Archive for the Classic albums Category

From the archives…2006 interview with NEIL CARTER (UFO/GARY MOORE)

Posted in Classic albums, Classic rock, Get Ready To Rock!, rock with tags , , , , , , on May 28, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

10 Q’s with NEIL CARTER (UFO/GARY MOORE)

Originally published back in 2006 and when Neil Carter was no longer active in the music scene. However, after the sad death of Paul Raymond last month, Neil has now rejoined his old band mates in UFO who have US dates of their farewell tour starting next month.

Neil Carter was the keyboards/guitar/sax player with UFO during the band’s early 80’s period and he then went onto join Gary Moore’s band for a series of classic hard rock albums. Now he is a well respected music teacher. Visit his his rather good Website and read on…

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Well as far as any of the ‘previous life’ activities go, none at all but I am about to go to Malaysia to examine and next year New Zealand and the USA. Otherwise it is business as usual with tons of teaching and examining.

2. Since leaving Gary Moore’s band you have been a music teacher. What was it like to teach at first and have any of your past pupils gone onto being full time musicians?

Actually I admit I was lousy at first but as ever, enthusiastic, so I got by. No one had ever taught me how to teach so I had to find my way and discover the tools of the trade and get used to preparing candidates for exams etc. I think I know my stuff these days but it took me a couple of years, and also a while to understand how to interact with children and teenagers. I really love it now but for a long time it was hell on earth! I have taught a few that have gone on and in fact one of my past pupils now teaches some kids from my school. So many really talented kids have passed through the College but become doctors/lawyers etc. It is the way of the public school I’m afraid!

3. UFO What were the musical and live highlights of your time in the band?

Musically I suppose the initial album ‘Wild and Willing’ as I really liked such a lot of the songs on that and it was all ‘new’. ‘Making Contact’, I felt responsible for a lot of that album and am pleased with it on the whole. Live I suppose some of the headlining shows in the USA and Reading in 1980 of course. I had a bootleg sent to me of the Chicago show in 1981 and it is really good. Never thought I’d say that!

4. Gary Moore You played on what many Gary Moore fans would regard as his classic hard rock albums in the 80s. What was it like playing with musicians like Bob Daisley and the late, great Cozy Powell? How did the bands camaraderie differ from UFO?

With Gary I was always aware that ultimately it was his show although it did feel like a band on stage. I suppose my position was a little different as I had the longest serving term and I wrote with Gary. I like to think it was a good partnership. The strange thing is that when I joined his band all the musicians, Ian, Neil and myself had come from much bigger acts but you could tell Gary was on the ‘up’ and he was always so well respected by other musicians. Working with Bob was always great and Cozy was a fine drummer (albeit rather briefly with us!). Working with Gary was so different to UFO, much more professional and well organized but perhaps not quite so unpredictable!

5. Did you get other band offers after you left Gary Moore and would you be tempted back into working with say Gary Moore or Paul Chapman if the chance arose?

Strangely no…..I wonder why? I suppose it was left ‘open’ for almost a year afterwards and no one actually said ‘that’s it, no more rock tours’ so I was in limbo, but getting on with life. I did some writing and recording of my own but somehow I had no real desire to carry on. Which, looking back now, I find strange but understandable in a way. I had done such a lot and we had finished on a real high. Why go downwards or start again and I would have had to. I think you would really have to want it badly to do that and I didn’t. Added to which money was still coming in from royalties so I wasn’t exactly destitute! I have had the odd ‘what about it’ from both Paul and Gary over the years and I never rule it out but I think I am so far out of the loop now I don’t know if I would be any good!

6. Who/what made you want to be a musician?

I wanted to be on the ‘stage’ I knew that, but I loved music and played instruments (piano, recorder) from a very early age. My Mum was heavily involved in am dram and I used to ache to be involved in those productions when I was very little. I did so much playing in those things which gave me a good grounding and helped my sight reading immensely. Then one day Bowie came along and that was it. I wanted to be Mick Ronson!

7. How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

My first break was with Gilbert O’ Sullivan when I was 19, until then I had been in semi-pro bands although technically I was ‘pro’ ˜cos I didn’t work and my parents supported me! That came about from our bands guitarist answering an advert as he wanted a ‘rock’ band to back him. I was the singer but usefully I could play other instruments so I think it helped to ‘sell’ us. In the course of a 45 minute set I played 7 instruments for him. Slave labour. As far as ‘advice’ goes I suppose something I have learnt is in order to be successful at anything in life you need supreme self motivation and above all, self belief. It doesn’t necessarily take supreme talent!

8. Which song(s) do you enjoy performing most live and why?

Always with UFO the classics especially ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Only you can Rock me because they are such classic rock songs. Gary, hmmmm, I could say the entire set list of the ‘Wild Frontier’ tour as that really has to have been my favourite period I was with him. If you look at the Sweden live video we were having such a good time and it worked so well live. I have a bootleg of the ‘After the War’ tour and we look terrified and miserable! (Mind you that was right at the start of the tour with Chris Slade who just about new the songs….just!)

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Well it has been documented before, but I am a Judge of pedigree cats and that is my hobby. I go all over Europe judging although not quite as much nowadays as I am so busy with work. I enjoy it, although I am not sure whether it’s cool to say so! I also do a fair amount of arranging these days and enjoy that a lot too!

10. Message to your fans…

For those that hold memories of the things I did in the past and have the albums, thanks for your support and feel free to check out the website as there will be some new stuff appearing from time to time. I really enjoy hearing from you all and thanks to those who have emailed me. Have fun!

‘So Here It Is’ by Dave Hill

Posted in Authors, Books, Classic albums, Classic rock, rock n roll with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

 

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Unbound Books [Published date 16.11.17]

Noddy Holder has written a couple of books and drummer Don Powell has published his memoir, now it is the turn of guitarist Dave Hill.

Dave Hill was born in a castle in Devon, the son of a mechanic, and moved back with his parents to Wolverhampton when he was a year old. Much of the book involves his family and the facts he uncovered including that his parents weren’t married for their early years and how his mum’s depression impacted on the family. He touches upon this throughout the book, including how he didn’t cry when his mum died, and is very open and honest about how his mum affected and shaped his life. His wife Jan, who he married in 1973, remained his rock throughout the trails of life, be it with Slade or more personal aspects of his life.

Slade fans will be interested to read about the band’s origins as Dave Hill originally played with drummer Don Powell in a band called The Vendors, which became the The N’ Betweens. When Jim Lea and singer Noddy Holder later joined, the band renamed itself Slade, after an album came out under the Ambrose Slade name. In the 1970s, Slade were the biggest band in the UK, racking up 23 Top 20 hits, including six number one singles. That is some achievement and of course their Christmas single ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, still makes the singles charts every Christmas season.

There isn’t much in the way of rock ‘n’ roll tales about other band members as they didn’t seem to socialise much on the road. The Reading comeback is covered, along with their failed attempt to break the US market – something that nearly broke the band. The mid-80’s to early 90’s period doesn’t get covered much, mainly as the band had stopped touring and when Noddy Holder left the band in 1992, Jim Lea also retired from the band. Hill and Powell formed Slade II in 1992, which again isn’t touched upon much in the book, and that band’s current line-up has bene together and touring since 2005. Slade II have released one studio album to date (much of the album was written by Hill and former Wizzard member Bill Hunt).

Recommended read for the band’s many fans as you get to see behind the showmanship, and at times outrageous costumes, of Dave Hill. Frank and honest about his own personal life, plus he still keeps the band’s music alive by still touring today as Slade II with fellow founder member Don Powell.

Some Fantastic Place by Chris Difford

Posted in Authors, Books, Classic albums, Netgalley, pop, Pop rock with tags , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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W&N [Publication date 31.08.17]

Chris Difford is the lyricist to Glen Tilbrook’s music and arranging in Squeeze, a band who have split up twice and now since reforming again in 2007 seem to be enjoying a purple patch both in terms of touring and making new music.

Chris’s memoir is very much written from the heart as he describes his struggle with alcohol and bouts of depression, and the effect this had on his personal life. However, he comes across as a positive soul and one that is grateful for what he has. There are of course plenty of tales of Squeeze and how they rose to fame in the late 70’s and early 80’s with a string of hit singles.

His musical life outside of Squeeze is given insight including his time as helping coral the lyrics for Bryan Ferry. He also felt like Bryan Ferry’s chauffer at the time! He also worked on lyrics with Elton John and became good friends with him, which helped a band Chris was mentoring the Strypes, who signed to Elton’s Rocket Music Management in their early days. His solo career is covered, although not as extensively as Squeeze.

You do get a little insight into the relationship between him and Glen Tilbrook, something that has remained constant throughout the years since when they first met back in 1973.

Reading about Squeeze it is pretty amazing they are still going, as at one time in the 90’s they seemingly had a revolving door on drummers and keyboard players. Luckily for music fans the Difford and Tilbrook axis on which Squeeze turns remained and the Squeeze story continues as they have a new album ‘The Knowledge’ out in October.

Chris Difford has penned an honest account of his life in and out of Squeeze, where he is very honest about his past mistakes and his struggles with depression and drinking. Highly recommended for both fans of the band and anyone wanting to see how the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle isn’t all glitz and glamour.

Review by Jason Ritchie

 

Rockin’ Chair forum

Posted in Books, Classic albums, Classic rock, Melodic rock, metal, News, pop, theatre, theatre royal hanley on September 1, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

New faces always welcome over on the Rockin’ Chair forum – a place for music and books, plus a board dedicated to memories of the Theatre Royal, Hanley.

Recent CD bargains…

Posted in Classic albums, Classic rock, Get Ready To Rock!, hard rock, Melodic rock, Modern rock, Pop rock, Power pop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Some recent charity shop finds including last year’s album ‘Brain Waves’ from Eureka Machines. Great album full of catchy pop rock/punk tunes and features Chris Catalyst (Ginger/Sisters Of Mercy etc). Only a pound and a signed copy as well! Also for a pound was the two CD version of Silver Ginger 5’s ‘Black Leather Mojo’. I love this album and one of the first I downloaded on iTunes. It features Ginger of the Wildhearts, plus various Wildhearts in the band and Conny Bloom of the Electric Boys. Not one filler, all are glorious slabs of glam infused pop rock. Darn shame they never made another album.

Whilst up in Stoke recently and browsing in the rather good record store Music Mania, I picked up Dogs Die In Hot Cars ‘Please Describe Yourself’ album – perhaps best known for their hit ‘Godhopping’. Bizarrely the band hail from my dad’s birthplace, St. Andrews and most of the band went to the same college as him, Madras College. Album full of quirky pop, recalling bands like Talking Heads, Arcade Fire and XTC. At the same time picked up the best of Hootie & the Blowfish. One of those bands I can cover with a just a best of by in my collection. Vocalist Darius Rucker has recently embarked on a more country/Americana path in his music.

Virgin Radio is back on air

Posted in Classic albums, hard rock, indie, News, Pop rock, Power pop with tags , , , on April 5, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

I was a regular listener to Virgin Radio when it first launched back in 1993 as it played a wider range of music and a lot of indie rock. Back then the choice of radio stations was still very limited, not like the overwhelming choice of digital and online radio stations we have now.

It was taken over by new owners and re-branded as Absolute Radio. Since then I have not been a big fan of that station, you can set your watch on the time of day a song would be played each day.

So I was surprised to see Virgin Radio back and part of the revamped group of radio stations owned by the Wireless Group (Talk Sport/Talk Radio). The demographic they are aiming for is 25-44 year olds and it has already been dubbed Radio 1 1/2 as it aims to sit between Radio 1 and Radio 2’s audience. It is online and digital only, no MW or FM presence this time around.

You can see the playlist below, a mix of indie and mainstream rock, plus some more dance/beat orientated tunes. The Stereophonics still make the playlist – a staple of the original Virgin Radio:

http://virginradio.co.uk/highlights/playing-now-check-out-virgin-radio-playlist-1603251950

I will give it a listen and be nice to alternate between this and online rock radio stations for a bit of musical variety.

Slowly the giants of rock stop touring…

Posted in Classic albums, Classic rock, Get Ready To Rock!, tours with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

First we had the sad passing of Lemmy which meant no more Motorhead, a band that lived to be on the road touring and playing to their fans.

Now we have the news that AC/DC have had to postpone their remaining US tour dates as vocalist Brian Johnson has been advised to stop performing live to save his hearing. The band have said they will be rescheduled later in the year with a guest vocalist. But it won’t be the same without Brian Johnson plus of course illness forced Malcolm Young to leave the band.

Age is catching up fast with the rock giants of the 1970’s sadly, even the mighty Status Quo have said no more electric gigs and their UK tour later this year will be their last.

The latest band to call time on touring has been Rush. Guitarist Alex Lifeson confirmed in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine that the band won’t tour again due to the pain that drummer Neil Peart goes through.

When rock bands started way back in the 60’s and 70’s, they would not imagined the longevity many of them would have and now we are way into the twilight years for them sadly. But hey, they will still be drawn back to the stage I am sure for one-off shows and it is not all bad as Motley Crue have stopped as well 😉

Roy Harper’s song sums up the passing of this era, albeit about cricket it does work on many levels: