The Band That Prog Remembers (a little)

Following on from my earlier post The Band That Prog Forgot…

I just got an e-mail from Clouds organist, Billy Ritchie (r).  Apparently, on his website, Jon Anderson of Yes has finally acknowledged (a little) the vital role Clouds played in the inception of Prog Rock — and in the careers of the many who embraced it.

Clouds were very important in those early years.  I remember them performing Paul Simon’s America at a Marquee concert and at a gig in Wales.  As you know Yes eventually performed the song, I still do today in my solo concerts. Those far off days were very open and exciting. I did have dreams of all those bands touring together on a bus …great music, great times of innocence.  Jon Anderson (Yes)

As Billy himself adds: Only forty years too late! I suppose it’s safe to own up now? 

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , | 145 Comments

145 Responses to The Band That Prog Remembers (a little)

  1. David Witherington says:

    Hi, Bruce! Just stopping by to wish you a Merry Christmas. Thanks for the hospitality with your blog this year…your posts are always interesting, and the conversations that follow always shed new light on your musical history. All the best to you with your writing too….I’m hoping for a new book soon. Take care. :)

  2. Mike Miller says:

    Is the blog Christmas (Holiday) party at your house this year?

  3. Nick S. says:

    I recently read some old interviews with Pink Floyd members. David Gilmour said The Wall was difficult for him as a musician because he couldn’t relate to Roger Waters’ lyrics. (Found that interesting because guess I sort of took for granted that “relating” between musicians.) As an Attraction, did you relate well with EC’s lyrics? (I recall an interview with you where you mentioned your playing in “Party Girl,” and your intention for a “drunken” feel to match the theme. Great match.)

  4. Mike Miller says:

    What’s the difference between Bono and God?

    God doesn’t walk around Ireland saying he’s Bono.

    • Bruce says:

      Best Bono story …

      He interrupted a U2 gig in Glasgow and started intoning slowly, while clapping his hands for emphasis:
      ‘Every time (clap), I clap my hands (clap) a child in Africa (clap) dies… (clap)’.

      Without missing a beat, a voice shot back from the audience…
      ‘Well stop fucking doing it, then!’

      • Nick S. says:

        Ha! The death clap. Good response in Glasgow. Pretty much everyone I know likes U2. Hugely popular and successful band. But I never really dug them. They struck me as humorless, cold and too political.

    • Mike Miller says:

      But, like other bands we know, their first 3 albums were brilliant.

  5. Jerry Cohen says:

    Bruce: Do you have an opinion on EC’s rather, um, idiosyncratic bass-playing on tracks like New Amsterdam and Big Sister’s Clothes? Didn’t he use organ pedals or something on New Amsterdam?

  6. Mike Miller says:

    That sign language guy’s getting his 15 minutes.

    Ranks right up there with Bang Ding Ow.

  7. Nick S. says:

    I know that Jake Riviera (Andrew Jakeman) was the band’s manager from the start and for a while. Can you please explain what a band manager does?

    • Bruce says:

      I can — if you can tell me what the sound of one hand clapping is!

      Alternatively — you can think of what a hotel manager does — and then apply it to a band instead of a hotel!

    • Mike Miller says:

      Rent the “This is Spinal Tap” movie. That will explain a lot. What was their managers name? Something Eatonhog I think.

      • Bruce says:

        Perfect call, Mike. Dennis Eaton-Hogg. Spot on. Smell the Glove!

      • Nick S. says:

        Ha! I’ll have to revisit that movie. (Exploding drummers!) It’s been a while. I always had the impression that band managers (and talent agents) are something like “gatekeepers.” Necessary evils for bands/artists looking to expand their reach. Part of a system (big business) that brings bands/artists to the masses. (Any truth to that?) I’ve certainly read enough about bad managers who stole from the great bands/artists they represented, contributing to their ends.

      • Bruce says:

        Yep, check out the story of Jimi Henrix and Mike Jeffries.

      • Nick S. says:

        Wow! Just read about Michael Jeffery and Jimi Hendrix. Wasn’t aware of Jeffery before. Faustian deals for fame (and sometimes fortune). When I think of great artists cheated by bad management, John Fogerty immediately springs to mind. Many more I can think of. Sadly, swindling seems par for the course.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Billy Joel. His brother in-law manager took him for millions.

      • Bruce says:

        Keep it in the family.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Here’s an old story about Stiff and Jake that may explain his role somewhat:

        http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/index.php/Melody_Maker,_August_6,_1977

      • Nick S. says:

        Interesting story about Jake Riveria and Stiff. Seems to me that shortly after this story, Stiff must have made a deal with Columbia/CBS. EC & The Attractions were on Columbia Records in the US. (I would buy the English import versions on Radar label, etc.)

      • David Witherington says:

        Hey, Mike. I love that article on Stiff so early in the game. Thanks for sharing. I felt like I was there in that account…much more detail than I’ve ever read elsewhere on the CBS signing too. Historic press…this one escaped me until now. This is essentially the announcement of The Attractions’ live debut. Bruce, do you remember this one from back then? It’s a real time capsule now.

      • Bruce says:

        I’ve got an iron-clad alibi.

      • David Witherington says:

        LOL…an iron-clad alibi, eh? Those were wild times, weren’t they? From the tour bus antics of the “Live Stiffs” film, it looked like you guys were having a blast. I’ll say this for ol’ Jake…he knew how to put together fun labels. Stiff was the best, but Radar, F-Beat and Demon also had great rosters. The Edsel label put our some fine reissues too.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Here’s the first part of the documentary ” If It Ain’t Stiff”.

        Nice doc with interviews with many including JR.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iSzS9lGBbo

      • Nick S. says:

        You’re right, David, Stiff (and related labels) had a definite sense of fun about them. ( I always attributed a sense of fun, charm and wit to Nick Lowe productions/efforts.) In researching Stiff, I found this clever Stiff observation from a 1978 sampler compilation record of theirs: In ’78 everyone born in ’45 will be 33-1/3.

    • Mike Riviera says:

      EC threw him down the stairs at some point in the 90′s. Were you still in the fold?

    • David Witherington says:

      Hey, guys. Yes, Nick, I agree…Stiff used to crack me up with their clever slogans. They would even etch them into the vinyl’s closing grooves in the early days. I’ve still got my original “If It Ain’t Stiff, It Ain’t Worth a Fuck” T-shirt from my high school days – it’s hard to believe now that I could ever fit into that small T-shirt. And to Mike, thanks for the link to the Stiff documentary. It’s a great one, very informative and fun. And Bruce, that Bono story above is hilarious! :)

      • Nick S. says:

        Right on, David. That Stiff documentary was EXCELLENT. (Interesting how Nick Lowe said something like Stiff’s original plan for EC was as like an in-house songwriter, not performer. That was my interpretation, at least. And that EC didn’t originally wear the “Buddy Holly” glasses prior to joining Stiff.) Stiff did seem like the right antidote at that time in music.

  8. Jerry Cohen says:

    Speaking of the Get Happy!! sessions, I am always surprised to read that Steve Nieve had a difficult time on that record, or didn’t enjoy it. His keyboard parts are absolutely dazzling. The way the organ dances around your bass and EC’s Jazzmaster in that track is very tasty, but that’s only one example. Did Steve not appreciate the American soul music that was the template for the album’s feel?

    • Bruce says:

      It’s fair to say he didn’t like it. It was all before his day — and his background was in the European classical tradition. He prefered doing the country album (which I hated. But despite himself he plays soul as well as everything else.

    • Nick S. says:

      Speaking of Get Happy!! . . . I think this excellent live video (from that period) bears repeating: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P94pXANbucw (I’ve heard of walking bass lines . . . this one is flying!)

      The next video features a bass player playing Bruce’s same part. Sounds like a great cover. (Do you like it, Bruce?) Watching this makes one really appreciate the dexterity, fluidity and musicality that originally went into that energetic track. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChhPBaZt2p0

      • Bruce says:

        He does a great job.

      • David Witherington says:

        That Kampuchea clip is smokin’! Great performance, Bruce. I always loved how EC & The Attractions played the rockers at super speed…it was a trademark of the early years and was quite a spectacle (no pun intended) for the eyes and ears. You guys were one of the best live acts in the world. I saw shows augmented by you name it later, but nothing tops just the four of you in the late 70′s/early 80′s. Also, this clip reminded me that you worked with Paul McCartney a decade before EC did. Were the Rockestra tracks fun to record? And thanks to Nick S. for sharing those great clips. :)

      • Bruce says:

        You can only have a spectacle for the eyes. A spectacle for the ears is called a deaf aid. It was cool to meet one of the my favourite bass players — especially when he played the riff to “Chelsea” at me!

      • Nick S. says:

        Right on, David! That is a smokin’ clip! Certainly one of my favorite EC & The Attractions’ live performances and recordings. The band at its best: fast and furious — tight and powerful.

      • Nick S. says:

        Ha! Is a spectacle for the ears ear-relevant? (Sorry . . . you started it.)

      • Bruce says:

        …and you finished it :)

      • David Witherington says:

        Well, you know what they say – earsight is 20/20 – oh wait, that’s hindsight…hehe, you’re right. I think it’s great that Paul played “Chelsea” for you…your opening riff is a bona fide rock and roll classic. It truly is the heart of that song. I’m sure that was a great honor for you, and well deserved imo. :)

      • Mike Miller says:

        This one is a favorite. Smoking starts at 2:17

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fHnfq3pnsg

      • Bruce says:

        N-iiice haircut! :)

      • Mike Miller says:

        I was going to go there but hesitated!

      • Nick S. says:

        Speaking of hindsight . . . I must be a feminist. I love the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it. (This one’s your fault, David! ;0) Rush Limbaugh’s, too.)

        Another EXCELLENT live version of “13 Steps Lead Down.” I like live versions of this song SOOO much better than studio. (Do you have a preference, Bruce?) Good how the cameras focused on Pete at the right times – well-synced with his playing. Bad how Bruce and Steve were pretty much ignored by cameras, but great performance and sound quality.

  9. Jerry Cohen says:

    I wanted to touch on something I love about the bass on the Attractions records: The overdub of a second bass part on songs like 5ive Gears in Reverse and Fish and Chip Paper (maybe there were others?). Was that something you came up with in the studio? Any particular inspiration for doing that, or was it just in the moment?

    • Bruce says:

      I can’t hink of any other overdubbed bass parts — it was a spontaneous idea. I don’t know of anyone else who’d done it at the time.

      • Jerry Cohen says:

        A real pleasure being able to ask you directly after living with these records for so long. Thanks for indulging me.

  10. Jerry Cohen says:

    Not to belabor the issue, but speaking of “Useless Beauty”, I was at all five Beacon “rehearsal” shows in New York for that album. I thought the band was in great form. When the studio recording came out, I wondered why EC just didn’t release it as a live album and taken the performances from the many to choose from at the Beacon. That at least would have given the thing some life. A friend put it like this: “If you have a band like The Attractions”, you should let them play”. Was the band not allowed its usual creative input on that record?

  11. David Witherington says:

    Hi, Bruce. Interesting stuff about the “Useless” album…hehe, priceless. I always felt that about the album too- the band was mixed way too low. The songwriting was quite good but just needed less of a melancholy ballad feel, and more of a pop feel. For instance, the faster tempo version of the title track as performed by Lush (from that CD-single bonus track that you guys put out with the album). With the right arrangements and production, this LP could have stood on the solid ground of the first four. I always felt that about “Goodbye Cruel World” as well. Some of those songs were great…just overproduced and has that 80′s synth sound that doesn’t age any better than it originally sounded. But, hell…no one was immune to the 1984 sound – even Nick Lowe’s records were kind of overproduced at that period. Thank God there was a return to a stripped down sound for “Blood and Chocolate .” At least the first “last gasp” of Elvis Costello & The Attractions went out on a high note. That album rocked. I’d buy your memoirs in a heartbeat. Thanks for sharing the wonderful insight and anecdotes.

    P.S. “Street Fighting Man” came to mind the first time I heard “Complicated Shadows”!! Thanks for affirming that. Your bass is smokin’ on that track, and yes it was at the Beacon Theater. Take care. :)

    • Nick S. says:

      Bruce, I, too, really dig Blood & Chocolate. Bought the English vinyl pressing, in fact. My one complaint — other than a couple l o n g EC-dominated tracks that I would generally skip ;0) — with that record was that the recording quality of your playing sounded somewhat lost (or downplayed) in the mix. (Or maybe out of phase?) Not the usual prominence I came to expect from your records. Your playing (performance) sounded great, but the recording did not do it justice. I had to listen harder for your playing. That disappointed me. I wonder if you (or other posters) agree about the recording quality at all?

      • Bruce says:

        That record was made with the live stage amplification set up, in a big room. There was so much sound leakage it turned out to be unmixable. Whatever mike you turned up had everything else on it. For the same reason as we couldn’t adjust the levels we couldn’t adjust the EQ. In fact, we might as well have stuck one mike in the middle of the room. So your observations about the recording quality bear all of that out. It’s not the worst record we made, but it could’ve been so much better. I joked with Nick Lowe that it was like Phil Spector’s ‘wall of sound’ — only it was ‘a fence of noise’ (i.e. ‘offensive noise’).

      • Nick S. says:

        “A fence of noise” — Ha! (Perhaps LP should have been called, Bleed & Chocolate — for sound bleed? Sorry.) It’s still a fine record. Thanks for explaining. (BTW . . . I was never really a fan of Phil Spector’s “wall of sound.” Those early ex-Beatle records — like the great All Things Must Pass — could have sounded so much better in another producer’s hands, IMHO.)

      • David Witherington says:

        Hey, Bruce and Nick. “A fence of noise” indeed, but in a good way. Yeah, “Blood and Chocolate” was definitely a wild and loose production even for the Basher! In this case, it served the songs well with an almost-”Nuggets” garage quality on gems like “Blue Chair” and “Next Time Round.” And it made “Tokyo Storm Warning” even more Dylanesque, reminding me of the “Blonde on Blonde” production at times. “I Want You” gets tiresome for me these days, but at the time it had power. Elvis once described this album as “an older, grumpier This Year’s Model.” Nick, I understand your take on the sound too, but it worked for me probably because I was listening to a lot of 60s garage records in the 80′s. It had that lo-fi charm going for it. Bruce, you’re killin’ it on “Next Time Round” – that is an underrated track that should have been a single, imo.

      • Mike Miller says:

        In your opinion, why was that recording approach taken?

      • Bruce says:

        I think there was a tendency always to react to what had gone before. EC considered PTC the glossy sound of the moment and so went the other way. AF was a more sophisticated approach after the beat-combo vibe of TYM. GH was being more spontaneous after the studied approach of AF, and so on.

      • Nick S. says:

        Hi, David. Good post. I hear what you’re saying. (I always considered McCartney’s first solo record to be deliberately lo-fi, and I kind of like that quality about it.) Re. original lo-fi, and hi-fi music, I look at them both in relation to time, technology and budgets. I like original lo-fi music, despite technological limitations of the time. Budgets, I understand, influenced time in the studio, too. I tend to look at 1965 as a watershed year from lo-fi to hi-fi standards. (I base that year on The Beatles catalog. After 1965, most of their records kept sounding better and better.) By the 70s – rightly or wrongly – I pretty much expected ALL major label records to sound about as good as those mid to late Beatles records. (And many of them did.) Once again, I understand budgets are a factor, but it seemed hi-fi technology was definitely there by that time. Having said all that, I believe all songs – from “bad” to “great,” you decide which is which — are elevated via h-fi recordings and, conversely, diminished by lesser quality recordings. But there is a context to all of this, like you cited. That’s just my take. And thanks, Bruce, for clarifying on Mike’s good question re. your band’s different approaches from record to record. Interesting, creative approaches.

      • Nick S. says:

        P.S. I’d say EC’s debut record sounds low-fi. I’d guess due to budget constraints.

      • Bruce says:

        Yep — it was recorded for around £750 — or about $1200.

      • David Witherington says:

        Hi again, everyone. Nick, I just saw your reply about lo-fi vs. hi-fi tonight! Sorry for the late response. Great assessment, and I agree – budgets often made the decision for the artist, sometimes sparking great creativity in the studio (like Nick Lowe running a drumstick over the piano on “Mystery Dance” from “My Aim Is True.” ) And yes, that album is a great example of lo-fi by budget constraints. Wow, Bruce…$1200 to record that album. Was there more money for “This Year’s Model”? – it sure sounds like it! It’s so tight and clean without being too slick. The remastered version on Rhino blows me away every time I hear it. And, of course, “Armed Forces” sounds like it had a big budget even if it didn’t …just sublime pop at its best! Now “Get Happy” was quite interesting with its compression of sound in order to fit 20 songs on one slab of vinyl. It reminded me of those jam-packed K-Tel albums from the 60′s and 70′s. While it was very nice to hear the sound of GH expanded for CD, I still have a fondness for the intentionally or perhaps just necessary “tinny” sound of the original vinyl. In 1980, I was still in high school and wore that record out! I still remember my mom yelling up the stairs for me to turn that infernal thing down…hehe. Rock and Roll!!! You gotta love it. :)

      • Bruce says:

        A far as I recall TYM cost £7000 to record – not a lot,even at the time.

      • Nick S. says:

        MAIT is a good (though overrated) record, but TYM (and subsequent Attractions records) blows it away.

      • Nick S. says:

        Not sure if this has been linked to before, but great insights from the great engineer/mixer Roger Bechirian on recording EC & The Attractions, focusing on Armed Forces: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan11/articles/classic-tracks-0111.htm

      • Mike Miller says:

        Actually, I think MAIT is a hell of a debut album. It has a certain charm to it plus all those great songs he had. I’m sure at the time he had no idea he’d have a great band in a few months. I’m sure he was glad to just have a shot. One can argue that it would have been a better record if it was recorded at AIR studios, and with a mega-budget. I would have like to have heard it with the Attractions under the same recording conditions.
        Lo-Fi/Hi-FI….either way, if the talent is there, it will come through.

      • Nick S. says:

        I hear you, Mike. I probably shouldn’t be so harsh. I guess I factor in, too, that the more I got to “know” EC via interviews and such, the less I liked him as a person. He was more openly critical of fellow artists (insecure?) than anyone I can think of. And that’s OK . . . but he set himself up for closer scrutiny with that approach. Still, MAIT, to me, is a good record (no more; no less), regardless of what I may think of him. I like it. It was fresh, new and different at the time. And I couldn’t agree more with your comment: Lo-Fi/Hi-FI….either way, if the talent is there, it will come through.

      • Nick S. says:

        A while ago, Mike and I went back and forth a bit on MAIT. I was wondering . . . what is your take on MAIT?

      • Bruce says:

        Good lo-fi production, good songs, good backing band — all done for a thousand dollars.

  12. Nick S. says:

    Though the audio/video quality is rather wonky here, this live performance of “From A Whisper To A Scream” is GREAT! Your playing drives this song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KKja2WeL5Y

  13. Jerry Cohen says:

    Hi Bruce. Been up late learning your line to “Opportunity”, a great one, surely. Question: I’ve read The Big Wheel. You say that the book was NOT the reason you were asked to leave the band. If I may ask, what was then? The new guy just plays your bass lines. OK, he can sing a bit, but The Imposters are missing something.

    • Bruce says:

      The first time the band split happened over a long period, we just drifted as EC got busier with his side projects. I’m the one who created the myth about me being sacked, to give the book a bit of notoriety / publicity. The second time was because of the ‘lone star’ incident in Spain, in 1996 — which is touched on in Graeme Thomson’s biog.’Complicated Shadows.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Would things have been any different if you were not touring on arguably the worst
        record the band had been involved with?

      • Bruce says:

        The only kind of answer you can give to those ‘what if’ questions is to say that that, IF my Aunty Doris had had bollocks, then she’d have been my Uncle Bob. But, you’re right, it’s wasn’t a grest album, though it has competition from ‘Goodbye Cruel World’ as the worst. Throughout the recording the voice kept getting turned up and the band lept getting turned down, it was like being a human karaoke machine. The only redeeming feature of the ‘Useless’ album was the instrumental break on ‘Complicated Shadows’,which sounds more than a little like ‘Street Fighting Man’. But if memory serves that was edited in from a live show from the Beacon Theatre in New York (but I could be wrong).

      • Jerry Cohen says:

        I knew about the first split, pre-”Spike”…I saw the last shows on the last Attractions US tour (LA, Portland, and Seattle) in ’96, and the vibe was decidedly bleak at times (particularly in LA). I seem to recall a Tonight Show incident. EC said “I’ll never work with them again” or something to that effect. Always wondered what happened. Thanks for answering my query, and your playing has given this guitarist (and sometime bassist) decades of joy.

      • Bruce says:

        I’ll give you the full version one day!

      • Bruce says:

        Not in mono, they don’t :)

      • Nick S. says:

        Singer’s “lone star” comment strikes me as selfish, petulant and Hollywood. Not to mention unbecoming, sad, and off-putting. And incorrect . . . there were 4 stars on that stage at that time.

  14. Dave Dawson says:

    Sorry Nick just seen your post… You are right it may be worth a chase especially as he doesn’t have a gig at the moment after being passed over by Yes. Billy and I had a cup of tea before my gig last week at a care home that Bowie’s aunt is in, which was surreal given that The Dame used to kip on Billy’s floor. He is very grounded about his legacy and a great bloke/friend

    • Nick S. says:

      Yeah, Dave . . . I hope you do try to reach out to Jon and it is fruitful. More fodder. 1-2-3/Clouds story still needs to be told by you and Billy in a rockumentary. It’s funny (not “ha, ha” funny) that you mention your gig at a care home. That, to me, is noble, important, worthwhile work. My mother is 90 (GASP!) and, overall, fairly healthy. Just this year, I really discovered how incredibly THERAPEUTIC music is for older (and all) people. Music is a Godsend. Small world again re. Bowie’s aunt and Billy! (Had to look up “kip.”) Billy sounds like a great guy/friend. I’m sure he’d say the same of you and Bruce.

      • Dave Dawson says:

        Thanks Nick I will talk to the Clouds website moderator I think and I wholeheartedly agree that this has BBC Rockumentary written all over it, Sadly the media in this country don’t accept pitches from ordinary members of the public hence this must remain a pipe dream at this time

        Care home work is immensely rewarding and without being too New Age, it is an extremely inspirational universal language and key to unlocking great times and memories. Billy is a great guy and a good friend and speaks extremely highly of Mr. Thomas

        Thank you for your kind words Sir

  15. BorisBrain says:

    Nick does indeed speak the truth. You are sorely missed among EC fans on many forums, and highly respected in the bass playing community. I guess Mr C has earned the right to musically indulge himself, but it’s been a long time since any of his records had any balls.

    Stay groovy,

    BB

  16. Nick S. says:

    Cool re. “The Clap”!

    Speaking of not giving (enough) credit where it’s due . . . I’ve always meant to ask you about the songwriting process behind Elvis Costello and The Attractions. While EC was credited with writing all of the original songs, it seemed to me that the music that whole band produced was very much a group (mostly backing band) effort. I believe EC has acknowledged his own musical limitations. And he obviously deserves credit for bringing songs (or musical “germs”?) to the band that he fronted. But I always assumed a band as incredibly musical as The Attractions had MAJOR input re. arrangements, parts, fleshing-out songs and such. I’ve looked for EC demos in the past, and never really found more than just one. I felt demos would give me a better a sense of “before and after,” in relation to my query. Am I way off “bass” (sorry . . . there I go again) in my assumptions here?

    • Bruce says:

      You’ve got it about right. More often than not EC just had the words and melody and basi outline and the band did the rest.

      • Nick S. says:

        Said it before, I’ll say it again . . . The A’s ALWAYS put that outstanding outfit on the map for me. As far as I was/am concerned, The Attractions wrote those wonderful, dynamic songs at least as much as he did. Songwriting credits can be misleading.

      • Nick S. says:

        P.S. The Attractions — you in particular — were the DRIVING FORCE behind Elvis Costello.

      • Bruce says:

        People will think I’m writing your posts!

      • Nick S. says:

        Ha! Nah. (You’re not me. You’re you. I’m me.) MAYBE a couple of haters MIGHT think something like that. (Hope I don’t come off as EC hater. Don’t think I am.) But I’ve read MANY more posts out there that are not unlike mine in observation, thought and sentiment. As an EC & The Attractions fan – and music fan, in general – I appreciate your accessibility and willingness to indulge fans.

      • Bruce says:

        That’s alright then :)

  17. Nick S. says:

    I second what Dave states. Better late than never, I suppose. Yes is a band that I did not really care for during their heyday, back in the ’70s. (Too femmy or something.) It took me decades of distance (Long Distance Runaround? – sorry, ugh) to look at them differently and really appreciate some of their elaborate, eclectic music (from the 70s) that I consider at its best to be grand, fantastic, magnificent and even sublime. My favorite lineup included Howe and Bruford. And Roger Dean’s fantastic artwork suited the band perfectly. (Dean and Yes was kind of analogous to Barney Bubbles and EC and The Attractions, to me.) Do you dig Yes at all, Bruce? And were you lucky enough to see 1-2-3/Clouds live?

    • Bruce says:

      I used to live in the same house as Steve Howe for a while. Yes were a bit pompous and overblown for my taste — but I did hear The Clap before most people! My old band Village played with Clouds a few times. …Jeez, I’m going to have to write my memoirs at this rate :)

  18. Dave Dawson says:

    Fair play to him, and respect

    • Nick S. says:

      Dave, have you considered trying to contact Jon Anderson for elaboration on his Clouds comment? Perhaps he’d be willing to say even more. Seems like maybe a good time to try to harvest more Clouds info from such a valuable resource.

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