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ALL THE GONZO NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT
Issue Twenty-Three        April 28th 2013
AS I PROMISED, THIS IS SLOWLY BECOMING A MAGAZINE
THIS WEEK WE BRING YOU ADAM ANT, MICHAEL DES BARRES, MR AVERELL, HAWKWIND, YES,  C.J.STONE, THOM THE WORLD POET, THE AUSTIN INTERNATIONAL POETRY FESTIVAL, MICK FARREN, THE DEVIANTS, NIK TURNER, BADFINGER, PETE HAM, JOEY MOLLAND, JUDY DYBLE, PETER McADAM, THE NINE HENRYS, DAVID BOWIE, CAMEL, STEVE HOWE, GEOFF DOWNES, GRINGO, PROKOFIEV, RICHARD STANBROOK, ROBIN LUMLEY, JACK LANCASTER, DAEVID ALLEN, KRISTY HERNANDEZ
This is the nearest that you are ever going to get to a posh weekend colour supplement from the Gonzo Daily team. Each week we shall go through the best bits of the week before, and if there aren't any we shall make some up, or simply make our excuses and leave (you can tell the editor once did contract work at the News of the World can't ya?)
Social media stuff that I am really too old to understand, (my stepdaughter spent much of last Christmas trying to explain Twitter to me) but I am assuming that at least some of our readers are younger and hipper than I am.
Facebook
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Website
Website
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Google Plus
Email
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LinkedIn
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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...
MORE LIKE A MAGAZINE
I am growing up in public, as it were. This week, as you will see, I am taking a few more tentative steps towards this becoming a bona fide magazine. The Gonzo Weekly has been going for nearly six months 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?

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.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: What Judy did next
What a week! I had a long chat with the ever lovely Judy Dyble. I have always found it irritating when journalist types crow over having access to something that the rest of us mere mortals don't have access to. But I am just about to do exactly that thing. Except I am not crowing. That would be vulgar. I have one of the few sets of songfiles for the forthcoming Judy Dyble album 'Flow and Change'. I am listening it as I speak....it is absolutely magnificent. I absolutely adore her last album 'Talking with Strangers', and I was afraid that nothing she could do would be as good as that was. I was wrong, because this album is quite possibly even better. I don't know. I am so overwhelmed by the rich textures, pastoral splendour and sheer beauty of this magnificent record. I will be writing more about it very soon....and you won't have to wait long to hear it yourselves. It comes out this summer.

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Mum of the Wild Frontier
Some months ago Corinna came charging into my study in a state of high excitement. Adam Ant was coming to Barnstaple. She telephoned to book tickets but they were all gone. However she left her name on a list of people who wanted to be notified about cancellations if any were to occur, and we promptly forgot all about it.

Yesterday there was a telephone call from the Queen's Theatre. There were some tickets. Did we want them? Of course we did, but there was an added complication (two actually). Not only was (is) my 83 year old Mama-in-law staying with us, but also my old mate Richard Stanbrook, a classical composer of no mean talent. Neither of them had ever been to a rock concert before, and neither of them had more than the vaguest idea who Adam Ant is. Surely we couldn't subject them to three hours of noisy post punk, and furthermore three hours of noisy post-punk with often dubious lyrical themes? Surely not? After a very brief struggle with my conscience I laughed at the absurdity of it all, and bought four tickets.

The die was cast!

The support band Killer New Shoes were particularly good - expect to read more on these pages about them fairly soon. But last night was about something completely different. Adam Ant and I go back a long way. His hey day was the last time that my tastes and those of the nation's youth en masse coincided. I was a member of the nation's youth at the time, if you remember. I was a particularly immature 21 year old when Kings of the Wild Frontier stormed the charts, and I fell in love with the heady mix of Burundi drums and pirate imagery immediately. A short period of investigation proved that his earlier music - a handful of singles/EPs and one LP Dirk Wears White Sox - was even better. I became an avid Antperson, and even when their third record Prince Charming proved to be somewhat of a disappointment (except for Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios which no-one else liked) and Adam split the band and insisted on telling everyone that cool people "don't drink/don't smoke" (I did both to excess) I never stopped listening to the old stuff.

Read on...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Bart's back
Bart Lancia tells me that there are whispers of a new project by Camel and asks whether I had heard of it. I, too, have heard very vague whispers, but nothing concrete, so I hope that Bart continues to keep his ear to the ground.

Bart also (knowing that I am somewhat of a David Bowie buff) sent me this rather peculiar story from Rolling Stone. Apparently despite refusing to do any interviews in support of his cracking new album The Next Day, Bowie has broken silence with just 42 words.

And whilst on the subject of Senor Bowie, he may be completely off topic, but we have written the following posts about him/The Next Day:

DAVID BOWIE PROVES THAT HE IS STILL THE MASTER
LINK: David Bowie album review - track by track:
OK THIS IS TOTALLY OFF TOPIC (But it's David Bowie...

THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: Rob vs The Deviants
Mick Farren is one of those people whom I have always wanted to meet, and one of those people that - when I was younger, at least - I always wanted to be. Mick Farren and the Deviants (originally The Social Deviants) were the original British anarchist people's band. Now they are back. I have heard one absolutely cracking song which would be a great single. I can't talk about it too much at the moment, but there will be a chance to hear it via these hallowed pages very soon.

In the meantime, here are some exclusive pics of the band from a show earlier this week. The young lady on stage with them is Jaki Windmill, previously from Nik Turners Space Ritual.
You want more? There is more. Check it out...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST: If you want it, here it is Mr Ayling
Guess where the Obercheesenmeister was whilst I was slaving over a hot computer putting this issue together? He will be in Swansea for the unveiling of the blue plaque for Pete Ham, a founding member of the 1970’s group, Badfinger. Swansea Council has instigated a Blue Plaque scheme to remember the city’s notable sons and daughters or those who have significantly contributed to Swansea in one way or another. The scheme will help the city celebrate its rich heritage and boost the visiting experience for tourists. Pete Ham’s plaque is the first of many to come.
 
Swansea-born Pete Ham helped pen the song, Without You, which created a world-wide phenomenon for Harry Nilsson in 1972 and has been covered since by Mariah Carey and scores of other artists. Ham was also a founder member of The Iveys and 1970s rock group Badfinger and wrote three of their major hits: No Matter What, Day After Day and Baby Blue. He was cited by former Beatle George Harrison as a "fantastic guitarist and singer" and Paul McCartney described Without You as "the killer song of all-time".

The Iveys became the first band to sign to The Beatles’ label, Apple Records. Ham went on to form Badfinger but took his own life aged 27 in 1975. 
For more exclusive pictures, and Rob's words on the matter check it out...
We also have an interview with Badfinger's Joey Molland
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: Richie Havens (1940-2013)
The man who opened Woodstock has died. Once again the world is a poorer place. As Rob Ayling told me this week, he will be very greatly missed.

Richie Havens at Wikipedia
Our tribute to Richie Havens
An earlier post about him

INTERNET STALKERS Part 1 (Work in Progress)

So here you are again at your computer, looking at a submission form from some Internet Porn company. You know, "Hot and Nasty Sex", "Boobtropolis", "Horney Teens". Whatever. You're looking at this stuff and wondering if you might have gone mad. Because you don't remember ever having been to any of these Internet sites.
 
I mean: you can't deny that you have visited porn sites in the past. It's just curiosity really. Most people do. You get access to the net and you know there's all that porn stuff floating around out there, wafting about on the airwaves like rags on a line, and you do: you take a look. It doesn't take long for you to realise that it's all nonsense, or worse than nonsense: all these flickering sites offering strange possibilities that never amount to anything, women you know you will never meet, in rooms you know you will never visit, doing things that would make anyone ashamed, with objects designed for other purposes. Short, ill-focussed films with grainy music. Creepy photographs like illegal scientific experiments carried out by madmen in backstreet rooms. Images that creep into your brain like snotty ectoplasm, which then impose themselves on you, invading your thoughts and dreams like flies.
 
But - you know - you do it occasionally. You play peek-a-boo with your conscience and then forget it.
 
And then there's all this stuff in your inbox. Submissions from porn sites you don't remember ever having gone to. And it's all just crazy and maddening, making you look like some porn freak or something, like some lonely old tosser with nothing better to do with your time.
 
You erase it all, of course, but it just keeps coming.
 
Now you know that this technology can do all sorts of things. So maybe you did visit some porn site once and it took your details somehow, even though you never gave them out, and stored your e-mail address in its computer, and has handed the address on to all sorts of other porn sites, and now you're well known in porn circles and they're all plying you with their adverts. Except that one of them says it saw your name in a chat room, and you've never been in a chat room of any description (even assuming you know what a chat room is). And then another one says that you made an application to join this porn site at 2.00 am the morning of whatever, and you think, "hey, hang on a minute, I was round my Mum's at 2.00am that night. How can that be?"
 
That's when you realise that you have a stalker. Someone is out there, flitting about in the digital landscape, using your name and address, subscribing you to Internet sites you never even knew existed.
 
This is all for real. It really is happening.
 
Actually, it's much, much more than this. That stalker has been on your case for years. A bit of Internet Porn is only an irritation compared to what's happened to you in the past.
 
The story goes way back. Back to a time when you thought you were in love with someone.
 
That's how it was for me. I thought I was in love with someone.
 
And now the years are winding back, back, like an old reel-to-reel tape recorder, hearing the speeded-up backwards music of your life being replayed, to a time when we were innocent maybe: innocent enough to make love with a hungry passion in the back alleys of our town, standing up, leaning against a fencepost, in the evening, where the yellow streetlamps splash radiant flashes across your face and torso, you with one leg raised, skirt hitched around your waist, feeling the sly beauty of your thighs against my prickled skin, as we stormed to orgasmic conclusion in the thrusting recesses of the night.
 
Yes, and we did. We did. We did. We made love. We made love. We made love. In the morning. In the evening. In the afternoon. In the fresh air fields by sunlight, in the long grass, in the hidden places where ants scurried and bit your back, in secret overhanging copses in daylight, by the golf course, as worried, hurried golfers scooped their balls into the sky and cried "fore" to the four winds. In the late summer morning of our days when dreams were born, when I was a poet and you were a dreamer and I fed your dreams with words. When words were like magnets sifting iron filing patterns on a tray and there was a strange electrical invisible force sizzling in the airwaves sending sprays of blue-light sparks into the ether. And we were neither here nor there nor either were we inbetween. And maybe I loved you once, and then maybe you were gone.
 
It lasted for a summer. One bright, endless summer in the wafting sunlit air, when were were both still young and had our dreams and nothing could betray us. And then something did betray us and you were gone.
 
CJ suffers paranoid delusions. He seems to think that these memories he has were once real.
 
That was years ago, in a time and a place that no longer exists. How do we know that it ever existed? If they redeveloped Eden to turn it into an out-of-town hyper-market and shopping complex, could we ever be certain that Eden had existed? Could you even say that it was the same place?
 
So we lost touch and the memories faded, and you became yourself and I became myself and we forgot who we once had been.
 
There was no Internet back then, of course. They were only beginning to think about inventing it.
 
So there were no Internet Stalkers.
 
The Internet Stalker comes much, much later.
 
(To be continued...)


SOME BOOKS BY C.J.STONE
NEW MUSIC FROM THE MIGHTY MARQUIS

This all new, re-recorded version of the '80s mega-hit "Obsession" was written by and performed by Michael Des Barres as a duet with Teal Collins Zee. The track is now available for immediate download along with limited edition commemorative panties!

michaeldesbarres.bandcamp.com/merch/michael-des-barres-obsession-2013-panties

 

Michael Des Barres (along with Holly Knight, who was recently inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame) penned the hit song "Obsession" in 1983. The song reached number one in over twenty-seven countries as recorded by the Los Angeles group Animotion and has been featured in countless movies and television shows throughout the years.

 

For thirty years now, this well-crafted track continues to stand the test of time, "Obsession" by Michael Des Barres is a true touchstone of the mid-eighties, a time period which strongly influences the modern music and fashion of today.

Listen to the single and get more information


Check out an interview I did with Michael at the end of last year:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
MICHAEL DES BARRES AT GONZO UK
MICHAEL DES BARRES AT GONZO USA
AN AUDIENCE WITH MR AVERELL
In my various guises I get an enormous number of emails each day. The other day, in between a selection of pdfs about a new species of lizard and emails trying to sell me a Far Eastern mail-order bride, I received an intriguing email from a man called René van Commenée. I dug a little further and found this statement:

"As a musician I work mainly as a percussionist, electronic music performer and sound designer. I am a member of the trio The Art of Doing Nothing with Pipe Organ master Willem Tanke and MIDI-wind-controller/flutist Martijn Alsters. With Alsters I formed a duo for live-surround concerts and installations also. Separate from this I create visual sound art installations. I always like to use my voice though. I was a singer in several Dutch rock bands in the seventies and eighties, and like to write, record and perform more song-based music as I call it. But if you do so many diverse things I think you have to make clear to your audience what it is they can expect when buying your work or attending your concerts/performances. Therefore I chose to give my song-based projects a separate name, Mr Averell; a band in which I am the main writer and performer."
 
I then received a copy of his smashing new album Gridlock and wrote THIS.

I was so massively intrigued that I arranged an interview.
 

MR AVERELL AT GONZO UK
MR AVERELL AT GONZO USA
HAWKWIND NEWS
(The masters of the Universe, do seem to have a steady stream of interesting stories featuring them, their various friends and relations, and alumni)
FEEDBACK ON LAST WEEK'S ITEM ON THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HAWKWIND NAME
I saw the early HW logo--the 2-headed Hawk.  I always thought, and told Nik in 1995, that the 2 heads were he and Dave. BOTH were integral to the Wonder years of the band.. These days, Nik has more of the key members aligned with his HW projects than Dave, in spirit, as well as actual playing, sorry .. the XHawkwind is truly HW.

Sorry to disagree, but I must. I love both, and, despite the court findings, feel that Nik has equal rights, as the band has always been about Freaking-----not commercial name ownership..

Forgive me for any malfeasance.


spacehed
Of course we forgive you. You used the word 'malfeasance'. JD

Supporters of the Sea Shepherd protest group (the folks who sometimes ram whaling ships) will likely know there's an upcoming fund-raiser gig, featuring the  Elves of Silbury Hill, one of the many performance disguises used by members of Hawkwind.  The gig's on Friday 3rd May in Portsmouth.

The lineup was announced as Mr Dibs, Niall Hone, Richard Chadwick and Dead Fred - that is, Hawkwind minus Dave Brock and Tim Blake.  However, "HawkwindHQ" on Twitter has just tweeted, "Breaking news! Dave Brock to appear with Elves of Silbury Hill for a special, one off benefit show for Sea Shepherd."  An earlier tweet had referred to rehearsals and said, "Sounding fab...a few surprises on the cards."

Gonzo's Graham will be attending the show and hopefully will remember something about it the next day.
HAWKWIND-RELATED STORIES ALSO ON THE BLOG THIS WEEK:

Hawkwind plus Easter equals ... Hawkeaster!
HAWKWIND LIGHT ORCHESTRA REVIEW
THE YES CIRCULAR - DIVING IN THE 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
Once again the Yes camp (and, indeed, the camps of their various alumni) has been very quiet this week. We posted a very pleasant interview with Steve Howe in which he waxed lyrical on the subject of new singer Jon Davison.

And we posted two interviews with Geoff Downes, one in which he talked about the possibility of a new album, and the other in which he talked about the responsibility of following in the shoes of Rick Wakeman.
And that, boys and girls, was just about that for this week.

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)
ROOTS - organically OCCUPYING
Solutions demand energy /attention
Open stage with poets and musicians
Organic food available/this is a benefit 
for after-school classes@ECO-SCHOOL(South Austin)
Young, bright, digital youth stage manage professionally
Each act two songs or two wings of poetry
Each listens as the air is active as belly dancing
swirls Egyptian Isis movements in significant feng shui
Gardens growing green behind us/bicycles and a bus
This evening is clear, attentive, conscious
Conversation like a river builds its banks
Investing in a positive future/for which we give thanks
Those who have already started knew this all along
Part of tomorrow is art, smiles, poems, songs..
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.....

Of all the items that we have chosen for the 'Cabinet of Curiosities' this - so far - has got to be the most valuable. On eBay yesterday for a whopping $7,995 this gold bracelet is alleged to have been owned by none other than Keith Emerson. You know, him out of ELP.

 

The package does, apparently, include a 'letter of authenticity', but who has signed said letter remains a mystery, mostly because I haven't got eight grand to spare, and if I had I would be more likely to repair my leaking roof than to buy a piece of dodgy 1970s bling.

GUEST EDITORIAL FROM KRISTY HERNANDEZ

Austin International Poetry Festival

 
What a weekend! Where do I start! Friday, I found myself listening to Bob Schneider, at a show in Austin, called "Unplugged at the Grove," which was free. My cousin, Lisa LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Bob Schneider. He was pretty good! I had a lot of fun, even though it was too crowded to get in. People brought their blankets, and sat on the grass on the side of the venue, and others were dancing on the sidewalk. After the concert started, I thought "Who would want to be in that crowd, where you can't even move." I watched the concert from the perfect spot!

Then I was asked to be a volunteer for the Austin International Poetry Festival, which was A-MAZING!!!! I saw some amazing poets, who came in from all of the U.S., Australia, India and the rest of the world. I'm sure I'm missing several countries. But holy hell, the talent was worth the price of volunteering, and getting to know some very talented poets!
Suzy Q (from Colorado), Candy Royalle, (from Australia), and Viplob Pratik.

One of the venues that AIPF was held at was Nature's Wonders, a store that sells various kinds of stones (i.e. quartz, granite, opal, agate, etc.). For those of you who have never been to this store, it is a sight to see. I've never been, and I've lived here on and off, for about 5 years. I absolutely loved this store, and the lady working there, said she bought all of her Christmas gifts for her kids there. I plan to go back to buy a wind chime there, made out of some of the types of stones. It is BEAUTIFUL, and only $18. This was Friday and Saturday.

Also on Friday and Saturday, there were many poets holding workshops on how to write better poetry. I wasn't able to make it to any, since I was volunteering. I did, however see a lot of poets who are already very smart in the art of poetry, who I would take lessons from any day.  The workshops were held at Austin Community College, and on Saturday, all of the guests of the fest were given breakfast, as a thank you from ACC. I think we are the ones who should be grateful, as ACC had a great venue for us to use.  Saturday night, there was a poetry slam, and the best of the best competed, making it extremely difficult for Allen Small to win, but he did it, and he did some incredible poems!

We then headed over to Strange Brew for an ALL NIGHTER--of poetry, that is. Hosted by Thom World Poet, who resides in Austin (but is from Australia, too), this was an amazing night! I met new poets (new to me) like Michael Cesares, and many others. I fell asleep for a couple seconds (CHEATER!), and at the end of the night, we took a photo of all the survivors, who made it through the night. What an inspiration!

Sunday was the best day of the festival, ending at Kick Butt Coffee, and holy hell there was some great, great talent. Poets kept walking in and out and as they walked in, every single time, my eyeballs would almost pop out to see who would be coming up to the stage.  The best (in my opinion, anyway), was Candy Royalle. She asked me who my favorite was and seemed surprised that I said she was, and I told her that everyone else is living in Austin, so I could see them whenever I wanted. She found that funny. :P

So if you live in Austin, come hear me "get on the mic," as we say. I can feel myself becoming stronger in my poetry, and I'm grateful that the people who I started with, are the ones that are still around, give or take a few (Gabrielle Bouliane, who passed away from cancer), and the rest are looking down on me, watching me grow into an AMAZING poet, like those of my mentors. So definitely check out the poetry scene, even if you're not in Austin. After all, they are worldwide!

And if you're in Austin, and you'd like to volunteer with AIPF, get in contact with me or someone in the poetry scene. It's a great opportunity, and you can put it on your resume! :) Kristy Hernandez
DAEVID ALLEN TOUR DATES
  • DAEVID ALLEN SOLO WITH MICHAEL HOROVITZ:

-Mon April 29 : THE GRADIDGE ROOMARTWORKERS GUILD , 6 Queens Sq, LONDON WC1N 3AT www.artworkersguild.org

  • YOU, ME AND US : Daevid Allen + Chris Cutler + Yumi Hara

- Thu May 2 : Club Integral
The Others
6-8 Manor Road, Stoke Newington, London N16 5SA

  • MAGICK BROTHERS:

-Sat May 4 : COSMIC FAERY BALL , Glastonbury Assembly Roomswww.faeryevents.com

  • MAGICK BROTHERS:

-Sun May 5 : OLD ROAD TAVERN ,Old Rd,CHIPPENHAM SN15 1JA

  • MAGICK BROTHERS:

-Mon May 6 HENDRE HALL : Tal y Bont ,BANGOR LL57 3YP
www.nightout.org.uk

  • MAGICK BROTHERS:

-Wed May 8 : ZU STUDIO
7 Phoenix Place , Phoenix Industrial estate LEWES BN7 2QJ 
www.zustudios.com

  • MAGICK BROTHERS:

-Thurs May 9 THE GREYSTONES
Greystones Rd,SHEFFIELD S11 7BS

www.mrgreystones.co.uk

  • MAGICK BROTHERS:

-Fri May 10 : LEICESTER GUILDHALL
Church Rd , LEICESTER LE4 5PE

  • MAGICK BROTHERS:

-Sat May 12 : BELTANE BAR
8A Hall Bank , BUXTON SK1 7TL 

www.beltanebar.co.uk

  • MAGICK BROTHERS:

-Sun May 13 : REVOLVER
New Chester Rd , BIRKENHEAD CH41

www.revolver-livemusic.co.uk

  • MAGICK BROTHERS:

-Mon May 14 : THE RED LION
Wharton Rd , WINSFORD ,CHESHIRE CW7 3AA

  • GLISSANDO GUITAR ORCHESTRA:

-Sat May 18 : Midland Arts Centre
Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH 


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...
COMING SOON FROM GONZO: Gringo

You may not have heard the name, but I am sure that if you are reading this you have heard his music. John G Perry is best known for his session work, most notably for Caravan on "For Girls Who Go Plump in the Night" and "Caravan and the New Symphonia," but he has performed with many other Prog and non-Prog artists. Although he was born in America, his parents were British and soon moved back to the UK, and as PERRY grew up, he became more interested in music.

One of his first projects as a musician was called Gringo. Evolving from student beat groups, Utopia and Toast, in '60s Bath;  Gringo also featured Henry Marsh who later sampled chart success with Sailor, and Simon Byrne worked with – of all people - Brotherhood of Man among others. Perry describes the early days of the band:

It started out as Utopia, a five-piece copy band doing all the hits from the Beatles and the Searchers and lots of stuff playing at college and parties. Everybody in the band had been at private school and sung in the choir, so it was a terrific vocal band. We used to do wonderful renditions of Beach Boys songs, we were really rather good at that. It was basically the same band all the way through, the three of us : Henry Marsh on guitar and keyboards, Simon Byrne on drums and myself... That first band unfortunately split when everybody went their way. I went off to become a farming student, working on different dairy farms in the West country of England. But I kept in contact with Henry and Simon, and they approached me one day, saying they'd have a year off in their studies, and would I join them to form a new band, you know, rather than go grape-picking in France, which I thought would be wonderful... I actually had also decided to have a year off before I was going to go up to the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester. So we elected to get this band together, which was called Toast. We hired one of the farmers' cottages, locked ourselves away and worked very hard, rehearsing or whatever, built up a repertoire and then we came up to London, and three months later we're on television! The show was 'Colour Me Pop' and we did three songs on that... So none of us went back to college, and we all carried on in a musical career.

Gringo toured in Europe and even made a living with a club residency on the south coast of France. They were opening act on a UK tour featuring Barclay James Harvest and Caravan. Perry takes up the story:

We were there a sort of opening act, and got to know both bands and kept in touch with them. It was a good tour actually, very successful, cause Caravan were very well-known in the South of England and BJH were very well-known in the North of England, so all the way round the country we had the crowds and stuff, so for us that was taking us out of the small clubs into concert halls and theaters and stuff like that, so that was a good experience for us.

Their recorded legacy is a quality album of pop-tinged progressive rock that still sounds fresh, with a lightness of touch and many distinctive twists. The song-within-a-song piece, Emma And Harry, is worthy of note, but all nine tracks are good. It is tempting to wonder if “Land of Who Knows Where” may have been inspired by a certain Caravan album released the same year.

COMING SOON FROM GONZO: Roll over Prokofiev
Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev is one of the best loved pieces of children’s music in the world. Although known by millions, far fewer people realise that the piece had its origins in a canny slice of Stalinist-era Soviet Propaganda.  In 1936 Sergei Prokofiev was commissioned by Natalya Sats and the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow to write a new musical symphony for children. The intent was to cultivate "musical tastes in children from the first years of school". Intrigued by the invitation, Prokofiev completed Peter and the Wolf in just four days.
 
The original story tells of the adventures of the eponymous Peter, a ‘Young Pioneer’ (a sort of Communist boy scout) and his friends; a bird, a duck and a cat, and of what happens when they interact with a wild canid of the species Canis lupus. It was intended to show the resourcefulness and courage which all young people acquire from a spell in the Young Pioneers, and the wolf (who ends up tied up, and sent to a zoo after Peter saves his life) is very probably symbolic of the forces of counter-revolutionary reactionism (or something like that).
 
The first performance of the story back in 1936 was inauspicious to say the least. In the composer’s own words: "...[attendance] was poor and failed to attract much attention".
 
Over the years there have been many recorded versions of the piece, starting with a 1939 recording by Richard Hale with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and continuing out throughout the cultural landscape of both sides of the quondam Iron Curtain like ripples on the ocean after someone has lobbed a nice big stone into it. There have been several adaptations of the piece featuring rock musicians, most notably one narrated by David Bowie (who insisted on changing the script because he thought that children would prefer that the hunters were armed with shotguns rather than rifles.
 
Gonzo Multimedia are just about to reissue an unjustifiably obscure version from 1975. Masterminded by Robin Lumley and Jack Lancaster it is a truly rocking adaptation  Their music makes use of some of Prokofiev's original themes. Along with Vivian Stanshall as the narrator, the staff is illustrious (among others Gary Moore, Manfred Mann, Phil Collins, Bill Bruford, Stéphane Grappelli, Alvin Lee, Cozy Powell, Brian Eno, Jon Hiseman); the music is very heterogeneous: from psychedelic rock music to jazz (Grappelli's violin solo on the motif of the cat).
 
It works surprisingly well, two aspects in particular working – to my mind – better than in any other version. Firstly, the section where the wolf swallows the duck is truly terrifying. The music is truly brutal, and Viv Stanshall is just as good as one might have hoped.
 
And secondly, the ending. On most versions the listener is told that "if you listen very carefully, you'd hear the duck quacking inside the wolf's belly, because the wolf in his hurry had swallowed her alive." As a child, and even as an adult I found that to be immensely disturbing. The idea of the poor bloody duck being slowly dissolved by the wolf’s gastric juices was not the sort of concept that I would want my children to hear about. On the other hand, the 1946 Disney version that had the duck just hiding in a tree was not only a reversal of the concept of the story, but also didn’t really make much sense. The version on this album which has the imprisoned wolf opening its mouth and the duck hopping out is both child friendly, and true enough to the original concept not to be a major conceptual irritant.
 
This is a jolly good album, and some of the playing on it is absolutely extraordinary. Would I play it to my kids? Hell yeah. Would I listen to it myself? What do you think I am doing now? JON DOWNES
FRIENDS AND RELATIONS: 
Richard Stanbrook

 

Thirty years ago I was a student nurse working with the Mentally Handicapped. I was quite a good nurse, in that my patients liked me, and I had their welfare at heart. I was a terrible nurse in that the powers that be disliked me intensely and spent the best part of a decade trying to hound me out; a task which they ultimately achieved in 1991.

I was basically an outsider, and one of my closest friends was a fellow student called Richard Stanbrook. We were both composers, although the music that he composed was (and is) far more cerebral than the music which issued forth from my pen and from my guitar.

He has spent some of the last week staying with me and my family here in North Devon, and he played me some of his latest compositions which - to my mind - are pretty damn extraordinary. Because in the current climate there is little or no outlet for music such as his, and because otherwise it would never be heard, I will - fairly soon - be issuing an album of his music on my own CFZ Records through Gonzo Multimedia.

Watch this space. And in the meantime check this out!
THE BEST LAID PLANS...
This has been another complicated and exhausting week, and I have to admit that I am glad that it is over, and that within the next ten minutes I shall be going to bed, and I will not be getting up very early tomorrow morning. Corinna will proofread this issue, and I will post it out in the morning.

One of my biggest problems is that I don't really have an off-switch. Particularly in matters involving brandy, or music, I never know when to stop and have to exercise an enormous amount of self-discipline, which is something that I find very difficult.

There is so much else that I could have put in this issue; I have interviewed Judge Smith and Judy Dyble this week, and I have a lot more that I could tell you about them, and various other exciting projects, including Alan Dearling's new project and the soon-to-be released Dutch Woodstock film. But if I don't stop now, I will never get to bed, so I shall - regretfully - leave them for next week.
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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Jon Downes,
Editor.
Gonzo Daily/Weekly,
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EX39 5QR

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