The Band That Prog Forgot

In 1967 it was unheard for an unknown band to be asked to headline at the Marquee club in London.  But the Marquee’s manager, John Gee, believed 1-2-3 to be the best band he’d ever seen — a Scottish trio comprising of Harry Hughes, drums; Ian Ellis, bass and Billy Ritchie, organ (l to r on photo).  Often John Gee had to come on stage and interrupt to calm the audience and tell them that if they wanted boring R&B music, they should go to the 100 Club, just up the road.

What the restless and occasionally violent audiences were witnessing was a virtuoso trio unleashing a new musical form in the front of their very eyes — a form of music which featured all the ingredients that would later identify progressive rock (or Prog, as it became known) — complex time signatures, and a deconstruction of the verse-chorus pop song format into dramatic movements lasting for up to ten or twenty minutes, with classical overtones and informed improvisation.

Despite the anarchic audiences, a second more-receptive group was following the band around the country — other musicians who realized they were hearing the sound of things to come and were watching a group ahead of its time. Many of these musicians, like David Bowie (who declared Billy Ritchie to be a genius), Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman would soon be famous and successful.  These guys weren’t so much taking notes as making photocopies. When 1-2-3 were derailed by the unfortunate timing and unexpected death of their manager Brian Epstein (yes, that Brian Epstein), the band faltered.  Chrysalis agency eventually took on the band, and renamed it Clouds.  But the copyists had already moved in.

My own band at the time was Village — an organ trio!  We too had a Marquee residency and were also signed to Chrysalis and so we often ran into1-2-3/Clouds on the circuit.  Our organist, Peter Bardens (left), had just disbanded his old outfit which had a Mick Fleetwood and Peter Green on drums and guitar, and a vocalist called Rod Stewart (don’t know what happen to them).

Village played an R&B/jazz set (I had a Fender 6-string bass) featuring material by the likes of Jimmy Smith and Miles Davis. The band stood squarely — almost symbolically — between the eras of R&B and Prog — because, after Village, Pete Bardens went on to form the prog outfit, Camel.  One of the bands that supported Village at the Marquee was Kippington Lodge, with its bass player, a pleasant chap called Nick Lowe.  It was many years later before our paths would merge — on the crest of another new wave.

(With thanks to Dave Dawson)

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 282 Comments

282 Responses to The Band That Prog Forgot

  1. Dave Dawson says:

    Am delighted to announce http://recordcollectormag.com/articles/the-clouds-atlas. Billy has just emailed me to tell me that Clouds article that I put into motion has been published. Alan Clayson has done a sterling job and the editor in his summary said that they were the trio that should have been as big as ELP, referring to Billy as the organist’s organist.

    • Nick S. says:

      Good work, Dave! Will look for hardcopy at local record stores.

      • Dave Dawson says:

        Every little helps 🙂

      • Nick S. says:

        Right on and write on, Dave!

      • Nick S. says:

        Looked into locating hardcopy of Record Collector with Clouds story. This is the August issue. Not available yet near me in Chicago (July issue on stand). Ironically, Clouds issue cover lads are members of Pink Floyd — Bruce’s soccer mates. More synchronicity, Bruce.

      • Bruce says:

        It’s a very good article — I just read it the other day.

      • Nick S. says:

        Even more synchronicity . . . on the car radio, while driving this afternoon, came The Bleach Boy’s “King Of Pain.” From their Synchronicity record. Not a frequently played song (these days) on the radio. One of those days, it seems. My brother and I were critiquing that song. He said he liked the beginning of the song — like the chord changes — but not when the band kicks in. I totally agreed — it sounds too mechanized at that point. You dig that song?

      • Bruce says:

        I missed that one.

    • Nick S. says:

      Recently bought and read Record Collector, featuring Clouds story. (August issue took FOREVER to arrive in local book store.) It really is sad that 1-2-3/Clouds was deprived of the fortune and fame they deserved for pioneering a very interesting and successful genre – prog rock. Sadder, too, is the reluctance/refusal of prog giants like Emerson, Wakeman, Fripp and J. Anderson to acknowledge their indebtedness – and professional existence — to Clouds. ( I see that “Captain Speed Fingers” — Alvin Lee – recorded with Clouds!)

      On the magazine stand where I got this mag, was another mag – devoted to prog – with Wakeman’s mug on the cover. How ironic. I, too, now look at some of these prog giants differently and with less respect.

      Nice job, Dave, contributing to this interesting story. (Thanks, Bruce, too.) And good luck in bringing it to an ever-widening audience. I still think it is a compelling story that needs to be hashed out in cinematic fashion. Done properly, and with the right publicity, it would seem an instant success. I’d think a ready-made audience awaits such a film. The prog story is criminally incomplete without its very beginning . . . 1-2-3/Clouds.

      • Dave Dawson says:

        Just seen this post Nick many thanks

        You are right it’s a travesty and I too have lost all respect for those once heroes of mine now. He’s very philosophical now and is very pleased that some redress has been made however. Billy was gutted about Alvin incidently – he’d managed to get his email about 2 weeks before Alvin went but just didn’t get to it and lo and behold another friend Peter Banks from the original Yes went the same week, And you are right this has a BBC4 Doc opportunity all over it.Sadly I don’t have the connections. I will pass your comments onto Billy, You can hear the great man himself here on Tuesday http://www.channelradio.co.uk 3-5

  2. Mike Miller says:

    I’m always referring to the mastering engineer at my studio. Here’s his group, Ghosty, in a video they shot at Westend. He’s the bass player and engineer, Mike Nolte, who I affectionately have nicknamed, Zippy the Pinhead.

    http://vimeo.com/70317712

  3. Dave Dawson says:

    Mike if I go down the self-publish route that might be a damn good idea thank you

  4. Dave Dawson says:

    Nick S. Extremely kind words Sir and I thank you. Billy is ‘up’ for me telling the story so I flattered to be in this priviledged position. I may even go down the Kindle route, who knows?

  5. Dave Hislop says:

    Hi Bruce

    You may remember me (Dave Hislop) from our Grangefield days. I was pretty friendly with Tony Atkinson and the guys from the Tremors. I left the town in 1971 and lost contact with most of the guys.
    This is probably not the route and apologies if you agree but I’m trying to help out my son Scott who plays drums with the band Kyte. The band has been going since 2008 and has just released its second album “Love to be Lost” which was produced by John Goodmanson and recorded at the Robert Lang Studios in Seattle. I’m not sure how you would describe their music, electronic post-rock maybe and for some reason they are quite popular in the Far East and have twice appeared in the Japanese Summer Sonic Festival, and also in China, Taiwan and Singapore and this month doing the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. The album was released there last year and got to No.2 in the alternative music charts.
    I guess it’s always been tough to break through in the music business but it seems these days unless you’ve got a big label behind you and the right contacts it’s almost impossible. This is the problem, after two less than successful management situations and even with good reviews they are struggling to get that breakthrough.
    Not sure if it would be your type of music but would appreciate any assistance or advise you could offer.
    You can pick them up on http://www.kyteband.co.uk and various stuff on the net.
    Thanks for listening.
    Dave

    • Bruce says:

      I’m putting this out to all because I’m hoping Windy Miller can offer some insights. The record industry is not what it was — even the ‘big labels’ haven’t got a clue what’s going on or how to play it half the time.

    • Bruce says:

      By the way, nice to hear from you Dave — I don’t think we were in the same form(s) were we? My route through Grangefield was 1Z, 2LA, 3LB, 4A and 5X, then I got out at 15 and never did the 6th, or university. School days – the happiest days of your life? — bollocks.

    • Mike Miller says:

      I wish I could give you and your son some real encouragement, but the fact is the band is facing a major uphill battle. Typically it’s thought that the “major labels” run around the world seeking out talented and promising groups and singers, sign them up, and make stars out of them.
      That was the model a lot of years ago, but not any longer, for one big reason: there’s no money in it anymore.
      The end really started with the internet age and Napster. Up until that point the record labels ( most bought out by huge corporations) were making a boat load of cash on the sale of back catalogs reissued on CD. As long as they had a couple of big selling artists ( like Michael Jackson) they could experiment with 1 or 2 record deals with a multitude of groups, just like your son’s band, in the hopes they would find the next U2 or whatever. They made their money on selling the physical product, costing them little ( especially in the case of the back catalog reissues) and retailing for $14 or $15.
      Well, here comes Napster and file sharing. Now, they can’t control their product. But instead of seeing the future, they fight it. They try to put the Napster kid in jail for infringement of copyright. Because, after all, selling a $15 dollar piece of plastic is where the money is. And then Itunes at .99 per song. Party’s over.

      More later…I may be Windy, bit I ain’t Nick.

      • Bruce says:

        Well summed up, Mike. Thank you for that. Music is a cottage industry now, as is book writing. Once it’s been digitized its been given away. ‘File sharing’ — what would the Napster or Pirate Bay guys say if I drove one of their car off and kept it — transport sharing? I think not. Bands do better selling CDs at their gigs these days. As you rightly say, the old record company model has gone. The publishing company model is going the same way. Video killed the radio star: Take 2.

        Anyway, Mike, yours is officially the 1000th comment on the blog — you don’t win a new IPad, though I feel some kind of recognition is in order.

      • Mike Windy says:

        Thanks Bruce! Never thought I’d ever communicate with someone who’s work I so admire!

        Since an Ipad and a new car are out, maybe 2 things:
        A promo picture to adorn my studio wall and sharing a 473.12ml (pint) someday at a pub near you.

      • Nick S. says:

        Windy . . . you really blow me away! Congrats on 1,000!

      • Mike Miller says:

        Townshend and The Who already got the bathroom walls.

      • Mike Miller says:

        I kill the dreams of aspiring recording engineers everyday. I figure I’m just saving them a lot of time and grief. They call me: “The Dream Killer”

    • Mike Miller says:

      Dave Hislop: I think you need to define what you (and your son’s band) consider to be “success”. If you think that a 7 album deal for 80 mil is it…probably not gonna happen.
      The mastering engineer at my studio in Kansas City goes out on tour as the FOH mixer for a band that is pretty similar to Kyte…Strfkr. strfkrmusic.com
      He informs me that Strfkr sells out 500 to 1500 seat venues with no problem, but they’ve only sold about 20,000 units of all their recordings. Financially, they do very well. In fact they are on tour in Japan right now. ( My guy didn’t go because he’s a bit apprehensive about flying that far).
      It really boils down to live shows now. Recordings are just a means to get people to buy a ticket, which is just the exact opposite of the way it used to work.
      They should tour heavy wherever they can, make sure they have a You Tube presence, maybe hire a publicist. Also, the videos on the band website were blocked to the US and wherever else. (that needs to be fixed). Also, most labels A&R efforts now are looking to see how has the most views on You Tube.
      Hope I haven’t killed the dream….Good luck!

      • Dave Hislop says:

        Thanks for the advice Mike.
        The band is used to playing to 1000 -3000 audiences in the Far East and to +10000 in the Festivals but only get booked into smaller venues in UK and Europe. They would love to tour US but no interest so far. They certainly weren’t aware of their website videos being blocked there. Presumably you can still play the music.
        They are not naiive enough to think you can make millions from record sales these days and it gets frustrating when they get complimentary emails from “ardent” fans on their latest albums before they are officially released. It just feels like a vicious circle that you need to have a successful album to get good live bookings but you need good live bookings to get exposure for the album and you can’t get airplay on mainstream radio without backing.
        Their last two managers promised the world but produced nothing. Any good management out there?
        Anyway thanks again Mike

      • Mike Miller says:

        Dave Hislop: Send me an email at my website: westendstudio.com and I’ll put you in touch with a couple of people who can give you some helpful advise on the US market.

    • Nick S. says:

      That is one COOL version of “America.” I can hear where ELP and King Crimson have “borrowed.” (I’d read 1-2-3’s recording preceded Simon & Garfunkel’s.)

      • Dave Dawson says:

        Yes it’s pretty telling isn’t it. You are bang on re: S & G. Simon was hawking his tapes around at the time and Billy just happened to hear the demo while at the studio and leapt on it.

      • Nick S. says:

        That video montage was pretty interesting, too. 1-2-3 footage reminded me of ELP (even their names rhyme!). Now I know it’s the opposite. (I am not a HUGE Bowie fan, but was reminded of how I really liked his version of “America” from tribute show. His acknowledgment and defense of 1-2-3 carries much weight and shows decency on his part, too.)

    • Mike Miller says:

      Notice Ian Ellis’s choice of bass guitar in this footage.

  6. Dave Dawson says:

    James McGirr: Message from Billy Ritchie re: your post

    “I really like that post from the Fillmore. It’s nice to know that those nights aren’t completely forgotten by everyone. We got great reviews for those concerts too. It was a great place to play…..we really thought we had made it at that point. Many a slip between cup and lip”

    Considering what he’s been through, Billy is extremely philosophical. I think, knowing what a decent guy he is through many a personal experience, that I am more angry on his behalf than he is himself. When I first met him (very long story) and told him that I was a committed progger, his response beggared belief. But it all checked out. Clouds/1-2-3 have been erased from the annals of the genre that they were so instrumental (sic) in and the main culprits from where I am standing are Emerson, Fripp and Anderson (Jon).

    Am pleased also to confirm that I received an email from Alan Clayson this morning. As part of an ongoing crusade to re-adjust the history I clumsily put them in touch with each other some time ago and the resulting feature is we are assured to be included in the next edition of Record Collector. Ultimate aim would be a BBC Documentary but I don’t know where to start. Publishers wouldn’t touch my book proposal because no-one had heard of the band. Oh the irony (head in hands)

    • Mike Miller says:

      Are all the band members still living? Maybe try to get video interviews in the can while you can. Pretty easy to do these days. You would probably find plenty of volunteers to help.

    • Nick S. says:

      Sounds like you are pursuing a righteous cause, Dave. More power to you in trying to set the “record” straight! Please keep us posted when said Record Collector is published. I’d always (naively?) believed that musicians tended to be a cut above other entertainers in terms of truth-seeking and integrity. Apparently, those you cited are lacking and that is disappointing to a fan of their “Works.”

      • Dave Dawson says:

        Nick S Very kind of you and I will indeed keep you informed Sir. I am a committed progger and the situation as to how I met Billy is a film scene in itself. I was in complete denial of his assertions given that he had been tippexed out of the annual. ELP and Yes and The Nice were standing on a pedestal as far as I was concerned. Now it’s in a ditch

      • Nick S. says:

        As a music fan, this is all very intriguing to me, Dave. You’re obviously a very gifted and eloquent writer (you’re no Wilf Turnbull, but who is?!). I would hope you do find a suitable outlet to redeem 1-2-3. “It’s Never Too Late.” (A little nod to Mr. Kay, there.) Cruel irony that The Nice seemed anything but. It’s sad when we find our “heroes” are not so heroic in ways. I know we’re all human, but it’s disappointing nonetheless. Good luck, Dave!

  7. Mike Miller says:

    Couldn’t really discuss ’60s music without the Beach Boys contribution:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYc4DT18EJg

  8. James McGirr says:

    Well, I know I saw Clouds on a bill at Fillmore East in 1970, I believe they preceded John Sebastian who then preceded Jethro Tull. I remember quite loud, virtuosic playing. Fillmore East had best live sound anywhere.

  9. Dave Dawson says:

    Nick S. Wilf & Derek would appreciate such a neigbbour considering that at the present time they are plagued by ‘student types’ daubing crude genital imagery upon their windscreens in the winter and such like

  10. Dave Dawson says:

    Nick S. Thank you very much for your kind words re: Wilf Turnbull and Derek Philpott’s ongoing crusade correcting popstars since 2009. They have considered writing to Mr. Costello recommending that, unless of course he is an extremely prolific author who is able to complete one novel or non-fiction tome per 24 hours, then his work should be re-titled “Every Day I Write PART Of The Book”. Sadly, they concluded that they couldn’t be bothered. I will concede that it is I that posts their letters online, this is merely because they are too long in the tooth to master Adobe Contribute. They live and breathe.

    • Nick S. says:

      HA!!! I honestly hoped Messrs. Turnbull and Philpott would address the self-proclaimed “rock and roll babble, er, Scrabble champion,” Mr. Costella (sic). And indeed, it appears as if they just might have!

      And, of course, Wilf and Derek live and breathe (probably with the occasional aid of inhalers). Long may they run! They ROCK! And thank you, Dave, for ably assisting these fastidious fellas (sic) in the daunting digital age! Rock on, Dave (and Bruce)!

    • Mike Miller says:

      Another possible re-titling ” Every Day I Run Off More of My Fans”

    • Nick S. says:

      Bruce, I recall reading an older interview with you where you said something like you were pursuing prose writing while on tour. When and why did you decide to become a writer?

      • Bruce says:

        I started on the tour with did where Squeeze were supporting us — there were 18 people on the same bus and I did it to stop going mad — thanks for reminding me 🙂

      • Nick S. says:

        My pleasure (stated the sadist). ;0)

        The English Mugs Tour. Writing is therapeutic, they say (whoever “they” are — writers?). Are there particular writers (you wouldn’t mind mentioning) who also inspired you to pursue writing? A writer whose work I like a lot, who does a LIVE (and somewhat unscripted), broadcast radio/variety show is Garrison Keillor. He’s some sort of genius with words, IMHO.

      • Bruce says:

        Yes, he’s very good. I tend to read non-fiction these days. Last year, I read only cycling books — I now have a small library of them.

      • Nick S. says:

        Attended his live show (again) just last Saturday in Chicago. On radio, it’s the ultimate theater of the mind experience. In person, it is also a marvel to behold. Occasionally, he brings his show to UK. I’d highly recommend it.

        I’ve got an old Schwinn bike that I don’t really ride much anymore, but should. Biking is a great way to get around and exercise.

      • Bruce says:

        The best bike is the one you ride.

  11. Nick S. says:

    Bruce, I understand you played bass with Al “Year Of The Cat” Stewart. Were you with him during/after that song and/or “Time Passages”? What was it like working with him?

    • Bruce says:

      I did a few records with Al up to the point of Year of the Cat. Tim renwick who I was with in Quiver did the solo on Cat. Rick Wakeman did most of the keyboards. You’re trying to make me write my memoirs, aren’t you.

      • Nick S. says:

        Tim Renwick’s searing guitar solo on “Year Of The Cat” is just AWESOME! (Via video, I see that AS wasn’t too shabby on guitar, either.) Surprising to me that Rick Wakeman worked with Al Stewart, also.

      • Bruce says:

        It was not unknown for Al Stewart to mime to Tim’s solos and take the credit! Good clip of Tim here, taking the second solo on Badge and showing that the Quiver boys can hold their own with the best of them.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WeiQokwIWU

      • Mike Miller says:

        You’re being interviewed on a daily basis.

        Did not know that was Tim playing the solo…another great song. Those type of songs do not seem to exist anymore.

      • Nick S. says:

        “The Year Of The Copycat”? ;0) Another one to take credit for something he didn’t do. I don’t get that mentality.

        Tim Renwick on Eric Clapton’s “Badge,” live, ROCKED! (Gracious of Clapton to share spotlight. Seems a fair share of “stars” aren’t so gracious and secure.)

        The more I learn about the Quiver boys, I’d say they are among the best of them. Can you please post audio/video of you guys in Quiver?

      • Bruce says:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S4momHDaUA

        This is pretty much what Quiver was about.

      • Nick S. says:

        Thanks, Bruce. I truly dug it! You guys jammed.

        Was the band named after the case for carrying arrows? What is The Sutherland Brothers/Quiver connection about? (Me and my questions . . . . )

      • Bruce says:

        Multiple meanings of Quiver — arrows, … with excitement etc.

  12. Mike Miller says:

    It would seem that in regards to 1-2-3, that the loss of Epstein’s management at a critical time is the headline. Maybe if he would have lived, he could have promoted and packaged them in a way that could have broke them in a major way in Europe and the US.

    The way he did it with the Beatles was, for lack of a better word, brilliant.

    • Bruce says:

      He wasn’t that clever at getting the Beatles top dollar though — 1% royalty from Parlophone and giving away merchandising to anyone that asked!!

      • Mike Miller says:

        That aside, but how he made them palatable to the US market with the suits, squeaky clean images, and the rest of it. He knew the US was ripe for the pickings and the timing was perfect.

      • Bruce says:

        That scrubbing up process didn’t work quite a well with Mr Presley — it more or less finished him.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Presley’s management costs in the last years were 65%. 50 for the Colonel and 15 to William Morris. 5 cents per record from RCA. The Colonel made side deals with RCA to keep the royalty rates low. He did the same with the movie companies and the hotels in Vegas. Elvis didn’t really care. He told his father to just make sure he had a million in his checking account at all times.

      • Bruce says:

        Neither was he a real Colonel — and the reason he never went to Europe is that he ws an illegal immigrant and didn’t want to get found out. Probably drank his own bathwater too.

      • Mike Miller says:

        You’re right. That’s very reason Elvis never toured out of the US, again costing him millions.

      • Bruce says:

        What he lost in dollars he made up for in calories.

      • Nick S. says:

        Another victim of the dessert trolley. ;0)

  13. Mike Miller says:

    One of the best songs of ’67…and there were a bunch!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtzRRwfOXus

    The years ’65, ’66, and ’67 were my musical awakening. I listened to the Top 40 on powerful AM radio stations we could get only at night. The sporting goods and appliance store in the county seat town near where we lived had a record department and you could play 45’s right in the store. I distinctly remember looking at the Who’s Sellout album with Daltrey in the tube of Heinz Beans!

    Here’s the list of top 40 songs from the US in those years and it is a staggering collection!

    http://retro-hits.com/1965.htm
    http://retro-hits.com/1966.htm
    http://retro-hits.com/1966.htm

    • Nick S. says:

      “As the Miller told his tale.” I, too, like “A Whiter Shade Of Pale.” Cool video, the way it’s shot. Never seen this one before. (Somehow, this song makes me think of Jimi Hendrix’s “And The Wind Cries Mary,” and vice versa.)

      One of the few music radio programs I listen to these days, is weekly replays of Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 from the 70s. It is nostalgic for me, informational and historical. Last week was approximately this time, from 1978. I thought it was mostly bad, and could see why bands like EC & The Attractions were so fresh, vital, appealing and necessary to shake things up a bit.

    • Windy Miller says:

      I just see now I had ’66 twice.

      http://retro-hits.com/1967.htm

      Maybe I’m just being sentimental, but when I hear “Good Vibrations” or “Penny Lane”, I still get those feelings of being 14 years old again.

      • Nick S. says:

        Speaking of “Penny Lane,” I love this timeless song. Bruce and all the rest, do you have a preference of “Penny Lane” vs. “Strawberry Fields Forever”? I like both songs, but definitely prefer “Penny Lane.” Both address the same theme. To me, one song is more realistic, the other, surrealistic. (Ha! Double A-sided single.)

      • Bruce says:

        You’ve answered your own question very well there.

      • Nick S. says:

        Sorry, didn’t mean to. I’m more interested in your opinions. (I already know mine.) Perhaps I got ahead of myself.

      • Bruce says:

        Not at all, no slight intended — I think you reasoned the whole thing out for yourself. There’s no way of saying one of those songs is better than the other because they’re both mini-masterpieces. It’s the same as whether an apple is better than an orange — on the day you might prefer one over the other.

      • Nick S. says:

        Thanks, BT! My misunderstanding.

      • Bruce says:

        We’re all cool on here.

      • Nick S. says:

        So, Bruce, Who do you prefer (today) . . . W.C. Fields or Denny Laine?

      • Bruce says:

        Took me a while to get that one.

      • Nick S. says:

        Like I said, like ’em both, but always prefer “Denny Laine.” See ya, for now . . . gotta “Go Now”! (UUUGGGHHH!!!)

    • Mike Miller says:

      Another fine song from ’67 is the Who’s: “I can see for kilometers”

      • Bruce says:

        Don’t joke, if the EU gets it’s way it will have to be retitled.

      • Nick S. says:

        Ah . . . world government. It’s a beautiful thing . . . NOT!

      • Paul Inglis says:

        So, we’ll be referring to the famous jazz trumpeter “Kilometers Davis” as well then?

      • Bruce says:

        That’s the thinking. Just as Jeff beck’s old group will be The Slightly-Less-Than-A-Metre-Birds

      • Nick S. says:

        Speaking of the The Slightly-Less-Than-A-Metre-Birds, birdbrained NWO retitles Byrds’ psychedelic pop classic: 8 Kilometers High

      • Bruce says:

        Actually, Eights Miles High would be 12.874752 Kilometers High. You might also like to pass on this information to Eminem for retitling his movie for EU consumption.

      • Mike Miller says:

        So, how will they refer to a ” high mileage” vehicle or say: “He really got a lot of mileage out of (insert whatever here)? Kilometerage?

      • Bruce says:

        Not something the eurocrats that come up with this shit need to bother about — they’re chauffeured everywhere.

      • Nick S. says:

        Let’s not forget Joni Mitchell’s double live album, ” Kilometers Of Aisles.” (euRocrATS chauffeured everywhere???!!! Say it ain’t so, Uncle Joe!)

      • Nick S. says:

        Bruce, speaking of Joni . . . were you into Jaco Pastorius? I’m not too hip to his music, yet, but what little I’d heard sounded interesting. Back in the day, he was always cited as a top bass player.

      • Bruce says:

        Big reputation, but never took up with him.

      • Nick S. says:

        Have you ever played stand-up bass?

      • Bruce says:

        I have indeed — did you hear about the Horace Barlow Experience? I’ve also played bass flat on my back — but that’s another story.

      • Nick S. says:

        I have heard of The Horace Barlow Experience . . . from this very web site. Please elaborate on The H B E.

      • Bruce says:

        One week, when Mr Nieve was indisposed, the band went out as a trio, the Horace Barlow Experience. We did a gig in Jersey — one of the Channel Islands. The first half of the set was a kind of Stray Cats tribute with me on stand-up bass — which I quickly discovered isn’t that easy to play. The second half featured EC, who’d bought every FX pedal known to man as a guitar hero. It was quickly apparent that he was no Hendrix — as wrong switches were hit and the boxes flew further and further out of control into sonic anarchy. We finished the short set and came off stage smiling — only to be met by a horror-stricken Jake Riviera who said, ‘That was fucking awful. Get back on stage and do some proper songes or we’ll never get off the island alive.’

      • Nick S. says:

        ” It was quickly apparent that he was no Hendrix . . . ” HA! Now, that’s a great story! Sounds like a very spontaneous thing . . . like “Radio, Radio” on SNL. I’ll bet this must have been 1980. I’d like to have seen such a show. (Wonder if a recording exists?) I don’t think of too many bands taking chances like this.

      • Bruce says:

        If there was a recording it would’ve spontaneously combusted. I think in artistic terms the degree of chance taken equated roughly to the amount of alcoholic beverage taken.

      • Nick S. says:

        Ha! Inspired by spirits. You do what you gotta do sometimes, I say. (I’ll be downing some spirits tonight.) Still, potentially a refreshing break from the norm or expected.

        Was EC Horace Barlow? Where did that name come from? (I gather the “Experience” part was a spoof on Jimi Hendrix’s band.)

      • Bruce says:

        You’ve answered your own questions again.

      • Mike Miller says:

        The Glenlivet Experience.

  14. Nick S. says:

    Don’t know how many of your visitors are aware of this EC & The Attractions whirlwind performance (also on your Video Clips page). I just got new headphones, and it sounds even better. Great sound quality. AWESOME performance, that I revisit with some frequency. (Though I must confess I skip demented establishment clown Diva Lecherman’s intro. I can’t stand this avowed creep. Used to like him . . . but tired of his mean spiritedness and sick, twisted cynicism.) Turn it up, and enjoy!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olBWaIW2Y44

    • David Witherington says:

      Hey, Nick. I love this clip too. I have to say it was exciting to see Elvis Costello and the Attractions together after a too long eight years- and even better, unadorned by anyone else. The straight through sets with just the four of them are what the fuss was about in the early days for me. “Live At The El Mocambo” was such an awesome introduction to the band’s live show in its inception. Even though there are arguably better shows that have surfaced in in the CD age, this great piece of rare promo vinyl is all that I had to go on, besides the odd B-side or comp track. I’ve played that show so much that even the guy yelling “WOOOOOO” has stopped annoying me. Let’s face it…that guy knew what was up! Hehe. Anyway, my belabored point is that I saw them on this first reunion tour in Raleigh, NC. They still bowled me over with those shows…as tight and explosive as ever. I still have the brilliant T-shirt from that show. It has The Attractions surrounding Elvis with various weapons at his throat! And if that isn’t cooler than cool, the back says “Elvis Costello and the Attractions- More Than You Deserve!” LOL!! I am so glad that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the four of them as a band. Thanks for sharing this memory. I was glued to the set that night, just as I was for the SNL debut in 1977. Like everyone, I was expecting to see The Sex Pistols. I’d only slightly read of punk at the time, but was a bit curious. When they announced “tonight’s musical guest is Elvis Costello,” I thought “”What? My TV Guide says ‘The Sex Pistols’! (I still have that TV Guide! My next thought, seeing as how Elvis Presley had just passed away in August, was that Elvis Costello must be one of the many, many Elvis impersonators that his death had spawned. Boy, was I wrong and very glad that I sat through the show. I went out the next day and bought “My Aim Is True.” I wore the vinyl out on that puppy and have been there on release date for everything since. As Pete Thomas’ T- shirt said that night, “Thanks, Malc”! And thanks, Nick for sharing this. And to Bruce, who so humbly said at the Hall of Fame “thanks for the memories,” I say the same.

      • Bruce says:

        Funny, but I’ve just been writing about how revved-up I was the first time I saw the Who, and how I wore out my copy of “You Really Got Me”. You know, when Steve went the auditiion for the band, he thought is was an Elvis tribute act, too, so you’re not alone.

      • David Witherington says:

        Hey, Bruce..that is so interesting that Steve thought that as well. Almost as odd was to later discover an LP by Ross MacManus called “Big Ross Sings the Hits of Elvis Presley”!! (in which young Declan’s father wore horn-rims on the cover much like his son would later). It’s a funny world sometimes. And I’m right there with you with worn-out Who and Kinks records too. Your playing often reminds me of Entwistle’s. Great stuff ! Thanks and have a good day. 🙂

      • Nick S. says:

        Right on, David! Cool story. That is a great T-shirt of yours that you describe, and I got a kick out of Pete’s T-shirt, too. Sadly, I didn’t catch any of the reunion tours. Thankfully, videos like this exist to extend and deepen the fascination. This track, “13 Steps . . . ” is SOOO energetic — ESPECIALLY Bruce’s part, I honestly get a bit exhausted after seeing/hearing. And I’m just a spectator! I can’t imagine how a band can play song after song with such intensity. I know that sets usually get paced, but so much of their catalog sounds musically challenging and demanding. On The Attractions, at least. ;0)

        Bruce, sounds like you and David were experiencing a bit of synchronicity. And that’s funny about Steve’s misunderstanding.

        And you’re right, David . . . it is a funny (strange) world sometimes. If not often.

      • Nick S. says:

        Bruce, would you mind giving your take on this observation? You mentioned an affection for The Kinks and The Who. I know you like The Beatles. I think you like The Rolling Stones. Those 4 bands epitomize the 60s “British Invasion.” Yet The Kinks always seemed to get short shrift. It seems they often got critical acclaim over huge commercial success. I recall hearing something about them being denied access to tour the US at a critical point in their career. The Kinks were conspicuously absent from RS’s Rock And Roll Circus. As vocal as John Lennon was on Beatles’ “competition,” no comment on Ray Davies, etc., that I’m aware of. I like The Kinks. Do you think these perceptions are accurate at all?

      • Bruce says:

        For once I can’t offer you any further insight into your proposition — I’ve never seen it that way myself, but it doesn’t mean that you haven’t a point. I’ve never heard of the Kinks being denied access to the US — either overtly or covertly. And of the bands named, the Stones were my least favourite.

      • Nick S. says:

        I’d add that I feel The Kinks got a second wind toward the end of the ’70s. Along with EC & The Attractions and other bands of the “new wave,” The Kinks seemed to rise (again) to greater prominence in pop music. I recall popular “new wave” artists at the time paying respects to The Kinks as an influence. (Hell, Chrissie Hynde and RD had a child.)Also, late ’70s Kinks had sort of almost a “metal” sound to them, to me. Louder guitars and some finer, advanced shredding by Dave. (The brothers produced nice vocal harmonies, too. And Ray’s songs, to me, pretty much always had a keen intelligence to them.)

      • Nick S. says:

        Cool-looking bass guitar! Danelectro Longhorn, I believe . . . as I’ve learned something about here. Is that yours, Mike?

      • Nick S. says:

        I like how right after the performance, Bruce looks to Pete and shrugs his shoulder, Pete shrugs right back, as if they’re both saying: “I hope we passed the audition.” (You guys must have brought Lecherman’s audience back to life.)

      • Windy says:

        No, it belongs to the Mastering engineer at my studio. It’s a Jerry Jones re-make.

        You can buy the same clubs as Tiger, but that doesn’t mean you’re gonna get a green jacket.

    • I’m with you on the Stones…Never really cared much for them. That “Shattered” song makes me want to take a hammer to something. But I do like “Paint it Black” from my aforementioned awakening era.

      Not hard to figure out who tore the place up at the RR Circus event.

      • Bruce says:

        As my friend Wilf Turnbull points out — if you see a red door and want to paint it black, you’d be well advised to used good quality dark grey undercoat, lest you get bleed through and end up with a dark purplish sheen 🙂

      • Nick S. says:

        Wilf Turnbull is a great name! And as an amateur painter, I can vouch for his good advice. (Who needs a Deep Purple Door?)

        I definitely like The Beatles best of those 4. The others are “apples” & oranges to me. I certainly have the least amount of respect for The Rolling Stones. While they have some great songs, their image and influence is one of Decca-dence. MJ as a performer is somewhat embarrassing to me, too. And musically, they seemed the least competent and adventurous (The Who, perhaps, the most?). It seems insecure Jagger, from time to time in interviews, took shots at The Beatles. Lennon, in typical fashion, would put MJ in his rightful place. Which is not to say that Lennon didn’t like Jagger or The Stones. I think he did. But he knew, of course, that The Beatles were better. Perhaps, even, The Beatles were like 1-2-3/Clouds to those other bands?

      • Bruce says:

        Check out Wilf Turnbull’s site. Then have a guess who is the man behind Wilf Turnbull.

      • Nick S. says:

        HA!!! Just checked out Wilf on the Web: http://www.wilfturnbull.co.uk/index.html

        Talk about erudition! I’d like to believe the man behind Wilf is Wilf, but I accidentally noticed the name “Dawson,” copyrighted at the bottom of these very funny postings. (Didn’t want to “cheat,” but might Wilf be your friend, Dave Dawson?) I read Aerosmith and Jefferson Starship postings . . . and will certainly have to read more of Wilf’s worldly, wordy, wacky wisdom. (Tasteful-looking site, too!)

      • Bruce says:

        Got him in one — well spotted.

      • Mike Miller says:

        That Nick…He’s a fart smeller..I mean smart feller!

      • Nick S. says:

        Thank you, Mike. You’re a gas!

  15. Nick S. says:

    Bruce, you ever consider doing an instructional video on the art of bass playing? Surely you must have been approached on this before.

    • Bruce says:

      You can teach notes, but you can’t teach feel. it’s like trying to teach someone a sense of humour. bass playing is all about timing — if you’ve got it you’ve got, and if you ain’t, you ain’t.

    • Mike Miller says:

      Actually, he’s done it right here on the site. Plus, he’s given out many great playing tips in various interviews over the years. Many that helped my own playing immensely.

      • Nick S. says:

        You’re right, Mike. Lots of info Bruce has kindly, freely shared here re. bass playing techniques, gear, philosophy and such. Good to know it’s helped you personally, too. (I’d seen a Neil Peart drum “clinic” video that was really cool — instructional and interesting. Another vehicle for artist and fan to “meet.”)

      • Bruce says:

        I’ve got one short idea for a tuition video that I may include in an upcoming batch of YouTube clips as soon as the guitars have had the electrics done.

  16. Derek says:

    Ha, you guys should get together and do a history of modern “hidden/missed” music.

    I missed prog rock by a generation so didn’t a get a flavour of it until “The dukes of Stratosphere” in the mid 80’s.

    However, while working with the Charlatans in the early nineties we had a guy, “Captin Whizzo” , who did the baby oil and ink back drops for us, seems there is a lot of that in the Vanilla fudge vid.

    Derek

    • Nick S. says:

      I think The Dukes was more like mid/late-60s psychedelic pop. Good stuff. IMHO, The Attractions were doing something similar, earlier, on their solo record. I’d call it psychedelic power pop. More good stuff.

  17. David Witherington says:

    Thanks for the info, Bruce. Man, would I love to hear that show with Peter Green! I’ll bet his soulful guitar and your melodic bass made a joyous noise together. The Village experience sounds like it was really fun. I think a career-spanning autobiography by Bruce Thomas would be a great read! Have a good weekend.

    • Bruce says:

      Well, the guitar was more searing than soulful. And as for melodic bass, before we even started he leant over and whispered in my ear, “Stick to the root — a one-note shuffle”. I duly obliged — and it just flew and flew and flew — I learnt a lot playing those that 3-note 12-bar that night, I can tell you. And I wish I had a tape of it too.

      • David Witherington says:

        Your personal anecdotes in your musical posts really put you there. I can feel the importance of that night in your enthusiasm. Maybe we’ll get lucky and find out that Ted ‘King Size’ Taylor sneaked in a tape recorder that night. 😉 Any plans for an autobiography?

      • Bruce says:

        I might do something about the music rather than about me. You’ll be the first to know if I do 🙂

      • Nick S. says:

        Here at BTU (Bruce Thomas online University), the edu-macation never ends!

        Had to check out David’s “Ted ‘King Size’ Taylor” reference, and now realize he was responsible for those early Beatle/Star-Club recordings . . . a double LP I bought many years ago.

        How about a book about the music and you? The Prog post succinctly encapsulates the birth of prog and ends with how you fit into it. That was icing on the cake. Same with your story about Jimmy Page encounter, etc. First person accounts and your active participation/contributions in the pop music world enhance already interesting outside observations and opinions and such.

      • Bruce says:

        I’ll give it some thought.

      • Mike Miller says:

        You could do one on me, but I don’t think a one page book would sell very well.

      • Bruce says:

        Only if I can call you “Windy”.

      • Mike Miller says:

        You can pull my finger to seal the deal.

      • Nick S. says:

        Ha! I can see it now . . . “Windy” . . . The Mike Miller Story . . . a 1-page authorized biography . . . by Bruce Thomas. I’d buy it! But I’m a lazy reader . . . better make it BIG print . . . with LOTS of color pictures. (That’s 1 page more than my life story would warrant.)

      • Bruce says:

        You stop that negative self-talk this minute!

      • Nick S. says:

        You’re right, Bruce. Sometimes, there’s a thin line between self-depracating humor and self-loathing. Enough of that crap! From here on out, IMHO, WE RULE!!! (Vince Gill on TV right now, singing a Christian song. Very nice. Decent, humble guy in interview, too.)

      • Bruce says:

        And a nifty guitar picker on the Clapton Crossroads DVD.

    • Nick S. says:

      Thanks for that, Mike! In the photo, Peter Bardens reminds me a bit of David Grohl (from Nirvana days). Bruce’s blog is a cool school of rock. (“Edge-u-macational,” as ex-President G. W. Bush might put it.)

      • Bruce says:

        Well while we’re in “edu-macational” mode, please check out Village’s label mates, Mighty Baby. Mighty Baby were my favourite band of the time, the guitar player Martin Stone later went on to play with Pete Thomas in Chilli Willi (pre-Attractions)whose road manager happened to be one Jake Riviera. Mighty Baby morphed out of my favourite mod group the Action. it’s amazing how bands could just drop one genre and image and pick up another effortlessly. One day you’re looking all preppy and doing R&B covers, the next you’re wearing you mother’s curtains and doing long improvisations about Egyptian tombs. For example, have you ever checked out Andy Summers career path — from Zoot Money’s Big Roll band to Dantalion’s Chariot to the Police. We all did it!!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvLiGOalsIo

      • Nick S. says:

        Enjoyed Might Baby, Bruce. Eclectic. Lead guitar reminded me some of Justin Hayward in “Lovely To See You.” (Always like JH’s “buzzing” lead guitar.) Please post The Action, if possible.

        Re. common practice of artists changing genres/images, I’d imagine that’s largely due to growth (changing interests) and opportunities. Seems to me $ucce$$ can be the kiss of death. Pigeonhole pressure.

        Re. Andy Summers, my brother plays guitar, and is a big fan of his. He thinks AS was very underrated as a guitarist and avante guard. He also believes U2’s The Edge was greatly influenced by AS.

      • dean says:

        Thanks Nick! A few glasses of red had passed my lips by the time I commented. A plank is someone who is a bit stiff, hence, planky and throwing a strop means getting a bit pissed. Not pissed as I was but American pissed as in angry. Amazingly I actually have lived in NYC for the past 12years but my interpreter and food tester had a half day off 🙂 As that was my first ever gig the memory has remained remarkably clear. Dave and The Mistakes opened. Who??? You may well ask…exactly. I think someone in the audience asked for Oliver’s Army and that was the end of the gig! No encore, nothing! But is was all still rather thrilling for a young lad.
        And I agree Bruce. All Julien’s books are amazingly thorough and well researched.

      • Bruce says:

        I thought you meant “planky” as in “thick as a plank”.

      • Nick S. says:

        Ha! “Thick As A Plank”? Good record. Jethra Tull’s foray into prog rock.

  18. dean says:

    Wow! Amazing stuff. Hi Bruce. Just stumbled on the site. Was always a huge Attractions fan. My first ever gig was EC and Attractions at Birmingham Odeon. Tour to Trust. Sold out. And ol’ planky got a strop and you only played for 40 minutes! I still have the ticket! Needless to say you had to come back and play Bingley Hall on the Imperial tour and the place was a third full. And you played for 2.5 hours! Most innovative bass player ever. Always site you to up and coming players ” Listen to this guy.” Did you ever read the Julian Cope books? Reminded me of Big Wheel. All the best,
    Dean.

    • Bruce says:

      Yes I’ve read Julian’s books on the megalithic culture — IMO they’re the ‘go to’ books on the subject. There’s a lot of that in Wiltshire — Julian and his family live on the other side of Avebury to me.

      • Nick S. says:

        Bruce, would you mind translating some of Dean’s English into American English? (We Americans are basically ersatz Brits, IMHO.) I like his post. Mostly understand it, I think, except for this: ” ol’ planky got a strop.” I tried to decipher it, but still unsure. I like colorful language like this.

      • Bruce says:

        That roughly equates to “the Irishman became rather disgruntled”.

      • Nick S. says:

        HA!!! (I’m partially Irish, my last name ends with an “O,” and “disgruntled” runs in my bloodlines. Sigh. I think that’s pretty much where the comparisons end?)

      • Bruce says:

        The Irish spelling of Costello usually has an extra “e” on the end. Unless you’re Billy Sherril, in which case it rhymes with “umbrella”.

      • Nick S. says:

        If I have my facts straight, the Trust Tour that Dean noted was aka the English Mugs Tour . . . Squeeze opening for EC & The Attractions. Great double bill I’d like to have attended.

      • Nick S. says:

        Ha! Billy Sherrill and that Costella fella. No need for an umbrello here in Chicago today . . . warm, sunny and breezy. For a change. {–‘

  19. Bill Horvath says:

    Is there any likelihood that we could find any audio or video from Village? I did some sleuthing around these internet tubes, but found nothing. Not having much luck with Clouds AKA 1-2-3 either…

    • Bruce says:

      Over the top bass playing,complete with Gustav Holst bridge!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kxrWVDSJe8

      This is like hearing early Pink Floyd morph into the Doors in front of your very ears! I haven’t heard this since I did it!!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2tp4EhA4nM

      • BorisBrain says:

        Interesting – some nice early trademark bass licks going on there.

        As you say, a lot of The Doors in MITM, but it also reminded me a little of Can. What did you make of them?

        BB

      • Bruce says:

        Can? They were great when they opened up (Sorry).

      • Nick S. says:

        Bruce, what is the time frame on these 2 very cool recordings?

      • Bruce says:

        They’re about three minutes long 🙂

      • Nick S. says:

        Ha! Yes, but WHEN were they recorded? What year(s)? I’m trying to get some historical perspective.

      • Bruce says:

        Sorry — couldn’t reist that one. It was 1969.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Nick: You teed it up….He hit it out of the park!

      • Nick S. says:

        Out of the park, up into the Stratocaster!

      • Bruce says:

        You’re on a Code Red pun warning, my friend.

      • David Witherington says:

        Good stuff, Bruce! Was there an album? I certainly hope that at least these tracks made it to a comp of some sort…a “prog Nuggets” or the like? I’d love to hear more Village. Just curious about the name (you know I always am!), was the official name “The Village” (as on the Chrysalis press photo) or just “Village”? Thanks as always and cheers, mate!

      • Bruce says:

        There was never an album — our manager went to jail before there was time. The Village was not about some mysterious walled enclave hidden away from the modern world, as in the more-recent movie of that name. It relates to Greenwich Village which we considered to be the home of modern jazz — I’m still not sure whether we were Village or The Village — a bit like Cream. The single was a lot more “commercial” than our stage set. At our Saturday residency at the Marquee we always used to have a guest musician appear with us. These could be anyone from members of Georgie Fame’s band, jazz musicians of the day or other people we knew. The highlight of these sessions — and arguably the highlight of my entire musical career — was the night Peter Green got up and played guitar with us. At that time, Fleetwood Mac were the hottest band in the UK and Peter was at the height of his powers. An unforgettable night that still gives me goose bumps.

      • Nick S. says:

        I’m curious, Bruce . . . why did The Village’s manager go to jail? (I understand that band managers tend to be ultra scrupulous. Ha!)

      • Bruce says:

        No comment. He’s still around somewhere.

      • Bill Horvath says:

        What an… interesting sound! Not my cup of tea, but a great piece of history in any case. I always enjoy hearing the musical beginnings of the musicians I admire. Thanks!

    • Nick S. says:

      Just gave both those tunes a 2nd listen. I really liked what I heard. You guys could play! Poppy, prog-like, extended, improvisational playing — jam band-like. Like you stated, MITM was like Syd Barrett meets Ray Manzarek meets Syd again. Good stuff. Was this the first band you were in with a recording contract? Could you see yourself in a jam band?

      Up until hearing these recordings, I was under the very mistaken assumption that your playing, pre-EC, was probably not this sophisticated. (I’d make that assumption of any artist, expecting to see/hear some sort of natural, normal evolution.) How wrong I was. All (or many of) your abilities I associate with Attractions era seem fully intact here. Good to hear these recordings.

      • Bruce says:

        As I said in another “reply” these two tracks are very commercial compared to our gig set, which had way more jamming in it. Bill Porter was a very good jazz drummer and Pete B could play a bit. But it wasn’t noody-doodly jazz, but more like the fusion stuff that Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock ended up doing.

      • Mike Miller says:

        A lot of groups today desperately try to get the sound quality of these tracks. I would bet they were 4-track recordings, maybe 8-track. Even recently here, recorded individual instrument tracks were re-recorded onto 1/4″ analog tape at 7 1/2 ips to add “grit and noise” and then recorded back into the digital session. Crazy!

      • Bruce says:

        They were recorded at Pye’s Marble Arch Studios in the West End of London — the same studios as used by the Kinks for “You Really Got Me”! Mitchell Froom used similar techniques to you to add a bit of body to the track — tiny old valve amps and early prototype synths etc. I must say, not having heard those Village tracks for decades, Peter B got a nice bit of distorted drive into the Hammond. It was painted flourescent lime green, as I recall.

      • Mike Miller says:

        The “West End” section of London you refer to is the inspiration for my studio name “Westend” Only problem was that I was at the end of the studio listings in the phone book.

        Vanilla Fudge from ’68. Carmine Appice tears it up on this:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2z8TpFV748

      • Bruce says:

        Should’ve gone for Aardvark West End.

      • Nick S. says:

        Good to finally see/hear Vanilla Fudge. I’d always heard of them, but was never exposed to them. Carmine Appice was fun to watch/hear. (They reminded me some of Grand Funk Railroad. Or vice versa, chronologies show me.) Did a bit of research, and VF were described as: “one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal”. The rock edu-macation rolls on!

      • Mike Miller says:

        Mark Stein’s a bit overly dramatic and Tim Bogert’s facial expression looks like he might have dropped his bass cabinet on his toe right before this song.

  20. Nick S. says:

    Bilderberg comes to England this week. Do you expect any protests? I enjoy some of the alternative media attention given to them. (I think “Bilderberg” would make a great name for a death metal band.)

    • Bruce says:

      They’re having to be a little more open with their meeting these days — but it does sound like a German synth band.

      • Nick S. says:

        When this effete elite meet and greet, do you suppose they eat Bilder-burgers? (CODE RED!!!)

      • Nick S. says:

        Of course the Bilderbergers will be sumptuously feasting. Multiple courses of haute cuisine. Anyone for peasant under glass? (I’d better be careful, Bruce . . . this peasant is with Verizon!)

      • Bruce says:

        You’re being spied on by Verizon. The Brits are being spied on by the Chinese company that supplies all the routers for British Telecom. And people why Google only pays $2.50 a year tax in the UK — when they’re doing all MI6’s work for them for free 🙂

      • Nick S. says:

        Orwell must be spinning in his grave.

        I don’t really know British politics, but is Britain’s Labour Party like America’s Democrats? Tax and spend, debt, wealth redistribution, welfare, autocrats, bureaucrats, etc.

      • Bruce says:

        Pretty much the same as your description.

      • Mike Miller says:

        In all seriousness, I have long ago told my family and friends to not disparage our King and his old lady on any social media because they’re scanning for troublemakers. Most thought I joking.

      • Nick S. says:

        I hear what Mike’s saying. I said the very same thing, years ago, when this technology was becoming more popular. But another side of me says, “What about freedom of speech?” Is our Constitution meaningless? I’ve always admired when artists took political positions. My politics have changed over the years. And with the advent of social media, new ideas and information about politics and such get disseminated. This is interesting and stimulating to me. I respect the brave, righteous gadfly, and in my own small ways, if I truly agree with them, I feel I should try to advance them sometimes, but more importantly, their causes and ideas to some extent. Don’t want to live in too much fear, neither. They win, that way, too.

        I think it’s totally cool of Bruce to allow some of these more political postings, and to share his thoughts on such. Bruce is the only popular artist I’m really aware of call it as it seems to be. That is refreshing.

  21. Nick S. says:

    THANK YOU, Bruce and Dave, for setting the “record” straight about prog!

    Good God . . . how interesting the various musicians and paths they took. Trails they blazed, etc. Bad fortune. Good fortune. And all the rest.

    It is sad when successful people or acts do not, in the very least, acknowledge their predecessors, who inspired and paved the way for their very careers. Give credit where it is due. It is only right. Attempt to be gracious. It reflects better upon one’s self. It’s OK to run with or build upon your influences. I believe everyone does this. But show some decency, some gratitude. Have some self-pride, don’t steal, and attempt to forge your own paths. (I like work by all of the musicians you named, who I am aware of.)

    It’s interesting, Bruce, that you cite how The Village stood between R & B and prog. Your bass playing with EC & The Attractions seemed to fully embody both of those camps (and then some). This set you apart, I believe. To me, the musical core of EC and The Attractions was essentially an organ trio . . . or a bass trio . . . or a drum trio (call it what you like). A power trio with finesse. And I certainly like the whole that ALL 4 of you produced together.

    Thanks again, Bruce and Dave! Cheers! (As you “blokes” say.) ;0)

    • Bruce says:

      I’d never thought of the Attractions as an keyboard trio — but you have a point.

      • Nick S. says:

        I do have a point . . . kept concealed by conical cap. <;0(

        Actually . . . I think of The Attractions more as a bass trio. But I'm a bit biased. Could go all 3 ways. As musicians, all 3 of you were that good to lead.

      • Mike Miller says:

        I think he does have a point…EC was smart enough to not get in the way of the band. At least for a while.

      • Bruce says:

        He made up for it later!

    • Dave Dawson says:

      Nick that is a heartwarming and very perceptive post. You have nailed the situation. Best Regards to you. Dave

      • Nick S. says:

        Thank you, Dave. Bruce is very generous within his blog. It is a total pleasure and honor to be able to interact with him, you and all who post here.

        Re. Mike’s and Bruce’s comments, to me it’s like he killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. I don’t know all the details. And it’s really none of my business . . . but seemed very shortsighted and ungrateful to me.

      • Mike Miller says:

        The Goose is alive and well…and out on tour right now.

      • Nick S. says:

        Only 2/3rds of the goose. I’ve seen that version, once, at a free outdoor concert in downtown Chicago. They were good. (Especially Pete . . . opening to “Chelsea” was most memorable: thundering and explosive.) But something (someone) integral was conspicuously absent. For the first time, 1/4 of that band struck me as a bit cheesy (and I’m not referring to new bass player). I should shut up. I honestly wish all parties well.

      • Mike Miller says:

        I meant the goose with the glasses.

  22. Mike Miller says:

    Great post! I’ve been wanting delve into your career prior to ’77 for some time now. Never was really familiar with your old groups…they never made much of an impact, (at least in my limited world at the time) so I hope you will discuss the good and maybe the not so good.

  23. Dave Dawson says:

    Thanking you for the credit and for helping to bring this innovative band’s legacy to the fore. The Nice being the main culprits have a lot to be ashamed of

  24. David Witherington says:

    Very interesting, Bruce! I will have to check out Clouds. The Brian Epstein connection to them as 1-2-3 is new to me as well. Also, at the moment, the earliest records I have by you are with Quiver. What would you recommend to start with by The Village? Thanks for these revelations.

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