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THIS WEEK WE BRING YOU CHRIS SQUIRE, BILLY SHERWOOD, HAWKWIND, TIM BLAKE,  C.J.STONE, THOM THE WORLD POET, TRWBADOR, THE SYN, ANDY JOHNS, LED ZEPPELIN, THE ROLLING STONES, CORKY LAING, RICK WAKEMAN, PETER McADAM, THE NINE HENRYS, CAROL HODGE, WRECKS, ANT-BEE, CHRIS THOMPSON, NIGHT, RENAISSANCE, ANNIE HASLAM, THE ELVES OF SILBURY HILL, NIK TURNER, ALAN DEARLING, THERAMIN
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 Twenty-one        April 13th 2013
 (Does that mean we have come of age, and have to act all grown up?)
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.
Facebook
Facebook
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Twitter
Website
Website
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Google Plus
Email
Email
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Pinterest
LinkedIn
LinkedIn
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
I like doing what I do. A couple of years ago I was on Freinds Reunited before I realised that all the people that I would have wanted to contact from way back when are either dead or too cool to try and validate themselves by telling their erstwhile schoolmates how well they have done with their lives. I was pootling around when I saw a name I recognised. I had actually played guitar with him in a long forgotten, and not very good, band back in the day. He was the bloke who introduced me to Joy Division and we used to sit together in his darkened bedroom while listening to New Dawn Fades and smoking suspiciously long cigarettes.

He had apparently become a policeman, which considering his one-time predilection for marijuana and bad behaviour seems particularly ironic. Never mind, I thought, and mentally spouted some cliche about poachers and gamekeepers.

Then I read on. He wrote (and I paraphrase so no-one can use Google to find out who he is) words to the effect of this. "I  only listen to music from our day. Our generation was the best. Everyone knows that all the bands who have emerged since 1985 are rubbish!"

Oh dear.

In fact, OH DEAR OH DEAR OH DEAR.

What a pile of self-righteous tosh! The music made since 1985 is not uniformly bad any more than the music made in the '60s and '70s was uniformly good. I vaguely remember that the same week as both The Sex Pistols and ELP (and even then, I liked both bands equally) were on Top of the Pops, so were Brotherhood of Man and a song that went "Black is black, I want my baby back".

Any thoughts that I might have had of contacting this guy went completely out of the window, and I went on to do something else. The past is truly a foreign country and may be OK for a visit but you don't want to hang out with people who have never bothered to move away from there.

No, as I said at the beginning of this rant, I like what I do. I like being in the position of showcasing new talent as well as writing about old favourites. Because, despite what my increasingly idiotic erstwhile friend said, there are some bloody marvellous new acts around.

I am proud that one such act that I showcased a few weeks ago is now recording an album which will be coming out on Gonzo. And I am very pleased to be able to tell you about a massively groovy (and ever-so-slightly peculiar) act that I have just discovered.
Trwbador are a duo from Wales who fuse acoustic and electronic elements to produce a unique music, which if I was forced into having to categorise, I would say were the 21st Century electro analogue of the Incredible String Band. Singer Angharad Van Rijswijk (half Dutch, half Welsh) has one of those deceptively innocent and peculiarly sexy voices that beguile you into a totally false sense of security, whereas Owain Gwilym's guitar playing and Angharad's glockenspiel (or I think it's a glockenspiel - it's one of those tinkly things that isn't a xylophone) provide a sophisticated though aetherial top end, underpinned by contemporary electro-stylings.

An uncredited quote on their website reads:

Blessed with a delicate sound somewhere between campfire folk of the late Sixties and ever-evolving bedroom electronics of the here and now, Trwbador have carved out their own little corner of the musical landscape over three years of working together.

Hailing from rural Carmarthenshire, the long lineage of quirkily enchanting Welsh pop both infuses and absorbs this duo’s music. The floatily expressive vocals of Angharad Van Rijswijk possess a beautiful naivety, while Owain Gwilym’s guitar playing weaves around synths and digital rhythms.

Trwbador are a smashing band, and definitely one to watch. They are distributed through Owlet Records who are nothing to do with Gonzo, and so you can be assured that my only reasons for writing about them are truly altruistic.

Check out their website
There is music available at Soundcloud
Check 'em out on YouTube
FEEDBACK: Alan Dearling and the Theramin
Alan Dearling wrote: "Here's the link to a rather nifty solo number from Hawkwind's keyboard and theremin wizard Tim Blake. On the strength of watching a lot of Tim at close quarters I'm now a slightly proud, but more than moderately bemused owner of a UK-made theremin. Will I ever learn how to play it properly in conjuction with my Korg Kaos etc.? Your guess etc....

I wrote back:

"I could never make my theremin sound like I wanted it to (like the Beach Boys on Good Vibrations). But with a digital delay it can make fine whooshing noises..."

to which he replied:

"I can certainly make an eclectic ranges of strange sounds with my gear, but I think it may depend on getting the pitch to sound like a 'note' rather than a 'weird noise'. I'll also try wiring it into my system at different points - may help - or at least keep a senile delinquent at play"

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Gonzo readership. Is there anyone out there who can help? Both Alan and I would like to be able to play the theramin properly. Advice please...
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: Andy Johns (1950-2013)
I feel very sorry for the late Andy Johns. He was a massively important record producer and engineer, and when he died he could have confidently expected a fair modicum of attention from the press. But the day he died only one death seemed to matter; that of an 87 year old woman. Funny old world, eh?

Andy Johns at Wikipedia
Our Tribute to Andy Johns
The history of Sex

Of course everyone knows that sex was invented in the sixties. Before that it didn't exist. Before that people got married instead, then they had children, then they lived happily (or miserably) ever after.
 
Actually I think it was me who invented sex. This was sometime in the early sixties. I invented it all by myself, in bed one night. It was a moment of pure inspiration. I suddenly realised what it was that men and women could do with each other. I say "men and women" rather than "boys and girls" because this is what my invention told me. It was always men and women in my imagination, even though I was still a boy at the time.
 
It was a very exciting invention, like a surge of rising pleasure, like being transported to another, higher plane of existence before, finally, being cast down into this mortal realm once more. And, having invented it, now I was looking for ways to practice it.
 
Unfortunately, this meant getting someone else involved, and not everyone understood my invention as well as me. Explaining it was always quite difficult, especially as I wasn't really sure how to explain it to myself. Let's say that it was an instinctive invention rather than a rational one. Words were never enough. But, once I began to explain it I discovered, much to my surprise, that everyone else had invented it at the same time.
 
It was obviously a gift from the Muse.
 
So after that there was a lot of fumbling experimentation, trying to find ways to express our mutual invention in ways that satisfied both of us at the same time.
 
We were using the Scientific Method. Sex was the opposite of Newtonian Physics, it seemed. It defied gravity. It took you up rather than down.
 
There was one very beautiful girl called Lesley, I think. (Oh, how dare you forget her name!) She told me I had eyes like dark pools. She was the same age as me in physical years, but about 200 years older in terms of experience. You could see it in her eyes. She'd always been around. She had tap roots stretching down through the fecundity of nature, right to the source. You knew she knew more than you knew. You knew she always would. And then she left our school to move to another, better school. It was obviously a better school because she was there.
 
Actually I was always very shy with girls. I went out with one once, to a visiting fair ground. I knew I was supposed to be being charming. Instead of which I was like a lump of wood. And - what did I expect? - I got treated like a lump of wood.
 
Boys and girls were obviously different. That was part of the mystery of the whole procedure. No one quite knew what they wanted.
 
I spent many years not quite knowing what I wanted. It was a very frustrating time. I still don't quite know what I want, and it's still a frustrating time. But, well, I've managed to get myself a little bit older over the years. Older, not wiser. I've just learned not to blame myself so much.
 
So those were my teenage years, or most of them: a boiling cauldron of seething frustration.
 
Unfortunately I had chosen to grow up in the weirdest time, sexually, in the entire history of the human race. Serves me right for being born.
 
People weren't just having sex. They were having experimental sex. This was the late sixties and early seventies. It was all free love and peculiar inverted passions. The Old Order had been overthrown in this new sexual revolution. But no one quite knew what should take its place. So my first sexual experience was a threesome. I know, I know. I can hear you groaning. I'm groaning too. It was the worst mistake of my life.
 
Sex is a very deep thing. It goes right to the roots of your soul. It should never be taken lightly. It matters too much for that. It's a learning process, and you should never stop learning.
 
Being in a threesome imprinted very badly on me. Afterwards I was never sure why I was involved with anyone. It all seemed too complex. I was always expecting the other person to turn up, which, of course, she never did.
 
Later I got married. Well, I say "married", but these were still strange times. We never actually had a ceremony. We had everything else though. What we had more than anything was love.
 
I won't name the woman. It wouldn't be fair. But I was still stuck on that threesome kick. I encouraged her to have an affair. So she did. I was staying in one part of the country, while she was in another. I was working. It was Christmas, and she came to visit me, and she told me about her affair. And I didn't mind in the slightest. I was not possessive. These were un-possessive times. No one would admit to such base emotions as possessiveness or jealousy. So she went back to continue her affair.
 
Later I finished my job and I went back to join her. I walked into the house. It was a shared house, with a lot of other people living there. My woman friend wasn't there. I asked where she was, and there was a kind of silence. And then I knew. She was in bed with her boyfriend.
 
And that was it. It was like a punch in the guts. Like someone had kicked out my knees from behind. I literally fell on the floor. My knees gave way. Then I knew it. For the first time in my life I knew it. I knew the first real pang of jealousy. And I knew then that I would never be able to take sex lightly again.
 
And I never have.

FEEDBACK:
A brief note from the irrepressable Corky Laing
Just after I posted out last week's newsletter I recieved a charming note from Corky Laing:
Hi Jon,

Good morning from a small fishing village on the shores of Long Island. I do hope that all is well with "J and Da Cat". 
And he went on to tell me about his new show that he is touring worldwide:
"Corky Laing, whose skills on the skins are matched only by his wit and candor, will relate how he climbed up and fell down with some of the rock world's most prominent luminaries...but it's not all talk. Corky will show us exactly how and why he is one of the most acclaimed drummers in the music business.  And he took it all in from THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE!

When you hear that song that starts with a cow bell sound. You know it's the beginning of, “Mississippi Queen”. Yes, that’s it. And that’s Corky Laing...

He wrote,recorded, and performed it for the last 40 years. People still can't get enough of the Queen.

 ï»¿Mountain drummer Corky Laing scripted and staged a one-man show chronicling some of the more humorous and dramatic highlights from his legendary career, reflecting  about the myriad of performers he met along the way to rock stardom: Levon Helm, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon, Alice Cooper, Salvador Dali, Jimi Hendrix, Jack Bruce, John and Yoko, Mick Jagger, and more...(He loves droppin' names)

You can find out more about the show HERE.

Corky went on to write:
Of course it is presently current and I hope to keep it that way. While finishing the opera I have been honing this stand up-sit down performance and I will be coming to your town in the near future.

Beware!

All good things,

Corky!
 
I'm glad that there are artists like Corky in the world.
 
EXCITING NEWS FROM RENAISSANCE
Renaissance are really getting into their stride. We have posted a couple of stories about the new tour. You can read them HERE and HERE. But the biggest news is that the band have released a sneak preview of one of the tracks from the album which you can read HERE.

It is called Cry to the World and features the peculiarly rhythmic flute playing of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. I describe it as 'peculiarly rhythmic' because there are bits of it which sound almost like a high register didgeridoo, producing a peculiar breathy rhythm that would not sound out of place on an Aphex Twin album.

The incessant, almost dancy bass drum underpins a glorious song which never does quite what you expect. This is a band that is at the top of its game, and it is a truly fitting tribute to the late Michael Dunsford.

On the evidence of this track, and the sampler that we posted some months ago, this is going to be a really tough album to beat. Well done guys.

There is a solo album by Renaissance songstrel Annie Haslam available on Gonzo. I strongly suggest that you check it out!
HAWKWIND SPECIAL
(They may be the masters of the Universe, but they have certainly dominated our thoughts this week)
ASTOUNDING SOUNDS, AMAZING RUMOURS
Ex-Hawkwind member Nik Turner has seemingly decided to perform his music under the name "Nik Turner's Hawkwind": documents on the internet indicate that registration of the name as a trademark is under way. Turner's band has previously played as "Space Ritual" (or variations on that theme) in the decade since a court case where he was prevented from going out on the road as xHawkwind.
 
Reaction seems mixed, with some citing "The Wishbone Ash Syndrome" - potential dilution of a brand, (there are two different bands with slightly differing variations on the Wishbone Ash name) and others thinking that the more space rock there is, out in gigland, the better.
 
Talking of names, a benefit gig for Sea Shepherd is being held next month, in Portsmouth, with The Elves of Silbury Hill playing in top spot. 
 
Who?  Well, it's actually Hawkwind minus Dave Brock. Hawkwind have long supported these warriors of the high seas, whose anti-whaling activities go considerably further than the more well-known Greenpeace - to the extent of physically ramming whaling ships with reinforced vessels.
 
Direct action writ large.
 
An old and often difficult question was posed on Twitter recently, by Hawkwind HQ who tweeted:
 
"What'ud u do if some1 threatened ur lifework out of pure spite? Fight back or give in? They've money you've integrity does money always win?"
 
Bentley P Peabody tweeted back, "What, specifically, are we talking about?"
 
And the reply didn't really shine much light: "Well its not possible to say at the moment, but it is a big decision which we have to take very soon."
 
So there you go... it really does seem to be a case of "watch this space"
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Michael Butterworth
The first phase of Gonzo's Graham Inglis interview with science fantasy writer Michael Butterworth... 

Gonzo: Hi Michael ... before I ask you about any recent activities, can I delve back into the mists of time and ask you a few things about your book The Time of the Hawklords. Where did the idea come from, of the things like Hawkwind's music warding off the effects of death generators?

MB: In "the mists of time" it certainly was, but I'll do my best for you! The idea for the book had already been agreed between Michael Moorcock and the publisher before I came on the scene. My job at an advertising agency had just come to an end, I was a single parent, so I decided to try my hand at freelance. With two very young children to support, it seemed best to be working from home.

Read on...
EXCLUSIVE: Hawkeaster by Graham Inglis

Hawkwind's mini-tour ended this week... and here's a Gonzo look at Hawkeaster, a two-day event held in Season as an opener to that tour... Photos and text by Graham Inglis, who managed to find his way home the next day....

 

 

The two days at Seaton in East Devon were afternoon-and-evening events, and included various support bands, a fancy dress competition and a "Question Time" type of event where members of Hawkwind answered various questions put to them from the audience or from Matthew Wright.

 

Those who remembered to take their Hawkwind Passports along got a nice "HawkEaster 2013" stamp in green ink, inside it.

Read on...

EXCLUSIVE: Davey Curtis is a Worrier at the edge of Preston

Dear Jon.

 

The Hawkwind Preston gig was superb! The best one I have attended.

 

Great light show, sound and new production from the dancers. The sax player from the excellent support band Hipiersonik joined them on stage to give it that Nik Turner sound. Fantastic. 

Read on...

Also check out more of Davey's  images from the Preston show annotated by Graham
THE YES CIRCULAR - FEELING FRAGILE?
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
Steve Howe has been the most vocal member of Yes  this week. We posted several communiques from him, including a discussion of his forthcoming guitar retreat and then did something quite similar that you can read HERE. He also talked at some length on the rationale behind the latest Yes tour, and gave a general interview that we also reposted. Obsessive ain't we? But his most impressive interview was one in which he explained why he quit Asia, and also tried to dispell the rumour that Jon Davison has been banned from fronting his own band Glass Hammer on the recent 'Cruise to the Edge'.
This - it could be argued - was a bit of an own goal. For example, as regular readers will be aware, I use Google News Alerts each day to chronicle the comings and goings of the Yes fraternity past and present, and I had never heard of this story. However, I have now, and you can read it HERE.

Whilst on the subject of 'Cruise to the Edge` we also posted a nice video of Steve and Jon Davison on stage during the cruise. Another posting was of an excerpt from the new Chris Squire/Billy Sherwood album that is discussed elsewhere, and yet another was of an interview with Geoff Downes (no relation).

I am probably getting a bit OCD about all of this, but I find the Yes soap opera of sound to be absolutely enthralling, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next!
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (UK)
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (USA)
AND WHILST ON THE SUBJECT OF YES...
I have never understood the mindset that wants side-projects of an established band to go off in radical new directions. I am sure that nobody buying Conspiracy Live from Yes mainstay Chris Squire, and Yes alumnus Billy Sherwood would want either avant garde free jazz, or a radical departure fusing Mongolian throat music with techno (although the latter sounds rather appealing). This is probably a good thing because the aforementioned album sounds basically like Yes (albeit a slightly heavier and funkier - in places - Yes).

There is a freebie track streamed HERE
 
I heard it the other morning when I came across a mention of it on the Internet. I searched it out on Spotify, and it was much better than I had expected; the latter half in particular having the sort of meandering instrumental passages which are mildly emotive of Pink Floyd and which some of the Galileo bands like Zenit and The Green Violinist do so well.
 
I was surprised that a one-off live album sounded so cohesive, but when I did a bit more digging I realised that:
 
a. I shouldn't have been
b. I should have done my homework a bit better
 
Because, far from being a one-off live project, the pair had played together in a band called Conspiracy which released two albums in the early part of the century. They had only broken up when Squire (who had been living on the West Coast of the USA, as did Sherwood) moved back to London.
 
So that explains that.
 
How that managed to pass me by I'm not sure, but it did. But I would recommend the live album to any devotee of things Yeslike. Like the rather strange reunion album of Squire's pre-Yes band The Syn a few years after, it contains some emotive, organic music underpinned by some of the most gorgeous bass playing you will hear this side of Paul McCartney. As far as Squire's other side project is concerned (the rather peculiarly named Squackett with Steve Hackett, one time Genesis guitarist), I have only heard it once (and I have to admit that I was in my cups at the time), but from what I remember it was also a fine and melodic album, and one which I shall have to revisit and write about in these pages soon.
ASHES
she has traveled more now that she has gone
than ever when she was with us on this earth
Bob took her to the Permaculture Farm
near the playground where she might hear
the tinkle of children's laughter
She left on the Fool Moon /so we gathered by Ladybird Lake
and @Possum Point(her fave spot/immortalized in her own lines
she was released to moon and water and rowers silent splashing
Another took her to the mountains,where rivers flow
through Louisiana where she was born/to return to origins
Floods massive rose in Brisbane /washing her remains
down creeks through to the Pacific Ocean/where
with currents and tides/she might join the Great Mystery
and return to us again..
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..

I used to be a collector of rock and roll memorabilia, but most of my collection went into my solicitor's pocket during my divorce from my first wife, and I never had the stomach to build the collection up again. However, people send me pictures of interesting things such as this which came from our old mate Graham Inglis.
In a stumble-over moment while looking for other things on the Internet, I noticed an ad for a Rick Wakeman 8-track cartridge... and, lingering on that item, found (to my surprise) that there's quite a trade in such things - both supply and demand being sufficient to cause several such items to appear (and sell) on eBay.

Read on...
INTRODUCING THE NINE HENRYS
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...
FROM THE GONZO ARCHIVES:
Jon meets Ant-Bee

 

 

About a year ago I did one of the most intriguing interviews of my career so far. I spoke to Billy James, who - apart from being the main publicist with whom I have been dealing in recent months, is also main man of Ant-Bee - perhaps the most singular artist on Gonzo (and that is up against some stiff competition).

I have a copy of his/their most recent album Electronic Church Muzik and it is one of the most challenging and interesting things I have heard in ages. The list of guest contributors is very impressive with more Gon
gFocus and Mothers of Invention alumni than you can shake a stick at. Billy is pictured below with Gilli Smyth from Gong.

 

I couldn't wait to talk to him...

 

 

Jon: I think it’s jolly good. I was surprised how with such a wide and diverse collection of people you’ve got playing on it how cohesive the whole thing sounds

 

Billy: You have to remember that I’ve been working in sound collages for many, many years – that’s one of the things I do – I am really into editing and dubbing things and sound collages. Almost like the way Zappa used to do it on Only in it for the Money - that one piece The Chrome Megaphone of Destiny â€“ have you ever heard that piece?

 

Jon: Yes

 

Billy: I’ve always found that type of material very inspirational and also very interesting and just working with sound collages, you know - musique concrète - and so the other thing you have to remember is that the previous album was Lunar Musik which Gonzo is going to be releasing with the rest of the back catalogue, which took three and a half years to make. This last record took me ten years to make, so I had a lot of time to think about how things were going to be in song order and a lot of the structuring.

 

There’s a reason why it took so long to do it but I did have quite a bit of a time to figure out how pieces linked together and then some of them sort of cosmically linked together in their own way, you know, once I started working with them, but there’s a bit of a dynamic thread through it. It’s almost a sort of stream of consciousness type of a record, sort of examining the spirituality of man and woman and that’s what it is all about.

 

Not really laying any sort of trip to you, it’s just a trip. Not feeding you anything, it’s just something there to eat if you can figure all that out, but anyway that’s what it is. It did take a long time to work and this and that. Do you want to know why it took so long?

 

Jon: Uh huh

 

Billy: Originally studios – you know the studios that I was working in where I was living in one city about ten years ago after Lunar Music came out and did quite well actually and I went and I toured with the main songwriter and one of the founding members of the Alice Cooper group, Michael Bruce. And there was other projects that I was involved in before I started working on it. But anyway, when I started working on this record, the studios I was going into was very expensive and so with not having the backing of a record label at the time, the two records that I did came on Taste and Divine records which was My Favourite Vegetables and then Lunar Musik which came out in 1998. I didn’t have any backing from a record label and the type of music I do there’s just not that many labels that understand what I’m doing and the commercial potential – as with Zappa’s music, there’s no commercial potential – even I find quite a bit of it, but...

 

So at any rate, it was up to me to finance the thing as the bottom line and going in the studios that are like $60 to $70 an hour and then you’re only able to go in at certain times – you can’t block book space, and in between a lot of other projects I was working on and being hired to work on - so I was only able to go in there maybe a couple of times every couple of months, every few months, and movement was very, very slow.

 

Finally I relocated to another city in North Carolina where I’m at, which is called Asheville which is sort of like a mini hippie town in the mountains of North Carolina. I purchased a recording console and set up my own studio and I proceeded then, and this was probably about three years ago, so we’re seven years in. Every single night, for two years straight – just about two years straight – I would record. And I worked and worked and I have hundreds of different versions and all kinds of material and, you know, so what you get out of Electronic Church Musik is only a fraction of some of the pieces I was working with editing together and ...because I have another two albums’ worth of material but I don’t know when I’ll finish them up.

 

So at any rate I was able to work every single night for two years just about as well as doing my publicity work and put together Electronic Church Musik. Finally I was able to do the whole thing here, really; edit and put everything together and most of the tapes, with the other musicians were all sent to me either – you know they were so long ago.

 

Peter Banks sent me his tracks on DAT tape so I had to find someone who had a DAT player that dubbed those over. Jan Akkerman, I think he originally sent me his piece on cassette, and I think I had to transfer that over. I believe it was and I think it was the same with Michael Bruce..... it was so long ago, it was like in the 90s – we were still using cassettes. High grade cassettes, you know. CDRs were expensive back then so some of the mediums are different mediums, and some of them later on came as CDRs and then some through the computer – mp3 type stuff, so I had all kinds – I still do – I had hours and hours of material to work through from these artists that I’ve either worked with in the past or recorded with or I had done publicity for and so they got to know me in that respect and then got to know that I’m a musician and my music and were impressed with it and decided they want to work with me, so there’s different ways a lot of these musicians I work with.

 

So anyway, a couple of years ago I finally had the chance to work with it, put it together , spend night after night and a million mixes and finally came up with what you have there. I wouldn’t say it’s 100% of what I like. You know, there’s certain things you go back and I was still learning the recording console at the time, so that was the other thing. I think now when I listen to it that there are certain things that I would have remixed and done just a little bit different, but you either have to put a stop or a finish date or end up pulling a Brian Wilson's Smile and you never finish it. So I just had to say finally this is it. It’s the best I am going to be able to get right now. I’ve got to put an axe on it and get on with it and get on to something else. And that’s what churned out. And the reviews, other than maybe a couple of odd ones in the Netherlands oddly, everywhere else: Greece and Germany and a lot of great ones in the UK and several good ones here in America. All rave reviews, so it’s been very good and I’ve done several interviews for it, and that’s just what it is. Just another piece of Ant-Bee history that is out in the world right now.

 

Jon: Did all the contributors that you worked with do their stuff individually and just send it tapes to you, or did you actually record with any of them?

 

Billy: Some of them did and some of them didn’t. When I was living in Los Angeles I worked with some of the original Mothers of Invention â€“ this was back in I guess 1990, so I don’t know how many years that is. 20 years ago or something like that - Bunk Gardner, and Don Preston and Jimmy Carl Black. And so that material was actually recorded. Some of the stuff I use even to this day was recorded back then. I had Bunk actually come out to my house in Encino, California and I paid him a fee and had him blow horn for three hours. So I have hours and hours of him playing clarinet and flute, you know, just so I knew I’d be using it 30 years later.

 

And I still do. I’m still using all this material. He also had tapes of him and his brother Buzz from the 70s that are just free form jams that he also gave me carte blanche to use certain sections of that and added them together and use things. And then also Don Preston. When I was out there I went over to his house- well actually it was like a studio, a king of weird studio/apartment in Los Angeles and he had a work room and we sat in there and I gave him some musical ideas and this and that and we worked together recording that out there, which I am still using. Some of the stuff he’s sent over to me recently as well.

Some of the material I did with Michael Bruce was when we were on the road - we were able to go into the studio several times and I was able to get him to record some things as well and then, like I said, the Peter Banks stuff and Jan Ackerman and David Allen – all that type of stuff was sent to me. Gilli Smythe – that stuff was all sent to me, you know, through the different mediums. They weren’t here when they did it, even though I’ve met all of them and been in touch with all them, and then Napoleon Murphy Brock's part – vocal piece that was sent. Him and Don actually did that together at some point. I think at Don’s house and then sent it over to me. So that’s just the way I’m able to work. It’s too expensive to fly people out here and do it all, and everyone pretty much lives in separate parts of the country.

EXCLUSIVE: Ant-Bee interview (Part One)
EXCLUSIVE: Ant-Bee interview (Part Two)
EXCLUSIVE: Ant-Bee interview (Part Three)
EXCLUSIVE: Ant-Bee interview (Part Four)

ANT BEE AT GONZO USA
ANT-BEE AT GONZO UK
HERE COMES THE NIGHT

 

Night was a band that originally came together under the name Filthy McNasty in 1979. The band was a loose aggregation that performed at the Bridge House, a live venue in London. The band was originally pulled together by former Manfred Mann’s Earth Band vocalist Chris Thompson following his split from the 'Earthband' in 1979 following the recording of the album Angel Station.

Another key member of the band was vocalist Stevie Lange who was an in demand session vocalist and had sang on sessions for the 'Earthband'. Another member of the band was guitarist Robbie McIntosh who had previously been a member of the Foster Brothers, a band that released one album for Elton John’s Rocket Records label. The other members of the band were bassist Billy Kristian and keyboardist Derek Austin. At the point of the band becoming Night, Nicky Hopkins was probably one of the most famous members, having played with The Rolling Stones on many albums not to mention albums from John Lennon and George Harrison amongst many others. He was also a member of the Jeff Beck Group and Quicksilver Messenger Service.

The band was initially a covers band or what would be described as a “Bar Band” in America. The band managed, however, to secure a recording deal with Planet Records in America, the label owned by record producer Richard Perry.

The self-titled album was recorded in Los Angeles and the perception of many was that Night was an American Band when in fact the band was almost a “United Nations” with Lange coming from South Africa and Thompson, Hopkins and McIntosh being English. This probably arose due to the fact that band were actually based in Los Angeles.

Chris Thompson spoke exclusively to Jon Kirkman in early 2011 about the forthcoming reissue of the two Night albums


Listen Now
CHECK IT OUT AT GONZO USA
CHECK IT OUT AT GONZO UK
FRIENDS AND RELATIONS:

A few weeks ago we featured Miss Crystal Grenade, a lady whose ouevre has been described as ""Shakespeares Sister fighting Amanda Palmer and Tori Amos in a dimly lit Victorian pub. With hand deformities."" We can confidently predict that you will be hearing a lot more from her soon. But in an alternative universe Ms Hodge has another project.

Read on:

WRECKS are a rock/punk band from Manchester, UK. Featuring Carol Hodge on vocals (Steve Ignorant's Last Supper (CRASS), Crystal Grenade, Bad Taste Barbies), Pete Wilson on guitar (Steve Ignorant's Last Supper (CRASS), Bad Taste Barbies), Pierce MacMahon on drums (La Haine) and Lucas Martin on bass.

CHECK 'EM OUT AT SOUNDCLOUD

This is one hell of a band. They play games with the form and structure of punky noise and produce something that I, for one, think is massively entertaining. Check them out, you won't be disappointed.
THE BEST LAID PLANS...
And so, once again,  another week, and another newsletter comes to a close. It has been a strange week, but then again, my weeks usually are. I have had an amanuensis with me all week; a young lady called Sheri who is doing a degree in animal management at a seat of learning in York.

This is her second placement with us, and we always enjoy having her. The weather is getting warmer which means that we have our animal rescue hats on, and at the moment we have a slow-worm, a bank vole, and six newts awaiting rehabilitation. The house is full of animals and music, which is really how it should be.
I am pleased to announce that we shall be welcoming another of my favourite authors to the Gonzo family over the next few months. Paul Rose (known to an entire generation of oddballs as Mr Biffo, erstwhile of C4 Teletext) is being lured out of retirement with the promise of a large piece of greasy bacon on the end of a telescopic pole. He is a massive proghead and a very funny fellow, and we have been mates for yonks. It will be fun to have him on board 

There is still likely to be a monthly magazine in both digital and hard copy formats at some point, as soon as I have managed to attract around me more like-minded souls who want to contribute.

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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