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THIS WEEK WE BRING YOU ADAM ANT, DAVID BOWIE. SHADOW MORTON, THE SHANGRI LAS, CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, MERRELL FANKHAUSER, KEVIN AYERS, STAPLES SINGERS, CLEOTHA STAPLES, TONY SHERIDAN, BEATLES, BRIAN MAY, QUEEN, TONY IOMNI, BLACK SABBATH, ROBERT CALVERT, HAWKWIND, RICK WAKEMAN, YES, CHRIS SQUIRE, JON ANDERSON, GEOFF DOWNES, SLAPP HAPPY, EDDIE AND THE HOTRODS, DADDY T
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?)
ALL THE GONZO NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT
Issue Fourteen        February 23rd, 2013
Social media stuff that I am really too old to understand, (my stepdaughter spent much of last Christmas trying to explain Twitter to me) but I am assuming that at least some of our readers are younger and hipper than I am.
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So what is this all about?

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

You subscribed to it by opting in on the website. I hope that you all stay to join in the fun, but if it is not to your liking it is just as easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST
It has - as always - been an exciting and interesting week here at the Gonzo Daily/Weekly suite of offices (which are in fact an old potato shed which my late father had - rather badly - converted into an office in 1973). Some of the new releases on Galileo Records have been on heavy rotation on the office hi-fi, and we look forward to writing about them in the weeks to come.

The two most eagerly awaited releases of the first part of this year have - of course - got to be the totally unexpected comeback album by David Bowie, which comes out next month, and the much heralded new album by Adam Ant. 

There is very little that I can say about the Bowie album. Only one song has been made public yet - the singleWhere are we now? is gloriously tuneful and comes with a poignant video showing bits of Berlin where Bowie and Eno made the trilogy of late 1970s albums, Heroes, Low and Lodger. The cover is ummmm 'interesting', but whether it turns out to be groundbreaking and innovative, or whether it goes down in history as arty-farty nonsense and a hubristic slice of self-indulgence remains to be seen.

Personally I preferred ​The Residents'  subversion of an early Beatles cover, but what do I know?

But I digress. I wanted to talk about Adam Ant, who - as well as having a new album out - is also the subject of a major new documentary, a copy of which I will do my best to blag over the next few weeks.

Now, I really like the new album. There are bits on there that are amongst the best things that he has ever done. Why then have so many of the reviewers been so lukewarm about it? I think that they are being massively unfair.

This week saw the Brit Awards that I completely missed because I was doing something else, but when I looked up the BBC website to find out who had won, so I could write a piece about it, I found to my dismay that I had no idea who the vast majority of these people are. I have done a bit of quick Spotify surfing in the past few days and have found that although all these artists have immaculately produced records that sound great sonically, they are all much of the same homogenous glossy pablum that we have come to expect from the British music industry. Is this why Adam Ant's new record has met with such derision?

Sure it has a few rough edges, but it has passion and it has feeling. Sadly these are things that the vast majority of the record buying public, or to be more accurate, the people who tell the vast majority of the record buying public what to think seem to find abhorrent in these drab and ever-so-slightly decadent days.

Before I get off my Ant-shaped soapbox, the other thing which really bugs me (BUGS me, geddit? Oh, never mind) is the way that all the stories stress the fact that Adam is bipolar, and some even suggesting that this new release is some sort of therapy for him. "Poor little mad punk rocker" they say. "We must all feel sorry for him and put him on some sort of pedestal for his own protection".

Well BOLLOCKS! If I may be excused such a vulgarism. I am bipolar, my father was bipolar (and he was the Colonial Secretary in Hong Kong) and Sir Winston Churchill was bipolar, and we all know what he did. Just because someone is bipolar does not mean that they should be an object of pity. Adam, like so many others has confronted his condition and is dealing with it! Coincidentally he has a bloody good new album out, and even though it ain't on Gonzo, I urge you to all go out and buy it.

Here endeth the lesson for today.

Amen.

FEEDBACK
In last week's issue, we marked the death of Shadow Morton who was one of the greatest record producers of the 60s. As somewhat of a tangent from that I wrote about a peculiar version of (Remember) Walking in the Sand which appears on a Buddha Records compilation that I lost many years ago.

Gonzo Weekly reader Charles Husson ( who - by the way also wrote that he really enjoys the newsletter and hopes that we 'keep up the good work' - we certainly will, Charles) wrote suggesting that this might have been the record I had.
Unfortunately, it isn't the right record, although this one looks smashing. But, thank you for trying Charles. Nope, the one that I bought off a very seedy market stall in Bideford Pannier Market towards the end of the 1970s was mainly white in colour, and as well as the aforementioned Shangri Las song also had the single version of Captain Beefheart's Yellow Brick Road.

So I am still searching to find out why there is a version of (Remember) Walking in the Sand which has a spoken intro that goes:

"Once there was a land where the flowers always grew, even in September.. do you remember?"

Now, my memory is not what it was, and I haven't heard this song for well over thirty years, and the month in the intro might have been November or December I can't remember.

If anyone knows anything, please let me know. This has been bugging me for decades.
ALSO...
An intriguing story from Bart Lancia, who is my roving spy, and who always gets me stories before anyone else. Apparently Queen's Brian May who has been seen a couple of times on these pages for his Conservation efforts and his campaign to stop the badger cull, is planning an album with Black Sabbath's Tony Iomni.

This I want to hear.
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.
THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Kevin Ayers (1944-2013)
The Gonzoverse was shocked this week by the death of Kevin Ayers, founder member of Soft Machine and he of whom John Peel once said: ""Kevin Ayers' talent is so acute that you could perform major eye surgery with it." 

This is how we covered his death:

Rob Ayling remembers Kevin Ayers
Thom the World Poet remembers Kevin Ayers
Various Links
THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Kevin Ayers
M
ojo Obituary
His last interview
Rock's Back Pages - Kevin Ayers
A note, which isn't thought to be connected to Ayers's death, was found by his bed which said, “You can’t shine if you don’t burn.” (The Daily Telegraph)
THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Cleotha Staples (1934-2013)
Cleotha was one of the most recognisable members of The Staples Singers, a R&B and gospel group formed by her father Roebuck "Pop" Staples. The group began performing in churches in the late 1940s, but by the 1970s they had become one of the brightest stars of the Stax Records soul boom of the early 1970s.

http://gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2013/02/those-we-have-lost-cleotha-staples-1934.html
THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Tony Sheridan (1940-2013)
Tony Sheridan (born Anthony Esmond Sheridan McGinnity, 21 May 1940 – 16 February 2013), was an English rock and roll singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was best known as an early collaborator of The Beatles, (though the record was labelled as being with "The Beat Brothers"), one of two non-Beatles (the other being Billy Preston) to receive label performance credit on a record with the group, and the only non-Beatle to appear as lead singer on a Beatles recording which charted as a single.

http://gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2013/02/those-we-have-lost-tony-sheridan-1940.html
ROBERT CALVERT:  HYPE 
By Graham Inglis
Robert Calvert was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1945. While an infant, his family relocated to London, where he grew up in the  hippy counterculture world of 1960s Notting Hill, a world of alternative ideas and 'underground arts'. Calvert's activities as frontman of Hawkwind in the 1970s brought him rock circuit fame and acclaim, but he said more than once that he'd like to be known primarily as a poet and playwright. Bending his wordcraft abilities to the penning of rock and pop lyrics was an effective second string to to his bow, however.
 
The highly accessible 'Hype' album was the third of five solo albums. Originally released in 1982, it consists of the 'Songs of Tom Mahler' - Mahler being the fictional rock star whose turbulent but somewhat jaunty story was earlier told in a Calvert novel, also called 'Hype.'
 
The musical 'Hype' journey opens with the witty 'Over My Head' where the Mahler character meets a rather sophisticated woman in a bar and the conversation soon is 'over his head!'
 

Mostly unnoticed on its release, the album - part concept album, part soundtrack - musically is a bridge between Calvert's new wave-ish "Kerb Crawler" days with Hawkwind and the Eno-area electronic pop with which he experimented in the 1980s.
 
It's the quirky zone where art prog and intellectual punk meet - and  they're not so unlikely bedfellows as one might have thought. 'Hype' is  often considered by his fans to be Robert Calvert's best album, in terms of song composition and production. Although the album could be described as mainstream, the lyrics lift it onto a rather different plane.
 
'Hype' - both the book and the album - focuses on the somewhat difficult world of the music business. No space voyagers or exploding planets here; just a planet - Planet Earth - where a musician is literally shot to stardom.
 
Calvert's fellow-musicians for this project were gathered from various strange corners of the Earth.
 
Three (Csapo, Michaels and Dowling) from punk band Bethnal, whom he met when they played support to Hawkwind on the 1977 tour.
 
Judge Trev and Nik Turner were in Inner City Unit; Pavi and House were together at times in prog band High Tide; and Michael Moorcock was numero uno in the rather quirky Deep Fix.
 
Broadly speaking, though, the collection of luminaries really serve to underpin Calvert's lyricist role, rather than to push musical envelopes or explore individual avenues of their own.
 
In short, then, they acted as an ideal backing band for a vocal artist.
 
The overall style is that of rock-pop songs - some of which are decidedly  catchy - rather than any traditional rock arrangements with instrumental passages. However, there are moments that can really catch the attention; such as Nik's short but surprisingly grungy and growly saxophone piece in 'Evil Rock'.
 
Ranging over their cleanly-constructed backing are Calvert's unmistakable vocals - from the lyrical almost-punk on songs like 'Sensitive' and 'Evil Rock', the brooding style of 'Hanging out on the seafront', through the jaunty 'We Like to be Frightened', the reflective vocal tones on 'Greenfly & The Rose' to the decidedly unusual 'Lord of the Hornets'.
 
The bonus tracks are basically demo versions, with Bob playing all the instruments; nonetheless, the sound quality is quite reasonable, similar in quality and general style to Calvert's home-recorded demos that saw the light of day as the 'Cellar' releases.
 
It can only be hoped that the reissue of 'Hype' brings - albeit belatedly -  some of the widespread recognition that this extraordinarily articulate rock performer so obviously deserved.
ROBERT CALVERT AT GONZO UK
ROBERT CALVERT AT GONZO USA

LOQUATIOUS LAGOMORPHS: RABBITT


Rabbitt was seen as South Africa’s equivalent of The Beatles during the seventies.  In fact the band actually outsold The Beatles, which in this day and age seems incredible.

The band first came together under the name Conglomeration in 1968.  One of the members was Trevor Rabin who along with others, had recorded a version of Jethro Tull’s ‘Locomotive Breath’ under the name of Rabbitt.  This was a big hit but unfortunately the band split and the various members went their separate ways, with Trevor playing in a Greek restaurant for a short time.

Moving forward to 1974 and the band had re-formed, playing the club scene to enthusiastic audiences. By 1975 Duncan Fuare had been asked to join.  As an interesting aside Duncan would go on to replace Les McKeowan in the Bay City Rollers. It was also in 1975 that Rabbitt was to record a debut album ‘Boys Will Be Boys’.  The album contained mainly original material written by Trevor Rabin and occasionally Patric Van Blerk, although it also included the previous hit ‘Locomotive Breath’, which was penned by Ian Anderson.

The band was incredibly popular in their native South Africa and tours were hugely successful. Trevor Rabin however, felt frustrated with the band's inability to break out of the South African market into the wider world. It was this frustration, which led to his departure from Rabbitt.

RABBITT AT GONZO UK
RABBITT AT GONZO USA
THE YES CIRCULAR - TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS
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
This week, for a truly horrible reason, the most high profile member of Yes has been Geoff Downes (to whom, as far as I am aware, I am no relation). Tragically, his youngest daughter Alexandra died this week.  All the staff at Gonzo Weekly and Gonzo Daily would like to send Geoff and his family our heartfelt condolences at this terrible time.

In happier news, there has been an interesting Chris Squire interview as well as more news about Steve Howe's guitarist retreat.
Jon Anderson has given a rather revealing interview in which he confesses that he still hasn't emotionally left Yes. With various hints dropped by various members of Yes, I wonder whether we shall see him back in the fold before long.

However, the Yes alumnus most closely associated with Gonzo is Rick Wakeman, and this week there have been some interesting revelations from him. In his monthly newsletter he describes what is going to be happening at his big gigs in Gloucester later in the year. They certainly sound like they will be a real tour de force.

In another posting, there are some details about the tickets from the organisers, so I would strongly urge you all to check them all out!

MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (UK)
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (USA)
TEENAGE, UM.. MIDDLE AGED DEPRESSION:
Eddie and the Hotrods
When I was a pupil at a particularly crappy North Devon boarding school in 1976, this bunch from Essex were my favourite band. It is so good to find that they are still doing their funky thang!

Eddie and The Hot Rods began life in the mid seventies when the prevailing trend in the music business was "Pub Rock".


The band quickly established itself on the scene and a sizeable following soon built up.  Despite having contemporaries like Brinsley  Schwartz and Dr. Feelgood,   Eddie and The Hot Rods had a tougher and faster sound which set them apart from other bands on the circuit.  This stance would also stand them in good stead when in 1976 "Pub Rock" metamorphosed into "Punk Rock" and although the band was obviously not Punk,  it was  accepted by the Punk movement where others  had failed.

The band’s first brush with success was the EP ‘Live At The Marquee’ and the single ‘Teenage Depression‘ both of which made the top forty singles charts quickly.  These were followed by the debut album ‘Teenage Depression’

 In 1977 former Kursaal Flyers guitarist Graeme Douglas joined and they shortened their name to The Rods. The single ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’ was a top ten success in the summer of that year and the album from whence it came ‘Life On The Line’ also sold well.  Further albums saw smaller returns however and the band split in 1981, following the release of the worthwhile album ‘Fish n Chips’.

The classic line up of Barrie Masters, Steve Nichol, Dave Higgs, and Paul Gray reformed for a hugely successful European tour and a subsequent album was released in Japan and the UK.

The band still tour regularly led by sole founder member and front man Barrie Masters.


EDDIE AND THE HOTRODS AT GONZO (UK)
EDDIE AND THE HOTRODS AT GONZO (USA)
EXCLUSIVE: Merrell Fankhauser interview
I have been wanting to interview Merrell Fankhauser for months, but - as is so often the case - events conspired against us. However, I managed to catch up with him about half an hour before he left the house to go to a very important gig...

Part One
Part Two
That night's gig
MERRELL FANKHAUSER AT GONZO USA
MERRELL FANKHAUSER AT GONZO UK
SLAPP HAPPY

One of my favourite bunch of unsung heroes

Slapp Happy were a multinational band featuring musicians from America, Britain and Germany.  The members were Anthony Moore, Peter Blegvad and Dagmar Krause.

The band was formed in 1972 and moved to the U.K. in 1974, where they merged with Henry Cow, but split soon afterwards. There have been subsequent reunions alongside solo careers and albums from all three members.

Anthony Moore has also worked with David Gilmour in a song writing capacity providing lyrics for material on the Pink Floyd albums ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ and ‘The Division Bell’.

Slapp Happy at Gonzo UK
Slapp Happy at Gonzo USA
FRIENDS AND RELATIONS

I always like peculiar art projects especially when the person involved has a sense of humour.

This was sent to me in my capacity as editor of 
UFO Matrix magazine.

CHECK OUT DADDY T

What? You don't know who Billy Meier is?


THE BEST LAID PLANS...
Well, here we are again at the end of another tumultous week. The death of Kevin Ayers has hit us all hard as he has always been a particular favourite of us all. But life goes on. Music has been of pivotal importance to every human society since before we as a species passed the Civilisation Threshold, and I very much doubt whether that will change. The way we consume music has changed beyond all consideration in recent years, and even our relationship with music has altered, but it is still of pivotal importance to us all, and I really don't think that this is going to change.

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 © 2013, Gonzo Multimedia, All rights reserved.

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Jon Downes,
Editor.
Gonzo Daily/Weekly,
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