razed To The Ground        (CENTURY MEDIA)
These guys originally came together in 2009 as a trio in Fort Worth, Texas, as The Great Tyrant, and following the tragic passing of original bass player Tommy Atkins, the remaining duo of drummer Jon Teague and Daron Beck on vocals and synthesizer kept going as Pinkish Black. Their debut came out in 2012 and was so well received that they got a deal with Century Media to record a follow-up. There is no doubt that this is the heaviest album I have ever heard where there are no guitars. Some bands have played with no bass (Atomic Rooster and The Doors to name but two), but no bass and no guitar and still make a noise that has come straight from the sludge pit? Now that is impressive. These guys have managed to create something that is dark and oppressive, 
yet also containing some lightness with strong ‘normal’ vocals from Daron.

There is no doubt that this is going to find a lot of favour with those who prefer their music to be extremely heavy, yet this is much more than just some metalheads turning it up and letting go. The drums are full on, with Jon taking a Keith Moon approach of driving everything on through sheer activity, while Daron has layers among layers of keyboards and isn’t afraid to put in some prog/ space rock elements when he feels the need. The first time I played this I really didn’t like it, but it has kept dragging me back in and now I am confident to say that I do, although it is going to take a more than just a few more plays to fully get everything from it. It sounds nothing at all like Geoff Mann, either vocally or musically, but somehow it keeps me reminding me of him, especially during “Loss of Feeling Loss”. Worth investigating at least.  


In 1978, having received a substantial royalty payment for his work with The Yardbirds, Russian music entrepreneur Giorgio Gomelsky relocated to New York in an attempt to open up the American market to the European progressive jazz-rock bands he was working with, such as Gong, Henry Cow and Magma. He established the Zu Club in Manhattan and after meeting 24-year-old bass player Bill Laswell, encouraged him to form a band. Three young friends, Michael Beinhorn (17, synthesizer), Martin Bisi (17, engineering) and Fred Maher (14, drums), responded to Laswell's advert in The Village Voice and the band began rehearsing in the club's basement.
The band became known as the "Zu Band" until Gomelsky hooked them up with former Gong frontman Daevid Allen for a performance at his Zu Manifestival at the Zu Club on October 8, 1978, for which they became "New York Gong". Guitarist Cliff Cultreri, who was replaced by guitarist Michael Lawrence for the Manifestival before returning, and second drummer Bill Bacon joined them for a Spring 1979 tour of the USA in an old school bus playing most of Gong's Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy.[Don Davis on saxophone.] In autumn, they recorded the album 'About Time'. Allen and the band amicably parted company when they "discovered they couldn't stand the European way of life" during a tour of France. The band became the seminal 'Material' and Daevid continued his mercurial path across the cosmos.
Although Yuletide is nowhere near as complicated for us as it is for people with a young family, it is hard enough work, but it has been another nice, but hectic week here in the potato shed where my deputy editor and I plot world domination whilst surrounded by various tanks of fish, teetering piles of books, guitars and CDs and a small Indian frog called 'Chubby Checker'.
We had a lovely, quiet family Christmas Day. I spoke to Karl Shuker in the afternoon, and he asked me what my plans were for the rest of the day. I answered: "I have the new Frederick Forsyth novel, and three bottles of bourbon as Christmas presents. You guess." But I was being facetious. My days of downing multiple bottles of anything on Christmas Day are thankfully long gone. So we pottered, played with the dogs and watched TV including the rather disappointing Dr Who Christmas special. (So the Time Lords just GAVE him another cycle of regenerations. You cannae change the laws of physics, Captain. Not unless you are a Time Lord or a BBC executive wanting to carry on a lucrative franchise).

But enough of my ramblings. Mike Davis has just arrived to do some more recording, and I am tired of being an editor and want to get back to being a rock and roll animal.

See you next year...
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