I’ve just done a six-page interview for the June edition of Bass Player magazine that features a transcription of the bass part for “Chelsea” and a bit of background info on the track.
I hope you’re well.
I noticed a copy of The big Wheel on my mate’s shelf the other day. It provoked an enjoyable couple of hours (over a beer or two) reminising seeing the Attractions back in the day – rettelling our own anecdotes and recounting some of yours frm the book. I did read your ‘afterward’ about the book saying how your views have changed with time and hindsight would you consider writing ‘The Big wheel 2′?
Anyway I bought the original hardback version when it cam out -it’s a bit knocked about now but it would be great if you sign it for me it i sent it to you?
Two whole hours to read The Big Wheel? What kept you! I’ve got many more tales to tell — one or two that need to be told — and quite a lot of them written down …we’ll see.
I think you captured the manotony of the long drives indetween shows perfectly. I’ve done a couple of gruelling european tours by bus and I have total sympathy
A good friend of mine, Paul Spear told me a few choice tales of the PTC tour of 1983. As a fan it’s great to hear the stories .
How about getting the book signed – any chance??
Ooooh — have you got some good tales about the PTC tour? Do tell — I might not have heard them. How about you give me a snail mail and I’ll do you a hand-written note to paste inside.
One of my time machine destinations:
The Oxford Ale House, New Haven. The crowd really enjoyed himself that night.
Mike — a big thank you for sending me the Keith Moon book. That’s very thoughtful of you and much appreciated. I’ve just been in Wales for the week where I read the recent George Harrison biog — but not much in it that I didn’t already know.
You’re really fortunate that you got to see him up close. I never got to see the group in his era, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. A bit of a sad story that I may tell at another time. I see the title in the UK was ” Dear Boy”. I suppose they thought in the US we wouldn’t get it, which is probably correct. I really enjoyed reading about his childhood and teen years and that ever confusing British school system.
Hope you enjoy!
Yes, the early years are uncannily like my own obviously, though I did get to a ‘grammar school’.
George’s sister Louise, was in town many years ago (probably 25) as a featured speaker at a Beatles convention. The organizers brought her to the studio to record an interview they planned to sell on cassette. She had this old tattered suitcase full of obscure photos of the band, family pictures, ect. It was rather amazing seeing all that stuff. One I remember is her, George, and Ed Sullivan backstage at his show.
I’m sure she’s got her own book by now, probably her only claim to fame.
She comes out well in the book, as do all his fmaily. It was on a visit to Louise, before the Beatles had even toured the US, that he bought his Rickenbacker 12-string.
Here’s the Who manager Bill Curbishley recounting a Moon story.
How did Jake handle photographers in those early days? Did he allow some to travel with the tour?
There were three or four who were in the “circle of trust” as they say — Chris Gabrin, Keith Morris, Brian Griffin. Usually one of them was along for the ride. Others would get a jab in the ribs.
Probably in the ribs when he was trying to be nice.
… and with a screwdriver when he wasn’t
I contacted Brian Griffin via his website regarding the availability of the back jacket photo from the Attractions album. He responded almost immediately:
Many thanks for your enquiry, but that image was swallowed up by the record company many years ago.
Please visit my website to see my numerous images from the music industry.
Too bad…a classic photo!
If I were you I’d scan it in, Photoshop all the text out, enhance it, do a high-grade print on glossy paper and send it to Brian to sign
Great and doable idea. I’d probably go up the ladder for a signature, though.
Tell him I said it was alright.
Up late watching the match?
Predictably, yes. And England getting beaten, even more predictably, by a well-organized Italian team. But I always support the Dutch in the World Cup anyway due to my ancestry and doubly so this year because manager Louis van Gaal will be at United next season. van Persie’s flying header was a goal of great beauty, was it not?
I was at the BBQ pub last evening around 6:30pm and they had the match on their screens., and I was thinking it’s like 1:30 am in England.
I think the popularity of soccer will soon catch up in the US to the rest of the world as soon as they can figure out how to monetize it like the NFL or college football.
They’ve been trying that for decades — but maybe Beckham will open things up.
At the grass roots level, it’s huge. It’s by far the most popular sport in the schools.
Used to be, tackle football and basketball was it, but now the mothers are afraid of their baby’s getting hurt. Plus, with the concussion craze going on now, I expect many schools to drop football because of lawyers.
There have been very large soccer complexes build here in the last few years and the local MLS team, Sporting KC, routinely packs their stadium.
Interesting. The USA play their opening game tomorrow (my time) I believe.
Yes, starts in an hour. There’s a couple of players from Sporting KC on the team or on the roster.
The USA are doing better than England in the current standings
The Beckham we know here:
Quite the finale of the USA/Portugal match. Ended up being a real head game.
Well, some big scalps have been taken in group stages (and I don’t include England as a ‘big scalp’) but Spain, Italy and Portugal have all gone. I hope the US do well, but (I hope I mentioned it early enough) my team to win it is Holland. Brazil keep squeaking through, but unless they get a bit of help from the officials, I can’t see tham winning it.
I was watching the Germany coach speak after the match. He said, in so many words, that the USA was the real deal and this was going to be a huge leap forward for soccer in the US.
Interesting observation about Keith Moon esquire being no idiot. Any chance of elaboration? 1500 words by Tuesday, if you don’t mind!
Well … my impression of Mr Moon was that, though he was fond of the odd bottle of brandy, he had a lot of cretive energy that needed channeling and was innately intelligent — not unlike Bruce Lee in some respects, though Bruce Lee went to extremes of physical discipline rather than exttremes of physical indulgence. Both highly creative and innovative individuals. (Sorry it’s a bit short, but at least it’s in early).
Since “Chelsea” is featured topic, here’s what may be a demo version, not sure. There’s a alt version on the Deluxe edition of TYM, not sure if this is the same only unmixed.
I’ve heard many of the Lipstick Vogue/WTD medleys that have circulated over the years, but I think this is the best one. From the first US tour.
Chelsea sounds like an early rehearsal, LV / WTD sounds like an early live show.
It’s from 12-5-77 Angora Club Cleveland, OH. That first US tour would be one of the top stops when I get my Time Machine finished, along with the Live at Leeds concert and my spot behind the picket fence at the grassy knoll.
Yep, there were some pretty hot shows on that tour considering it was usually snow outside. Most of the sets came in at about 45 minutes in those days (shorter than the ‘acoustic solo interludes’ of later years). I just watched The Who Live in Texas 1975 last night — which put me in mind of the support tour I did with them with Quiver in 1972. Keith Moon was no idiot!
I just started re-reading Tony Fletcher’s book on Moon. Really fascinating if you haven’t read it.
No, I haven’t read that. But I saw him having dinner with Mr and Mrs McCartney just a few hours before he died. He was going to be in Macca’s “Rockestra”, but didn’t make it, I’m afraid.
Not long ago, a fella who looked suspiciously under 20 came up to me after one of our gigs and said, “That was sick, man”. Took me a moment to realise he’d paid us a compliment.
Well, that was a sick version of LSV – one of the fastest I’ve ever heard, and the bass sounds terrific.
When you say “terrific” do you mean awful, then?
Boris, I’ve just seen that yours was the 2000th comment on the site — I’ll have to find you a prize!
I’m sure that the ‘yoof’ would probably say ‘double-sick’, or some other such pearl of wisdom.
Speaking of blistering versions of LSV, and a collection of other belters, there can be few more visceral sets than this 1978 gig in Germany, for anyone who may not have seen it. The audience looked dumbfounded, anyway…
Ooh – a prize! Just send a lefty Profile and a crate of Dom Perignon…
One can only speculate what Moon would be doing if he was still around:
My guess is a narrator of horticultural documentaries
Back in the Hip-Hop heydays of the ’90s, a highly intoxicated rapper told me in apparent praise of the studio: “Mike, you’re the shit and everybody knows it”.
A short time later I watched as he nearly drove his car through the front facade of the antique store up the street.
Ahh, such innocence.
I was thinking about Boris’ dilemma regarding the right-hand only Profile. It looks like the nut could be reversed, the strap button moved and he would have a “Hendrix style” Profile. Looks like the bridge would work either way. Not sure how the weight balance of instrument and the knobs being under his left arm would effect things. He’d certainly benefit from the great neck, tone, and I’ll bet it would look really cool.
I’d bet the Bass Centre could set it up for him.
Actually, I was thinking along very similar lines, Mike.
Since you have used this term several times here:
Since you were describing your bass rig in the interview and many may not be familiar with Traynor:
Cool amp, nice Boss EQ. Ampeg cabs — where’s the Profile bass?
Except for the Ampeg’s, trying emulate 1978.
Oh, and please pardon my WordPress skills.
This is about right:
Or as Jake Riviera was fond of saying — “Remember the Good Old Days? …. they’re gone!”
I was getting bit worried that you’d all gone quiet, as it seemed to coincide with my comment that my favourite book was “A Confederacy of Dunces” — which cryptically referenced EC and T-Bone’s half-assed plan for KoA, not at the contributors to the blog!!
I’ll bet touring “high jinks” is a lot tougher with everyone having phones/cameras now.
They’re putting people on trial in England for “high jinks” that happened 40 years ago — I’m saying nothing.
Out of curiosity, point me to what you refer.
It seems like just about every former DJ and presenter who worked in England in the 60s – 80s is on trial at the moment because decades later, with the compensation culture kicking in, and there are some very dubious cases of delayed reaction trauma from some who realize there’s money to be had.
“PTGD” Post Traumatic Groupie Disorder
Have not heard of the Weepies. If you can say, how did that project come about?
Yes, it was a simple enquiry via this website as to whether I was up for playing on some of their new tracks — which I was. I hope they see the light of day before too long, they’re good songs and I managed to get a few trademark licks in.
Nice to know that their people didn’t have talk to your people.
Do you use Tasmin’s studio for projects like that?
No, it was all done between us. Yes, you’re right, I used Tasmin and John’s studio — where I played through a virtual Ampeg B15, recorded on a virtual Rupert Neve, set up in a virtual Ocean Way studios with a simulated tape effect. The Profile bass was the actual one
I have mixed feelings about all that kind of stuff. But, if the end result is good, then it doesn’t really matter. Just about every day there’s the battle between me, the grouchy grandpa, and the young punk engineers who started with computers over all this. But, if I really wanna fire them up, I start picking on them about their idiotic tattoos.
I think tattoos and nose rings are a greater affront to humanity than modelling amplifiers.
Then there is this way:
Nice amp underneath them. too.
Tattoos are really a “Third Rail” issue in the music community, at least around here. I just cannot understand why so many, especially women…stunningly beautiful women at that, feel the need to mark themselves up and/or turn their faces into a pin-cushion. And in such a permanent manner. All I can think is there’s a mass lack of judgement in play here.
I say nothing and to each their own, but now I’m the non-conformist.
Well I conform to your opinion
What seemed like a good idea then, maybe not so much now:
Please tell me that isn’t your arm!
No, thought it might be yours. Things were good at one time, I understand.
Well, no tattoo, but I guess we did share a room.
MIKE!! I JUST DELETED YOU LAST POST ACCIDENTALLY BEFORE I READ IT!!!
Can’t remember…must not have been that important!
No, it was a moment of genius lost forever. Oh well, there’ll be another one along shortly.
Do you recall where the group photo featured in the interview was taken?
I think it was in a rehearsal room in Holland, after a long drive from Germany.
My ten year old son (Billy, your 2nd cousin once removed or whatever)) starts guitar lessons this week – he wants to be a bass player because of A) You and B) Olugbenga Adelekan who’s the bass player with Metronomy (check out ‘Love Letters’ or ‘The Bay’) , either way I hope he enjoys learning. Any advice to a young kid starting up ?
The most important thing when learning anything is regular practice — there’s no other way of getting it into the muscle memory or the neurological circuits. 30 minutes every day are a lot better than 12 hours once a week. (As it happens, when I started I did 9 hours a day and drove everyone bonkers in the process). Concentrate on timing and feel, no matter how simple the part is. In fact the simpler the better to start with. If you can get a one note part to groove it’s far better than being able to play a Bach fugue or a Jaco Pastorius solo, kind of almost right. The secret to bass playing, like good comedy, is in the timing.
Thank you Bruce. I shall pass this on. Great advice.
One note grooves brings to mind Entwhistle’s part on “Magic Bus”. Especially on “Live at Leeds”.
Very true. And it isn’t like he didn’t know his way around the neck.
I’d love to see B Movie or Fish And Chip Paper, or Clubland….hell, too many to pick from!
It’s like revising for exams!
Chalk up another vote for B Movie. One of the coolest bass lines ever!
Cool. Will you be posting any more video of your playing?
I think when the new batch of basses arrives I’ll do a new clip. Any requests, from anyone … ?
Looking forward to reading this in its entirety!! As for a video request, how about either “Secondary Modern” and/or “Watch Your Step”? The recorded versions of these two remind me of each other…yet both songs stand on their own among my many faves. As with “Chelsea,” your melodic bass lines are the life blood of these tracks, and Steve’s organ splashes dance around them soulfully. What a great band you guys were! Thanks, Bruce. I’ll be sure to buy a copy of the mag.
Maybe I’ll do a medly — or cross-fertilize them into a hybrid.
Anything would be good, but since you ask it would be great to see/hear Strict Time, I Stand Accused, Party Girl or Shabby Doll…
Don’t cringe when I say….Anything from “Mad About the Wrong Boy”.
It may not have worked as a whole, but the bass work is tops.
Do you know, I haven’t listened to that album since we did it, so I’ll take your word for it.
Oh man, “Big Tears.” “Tiny Steps.” “Sulky Girl” (especially the fade-out). Too many cool ones to single out a single …
Fade out of “Sulky Girl” — why what happens?
(Five minutes later) I’ve just had a listen to it on YT for the first time since it was recorded! Well the bass line influence is obvious — The Zombies “Time of the Season”. Pretty much identical. There’s a Jamerson-type fill on the out section I think tickled your fancy, but things like that are a one-off, I’d have to learn it off the record. It was only ever played once and maybe it should stay that way.
Maybe it’s time.
Nice, I’ll have a look out for that! I see there’s features on McCartney and ”Duck” Dunn as well – so who could say no?
One for the price of three!
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