23.7.14

STEELY DAN, Part 2

The second part of my long Steely Dan interview from 1974. Final part tomorrow.

Steely Dan augments itself with additional musicians to go on the road. Their present strength is eight: the initial five plus Roy Jones on extra percussion and vocals, Jeff Porcaro on drums and Mike McDonald on keyboards and vocals. But these three are subject to change any time depending on their and the band’s commitments.
          Fagen and Becker write everything together, both music and lyrics. One of them usually gets an idea, but they develop the idea together. They say they are not as prolific now as they used to be, mainly because Steely Dan’s success takes up a lot of their time. Unlike many musicians they don’t write on the road.
          “We used to have nothing but time so we could write songs ad infinitum,” says Becker. “Nowadays we can’t do that. We can’t write in hotel rooms. When we get off a tour we spend a month or so writing material for the next album.”
          “This band is in hibernation for certain parts of the year,” says Fagen. “Jeff Baxter goes and does some studio gigs or goes on tour with Linda Ronstadt, and the others do the same while we are writing. Then we all get back together again and make a record.
          “Everyone is committed to Steely Dan before everything else, but while we’re writing the others have nothing to do. It takes a while to write an album’s worth of material, to I guess it gets boring for them just hanging around.”
          “I like to think that we don’t have to be limited by the concept of the group,” says Becker. “If one of our people wants to play with someone else and there’s time to do it, then it’s fine with us.”
          “If Jeff or Jimmy go off with another band, they’re touch more interesting musicians when they come back,” says Fagen. “They’re fresher with the experience of playing different kinds of music.”
          “We keep hearing the others are writing songs for the band but they never show them to us,” says Becker. “For all I know they might take over. The only thing we’ve ever done which wasn’t an original was the Duke Ellington piece on the last album. It’s a great piece of music and we figured we’d revive it”
          Both Fagen and Becker consider it was a mistake for Steely Dan to go out on the road immediately after recording their first album. Their early concerts, they say, were pretty disastrous due to under rehearsal.
          “When we made the album,” says Becker, “it was really just a bunch of studio musicians getting together to record our songs. We really hadn’t played together and we were just getting to know each other properly during those first sessions. Right after it was done, there were offers of gigs so we just put the band together as best we could.
          “Jeff and Jim had some experience on the type of circuit we were playing. All we knew about were the gigs backing up Jay and the Americans, which was a totally different trip.”
          “Actually, Walter and I were complete novices as far as actual live touring was concerned,” says Fagen. “It took a while to find out what really happens at live shows.
“We’d been playing oldie shows, so for all our experience in theory, we didn’t know much about the actual practice. We weren’t show orientated because we were jazz fans and were used to seeing musicians kicking over their bottle of beer while they were playing a solo. As far as we were concerned the show was watching a guy play and that was it, strictly for enthusiasts.
“It was a new thing for us to be playing on a bill supporting Elton John. We’re still not a show band. We try to arrange the show so that it’s dramatic musically rather than visually.”
          The group have yet to visit Europe, although there are plans for them to come across sometime this summer. There were rumours of a tour early this year, but it was never really on. Statements that the “cancellation” was due to the energy crisis were put out, but this was a cover up for the fact that they were too occupied with work in the States.
          Nevertheless, they do want to come over, especially as their new album is doing well in the British charts. “It’s something we’ve been trying to do for a long time, but it’s been tough for us for a lot of reasons,” says Fagen. “There have been other commitments with other people in our band, and economically it hasn’t been feasible. An American band doesn’t make any money in England, unlike English groups coming over here and making a lot of bread to split back with. It’s a prestige thing to go over to England.
          “I have a feeling, though, that European audiences would be more appreciative of our music. American audiences are fantastic but I don’t know what they appreciate.”
          “You can’t tell what they’re into at all,” says Becker. “From the stage, you see people at the front and they’re obviously into volume, a self abuse trip. As for the rest of the audience we don’t know. We hope it’s the music.”
          “People who take their clothes off are into rhythm and we’re into that,” says Fagen in all seriousness.
          It seems the pair were taken by surprise with the success of their first album. They are also unanimous in their praises of ABC Dunhill for the way they promoted the record. “They were obviously keen to get a group like us on their label, though we’re not quite sure what they think we are even now,” says Becker. “They know we’re not the grass roots type of rock band.
          “I guess we were pretty original and the album did well as a result. We played for six weeks constantly after it was put out, which must have helped. We were doing big gigs, stadiums, supporting other acts like Elton, the Kinks, Uriah Heep and the James Gang.”
          Nowadays they prefer to play in concert halls and usually top the bill. Their visit to New York was for a show at the Avery Fisher Hall, not unlike London’s Festival Hall. Actually they were supporting the Electric Light Orchestra – but more of that later.
New York is the band’s slowest market, even though they all hail from the area. Evidently New Yorkers consider Steely Dan to have deserted them by going to California and are still not prepared to forget. Out West Steely Dan always top the bill, but they say they play “urban rock and roll” with an East Coast sound.
          Certainly their music is more complex than the usual free sounding LA band. And this derives from their jazz backgrounds. “I’d been listening to jazz since I was a little kid. I always tuned into the jazz stations in New York when all the rest of the kids listened to rock and roll,” says Fagen. “When we met, we both realised we listened to late night jazz shows and be-bop music. I hated rock and roll.
          “I thought I was the only person in the world who was into this little secret about jazz. As far as I was concerned Sonny Rollins was mine. John Coltrane was mine. Miles Davis was mine. No one else ever knew or cared.”
          “Then we met and discovered we listened to the same disc-jockeys and had the same records,” says Becker. “That was a very strong bond. We do try to put some jazz into Steely Dan, but try to do it in such a way that people won’t notice.”
          “The way you can hear it is in the harmonic progression, which is unlike any other band because they don’t use that many jazz chords,” says Fagen. “The solos we do are not the usual rock and roll blues solos using the six notes on the scale that any kid can do. Our solos are a little more sophisticated.”

22.7.14

STEELY DAN - My 1974 Interview with Becker & Fagen

At work this week I’m dealing with an updated edition of Steely Dan: Reelin’ In The Years by Brian Sweet, the only decent biography of the group ever published. To say that Brian is an aficionado of SD would be an understatement. When I first commissioned this book back in 1994 he turned up in my offices with scrapbooks full of cuttings about them and, knowing that SD didn’t exactly extend themselves when it came to self-promotion, I realised I had the right man for a difficult job. That the book has never been out of print reflects not only its attention to detail but the ongoing affection that SD continues to enjoy among lovers of classy pop music.
         As for me, I remember when Can’t Buy A Thrill landed in the Melody Maker office in early 1973. We played the hell out of it, not really knowing who Steely Dan were, only that it was a great album with some great tunes.    
        In April 1974 I interviewed Donald Fagen and Walter Becker in a hotel suite in New York. They were clever bastards, a bit down on rock and pop generally, huge jazz fans and not the easiest of interviewees. They were more interested in discussing chess than talking to me. I saw them play at the Avery Fisher Hall in NY around the same time too, supporting the Electric Light Orchestra which can’t have been much fun for them. Their set was a disaster, marred by sound problems that – as I discovered later – were the fault of ELO’s sound crew who declined to permit SD to do a sound check. Such incidents put Becker and Fagen off touring and probably explain why they retired from touring in the mid-seventies, not to return to the stage until 1993 when the potential remuneration was too good to turn down.
         Here’s the first bit of my 1974 MM interview.

Although it’s quite incidental to the story that follows, let’s begin by explaining the meaning of the term Steely Dan. It has nothing to do with music, and was never intended as a pun associated with the English folk band Steeleye Span.
         For those of you aching to be enlightened, a Steely Dan is an artificial penis. The term was adopted by author William Burroughs in his novel Naked Lunch, in which a young lady called Mary christened her three dildos Steely Dan I, II and III.
         Frank Zappa, for one, would be proud of a band who shamelessly took on such a moniker. It comes as no surprise, then, to discover that the two principal members of Steely Dan are fervent supporters of Zappa, intent on closing the gap between pop and jazz in much the same way he has tried to do.
         The Steely Dan story began in a New York College several years ago, when the two principal members, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met and discovered a mutual interest in jazz music while the rest of the students were jiving to rock and roll.
         Today Fagen and Becker write all of Steely Dan’s material, play piano and bass respectively, arrange the music and generally share the seat of power in the five-man outfit. Fagen also takes care of the lead vocals and – again not unlike Zappa – acts as a kind of conductor when the group play live.
         Fagen and Becker began composing together at the college. Both had a formal musical education and quit to become part of Jay & The Americans, a period of their lives which they tend to skip over today. That introduced them to various influential people in the music industry and they landed a job as house writers for ABC Dunhill in Los Angeles.
         They wrote material for other artists but gradually came to the conclusion they’d do better forming a band of their own. Encouraged by their producer Gary Katz, who brought them to ABC Dunhill in the first place, they formed Steely Dan and surprised many people by having a hit with their first album. It’s been getting better ever since.
         Fagen is a tall, thin fellow with a slight hunch, probably caused through leaning over a piano for much of his life. He’s a serious musician who isn’t afraid to voice his opinions on current rock giants, for whom he has little respect. His partner Becker is pretty much the same, except that he’s short and tubby. Both would sooner spend an evening in a jazz club that at any rock concert you’d care to name.
         “Yeah, we were staff writers for ABC Dunhill, churning out songs,” says Fagen.
         “But nobody was picking them up,” says Becker.
         “We decided that being as our songs were of a conceptual nature, we needed a band, so we, er, found one,” says Fagen, who’s not a man to dwell on his past too much.
         They found Jeff Baxter, who plays guitar and pedal steel guitar, Jim Hodder, who sings and plays drums, and Dennis Dias, a second guitarist. All three are also from the East Coast, and all three had gone west to work on sessions.
         “We immediately went into the studio and did an album, simply because we didn’t have anything better to do. We weren’t doing so well as staff writers,” says Fagen. “And the record was a hit so we started going on the road. Our first few shows were pretty horrible but we’re pretty good now.”
         Becker bursts out laughing. Modesty is not one of their assets.
         “I learned music theory and harmony at music college but didn’t get as far as harsh discipline in music,” says Fagen. “I studied some orchestration and composition and definitely knew that I was going for a career in music of some kind, even though I ended up with a degree in literature. My mother was a small time night club singer.”
         “Not only that, but her married name was the same as Billie Holiday’s maiden name and that’s the kind of thing that launches a thousand careers,” chipped in Becker.
         Hits eluded Fagen and Becker at ABC, though their songs were recorded by Barbra Streisand, Jose Feliciano and John Kay. Several of their songs from the first Steely Dan album were covered, a fact that Becker explains through the album providing the best opportunity to hear what their songs sounded like in the finished version. “Deodato did a version of one song and Herbie Mann did a version of the same one,” offered Becker.
         “Yeah, we seem to be big with the lightweight jazz crowd for some reason. We didn’t write it with that kind of band in mind, just that that particular song lent itself to that kind of treatment,” says Fagen.

21.7.14

ROBERT PLANT - In The Presence Of


The third and final part of my 1976 interview.

Robert Plant likens the new album to Zeppelin’s second album in that it was made in a short time and retains an immediacy that has not been so apparent on later efforts. “It’s so adamantly positive, so affirmative for us. Everybody was aware that there was a crisis in the band so we got together and went forward as, if nothing had happened, like turning into a storm instead of running from it.”
“In LA we just rehearsed and rehearsed. It was so strange for me the first time because, as I said, I was sitting in an armchair, singing, and I found myself wiggling inside my cast. The whole band really wanted to play and had wanted to do that tour, so the same effort was put into the album. It was a unique situation where we rehearsed for three weeks – on and off in true Zeppelin style because we’re not the greatest band for rehearsing. We’ve always felt that too much rehearsing on a song can spoil it for us...sort of take the edge off the excitement, but this time it worked in the opposite way because the enthusiasm was contained in such a small space of time.
“Then we went to Munich to record and it took us just 18 days to finish it. That’s ridiculous for us because we usually take an eternity to finish an album.”
The 18 days, in fact, included a black hour when Plant tripped in the studio and narrowly avoided- reopening his fractured foot. The cast had been removed in Los Angeles and he was rashly rushing around the studio when...”half way through the recording I fell.
“Now I can play soccer all day and run and swim and I still love to be very active, but here I was hobbling around in the middle of this great track when suddenly my enthusiasm got the better of me. I was running to the vocal booth with this orthopaedic crutch when down I went, right on the bad foot. There was an almighty crack and a great flash of light and pain and I folded up in agony.
“I’d never known Jimmy to move so quickly. He was out of the mixing booth and holding me up, fragile as he might be, within a second. He became quite Germanic in his organization of things and instantly I was rushed off to hospital again in case I’d re-opened the fracture, and if I had I would never have walked properly again. It was a bit rash of me to bop around but...well, the track is brilliant.”
So when would Plant be recovered enough to tour again? He became very serious. “Already I’ve surprised the doctors by recovering as much as I have in such a short time. They’ve called me a model patient and that surprises me because hospitals are really not my cup of tea. I mean, I was faced with a situation that dented every single thing I had going for me. My usual...er...sort of leonine arrogance was instantly punctured by having to hobble around, so I’m having to take my time. I don’t want to rush. Every day I walk more and more without the stick and I’m going to need physiotherapy so I should think it’ll be the beginning of the next soccer season before I’m running about again.”
Plant had said his piece, and with the obvious questions about current affairs all answered, I suggested he look back and record the highlight of eight years with Zeppelin. He looked puzzled, “There have been so many amazing things, things that were once beyond my wildest dreams. I mean, basically I wanted to sing, and sing and sing.
“I mean, heavens, how could I ever have envisaged anything like this? Me and Bonzo had just come down from the Midlands to join a band. Jimmy was the experienced man and he’d been over here on the Dick Clark show or whatever, so he knew we would end up at least on that level. I don’t think Jonesy had been to the States before, but Bonzo and I had no idea. We even got lost in London.
“I remember when we played the Fillmore West in San Francisco, Bonzo and I looked at each other during the set and thought ‘Christ, we’ve got something’. That was the first time we realised that Led Zeppelin might mean something; there was so much intimacy with the audience, and if you could crack San Francisco at the, height of the Airplane, Grateful Dead period then it meant something. Mind you, we went on with Country Joe and the Fish so we didn’t have that much of a problem...how could we fail? But we knew the chemistry was there when we recorded the first album.”
It wasn’t until after the first album that Plant began writing the band’s lyrics; he logically surmised that as he had to sing them, he might as well sing words he wrote himself. “You’ve got to live with them so it’s a very personal thing. I did some of the lyrics on ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and some of the broader things like ‘Ramble On’, but it wasn’t until later that I really worked hard on them.
“I think that songs, like ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Stairway’ are far more relevant to the band now than songs like ‘Whole Lotta Love’ which we don’t really do now anyway. Ever since it came out, ‘Stairway’ has been the most requested track on FM radio here in America which is amazing because it’s so old now. That song was astoundingly well accepted and personally I’m very proud of it, but I think ‘Kashmir’ is just as good, and so is the one that I fell over on when we recorded this new album.”
The long-awaited Led Zeppelin film is now ready, according to Plant. “Yes, we’re as happy with it as we could possibly be. It’s been mixed in quad, and I’m not sure whether the Futurist Cinema in Birmingham is going to be able to handle that, but I would say it will be released about the same time as the opening of next soccer season, probably in August.
“The film features more than just us on stage. It has a few tastes of spice from everybody’s imagination, sort of humorous in parts. It ain’t all music, anyway, it touches on some of the things that make up the personalities in the group, Peter and Richard Cole [the band’s ever-present tour manager] too.”
Finally, I mentioned that of all the bands of their stature (and many, also, beneath them) Zeppelin seemed to be the only group whose members had not, at some time, veered off the rails to produce a solo album. Plant seemed horrified at the thought. “I think to want to do that, you’ve obviously got to be dissatisfied with the set-up as it stands.
“If you can’t bring out everything that comes to mind musically with the group you are working with, then to go away and do a solo album and then come back, is an admission that what you really want to do is not playing with your band.

“If you have to depart from the unit to satisfy your soul, then why go back afterwards? I know I couldn’t find anybody as musically imaginative as Jimmy, anybody who could play the drums as hard as Bonzo and anybody, who could play as steadily as Jonesy. It’s as simple as, that.”

20.7.14

ROBERT PLANT – Moroccan Roll


The second part of my 1976 interview with Robert Plant.

Far from being frustrated at the necessity for inactivity, the rest of Led Zeppelin were merely relieved when they heard that Robert Plant would not be limping for life. In the weeks before the accident – the time between Zep’s Earl’s Court concerts and August 4 – Plant and Page had covered thousands of miles together, travelling in desolate Arab countries by Range Rover, visiting Southern Morocco and, incidentally, introducing Bob Marley & the Wailers’ music to those regions.
“I was idly researching the possibility of recording various ethnic groups of different tribes in Morocco, just checking out how hard it would be, not so much the actual recording, but cutting through the ridiculous bureaucracy in Morocco. They were governed by the French for so long that they have a lot of the French traits on efficiency which, of course, are absolutely nil. The Moroccan version of that is even sillier.
“On the Monday morning after the last gig at Earl’s Court I was on my way to Agadir with Maureen, and three weeks later Jimmy flew out to meet me in Marrakesh where we spent several nights at the folk festival. That gave us a little peep into the colour of Moroccan music and the music of the hill tribes. Once you get off the normal tourist path and have the right vehicle, so long as you know a little bit of Arabic, which I do, then you discover they are quite fine people. They’re very warm people and they’re overjoyed when they find you have taken the trouble to learn their language.”
Plant and Page’s journeys took them on pretty dangerous routes, especially in view of the growing tension between Spain and Morocco which was bubbling up at the time. “One day we had lunch with a local police chief and received his blessing before travelling on, and we showed him on an old map where we wanted to go.
“He called round one of his friends who was a tourist guide and the guide told me and Jimmy he had been that route once in his life but wouldn’t go again because he was a married man. We still went, driving for hours and hours and the further south we went, the more it seemed like a different country. Gone are the people who can take the back pocket off your Levi’s without you knowing it, and you’re into a land of nice, honest people who find a Range Rover with Bob Marley music very strange.
“Wet tried to get down as far as the Spanish Sahara at the time when the war was just breaking out. There was a distinct possibly that we could have got very, very lost, going round in circles and taking ages to get out. It’s such a vast country with no landmarks and no people apart from the odd tent and a camel.
“We kept reaching these army road blocks where we’d get machine guns pointed at us and we’d have to wave our passports furiously and say we were going to bathe at the next beach. Then we’d go on 30 miles to another roadblock and claim we were going along to the next beach again.
“We wanted to get down to a place called Tafia which is not very far from the border of the Spanish Sahara. We got as far as we could but eventually the road got so bad we had to turn back.”
From Africa, Page and Plant journeyed to Switzerland for a pre-arranged group meeting, travelling by car up through Casablanca and Tangier. “It was devastating leaving Morocco behind and suddenly finding ourselves in Europe. For two months I’d lived at a Moroccan speed which is no speed at all, and then suddenly I was in Spain being frisked.
“We saw the jazz festival in Montreux, living on top of a mountain in a total extreme of climate from what we’d had for the past two months. After a while I started pining for the sun again, not just the sun but the happy, haphazard way of life that goes with it, and Rhodes seemed a good idea.
“I knew Phil May was going to be there so down we went. Jimmy came down with me but he left to go to Italy the morning before the accident, and we started rehearsing. Then there was the accident and... well, we were just stopped in our tracks.”
Plant was taken to a Greek hospital where, with the aid of an interpreter, he tried to explain that he was who he was. “I had to share a room with a drunken soldier who had fallen over and banged his head and as he was coming around he kept focusing on me, uttering my name.
“I was lying there in some pain trying to get cockroaches off the bed and he started singing ‘The Ocean’ from Houses Of The Holy. I can remember a doctor working on me for 36 hours nonstop because there was no one else there. My brother-in-law and Maureen’s sister were there, so he managed to get things together pretty fast. As soon as the news got through I was whisked out of there quick.
“The doctor in London told me I wouldn’t walk for at least six months and he gave me some odds of various possibilities about the future, so we had another group meeting, cancelled all the tour plans and decided to make an album instead. We’ve always taken so much time making albums, but we thought that this time we’d take a totally different attitude and cut one as quickly as possible.”


19.7.14

ROBERT PLANT - Part 1 of 3 part Interview.


One of the odd things about working for Melody Maker was that the stories and interviews that we wrote were sold to other magazines around the world. Many of the pieces I wrote appeared in a mag called Go Set in Australia, and also a mag in Sweden in which they were translated. This particular one was reproduced in May 1976 in Creem in the US, one of the best rock mags ever, so I wasn’t going to complain about it. Of course, the only stories that were syndicated in this way were those with the big guys, Lennon, Bowie, Townshend, Jagger, Zep, CSN&Y, Floyd, etc, because the mags outside of the UK and US wouldn’t have had the access to these guys that we did.
This was the third and last interview I did with Robert, always the most forthcoming of Led Zep, the friendliest too. Jimmy was too wary and mysterious, JPJ couldn’t really be bothered and Bonzo wasn’t the interview type.
         I remember meeting up with Robert outside his hotel on the street on the south side of Central Park in NY, and how he was raving about an Indian restaurant that he’d found in the city. In those days Indian restaurants were a bit of a rarity in NY. Robert’s wife, of course was Indian, so he was gagging for a chicken madras. He was still hobbling a bit, on crutches.
This is how Creem published my interview with Robert that had already appeared in MM, although I’ve reworked it a bit. It’s a bit long, so this one, like some other posts, is in three parts.
        This picture of Robert was taken by my pal Bob Gruen while we did the interview in his suite at the Plaza Hotel. 



THE EVER-ELUSIVE Led Zeppelin surfaced in New York in January [1976, cc] at the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South. Jimmy Page was accounted for, his mission being to finish mixing the soundtrack of the long-awaited Led Zep movie. The rest of the boys were just in town for "social reasons", according to Swan Song, who should know but part of Zep’s appeal is their unpredictability. Keeping everyone guessing has always been their best strategy.
Of the four, Robert Plant was by far the most "social," stopping off at bars uptown and downtown, always in the company of English sound engineer Benjie Le Fevre, and an English bodyguard named David. Plant still walks with a crutch, a wincing reminder of last August's car crash on the Greek island of Rhodes. Although the plaster has now been removed, his usual hurried shuffle has been replaced by a deliberate, careful plod. He doesn't think he'll be able to dance until the beginning of next soccer season, which is tantamount to saying that Led Zeppelin won't be able to perform live until that time also.
Indestructible? Obviously not. The fractured foot has stymied Plant's usual punk arrogance. Temporarily, at any rate, he can't run with the pack and this compulsory moderation to the pace of his life seems to have brought about a certain sympathy that wasn't always apparent in his personality. He might look like the proverbial Greek god rock vocalist as he struts magnificently across stages with the studlike hauteur of the rock idiom, but he's human just like the rest of us, broken bones and all.
Plant has always seemed rather divorced from reality, often giving the impression of being a leftover from the days of flower power, with his golden curls and brightly-coloured stage tops. That image has been perpetrated by interviews that are both vague and filled with scattered references to peace, love and world understanding – topics that have tarnished considerably in the reality of the Seventies.
It was something of a relief then, that the Robert Plant of 1976, with his crutch and newly curled hair, seemed to have come to terms with his public image on a more evenly-balanced level. Goddammit – he phoned me to arrange the time of the following interview, and if that isn't a turn up for the book, then I don't know what is!
He had much to talk about: the accident and its consequent effects on the band, his travels to Northern Africa which preceded the crash, the new Led Zeppelin album, and, lastly, some thoughts on the eight-year career of the group.
Initially Plant seemed reluctant to discuss the accident, but as the interview progressed he warmed to the subject."The memory is very vivid, but it's like spilt milk and there's no time to cry over it when there's another bottle around the corner... you know what I mean?
"I had the normal instant reaction of anybody and that was for my family who were in the car with me. I didn't know what the implications and the final outcome of the wounds or whatever would turn out to be, but they were of minimal importance at the time.
"I didn't think about the possible consequences for the band but as I had plenty of time to lie back – not even sit back – I started gaining a new perspective on the situation.
"After I'd been pieced back together I had to think about it all because I didn't really know whether things were going to be the same as they were before...uh, physically."
There was a chance, then, that you might be crippled forever? "Mmm, yes. I had to, not so much grow up very quickly, as be prepared to face odds that I never thought I would come up against.
"I haven't come out of it too scared, either physically and mentally, and, in fact, once I knew Maureen [Plant's wife] and the kids were OK I really threw myself back into my work. By engrossing myself more and more in the work we had on hand, the time passed by quicker.
"If I stop and brood, which is a very bad thing to do, then time moves with a lead weight around it, but the time between August 4 [the date of the accident] and now has gone by quickly because I applied myself to what I do best. I mean... I can do 99 per cent of what I could do before, so we sat down and had a meeting.
"We obviously couldn't tour, so we decided to make an album which wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for me. It was quite remarkable that I found myself sitting in an armchair facing the band with my leg in the air. We were planning to tour right around the world and back to England, playing possibly in South America, Hawaii, Japan and Asia Minor and ending up doing dates in Europe, especially Scandinavia, before dropping anchor in Albion."