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Gandalf interview with Peter Sando


Interview:

Thanks for taking your time, Peter. It's great we can talk about Gandalf and some other stuff you were involved with through the years. Let's start with questions about your childhood. Where did you grow up and what are some of your influences?

Hey Klemen, I’m honored to be your guest. I grew up in Tenafly New Jersey, a suburb of New York City. Music was all around me- my Aunt was a Jazz singer, Dolly Dawn. My older sisters were into jazz and pop and I started my own record collection when I was about 8. Soon after, disc jockey Alan Freed came to New York and started playing rhythm and blues and country music and called it Rock N Roll. He had big shows in the city with all the stars; Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Everly Brothers, etc etc! That;s where I was exposed to the great pioneers of Rock and at 13 I borrowed a guitar from a neighbor and that was that!

Were you in any bands before Gandalf? Any releases perhaps?

We had a 3 piece twangy guitar group, The Thunderbirds. We played all the instrumentals by the Ventures, Bill Doggett, Duane Eddy, etc. We didn’t have the nerve to sing in public, only in the garage. Later we got a bass and an organist and after seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan we finally sang at our gigs. There is one Rahgoo track released on the compilation Garage Beat ’66 (Sundazed). It’s called Do The Rahgoo- I wrote it in 10 minutes to fill out the session!


How did you guys came together and what was the scene back then?

I met Bob Muller in detention hall in 7th grade. We hit it off and he had a band called the Clef Tones (not to be confused with the doo wop group). Bob played drums and he knew his stuff. They needed a rhythm guitar player and asked me to join. I immediately got the chicken pox and was quarantined for two weeks- thought I’d surely miss the opportunity, but they waited for me to recover and I was in my first band. I only knew two chords when I joined the band, they taught me the third.

Do you remember some early »basement« rehearsals you had together before recording the LP?

In High School as the Thunderbirds we would rehearse in Bob Muller’s basement. I recall that he had LP covers all over the walls, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry!! I felt quite at home. Later we rehearsed in my Dad’s restaurant at the mall on Sundays (the mall was closed that day). After a while huge crowds of local kids would gather to peer in the windows, so finally we invited them in. Then one Sunday a fight broke out between two rival towns and we had to move to a private basement storage room in the mall, very dingy but quite spacious. That’s where we recorded Bad Dream on GANDALF 2.

How did you got signed up by such a major label as Capitol? Did you do any live shows where an agent would find you?

Our first New York City gig was at the legendary Night Owl Café in Greenwich Village. We played opposite the likes of James Taylor and the Flying Machine, The Magicians, Richie Havens, Tim Buckley, and many other future stars. We became friends with Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon of the Magicians. They would later become hit songwriters for the Turtles (Happy Together, She’d Rather Be With Me). We were then playing the uptown hot spots and they brought their producers, Charlie Koppelman  and Don Rubin, to see us. K&R fell in love with our rendition of Golden Earrings and signed us. They had a distribution deal with Capitol which subsequently fell apart, but Capitol kept our master and released it in 1969.

Where did you record the LP and what are some of the strongest memories from producing and recording your album?

We recorded at Century Sound in Manhattan, with the legendary Brooks Arthur at the board. We had a few quick rehearsals at home, but most of the overdubbing and arranging was done at the sessions. There was lots of spontaneity, like at the end of I Watch The Moon…I kicked my Fender twin reverb amp and the spring reverb made that electric explosion that you hear at the end of the LP.

What gear did you guys use?

I played a  Gibson SG Custom, the white one with three gold humbuckers. Frank Hubach was on B3 and Bob played his Hofner Violin Bass. We rented Vibes, Harpsichord, 12 String, and various percussion goodies to enhance the sound. I sang through our stage P.A. with a Binson Echorec to achieve the eirie vocal sounds that were so dominant on Golden Earrings. After we were finished recording, the producers told us they were going to enhance the record with the string and woodwind sweetening that they were so good at (Tim Hardin, John Sebastian). They did do it on Golden Earrings for the single, but gave up on the rest of the album and mixed it without us present. I was not happy with the result. You have to listen to it very loud to get the full vibe of our band. We were a heavy band and I think they perceived us as something else…Davey’s drumming was superb and got kind of lost in the mix.

What can you tell me about the cover artwork?

K&R informed us that their deal had gone south with Capitol, but they were keeping our tapes for release. At that point we had little control, but still some veto power. We were the Rahgoos and had a huge fan base in the tri-state area, but they insisted that we change our name. They wanted to call us The Knockrockers! We refused and told them we would think of a name. Davey was reading the Hobbit at the time and suggested Gandalf and the Wizards. That’s what we told them our name would be. We were called in to look at artwork sent from Capitol’s art department on the west coast. I recall that the first rendition was a weird scene in the style of Van Morrison’s Hard Nose On The Highway LP cover…probably by the same artist. We raised a fuss and the next presentation was the Butterfly Girl, with just GANDALF. We were worn out by then and just wanted the record to be released.


Was there any concept behind the album?

I had just started seriously writing songs, and only had two ready to go. Koppelman and Rubin liked Golden Earrings, so we went in with that sound in mind- I came up with a few other standards to rework in our psychedelic vein. I picked Nature Boy and Scarlet Ribbons. Since Garry and Alan brought us to K&R, and we were huge fans, we did two of their tunes as well. Tim Hardin was a great inspiration to me from our Greenwich Village experience, so we did a few of his too.

The album had some »problems« with the release, right?

I believe we recorded it in 1967- it was to be on K&R’s Hot Biscuit Disc Company label, but it got caught up in the legal wrangling between K&R and Capitol. In the end we were fortunate to be on Capitol’s rainbow label in good company with the Beatles and Beach Boys, etc., but it took too long, and was further delayed by a mixup with another LP distributed in our sleeve, resulting in a recall. We had already become disillusioned by then and were no longer together. Upon release it got a flurry of FM radio airplay, but fizzled fast and disappointed, I wrote it off as a failure at the time. In 1997 a friend of mine told me he saw it on the internet. It was the euro See For Miles CD reissue. I was amazed! I soon realized that there was huge collector interest in the LP and it was being bootlegged all over the world, even a picture disc! I launched a website to call attention to my current songwriting projects, but the Gandalf phenomenon seemed to dominate. The buzz at the hip village record stores was that the best label for a domestic reissue was Sundazed, known for their quality mastering and in depth liner notes and artwork. I contacted Bob Irwin and he graciously took on the task of creating the quintessential Gandalf release with photos from my archives and notes by Mike Stax. I must mention that EMI/Capitol continues to license this work without any financial recognition of us as artists to this day.

I know this is hard to answer. Would you mind sharing a few words about every song on the album….

Can You Travel In The Dark Alone- I wrote the lyric as a poem in Accounting class in college. It was originally called In The Dark Alone, but Don Rubin changed the title on his own accord. As it stands, it is incorrect, as the song lyric is ”....could you travel..”. I have always loved lighthouses and especially Barnegat Light in New Jersey. The symbolism is obvious.

I Watch The Moon - This was a song of loneliness and teenage angst that was like.... the Ronettes meet Procol Harum. I never liked the mix in the refrain- background vocals hanging out too far- not enough drums and bass. It still gets airplay!

Golden Earrings - I always was intrigued by the standards. My older sister Toni and I thumbed through a fake book and picked this one out to arrange for the band. It was from a movie with Marlena Deitricht and Ray Milland from 1947. The mystical gypsy lyric and minor key lent itself well to a psychedelic treatment. Garry and Alan loved it and I believe it sold K&R on the Rahgoos.

Never Too Far, Hang On To a Dream, You Upset The Grace of Living- Tim Hardin hung out at the Night Owl and was signed to K&R. He was most influential on my early songwriting with his economy of words and soulful folk style. These are three favorites. We attempted to do Hardin like the Byrds did Dylan.

Me About You, Tiffany Rings- Garry and Alan were churning out hits for the Turtles and Three Dog Night. They played us all their songs and we picked these two laid back beauties.

Nature Boy- It was a smash for Nat King Cole and seemed to be a perfect twin for Golden Earrings. The guitar solo was one take- just a practice. They never gave me a second shot.

Scarlet Ribbons, by The Browns, spun wizardry of a divine nature and seemed to fit the mood. Frank's baroque harpsichord and Bob's gentle vocal made it happen.

Where and with who all did you play?


We played mainly in the tri-state area of the USA, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, with some college gigs in Pennsylvania. In New York City we played at the Night Owl Cafe, Scott Muni’s Rolling Stone, The Phone Booth, Trudy Heller’s, Murray the K’s World and the Electric Circus. We opened for or played opposite Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, James Taylor, The Magicians, The Stranger’s, The Fugitives, Tim Buckley, The Myddle Class, Lothar and the Hand People, among others. At times, we backed up Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles, Cannibal and the Headhunters, and The Coasters.

 Bryan Post
 Bob Muller
 Frank Hubach
Peter Sando

What's the story about your second album. It was long time unreleased?

GANDALF 2 was an answer to the call from so many fans around the world for more vintage Gandalf tracks. It consists of three tracks that I recorded as a soloist in the early seventies at Brooks Arthur’s new 914 studios in Blauvelt, NY. Also some early basement tapes, a demo of Golden Earrings with an extended trippy solo, some live cuts, and a few Barracuda records that I did with Garry and Alan in 1968 while we waited for the Gandalf release. It has been quite successful and I thank all the folks who continue to support this music. I was especially gratified when Sundazed released it on a special “smokey topaz” colored 12” vinyl LP.


The Barracuda is another band you were involved with and you released two singles. Please share some information about The Barracuda.

As I became more frustrated with the Gandalf delay, I got a call. Alan Gordon and Garry Bonner were bursting with ideas and I guess they wanted to create yet another outlet for some of the songs that they were churning out. They asked me to do this single with a studio group that would be called the Barracuda. I liked the song, “The Dance at St. Francis,” and welcomed the diversion. They brought in LeRoy Glover to arrange the session and he put together a mini wall-of-sound that really rocked. It was released in a picture sleeve with a cartoon of four fellows hanging out in front of a church — I suppose that was supposed to be the Barracuda. It did chart briefly and I believe that if they didn’t break the rhythm to a 3/4 in the bridge, it would have been a huge hit. We put together a smaller group for the second single, me on guitars, Davey Bauer on drums, Russ Sevakis on Bass and a lot of vocals. They arranged it with a razor blade and it ended up being a pretty weird record, “Julie (the Song I Sing Is You).”


What happened in the 70's and what does occupy your life these days, Peter?

The Gandalf Drummer, Davey Bauer and I played a few gigs as Gandalf, but it just wasn’t the same. I went to California to play in a band that Davey had hooked up with and a talented songwriter named Chris Flinders, but there was a lot of drugs that got in the way of any progress. I took refuge housesitting for friends in the band Country Funk while they were on tour. I wrote a few songs there and then returned to New Jersey and settled down with the love of my life, Wenke Taule, working in the family restaurant business and playing in all sorts of cover bands for extra money. I did continue to write songs and record in my home studio and began to play solo gigs focusing on my original music. At the time I was influenced and inspired by a college pal, Jack McMahon, who had developed into a first rate songwriter. We still collaborate!

CREATURES OF HABIT my first solo CD was released in 1999 comprised of all original material, and I am especially proud of JOHN BROWN, ode to the militant abolitionist who sparked the Civil War, and DESERT FLOWER, which I would describe as a "Native American lullaby."

Three of my songs, co-written with composer Joe Delia, appear in the 1999 Trimark film "Time Served" with Louise Fletcher and Katherine Oxenberg.

I have the new CD, Afraid Of The Dark, featuring "Sally Hemings," which examines the affair between Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress.

And, just last week I learned that a cool Norwegian band, ULVER, released a compilation of rare 60’s covers, and they include my song Can You Travel In The Dark Alone…a fine rendition it is!

I do still appear in New York/New Jersey folk venues from time to time. Check out my website for updates!


Thanks a lot for taking your time! Would you like to send a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers?

I want to thank all those who discovered Gandalf over the years.  It’s amazing to me that there is renewed interest in our work from over 40 years ago all over the world! Please support my new music as well at CDBaby.com or iTunes!!  My message is to keep music in your life, it will always be a true friend. Stay away from the hard drugs and listen LOUD!



















Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012

The Nuts interview


Interview:

How and when were Nuts born?

Stefano: My passion for music started early...let's say when I was a child.
I had an old record player at home, "Lesa" three-speeds and two pins (33 – 45 – 78)... enough to turn it upside down and the game was done!
My father had a small collection of 78's including interesting recordings by Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, but my favorite was “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets, with “Thirteen Women” and “Only One Man in Town” on side B. My elder brother had several 45 rpm of the '60s and '70s Italian music. The most popular were those of Rokes and Adriano Celentano (an Italian myth).


I started very early to spend money on records, I remember my first LPs, bought after reading the reviews on italian music magazines of the times (CIAO 2001, Gong, Muzak …): "Machine Head" by Deep Purple, "Led Zeppelin III", "Abraxas" by Santana, John Mayall's "A Hard Road", the one with Peter Green ...
As soon as I finished high school in 1980, during one of my usual visits to the best record store in town ("Bloom & Rossmann") I asked the owner if he needed a salesman, and he replied: "OK, come tomorrow afternoon, there is a container full of records imported from USA, so give me a hand ... " I was in heaven.
I remember tons of wonderful vinyl at bargain prices, obscure american bands like Bloodrock, Good Rats, Dust, Madura, a lot of New Wave, Blues and everything else I could imagine.
Since then my collection began to significantly grow, as well as my reputation as an expert on the subject, since I sold records for more than 30 years...also buying a lot ... but let's go Nuts.

I was very fascinated by the harp sound, listening to records by Paul Butterfield, Canned Heat, and J. Geils Band, and of course I would have liked to playing in a band. Mario Bucceri was a music lover like me, and he also had a good records collection. Once he told me he joined a band, The Blues Engine, and invited me to practice sessions.
I was intrigued, because Mario previously played with an interesting country rock group, The Tulsa Band, and he was one of the few people in town having an above average music culture and clear ideas in his mind.
The Blues Engine line up was Mario Bucceri and Vittorio Bardi on guitars and vocals, Carlo Cantile on bass and Francesco Carpena on drums. As soon as I listened to them playing I realized that, unlike other local bands (mostly cover bands), they had a personal and very definite style.
The Blues Engine played a solid blues rock in which the twin lead guitars alternated deep and visceral solos, sometimes also in original songs spiced with Mario and Vittorio passion for British bands like Kinks, Jam, Who.

I was offered the opportunity to participate playing harp in some songs and I quickly caught up with the band. Soon I decided to buy a mike and an amp (VOX AC30 which I still have); the Blues Engine did several gigs in La Spezia and nearby.
At some point, however, because of a number of events, the drummer left the band and so the bass player, in other words the Engines stopped running. It was then that me and Mario decided we wanted to go on and we launched recruiting.

We met Agostino Morvillo (bass player). He was then a truck driver and he had a good musical background (on top of a wonderful Fender precision). He liked the heavy blues rock sound: Cream, Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher. 

Let's go for the drummer: Paolo worked in our favourite pub, we knew about his passion for music and for drums. A chat was enough to understand that he was the guy for the job: same musical tastes, same enthusiasm,  heavy hand and an “interesting” background: we had the rhythm section.
We decided to start rehearsing, equipping the garage of my country house (sticking paperboard egg trays to the walls...you know...high tech acoustic insulation!), it was time to take off and test our skills.

We soon became aware that the spirit was there and with some work (let's say a lot...) we could leave something good, it was time to find a name...and this was "Nuts", not in its common meaning, but in English slang for "hotheads", "bolts", "wags", we liked it immediately (short and effective)...
and so Nuts were born:

Mario Bucceri - guitar, vocals
Stefano Bardò - harp
Agostino Morvillo - bass
Paolo Falchi - drums (1983-1987)
Guido Carli - drums (1987-1988)


Mario: Yes, that was in 1983 in La Spezia, a mid-sized sea town in Liguria. We, as members, were very different under many aspects (social, cultural and in some way also for musical tastes) but we were eager for a musical experience and we really wanted to do something different from what was happening in those days in the area of "Indies" label. This does not necessarily mean we wanted to do something shockingly new...probably the contrary in my view. Young bands coming out in those days seemed to force "something new", resulting a bit false or anyway lacking freshness. We wanted simply to play good music, to do it "with guts" and to sincerely do "whatever we liked to", without pre-emptive schemes or the target to build a specific image. In other words, music is good if you like it, it's something unruled (thanks God!).

Stefano: After a testing period, we had built a repertoire including both reinterpretations of classic British blues and original songs; often we entered into real jam sessions in which everyone was improvising long solos and the atmosphere got a psychedelic flavor. We were chasing a sound, in some way personal but summing up all possible influences coming out from the music we loved.
We decided to record a demo tape, and this was an important step allowing us to understand the dynamics of a recording session and the possibilities offered by an equipped studio. This obviously also represented a chance to let people know what we were doing and to start being invited to play in clubs, which were often and unfortunately not adequate to our “high volume” acts and many times we had lively discussions with club owners saying "you're crazy, forget about playing like this here!"
I remember a couple of great gigs at a beerfest in Forchheim Germany. We were invited by some of our German friends, I remember a crowd of people who warmly welcomed us, calling us back on stage several times... and then the quality of the audience, with bikers and hippies, was something making us proud and satisfied.

Mario: It's worth mentioning we bought an half-destroyed pick up to go there with an incredibly long journey to reach Gerrmany and...well...great! Pure fun...as it should be.

It's a shame you were not more known, because you released two great albums in 1986 and 1987. I would like if you could tell us the story behind this two great releases?

Mario: First of all thanks a lot for your appreciation! I think we could not be more known, mainly for two reasons: 1) We played in Italy, which is not UK or USA (and maybe not even Germany). In Italy live gigs are concentrated in the summer season and usually we talk about big concerts (stadiums, palasports, large theatres...). There was not the culture of "every night a gig in a club", music was the extraordinary event, not something usual. 2) we sang in english and, unfortunately, "global" thinking was still far to come. Knowing this was a curb for us, we tried to explain that the language was for us a choise like when you chose an instrument, like to say "in this track I want to play a Strat..." but...that was a decisive element in the possibility to have a wider audience. I tell you what: to firmly deliver the message that our music was something coming out of the provincial italian humus I used to wear a T-shirt in live acts (designed by a girl often attending our gigs/practice sessions) showing a fist holding a fork with spaghetti and stating "Spaghetti Power!".

Stefano: In 1986 we decided it was time to record an album, there was in fact a good number of Italian underground bands like us, tied to traditional Rock, regardless of fashion trends. They were all just trying to have a chance to let people listen to their music, and after an indigestion of punk and new wave, the various music magazines dedicated space to the "new Rock roots."
So it was that in a week we recorded our first album "The Ups & Downs Of A Nice Little Bugger" (produced by Cobra Records) at TBM Studios in Castelfranco Emilia , an album made of original songs written by Mario and arranged together, and a version of the Bo Diddley classic "Who Do You Love?", eight minutes of acid rock in which all the instruments went wild creating moments of tension and collective improvisation. Mario changed the words and called it "Who Should You Love? ". This became one of our flagship products, in every concert we palyed a different version, and it always worked great!


Mario: "The Ups & Downs of a nice little bugger" was recorded in six hot days. We worked very hard on refining 9 original songs and the revised version of the Bo Didley classic Stefano was referring to. 10 Tracks arranged in a concept album, interpreted like a sort of  Rock Opera and which we used to call a “Shock Opera”. The main character, the nice little bugger, is continuously looking for new emotions but, coming from another world (and this is a key point, we were never in line with the musical arena in those days..let's say we were not in line, full stop), does not get used to what’s around him and…he feels bitterly disappointed-
This is probably the less refined/mature album but, in my view, it still represents the best creative period of our Band. The “Ups & Downs” includes “Mist”: an hypnotic minor blues very much appreciated also in live acts. A lot of energy and a whole wild bunch of different influences. Take into account that in the days preceding the recording we had decided to break up, energy had some way dried up after three years and then...the call from the producer. This was a huge energy injection and, actually, that album came out naturally day by day, very quickly and in a genuine way, ideas came while playing and they were implemented.

Stefano: We sent some promotional copies of the album to the major music magazines of the time (The Wild Bunch, Rockerilla, Ultimo Buscadero) receiving excellent reviews by Beppe Riva, Riccardo Bertoncelli, Daniele Ghisoni, Aldo Pedron, Marino Grandi, Vittore Baroni, big names of music magazines. Soon, after the album release we had phone calls and we volunteered to take part in several concerts throughout Italy.

In 1987, we recorded the second album "Looking For Cockaigne" of which we were proud once again, since it included only one cover ("Hey Gyp" by Donovan) and the rest was made of original compositions. It moved also a step away from our classic Rock and Blues roots, we were evolved into a more original and varied sound, perhaps "psycho-soul"? (the Nuts were never intended, to be a group of blues revival, we could not see much sense in singing "Sweet Home in Chicago" while living in a seatown in Italy. The lyrics written by Mario were about us and about our lives, the music was felt as entirely ours, be it good or bad).


Mario: "Looking for Cockaigne" was really the second chapter of the Story: another “concept” (the guy looks for his Cockaigne, but it’s so difficult to be found while it’s so easy to imagine it through the dangerous path of drugs and alcohol), again 9 originals + a cover
I think the band reached a new and more refined sound that the band defined, as Stefano has just said, “Psycho-Soul”. The album included the only instrumental track of the Nuts (Absynth Boulevard and, talking about influences, even if it results so far from that, I started working on this track in the wake of a Zappa instrumental: “sexual harrassment in the work place”).

The fact that our recording sessions were extremely creative and intense is reflected in the difference between the records and the live acts. the "live" Nuts were heavily influenced by hard blues and pub rock tones, very direct. The albums left room to experiments on sound, irrespective of the impossibility to replicate certain things on stage. We simply didn't care...on stage we should have found our way to do it, anyway.


Stefano: At some point, however, we found ourselves in a critical situation, since the drummer, had to move out of town for job problems and he could no longer be fully available in case of a call for a concert. We took a pause while looking for a substitute. We were told by a drum teacher about Guido Carli, a young guy who was said to be promising.
Guido was the youngest out of three brothers, all musicians, at the time he played with the Italian Extravaganza (Mario recorded a couple of tracks in their debut album and so he already played with Guido) and he was endowed with taste and an extraordinary technical skill. We did not really expect that such a kid (16 years old) could play like that. He got immediately in tune with the Nuts and within a few hours he was already in a position to play our whole repertoire.
We started again to play concerts and we were very proud of the new member, we had a solid rhythm section giving us confidence. During gigs we were eagerly waiting for his inevitable drum solo to check the audience reaction: Guido started like a rocket leaving people astonished, a real talent!
In 1987 we recorded four songs with a mini-LP "The Haunt", where we proposed a twisted version of "Johnny B. Goode" and a sour "Crosstown Traffic" in which Mario shows his big talent with the  guitar.

Mario: Actually something I'm fond of and I was a bit nervous for the fact that what in my view is my best moment is...when fading starts! Let me spend a word on the cover of “The Haunt",where our concept materialized: a huge metal heart pumped by four different veins.
I think this mini LP, always in my view, includes the Top musical achievement of the Nuts: our cover of "Crosstown Traffic". And the new drummer, Guido Carli, a great drummer (and 16Y old at the times!!!). Paolo was pure energy and instinct (on top of being a wonderful guy and a pillar in the Nuts project development), while Guido had a quality which is rare in drummers: he privileged the song with respect to his great technique, he privileged the overall result...playing simple and stressing accents.

One thing I find really fantastic is the cover artwork of »Looking for Cockaigne«.

Stefano: Our debut album "The Ups & Downs Of A Nice Little Bugger" came with a pretty poor cover, both for the choice of the paper (actually from shoes boxes) and to deliberately express something elementary, fairly typical of underground productions of those years. For "Looking For Cockaigne, "we wanted something that could reflect our state of mind: we were in a phase of intense creativity, we felt like in a swirl of colours and feelings freaking us out; we gave total freedom to the author of the cover artwork, our friend Carla Isetta, and, being ready to play the game, being collectors of rare records, we thought she should have done a gatefold gimmick cover, with insert, then we wanted red vinyl, in short, we imagined it as a "collector's item"; once again the album was greeted with good reviews on various monthly rock music magazines.


Mario: Yes, it was good. Young artists, unknown and without equipped professional studios, were always in our environment and Carla Isetta did wonderful things. I think this cover had definitely a lot to do with the psychedelic atmosphere of the Album...and with some deeper evolution in our minds...not necessarily easy but, let's say, creative...and a bit painful. Again, our “Guy” in the first album was out of the blue...now he was deep into the blue...


How about your influences? You all must be a huge psych fans and since I have a magazine about it I would like if you could perhaps tell us TOP 10 less known psych albums, that had influences on you?

Mario: I think there were lots of influences, as I already said, and main ones were British Blues, Pub Rock, Hard Rock. My main Psycho influence is Hendrix and I do not consider myself as a real psychedelic influenced player but, again, everything knocked at the Nuts door...even Punk ( see "What a Hunger" in our first album). Just to tell you some not very known Albums attracting me: "The Damnation of Adam Blessing" and some of the "Bevis Frond" recordings.

Stefano: One thing is certain, I never bought a record just because it was a rare one, I don't like to spend a lot of money to get the "Japanese special edition" of... and so on, I'm a curious listener of all  the  imaginable kinds of music. When I was sixteen, American and British Blues (Killing Floor, Chicken Shack...) was my life, then I went into my "Garage period" (hundreds of compilations in my collection like "Pebbles", "Back From the Grave", "Psychedelic Crown Jewels" etc...), then many 70's Psychedelic obscurities, I'm curious about twisted personalities like Kim Fowley, Peter Ivers, Armand Schaubroeck...but I was also fascinated by two books about "Incredible Strange music". After reading them I went in search of music records and bizarre Exotica of the '50s (I collect a lot of Harmonica records of fourties and fifties...just give a look at the record covers of Johnny Puleo & His Harmonica Gang!)...another of my personal favourites are NRBQ, one of the most creative and underrated american bands.

These are ten songs that I love for different reasons:

DINO VALENTE - Time 
FRACTION - Sanc Divided
CLARK-HUTCHINSON - Free To Be Stoned
KIM FOWLEY - Bubble Gum
ANNETTE PEACOCK - My Mama Never Taught Me How To Cook
MARIANNE FAITHFUL - Sleep
PETER BARDENS with PETER GREEN - Don't Goof With A Spook
BANGOR FLYING CIRCUS (pre Madura) - Violent Men
THE WHITE NOISE - Your Hidden Dreams
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO - Molto Lontano (a colori)

Did Nuts do any touring?

Mario: Not touring in the true sense of the word, but a good number of gigs, especially in 1988. I remeber a very good act in 1986 at the International Blues Festival in Milan, as supporter of the "Al Copley Combo" and our "Crazy" participation to the beer fest "Hannafest" in Forcheim, Germany.


Stefano: For a group like The Nuts a real tour was unthinkable, on the other hand our music was not for large stages, and we had not a particular "look". Anyway, there was a period in which we played in many different places around Italy.
I remember, as Mario,  the Milano Blues Festival '87, when we opened the evening for "Al Copley Combo", the piano player of "Roomful of Blues", I remember a festival in Avellino, southern Italy, together with the Label fellows The Sleeves, Big Fat Mama, Polvere Di Pinguino; I remember the show "Juke-Box, i percorsi della notte" in Torino, an event attended by virtually all emerging Italian bands, we did two dates, one at the "Divina Commedia" and one at 'Hiroshima Mon Amour”

Mario: ...outstanding Guido performance that night....everybody asking me “who's that kid?!”

Stefano: I remember "Arezzo Wave" (filmed by Video Music), an important event that has launched several Italian groups like Casino Royale, CCCP, Litfiba, then "Pistoia Blues," among "emerging bluesmen". I remember the concert at "Leoncavallo" historic social center of Milano in front of an audience of punks (anyway appreciating the act), then the night we opened for Koko Taylor, Queen of the Blues and also many other occasions in which we shared the stage with a lot of different bands.

What happened next and what can you tell me about your background before the formation of the Nuts?

Mario: I think you understood from one of my answers above that in Italy it's particularly difficult to live with music. We all needed to gain some money to live and, finally (in 1988) we had to part. Probably this is not the only cause. Our 6Y history was very intense and also rather stressing (because felt and deeply involving) and, in some way, the vein had dried.
As for my background: I studied some classical guitar (this is why I play directly with my fingers and without any pick). When I was sixteen I established a Country Band and during that period my world was Bob Dylan (which influence anyway remained huge for me, especially in singing). Soon after the love for Blues came, and I really considered myself a Bluesman. I knew Stefano through playing together with my first (and loved) Blues Band, The Blues Engines (we also recently met and played again!!) and then...The Nuts...which meant substantially being open to everything. In that period I also co-wrote an Italian song and played guitar, as said before, with the Italian Extravaganza (experience in which I met Guido).

Stefano: We still managed to do a few gigs, but then also Guido had to move and  we had reached the point in which for job reasons or else we could not play so often, so we decided, and be sure it was a bitter decision, to close the Nuts book. After all we had our good time and satisfatcion, what started  as a hobby had paid off, we were able to make three recordings, we played around Italy, we knew many people and we had a lot of friends, something was with us to stay...
An unexpected surprise was when the "Enciclopedia del Rock Italiano" (The Encyclopedia of Italian Rock - Arcana Publishing) by Federico Guglielmi was released in 1993, the first book fully dedicated to the Italian groups from the early '60s until the late '80s, where with great satisfaction we found that the Nuts were included, by the way with positive reviews.
Sometime later, in the early '90s, Mario and I tried to put together a new group, this time we decided to do things with less effort, just for fun, and we invented "The Witches" with a girl on bass, the very good Marta Sausa, from "Italian Extravaganza", by the way endowed with a wonderful voice, now the chaotic and "rude" Blues Rock was a thing of the past, and the new songs and arrangements by the Witches were more oriented to a hybrid of UK Pop Rock matrix, we did a few live appearances and that was good, but the project did not last long, as the need to work for a life was beginning to be pressing.
I played Harmonica with Bumble Bee, a Roots Rock band from southern Italy, in their sole LP, then in The Sleeves EP, a band from Genova.

What are you doing these days?

Stefano: I stopped selling records, times are changed!, sadly the new generation doesn't buy music any more, everywhere only iPods and other “fashion things...I still love the smell of old american record covers (maybe it'ss the glue they used...is like a drug!). Now I'm a terminal operator in the port of La Spezia, music is still my great passion, not one single day without my headphones, my records, my CDs, sometimes my Blues Harps, blogspots like this!   
I recently meet someone who greeted me asking about the Nuts, if they still play together or not..., someone asks: "Do you remember me?...That time at that gig...I have your records with signatures... " Little things that make you happy.

Mario: Don't faint...I'm a banker!! (but be sure I keep my Psycho approach also there!). Let me cite a song we sang with “The Witches”, one of the best ever in my view: “I won't grow up”...a traditional included in the wonderful album by Rickie Lee Jones “ Pop Pop”.

Thanks for taking your time! Would you like to send a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers?

Stefano: Thanks to you Klemen, I really appreciate your work, hope you dig deeper and deeper to find more great obscure bands all around the world!
A message to all readers...
Put your headphones on, choose a good record, turn up the volume and enjoy some healthy "air guitar"...at least once a day nothing else mattaers!

Mario: thanks to you Klemen for discovering the past!! What I want to say to your readers is "Read, listen, experience...do not give up!"...by the way Klemen, could you give me any indication to find “Cockaigne”?



















Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012

Eidetic Seeing interview


Interview:

What's the idea behind Eidetic Seeing?

Sean Forlenza: I wouldn't say there is any real "idea" behind the band besides writing interesting and innovative music.  Before I formed the band I wrote and recorded a few demo songs by myself, so that set the template and general sound for what I wanted Eidetic Seeing to be like.  Once Danilo and Paul joined however, I never set up any rules or anything like that and its been a free for all ever since; each of us write the songs and bring our on individual ideas into the music.  If we had a concrete idea behind the band I think that would only limit us.

How did you guys came together? Similar taste for music or was it spontaneous?

Sean: As I said I wrote a few demo songs and recorded them (very poorly) on my own in 2009.  That summer Paul and his roommates threw a party featuring his band Manburger Surgical and I asked him if I could play.  I asked two of my friends to fill in on bass and drums and pretty much just showed them the riffs once before hand and that was it.  I scheduled another show for the end of that summer but wanted permanent members with their own ideas for the band.  I asked Paul if he would be interested in playing drums and a friend of mine who played in a band with Danilo in high school recommended him for bass.  Although we do share similar tastes, our differences is what keeps the band interesting.

You released whole album on vinyl called Drink the Sun. What did inspire you to use such a nice name?

Sean: Drink the Sun was the name of one of those songs I wrote long ago in my room before I had the band.  The song is about the human race dying out due to aliens coming to steal Earth's resources.  I liked the imagery that the lyric "drink the sun" evoked, so I used it for the name of that song and we all agreed it would make a great album title.


While listening to your album, I can hear many influences from heavy psych to some really heavy noise touches. What can you say about this album?

Danilo Coleman: The album definitely has a lot of different musical ideas running through it, and I see that as a main trend of our band: we all listen to all sorts of diverse styles of music and we never intended to play in 'just' a stoner rock or psychedelic band.  We take a lot of inspiration from bands outside of the genre and try to synthesize it with our aesthetic to make it work.  As a result you can hear some jazz influences, a lot of noise, some prog, and it all gets smashed together in the songwriting.


The album was recorded and mixed by Evan Sobel (Atlantean Runes, formerly La Otracina), a good friend of the band who also recorded our debut EP.  Similarly to that record, "Drink The Sun"attempts to come as close to our live sound as possible and as a result, all of the songs are full takes.  Everything was recorded in our tiny rehearsal space in the basement of a moped shop and If you think it sounds loud on the record, imagine it in there! We were so loud that we essentially were kicked out of the rehearsal space a few months later.  They couldn't handle it.

If you can compare this to your first release. How do you see it?

Danilo: It's definitely a very different record and I think it speaks to our evolution as a band.  Over the year or so between recordings, we began to be much more specific about our song structures and think a lot more about every element of every song -  a process that is exhaustive and can take months, but always results in a finer piece of music.  On the EP, most of our songs were structured around one main idea which we would then improvise off of.  There is a lot of improvisation on "Drink the Sun" as well, but we've harnessed it a bit more, and tightened our constraints just a little, to make the songs more dynamic.


Sean: I think early on Eidetic Seeing was much more of a "Spacey" band than it is now.  You can see the difference very clearly between both albums.  My guitar tone on the EP had plenty of air and space in it because I used to focus mainly on echo and reverb.  On  Drink the Sun I started focusing more on fuzz as the main sound and starting taking my tone into consideration a lot more.  This made the record sound a lot heavier and more full.

What are some of your plans? Do you play any shows? I didn't ask before. Where are you from? What's the scene in your town?

Danilo: We're from the Big Apple! Specifically Brooklyn.  We met and formed here in 2009 and have been going at it locally ever since.  The city is obviously a great place to see a ton of music and it is also home to some of our favorite current psych bands like NAAM, White Hills, and Psychic Ills among others.  There's always a wealth of good music going around so it's a great place to get exposed to all sorts of different stuff.

We've been playing a lot in NY lately and are going on a mini-tour this June, with a bigger one to follow towards the end of 2012.  We're hoping to get back into the studio at the end of the year and aiming for a follow-up release some time in 2013.















Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012

Nebula interview with Tom Davies


Interview:

Hey Tom, how are you?  Thank you very much for taking your time for the interview.

Thank you and it's my pleasure.

Before Nebula, were you in any bands?

Nothing really noteworthy. I played Around a lot with friends and.... A lot of songs were written over the years and a lot of demo's recorded too. Maybe they'll see the light of day sometime.

You joined the band during Atomic Ritual album in 2003. Tell me, how that happened?

Actually let me correct you there... I didn't actually start playing with Nebula officially until august 2004. Atomic Ritual had already been recorded and Nebula had toured the record twice before I started.
II had worked for Nebula as a stage/guitar tech since early 2000 and they used to take me on tour wherever they went.
They'd flown me out in January 2004 for a tour with Clutch, Mastadon & The Hidden Hand and introduced me to a girl before the tour started while I was in LA. Anyway after the tour was done and I'd gone back to the UK I came back out to LA to see if if was going to go anywhere with this girl Pamela I'd met. Eddie and myself were messing around at the rehearsal space one night with him on drums and me on guitar and we started jamming Nebula songs.
Eddie and Ruben were looking for a bass player after the departure of Mark Abshire, just prior to Atomic Ritual. They'd tried out a few people - Isaiah Mitchell from Earthless was one but nothing had clicked.
I'd already travelled with the guys for a few years and we knew we got on so Ruben came down a few nights later and we went through a bunch of songs.
I think I got about 3 or 4 rehearsals before we had a show down in Long Beach with High on Fire.
I had to fly back to the UK the next day due to my visa, and returned 2 weeks later for a couple more rehearsals before heading out for a full US/Canada tour.

How do you remember the recording sessions for Atomic Ritual?

Ha. I don't... I wasn't there. But from all accounts it was good. They recorded with Chris Goss out in the desert at Joshua Tree.

Your next album is Apollo, which is really spacey and fuzzed out. What are some memories from recording and producing this LP?

Apollo was a funny one, that was recorded at Hollywood Sound. We were working with long time Ramones engineer/producer Daniel Rey. Ill never forget him saying, "you guys are trying to make a 2 month record in 2 weeks." We worked hard on that record, there were many layers and occasionally we clashed with Daniel basically because of different mentalities...west coast psych heads and an east coast punk rocker, I was going through immigration issues too coming from the UK so there was a lot of turmoil and change going on but it all worked out in the end. We had a record we were proud of. Recording a record is like giving birth, it can sometimes be a slow painful process.


I'm sure you have some crazy stories to share from being on tour...

 ... Er yes. Lots, many I wouldn't want to re-tell to protect the guilty!
I'm sure we haven't done anything that's not already been done before by our predecessors. Lets see...
After we played a festival in Tromso, Norway - right up there in the arctic circle. We missed our flight out of there, no big deal if it had been a big city, but the trouble was there were only 2 flights a day and we had a schedule to keep. So it was a bit like that John Candy movie 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles.' Literally we had to take a slow train for hours through the fjords. I got a great picture of a sign in the middle of nowhere that said, 'You are now leaving the Arctic Circle'. We then had to catch taxi cabs, and eventually a couple of planes. All of this with our bags and gear! What a come down after we'd just played with Iggy & The Stooges the day previously. I wouldn't change it though, That train ride was quite a memorable experience.

Heavy Psych is your last release, what happened next?

Well Rob Oswald (Mondo Generator/Karma To Burn) had recently joined us on drums and we went into the studio (The Pass) to record a bunch of songs we had. I think we recorded about 13 or 14 basic songs, and went from there.
We initially decided to put together a limited edition digipack cdEP to introduce Rob and to sell exclusively on tour to the fans who came out to the shows.
Tee Pee records who originally put out the 1st Nebula E.P 'Let it Burn' approached us  and wanted to release it as a full length with more songs. So we returned to the studio with Matt Lynch (Snail) and finished off a few more songs. Tee Pee then re-released it on cd/vinyl/digital.
8. May I ask why did you disbanded and is there any hope to get back together again sometime?
Simply.... We'd had 3 drummers quit in a 6 month period and Eddie was headed down a road I didnt want to travel down. There's no hard feelings, I see him around a lot. As for Nebula, never say never. I love Nebula and everyone that's been involved in the band. I'm sure Nebula will return when the time is right.

What are you doing these days?

I'm keeping myself busy and out of trouble. I engineered/produced a song with a good friend of mine Bron Tieman (Crooked Cowboy & The Freshwater Indians) for 'The Dolly Rocker Movement's contribution to the Sky Saxon Tribute Record. They did 'You Gotta Ride'. I've been playing with LA based psych/shoegaze/droners 'Lantvrn' for the past 18 months. We are currently recording a full length which looks like it will probably come out on 'No Alliance' - Tony Presidio's (Tee Pee Records founder) new label in sometime this year...And yes on vinyl too.
I'm also busy with my psych project 'The 4th Order'. It's basically me and some friends/peers. There'll be a few familiar faces to people. Mark Abshire (original Nebula/Fu Manchu bassist), Joe Hoare (Orange Goblin), Hunter Perrin (John Fogerty Band) amongst others are all contributing to the record. It's a psych record. Right up your readers alley! The record will probably surface sometime in the latter part of 2012. I plan to release a AA Side single before that. There are about 3 songs recorded so far. It's being recorded at my studio at home in Los Angeles... I've just recently started playing with my old Nebula bandmate Ruben Romano, he's reprised his post nebula band 'The Freeks'. Hari Hassin from Roadsaw is on drums and Jonathon Hall from Backbiter on guitar. We played a small show here in LA a month or so ago with Mike Watt.

Thanks a lot for the interview, Tom! Would you like to send a message to the readers of It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine?

Thanks for taking time out to read this, and don't ever stop listening and discovering all these outstanding bands, old and new.

And watch this space!



















Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012

Axe/Crystalline interview with Tony Barford


Interview:

It's an extreme pleasure to talk about your band but first I want to ask you how are you and what are you currently up to?

I'm fine, thank You, but unfortunately my long curly hair I used to have while playing with Axe died and left me long ago!
I still play with three part time bands, a 1940 s swing band, a jazz & blues band & a western swing  outfit, in which I play pedal steel guitar. That’s good cos you get to sit down.
So I’m growing old gracefully, but on occasion we can still get psychedelic at the end of the evening, much to the surprise of the audience!

Guerssen Records will be reissuing your album. How do you feel about the fact, that there are still so many people interested in your music?

Its great that so many people are interested in our music and the music of that era, but it was a great time to play in a band. We were free to express ourselves & improvise so we never knew what each gig would bring. To my mind that’s a lot more fun than churning out the same old crap, night after night!


So let's start this interview with some questions about your background. Where were you born and what are some of your memories from childhood and teenage years? How were you involved with the music?

I was born in Northampton, England and still live there. Not the music capital of the world, but in the 60s it was full of great musicians & characters. Also its central position makes it very convenient to get anywhere around the country for gigs. I started playing the piano(by ear) at the age of five. Unfortunately my Father worked night shifts so the piano eventually had to go, cos I kept forgetting myself and waking him up with boogie woogie. I think it was chopped up, probably where the name Axe first came from! When I was twelve I decided I’d like to be a jazz trumpeter, so I went along to the auction house,but couldn't afford a trumpet, so came back with a guitar. Probably for the best.

How did it all started?

When I was fourteen we formed a group from our class at school (most classes had at least one) and did a few gigs, aided by flagons of cider (for stage fright, you understand). The best thing about those early gigs was the fact that the girls used to scream continuously, which was just as well cos we must have been making a god awful noise! Equipment was a problem due to lack of funds. I remember we aquired some drums (by extremely dubious means) from a local boys brigade association. Guitar amps were ancient bakelite valve radios, not very loud but great distortion! We could not afford speaker cabs for the P A so we had naked 12 inch speakers lying on the stage and occasionally bouncing off it. The P A amp was an ex police car radio amp with red hot valves exposed on top. These would explode spectacularly whenever some over excited group member spilt cider on to it. The switching gear for the lights consisted of completely exposed & un-insulated  lengths of copper tube. The light show bloke was Al Button, the plumber, carrying high voltage. This crude apparatus completely blacked out TV & radio for miles around when we played.

After I left school I started work at an accountants office, which fortunately was just round the corner from The Black Lion, the top local music pub and general den of iniquity. About this time we formed The Mississippi Groovers with Pete Garofalo (vocals, keyboards & harp). Playing mostly R & B. On Saturday mornings we would rehearse in the room next to his Dads barbers shop, which must have been a bit noisy for his customers, but we had no complaints and most people enjoyed it. After that I turned to the blues & we formed the Custom Built Blues Band with Tonk Rock (drums) & Dennis Clark (bass). We had reasonable success with this line up playing local halls during the blues revival of that time. I remember Dennis was a keen rugby player. We decided to improve our blues appearance by growing beards, but because we were still quite young they grew pale & thin. Then we hit on the idea of dying them with Tonk’s mums hair dye. Unfortunately we left this on for far to long & finished up with purple.

In 1968 I joined J J Bender & the SOS (a local soul band) and toured quite a lot , mostly arriving home just in time for work the next day or sleeping in the van (not too good for the accountancy career). We were support act for Slade on one gig. About this time Axe Music were formed at the Black Lion with Roger Hilliard on the bass and  Mark Griffiths on guitar. In 1969 Mark left and moved on to greater things (Matthews Southern Comfort, the Shadows etc) and I joined Axe. This terminated my accountancy career (being asleep at my desk and having long hair not being acceptable apparently?). The line up then was John (vocals), Graham Richards (two saxes at once, flute, standing on one leg, foghorn impressions & political comments), Mick Knight (Hammond organ & part time Zulu), Mick Knobbs (stalwart bass player) & Steve Gordon (drums & West Coast musician). After a while Mick Knight left and we missed his great playing, but not carrying the heavy Hammond organ up and down flights of stairs and slippery fire escapes... John left & Vivienne Jones joined on vocals & it was this line up that played the infamous Abington Park band stand gig in Northampton, the date I think was Sunday 31 May 1970 (unfortunately not the summer of ‘69, as the song goes). This is the concert filmed by Steve Giles (guitarist with The Dark) and its quite a period piece, lots of hippies, sun shining and a giant inflated balloon for the kids to play in.

This was the first pop concert after the town council tried to move away from the traditional brass bands. So the sun shone, the band played, the audience loved it, everything was beautiful, that is until our old friends the police turned up stopped the music after some miserable bastards complained that we were too loud.  It’s a good job it was all peace and love in those days, nowadays I think a riot would break out. I'll let you have the press cuttings from the day.


We also played support gigs to Free, Wishbone Ash & The Who. It was certainly an experience to stand in the wings & watch The Who do their set, what energy! The caretaker, however was less pleased; The Who’s drum roadies had knocked huge 6 inch nails into his pristine polished stage to try to hold Keith Moons drum kit together while he smashed the living shit out of it!


Shortly after this gig Graham, the sax player left & Roger Hilliard came back in on acoustic guitar and this was the line up that made the recording that summer. This was made at Beck Studios, Lister Road, Wellingborough and Derek Tompkins was the engineer.
The session only lasted for one afternoon, mostly done in one take with no tracking and surprisingly without the aid of any mind altering substances, not even a beer, but we seemed to have conjured up an atmosphere from somewhere. Only twelve acetate copies were made for demo purposes so no title was given to it.


One copy was sent to John Peel.(RIP).

To his credit he did listen to it (he must have received hundreds of demos daily), but declined to play it or endorse it because he did not like the west coast influence and felt that Vivs voice was too pure. This was a pity because if he had done, the Axe story could have been very different.

The songs  on the demo were;

Track one
Another Sunset , Another Dawn

Track Two
Peace of  Mind

Track Three
A House Is Not A Motel, by Love.

Track Four
Do You remember/ Here from There

Track Five.
Crimson Nights.

Track 2 was written by Graham Richards. On some pressings the first verse repeats the word better. This was in fact a fault but it jumps in time with the music, so it actually sounds OK! On track 4 "Do You Remember" was in fact a separate song, but all of it could not be included, due to lack of space. I'm afraid the rest of the track is lost forever. Derek Tompkins voice can be heard behind Vivs on do you remember. Tracks 1, 4 (2 songs) & 5 were based on brilliant poems by Denise Gordon (Steve the drummers wife), with music by Roger & me. Could have been a promising composing team if the band had got a deal or had more commercial success. Vivs voice sounds great. I believe she did have some classical training. Must have a bit of a culture shock for her, trying to sing in front of a very loud, spaced out band, but she took it all with unfailing good humour. Good solid bass playing from Mick throughout.  Brilliant drumming from Steve, especially the use of tympany sticks on several of the tracks Roger guitar playing is full of imagination and forms the backbone to all the tracks. I think I had a reasonable day so maybe being straight was not a bad thing! It does beg the question what we could have achieved with more studio time & better recording equipment.

If memory serves I think I used my cherry Gibson 335 (good sustain) with a Zonk fuzz box, Mick had his faithful Fender bass & Steve played his classic Ludwig kit. Speakers were homemade 4 x 12 cabs with various amp tops. I made my amp top at one time by sawing a perfectly good Vox AC 30 in half.  Sacrilege! I also once mutilated a great Hofner guitar by making a hole in it for an onboard distortion unit. It worked well, but was still vandalism! We had just been signed by an agent  who was not keen on the Axe name, hence Crystalline, which we did not like, but was better than his first choice, Mausoleum. Did not think our music was that depressing!

Our musical tastes at this time were largely influenced by Steve. He used to harass the local record shop owners to get some interesting and obscure American recordings. We used to gather round his house of an evening to listen to these & get some ideas... Our influences included Airplane, Love, The Doors , Led Zep & The Grateful Dead, whose Live Dead open air gigs we tried to emulate at Abington Park, but with slightly less success!


There is a live recording in existence, probably  recorded at The Plough Hotel Northampton in 1969.
The sound is pretty rough with some very dodgy singing from me. Normally I’d just sing one while Viv went for another round of drinks, just as well I think! The best track on it is a full version of “Do You Remember” but the rest is pretty average. Must force myself to listen to it again sometime.

In 1971 Viv left to get married & Steve and I carried on the Axe name with Pete (The Duke) Watkins on bass & vocals. This line-up mainly played country rock stuff, but we’d still often end the set with a freak out session, with me sitting on Petes shoulders... In fact I was talking to a bloke the other day who was there at those The Black Lion sessions and his comment was "my hearing has never been the bloody same!" Praise indeed!

After this this line-up disbanded, that was the end for the name Axe, as far as we were concerned.
That track  "People Come, People Go" is nothing to do with me, but I see there’s some speculation that Mark Griffiths was involved. I’ll ask him when I next see him.

I still see Roger now & then, Graham occasionally, but Viv, Roy, Steve And Mick Knobbs all moved away, but it could soon be time for a re-union, I think. Tonk Rock is still playing good and we occasionally gig together. Dennis Clark stopped playing & became a tax man!  Regrettably Mick Knight & Pete Watkins are no longer with us.

I've carried on gigging, mostly with my old mate Uncle Eric (The Singing Gnome) and we've had some hilarious adventures, but that's another chapter.

So the message is (of course), Keep On Rocking!
I intend to for as long as possible, I'm 64 now but the drummer of our swing band, Mr. Roy Holiday is 86 and still as good as ever. He's been a pro drummer since 1942! Its obvious to me that music therapy is good therapy.

Hope You all enjoy the Axe tracks. My kids & grandkids do and that's a compliment!

Thanks to Klemen and Good Luck Everybody,

Tony Barford, Northampton. July 2012.



















Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012