Betty Harris Interview by Alberto Valle

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Masters2

We tend to forget that so many artists we do love nowadays were just performers aiming at doing a good living out of their talent. This is also the case of Betty Harris. She could’ve been the ultimate Soul queen of New Orleans but she left as she didn’t just earn enough money. It is interesting to think about it nowadays, when the current European cultural structures & industry are bringing to a situation of middle class people doing music just for hobby, and many real serious musicians giving up on their talent when they see the low consideration their hard work is going to report to them.

As you’ll read in Betty’s interview, it was a matter of some very hard work, talent and, naturally, ambition. And perhaps there lies the answer on why today it is so hard to find talented musicians able to take comparisons with these previous iconic generations.

I was forgetting about another matter, the luck. Betty wasn’t lucky enough to keep on resisting on the business during the (soulfully) exciting 70s decade.

But luckily she came back to the show business 10 years ago, and this summer she’ll be performing her classy & classic 60s repertoire @ Gijón Euroyeyé.

01. You’ve spent your childhood between Orlando and Alabama, where you started to sing at the church with your parents. What are your memories of that time? How did you interact with music? Was it only the church or you were listening to non-religious R&B as well?

I was lead singer for our youth choir. As a teenager, I heard other music but I was not allowed to sing it at home. I loved music, I was in our high school band and choir. Plus My Father was a Musician, so you get an idea of my level of interaction with music.

02. At 18 you decide to start an R&B singing career, which created some trouble with your parents. How did you get to an understanding? What brought you to this decision?

Well, my parents did not want me to sing R&B so I did not in their home, so there really was no trouble. In their home I respected their wishes. When I left home it then became my chose. There was no money in Gospel music, so the choice was easy.

03. Then you move to California and meet Savoy R&B Superstar Big Maybelle, who is some kind of your godmother during those early days. What are your memories of that particular time?

Not exactly. I left home and I went to Long Island, New York, where I met The Hearts managed by Zell Sanders who took me back home. With Zell I found out I could not sing in a group. I knew then that I was a lead singer. I came back to NYC armed with the fact that I needed to talk to someone who had vocals like mine. And then I met Big Maybelle after listening to her all day at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. I went on a two-week tour with her and left her in Chicago. I worked in Chicago for about 6 months and went back to Los Angeles, California.

04. At that time you also met Marvin“Babe”Chivian, the man that discovered Solomon Burke (as Mr. Burke –may he RIP- once told me) and also the guy who suggested you to move to the East Coast, particularly to NYC, to meet Bert Berns. How did it go exactly?

It was in Los Angeles that I met Babe Chivian. He told me if I came back to Philadelphia he would make me a star. So I moved to Philly, I went to all kind of shows:  Tammi Terrell, Solomon Burke and myself were managed by Babe. After about a year I went back to New York to meet Bert Berns.

05. Then you recorded a Mr. Burke’s slowed version of “Cry to Me” with Berns in ’63?

When I met Berns, I sang “Cry to me” for him my way, slow and soulful because the lyric were awesome.

06. And then “His Kiss” in ‘64, and success finally came. But then you decided to go to New Orleans and leave Berns and Jubilee records to switch to Sansu. How did you come to take this decision?

I was in this business to make money, and at that point I had received none. I did not like traveling every day. Oh, at first it was fun, but that got old without money!

07. You start working with Allen Toussaint who I think he can be named as the New Orleans’ Soul Godfather. Please, tell me how he was. How it was to work with him.

After the first session with Allen all tracks were laid and I only had to come in and do my part. Allen was a very creative and highly gifted musician. I met all the musicians on the first session, but I only worked with Allen after that.

08. You then reached national success with “Nearer to you”. What were for you the most significant moments when you reached that top success? Any particular gigs, interviews…?

Well, a three-month tour with Otis Redding, four trips to the Apollo and working the Theater Circuit in New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, New Orleans and Baltimore, Maryland.

09. You recorded a duet with Lee Dorsey and became the first lady of New Orleans Soul. You also recorded “Mean Man” with the Meters! Which are your memories of the NOLA music scene? Which were your fave artists back then?

My fave by then was James Carr. And as for The Meters, they were the backing band on all of the songs on Sansu, but they weren’t known as the Meters at that point. I also remember Carla Thomas singing background on some of them. Anyway, twenty songs were recorded in New Orleans for Sansu Records which I now own, since Sansu never paid me.

10. Not even Sansu?

Not even them. I have been in Court since 2005 and won. Now I can Lease all twenty of my songs, plus the eight songs I recorded for Bert Berns. Now I get paid royalties for up to twenty-eight songs!

This link here describes some of what I have been dealing with, but I cannot talk more about it while we are still in litigation.

11. At the end of 1967 and the beginning of 1968 you were supposed to tour with Otis Redding, who tragically passed away on Dec. the 10th 1967. Please, tell a bit more about how this opportunity of touring popped out?

Otis Redding was like a brother to me. Back then we had booking agents who would book you on tours. Otis was one of the nicest people I ever worked with. It was fall in 1967. It was his tour, and they had just signed me in Macon, Georgia. I met Otis at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. He said something like “Welcome” because I had just been hired. He was really sociable, but Otis didn’t really communicate that much.

And he really was into cars. In the duet with Carla Thomas, where Otis says “I got five Lincolns, seven Cadillacs and three Fords” (or whatever the number was), he really did have that many cars.

At that moment I needed to buy a car, and Otis helped me with the down payment. A ‘64 Sedan Deville, brand new off the showroom floor. Pop Walden ran the business, and he told me to go down to the Cadillac dealer “and tell him I’ve sent you”. They delivered my license plates to Columbus, Georgia.

12. By 1970, you go back to your roots, leave music industry, and start singing at the church. Why did you take this decision?

I got out of the music business because I was not getting paid. Music Business was filled with snakes like A&R man, songwriter, music publisher Marshall Sehorn.

So when I stopped singing it was because I was not getting paid. And I stopped singing even in church. I got married, had a normal life and a Daughter. Watched her graduate from college and needed something else to do.

Then, in 2005 Christina Aguilera covered “Nearer to you” on her album “Back to basics” on Sony. And finally, after fighting in court 8 years, I got paid for it and today I still get paid for my music. I own it.

Now I give back, I teach and I love it. My music has stood the test of time and my fans young and old love it.

13. In 2005 you come back and start gigging in the US as well as in Europe at major events such as Porretta Soul Festival (IT) in 2007, or Euroyeyé (SP) this summer. Again, why?

I can enjoy my music now, without the need of building up a career on it.

As far as travel I’ve been to France two times Switzerland, Italy, Australia, four times Barcelona and Madrid. And I have covered the USA state by state.

14. After the intent of recording with Chris Stovall Brown, are you recording new stuff any soon? If so, are there any names/record labels that can be mentioned?

We are now working on some new material, and will  release it on our own label.

Originally published by Alberto Valle for La Ruta Magazine © many thanks to them!


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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June 29, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News RnB Tags:, , ,
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Masters – Allan Crockford

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Masters2

 

Ask Allan Crockford about his musical CV and you can not help but be seriously impressed; The Prisoners, Prime Movers, Solarflares, Stabilisers, James Taylor Quartet, Goodchilde and Phaze. Add his own current band The Galileo 7 and you have a very fine body of work to appreciate.

All of these bands are highly influential and inspirational to successive generations of aspiring musicians with a psych, garage tendency. “But what about mod?” you may ask.

I work on the principle that arguably with the exception of The Small Faces, there is no-such-thing as a ‘mod’ band. However, there are legions of bands with a mod following. Most, if not all of the bands Allan Crockford has been a part of, fall into the latter category when it comes to the UK. Across Europe, they are more regarded as part of the psych, garage, punk scene.

Over the Whitsun Bank Holiday, Allan lines up with long-time collaborators, Graham Day and Wolf Howard at Margate as Graham Day and The Forefathers.

The purpose of this incarnation was simply to revisit the back catalogue of their combined output and revitalise some truly great songs, resulting in the acclaimed debut album ‘Good Things’.

01. How pleased are you with the reception of both the band and the album?

Very pleased with both. It’s come as a great surprise to be greeted with this sort of enthusiasm for doing something exactly the same as we’ve always done! We suspected that a few old faithfuls would be interested, but it’s gone beyond that. If only we’d had this sort of enthusiasm when we last together as The Solarflares then we might have carried on without the 10 year break. I think the internet has helped with making our presence known.

02. What has been like to revisit those great songs with Graham and Wolf?

A lot of them we had played before at various times, but not collected together in one set. It’s been pretty easy really. The real surprise has been doing Prisoners songs without the organ and not really missing it. I suppose we’ve got better at filling the holes in the sound, or maybe letting the songs breathe with a sparser sound. One of the two anyway… I’ve also really enjoyed playing Gaolers songs. To me they are like new songs as me and Wolf didn’t play on the original recordings. It means it’s not all nostalgia.

03. You have had a long-standing writing partnership with Graham Day. How does the process work for you both and has it changed over the years?

It’s not a writing partnership. Graham wrote the basic songs, then they were fleshed out and arranged with the full band, whichever one we were in at the time. I might have contributed the odd arrangement suggestion occasionally, but the songs we play in the Forefathers are very much his. If I made a contribution it’s more in being quick to pick his ideas up and play bass in a way that compliments his sound. I only started writing songs myself in the last 7-8 years, during the time that we weren’t playing together. If we were ever to record new material with this band, then I dare say we’d do it the same way as we always did, with me and Wolf jamming along with Graham’s basic idea until the song emerged. Why change a winning formula!

04. How surprised are you that The Prisoners and Prime Movers are still immensely popular in the 21st century?

I dispute that the Prime Movers were ever that popular! The only reason we were called that when we initially made our return was for a one off gig in Germany for an old record label that specially requested it. We dropped all the PMs songs from the set very quickly, apart from ‘Good Things’. And also ‘immensely popular’ is pushing it a bit for both bands! We’ve got a small set of very enthusiastic and loyal fans that make a lot of noise, but it’s still very small scale. We’re very grateful to them, but we never over-estimate our popularity. We’re preaching to a small number of converted.

05. You have told me in the past that throughout your career, from The Prisoners onwards, you and indeed the other members of the various bands, never regarded yourselves as mods, but you seem to have attracted a mod following in the UK. Why do you think that is?

We never disputed that there were ‘Mod’ elements to our sound and style, but we never wanted to be defined by a label. We just loved 60’s rock n roll and style. Most people dressed that way back then, but weren’t called Mods. I don’t get the need to identify with something narrow and limiting. Why can’t you play the music and wear some of the gear if you feel like it, without someone putting a label on you? The development of youth culture and tribal allegiances are kind of interesting as topics for a social thesis or a Phd, but it gets a bit boring to be asked the same question about it for the next 30 years… No disrespect! I love the music, but I also love a lot of music that apparently Mods aren’t supposed to like.

06. Your own band, The Galileo 7 have received critical acclaim for their album from last year ‘False Memory Lane’. How would describe your sound and what you are aiming for with them?

We’ve made two albums before that; ‘Are We Having Fun Yet? (2010) and ‘Staring At The Sound’ (2012). There’s also the brand new single ‘One Lie At A Time’. I suppose it’s psych-pop rather than garage-rock, if anyone can pick apart the differences within our little sub-genres. Influenced more by mid to late 60’s pop psychedelia than R&B, more Nuggets than Rubble… I haven’t got the vocal range to take on soully/R&B screaming and testifying like Graham, so I try to work on melodies and harmonies that will work whoever is singing. I’m not aiming for anything apart from carrying on playing and having a creative outlet for my ideas. I realise that not everyone who has liked the other bands I’ve played in will necessarily seek out our stuff, but there’s enough crossover musically for anyone who is into the same influences to find something they like. And with our new lineup, the energy level has increased and I think we’re delivering the songs better than ever live. Check us out when you can!

07. Getting back to Graham Day and The Forefathers, when can we expect a follow-up album to ‘Good Things’?

Don’t know if it’s ‘when’, more ‘if’. We haven’t got any plans at the moment. It’s very tempting to knock out ‘More Good Things’ just because the first one was so easy and everyone liked it so much. But that might be a bit lazy. We might do it, but doing new stuff together might be more rewarding. But it’s up to Graham to write the songs, and who knows if he has the time or the inclination these days. I think singles might be more likely if it’s going to be new stuff. And if we did record new material, we might do it under a different name just to be obtuse. The Forefathers are supposed to be our tribute band!

08. The band are playing Saturday night at the Margate Whitsun Weekender. Are you looking forward to it and what can the audience expect from the show?

We always look forward to playing, and the audience can expect…. The usual! A load of old songs played with energy and fire, with maybe some unexpected choices thrown in. we like to keep the set fresh by chucking in the odd song that no one expects to play. Sometimes we don’t expect it either.

09. Are there any other bands that have impressed you recently, and if so, which ones?

I don’t really see a lot of bands to be honest, so it would be forcing it a bit to write any down… I spend most of my time buying vinyl re-issues of records I’ve already got, like a lot of other middle-aged music fans.

10. And what about your own plans? Will we see more from The Galileo 7?

Yes, we’ll playing whenever we can and recording new stuff when I’ve written it. No definite plans but something will happen. I’m enjoying playing with the new line-up and I’m sure that will inspire me to come up with new material very soon.

Allan Crockford, thank you very much for this interview and best of luck with all your projects. Have a great time at Margate. See all the details here!

 


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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April 24, 2015 By : Category : Bands Beat Front Page Inspiration Interviews News Picks UK Tags:, , , ,
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Masters – The Small Fakers

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Masters2

Arguably the greatest Mod band ever The Small Faces have inspired generations of young Mods and musicians ever since the sixties including a young Paul Weller. Ahead of their performance at Margate Mod and Sixties Weekender, Whitsun bank holiday, I had a chat with Dan Taylor the drummer in the Small Fakers about his obsession with the four faces.

01. When did you fascination with The Small Faces start?

1967 I reckon, hearing their records played on the radio while still in my mum’s tum! In all seriousness, I can actually remember specific records being played on the radio when I was a very young kid. Even now, every time I hear it on the radio I’m transported back to the kitchen table in our old house, playing with my toy cars while mum’s ironing, or cooking dinner.

Getting into the mod scene via the ’79 revival is what encouraged me to delve deeper into them, and buying ‘Small Faces – Big Hits’ off the second hand record stall at our local market with my paper round money got me properly hooked.

02. Whose idea was it to form a tribute to The Small Faces?

Me and Matt (lead singer and guitarist) pretty much had it simultaneously. We were in a 60s covers band together and John Hellier very kindly invited us to play his Small Faces convention in 2006. Matt, although he was a massive Marriott fan, never tried to dress or style his hair like him in any way. But for this show he did, and – it seems absurd now – that was the first time that I realised how striking a physical resemblance he has to him. As did the audience. The reaction was incredible. I phoned Matt the following day and said to him;
“You know what, last night went so well I reckon we should have a go at a…” “Small Faces tribute band?”, he interrupted – “I agree, let’s get going!” And we did.

03. What was your memory of those early rehearsals and shows?

Nerve-wracking! All four of us in the band are huge Small Faces fans, and we really really wanted to produce something decent, that even the most ardent Small Faces fans would appreciate. You could probably tell how nervous we were at our very first show Rob, you was there! I actually think we were pretty ropey that night, but the audience reaction was positive again, and that gave us lots of encouragement. But I think it probably took us about a year of performing and honing our playing – and clobber, and barnets! – until we felt happy with what we were serving up.

04. The band sound very authentic to my ears but not being old enough to have seen The Small Faces live personally what do those who did see them say?

That’s really kind of you Rob, thank you mate. Honestly, it means an awful lot to us when people like yourself, who really know your stuff, or people who saw the band back in the day, say we’re doing a decent job. We do get a lot of people coming to our shows who were lucky enough to see the band. I suppose we only get to talk to those who make a point of chatting to us after the gig, to basically say ‘Good job, keep it up.’ And that happens a lot, which is just brilliant. If any original fans have walked out in disgust, they’ve not contacted us to tell us – so fingers crossed, that means none have!

05. What did Kenney and Mac (RIP) plus the members of Ronnie and Steve’s family think of the Small Fakers? Have any of them seen your live shows?

We’ve been privileged to have original members and their immediate family come to see the band, and all have been really positive and encouraging. Kenney’s seen us three times now, and kicked me off my drumstool once to play ‘All Or Nothing’ with us! He’s pure class, as a performer and a person. A real gent. Jimmy Winston has played with us too. Steve’s mum’s seen us, and shared a very touching moment with Matt after the show. There were tears. And Stan, Ronnie’s brother has seen us loads and invited us to play his 70th birthday party. He’s another real gent, a diamond. Yeah, I would say they all enjoy what we do. We feel accepted by them, which is lovely.

06. What is your favourite song and album to perform live?

Fave song – ‘Afterglow’. Kenney’s drumming on that is just amazing. It’s a real workout, marvellous. Fave album – at the moment, it’s ‘Ogden’s’, which we play in its entirety including Unwinese narraction provided by Stanley’s son John. In December we’ll be performing ‘Ogden’s’ and the first ‘Small Faces’ LP back to back at The 100 Club in London. I suspect the first LP will take over as my fave then – I can’t wait to get stuck into tunes like ‘You Need Loving’, ‘Come On Children’ and ‘Own Up Time’. Fab.

07. What has been your favourite Small Fakers live show to date?

Probably one of the Glasgow shows we’ve done – the audience in that city is just really amazing. Right up for it straight from the off. Doing ‘Ogden’s’ for you on New Year’s Eve in 2011 was special too. For the novelty factor, playing a gig in Trafalgar Square takes some beating – there really can’t be too many bands who’ve done that!

08. Do you ever get the urge to write or perform your own songs? Could you write a Small Faces original for the Fakers?

It’s funny you should ask that! All of us have been in bands playing original material, and continue to write stuff. Since we started doing Fakers more and more people have been urging us to put out and perform our own material, and this year we’re going to do it. At the moment, the plan is to unveil it at our 100 Club shows in December. But we won’t be setting out to write stuff that sounds like The Small Faces. It’ll sound however it sounds. But I suspect it will sound more like The Small Faces than Sique Sique Sputnik for example!

09. It seems to me The Small Faces with the superb new boxset, convention, magazine and plaque in honour of them are more popular than ever since their unfortunate demise. What is about the music and style of these four ‘east-end’ lads that is so enduring?

It’s the combination of lots of different ingredients I think. Marriott’s astonishing voice and the band’s superb musicianship and image count for a lot. But at the end of the day, it’s the quality of the songs that really counts. For me, they were way ahead of their time, and way more experimental than a lot of people give them credit for. Because of that, their songs still sound fresh and contemporary I think, compared to lots of other fantastic bands from the 60s, which may not necessarily sound dated as such, but you can definitely place them in a particular moment. The Small Faces’ songs always seem to reward you some way when you play them again, there’s always something new to hear. Remastering just enriches that experience further. Plus, let’s not forget that with each passing year there are more and more bands for the Small Faces to be compared to, and be placed stand head and shoulders above.

10. What treats do you have lined up for us on the Friday night of the Margate Mod and Sixties weekend?

Hopefully my tailor will have finished my new trousers by then – they’re pretty astonishing! Seriously though, without giving the game away, I can say that anyone who has ever seen us before is definitely going to get something different from us that night! That’s all I’m prepared to say at the moment Rob.

11. What plans lie ahead for the Small Fakers?

We’re really looking forward to performing the first album in its entirety for the first time, along with ‘Ogden’s’ at the 100 Club in December, plus more shows with PP Arnold hopefully. And working on our own material, which we’ll be putting out under a different name. Don’t know what that will be yet. So far everything we’ve come up with has been laughably piss poor, so if any of your readers have any suggestions, please email them to: bangonsounds@gmail.com – ta mate!


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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April 23, 2015 By : Category : Bands Beat Front Page Interviews Music News UK Tags:, ,
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Masters – James Taylor

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Masters2

James Taylor was born in 1964 and played organ in Medway legends the Prisoners, making four classic albums between 1982 and 1986. After the band spilt he formed the James Taylor Quartet, initially predominately playing Hammond-heavy versions of TV theme tunes and film soundtracks before developing his own brand of what would soon be known as acid jazz. Taking in jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, rock and more the JTQ have enjoyed huge success in a near 30 year period which continues to the present day. Ahead of the JTQ’s appearance at the Margate Weekender, James Taylor talks to Mark Raison for NUTSMAG.

01. When did you start taking an interest in music?

As early as I can recall, I remember seeing the Beatles on Top of the Pops in 1968 playing ‘Hey Jude’. I was into all sorts of music from an early age; eclecticism was always my thing and still is now.

02. Where they any musicians in your family?

My uncle had his own band playing sixties soul and my mother and grandmother were piano players and they gave me my earliest musical education. I had my first piano lesson when I was four years old. I was very interested in trying to work out tunes that I had heard on the radio and TV, so no change there really. My brothers and I formed a band playing Stevie Wonder covers.

03. Around the time of recording the first Prisoners LP, Better In Black, you briefly went to university but soon quit. What route do you think your musical path would’ve taken if you’d not made that decision?

Hard to say, I left after a few days when I realised there was no way I could take the whole thing seriously. I wanted to play with the Prisoners. I was not interested in engineering and I was bored of education. It was a scary decision to say to my professor “I want to be a musician” and to turn my back on serious education but I felt gigging was the most exciting thing in my life, so there was not much of a choice really. I still feel the same way.

04. On the first two Prisoners albums, before your Hammond, you got a great sound out of a Casio keyboard.

Thank you. I found the Casio in a keyboard shop and noticed it had a setting called ‘electric organ’. I played along with my 7” vinyl of ‘Green Onions’ and I was able to get a sound not too dissimilar to Booker T. Jones so that’s how I whiled away the evenings. As a sixteen year old before joining a band, I was hooked on all things Hammond-ish.

05. After the Prisoners, how did the James Taylor Quartet take shape and what was your original ambition for the band?

I was pissed off when the Prisoners spilt up because I just wanted to gig, so I put my own band together and just carried on really. You know when things fall apart sometimes it forces you into a new position or way or operating that was unforeseen but that in some way brings you forward unexpectedly. It was fortuitous that Eddie Piller liked our sound and started putting out our records. I was very surprised that other people liked our stuff; I thought I was the only Hammond nut around, turned out there were others.

06. Wait A Minute was a highpoint of the original JTQ line-up and included ‘Theme From Starsky and Hutch’ which is still what many people best know you for. What are your recollections of recording that LP and of Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley from the JB’s who played on it?

We were at a rather posh studio with a very expensive producer. We had a great laugh actually, didn’t want to come home. Pee Wee and Fred were really amazing. They complimented our sound and it felt odd to hear your heroes playing on your own record. I knew ‘Starsky’ would be popular but I didn’t think it would still be doing the rounds now, it’s aged well.

07. With Get Organized came changes to the quartet line-up. After working with the same musicians you’d known from Medway, how was it suddenly working with young jazz musicians known in their own right?

That was a period where I felt a lot of pressure from Polydor to be at the centre of this new emerging musical scene, but at the same time I really enjoyed working with all these great new players. I found a way to use the Hammond alongside all sorts; it was a kind of stretching experience. I felt that the early line-up had sort of extinguished itself and I had to decide how best to go forward. It was very liberating but when you separate from the people who share and understand your musical development closely it’s a shock to discover other people don’t see things quite the same, I had to be flexible. So it was a steep learning curve, it took a while until I found my feet again after the first band finished.

08. That period from the late 80s to early 90s encompassed rare groove, jazz, hip-hop and soul. It moved fast and the JTQ were right in amongst it; making albums at a rapid rate. How do you view those times?

We gigged and recorded flat out so it was tiring but very exciting. I could have taken more time out to examine things a bit I guess, but when you’re moving so fast you kind of don’t want to stop. The band was regularly selling out large venues all around the world. We were considered a very bankable act by the UK music scene and promoters, so we just lived on a bus basically, marriages fell apart, people got stressed out a bit, but it was a non-stop party for the first eight to ten years at least!

09. You had/have a strong reputation as a live act but was there pressure from record companies – when the acid jazz scene was at its height – to have bigger chart success?

Yes. Everyone in the business wanted us to be a vocal act, I was okay with this but instrumentals were always my passion, so it was good to make soul records as long as we could gig Hammond instrumentals as well. We had hits, a lot of commercial success was fun for a while but I soon felt the need to rebalance things and get back into our more core sound.

10. The Template celebrated 25 years of the JTQ in 2011. It’s a great album but you seem to operate more under-the-radar these days.

Thanks, but I wonder why you feel that to be the case? In the last three months we’ve played a week of sold out shows at Ronnie Scott’s, sold out the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Sage in Newcastle, headlined the Liverpool Jazz Festival. These are big gigs and we’ve been played on all the national BBC radio stations. As well as this we’ve recorded an album for TV/film and advertising, another live album for Ronnie’s, and I’ve written and am about to record a huge choral/Hammond piece for Cherry Red. I think you maybe feel we are under the radar because you’re not personally aware of these things. We are still one of the biggest jazz acts in the country and are permanently in demand worldwide, the problem is I’m running out of energy, I’m fifty now!

11. Your recent album, Closer To The Moon, contains elements of classical music. For many ‘classical music’ seems like something impenetrable and intimating, as well as outside their taste. What’s your interest in it?

Closer isn’t a classical record though, it’s just got some of those sounds on it. I’m interested in music which connects directly with me, this could be Stevie Wonder or J S Bach, I don’t really make a distinction. The Hammond works well in a variety of musical genres so I’ll make a record with Billy Childish or with a cathedral choir or Tina Turner, it’s all good. I recognise that classical music is a turn off to loads of people but what can I do? I’m just into it just like I’m into the Small Faces, so I’m excited to represent myself using aspects of the classical idiom. Have you heard those string arrangements of Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake?
Classical music.

12. What period of your career so far do you look back on most fondly and why?

I like things as they are now because I have complete freedom musically, so I guess now is the best period for me, it still feels very exciting to play the Hammond on stage, just as it did my first gig with the Prisoners. Being a musician is a privilege and it’s not a thing that I take for granted or shy away from.  I’ve enjoyed my career in music and I’m very grateful for your scene for being so supportive to us for so long. The mod scene got us started really and it’s always great to see mods in the crowd showing the others how to dance and dress. I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions, it’s given me a chance to reflect on many things and I’m very much looking forward to your festival down in Margate. I’ve never played there before so I can’t wait, also pleased to see that we share the bill with other great musicians: Graham, Allan and Simon [Graham Day and the Forefathers]. I reckon it’s going to be a memorable gig.

Find out more info about the Margate Weekender.


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Mark Raison

I've spent three-quarters of my life wandering the mod path with detours down its side streets and dark alleys. From an enthusiastic youth to a still-enthusiastic-but-harder-to-tell grizzled old goat, I've dabbled in all parts of the scene from writing fanzines 'Round Midnight and Something Has Hit Me; to promoting bands; attempting to manage bands; singing in the mighty garage combo The Electric Fayre; putting on indie, psych and soul clubs including Freak Scene, Orange Sunshine, and Shake!; writing liner notes for Reg King releases on Circle Records; and, in fitter times, tucking away the odd goal for the New Untouchables. I still DJ from my box of R&B humdingers but more often you’ll find me tapping away on my blog at monkeypicks.co.uk. I like the poetry of Charles Bukowski and dislike the taste of cheese.

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April 23, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page General Interviews ModJazz News Picks Tags:, , , , , , ,
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Masters – Graham Day

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Masters2

Graham Day, the Medway powerhouse singer, songwriter and guitarist, formed the Prisoners at school in the late 70s and made four albums, including the bona fide classic The Last Fourfathers in 1985, which continue to inspire and thrill today. After a cooling off period following the demise of the Prisoners he headed a succession of bands – the Prime Movers, Planet, the Solarflares, Graham Day & the Gaolers – all tough and uncompromising; his music – granite slabs of his own unmistakable brand of garage rock with tough melodies – eschewing the vagaries of fashion. After the second Graham Day & the Gaolers album, Triple Distilled in 2008, he hung up his guitar until last year when – with long-standing friends and bandmates Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard – he returned, to the delight of his legion of fans, to front Graham Day & the Forefathers, playing songs spanning the whole of his career to date.

What has the reaction been to Graham Day & the Forefathers? Is it what you expected?

It’s been fantastic and pretty unexpected I suppose. We never intended to make it a regular thing but the reaction has been so good we have decided to carry on for a while yet.

You made two great albums as Graham Day & the Gaolers and then disappeared. What happened? What were you doing the meantime?

For me the Gaolers were amazing. I’d sort of retired and had been playing bass with the Buff Medways. Billy [Childish] decided that had run its course and that was that, but my mate Dan from a band called the Woggles was over in England visiting some friends and we met up in London for a beer. He told me I should start a new band with him and the Woggles bass player. Sounded like a great idea so they flew back over a couple of months later and we made the first Gaolers album, Soundtrack To The Daily Grind. There were no real plans to tour as it was a bit of a logistical nightmare with them both being in the USA but it was so good we just had to. It sort of carried on from there. I thought our second album, Triple Distilled, was the best thing I’ve ever done and we did some great tours, but touring takes so much energy and time, and we could never do single gigs as it was too expensive to bring Dan over so we ended up not playing again. I’ve never said it was finished but it sort of fizzled out. What was I doing in the meantime? Retired again I suppose.

What made you get back out there playing again in 2013?

The Prime Movers did our first album, Sins Of The Fourfathers, on a German label, Unique Records. Last year was their 25th anniversary and they asked us to play a one-off show playing that album at their party near Dusseldorf. It sounded like a fun plan but too much effort to just play one gig, so we added three gigs and made it a mini-tour. It also wasn’t interesting or long enough just to play songs off that album so we added a few Solarflares and Prisoners songs to the set. It was so much fun and went down really well so we decided to carry on doing it. But by the end of the mini-tour we’d dropped most of the Prime Movers songs and were playing more Solarflares, Prisoners and a couple of Gaolers songs so it seemed ridiculous to call it the Prime Movers any more. So we came up with the Forefathers because of the Prisoners reference and stuck my name on the beginning just to tie up the fact we were playing songs I’d written in all the bands over the years.

The Prime Movers changed quite dramatically across three albums, most notably with Arc in 1993 which had a strong prog-rock feel. What are your thoughts on those albums?

I love the first album. It’s totally raw and full of energy. We recorded it as a three-piece but never gigged as a three-piece. Fay [Hallam/Day] used to join us on stage for half the set and then started writing songs and was soon with us full time. The band changed pretty quickly due to Fay’s influence. I have no idea what really happened to the sound, it turned into Deep Purple during the next two albums, and live I thought it was great, although pretty self-indulgent and very strange. I was quite happy to go along with it at the time because it was something different but looking back on it I don’t understand it at all. It sounds totally alien and often laughable, like a piss take. When people talk about the Prime Movers I’ve subconsciously deleted those last two albums – Earth Church and Arc – and think of it as nothing to do with me although I’m undoubtedly guilty as charged.

How do you feel about the esteem The Prisoners are held in?

It’s always puzzled me how much people go on about the Prisoners. At the time we did okay in London and France but elsewhere we were pretty unknown and played a lot of gigs to bar staff in mostly empty venues. I never thought of the band as being particularly special; everyone we knew was in a band and it seemed just the normal thing to do. I thought we were pretty good live but never managed to make a record which did us justice. It was the wrong time for our music; the popular thing was New Romantic and recording studio engineers tried to make us sound like the music of the time. We had constant frustrating battles trying to explain what we were about and never getting it. The press mostly hated us and said were out of date and just retro shit.

Have the Prisoners overshadowed your work since?

The adoration people have shown that band over the years astounds me. It’s very touching but has also been annoying at times. Most of the stuff I’ve done since has been fairly well received but totally overshadowed by the Prisoners. Every gig people shout for Prisoners songs and it made me feel like they just wanted a nostalgia trip and weren’t prepared to let me move on. Sometimes people get quite aggressive about it and think I owe them something. Promoters would ring up to offer a gig but they wanted a Prisoners reunion, not the current band. For a songwriter that can be quite damaging, as if my musical career ended at age 22 and has been worthless ever since. There’s no point carrying on unless you really think what you’re doing is the best stuff you’ve ever done and with a couple of exceptions I’ve always believed that. So it has been frustrating to think that no-one else agrees with you.

No chance of any more Prisoners reunions then?

There are still people who want the original Prisoners line-up to get back together, which will never happen again, and it still manages to piss me off. We did some reunion gigs in the 90s and although nostalgic it just wasn’t the same. People have to realise that Johnny [Symons] has never played the drums since so was never relaxed or particularly good when we played and James [Taylor] has made a career out of jazz funk and plays the organ totally differently than he used to; which might be brilliant but unfortunately doesn’t work too well with those songs. Promoters will pay ten times our normal fee to get something which simply doesn’t work, that doesn’t make any sense, and I find it quite insulting that they wouldn’t understand that. The best thing about the Forefathers is that finally I’ve been able to stop fighting against the Prisoners. This is not a new band playing new material; it’s just about embracing the past and enjoying it for what it is. For the first time I’ve been able to appreciate those old songs and have found it quite emotional. Of course we’re now giving the audience what they’ve always wanted so the gigs are no longer a battle and are just one big happy party.

Am I right in thinking you look back at the Solarflares period the most fondly?

I loved the Solarflares. I wrote some of my best songs during that period and also learnt how to sing properly. It started off being quite popular but support dwindled slowly until it wasn’t worth doing it any more. We did some great tours and I look back fondly because we had such a laugh and got on so well together. For the first time we made some records which sounded like the band and I learnt how to produce decent records. I wouldn’t say I look back most fondly at that period; at the time yes, but I’ve enjoyed most things I’ve done and as I said earlier I always believe the current stuff is the best. Following that logic I would have to say the Gaolers was the best period. The happiest period is right now I suppose but that doesn’t count as it’s just a tribute band of ourselves.

If the Solarflares had been your first band in the early 80s and the Prisoners later do you think they’d been judged differently?

Maybe it would be the exact reverse but I’m not sure. There was something really cool about the Prisoners, maybe because we were so young and because of the conflict between me and James which made it explosive at times. I think the Flares were more measured, happier and less cool as a result.

As well as fronting bands you’ve been in Thee Mighty Caesars and the Buff Medways. How was it taking a more back seat role to Billy Childish?

I started playing drums in the Mighty Caesars in 1986 while the Prisoners were still going and I loved it. I was getting pissed off with the Prisoners and loved the freedom to literally take a back seat and bash away on the drums in a cracking rock and roll band without the hassle of singing and feeling responsible for it. Some people got really angry that I did that. When we were gigging one night after the Prisoners split up someone from the audience grabbed me and shouted at me to stop playing this shit and get the Prisoners back together. I never played the drums before but loved it and still do. Same playing bass in the Buff Medways; I loved that for the same reasons. I’m not sure I would like playing guitar in someone else’s band, and definitely wouldn’t sing for anyone else, but on a different instrument it’s great fun.

In what ways are you similar and different to Billy?

Billy and I are very different. We used to live in the same house during the Prisoners days and we’ve always got on really well. He’s much more driven than me, always doing something; be it songs, painting or writing, I’m the opposite and only do something if I’m inclined to. He will record every song he’s ever written and I’m much more self-critical and will bin a lot of stuff before I even play it to anyone else. His life is in the public eye and is a living breathing ‘artiste’ and social commentator; I’m just a normal bloke with a proper job and nothing to say who happens to play in a band for a hobby.

What inspired you to learn to play guitar?

I started off playing bass, playing along to Stranglers and Rezillos songs in my bedroom. When me and Allan started a band in 1978 I found I was too fiddly on the bass and he was a good rhythm guitar player but couldn’t play lead, so we swapped. When I heard Syd Barrett playing guitar on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn it blew my mind. I discovered how you could make a guitar sound so powerful without being ‘rock’ with loads of unnecessary notes, and it changed the way I viewed the instrument. Similarly with Steve Marriott’s guitar sound and playing, it made me question what a typical guitar player is expected to do.

And to write songs?

I found quite early on that I had some kind of ability to write songs. I suppose it starts off by being inspired by and developing or even copying other people. I’ve found over the years that if you try to do something completely original it’ll be total shit, which is why it’s never been done before. The Prisoners were quite plagiaristic, embarrassingly so at times. Sometimes I did that because I thought a song had a great chorus but rubbish verse or vice-versa and wanted to improve the song. “Midnight To Six Man” is a good example of what I mean. I always loved the song but hated the chorus so I wrote a different one and called it “Be On Your Way”. Generally songs have tended to come to me when I’m trying to sleep at night. I sort of dream about seeing us on stage playing the song and realise I haven’t written it yet. So I have to get up and whisper it into a tape recorder because I know it’ll be forgotten in the morning. If a song doesn’t come together in ten minutes I usually bin it. These days I find it funny to play some of those songs I wrote as an angst-ridden teenager, singing some of those angry misogynistic lyrics now aged 50.

Did you always see yourself as vocalist?

Vocally I struggled for a long time. I never thought of myself as a singer and all the people I loved I tried to emulate to disastrous effect. Phil May, Steve Marriott, all them great soul singers, I quickly realised I wasn’t ever going to be them and had to try to find my own voice. I think I found it sometime during the Solarflares period and I’m only really happy with it in recent years. Just listen to the vocals on Thewisermiserdemelza to hear one of the main reasons I hate that album.

You mentioned about some of the songs you wrote as a teenager. How old were you when you wrote your first album A Taste Of Pink? How do you feel listening back to them?

I think the earliest songs I wrote which made that album were “Say Your Prayers” and “Don’t Call My Name” and I was 16. I still like some of those songs; they have a beautiful naivety and simplicity which can never be recreated. I’ve always been very anal about music and  therefore consequently I’m very narrow-minded. I think that’s why on the whole I was still writing songs with 3 or 4 chords, a guitar riff and a simple melody, recording it in the most basic way possible right up until the last album.

Does song writing come easily now or does it involve a lot of concerted effort? What’s your usual writing method?

I still don’t understand how I write songs. As I said they just come to me. If I sit down with a guitar and say right, I’m going to write a song now, it’ll never happen. I’ve never been someone who always writes songs for fun and have only ever done it when I’m inspired to by having an album or a new band to energise me. I think I’m just essentially lazy. Having said that if we’re recording a new album I’ll probably write a batch of crap first, then the juices will flow and I can normally come up with the music really quickly. Lyrics are another matter completely and I hate writing them. I often used to gig a new song and make the words up as I go along and hope something sticks. The only real exception to that is the last Gaolers album. I had so much fun writing those lyrics as they’re all about touring and past experiences, and some of the best things I’ve written. I absolutely detest some of the shitty lyrics I’ve written in the past particularly about conservation or trying to say something meaningful.

Has the Forefathers got those juices flowing and given you the urge to write any new material?

Not yet. I do have some new stuff I wrote before which was for a possible new Gaolers album and I also started writing an instrumental album but with no real chance of the Gaolers playing again I gave up.

What made you choose “Love Me Lies” as the first single to be released by Graham Day and the Forefathers?

No real reason actually. We recorded the whole set of backing tracks live and when it came to choosing one for a single I just felt drawn to that song.

I assumed it was because you were unhappy with the original on Thewisermiserdemelza. I love that record but you’ve been very critical of it. Why?

Yes I hate Thewisermiserdemelza for lots of reasons. One is the real disappointment with the sound. We had Phil Chevron – rest his soul – as producer; it was the first time we’d had a producer and we had very different ideas about the album. Fair enough but it was our album so he should have listened to us. I’ve already said that at that time studio engineers would try to get you to sound modern and that’s the last thing we wanted. So from the outset we just fought against the engineer and producer. Some conflicts can result in a fiery, energetic battle which can get really good results. This one did the opposite. Secondly I hate the vocals. I just tried to put on some silly gruff voice which sounds completely false. Phil to his credit did try to get me to sing properly but I didn’t listen. It was my 20th birthday during the recording session and I was just pissed most of the time we were there. Lastly I just don’t like many of the songs on the album. I was clearly going through some kind of psychedelic ballad period and just don’t like it.

How has your taste in music changed/developed over the years? What do you listen to now that you wouldn’t have when you were starting out?

I don’t really listen to music that much as I know all my records inside out and I don’t like modern music. I’m cursed by the love of a certain type of recording sound and find it incredibly difficult to like anything if it doesn’t sound like that. I haven’t liked much music since the punk era; although the recording of punk music is really poor I guess I’ve forgiven it because that’s what I grew up with.

What three records have left the most lasting impression on you and why?

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn because Syd Barrett inspired my early guitar playing; The Pretty Things first album because it introduced me to blues, great singing and the ultimate sound of rock and roll; and the Kinks Kontroversy because it showed me how good songs can be.

If you had to pick three of your own albums to best represent your career which would they be and why?

The Last Fourfathers because it’s the best and most representative Prisoners album; That Was Then And So Is This by the Solarflares because we were at our peak then, touring and loving it; and Triple Distilled by the Gaolers because it’s the best album I’ve ever made.

Photos by: © Steve Worrall (www.retromanblog.com)


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Mark Raison

I've spent three-quarters of my life wandering the mod path with detours down its side streets and dark alleys. From an enthusiastic youth to a still-enthusiastic-but-harder-to-tell grizzled old goat, I've dabbled in all parts of the scene from writing fanzines 'Round Midnight and Something Has Hit Me; to promoting bands; attempting to manage bands; singing in the mighty garage combo The Electric Fayre; putting on indie, psych and soul clubs including Freak Scene, Orange Sunshine, and Shake!; writing liner notes for Reg King releases on Circle Records; and, in fitter times, tucking away the odd goal for the New Untouchables. I still DJ from my box of R&B humdingers but more often you’ll find me tapping away on my blog at monkeypicks.co.uk. I like the poetry of Charles Bukowski and dislike the taste of cheese.

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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,
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Masters – Nolan Porter

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Masters2

The song ‘If I Could Only Be Sure’ is attaining something of a legendary status. It has been covered by many bands in recent years, but arguably it was Paul Weller’s interpretation on 2004’s ‘Studio 150’ album that really brought the song to more than just a Northern Soul audience.

The man who wrote and sang the original is Nolan Porter. Thanks to one of the UK’s foremost soul bands, Stone Foundation, Nolan Porter is having an ‘Indian summer’ (for want of a better term) in his career. The much-deserved renewed interest in the man and his work is long overdue and he (along with Stone Foundation) will be appearing at Euro YeYe this August at Gijon in Spain.

Welcome to Nutsmag Mr Porter. How do you feel about the forthcoming trip to Spain?

I’m overwhelmed with joy!! All the things I’ve heard about Spain, the beauty of the land, the history, what’s there not to be excited about! My father spent time in Spain, Madrid mostly. He always said it was one of the best experiences of his life.

Of course you are reuniting once again with the fantastic Stone Foundation. What is it about this band in particular that has been such an attraction for you?

There is a real musical camaraderie between SF and myself. We both really love soul music and SF’s sound really shows that these guys have been raised on soul music and have a deep understanding of its cadence and meaning. Also we have the same warped sense of humor!

I’ve read in other interviews, that you have been very pleasantly surprised by the reception and knowledge of your UK and European fans. Have you got used to it yet?

Every time I travel overseas to sing, I’m always amazed by the warmth and kindness of Northern Soul Fans. “It’s always like the first time”.

I was in the audience for the 100 Club show in 2012 which then became a live album. Listening to it, it’s clear you are having a great time and in fine voice. What can we expect when you hit the stage for Euro YeYe?

First of all, thank you for going to see me at the 100 Club. I hope you had a good time! I’ll bring awe and enthusiasm and a great band, SF. They have some new material some of which I’m singing on and we’re all very happy to perform these songs at YeYe. I’ve only thought of Spain in my imagination and now I’ll be there! I am grateful.

You have written some incredible songs that have legendary status among the Northern Soul fraternity. ‘Keep On Keeping On’, ‘Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum’ and ‘I Like What You Give’ for example, but have you been writing any new material? Could a new LP be in the pipeline?

Yes, I perform originals by other artists some of which I am friends with as well as my own. My wife Patrice and I have been discussing an album we’d like to do together with new material, collected and recorded by the two of us. Also you will be seeing a couple of new releases from Crossfire Productions that I have collaborated on with an old time friend, Forrest Penner of Wild Child fame.

It is fair to say your route into music was not one shared by a great many of your contemporaries, (ie Church-Gospel-band.) and living in LA with its diverse communities had some influence on you. So what was your route from leaving education to recording in 1972?

I’m a typical L.A. Child of the 60’s. The route I took was through my interaction with other L.A. Musicians with a multitude of cultural backgrounds. My first love was classical music. (Something I have in common with Brenda Hollaway who also grew up in L.A. with a classical background in music.) I didn’t go the Gospel route, yet somehow I always found myself in someone’s choir for one organization or another. Singing in choirs around L.A. Was a great way to prepare me for singing my own originals, showing me the basics of music and how to work with a crowd. Growing up in L.A. In the 60’s was great. I sang in soul bands, with Latin Bands and even a couple of rock bands. L.A. was the place to experiment.

It appears much of your early work was caught up in a tangled web of licences and ‘who owns what’ for a long time. Has it all finally been cleared up?

No it has not been cleared up, but I remain positive that it will.

You had some great musicians on that early work, like Larry Carlton, Charles Owens and Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson. How did that band come together?

I have to give Gabriel Mekler of Steppenwolf and 3 Dog Night credit for that. From his time producing many of Steppenwolf’s and 3 Dog Night’s hits, he made contacts and used some of the best musicians, in L.A. I owe a great big debt to Gabriel Mekler.

Brenda Holloway is part of the bill for the Euro YeYe weekend in Spain. I know you and your wife Patrice ‘Candy’ Zappa opened for Brenda in LA a couple of years ago. Do you know Brenda well?

I only met Brenda in 2012 and truly enjoyed working with her, however I was friends with her sister Patrice, in the early 70’s. My mother even knows and  has spent time with Brenda Holloway. My mother is crazy about her and her talent. I do hope this will be only one of several times I get to work with her, she is a truly amazing talent.

Stone Foundation revived another of your great songs, ‘Crazy Love’ for their latest LP. How much input did you have with the arrangement and what are your thoughts on the final product? Both the song and the whole LP?

I’m very happy with the product.  Much of the musical arrangement came from SF. The vocal was pretty much the same arrangement I had used all those years ago. The merging of the two, I feel, was very cool. Also I enjoyed recording it more with SF than when I recorded it all those years ago. Now the present vocal is how I sound at this time of my life. Which makes me happy.

You could say Stone Foundation have kept you pretty busy the last couple of years what with the tours, live album and the resultant dvd documentary about your time here. Have you got any other plans you can tell us about?

I’ve become such good friends with SF. I would like to personally keep it going with them for as long as possible. I owe them so much and we find it mutually gratifying to help each other’s careers.

Nolan Porter, on behalf of The New Untouchables, thank you very much for taking the time to complete this interview. I look forward to seeing you in London next month at the 100 Club again.

Photographs by: © Lee Cogswell


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , ,
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Masters – Kaleidoscope

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Masters2

Peter Daltrey of UK Psyche Icons Kaleidoscope, took some time out of his busy creative day to answer some of our questions prior to the Band’s appearance at Le Beat Bespoké 10 at Easter in London.

01 Are you happy and exciting to be invited to play at the 10th anniversary of Le Beat Bespoké?

**Ha, ha…! I’m happy and excited to be invited to play anywhere! Look, I’m an old geezer who thought he and his psychedelic ditties had been dead and buried for decades – so to find that new fans are discovering our music and enjoying what they hear is a massive shot in the golden arm for me. My band was fortunate enough to be creating our music in that short window of opportunity that presented itself from around mid ’66 to the end of ’67: the short-lived but much-loved blossoming of psychedelia. The fact that the genre is garnering new adherents in the 21st century is astonishing. Perhaps as the world turns darker with grim and terrifying incidents turning nightmare into reality the need to turn again to more innocent times is inevitable. And music itself has lost its way some would say, with commercialism dominant and creativity and inventiveness overshadowed and certainly undervalued. OK, the commercial needs of the music business have always been there, but when we were recording our albums we were allowed free rein in the studio to allow creative ideas and envelope-pushing to flourish. So to be able to stand up on stage and perform these pioneering songs to a new audience is very rewarding. And goes some way to compensate for the cold shoulder we were shown back then. The sound of applause for these songs is sweet sure enough, balm to my tinnitus-riddled old ears.

02 What special songs are you planning on playing during your performance?

It’s very important to me that the set list is crafted to supply what the audience want. I’ve released eighteen solo albums since the band broke up back in ’71 but sadly no one wants to hear any of those songs! So all the Kaleidoscope favourites will be played with the emphasis on our brand of poppy-tinged psychedelia. We will also perform some Fairfield Parlour tracks. Allowing for time constraints if we played all the favourites we’d be there all night! Fan’s will get to hear everything from Flight from Ashiya to Dream for Julie – from the mellow Monkey to the mayhem of Music.

03 How important do you think live events such as this are in todays wider music scene?

The income stream for musicians has dried up. Although the internet and this crazy digital world in which we live, together with innovations in recording technology have all contributed in musicians being able to become their own masters, to shrug off the multi-national record company yoke, there has been a massive price to pay. With the welcome demise in the universal power of the big labels a new dawn signalled hope for the fortunes of musicians and bands who realised they could grasp the nettle of control for themselves. Which many of us did – only to find that with the catastrophic decline in physical record sales streaming and downloads raised their ugly heads. The digital dawn brought with it the ability for file sharing, piracy and unfettered copying of music. Even allowing for the fact that CD copying was once rife, now it is so much easier to literally steal music off the internet. As soon as you release an album some misguided fan will think he or she is doing you a big fat favour by uploading it to YouTube or wherever for everyone to hear. And for many to simply copy. Even going down the legitimate road brings few rewards for the musician. The earnings from downloads are minimal; the earnings from streaming are miniscule. So having the opportunity to play live is also an opportunity to recoup some losses. But music is always more exciting and more visceral live. The interaction of the audience with the performers is what gives music its magic. To be in the centre of that, to feel all that energy as you stand on stage is a privilege. Special interest festivals of music like Le Beat Bespoké play an important part in disseminating styles of music to new ears, turning people on to music they might otherwise have missed. Particularly if it came out half a bloody century ago…!

04 Le Beat Bespoké brings together a lot of different styles and type of people, do you think this helps your own approach to playing there?

I’m not sure if it helps my approach to playing. But it is amazing to see ageing hippies with wispy white hair rubbing shoulders with neat young Mods in sleek Italian suits, pensioner flower-children singing along to Faintly Blowing alongside teenage Mary Quant lookalikes. I noted the same at the Euro Ye Ye festival we played in Spain a couple of years ago. It really is heart-warming and rewarding to meet fans in the flesh after the gig. At the end of the night I always leave the venue with a big humble smile on my old boat race.

05 Tell us about your early Mod years in the early 1960s?

After a short spell as a rocker with full leather gear and slicked-back hair I became a Mod. Some guys went for chubby Vespas, but I always preferred the sleek Italian lines of the Lambretta. Fashions changed monthly, weekly: one minute everyone had chrome bars and carriers front and back, then just on the front, then the back, then no bars, but with chrome side panels. I had my panels sprayed racing green with a big white number on. We wore USA Army parkas and Pork Pie hats, loafers and short, dyed slacks. Then Fred Perry shirts with close-cropped hair. It was a nightmare trying to keep up.

06 You were known as The Sidekicks, then The Key before eventually forming as Kaleidoscope?

We had played our first gig at a nurses’ party at Fulham Hospital on the 26th June 1960 something, but the next day we had our first public booking playing for kids at the Cinema: Saturday Morning Pictures; a British institution. I remembered it fondly myself: off to the cinema via De La Mura’s to watch cartoons and space serials and the Lone Ranger, yelling and chewing and punching. We got a gig playing in the interval. We set up in front of the stage at the ABC cinema in Edgware, north of London. The kids didn’t shut up for a minute. But we got a taste of what it was like playing in front of an audience.

By August we had gained enough confidence to book ourselves into Central Sound Studios, 6 Denmark Street in London. We recorded ‘House of the rising sun,’ ‘Mona,’ ‘Hi Heel Sneakers’ and our very first self-penned composition, ‘Drivin’ around.’ We wanted some songs of our own; we wanted to rise above being just a covers band. Ed and I just fell into writing without anyone ever discussing it: Ed wrote the music and I wrote the words. Terrible bloody songs to begin with! But we had all gradually become ambitious, driven on by the encouragement of friends and family. Around this time we had a name change to The Key.

As The Key we played many of our own songs in a set. We were quite creative on stage. We used to have a cute girl in a mini skirt sitting on stage with us. She sat there reading a book of poetry throughout our set. Ed and I would eat an apple during one number. Probably meant to be very symbolic and mysterious but just made it difficult to sing with a mouthful of apple mush. And then during our finale number – the explosive and now long-lost ‘Face’ – I bit on a plastic blood capsule and collapsed on stage just as the last chords were fading. It caused a right old riot and we were chased out of the building by the gig organizers who had called an ambulance, completely fooled by my Oscar-winning on-stage death and they felt pretty silly having to explain their donkey-brained mistake. We were pushing at invisible boundaries.

07 What other bands did you admire and how did you hear them and their music?

We were Beatle nuts, simple as that. The Beatles were our musical gods. It’s been said so many times but the Sixties really was a magical time in many areas, music and fashion in particular, but also film and photography.

We measured everything we did against the Beatles. We had our own style but we were attempting to always achieve their standards. They set the bar for so many bands. I also liked Donovan, Leonard Cohen – Dylan, of course. He was my ultimate hero at the time along with the man who invented great pop music, Buddy Holly.

08 What was the nightlife and live circuit like in those heady days?

We were so focused on our own band on our own quest that we didn’t go to gigs or clubs. We were obsessed with only one band, Kaleidoscope.

09 What shaped your song-craft?

The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’ changed everything. ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ was the catalyst. I was never entirely happy as the lyricist writing endless soppy love songs. The Beatles showed us all the way, followed closely at the time by the Bee Gees who wrote amazingly weird songs like ‘Lemons Never Forget’ and the flawless ‘New York Mining Disaster 1941.’ It didn’t kick start me into writing songs like ‘The Murder of Lewis Tollani’ and ‘Dive into Yesterday,’ as I used to assume; I have since found out that ‘Horizontal’ came out after we were writing such songs – but it did show we were heading in the same direction. But don’t forget that Psychedelia was very short-lived. It lasted not much more that eighteen months. It was that truly magical period between late ’66 to early ’68. Fortunately for us this was the time we hit gold, securing our first recording contract with a major label, Philips/Fontana, and getting all the time we needed in a professional studio.

10 What were your thoughts on the emerging UK psych scene at that time, the girls, cars, fashion, clubs and drugs?

By now Carnaby Street had properly erupted in a florid flush of boutiques with loud music and mini skirts and Mary Quant rip-offs and lace shirts and high-heeled boots for men and see-through dresses and it was spend spend spend! Teenagers had money and they were going to spend it. Records. Clothes. Alcohol. Cigarettes. Drugs. Holidays in Spain. Hairdos. Cheap food. Magazines. The tide was turning. The old school grey drab Fifties establishment was drowning. We were going to change the world. And we had our own leaders, thank you very much: John, Paul, George and Ringo.

11 What kind of pressures, challenges and expectations did signing for Fontana and the music industry at large provide for young bands like yourselves?

On the 24th February 1967 we had our first recording session as Kaleidoscope at Philips’ Stanhope Place Studio just a giant leap for mankind from Marble Arch. Although nervous, entering this mysterious, subterranean dimly lit cavern, we knew that we could not allow anything to go wrong. We recorded ‘Holiday Maker’ and ‘Kaleidoscope.’ Unlike every recording session we’d ever had before – in egg-box dives – we were not disappointed with the results. In fact we were stunned by the clarity of the results, fascinated by the recording process and pleased to find that the engineers were friendly and co-operative. The actual recording process was taken out of our hands and was something of a mystery: we did what we were told in terms of levels and retakes. The arrangements were down to us, although Dick did have some input via carefully phrased suggestions. We were always willing to listen and incorporate inventive ideas. But all the songs went into the studio fully formed. We never wrote in the studio like some bands. Our songs were very carefully written, rewritten, arranged and polished long before recording sessions. Dick produced, obviously aware of the beating of our novice hearts, allowing us time to settle down, to accustom ourselves to the cathedral studio. In fact, the studio was so enormous that when we set up our equipment we only occupied a small area, but this was how we preferred it – reminiscent, perhaps, of our nights rehearsing at the school hall in Acton not so long before.

12 You released 6 singles for Fontana in a short period of time, were you happy with them as a collection or set of work?

We always approached singles in a different frame of mind to writing for albums. In fact most of our singles never appeared on our albums. I’m very happy with the singles – but still frustrated that we came so close to chart success but never close enough. The songs were finely honed to be radio-friendly. Both ‘Jenny Artichoke’ and ‘Bordeaux Rose’ came so close to providing us a hit record. Both were what we referred to in those radio-dominated times as ‘turntable hits’.

Our career was scuppered by our own record company whose distribution was so lousy it was legendary in the business – a fact unbeknown to us upon signing our contract with them.

13 You also released 2 seminal LPs around this time, what was that studio experience like and the entire writing and production process?

They were magical days in the huge Number One studio at Stanhope Place. Our second home. Dick was always willing to open his door to Ed and I. He was always asking us for new songs. In the studio itself he took subtle control but always allowed our creativity to rule the sessions from the studio floor. We often recorded all afternoon and long into the evening.

The entire writing and production process…?! I’ll have to bow out of that one. There’s only twenty-four hours in the day and I ain’t getting any younger. Suffice to say it was exciting, exhilarating and rewarding.

14 This set you on the way to being well-known in the ‘Swinging London’ period, how had the clubs, culture and scene evolved in this short period?

No idea. We never went to clubs. We were far too busy gigging and writing. The ‘scene’ in any era is often vacuous, and then and now holds no attraction for me. Sorry, were you hoping for ultra-colourful anecdotes of swinging London….? * (Editor – yes but the truth is more rewarding by far!)

15 Jagger and McCartney were big fans, your lyrics were evocative and painted pretty and vivid milestones?

Jagger and Pauly… Were they really? I doubt it. Probably something an interviewer said to heighten interest in his piece.

Looking back it’s easy for new generations to ridicule the style and lyrical content of music from way back then. It was a colourful burst of fashion in music. And as we all know fashion comes and goes swiftly. Fortunately for us it is also true that there is nothing new in this world and fashion styles always return. Psychedelia is again enjoying a substantial revival — and it is great to have caught that wave.

We were certainly not writing to appeal to the druggy crowd. At this point we had very little experience of drugs having dabbled frighteningly in the early Sixties’ purple heart period and being put off pills for life. Younger people look back and think there were drugs and free love available on every street corner. Nope. We weren’t particularly interested in the former and the latter didn’t come up and offer itself to us. Besides, we had total tunnel vision: we lived for our music. Nothing was going to make us waver from our righteous path.

16 Your sense of harmony and melody and ability to create memorable tunes meant that your horizons were moving constantly?

‘Faintly Blowing’ showed our maturing as writers and musicians. It also showed that the record company were still fully in support, willing to invest a lot of money in studio time and orchestral arrangements. Yes, of course, we were looking for a hit record. Dick Leahy wanted to release ‘If you so wish’ as a single — possibly as a double A-side with ‘Black Fjord’ but he lost his sense of direction and went for the more immediately commercial ‘Jenny Artichoke.’ Although ‘Jenny’ was a massive radio hit being played constantly on our one radio station at the BBC, it failed to sell for the same old reason: poor distribution. With hindsight that single should have been followed by the ‘If you so wish’/‘Black Fjord’ single. If Philips/Fontana had then got there act together properly with better distribution and promotion, we would have had a hit that would have really stood the test of time, more likely to endure than ‘Jenny.’

As writers Ed and I were always seeking the perfect song and this inevitably lead to us improving over time. We were always pushing ourselves further.

17 What was the final straw for Kaleidoscope and how did you evolve into Fairfield Parlour?

We then changed our name to Fairfield Parlour after we shrugged off our Psychedelic colours and embraced the progressive folk sound that was fast approaching. We didn’t feel the name Kaleidoscope was appropriate for our new sound and image. In retrospect I guess it was maybe a bit of a mistake. We should have stuck to our guns, proud of our name. But at the time it still seemed the right thing to do.

We had fallen out with the suits at Fontana/Philips because we had failed to produce a hit single. These were executives that thought, at first, they had the new Beatles. They gave us an ultimatum: record the songs of some hit writers -Tin Pan Alley hacks – or your days with us are numbered. We went into the studio under protest and attempted to record two songs that had been scraped from the bottom of a bucket that a publisher was chucking out. The sessions – fortunately – were a disaster!

The Radio 1 DJ, David Symonds had noticed our slightly rudderless ship passing through his studio on numerous occasions and now approached us with a proposition: Let me manage you and get you away from this blindfolded record company. We jumped at the chance to try something new. Ed and I were writing differently. Gone were the battalions in baby blue and in came the lonely old spinsters cutting up pictures of wedding dresses and photos of Marlon Brando. A name change was therefore suggested.

As Fairfield Parlour Farm – yep, we dropped the ‘Farm’ bit in the cold light of the next morning – we, or rather our shiny new manager, approached Fontana and demanded a new contract where we would record independently of the studio and simply lease the tapes to the company, retaining copyright. They agreed, but suggested we climb aboard their new label, Vertigo. Which would best suit our more progressive music, that being the way musical fashion was heading after the short-lived Psychedelic flower withered and died.

18 This period saw you invited to enter into the world of film with the ‘Eye Witness’ soundtrack which housed the new bright young thing Mark Lester?

An up and coming Director offered us the job of writing and recording the theme song and incidental music for a feature film, ‘Eye Witness.’ From the depression and dejection of just six months previous, we were now on a high, rising phoenix-like from the ashes of our former selves. 1970 was clearly going to be an outstanding year!

19 Eventually you were invited to play one of the key events of this entire period, The 1970 IOW Festival?

This really was going to be ‘the big one.’ Not only had we secured ourselves a place on the billing for the 1970 Isle of Wight festival – our manager had persuaded the organisers to let us write and record a ‘theme song’ for the festival. We cut a demo of the song, ‘Let the world wash in,’ at the Livingstone Studios in East Barnet. The Foulk Brothers loved it and so we spent two nights at Sound Techniques in Chelsea recording the song. Lennon’s classic, ‘Across the universe’ is a little too obviously the influence for the song, but nonetheless, the resulting track is warm and sincere. It is one of my favourite recordings of the band, featuring a full, well-produced sound, focusing quite correctly on the chorus.

From the 16th to the 20th of August we rehearsed at a pig farm in Woking. Yes, that is right. In the height of a sultry summer we were in a narrow tin-roofed pig hut strutting our stuff. (All right it was a new building that had yet to see a poor porker.) We’d discussed our set, arriving at a list of songs that reflected our more pastoral side, as some of the critics liked to call it. We would play more of our acoustic songs, the ones we often left out of college gigs. We realised from the outset that we were likely to be dwarfed by the physical dimensions of the gig and the stage itself. We would look ridiculous if we went out there in the middle of the day with our heavier material. We all agreed we would be grass- chewing-folk-loving-bucolic-gentle-rockers for the day. But the pre-gig excitement had already permeated the pig hut. This was going to be enormous.

The day after we left Woking, ‘Let the world wash in’ was released. The rest is history as they say – well our nadir, perhaps. You will have to buy a copy of my book, ‘I Luv Wight’ to read the whole sorry saga. Suffice to say the single bombed and our experience of the festival was tainted by the raging politics behind the scenes concerning the fate of the record at the festival itself.

20 What was the come down like post IOW Festival, what happened next?

‘White-Faced Lady’ shelved for two decades. Disillusion, despair, heartbreak – and rebirth…

21 As a Solo Artist you have been very productive indeed, releasing 19 or so LPs on various labels?

I can’t stop writing and recording. A creative person can`t simply turn off the tap – although having said that the bloody tap occasionally turns itself off. Yes, plenty of albums to choose from for those fans of the band who might be tempted to dig into my own body of work.

I have two albums (one with Damien Youth) currently available on GRA Records in America: and a third due for release soon…

And another on Rocketgirl Records, a double CD with Damien Youth: 

And a fab collaboration with US Psyche-Masters Asteroid#4 called ‘The Journey’:

If all goes to plan I will be joining Asteroid#4 on stage on the 20th of October to premier a few of these songs:

22 What about your various books and work as an Artist?

I have six books out at the moment – available here, – with a seventh on the writing & recording of ‘The Journey’ album coming shortly. And my continuing passion is photography which currently takes up more of my time than music – although that is about to change…

23 What have you got planned for the future?

A great deal. No time like the present. Strike while the iron is hot. Best foot forward. Nothing ventured etc etc. You get the secret picture.

24 Can you tell us a joke please?

A guy walks into a Bar and takes himself a quiet seat. Before he can even order a beer, the bowl of pretzels in front of him says ‘Hey, you’re a handsome fellow!’  The man tries to ignore the bowl of pretzels, and orders a fine Pilsner beer. The bowl of pretzels then says ‘Ooooh, a Pilsner, great choice. You’re a smart man!’  Starting to freak out, the guy says to the bartender ‘Hey what the hell, this bowl of pretzels keeps saying nice things to me!’ Bartender says ‘Don’t worry about it, the pretzels are complimentary!!!’

Web Links & Credits
For all things Peter Daltrey go to:  chelsearecords.co.uk
Thank you To: Anna Pumer Photography: annapumerphotography.com

See more interesting interviews and reviews on Eyeplug Magazine.

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Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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February 16, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , ,
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Masters – The Misunderstood

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Masters2

The Misunderstood are one of the great lost bands of the sixties. Formed in Riverside, California, in 1965, they started out as a tough R&B band modelled on Them and the Yardbirds. At the end of that year though, they began undergoing a dramatic transformation when they were joined by steel guitar player Glenn Campbell. Campbell approached his instrument in a completely new way, using a fuzz pedal and controlled feedback to coax screaming banshee sounds from his amp, or to make it sing like a celestial choir.

Future BBC legend John Peel was a DJ in nearby San Bernardino at the time and was blown away when he saw the band onstage. He encouraged them to move to England where their innovative music might find a more receptive audience. The Misunderstood arrived in London in June 1966 and proceeded to starve until Fontana Records signed them and prepared to launch them as “The New Sound of ’67” placing them firmly on the forefront of the merging new psychedelia. The stunning “I Can Take You to the Sun” single was released in December, but the group was shattered that same month when lead singer Rick Brown was snatched away by the US military draft.

However, although the original Misunderstood were short-lived, the tracks they recorded in London in 1966, including “Children of the Sun” and “I Unseen,” are now regarded as some of the greatest of the era.

Glenn went on to play with the Dirty Blues Band, and a later incarnation of the Misunderstood in 1969 before forming Juicy Lucy and storming the UK charts with their searing version of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love”. In more recent years, Campbell has collaborated with San Diego-based freakbeat merchants the Loons, playing on two tracks on their Red Dissolving Rays of Light album, and teaming up with them to recreate the fiery psychedelic sound of the ’66 Misunderstood. Glenn and the Loons are excited to be bringing the Misunderstood’s music to London for the 2015 Le Beat Bespoke festival.

Here he talks to Mike Stax about his ‘60s adventures with the Misunderstood.

NUTs: How did you first meet John Peel?

GC: He heard us playing at the Riverside Mall. That’s how we met, at that shopping mall. It was sort of a Battle of the Bands. He’d just done his radio spot and then he was getting ready to leave and he saw us playing. And that was what he calls his “St Paul on the road to Damascus experience” (laughs) – a bit over the top, but that was the next stop in the Misunderstood saga. That was the extra little kick in the butt we needed to get to England, because we’d already thought about doing that before we met him, and of course when we met him we started probing him to see what it was really like there and how hard it would be and he only tended to encourage us. Of course, he could also show us what to expect by playing us records of more obscure bands that weren’t getting airplay in the States yet, like the Who and things like that.

NUTs: Did he help you get your tickets to London?

GC: Yeah, in a way, because he organized some Battle of the Bands, which we couldn’t have lost if we wanted to, y’know? (laughs) We would’ve won them anyway, because we were pretty popular. Mainly he organized them so there would be money there – like the bands would get x amount of money and so on – and of course we always won ‘em. That went a long way for paying for our fares. Everybody was kind of in on it anyway; all the bands knew what was going on. But then again, nobody else would’ve had the guts to leave. They all wanted to stick around at home. You’d be surprised. People look at success and they think, Oh gee, I’d like to have that. But they don’t really want it. They don’t want to do what they’ve got to do to get it, and that’s where the Misunderstood had the edge, I think, on everyone else. They had that energy and that courage to go ahead and instead of dreaming about something they’d go ahead and try to make it happen. And that’s the other thing: they weren’t afraid to fall flat on their face. If they did, they’d just take off in some other direction, y’know?

NUTs: You arrived in England in June 1966 and struggled for a while. Then your guitar player Greg Treadway returned home and you got Tony Hill to replace him. How did you find him?

GC: At a rehearsal room. We had been rehearsing, and Tony was with another band, I believe, and he heard us and just introduced himself. He goes, “What’s your story?” – obviously he’d heard our American accents and everything – and we told him and he goes, “Well, I’d like to audition for you guys.” I can’t remember if he sat in and played something right there and then or if we held a separate audition. I think he’d just come up to London. He had a real Geordie accent. We could hardly understand him when we first met him, but we liked him. He was very intense about his music. I think he was also studying classical guitar, which helped. It was all stuff we could use. Also, he totally changed the color of the band. Greg was a good rhythm guitar player but Tony could play lead so that just opened up a lot of stuff for us; a lot of interplay between me and him. There was quite a broad range of styles he could do.

NUTs: How many sessions were involved to do those six songs you recorded in England in 1966?

GC: I honestly can’t remember. My rough guess was that there was roughly three sessions, all told. I was pretty out of it. If you look at our photographs of those times, that glazed look we had was basically hunger. Seriously. I mean, we were so hungry you couldn’t believe it. We were just kind of in a daze. I don’t know why nobody ever fed us, but nobody did. I don’t ever remember eating a proper meal during that whole period.

NUTs: When you recorded those six songs, did they realize how unique that was?

GC: Yeah, I think so. There wasn’t anything like it and I think Fontana knew they had something, and since we were so easy to work with. Most of the companies, their biggest fear, was working with the band, and usually they wouldn’t, they’d just work with one person, usually the singer, and the rest of the band would be shuffled off and forgotten about. But you couldn’t do that with this band, because we weren’t just one person, and I think once they worked with us in the studio they thought, “We’ve got a goldmine here. These guys aren’t just gonna disappear overnight.” Because we had plenty of material, we had plenty of ideas, we were hard workers, we were sober, we were eager – we were totally different. And we seemed to catch on: people liked us. We weren’t ‘anger music’ or anything like that. Girls liked it as much as guys did. We seemed to have something to offer everybody. The head of Fontana Records, Jack Baverstock, was even knocked out by it.

NUTs: You must have been gutted when Rick was drafted and the band was ripped apart. What were your feelings when you returned to Riverside in ’67?

GC: A lot of it just got shoved down. You just sort of put it aside and got on with surviving. Actually that’s where (blues singer/harp player) Rod Piazza stepped in. He stopped me from falling down so hard because he always hired me for his bands and stuff. Really Rod sort of kept me going during that period because I was pretty depressed. I had nothing. Coming back was hard too because I think a lot of other musicians were really rooting for us, with the idea that if we could make it then maybe they had a chance too. Everyone was starving for any kind of break.

NUTs: How does it feel to be playing those Misunderstood songs again after all these years?

GC: It feels great! I’m amazed, to be honest, that people are still so obsessed with the Misunderstood, but it feels good to play all these songs again with the Loons. I thought I’d forgotten them, but once I plugged in my steel and started fooling around with them again it all came back to me. I’m really looking forward to being back in England for the first time in almost 40 years.

Many thanks to Mike Stax of the Loons.

See The Misunderstood – LIVE in LONDON – Easter 2015!

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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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February 4, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page Fuzz Garage Interviews Music News USA Tags:, , ,
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