1972

TEN YEARS AFTER - Newspaper Articles / Photos

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Photo by Charlie Auringer - Detroit, Michigan 1973

Photo by Charlie Auringer

Photo by Charlie Auringer

 


Record Mirror – January 1, 1972

Ten Years After have been awarded their first gold disc, for sales worth in excess of  $1,000,000 for their album, “A Space In Time”. The group will make its first tour of the British University Circuit since 1969 this month. The dates are: Reading January 8th, Birmingham 13th, Sheffield 14th, Lancaster 15th, Cardiff 19th, Liverpool 21st, Leeds 22nd, Brighton 25th, Nottingham 27th, Salford 28th, and Lancaster 29th.

TYA will be supported by Jude, a new group formed by ex-Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower and former Jethro Tull drummer Chris Bunker, on the dates at Cardiff, Brighton and Nottingham. At Sheffield, Salford and Lancaster, Supertramp will be the supporting act.

 

 

 

 

29 January 1972

 

 

 

 

 

MUSIK EXPRESS - February 1972

 

 

 

February 1972

“Alvin Lee and Ten Years After did a tour of Scandinavia with us supporting (Patto). On the first night we played an absolute perfect set, and not one person applauded. NOT ONE!

Then Ten Years After come on, they hadn’t played for six months. Ric Lee, their drummer was so rusty, it was unbelievable. It was like Sweep playing the drums, with Sooty on the magic organ! And the audience went crazy. It made me wonder, what it was all about…certainly not about going on and playing well. Anyway, Alvin Lee couldn’t believe how sensational and extraordinary Ollie Halsall, our guitarist was. He’d never heard him before, and he absolutely flipped. So he got a Revox tape recorder, and recorded every single Patto gig on the tour. Alvin even used to travel from gig to gig in our van. He just wanted to be with Ollie”.

From John Halsey Patto’s  drummer

24 February 1972 - Stockholm, Sweden
3 March 1972 - Berlin, Germany

 


 

 

TEN YEARS AFTER

 

in Düsseldorf, Germany

 

5.3.1972

Photos taken by

Hans Hübner

Courtesy of 

B & D


9. März 1972
Münster

Brigitte's original ticket
DM 9,50

 



The following photos were taken by Hans Hübner - 5 March 1972 at Philipshalle Düsseldorf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 March 1972 - Offenburg

 

 

 

   

 

 DISC -  March 25, 1972      

 “Alvin Lee on the Hassles of Being a Success”


Alvin Lee is currently suffering from a surfeit of everything. He’s had too much touring, too much hype, too much idolatry. Nowadays the band can’t play without being drowned by screaming or a constant barrage of blue flash bulbs from photographers. They’re hounded at airports and their records are bootlegged.

“As a band we were always thinking, perhaps we were being successful and achieving something, but this is the first year we’ve felt we’ve actually done it to some degree. Before we were still kind of struggling to control what we were doing, and now it’s settled down. Tours come easily; the music changes, it’s almost boring because nobody’s struggling any more. “I used to enjoy the days when we’d get into the van together and sit in it for five hours, our heads were much more together then. Now there’s no hassle and you have a clockwork schedule to follow, and a tour is run like a campaign. It completely does away with that feeling of companionship.”

Alvin is talking at his large Berkshire home. It is homely and comfortable, with lots of bric-a-brac gathered on tours. One room is devoted to his photography and filming, a passionate hobby, which seems to be fast overtaking the music, with a screen that pulls down from the ceiling, and lots of big cushions sprawled on the floor for happy viewing.

                                           I Want To Make A Film

He runs through some excellent slides he’s taken in America, France and here and there. He undoubtedly has photographic talent, and is still very proud of the article a photographic magazine did on him. We also listen to some tapes of numbers for the next album, which the band recorded in France recently, using the “Rolling Stones” mobile unit. They have captured a raw, driving bite not often heard offstage, with some beautiful rock and blues numbers. They hired a chateau to record in and used the vast marble hall so the drums have a metallic bounce, and the organ echoes off into the distance. Alvin was amazed at how much was due to the unit, and how much to its psychological effect.

“Another drag about being successful,” says Alvin, “is having to record out of the country to avoid tax. I wish it would all be logical and straightforward, but instead you get more and more into sympathy with Ray Davies singing about the taxman taking all his dough. “It’s unfair anyway because you’ve got ten years maximum in this job, unless you want to go on and do cabaret work, and there’s no way I’m going to be doing that. I want to get into producing and recording; I want to make a film. There’s so many things I want to do, it’s like standing at a multi-crossroads.” Before we go any further, let it be stressed, that this doesn’t in any way mean Ten Years After will split. A group that has been together for as long, and through as much as they have, doesn’t just cave in overnight. Alvin is merely taking stock of his thoughts; pausing before starting their thirteenth tour of America. Since the hoo-hah following Woodstock, the posters, the superstar treatment that Alvin got, which he didn’t want, he’s obviously been doing a lot of thinking, which has left him feeling rather wistful and nostalgic for the pre-success days.

“We just wanted musical success really, the money is great when you earn it, it allows you to put things back into what you’re doing. Before we were just starving to do well, we were so hell-bent on getting through, we would work every night we could. When we did make it, we had so much work coming in, we were on our knees, and not daring to turn any of it down.”

“You see, we need to reach beyond our capabilities, and now we come to the point where, are we best to reach a bit further, or are we best to play the things we’re doing well? We’re going to try and do some stock old blues things, and see how that comes out, integrated with other live things. The band isn’t the kind of band that can just play in a studio. “The Beatles reached out in the studio, and didn’t play live at all, and a lot of bands are doing more studio than live things now, but we’ve always been more of a live band, and you get a feedback from an audience, which keeps you in touch, and stops you going out on a limb. “But concerts, in some places become more and more difficult. In Germany recently, there were fifty photographers out in front with flash bulbs going the whole time. It was terrible for us, and terrible for the audience. I stopped playing and got somebody to come onstage and tell them to stop in German, but they all started up again three minutes later. And once you begin to notice the hassles, it’s a psychological thing, and it gets worse, like at Madison Square Gardens, about two percent kept quiet.

                                              English Tours Are Fantastic

“English tours are fantastic because they just sit and listen, we want to do more in England, but the commercial aspects mean you have to play the bigger places, abroad as well, and of course the places where the money is, there’s thousands of people pushing and shoving and screaming, and you feel like a circus freak.” Alvin now realises the need for him to get into other things for relaxation, and diversification, otherwise his music will suffer. “I need to diversify my interest, I’m so wrapped up in music, I just get technically involved and bogged down. The music I enjoy playing now on my own is virtually Music. I need a fresh outlook, something I can get into.”

Alvin has wanted to make a film for some time. He wanted to take a camera and sound crew on the road with the band some years back, and make a film about touring, but then “200 Motels” came out, and said more or less everything he wanted to. Alvin also wants to produce a group, although he realises the irony of the situation, as he himself is terribly anti-producers. “I would never use one because I believe a true musician is the only person to produce the music on record. Lots of producers will say, “Oh, we’ll make that bass a bit more like James Brown.” But my ideals about music seem to be less and less important. But to produce a group properly, I must be completely into their music, and respect them.”

  Alvin also despairs of the music that is selling in these days. Ten Years After struggled for years unheard, but playing the music they loved, and believed in. “But now, you get bands playing so-called progressive things because it’s the thing to play, and it’s gone very shallow. I get sad when I hear all this middle of the road stuff too, because it will mean that everything we struggled for musically, over the past four years, everything the under-ground brought over-ground, will slip away and mean nothing, and more serious music won’t have got a hold.”

Alvin also wants to do some more electronic music, which he experiments with endlessly at home. He won’t use a Moog, because he reckons that’s cheating, but fiddles around with microphones on brass plates, and echo effects. He’s got hours of tape, and is considering giving it to somebody to put out if they’re interested.

!I mostly write things for the band, but what we put out is an amalgamation of all of us, so for every one number of mine we do, there’s eight the others haven’t liked, that I’ve still got on tape. I’m not saying they’re fantastic, but they’re a lot better than some things I’ve heard that people have put out.” 

Article written by Caroline Boucher    

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Ten Years After - Alvin Lee & Company (Deram Records)

This LP, is a compilation of  previously unreleased material recorded prior to their label switch, (To Chryalis Records)  would seem to be comprised of mainly throw-away cuts which is definitely not the case. The material is easily as exciting and diverse as that exhibited on their “Space In Time” LP. (1971 – Columbia Records)

Alvin Lee again establishes that he is a consummate guitarist, his licks irresistibly insistent. Check out – “The Sounds” – “Boogie On” and “Portable People”.  

 

New  Musical  Express  April 1, 1972  

 

 

 

Ten Years After – "Alvin Lee & Company" 1972

This is a collection of songs that didn’t make it onto the studio albums during the 1967-1969 period. The original album features six tracks, the last one being a mini-jam-session called, “Boogie On”, which uses up as much running time as the other five combined. The jam evolves around a simple riff, that’s played over and over and from time to time being interrupted by Chick Churchill’s organ, Ric Lee’s drums, Leo Lyon’s bass and Alvin Lee’s guitar solos, that feature all of the usual aural gimmicks. However, the first five songs on the first side are a totally different matter. Plain old boogie-woogie songs, represented by, “Rock Your Mama” and “Hold Me Tight”. Then there’s some old blues with the Robert Johnson classic, “Standing At The Crossroads”, then a simple sounding bluegrass shuffle called, “Portable People”. It’s only “The Sounds” that comes across as an “experimental” piece, complete with the obligatory synth effects with a grim and desperate mood.

These out-takes all fit into the criteria of “Good but not Perfect” category, as each one of them shows distinct flaws, which make it understandable exactly why they never made it onto the official studio albums in the first place. They come across as exactly what they are, generic, underdeveloped and inferior to other similar ones. The reason being, these tracks were never intended to be released in the first place, the Decca Record Company high jacked

Ten Years After’s unfinished  work, when the band decided to change record companies, and that’s how this release came about. To cash in on the bands current success. 

By Gene Herbert CA. 

 

 

 
 

Ten Years After – “Alvin Lee and Company” - 1972 

This originally surfaced as a six-track retrospective in 1972, after the band left Decca for Chrysalis. It now includes three extra cuts, the seven-minute blues B-side, “Spider In My Web”, and the mono-only single edits of two of their most famous tracks, “Hear Me Calling” and “I’m Going Home”.

The original album was dominated by the fifteen-minute “Stonedhenge” out-take, “Boogie On”, which is exactly the way it sounds. The 1968 export single “Rock Your Mama” and “Hold Me Tight” are in a similar vein, while the live “Crossroads” isn’t very exciting.

More worthwhile are the brooding “The Sounds”, which opens  the CD, and the 1968 A-side “Portable People”, which belongs in the same distinguished company as Canned Heat singles like “On The Road Again”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Years After with Procol Harum

 

 
 

Ten Years After in concert, April 29, 1972 at the University of the Pacific - Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium, which is a Stockton, California Landmark. It first opened in 1950 and overnight it became the city’s entertainment centre. The Stagg Stadium really was the centrepiece of the Stockton Campus, because it hosted so many big sports and concert events. A lot of our alumni have a lot of fond memories of events that took place there. When the rock group Ten Years After performed at the stadium, the opening bands were, Wild Turkey and the Tower of Power. On May 5, 1972 the rock band Chicago also performed at the stadium. The Ten Years After Set List, is as follows:

  1. One of These Days
  2. Once There Was A Time
  3. Good Morning Little School Girl
  4. Hobbit
  5. Slow Blues In C
  6. Classical Thing
  7. Scat Thing
  8. I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes
  9. I’m Going Home
  10. Choo – Choo – Moma
  11. Baby Won’t You Let Me Rock and Roll You
  12. Sweet Little Sixteen
  13    Roll Over Beethoven

 

All was not peaceful at this concert. Garry Lemmons, a nineteen year old Madesto, California cannery worker, was killed and another man wounded from a “wild gun shot” during an altercation at the Pacific Memorial Stadium Concert that featured England’s Ten Years After, the Bay Area’s own Tower of Power and Ex-Jethro Tull members who formed Wild Turkey. 

This and the fact that three men suffered strychnine poisoning at a Chicago Transit Authority concert in 1972, which drew an estimated 20,000 people, brought an end to the concert run there. Marc Corren recalled that on May 10, 1969 – the stadium hosted the “Pacific Pop Festival” which featured: Santana, Cold Blood, Elvin Bishop and Sons of Champin.

A very sad ending to something that started out so good and positive.

 

The Audience Photo Above Was Taken By Alvin Lee From The Band's Stage Perspective

 

 

 

 

Record Mirror – April 29, 1972

Ten Years After – Alvin Lee & Company (Deram)

This is an album, that it must be pointed out, that Ten Years After are totally against the release of, since moving on to another record company (Columbia). Only six tracks are featured here, including the mammoth “Boogie On” lasting over fourteen minutes.

Heads around the Lyceum might bob to a live performance like this, but on record it’s pretty disastrous, with each member taking a solo outing on their own instrument, then join in all together for the big build up. The opening track “The Sounds” has a fair vocal treatment and the most interesting aspect of “Rock Your Mama” is the vocal effect, that is alternating between each speaker in stereo. But generally, it’s all pretty uninspiring.

Article by V.M

 

 

 
 

The Private Life of Alvin Lee  -  by Simon Stable

New Musical Express  May 6, 1972

 Alvin Lee of Ten Years After seems to spend more time on tour than on holiday, but recently before yet another American tour, I managed to get to see him at his country home. After a pleasant and enjoyable chat he played me a track he’d written and recorded the night before, a number  he’s thinking of putting on the next album. It was another of his fast foot-tapers with plenty of harmonica and guitar panning from side to side. He told me he was planning to call the song “Holy Shit”, though he did say he might be forced to change the title and some of the words. I’ve known Lee for about three years and, despite his success, I’ve always found him to be an easy-to-get-on-with guy. He is, as the following interview may show, an interesting and intelligent person.  

After your third album “Stonedhenge”, why did you change producers? Why produce yourself?

Good question. Well, when we did our first album we were very new to the whole recording situation, and our producer was provided with the studio and we were told to appear at ten o’clock in the morning and make an album. And it was out in four days. We were very green. We just recorded all the numbers we did on tape in the studio. I don’t think at the time we even heard it until it came out. When it finally did go out, we were quite disappointed, really, as the result didn’t seem to have the dynamics of the record we had played within the studio. And we realised this was down to the recording techniques. The second album was live, so there was nothing to do about that. Then we decided to produce ourselves. Still, being rather green we used the same studios that we’d been given. It’s a Decca album, so we used a Decca studio. It only had a four-track machine. There were no facilities for panning stereo, and what little bit of that we did we had to have equipment specially made.  We had this little box made to pan across an instrument, from one side to another. That’s the reason for all the corny panning,  just one box with one knob on. It was just a matter of getting into the format. Getting to know what it was all about. We realised that rather than doing what somebody else suggested, who wasn’t really interpreting our music the way we wanted it interpreted, anyway, it would be best doing it ourselves. Even if you make a mistake, I believe that your own mistakes are better recorded than someone else’s.  Ten Years After music is quite personal to us as musicians, and I think it should be recorded our way than the way a third party sees it. I believe of all musicians , I find it hard to respect a musician who uses a producer, because I think that if a musician knows what he wants to put down, he should do it himself.  That’s where the art of recording comes in, to know how to apply your music to the tape, to get the results in. We haven’t, to my own personal satisfaction, done anything at all incredible, but every album has had good bits, and we’ve learned from them. So, hopefully, we are in control and will make them better and better as we go along, which is the logical progression anyway. I must be putting producers out of business!  

   

Do you feel your part in “Woodstock” helped your career as a musician or not? I mean, it put you in the public eye, but did you not find you were playing more and more request, and less and less of the things you actually wanted to do? 

Well, we never play request. We never play anything other than what we want to do. However “Woodstock” did have considerable effect. When we did “Woodstock” we didn’t realise it was going to be such a big thing, just a festival which we had to arrive at on time. It wasn’t until we got into a helicopter, and flew in, that we realised what a big thing it was. Even then, we weren’t to realise how much world attention it would get, which it did. It was on national news in America and everything, and that’s more than I expected, so the kind of publicity we got from being in the “Woodstock” film initially, like gave us a boost in popularity.   A lot more people had heard us, where as before “Woodstock” we were still playing the concert halls and we were still selling enough albums, we were doing really well. After “Woodstock”, well we found that more people were coming to the concert halls, more people were buying the album, but it was on the strength of “Going Home”, which is a nasty situation. You can’t take control of it. First, like, a lot of young kids were coming to the concerts who weren’t particularly into what we were trying to do, merely into us having been at “Woodstock”, and it was more or less a kind a rock ‘n’ roll circus, which is what we’d been trying to avoid up to then. And it got a bit out of hand, and I did in fact regret having been in “Woodstock”…fearing it was going too far out of hand, but we used the opportunity of the press and that, doing Press articles to say that we wanted people to get into the structures of the music, and listen to what we were trying to do as well as rock ‘n’ roll.   

EXHILARATED: I explained, that we rock ‘n’ roll at the end, just to have a good time. Roland Kirk does the same thing—plays all his serious structures for two hours, then ends up laying on the piano playing a twelve-bar. It’s a good way to finish off a gig:  gets everything out of your system, and everyone can have a good rave-up and go home feeling exhilarated, which is a good thing. But I feel that if “Woodstock” had used “I Can’t Keep From Crying”, it might have been a bit more helpful to us, ‘cos it would have spotlighted the more constructive stuff we’re doing. But all in all, now that “Woodstock” has died down, I don’t think it has made much difference. It might have turned-on a younger audience, maybe they’re now into something else. I find the straight pop, the entertainment side of music, has a very select audience. It’s not something we get involved in. Like singles, we don’t get involved in them, because you have a hit single, then “Top Of The Pops”, it doesn’t bring anything that progresses the band. Like a band that’s nowhere can have a hit single, and suddenly start getting a reasonable turn out for their concerts and probably better contracts for their next single. But they’ve got to keep on recording hit singles, and to do that there are people that specialise in aiming hit singles at the mass market. It’s a disgusting , soul-destroying kind of business to get into. I believe the musician should record the sounds he likes and wants to express, and a lot of it as far as we’re concerned is left to chance.

When TYA took off it wasn’t because we aimed to write music at the audience, it was just that people had picked up on what we were doing, and the more we did it, the more people got into it. That’s all it’s ever been really.  When thinking of Ten Years After, one usually thinks of Alvin Lee rather than the rest of the band. Do you ever feel any resentment from the others? TYA is a co-op, we all get paid the same; we all attempt to do the same amount of work; we all tour the same, because I’m the singer and the lead guitarist, it was quite on the cards I should be singled out as the front man, because I stand in the spotlight. It was intended originally, when we started out, we hoped to make it four people on an equal level. It was through nothing to do with ourselves that this Alvin Lee business  got picked out, we didn’t encourage it. 

We had to disown this new Decca album they’re bringing out of old tracks, because it’s got Alvin Lee and Co., and that’s the very thing we’ve been trying to avoid. We talked about it when it happened and said, “look, this looks like it’s going to happen, and there’s nothing much we can do about it.” When people say Alvin Lee this and that at concerts, I usually personify what they either like or don’t like  about the band. It’s just how they refer to the band. You yourself say that when one thinks of  TYA, some people do think of an Alvin Lee back-up band.

 To our minds it isn’t. It’s not a thing to really get concerned about ourselves, it’s irrelevant to what we’re trying to do. It’s a kind a super-star role, which we’ve never encouraged, it’s just a kind of misunderstanding. I mean, I can explain myself completely to anyone who calls me a super-star, but I know very well they don’t know me, they’re just saying that without enough knowledge, so there’s no answer to it. It’s a shame that everybody can’t understand every musician that exists for the true fact of what he’s trying to do. Eric Clapton is your number one guitarist, and so many people adore Eric Clapton and hate everyone else for no logical reason, it’s just the way things go. You can’t control it, it’s just the way people think.    

Your last album “A Space In Time” didn’t do incredibly well in England. Do you feel this had anything to do with the fact that American copies were imported and on sale long before its British release? Or was it that the album wasn’t up to standard?  

Well, I wouldn’t say up to standard, I think the standard as far as we are concerned was better in some ways. The major reason it didn’t do as well in your album charts was due to us not releasing it at the right time in England. We were pressured to get a release date with the new Columbia label in the States, so we released it there first. It was three months before it was released in Europe, and a lot of European sales were lost because of the import shops buying it from the States.   

NO IMPORTS: That helped the sales in the USA, it was a gold album in the States, the first one, so obviously it was received there better than anything else we’d done. That’s the reason I was given when I said “what’s happened to the last album?” I think it’s true. Our next album is going to be released on the same day world-wide, so every market that sells it will be selling their own copies, not importing it in.  

What did you feel about your concert at the Colosseum. Was the Sunday night better than the midnight, Saturday?   

Oh yeah, The midnight show was a bit slow, the audience seemed tired. Those things like having to wait an hour from the time you got in, to when the first band played, always affect a concert. That can be the difference between going down well and having chairs thrown at you, whether the road managers and equipment function well, and it all comes together in time or not. If it doesn’t go well there’s nothing you can do except get it together as quickly as possible. I wasn’t disappointed with any of the concerts.To my mind there’s no good concert hall in London. We didn’t play the Rainbow unfortunately, that might have changed my mind.   You see, we were playing to four balconies at the Colosseum, an eighth of the audience. With our spherical array of speakers and horns we can hope to cover about a hundred degrees of sound, which is about forty percent getting good sound. It’s just acoustic problems and technical difficulties in projecting the sound into the audience, which is always a problem where ever you go.  

UNFORTUNATE:  There will always be people getting bass boom, always be people hearing too much guitar, too much vocal. I think people who sit in the middle, about ten or fifteen rows back, get a good sound and know what’s going on. It’s unfortunate that someone standing at the back gets the sound blocked off by people standing up in the front.  

It’s Better At Festivals, in Fact?  

Right, you’ve got no acoustic problems, and you’re in the open air, which is always nice. There is a problem being in the open air that is easy to overcome, you just have to use a lot of power and a lot of speakers. It’s when you get sound bouncing around halls, hitting the ceiling and bouncing back. When you play loud, it’s a different case. You get good sound drifting across an auditorium, reaching a listener up on an acoustic level, but when you’ve got a lot of sound coming out of the speakers, then suddenly the corners of the room, and what the ceilings are made of, start affecting the sound. These are the problems, more or less.   

You’ve just been on an extensive European tour and you frequently tour America and Japan. Which countries do you prefer to play most and why?  

Well, it changes, at the moment I really enjoy playing in England. The last concert we did, you could hear a pin drop all night long, and people really sat listening, getting into what we were doing. When it came to like rock ‘n’ roll at the end, they got into that and had a jive around, which is—as far as the format of our concerts go—perfect . More recently than that we did the colleges, which was like getting back to the roots-razzle-bit after playing Madison Square Gardens and the Philadelphia Spectrum. Twenty thousand people. Really it was almost a shock. The first college we did was at Reading University: it’s just a little wooden hall with about 1,300 people in it.   You go on stage and there’s none of this Ten Years After bit, awoah! You just walked out and said hullo, and people were sitting there and it was like getting back to the old club bit, I really enjoyed it. I felt you had to really kind’ve work; get things to work on stage. At a really big concert it becomes a bit like a circus, often comparable to feeding lions to the Christians at the Colosseum in Rome. You stir up so much excitement: by the time the band goes on you sometimes feel that what you play isn’t that important. That’s a wrong feeling to take, but sometimes it occurs to you when you do a lot of concerts. When you walk on stage and people cheer for two minutes you feel flattered but are they going to listen to what we are going to do? And half the while, they’re cheering through the first three numbers as well. They’re just having a good time, which is great, but I like people to listen to the music. If you go down well I like to feel it’s been earned—rather than just happened.   

Are you going to do any festivals here?  

I hope so. I want to see festivals continue myself, for more reasons than one. I don’t know of any plans to do a festival, but we’ll spend time in England after we’ve recorded the next album. We’ve got possible dates for festivals, but nothing’s been confirmed.  

On your last album you added strings to your last track—are you in fact thinking of adding horns on the next one?  

Yeah, thinking of it. On an album we try and show where our music is at, but for variety, we try and have a couple of tracks to play around with, and we always find it nice to do a track which is out of character so everybody says ‘Why Good Lord This is Nothing Like Ten Years After!!!!  So therefore, if you put a nice soft mellow un-Ten Years After between two Hard TYA tracks, it adds to the overall variety of the album. You don’t get this grind, grind, grind, grind of some rock albums, because they’re all the same tempo throughout. So for that reason alone, we really enjoyed doing the strings on the last album.  It was just an experiment to see what we could do with strings, and I’m really happy with it. It’s one of the best string things there is. It had very little to do with TYA’s music as people would think of it, but there again, music doesn’t really mean that it’s just what people have picked up through things like “Woodstock”, and variety is quite important to us.

We’ve just been recording in the South of France. We hired a big house there and the Rolling Stones’ mobile truck, and whether we were influenced by being in the Rolling Stones’ truck, or whether it’s that the Rolling Stones truck has its own sound, I’m not sure—but a lot of the tracks we did there sounded very similar to the Stones. So rather than just forget them, just for a joke we got a saxophonist from Supertramp to overdub some sax parts on it and beef it up. If you listen to the last Stones album without the overdubs it’s quite surprising, and if you listen to some Beatles tracks without the overdubs there’s nothing there. Some people specialise in overdubs, but we don’t. We specialise in the basic four instruments. But I don’t see any reason why, for one or two tracks, we don’t have a nine-hundred-piece orchestra just for the variety of it all. It’s a groove to do, so we’ll probably get into something like that.   

INFLUENCE: 

Your best album to my mind was “Cricklewood Green”, and the best track on that was “Circles”. I liked it because it was acoustic. Are you planning more things in this vein?  

This was a side trip again. It was a direct influence from “Astral Weeks”  by Van Morrison, 1968
which moved me considerably at the time, and I used that kind of format; the folk acoustic format, to say something I wanted to say. Which was life going round in circles, which is a pretty…..well, it was just a phase I was going through. I mean. I still think that way sometimes. It was more of a folk outlet to me….more like a truthful thought….a thoughtful thought being sung instead  of spoken. I haven’t had any other ideas along the same vein. We could always do something like that. We did acoustic stuff on the first album and third album. It’s not planned. It was where we were at, really. I mean, the last album showed we could play some nice tunes, so I’m happy with that, that’s past. I think we have to show now, more of our expression of our own selves and our instruments.    

 

 

 

 

 

New Musical  Express May 13, 1972 

This is the concluding interview by Simon Stable with Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee. Here Lee talks about his film ambitions, and discusses Ringo Starr’s venture in the same field. 

Simon: Alvin, I know you’ve been into photography and making your own private films for some time. Are you planning in the future to make a full length feature film. With perhaps your own electronic sound track? 

Alvin: I’d very much like to. At the moment I’m finding out how much practical experience I lack to do that. However perseverance could bring something out like that along those lines.

Looking at the world of commercial films, it’s rather disenchanting ---a bit like looking at pop singles. I’d much rather be involved in something artistic, in making a documentary of what a camera sees rather than making a story about whatever---combining visuals and sound to create an environment for the watcher.  All of this very much in the air at the moment. It’s all gossip, depending on what type of filming or video system is going to come out.

If you can get your hands on a video studio that will convert your tape into film, you’ve got a lot more technical control with what you can do with the visuals. I’m well ahead on sound, I’m quite confident I can do a good soundtrack to any movie, and I’m quite confident I can do a good movie, but I’m not quite sure what direction I want it to be yet. 

Simon: Ringo’s doing this documentary of a rock ‘n’ roll star…(Note: I believe this movie to be “That’ll Be The Day” released in 1973 which also  features Keith Moon).

Alvin: I wouldn’t want to get involved in anything like that. I mean it could be good actually. Anything can be good, but more likely than not it will be more like light entertainment than an artistic masterpiece. Ideally a film I make will be more like an album, being kind of what happens with the camera with the sound at the time of making it, and whether it’s good or bad will depend on whether the heads behind the film are together. To a point, you have to pick something good to say in a film, the way that you have to pick something good to say in a song. It’s the way that you do it that makes it artistic or a rip-off, isn’t it? 

Simon: Would you like to direct a film yourself?

Alvin: I’d like to be involved in it, but I’d like practical experience, meet somebody whose done some work on films. Obviously, it’d help me a lot. I think I’d have a few original ideas to contribute. 

 

Simon: To get into another completely different kettle of fish, as they say. What do you feel about Decca’s release of Alvin Lee & Company. I know we mentioned it earlier, but we didn’t completely go into it. Could you tell me about the material on that particular album?

Alvin: It’s left over from albums. It’s left over from “Stonehenge”. “B” sides of singles which were put out and were nothing to do with us anyway. When you do an album, the record company will take a single off. It’s part of their bread and butter.  You can’t tell them they can’t. It’s like saying you can’t have any money. “Well”, you say “if you release a single it’s the record company promotion for the album, and not a single. We don’t do “Top Of The Pops” and we don’t do any television . We won’t do any promotion on it---so please yourself.” So they release them for promotion of the album, and this album is the “B” sides.

One’s a very early single we did at the same time we recorded the first album. It’s not too bad: there’s some nice jammers and things on it. At the time we turned it down for release, so obviously we wouldn’t have chosen it now. Everybody’s interested to see what kind of material we decided not to put on our albums, so it’s probably a good album for them to buy, but apart from that, they didn’t consult us on what they call the packaging of it. They did say they were going to use a photograph of me and call it “Alvin Lee and Co.” If they had I would have said no. What in fact I said was “If they’re going to release an album of rubbish and left over tracks, why don’t we look around ourselves and get some good stuff put on? But they didn’t want to have anything to do with that.

 

Simon: Would you object to Decca releasing “The Best Of…”? 

Alvin: You can’t object. We have a recording contract which everybody has to sign---they own the songs. We can’t re-record any songs which we recorded with Decca. They’ve got thirty-five original songs, some of which we play completely differently now because of those deals, that we signed when we were a bit green. We don’t even own the rights to play the stuff, which is sad. But it’s irrelevant really, because we’re more concerned in doing new stuff. I don’t mind albums being released, as long as people know they’re leftovers. If they did do a “Best Of” it could be good and it could be bad. There’s nothing we could do about it. The thing is, we could do a better one, but they won’t communicate with us about it.

 

Simon: How long have you been together as a band, and how long in the present form?

Alvin: About four and a half years. There’s no reason for the band not to continue in its form for a long, long time. A band as old as we are has a problem in keeping ourselves in tune with the music we play. The more we play, the more rehearsals we do, because the more used we get to hearing what we do.

When you’re doing an extensive tour---playing every night---what you’re doing is performing your music to the audience every night. After awhile, although there are subtle differences which a musician could get into, it does tend to sound much of a muchness. You tend to fall into what you did last night because “that sounded good enough”. That’s the kind of attitude that comes in. It’s really hard playing every night and travelling on a plane. You don’t have much time to rehearse or think of new ideas. This is why we work in tours rather than just play. We do a tour for a month, play every night, then throw new ideas around. If we can come out with three new numbers for the next tour, well that’s enough to get into. We recorded every night ourselves. We always record ourselves live, and we listen back to the new numbers, make changes to them, and they just progress.

Perhaps the way to stay interested in your own music is to keep it progressing, keep it moving. There’s no limitation in my mind as to what four musicians can do, as long as they want to keep progressing. As long as all the members of Ten Years After want to play, and want to play better, and want to play the music to people, then there’s no limitations. The only limitations are in your own head, as soon as you start saying you’re fed up and you don’t want to do this or that---you’re on the downward slope.

It does happen, we do get fed up, instead of breaking up we rehearse, which is the right way of doing things, and although we probably won’t be playing the same numbers in five years time, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be still making music in five years time.

I don’t see why there shouldn’t be people that want to hear Ten Years After in five years time.

There might not be as many people as now---we might phase out of popularity, but we don’t stop playing just because fifty thousand don’t want to hear us. We used to play to a hundred people, and I’d imagine we still would, if it got around to that again.

We’re all opportunists---that’s about the nearest to being a business musician---but we’re still not out-and-out entertainers. We don’t put on a show---tell jokes and things like that, a lot of the business is getting into that now. You can go and see Jethro Tull and you get an actual theatrical presentation, which is OK….but I find it rather limiting to the band, because once you’ve got your presentation set---once you’ve done it five times---it all starts seeming like a cliché to me. If we ever do a tour with a bad band, and they use the same jokes every night, it all seems a bit un-artistic to me.

 

Simon: Last year, it might have been two years ago now, you nearly went to Russia, but you didn’t go there---are you in the future planning to do Iron Curtain countries? 

Alvin: Well no, That’s one thing that “Woodstock” stopped actually, because we were going to play the Iron Curtain countries on a basis of a cultural exchange. “Woodstock” led them to believe it would be more a rock ‘n’ roll concert than a cultural exchange----which in all fairness, it probably would. So I don’t think there’s much possibility of that happening now.

We get loads of letters now from Iron Curtain countries, saying they can’t buy our albums there. They’re so suppressed, silly things like they can’t buy a Ten Years After album or anything. It really affects these people and they write and say they’ll exchange their Czechoslovakian folk records for anything we can let them have. It’s sad, sad.

Something like music, man you should be able to go and listen to, whatever you want. Ideally you should be able to go wherever you want and say what ever you want, but it does seem difficult in this over populated world. 

 

Special Thanks to Simon's wife Judy Dyble for allowing us to use her personal copy of this third article, written by Simon Stable.

 

 

 

 

 



Mexico Canta No. 377 - 16-VI-72

 

 

 
 

  SOUNDS  JULY  1,  1972   -   ALVIN LEE in the Talk-in

 

            

    

Alvin Lee had his producer’s hat on, in the studio doing overdubs and mixes for Ten Years After’s new album. It was late at night when we finally got down to the interview and it made a pleasant change to just sit down and talk rather than keep to the straight and narrow of questions and answers. What follows is basically what was on his mind that night, and obviously the most immediate thing was the new album. (Rock And Roll Music To The World)

 

Lee: That session we just heard happened in February in the South of France – we hired a big house there. It was an experiment really, an expensive experiment, but hopefully we’re going to get some good tracks out of it. We got the house and the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Truck. We rehearsed for five days, and recorded for five. It was just to see if we could get a sound out of England, because we’ve never tried that before. Although we were going to record them we’re working on them as they are now, because they’ve got a sound we could never get again. We’ve got five tracks we’re considering using from there, and then another ten tracks we’ve just done back here; we’ll get rough mixes of them all and then decide which ones we want to use. It’s interesting, but it’s also a hustle this part of the album, because we’ve done all the recording and that’s really what counts, the performance with the whole band together. I can get into overdubs and put something here and something else there, it’s interesting but it doesn’t change the structure. The first track down is the one that counts really, no matter what you put down afterwards.

 

Steve: Do you find it difficult to change roles from musician to producer?

Alvin: Not really. I’ve always been into the recording side. I’ve got a natural leaning towards it anyway, so part of me enjoys that as much as the musician part enjoys playing…and anyway, I’ve always thought I want the records to come out as we, (the band) envision them. I found that another producer puts your ideas into bags, they hear something and say “yeah, but that would sound better with this and that”; if you play something that’s a little like soul stuff, a producer will tend to make it very soul, and put it into the whole soul bag, and the whole thing takes on another character altogether. We try and keep the basis of the jam and work on that.

                                                         INTERPRET 

Steve: That way you tend to be a bit inflexible about the way they’re turning out.

Alvin: Right. This way, it was the way the band interpreted the songs, which is where this album is hopefully at.

Steve: Is that something you haven’t felt able to do before?

Alvin: We’ve been able to do it before, but we’ve never actually tried. All our albums are experiments, but this time it’s come out a lot more rock and roll, more basic. We’ve got a lot more of the basic tracks without overdubs, about half of them haven’t been overdubbed.

Steve: With a much live-er feel to it.

Alvin: Yeah, all these numbers we could play on stage, that’s the difference. Before, I’d play a rhythm guitar all the way through and then overdub the solos, that’s the safest way of doing it. This way everybody has to be right at the same time, but you’ve got that counterpoint between the musicians which you can’t get when you start dubbing solos on.

Steve: Did you feel you’d gone as far as you could with that more complex approach to recording?

Alvin: Not really, but we all have different opinions on albums when we’ve finished them, and we learn things from them. And what we learned from the last album was we can play tuneful structures as well as rock and roll, which was really the idea of the last album. “Going Home”, had taken on a silly proportion by the side of everything we did through the Woodstock (1969) film. It was like our little splash of “Superstardom”, but we didn’t want it, we didn’t want it to be that uncontrolled and we didn’t want to get into something that hassled us, all the side issues. The kind of hassles the Rolling Stones get on tour are the kind of things we hope to avoid. We’ve never gone full-bore to be a phenomenon, a lot of people want to do that, be everywhere and do everything first. Quite honestly, that would break our band up, and breaks up most bands that try it, because basically we’re musicians and if things get too out of hand in that direction, there’d be no will to play. That’s what happens to a lot of bands, they just don’t want to work, because it’s more than just getting on stage and playing. If it gets like that, the people don’t come to listen half the time. We’ve done gigs in America where we’ve said, instead of doing two nights at a club in Boston, we’d do one night at a bigger hall. And then because the promoter has to sell 60,000 seats on one night, he super-hypes the advertising and in their own little way they try to make a phenomenon of the event. It never works for us, because you get all the noisy ones down the front, and the people who want to come and hear the music get hustled, they can’t see for people standing up at the front, and throwing Frisbees.

                                                              HASSLES    

I think this is the inevitable problem that all bands face. In the days when we were travelling around in the van, we could blow a few gigs out, or fight with a manager of a place, and get banned from a whole round of breweries or something, it didn’t matter that much. But with concerts in the States, particularly, you’ve got really heavy things going on, with people jumping off balconies, people with ridicules motives wanting to jump on stage and shout down the microphones. Lines of police who usually aren’t in tune at all with what’s going on, and if they see someone standing up, their immediate reaction is to push them down again; you’ve got those kinds of hassles going on. It just makes you wonder what you’re doing it for. One gig we did, someone threw a bottle that hit my guitar neck, and I just put my guitar down and walked off, I just didn’t want to play. After about an hour we went on again, and it was cool, but I thought “What for, why travel all this way to play just for people to throw beer bottles”?

But it’s just that state of mind you get going on the road, it gets so intense. Also, before we go away on a tour, there’s always that paranoia about going away and wondering if I’m ever going to come back, there’s that to it as well. Then when you do come back, and take some time off, really lay back, then it’s just the absolute opposite. You get this kind of on/off relationship in your life; one minute you’re touring, and you really are a rock and roll band on the road, playing the part and being the part in every sense, and then you come back to a different reality, which is home and the different levels of that. But, if I take too long off, I find I get this intense urge to get back on the road again, and it’s all I can do really. I can get into photography. I can get into other things, but never having a trade, or anything, being only a musician, there’s nothing else to do. That’s why we’re interested in longevity and just producing music for as long as we can, not being a big name in the Daily Mirror or anything.

 

Steve: Do you regret that you made it as big as you did?

Alvin: No, because now I think it’s in control. The last album we did to counteract the “I’m Going Home” frenzy, and once we’d established that we can get back to this basic rock and roll thing, but it’s a little more laid-back, a little more structured, and for the mind as well as the boot.

Steve: And yet there are a lot of bands trying to break through to a large number of people at the moment. Why do you think it’s so difficult?

Alvin: I don’t know. To me there’s a sadness in it all because it seems that to break through now you’ve got to wear outrageous clothes, and have some outrageous gimmick, which is like back to ten years ago. It’s not all like that I suppose, there is some good music around, but I think relative to what “Underground” was then, folk music is now happening, there’s interest in it but it’s not big, it’s like a minority thing, for thinking people. It wouldn’t surprise me if that emerged, but then again, it might be a mistake for it to emerge, because then it would go the same way as all the other trends.

Steve: It might be safe because some of it emerged about a year ago as that kind of singer/songwriter explosion.

Alvin: Oh, that’s true, soft rock from the Americas. That’s almost on the level of, not music, but easy listening. You can’t be offended by all those soft rock kind of things, but then again, if you hear a lot together, you always get a bit thirsty to hear something with a harder structure. 

Steve: Do you think perhaps there’s too many musicians to go around at the moment?

Alvin: There’s too many musicians that’ll jump at anything to get going. I mean I always used to think in terms of teeny-bopper bands and real bands, I had a very black and white attitude, and I thought myself and a few other people were really trying to lay it down, and the rest were just in it for the bread (money). But you get to meet all these people, and they’re all really into it, but they’ll play anything until they get their thing together, or perhaps they’re saving up for equipment. They start realizing, that if they have the nerve to dye their hair ginger, do cartwheels across the stage, and set light to the organist, then something’s going to happen for them.

 

                                                       CIRCUS    

And this is the case, and it’s almost getting to the state of the Roman Games. I’m sure with Alice Cooper going around his --- what is it? A weird circus? That’s great, and I can dig the person who wants to go and see that, but its not very relevant to music at all, and the fact that they’re making music is almost just setting up sounds for them to freak out to. But then you’ve got Zappa, who appears to be doing that on the surface, but he’s doing incredible things musically. Entertainment is another thing entirely, but they fuse together in the minds of a lot of people. Four people performing music on stage is entertainment in itself, but after awhile it isn’t entertaining unless something happens, and unless it happens musically. It won’t happen visually, and I think visually is the easiest way to happen.

To my mind, the failure is when it happens visually, and doesn’t happen musically, but on the other hand, when it happens musically, it doesn’t happen visually, there’s an amount of failure in that also. I think light shows were my favourite era because whenever there was a light show, playing as long as it wasn’t hard strobes all the time, the audience could get off on the music, and watch the pulsations. I think that’s the nearest an observer can get to what the musician is doing himself, because you get that kind of light show in your head when you’re playing live and trying to break barriers as it were, within yourself. Whereas when you get spotlights or something at a gig … I mean I’m very aware that people refer to me as an “Ego-Tripper”, Pop-Star, Rock and Roll Star”, whatever and it really freaks me out because I’ve always tried to avoid that, and gone out of my way not to push myself out to the front. When someone says, “Here Comes Mr. Album Cover” or something, it really freaks me out, that’s the worst thing they could say. It’s the structure of the music that means something to me, and if I can gain a sympathy with an audience, an audience that’s getting off on the sounds, and if you see somebody just rise up out of their seat because they’re getting off on the sounds, on what they’re getting out of it, they don’t have to be listening to the notes, then that’s a really high compliment to the musicians.

                                                               SHALLOW

When they’re all talking, and passing messages to each other, that isn’t a compliment, that’s just doing a gig. I couldn’t do that, and we try and avoid those, just keep it down to the music. I’ve seen bands suddenly take off and mentally they’re trying to suss what’s happening and why, and there are some people who can assess hit records and things and they can tell a hit when they hear it, but that to me is the “TIN PAN ALLEY” side of the business. It’s a very shallow motivation. You can do that for so long, dress up and everything, become big, famous and everyone’s attention is on you; but then you’ve got to continue being as bizarre and more bizarre, or you’ve got to get into something that makes sense, which has to be the music.

 

Steve: So when there are a lot of people doing it, the whole scene goes that way, people have to compete to be more bizarre. A showbiz spiral.

Alvin: Right, call it what you will, when the underground as such was “Underground”, I had a feeling that I was part of a group. I thought it was great, Notting Hill was where it was at for me, and when I went to the States, it was Greenwich Village. But what’s been happening is that the whole scene’s diversified, and there’s no scene left, and I’m wondering whether it ever was there or not, or whether it was just in my own head.  But then musicians would talk of good things and making the music they believed in. But now, you’ve got this whole element again of wearing pink socks and telling jokes, theatricals, which is a bit sad.

                                                                 FREEDOM

I’ve tried to reach some kind of ideology in life. I’m an opportunist, I’m not a power seeking ego-maniac or anything. I’m an opportunist, and if an opportunity arises for me to do something, I take it. I consider I’ve been really fortunate in achieving a state where I can have some freedom of thought and mind and on a physical level. But your ideology falls through because you can’t live an ideology on your own or just with a few people, and if you do, that you start living a fantasy, then something that’s connected with the real world or brings you down to earth becomes a bad trip, when in fact it’s just reality. So in the last year I’ve come down to earth again in my own head, still wondering where it’s all at. I haven’t reached any answers at all, and I can’t do all these songs about where it’s at, because I really don’t know, I’m as lost as anyone.

 

Steve: Do you feel you really have got that freedom?

Alvin: To a degree. We go on the road and work very hard, and then come off and there’s nothing to do, and it’s only because we want to work that we come back and work after four weeks, and there’s no one standing over us with hammers saying “Work”! But television really hampers me a lot, it’s always there and there’s always something that’s good enough to watch even though it doesn’t really do anything for you. Families used to all sit around and all play instruments, and that’s fantastic. I’d encourage that as much as I could.

But then I can’t even switch off a T.V. I always watch “Star Trek”. But I went through a very disillusioned state where I was waiting for some kind of explosion where everything would suddenly make sense, and there’s an awful lot of people looking for that in their different ways. It doesn’t come. I don’t really believe in anything unless I have proof, or anything relative to me, that it exist. I don’t say there is no God, but until I’ve had any experience of it for me there is no God. I met a guy who was intensely intellectual, who’d done everything I could possibly think of doing in his search for Nirvana. Yet on an animal level I could still relate quite normally to him, he was no different. And you get this feeling that what you set your sights on to make yourself something of essence, or something god-like doesn’t really exist because everybody is just a person, just an animal. That’s why I like this reality cause it makes a lot of things seem silly. It makes all the establishment and red tape and officials seem, not wrong, but irrelevant. If enough people get together and say “You Are Wrong”, They can have you put out of the way and be in the right, just because there were enough of them. But surrealism I think is an outlet when reality does that to you. I really dig Salvador Dali paintings, and it’s an alternative to anything I’ve ever known before.

                                                           UNREAL    

But, you meet people and they go “Ah, far out”! and I think Christ, is this me? And then I flash back to the Marquee, and one night I was standing next to Eric Clapton and I wanted to say something to him, anything – That’s Unreal. It’s just fantasies, you don’t understand them, so anything that’s surrealism in a way in somebody’s mind.

But I can’t stand it happening to me, because it freaks me out. I met a guy in El Passo,  total freak, and he said, “Oh Wow, last time I saw you, you were playing and I was tripping, and you turned into a ball of fire and flew across the stage” and that kind of thing. What can you say to that?

 

Interview by Steve Peacock for Sounds Magazine

 

 

 

 

 



1972 - Swiss Magazine POP
Our heartful Thanks to John Tsagas for sharing this picture with us

 

 
 

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click photos to enlarge

Pop Magazine - 1972

ALVIN LEE - DER WIDERSPENSTIGE SUPERSTAR

Der Woodstock – Film porträtierte nicht nur eine erstaunliche Begebenheit unserer Generation, er etablierte gleichzeitig verschiedene der Interpreten zu Massenidolen wie einst symbolisch für die große Hollywoodära. So zum Beispiel Ten Years After mit Alvin Lee.

Eine amerikanische Zeitschrift nannte Alvin Mr. Album Cover, eine andere beschrieb ihn als Mick Jagger 1971. Auf dem kommerziellen Markt steht Ten Years After an der Spitze, die musikalische Darbietung der Band dagegen wird von Kritikern scharf  in Angriff genommen.

Alvin Lee Show, Superstar Alvin, und besonders die letzte England Tournee in ausschließlich ausverkauften Konzerthallen erhielt kaum ein anerkennendes Wort: die Rezensionen bemerkten eine angemessene Rockgruppe, weiter nichts. Andere Journalisten berichten fortwährend, dass die Gruppe demnächst auseinander geht, da Alvin die Starallüren zu Kopf gestiegen seien. Der enorme Erfolg hat jedoch Alvin auf keinen Fall verändert. Vor drei Jahren traf ich ihn kurz und war schon damals beeindruckt von seiner Höflichkeit. Als ich ihn kürzlich wieder traf, strafte er die unzähligen Gerüchte Lügen, er sei äußerst aggressiv, arrogant und sehr launisch. Alvins zweites Hobby nach der Musik sind technische Ausrüstungen. Er interessiert sich sehr für Fotographie (das Foto auf der Rückseite des Covers  von "A Space In Time"  stammt von ihm), und wir fachsimpelten eine ganze Weile über Tonbandgeräte. In seiner Wohnung hat er ein Studio eingerichtet, das ihm zu Demoaufnahmen und anderen Experimenten dient.

Alvin, blond, gut aussehend und groß, die Sonnenbräune von seinem letzten Aufenthalt in Hawaii noch nicht ganz verblasst, benahm sich (the perfect gentlemen). Immer wieder betonte er, dass er und Chick Churchill, Leo Lyons und Ric Lee sehr zufrieden und glücklich mit der gegenwärtigen Situation seien, keine Rede von einem Split.

"Vor drei Jahren existierten gewisse Differenzen, jeder diskutierte über eigene musikalische Vorstellungen. Diese natürliche Entwicklung entsteht bei verschiedenen Musikern, separaten Egos, aber wir kamen zu dem Beschluss, dass die Band erfolgreich sein soll, und das kommt nur zustande, wenn persönliche Meinungsverschiedenheiten gelöst sind. Es ist nicht allein meine Musik, jeder ist gleichviel daran beteiligt."

Alvin schreibt zwar die Songs, aber er diktiert nicht den anderen, was sie spielen sollen. Jeder interpretiert auf seine Art und als Ergebnis entsteht Ten Years After – Musik. Deshalb arbeitet Alvin auch nicht an einem heute schon fast unvermeidlichen Soloalbum. Er hat die Möglichkeit in Erwägung gezogen, aber ein Soloalbum ist ihm nicht wichtig.
"Für mich zählt nur unsere Musik, meine persönlichen Interessen möchte ich lieber privat halten. Zu Hause spiele ich für mich selbst oder auch für Freunde, aber ich würde diese Musik nicht auf Schallplatte bringen – sie ist einfach zu persönlich. Natürlich absorbiert die Ten Years After Musik viele persönliche Ideen und Emotionen von uns allen, daher würde ein Solowerk ungemein von Ten Years After detraktieren."
Alvin genießt das Medium Ten Years After, er glaubt, dass keiner in der Band wirklich verschiedene Auffassungen zu Musik besitzt und somit ein Soloalbum keinen Sinn aufweisen könnte. Nach Alvins Ansicht kommen Soloalben von frustrierten Musikern, die in ihren eigenen Bands keine Chance zum Ausdruck erhalten.

Zu Hause hört er kaum Rockmusik. Ich spiele gerne intensive (heavy) Musik, um eine Aggressivität loszulassen. Aber in seinen eigenen vier Wänden lauscht er klassischen Werken oder widmet sich weichen Melodien wie etwa Stephen Stills. "Ich betrachte unseren Rock als einen persönlichen Kunststil. Wenn ich zu viele Rockbands höre, werde ich von denen beeinflusst. Daher höre ich Musik zur Entspannung – bei Rock `n´ Roll bin ich technisch viel zu orientiert wie der Drummer arbeitet oder der Gitarrist improvisiert und kann daher die Musik wirklich nicht genießen."

Obwohl ihre Single „Love Like A Man“ ohne Schwierigkeiten die Top Ten erreichte, plant Ten Years After keinen Nachfolger.  Mit einer kommerziellen 3-Minuten-Single können wir schlecht unseren Stil präsentieren. Auf einem Album hingegen dürfen die Nummern gut fünf oder sechs Minuten lang sein. Wir improvisieren gerne und lassen dabei die Ideen langsam entwickeln. Bei einer Single fehlt dazu einfach die Zeit. Mit unserem Hit hatten wir auch nichts zu tun, die Plattenfirma veröffentlichte die Nummer, nahm sie von einem Album. Wir nahmen sie nicht als Single auf.

Den Titel Superstar nimmt Alvin weniger humorvoll  auf  sich: Ich singe und spiele die meisten Soli, daher fällt das Scheinwerferlicht offensichtlich auf mich. Ich wollte noch nie ein Superstar sein, bloß Musiker. Das Wort bedeutet gar nichts. Niemand hält sich ernsthaft für einen Superstar. Falls es doch so jemand gibt, dann stimmt etwas nicht in seinem Kopf.

Article by Margot

 

 

     

 

 


 

TYA FESTIVAL TOP

New Musical Express – July 29, 1972 – U.S. / Canada .50 cents

 

Reading bill toppers, new album in September

  Ten Years After make their first British appearance since January when they top the bill on the third and last night of the Reading Jazz, Blues and Rock Festival on Sunday, August 13.

It will be the first festival Ten Years After have played in this country since the Isle Of Wight in 1970, and something of a nostalgic gig. It was the 1967 Jazz and Blues Festival that first brought the band widespread popular acclaim.

This week, Ten Years After finished recording a new album to be released here by Chrysalis on September 15. Titled “Rock and Roll Music To The World” the album was recorded at Olympic Studios in London and on the Rolling Stones mobile van in the South of France.

Alvin Lee told New Music Express on Monday: “This album is leaning more towards rock n´ roll music, but rock in its American sense, and not the English interpretation, which means Chuck Berry.

“What we wanted to do with this LP was to find a natural music for Ten Years After, and that’s why two of the tracks were recorded in France on the Stones mobile. The tracks cut at Olympic have a natural feel too, we recorded most of them in one take so they have a lot more atmosphere and punch, rather than being as structured as “A Space In Time”. 

 

Reading Festival:

Complete Running order

Full Running Order for the National Jazz, Blues and Rock Festival at Reading on August 11th, 12th and 13th was announced this week. Twenty Nine Acts will be taking part in the event, and the days on which they will be appearing are as follows:

Friday: Curved Air, Mungo Jerry, Genesis, Pretty Things and Jackson Heights.

Saturday: Faces, Electric Light Orchestra, Focus, Edgar Broughton Band, If, Linda Lewis, Man, Jonathan Kelly, Mahatma Kane Jeeves, Brewers Droop, and the Johnny Otis Revue.

Sunday: Ten Years After, Quintessence, Roy Wood’s Wizard, Status Quo, Matching Mole, Vinegar Joe, Patto, Gillian McPherson, Solid Gold Cadillac, Stackridge, Sutherland Brothers, Cottonwood and Jericho.     

 

 

 

 
 

Record  Mirror  Magazine  – August  5,  1972

The final line up for the 11th National Jazz and Blues Festival was announced last week.

To be held next weekend at the same Reading site used for last year’s event, the three day festival features some of the best British acts on the road at the moment.

Friday’s bill which starts at 4:00 pm stars Curved Air with Mungo Jerry, Genesis, Jackson Heights, Nazareth and Steamhamer. The following day The Faces top the bill in a programme that starts at noon which also features the Electric Light Orchestra, Focus, The Edgar Broughton Band, If, Linda Lewis, Man, and from America, The Johnny Otis Show. Jonathan Kelly completes the line up.

Sunday’s programme, which also starts at noon, stars Ten Years After, Status Quo, Quintessence, Roy Wood’s Wizard, Stray, Matching Mole, Vinegar Joe, Gillian McPherson, and Stackridge. Tickets for the whole weekend, which includes camping and car parking charges, cost three pounds twenty five and can be obtained “IN ADVANCE ONLY”, from

The National Jazz Festival Limited, 90 Wardour Street, W.1, or from any Keith Prowse Agency or Harlequin Record Shops. On the day, admission will be Friday, one pound; Saturday, one pound seventy five; and Sunday, one pound seventy five.

 

 

 

     

 

 
 

Record  Mirror  Magazine  –  August  12,  1972

 

No big American stars are going to fly down to the stage by helicopter (could you lure Bob Dylan out of his hideaway with a photo of Reading), but the 11th National Jazz and Blues Festival maintaining a traditional English flavour, looks like being a very fine example of just how good a festival can be within the confines of British talent.

The “Jazz and Blues part of the title can be totally ignored as far as classifying the music goes. But it does stand as a memorial to the long and honourable history of the event.

Originating as a “purist” event, the evolution of music into less strictly definable categories led to a change in emphasis, with such home-grown groups as Cream, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart, who had grown from roots in the blues, could play in front of a mass audience. The folk side was also well represented in emerging groups like Fairport Convention and The Pentangle, a new – styled synthesis of folk and jazz. Through an imaginative choice of bands, and generally enthusiastic audiences, The National Jazz And Blues Festivals of the mid-sixties became the forerunners of the massive pop festivals we know today. Their changes haven’t been just musical, the organisers have seen a lot of Southern England during their history, Richmond, Windsor, and Plumpton spring to mind, but the event has survived to become our oldest surviving popular music festival.

Tomorrow’s (Friday’s) bill has a nicely balanced contrast between the two top names; Curved Air are musically experimental and visually slick, while Mungo Jerry keep it simple and rocking. With names like Nazareth and Genesis on the rest of the Friday bill, foreign visitors might be forgiven for expecting a revivalist gospel show. We British chaps know better.

The other bands DO live up to their names with Steamhammer doubtless pounding away, and Jackson Heights probably adding to their considerable promise, as shown at Lincoln.  Any festival purporting to contain the best of English pop could hardly do without “The Faces”, but Saturday’s bill, which they top, is full of potential scene stealers. Most notably, there is the one American act in the show, The Johnny Otis Show, which ought to knock them back at Reading as they have been doing to club audiences. When The Three Tons Of Joy join the Otisettes and the whole band on stage, the organisers had better make sure their stage supports are firm.

      

 

 

 
 

 

 

TEN YEARS AFTER AT THE READING FESTIVAL 1972

 

 

Alvin Lee Circa 1968, modelling the trousers made from his mother’s curtains –
“with those lamp shade frills round the bottom”.

 

 

 

 

 



Many Thanks to John Tsagas (a true TYA Fan from Greece)
for contributing the above photo from "Life Music" Magazine, Japan, 1972

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Musical Express  -  August 19, 1972

Concert Review:

Ten Years After Reading Festival – Sunday August 13, 1972

After an inordinately long wait, during which the amount of amplification at the sides of the stage was doubled, modest little Alvin and the Three Stooges, better known as “Ten Years After, took the stage and commenced to rock. Alvin has eased off the “Captain Speed Fingers” trip and they’ve apparently made enough money to buy Chick Churchill an amplifier. Half the time though it was genuinely impossible to tell whether he was actually playing or not, and he spent much of the set wandering disconsolately about, pushing his hair back and trying to decide which one of his inaudible keyboards to play next. When he actually did manage to get off an organ solo – ( on “Standing At The Station”) he was excellent, full of ideas and executing them admirably. More Please. For my money, he (Chick) is both a more interesting and more exciting soloist, than Lee, though less spectacular.

Leo Lyons, kept pace all the way through, whipping out those pumping style, and Ric Lee played his usual (Hobbit) drum solo. Alvin played some nice guitar, particularly on “Turned Off T.V. Blues”- but the band seem trapped by their myth to a rather lamentable extent. Their version of Al Kooper’s “I Can’t Keep From Crying” was identical to their performance of it at “The Isle Of Wight Festival” (immortalised on the triple album set of – The Isle Of Wight Festival and The Atlanta Pop Festivals). Even the quotes from “Stepping Out”, “Sunshine Of Your Love”, “Foxy Lady”,  “Cat Squirrel”, “Smokestack Lightnin´” and “You Don’t Love Me” came in the same order. The material from their new album, “Rock And Roll Music To The World” went down well, but what left a sour taste. Was that as they (TYA) insisted on doing a full two hour set, despite their delay in getting on stage, “Quintessence” were unable to do their set.

 

 

 


 

Notes for Ten Years After Live At Reading.

The band played there twice, once on August 13, 1972 and then again on August 28, 1983.

 
 

“The Reading Report” – Ten Years After Play The 1972 Reading Festival:

The Bill Toppers, Ten Years After played late on Sunday evening. It was their first appearance in Britain since January, and their first British Festival since the Isle Of Wight in 1970. However, for all the time Ten Years After have been out of ear shot, their audience seemed less enthusiastic about the group’s return than you might have expected.

It could be that they stayed away just that bit too long, at least long enough for the fickle public to latch onto heroes other than Alvin Lee.

As a stage spectacle, Ten Years After are quite impressive and whatever your opinions of Alvin Lee musician, you have to admit that he’s one of the precious few good rock `n´ roll showmen ever to have come out of this country (England).

Musically, Ten Years After don’t wander far from the kind of raunchy riff which earned them their first fans some years back, and in this respect, they could possibly afford to open up a little, maybe by more use of Chick Churchill’s fine organ playing, to add more light and shade into the act. Anyway, few left for home feeling that depressed of feeling, that they’d wasted time and good money. A good festival, and without doubt, the best this year so far.

 Article by Ray Telford

 

 



 

Melody Maker  16 / 9 / 72  

Alvin Lee Talks About: 

The New Ten Years After Album "Rock and Roll Music to the World "

   

Alvin Lee accepts abuse with equanimity, or so it appears. He has received slightly more than his fair share over the years. And while he tends to smile philosophically after being berated, those close to him reveal that the barbs of critics hurt him just as much as the next rock n’ roll super star. The barbs have been shot at a man whose band has been a shade too popular to be good for him, and whose guitar technique is a mite too nifty to be healthy. The blast has come because Ten Years After are not the world’s GREATEST little rock and roll band, even though they were one of the stars of Woodstock, the movie and the festival.  

They have their faults, but if they have been guilty of selling their image too hard, then it becomes a minor offence when one compares them to some of the current visions emerging on the platforms of rock. Where one can fault Ten Years After is not on grounds of exaggerated self-importance . No one who knows Alvin Lee, Chick Churchill, Ric Lee or Leo Lyons, would accuse them of being egotists. Their problem has been to establish a stronger musical identity for the band, other than as a showcase for fast Moving guitar work. Their albums from “Sssh” onwards have tried to break out and develop, but they have rarely produced exceptional original material.  

As sidemen Chick on organ, Ric on drums and Leo on bass have not shone as brightly as Alvin. But Ten Years After have stuck together. And that is because they enjoy being together and in consequence have become one of the longest surviving British bands. Alvin’s personal problem has been a shyness an inability to mix with fellow musicians and the music scene. While other guitarist and singers gaily leap from group to group guest on albums, jam in clubs and rave at the discos, Alvin fronts his group, then returns to a country retreat. But now he is within an ace of solving one problem and he is working on the other. For Ten Years After have recorded an album that ignores the passions of fashion , and simply represents what they do best---a little rock, a modicum of roll, and the blues.  

The new Ten Years After album is called “Rock And Roll Music To The World,” as is certainly their best since “Undead.” Although not a “live” album it was cut on the Stones’ mobile unit in France and gives TYA a spontaneity and brilliance that has been lacking on previous albums.   

More surprising has been Alvin’s determination to get out and blow in different environments. He has been recording at a friend’s home studio with American gospel singer Mylon LeFevre , and guitarist Steve Sanders, both from Georgia. Mylon and Steve have been staying at Alvin’s home, a Tudor house, set in spacious grounds, once isolated from the world, but suddenly threatened by massive motor way works which tear through the soil a few hundred yards away. Alvin is so keen to jam that he even purchased a minibus in which he can drive his musicians around if  they are stuck for transport. “I used to drive Ten Years After around when we first started,” he revealed sitting in the low-beamed lounge surrounded by toys, gadgets and guitars. “I used to drive to London before they built the M1. Because I did the  driving, the others had to unload, although Leo used to pretend he was the manager. “He’d ring up after a gig and ask how we had gone down. “Mr Lyons the manager here. Were the group to your satisfaction’?” Alvin laughed at the memories stirred by the sight of the white Commer parked on the gravel drive. Once they were the chief group transporters, before the mighty Transit took the road.  “I only bought it yesterday. You know, it’s almost therapeutic when a group travels together in a van. It’s like being married. You get downs and ups, but if you don’t travel together you don’t know each other or play together.  

On our last European tour we shared a bus with Patto and they are an incredible band and incredible People. We all had a great time on that tour.” But how will Alvin use his new van? “Oh, if I’m going to a session in London, or if I have to pick up a drummer for  a rehearsal. They always have transport problems. It will also help me to keep my driving down to a reasonable speed, as I’ve got two endorsements driving my Jaguar. I’ve got a Triumph TR3 as well, and I wouldn’t part with it, but it’s a real bone shaker.”  

Who has Alvin been jamming with? “This guy called Mylon from Georgia. He’s asleep upstairs at the moment. He’s a gospel singer from Macon. He used to have his own big band, a 13 piece. We did some gigs with him in the States , and his band was incredible, although it never took off.  His music has got that laid back beat and it’s much less frantic than what I have been playing. I’ve been really enjoying playing. That style, and I’ve become a lot more relaxed. “We’ve been recording with Ian Wallace on drums from King Crimson. He’s incredible And we had B.J. Wilson on drums from Procol  for a couple of tracks. Leo played bass and although nobody has heard of any of the numbers, it really slotted together well.”  

Alvin thought it was time to wake up Mylon, as it was around 4 pm and he removed a hunting horn from the fireplace. He gave a deafening blast and the distinctive moan of a gospel singer from Georgia filtered  from the minstrel gallery overhead. Alvin acknowledged the moan with a cry of “Noy!”  “That’s the Patto group call. You’ll hear that a lot if Patto are around.” It seemed a fair warning.  

Mylon lurched downstairs, a young American with quite a bit of hair around his face, blessed with a beautiful drawl that made Bonnie Bramlett sound like John Cleese. “This is Mylon,” said Alvin with some pride. “We really got off on his music in the States. When he sings about the south bound train for Tallahassee it’s all real. When I sing, it’s only how I IMAGINE it all. It’s probably only psychological, but it gives you the feeling it’s all right to sing the blues when Mylon is around.” But how did Alvin relate Ten Years After to his new friends. Presumably the band would continue? “Sure---right. Ten Years After has become itself. The music is an amalgamation of all four of us. On the next LP we strived to make it natural music from the band with nothing different, just for the sake of it. It’s more of a rock album. The music of Ten Years After is pretty hard rock, but my listening tastes have mellowed. I like Stephen Stills and Poco  and I figured it would be nice to play that way as well. And I’m particularly interested in meeting other musicians and jamming, although I’d never felt like it before.”  

“You see, I had a socialising problem. The music business should be like a big club. On the surface  it is but relationships don’t go deeper unless you work at it. And that’s what I’m doing, and it’s widening my horizons a lot.  I take other people’s music a lot more seriously. I’d be into any music outside of what we were doing if it was ”heavy” and progressive on the albums. We always like to end our sets with some rock but we wanted to try and do something else as well, so that people could hear a bit of everything. “We recorded the new album in a chateau in France. We did five days rehearsal then spent five days with the Stones’ mobile. At the time we thought the results hadn’t been that good, and the experiment hadn’t worked. But when we got the tapes together, it sounded really good. It’s captured an atmosphere on record that we have never got before. Like, the drums were just set up in a room lined with marble, and the drums got a bright sound you couldn’t repeat in studio conditions.”  

While Alvin is pleased with the new TYA album he admitted he had been itching to try something new. “Everybody enjoys playing with different musicians from time to time and after awhile a regular group does become like work, when you earn your living from it. And then it becomes harder to find really new things.” By now Mylon was beginning to open his eyes to the fading afternoon light. How did he meet up with Alvin? “We met about two and half years ago in New York. I had a band called Holy Smoke and we jammed together. Alvin told me to call up anytime I came over to England and me and Steve came over about six weeks ago. I quite the road last December. We only had 91 days off in two and half years, and it was getting hard. We were a 13-piece band, and we worked all over the States.” Mylon has a couple of fine albums to his credit, including one on the Cotillion label, produced by his friend Allen Toussaint, famed for his association with Lee Dorsey. Mylon has been managed by Felix Pappallardi, and has also recorded with Little Richard. He has an open soulful vocal style. The recordings that Alvin and Mylon have made together are a revelation.  

Although only rough mixes from a home studio, the tracks they played sounded like a gold album, with Alvin emerging in a startling new light. The two seem to have a good effect on each other. Said Mylon: “We’ve done about five or six songs together. I was up at 5 am writing. In fact yesterday was one of the best days in my life.” He grinned  with pleasure at Alvin as the tapes began to roll, while Steve shook his head, uttering a soft “wow” as Alvin’s guitar pushed along the vocals. The first number “It Ain’t Easy,” showed Alvin in a completely different light, far away from his usual jet propelled style. Rich, mellow chords and an easy country feel prevailed, but even so, his remarkable technique marked him as a guitarist of distinction.  

“This is all original music,”  said Steve. “I just play  rhythm guitar and sing the back up vocals, but we all believe in it. Alvin plays some guitar on this that kills me.” There was some more fine playing on “Starry Eyed Child” and “One More Chance,” all with a relaxed down home beat, that recalled the Band or the Byrds. Did Alvin sing on any of the tracks? “No, faced with that Georgia accent, I don’t make it. Mylon wants to take this eight track recording back to Georgia and get it transferred to a 16 track. Then I’ll go over there with Leo and finish it off.” 

Next Alvin played the new Ten Years After album “Rock And Roll Music To The World,” which is due out tomorrow (Friday). And the band sounded much better for their fresh, frank approach. The tunes concentrate on a solid rock beat, mixed with some rave-ups like “Choo Choo Mama.” “We kept it all very basic,” said Alvin, “but there are some really good solos from Chick. Listen to this one on ‘Standing At The Station.’ It took nearly six hours to mix the Moog synthesiser and organ tracks together. As Alvin blew some tremendously exciting guitar solos, particularly on “Station,” which climaxes with an express train thundering across the speakers, it seemed this will prove the best album TYA have produced. “The first two albums we did were representative of how we played at the time. ‘Stonehenge,’ the third one was influenced by flower power, and the others were aimed to be progressive. This is just how we are now.”    

By Chris Welch

 

 

   

Ten Years After Autumn Tour in Germany

September 11, 1972 

 

 

TEN YEARS AFTER in Düsseldorf Germany 1972 
From  Disc Magazine  -  September 23, 1972   

 

  DÜSSELDORF: Day two in Ten Years After’s German tour. Having flown in from Bremen, driven from the airport to hotel; to backstage the long wait continues to get onstage, and actually fulfil the purpose of the whole exercise.

  Until you go on tour the word “wait” doesn’t really mean too much-on the road it takes on a whole new significance. You wait in airport lounges, outside airports for the coach, in hotel lobbies, in draughty backstage corridors or backstage in a world of wires and harassed roadies. Then after the gig you wait and wait until the crowds clear and the band can escape safely.

  The arrival at the Essen gig from Düsseldorf was nothing short of spectacular when the bus bearing us all swished in to the stage door, all lights blazing so that every kid outside the building swarmed round leaving you to swim for your life through a sea of people. But Ten Years After are seasoned tourers and nothing seems to worry them; after fifteen tours of America and still sane they obviously can’t allow anything to.

  We arrive at the Essen Grugahalle as the band Stray reach the end of a good set ( they’re on tour with TYA). The bands five tons of equipment has mostly been set up by their small army of roadies who dance by the side of the stage at their more ecstatic moments. The band is fairly wary of Essen – last time they played there, a crowd of 3,000 outside the building, broke in through the windows to see the gig for free and TYA had to foot the glass bill. Already one of the crowd outside has broken a window, but rumour has it he was apprehended shortly after the heinous offence.

  Part one of the long dressing room vigil begins, sitting around in a monastic cell of a room on hard plastic chairs drinking beer and coke. Down below the window, a  rousing sing-song is in progress by those who refuse to pay to get in.

The German audiences are currently on a big free gig kick, and although the promoter lowered his original ten marks a head to ten marks per couple to entice the final few in, they remained adamantly singing in perverse two part harmony down below, handing out showers of Jesus Freaks literature.  

 

  Back in the dressing room Ric Lee—who by any normal human standards should be throwing up his phenomenally large supper, is reminiscing about the two gigs the band did a great many years back when Ric tied sparklers to his drumsticks and Alvin played his guitar with one when the lights were down. Although it was very effective in practice, they couldn’t get them lit on the night and were left to play in total darkness.

  Alvin is expecting Steve Ellis and American singer Mylon, to join the tour tomorrow. He, Leo and Ian Wallace have all been doing sessions with Mylon at Roger Daltrey’s  home studio and hope to release the results as an album sometime.

  Ten Years After’s next album is just out called “Rock and Roll Music to the World.” It is their first in almost a year and some tracks are from their experimenting in the South of France with the Rolling Stones mobile unit in February. “We hired a house just to see if it would be different from going to the studios everyday in London. “This new album is more of a rock album than any of the others, and we’ve tried to get a much more live sound. It’s worried us in the past that the albums have been very different from the stage act and it’s taken us a long time to work out why. “We used to use the stage equipment in the studio but we found it was so loud we had to turn it down so it wasn’t making any distinction, it was too clean and clinical. The secret is to have much smaller equipment turned up full.

“The last album was more songs and melodies. That was because before that it was the Woodstock aftermath that featured on “Going Home” and we thought we’d get away from that for awhile just to show we could play other stuff because a lot of people just picked up on Woodstock. So we did a structured album to show there was another side of us and now we thought we’d go back to rock again.”  

  Recently TYA came round to thinking they might do a single, because the singles market seemed so much less “poppy” than it used to, but when their record company told them it had to be two minutes long, Alvin told them to forget it. Another reason they had steered clear of singles was that they were frightened of a flash in the pan , non lasting success. “The only time concerts are threatened is when you get a hit record or are in a film or you become the darling of the “Daily Mirror.” I think Marc Bolan and David Bowie will realise it sooner or later.

  The band do their 16th tour of America shortly. They are still a dazzling success out there and don’t seem to diminish at all.  Even to the extent that Alvin was offered $3,000 to do a toothpaste ad the last time he was there. The offer he said was tempting, but the thought of getting off the plane to be confronted by his own  giant image wasn’t.  The whole group has also been offered a variety of awful film roles, one of the themes was of an English rock band going to America in search of Robert Johnson, getting busted and sent to jail. Alvin is freed by a beautiful girl in a white Cadillac, and when they turned down the script, the guy re-wrote it and returned it nine months later. “We’d do it if something good turned up, but I’m still involved with making my own movies and want to do one about my own environment.”  

 

  Meanwhile back in the dressing room the roadies have finally finished setting up and it is time to go on. Stray had a bit of electrical trouble with their set, and when TYA get on Alvin’s mike fails within seconds. The audience still annoyed from waiting an hour between groups, starts whistling and shouting. More trouble as the lights fuse (dim) the mikes and the circuit is clearly under pressure. They do a quick “jam” to drown some of the noise. Finally after shouting at the lights people and a worried German called Manfred Lurch (who had previously confided in the dressing room that he saw falling trees and white rabbits dancing in the road when ever he was tired ), the show got underway.

  The band played a mixture of old things, stuff from the new album, an Al Kooper number and ended with Rock-n-Roll encores. As a band they’re playing well together, these days better than when I last saw them.  The empathy between Alvin, Ric and Leo nowadays seems to be amazing especially with Alvin and Leo. Unfortunately the organ just doesn’t feature dominantly enough in most of the numbers and seems rather superfluous. When Chick does do a more featured solo such as “Standing At The Station” he’s really good. Ric Lee’s drum solo was a little too prolonged , especially with the audience in its edgy mood.

But honours have to go to Alvin and Leo for their lovely intertwined  guitar work. Alvin’s crystal clear style is still good although he does tend to shape each number rather the same---soft start, crescendo, climax, end. A heavy number  alternated with a lighter thing would perhaps be a better substitute. Leo is getting better and better as an inventive bass player.

  By the end of the show the audience is frenzied and scaling the enormous crash barrier, there are about three or four thousand in the hall. Someone about three rows back has an arm in plaster but nonetheless waves it ceaselessly. There are two encores.

  Then another endless wait in the dressing-cell for the crowds to disperse so we can escape to the hotel. Then another wait at the hotel for food at 3 am and the thought that the whole process is repeated tomorrow and the next day and the next day…….  

 

 

 
 

Sounds Magazine – September 23, 1972

Ten Years After, noch einmal

TYA in Germany – report and pictures by Billy Walker

 

 

Leo Lyons is sitting in the dressing room of the Stadthalle in Bremen, back resting on the metal lockers that run along two of the four walls, applying mentholated spirit to the tips of his fingers from a tiny plastic bottle that accompanies him on every gig. 

Ten Years After are on the first of a week of gigs through Germany and Austria and bassist Leo wiles away the boredom before their set running through a sound check with Alvin Lee.

Toughening up the fingers of his right hand and sampling the odd bottle from a crate of Coca-Cola and beer resting on the bare dressing room table. Like most “artists” rooms, whether you’re headlining or just a bottom bill support band, this one’s empty, (apart from tubular chairs and a couple of tables), without character and nestles under the banking of the cycle track which is housed in the Stadthalle.

 

Bad Press:

This tour promises to be an important one for Ten Years After, important as it’s followed closely by two tours of America (making their US tours total around seventeen), and the first time they’ve played since the Reading Festival where they enjoyed three encores and a barrage of bad press. Strangely, Ten Years After are one British band that have never really enjoyed good Press reaction since their start around six years ago. They’ve almost always sent the fans home smiling, but have had to scrimp around foe whatever rave reviews were going.

 

Reading was a prime example and as a result, Ten Years After were hurt by what the music Press had to say. But their problem is almost certainly a question of image. It’s an image that was basically built up in America where image is all important and ability secondary in most of their Press, the idea of Alvin Lee “fastest” or the “greatest” guitarist alive, both ridicules observations about any musician and certainly an image that Alvin himself has never tried to foster. And again their “Woodstock” appearance, which reached millions via cinema screening, has meant that they are almost duty bound to play “Goin´ Home” on every gig since, thus having one foot too firmly planted in their past. Therefore, every time he steps on stage, some of the Press inevitably are saying, “OK let’s see what the greatest guitarist around can do”, and of course if he doesn’t shape up the reviews reflect badly. And while Ten Years After aren’t naïve enough to believe that what the Press say is taken as gospel, how about the people weren’t at Reading? They have no way of gauging the band’s performance, other than what they read and Ten Years After are certain it wasn’t a fair representation of what their gig was like. But Reading’s over, and Leo, Chick Churchill, Alvin Lee and Ric Lee file out from the dressing room in the long walk to the stage. In the stadium itself, the crash barriers are pressed tight against the stage surround as more fight their way down to the front. The wooden banked walls stretch up steeply with rows of seats around their edge.

The Stadthalle’s capacity is 5,000 but nearer 4,000 look to be in attendance. Stray, who are accompanying  Ten Years After, have left the stage heavy with smoke from their exploding odds and ends and the audience is in a good mood for moving around a bit. Without the slightest sign of fuss, Ten Years After are on and Alvin announces “One Of These Days”, which drives really hard for an opening number, guitar and tough harp from Alvin who confesses after “You Give Me Loving”, the next number, “Three wrong notes there”. “Loving” has Chick playing stabbing, authoritative organ which conjure up shades of Santana with a close jazz / rock feel that was Ten Years After’s trademark in their early years. “Here’s another one you might remember”, announces Alvin, before launching into “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”, rubbing his guitar across the microphone stand, which brings a roar from the crowds who clap along in time while Alvin and the remarkable Leo rustle up a rocking little jam in the middle of the stage, backed by the barest percussive rhythm from Ric. During the next number the stage monitors blow and Alvin attempts to explain to the audience that: “We’re going to jam until the system comes on”. During this jam, Ten Years After really work up a sweat playing hard for a four-piece with Leo’s bass making it tough for anyone else to compete, even Alvin’s nice laid back guitar breaks. “Standing At The Station” shows a slower, less rock based opening and this slightly subdued angle lends itself well to Chick’s organ solo, but the audience seem to be willing the band for more speed and during the next number are chanting for “Going Home”. From the side of the stage, the sound doesn’t seem too good, only snatches of Alvin’s vocals filter across and the organ seems to be on top of Leo’s bass for much of the set. But a change of position only reverses the dominance and the hall’s acoustics banked wooden walls and a very hollow sounding stage don’t seem to be helping too much.

 

Texture:

“I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes” seems to have the right sort of rhythms to complement Ten Years After’s skills to the fullest. The many changes in texture is a nice relief from the frantic, non-stop raving of the faster numbers and while it grows to encompass almost every sort of music the band can play. It’s a refreshing fifteen minutes in the set.

The number runs on and on and things are really roasting by the end. “Goin´ Home” follows as everyone knows it must, and again it’s Leo Lyons, his head shaking about like a rag doll, who’s plugging in those thick bass lines while Chick leaves his keyboards to play congas on the edge of the stage. Two encores follow, Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen”, and

“Baby Won’t You Let Me Rock And Roll You”, and over zealous actions of the lighting man leaves Ten Years After in mid-exit as the house lights go up, and for a minute they’re all frozen in slight embarrassment while the audience anticipates something to follow.

Back in the dressing room there they sit around one of the tables, discussing the set. Dissatisfied with the sound on stage Alvin believes it wasn’t a very good gig at all.

Ric Lee asks what everyone else thought and the whole band are genuinely interested in outside opinions or criticisms. 

 

Critical:

But they’re not too despondent, even Chick who admits that his fingers were too stiff after such a long layoff. They must get better is the general opinion, but the real test will be when they listen critically to the tapes of the gig. Every Ten Years After gig is taped and everyone’s eager to see who did what wrong and where. Overall, the show was a good one. Ten Years After aren’t into any real stage showmanship like Bowie, Bolan or Slade, and this is something which audiences, both at home and abroad are aware of. The Bremen gig appeared to go from frenzied number to the next and the definite lack of light and shade in the overall act left a void.

Ten Years After have been together, without personnel change, for an awful long time now, and this, plus the upsurge of theatrics around them, might cause the non-Ten Years After fan to view the band in a rather dull light, but from this gig (and the following day in Essen) it’s obvious that they are still one of the leading rock and roll bands in the world, warts and all.

The “trial” by tape that evening, or was it early the next morning, proved to be a release for Ten Years After. The sound was a vast improvement from the expected and everything looked rosier for their next gig at the 8,000 capacity Grugahalle in Essen. But, Essen had unhappy associations for the band who’d ben landed for a bill from the German authorities the last time they played there. Fans, who felt they were entitled to hear them play without paying, smashed windows and broke down doors to the hall and Ten Years After were forced into settling the bill which ran into a couple of thousand pounds. Essen proved to be a headache again and after the first number, the power failed. For the next few minutes, while Ten Years After roadies, (Andy, John and the two Jacks) rushed around the back of the Grugahalle’s huge stage, the band trickled behind the PA for a quick swig at their bottles or a drag.

 

Images:

The on-off merry-go-round dragged on and the stage lighting seemed to be affecting the sound system too, and the audience began to get a little restless. But, “You Give Me Loving”, a track from the band’s new album settled things, before it got out of hand and they were on their way again. “School Girl”, “Rock and Roll Music To The World” (the new LP’s title track), “Essen Express” with one of the fiercest drum solos you’ll ever see, followed by “Standing At The Station” all thundered along, pushing the pace up and up. Then like an oasis in the Sahara, “Turned Off T.V. Blues” drifted slowly from the PA. It seemed to be just the right tempo to show Ten Years After at their best and influences and images aside, Alvin played some beautifully restrained guitar during this number and the rest of the band showed up equally well. Through two more numbers (including “Goin´ Home) and the same two encores as in Bremen and it’s over for another night, but this time a little happier and with hands full of concerts to come Ten Years After are warming very nicely.

 

Softer:

The shouts of “noch-einmal-noch-einmal-noch- einmal”, (once again / one more time) are still ringing through the hall, as Ten Years After reach their dressing room. These crowds see Ten Years After as an honest to goodness rock and roll band for the people, but can the band themselves – see themselves as this alone forever? To the audience the frenzy that accompanied Ten Years After’s set, and the inclusion of “Goin´ Home” was enough, but will it continue to be enough for the band themselves? They know the score and having almost reached the peak of their R & R performances don’t be surprised if there’s a change (but not a drastic change) in Ten Years After’s music. Thing’s are softening up these days, and Ten Years After might just get a little softer themselves.


Sounds  -  September  23,  1972

 

 


New  Musical  Express  September  23,  1972

 
 

       

September 26, 1972 – Ten Years After – Maple Leaf Gardens Toronto, Canada

On the bill or: Edger Winter and Frampton’s Camel


Ten Years After Set List: One Of These Days – You Give Me Loving  - Good Morning Little School Girl –
Rock and Roll Music To The World - Hobbit – Standing At The Station – Turned Off T.V. Blues - I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes – I’m Going Home – Choo-Choo-Mama

 

 

 

 

 

New Musical Express – September 30, 1972 

Ten Years After – Take Their Music to the World

The Concert Hall Vienna: In a city whose history is deeply rooted in classical music, three faded portraits hang on the dressing room wall. One of them is Richard Wagner. Another is Franz Liszt. And the other…? Nobody quite knows, but then nobody cares much either, as most of the room’s attention is focused on Alvin Lee, tuning up his big, red, Gibson guitar and preparing to shake the walls of the ancient hall  with some of that ear-splitting,

Ten Years After style of rock and roll. Neither the concert hall or Vienna for that matter, are exactly used to rock concerts. Even though it is a major European city, surprisingly, few bands make a stop here on Continental tours, and the result is that when a band does play, everybody tends to over react. Outside, for instance, the local forces of law and order have just arrested twenty kids even before the doors opened. While inside, the hall manager is still uptight from the night before when, with the band on stage, the audience got out of their seats, boogied a little, and broke a few chairs in the process. Tonight, while the support band “Stray” play the first half, and Alvin and the others prepare to go on stage, the man’s paranoia increases. He anticipates, and quite rightly, that in the second half, the crowd might commit the ultimate sin of enjoying themselves, and then maybe…horrors…they get out of their seats and dance. He wouldn’t have much sympathy, for a line in one of Alvin Lee’s songs, that goes, “give peace a chance…get up and dance…while I sing rock and music to the world”.

Anyway, as he rushes around the backstage corridors, giving futile last minute orders, back in the dressing room the atmosphere is calm. Alvin Lee continues tuning, Chick Churchill watches and waits, Leo Lyons rubs methyl ate spirit into (onto) the tips of his fingers and Ric Lee cracks endless jokes. It’s obvious that after so many years on the road, (including an amazing fifteen tours of the States) Ten Years After have touring down to a fine art. All right, so there’s a few cases (crates) of beer around, and a couple of chicks who might turn out to be groupies, but mostly there’s no big deal, no hassles. Everything’s Cool. Genuinely, all their thoughts seem to be focused on getting on stage and playing at their best, and Alvin Lee admits, that he’s pleased that he doesn’t have to worry about putting on a show, as such…

A presentation of the type more expected from the likes of David Bowie or Slade.

“I think if we’re to get any satisfaction at all, its got to come from the musical side,” he said.

“It would be a limitation for me to have to think about doing shows, rather than just play the guitar. “Personally, I don’t think we would have gone on as long as we have, if we hadn’t just concentrated on the music. “And I feel sorry for the bands that put themselves in the position of having to do performances. I feel really happy, that all we have to do, is go on and play well”. Certainly the lack of any “show” as such, didn’t worry the 1,500 or so people who packed the concert hall and let out a bellowing Cup Final Cheer when Ten Years After took the stage and drove almost straight into, “One Of These Days”. As Alvin pouted his lips and pounded out the licks, Leo Lyons thumped out tremendous bass-lines and stamped around the stage, as if he was treading on red-hot cinders, both of them showing, even on the fast numbers, the remarkable understanding that has grown up between them. Overall, the band’s set was made up by a mixture of old things like, “I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes” and new ones off of their fourth coming album, with the flavour of the act, mainly frantic and energised rock and roll blues. And the newer numbers were among the best they played,

“Standing At The Station,” featured a highly inventive solo from Chick Churchill on keyboards, though sadly, it was his only one of the night, “Choo – Choo – Mama” was near-enough for straight rock, while the pace slowed down for, “Turned Off T.V. Blues” with Alvin Lee easing back and playing excellently around the standard blues format.

 

Later, back his hotel, Alvin explained how, in a way, the band were getting back to straight rock n´ blues, especially on their new album called, “Rock And Roll Music To The World”.

On our last album, “A Space In Time”, it was more like Ten Years After playing songs, whereas this one is more second nature stuff. In a way, it’s an attempt to record the band in its most natural form, rather than experiment up a blind alley. And I think the result is perhaps the most positive album that we have done. “After Woodstock, we got a lot of rock and roll exposure, but very little else. So we tried to take the focus off that a bit by making some song, structured albums. Now, having done that, we’re back to rock and roll. “In fact, we didn’t actually plan it that way. It’s just that we had around thirty numbers, and somehow these were the ones that we found most natural. I think, we feel the happiest with this kind of music”.

A new development in Lee’s career is a number of jamming-sessions, of which he’s been part, particularly with Mylon, a gospel singer from Macon, Georgia, Ian Wallace from King Crimson and B.J. Wilson from Procol Harum. He admits that, jamming was something he’s never taken much interest in before. “About a year ago, I would have said, I don’t believe in jamming, because it’s very limiting to play with other musicians who don’t know you and who don’t feel the same way as you do”. And I think that’s still true. If I was playing the kind of music as Ten Years After. But lately I’ve got into playing completely different styles and following them up. “Also, it’s only been in the last year or six months, that the band’s felt any advantage from the success we’ve had. When things start to happen, it’s almost like a whirlpool effect, and almost the last person to realize that you’re established, is yourself”.

But now we feel secure, and we know Ten Years After is not going to break up and we know where we’re at musically. Everybody can branch out and explore different things without feeling bad / guilty, because it isn’t one hundred percent directed towards Ten Years After.

“With the sessions, that  I’ve been doing with Mylon and the others, everybody is playing out of their normal style, and really enjoying it. We’ve got about eight tapes and when we finish our next American tour, I hope to go down to Mylon’s place and finish them off”.

Obviously, Alvin doesn’t feel that these activities pose any threat to the stability of

Ten Years After, and since the band have kept the same line-up so successfully, for such a long time, I wondered what was the secret of staying together. “Really it’s the other way round. I find it difficult to understand how bands don’t stick together,” replied Alvin.

“To me, it seems much easier to really get to know the musicians you’re playing with, rather than fight with each other. “And the music really is of all four of us, not just mine, whatever people may say. Even if I write the words and the chords, once it’s played around in the group, it can change almost completely. “Like if I was to tell Ric how to play, I don’t think that he’d be very satisfied, and I think that’s one of the reasons why we’ve stayed together.

We can all play our own music and explore our ideas within Ten Years After”.

As for his own position, Alvin Lee isn’t exactly, “Captain Ego” as some would imagine. In fact, he says his role as a “Guitar Hero” at times makes him feel distinctly uncomfortable.

“It’s always really embarrassing  for me to think of myself as a “Rock and Roll Star,” or any other kind of star. “It’s a strange thing, like sooner or later you meet so many people who come up at concerts, all smiling with their autograph books and things, that it gets really strange. In fact, I find it very difficult to relate at all, to an actual fan, because they treat you as something out of the ordinary. “Like most people I meet, whom I’ve never known before always say, “Oh it’s good to meet you, I never realized that you were such a “Nice-Bloke,”.

Where as, it’s not that I’m a “Nice-Bloke,” it’s just no different from normal. Yet people seem to expect you to be something else, and somehow expect you to live up to it. “It can get really weird”.


 

 

 
 

 

Muziek Express - October 1972

 

 
 

Chicago Sun Times – October 1, 1972

Ten Years After brings its flashy blues-rock to the Arie Crown Theatre “Park West”  for shows at 7:30 and 10:30 pm Saturday. Also on the bill are Nils Lofgren who opens the concerts. October 7, 1972

 

 

 

 
 

Billboard  Magazine  October  14, 1972

The Release of the 9th TEN YEARS AFTER LP

 

 

 
 

Record Mirror – October 14, 1972

Ten Years After, whose latest album “Rock `n´ Roll Music To The World”, has put them back into the Record Mirror charts, and they are to do two dates at the Rainbow in London, as part of a British Tour, starting in October. The group is currently engaged on their sixteenth American Tour, the band flies back home to open their British engagements at Manchester’s Hard Rock Theatre on October 26th. It will be the band’s first British appearance since headlining at the Reading Festival in August.

Ten Years After- Tour Dates:

Birmingham Town Hall (October 28th), Newcastle Town Hall (29th), Edinburgh, Caley Cinema (30th),
Rainbow (November 2nd and 3rd), Liverpool Stadium (4th), Leicester, De Montford Hall (6th),
Bradford Street – George’s Hall (7th),
Hanley, Victoria Hall (8th)

 

 


New  Musical  Express  October  14,  1972

 

 
 

1972  

Details Of The Autumn British Concert Tour By Ten Years After – have been finalized – it will mark the outfit’s first appearance in this country since the Reading Festival in August, and their first British Tour since the beginning of the year. Ten Years After will interrupt their Sixteenth American Tour to play here – during the next two weeks, they are appearing on the U.S. East Coast, then they return home for the British Tour prior to flying back to the States for a string of West Coast gigs. On the British Tour, they will be featuring tracks from their newly released album – “Rock And Roll Music To The World”.

The British Dates Are:

Manchester Hard-Rock (October 26th)
Birmingham Town Hall (28th)
Newcastle City Hall (29th)
Edinburgh Empire (30th)
Liverpool Stadium (November 4th)
Leicester De-Montfort (6th)
Bradford St. George’s Hall (7th)
Hanley Victoria Hall (8th).

A venue in London has still to be confirmed, and there is also the possibility of further dates, including an additional Scottish gig.

Support act on all dates will be Frankie Miller, formerly with “Jude” whose debut solo album – on which he is backed by members of Brinsley  Schwartz – is released by Chrysalis on October 27th. He will be accompanied on the tour by a well known group whose identity has not been announced – due to contractual reasons.

 

 

      

 

 



Thursday, October 26th, 1972

 

 

New  Musical  Express  October  28th, 1972

 

 

 

 



November 9th,  1972 at Colston Hall, Bristol

 

  

   


 
 

New Musical Express – November 11, 1972

One thing about a Ten Years After gig, is that you know roughly what to expect. It’s unlikely that you’ve seen them since their last tour just under a year ago, but the chances are that you’ll notice many changes in the band, this time round. There are some new numbers, but the formula is much the same and a very successful one at that. They near enough sold out two nights at the Rainbow last week, and on Friday laid down a strong, powerful show which generated the usual Ten Years After fervour from the audience. Personally, I don’t feel they have the credibility to be one of the world’s very top bands, yet as rock and roll bands go, they’re still mighty fine. Basically, you either like them, or you don’t. On Friday they got off to a bit of a slow start, until the third number, “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” which got things moving a little. This was followed by what Alvin Lee described as, the self indulged jam that we always get slaughtered for” – which in fact was really quite good, with the occasional touch of jazz coming through at various points. Apart from Alvin Lee’s extroverted guitar work, he proved once again that he is an ace showman, drawing as much spectacle out of the band’s music as is possible, strutting across the stage, pushing his guitar-neck along the mike stand and occasionally substituting his plectrum (guitar pick) for a drum stick, while Leo Lyons, an excellent bass player, and Ric Lee and Chick Churchill concentrated solely on providing the musical backdrop. Much of their material was taken from the new album, but the three numbers that came across most strongly were,

“Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” “I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes,” and “Goin´ Home,” are also the three they’ve been playing the longest. That’s not too healthy a reflection on their newer material.

Frankie Miller opened the evening with a brash, soulful set. Backed by Brinsley Schwarz, who also accompanied him on his album, “Once In A Blue Moon” and a couple of other people’s songs. “You Don’t Have To Laugh To Be Happy” is one of his better, self-written tunes. He has loads of potential as a vocalist, but he’ll have to be very careful of his direction.

By James Johnson

 

 

    

POPFOTO  Magazine  November 1972

 

 
 

From Bravo Magazine 1972 – Article by K.E. Siegfried – Fotos: D. Zill

Alvin Lee: Lasst mich rocken, wie ich will !

Hier erzählt Euch Alvin Lee alles über sich und Ten Years After – seine Wünsche, seine Ziele und seine Probleme

 

BRAVO: Bei eurer jüngsten Deutschlandtournee sah es so aus, als seiest du der große Star, der von Ten Years After nur noch begleitet wird. Stimmt das?

ALVIN LEE: Nein, keineswegs. Wenn ich die meisten Lorbeeren ernte, so liegt das an meiner Aufgabe in der Gruppe. Ich spiele die Sologitarre und singe – klar, dass ich da besonders im Scheinwerferlicht stehe.

BRAVO: Viereinhalb Jahre spielt ihr jetzt zusammen. Ist was an den Gerüchten dran, dass ihr euch trennen wollt?

ALVIN LEE: Nach monatelangen Tourneen durch Amerika und Japan waren wir nervlich völlig fertig. Doch wir sind uns bewusst, dass eine Trennung nicht nur das Ende der Gruppe bedeuten würde, sondern auch das Ende eines jeden von uns.

BRAVO: Hat sich für euch erfüllt, wovon ihr am Anfang eurer Karriere geträumt habt? Hat sich zwischen euch etwas geändert?

ALVIN LEE: Wir machten alles gemeinsam, jeder den gleichen Anteil an der Arbeit - jeder den gleichen Anteil an Erfolg und Geld. Keiner sollte im Vordergrund stehen und der Star werden. So sah es aus. So sieht es nicht mehr ganz aus, aber wir werden mit den Schwierigkeiten fertig.

BRAVO: Wurden dir, dem Star, schon besondere geschäftliche Angebote gemacht?

ALVIN LEE: Ja, in Amerika. Ich sollte für Zahnpasta Reklame machen. Aber was hat Musik unbedingt mit Zähnen zu tun? Ich sagte nein, obwohl mir umgerechnet 150.000 Mark dadurch durch die Lappen gingen.

BRAVO: Privat drehst du Schmalfilme und fotografierst. Hast du keine Lust einmal selbst in einem Spielfilm mitzumachen?

ALVIN LEE: Überlegt habe ich mir das schon. Aber vor der Kamera will ich mehr sein als nur die Marionette eines Regisseurs. Ich möchte am Drehbuch mitschreiben, mich um die Produktion kümmern – und das bedeutet Arbeit, viel Arbeit. Ten Years After würden darunter erheblich leiden.

BRAVO: Ihr bereitet euch jetzt auf eure 16. Amerikatournee vor, eure Platten laufen in den USA wie die Feuerwehr. Wie macht ihr das eigentlich?

ALVIN LEE: Wir lernen aus jeder unserer Tourneen, Tag für Tag proben wir. Außerdem schneiden wir jedes Konzert auf Band und hören es anschließend gemeinsam ab. Schließlich versuchen wir, bei jedem Konzert im letzten Drittel einen neuen Song zu spielen – so schlaffen wir nicht ab und werden nicht gleichgültig. Denn: Was wir können, ist uns nie gut genug.

BRAVO: Früher spielten Ten Years After reinen Jazz. Dann kam der Blues, jetzt seid ihr eine Rockband. Wie hat sich das entwickelt?

ALVIN LEE: 1967 beim Woodstock-Festival kamen wir mit unserem Rocksong, „I’m Going Home“ am besten an. Also ließen wir Jazz und Blues und spielten immer mehr Rock. Ich muss zugeben, dass mir diese Umstellung Schwierigkeiten macht. Ich mag mehr den Rock-Blues und arbeite zur Zeit an zwei Rock-Blues-Singles. Da kann ich rocken, wie ich will. Und davon lass´ ich mich von niemand abbringen. Die Gruppe jedoch liebt den Rock `n ´ Roll. Darum wurde unsere letzte LP eine reine Rock-LP.

BRAVO: „Rock And Roll Music To The World“ ist eine eurer besten LP’s. Was ist das Geheimnis dieses Erfolges?

ALVIN LEE:  Für die Aufnahmen dieser LP mieteten wir das fahrbare Tonstudio der Rolling Stones, ein wahres technisches Wunder, dem wir die Qualität dieser LP verdanken.

BRAVO: Der Rock `n´ Roll bringt euch Erfolg. Wollt ihr eine weitere Rock - LP produzieren? 

ALVIN LEE:  Ich glaube nicht. Wir suchen wieder nach etwas Neuem. Wir wollen nicht stehen bleiben.

 

 


 

         

 

 
 

From Disc Magazine 11/25/72

Alvin Lee …Wanted To Stay Together

Alvin Lee is rather like a man amongst boys. Rock, with its temporary nature, is constantly coming up with  fresh faces to titillate the fickle public, but Alvin Lee has survived it all with the help of Leo Lyons, Chick Churchill and Ric Lee, four people dedicated to the furtherance of the music of Ten Years After. We were backstage at Bristol’s Colston Hall after the final gig of TYA’s recent British tour. It was a marvellous gig with “Spoonful” and “Crossroads” brought back into the set after a long absence.  We headed back towards London, veered off at the Reading by-pass and manoeuvred our way through  narrow lanes which ultimately brought us to our destination—a rambling old home, kept in immaculate  repair, set in fifty acres of land.

After listening to some tapes put down in the States, we had an hilarious supper, a bottle of champagne to celebrate Lorraine’s birthday, a couple of tunes played by Alvin on the piano and a lot of fun watching the men play billiards.  TYA have become something of a rock institution. Is there any one thing  that has kept you together? Alvin says: “There are a few things, but the main thing is that we wanted to stay together. It isn’t always easy, but if you look for a way to work problems out rather than split up, it’s much better. All bands have arguments, but we look for a way to work it out.   “Each one of us is free to do what we want, to a degree, and it’s our own music. A lot of people say they are still playing the same way, but that is the style of the band. Breaking up seemed entirely negative to us.”   Yours has been a natural progression as opposed to one that followed the trends. Was that purposeful?   “It has always been part of our policy not to force any progression. In the old days, as it were, all the bands I knew had to play popular numbers, figuring that you would get more work like that, but that was a matter of  doing gigs at the weekend to get some money rather than having any long-term thoughts about playing your own music.  

After a few years, we got to thinking about it and we decided we would best be known for playing the kind of music we liked. “Having been involved with a bit of the Tin Pan Alley side, I really didn’t like it. I used to do guitar sessions and they would tell you what style to play—that you were playing too much—  and it was awful. We decided we were going to be free and play our own music which we did for about a year and a half with no success at all (much laughter), but we still kept at it.” Ten Years After were and still are the most blues-orientated band to find mass acceptance. Why do you think you succeeded where others failed? Alvin replies: “In all fairness, John Mayall was a large inspiration, due to the fact that he was earning a living playing his own kind of music. This gave us a great deal of encouragement to try to do a similar thing on our own level. Mayall’s group was a purist blues band, where as we interpreted the blues in a way which offended the purist. “I think there is a lot of luck involved because  I know a lot of good musicians who are now doing nothing, just because they didn’t have the   perseverance. “You see, the one thing our band had in common when it was rough was that we didn’t have anything else we could do. We didn’t have a trade. The only way I could earn a living was to do a gig in a pub which was all experience anyway.”  

  Do you think Charisma plays an important part?  

“That of course, is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve always liked to believe there wasn’t such a thing but, of course, there is. Take ‘Woodstock’ as an example. After we had been at Woodstock the attitude towards us was entirely different. We seem to have acquired some kind of prestige from being on celluloid. “Some people are totally affected by it and others not at all, and they are the kind of people I can get along with. I can’t get along with people who sit overawed just because you were in a ‘Woodstock’ film.”  

  However, even though you have tried to take the emphasis off yourself by having the rest of the band do solos,  most of the attention is still focused on yourself. Would you agree that some people have more of an aura than others? “Sure. You get a much more positive reaction if you have something that people can either relate to or recognise. For instance, there’s Elvis Presley whom I, as a 13- year old, hero-worshipped. I was totally in an aura which I had made up in my own mind about him, and everything he did was fantastic and there was no knocking it— until I eventually went off him and, in fact hated him. You see, no rationalisation at all. “It could have been because he changed, because I still think his early recordings were incredible. They have so much earthiness—so much country funk, but he then went into that plastic Hollywood pop star game and his music became stereotyped. “ I went to see him in Las Vegas and he was like an Elvis Presley impersonator. He really overdid himself.

  “I think if he had just played his own music instead of relating to all those other images, he would have been better off —commercially as well. To get any lasting pleasure, you have to believe in what you do. You should take it seriously. “With Ten Years After, the thing is I don’t lead it. I may stand at the front and write the songs, but I don’t tell anyone what to play. It’s the music of four people and it grows itself and finds its own level.”  

  Your guitar style has become very distinctive. Did this happen gradually?  

“It was very gradual. Originally, all my phrases were either made up or copied off records—most of them I adapted from other things. Very few of them were original. But the more I played them the more I twisted  them around and other people brought my attention to it. “I would say ‘I played this solo just like it was on the record’ and they’d say ‘it’s nothing like it’ and play the record. It would have changed without my  noticing it.

  “However, I did become aware that my own style was developing—in fact, I got really paranoid as to what  I should do if I didn’t because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I figured it was a matter of listening to good records, picking things up, adding to them and interpreting them my own way.”  This follow-through attitude you have towards your music also seems to apply to your interest in  electronic music and photography. Is it true of you generally?  Alvin says: “It’s nice to think you think that, but the only thing I believe is that if you want to do something or be involved in it, then you have to learn all the angles about it. “Even if you want to run a sweet shop, there’s a right way to do it. It’s a help just talking to people who know something about it, but best of all  is actually doing it. “It’s one thing to think something out perfectly, but doing it is something else. “I’ve always basically  been a thinker and I’ve had to adapt to doing. What I do have is the ability to be involved one hundred percent.” We haven’t had a “live” album from TYA since “Undead.” Can we expect another one? “That’s on. We’ve avoided another ‘live’ album for the same reason we’ve avoided putting slow blues’ numbers on recent albums—because it seemed too easy. It just didn’t seem right to put down an album in one evening instead of working for three months in a studio. “However, I’m convinced that it would be a good time to do one now and we’re going to record with the Stones’ mobile studio which we tested out on ‘Rock and Roll Music to the World’.

  “We’re going to record four dates on the Continent in January and mix the tapes in Los Angeles where  there are good studios for mixing. “If it turns out all right, then we’ll definitely release it. That’s our next plan.”  

  What about the U.S. hysteria that followed “Woodstock.” Has it eased up? 

  “That kind of flashed up and flashed off really. It was a bit of mass media exposure  and it went the way I always figured it would—just a flash in the pan.”    

Author Unknown  

 

 

 

 

 

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