MAGAZINE, FROM OCTOBER 6, 1989
several of the reformed rock groups
recording and touring the country in this
reunion year also played at what has become
1989’s big commemorative event, the 1969
Woodstock Music And Art Fair, only one
remains primarily identified with the event.
The Who and Jefferson Airplane both played
there, but it is Ten Years After, a band
that broke up fifteen years ago, that will
always remain tied to its extended treatment
of lead guitarist Alvin Lee’s “I’m
Going Home,” as shown on the split screens
of the Woodstock movie released a year after
closer examination of the band’s career,
however, reveals that that performance,
while not unrepresentative of the group’s
music and concert work, gives us only a
small reaction of Ten Years After’s
importance to rock history. And with a new
album, aptly titled “About Time” and
featuring the group’s four original
members, there may be some history yet to be
Years After originally appeared in clubs in
London as part of the ongoing blues revival
that had already given birth to the Rolling
Stones after having been founded by such
figures as Alexis Korner and John Mayall.
Lee, born December 19, 1944 in Nottingham,
and bassist Leo Lyons, born November 30,
1944, in Bedfordshire , were childhood
friends who grew up together in Nottingham.
Both were playing by their early teens,
combining American blues and jazz influences,
and Lee even backed John Lee Hooker at the
Marquee Club in the early 60’s.
1964, with Lyons playing drums, (not true at
all according to Leo 2007) they performed in
Hamburg, West Germany and elsewhere in
Europe as “Britain’s Largest Sounding
in Nottingham, under the name “The
Jaybirds”, they acquired Ric (no relation
to Alvin) Lee, born October 20, 1945,
Staffordshire as drummer, from “The
Mansfield’s” in August 1965. In 1966,
they moved to London, where they picked up
work in clubs as well as accompanying the
play “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning”
and touring as backup group to the Ivy
League. By November, they had been taken on
by manager Chris Wright, whose agency with
Terry Ellis, named Chrysalis ( Chris /
Ellis), would have a major impact on their
career. They also acquired keyboard player
Chick Churchill (born January 2, 1949, in
Flintshire). (not true as Chick was born
a single gig under the name “The Blues
Yard”, they became “Ten Years After”.
In the spring of 1967, they were overheard
by the Marquee Club’s manager, John Gee,
playing Woody Herman’s “At The
Woodchoppers Ball.” This led to a
residency at the influential club and to the
band’s signing to Decca Records, which
would release their recordings on the new
“Progressive” Deram label.
group’s first, eponymous album was
released October 27, 1967, featuring both
standards like Willie Dixon’s
“Spoonful” and originals by Alvin Lee.
It didn’t chart, and neither did a one-off
single, “Portable People” and “The
Sounds,” issued in February.
so active a road band, it was appropriate
that their second album, “Undead”, was
recorded live, at Klooks Kleek Club.
Featuring “At The Woodchoppers Ball,”
“I’m Going Home,” it was
recorded August 16, 1968 and issued
September 21. In Great Britain, the album
reached number 26, while in the U.S. it got
to number 115.
this time, the band had begun to tour the
U.S. at the behest of Bill Graham, who
arranged gigs at his Fillmore clubs. By the
time of their demise, they would claim to
have done more U.S. tours – 28 – than
any other British Invasion Group. Alvin Lee
now claims more than fifty U.S. tours
touring would affect Ten Years After’s
U.S. popularity drastically, but the
influence of America – especially the
psychedelic influence which also had its
impact on the band’s music, as can be
heard starting with their third album, “Stonedhenge”,
recorded from September 3rd to
the 15th 1968 and released
February 22, 1969. Continuing the group’s
gradual sales increase, it peaked at number
6 in the U.K. and rose to number 61 in the
contract negotiation saw the group signed
directly to Chrysalis, which licensed their
records to Decca. In later years, when
Chrysalis became a record company, many of
Ten Years After’s albums would be
reissued on that label.
June, the group recorded a new album,
“Ssssh” and then returned to the U.S. to
tour, hitting the festival circuit. They
played on August 15th and Ssssh
issued the same month became their biggest
selling hit yet, reaching number 4 in the
U.K. and number 20 in the U.S.
next album was “Cricklewood Green, a
slight return to the blues, albeit
psychedelic blues, which was issued in April
of 1970, again going to number 4 in the U.K.
and hitting number 14 in the U.S. with a
Like A Man,” which reached number 10 in
the U.K. but only got to number 98 in
the release of “Woodstock” the movie in
August of 1970, Ten Years After became a
major concert attraction, though its
relentless schedule was beginning to hurt
the quality of its record releases.
was issued in December of 1970, and got to
number 5 in the U.K. and to number 21 in the
U.S. indicating that, despite Woodstock, the
bands record sales were levelling off. The
band then took three months off the road to
prepare its next album, which would be its
first under a new contract with Columbia
Space In Time,” featuring a more
electronic sound and more reflective songs
from Alvin Lee, was issued in August and
became Ten Years After’s biggest U.S.
seller, going gold by December and producing
the Top 40 hit “I’d Love To Change The
World.” It was to be, the band’s
picked this exact time to issue a
compilation of unreleased British tracks,
called “Alvin Lee & Company,” which
reached number 55 in 1972. The bands
official follow up was “Rock & Roll
Music To The World, and was issued in
October of 1972 and only got to number 43
– followed closely by their “Recorded
Live,” album (known as the official Ten
Years After “Bootleg”) and was released
in June of 1973 – it reached number 39.
this point, the group took six months off
for solo projects, among them Alvin Lee’s
album with Mylon LeFevre , entitled “On
The Road To Freedom,” which reached number
138 early in 1974. And by that point, Ten
Years After was in the studio once again,
but by the time they’d finished recording
“Positive Vibrations,” they had all
decided to disband, playing a farewell gig
on March 22, 1974, at the Rainbow Theatre in
surprisingly, their final album only reached
number 81. The following year, Ten Years
After reformed for a single lucrative U.S.
tour in July and August, and that was it.
visible since the split has been Alvin Lee,
whose bands, including one called “Ten
Years Later,” have put out albums
periodically. There have also been periodic
Ten Years After compilations, and in the
last year Decca has issued the first three
albums on CD, while Chrysalis has put out
the rest, so that the band is one of the few
1960’s acts to have its entire catalogue
in print and on CD.
now comes “About Time,” which, on a July
day in 1989, brought Ten Years After’s
four original members (plus their
manager Derek Sutton) together to sit in a
hotel room in front of “Goldmine’s”
tape recorder and talk about their past,
present and future.
Let’s start at the period in 1966-1967 at
which the band got the name Ten Years After
and signed to Decca Records.
Lee: Originally, it was the Jaybirds.
That was the band with me and Leo. For a
short period, we were called the Blues Yard,
(for only one or a few gigs at that) then we
decided that tied us down to one kind of
music too much. The first happening thing in
London was the Marquee residency and
that’s when we decided we needed a name to
take us through into the 1970’s as it were.
Ten Years After has got no real meaning,
it’s just a nice phrase. It’s not
particularly 10 years after anything. We did
realize that by accident it was 10 years
after Elvis Presley became famous, to us in
England, anyway. But we were nearly called
“Life Without Mother”. That was the
second one / choice.
Lee: Yeah, it could have been worse.
Lee: (no relation to Ric) I quite like
that, actually . So, the name was picked and
the Marquee residency led—it was the
situation in those days where we were
getting a good name on the club circuit in
London and we got approached by Decca
Records. Did we want to make an album? And I
think we were one of the first bands to
actually make an album first, because in
those days you used to make a single and if
it did any good then they’d let you make
Lee: (no relation to Alvin Lee) Funny
thing about that was we did an audition for
them a few weeks before, didn’t we?
Lee: We actually did an audition for
Decca and failed it, and then they called us
up a few months later and said, “We want
to make an album with you.” We just got
hooked up with the wrong A&R man when we
did the audition.
Tell me about Mike Vernon, the producer of
your first three albums.
Lee: He was kind of an in house producer,
to be honest he wasn’t that active. He
turned up and helped out. He wasn’t a
great force. He admitted himself that he
didn’t really understand what we were
trying to do.
Lee: Mike was a very pure blues fanatic.
Lee: Yeah, he was a pure blues fanatic,
and remember the “blues boom” that John
Mayall started? That was probably the
turn-around for Ten Years After to take off.
Because I’d been brought – my father
used to collect chain gang songs, very
ethnic rural blues stuff, and of course, for
the occasional one o’ clock set in the
morning when you do three sets a night,
we’d do a bit of the blues and a bit of
jazz; there was no real outlet for it. And
then, when the blues boom happened, suddenly
I had a whole list of, a repertoire of great
blues songs which I could start putting in
Lee: Plus the rock `n´ roll, Little
Richard stuff we’ve always loved.
Lee: Right, in other words, Chuck Berry,
Jerry Lee Lewis, early Elvis, and blues.
The reputation of the band was
always that it had a much more diverse set
of styles than many of the blues bands of
Lee. I think that’s the different
people in the band. As Alvin just outlined
his influences, mine were jazz, like Joe
Morello, Buddy Rich, those types. Leo’s
were Scott La Faro in those days.
Lee: Bill Black and Scott La Faro!
Lee: He was the bass player with Bill
Evens. Scott was killed in an automobile
accident very early on, unfortunately…and
Chick Churchill’s influences were, Oscar
Peterson, and that area, and I think when
you put those four influences together,
that’s why you get the amalgam you get.
Lee: I did used to like Count Basie
quite a lot too, I think the swing thing we
all came together on that.
Lee: And George Benson, before anybody
ever heard of him.
Lee: And Brother Jack McDuff. At that
time, when we were teenagers in the 1950’s
there wasn’t really that much, apart from
the blues and very ethnic R&B, before
we’d heard of Chuck Berry. We were mainly
listening to American swing jazz for our
inspirations. So we had a four-piece band
and we were playing Count Basie numbers,
which didn’t sound much like Count Basie,
but our own style came out of it. And
“Woodchoppers Ball” was a Woody Herman
song. In fact, we used to do backing work
and back cabaret artists and when they went
off waving, we used to play “Woodchoppers
Ball.” And sometimes we’d carry on for
five minutes and go down better than the
orchestra we were backing.
Lee: We actually got two gigs out of
that, on our own, just on the strength of
doing that as a play-out song for another
band. But we used to do it at a rate of
noughts’ as well. It was about fifteen
times faster than Woody Herman!
Lee: I remember John Gee suggested that
we do a concert with Woody Herman and play
“Woodchoppers Ball” together. I said,
“I don’t think that’ll work, somehow!”
Tell me about Ten Years After, the first
Lee: The first album was, in fact,
basically our live set. We didn’t have to
think much or write anything. And the album,
I think, was recorded in two days, one of
those situations where you record the song,
and say, “Thank you,” and they don’t
even let you listen to it, and then you just
went on to the next one.
Lee: We had a problem with “Help Me,”
didn’t we? We were trying to get the
atmosphere of that onto the album. We did
about three takes of it, and the third take
was really happening. It’s a very, very
slow number. It’s very difficult to get
the feel of it in the studio as opposed to
live. And we came back and the tape operator
had wiped the first one clean – (erased it
Lee: I’ll tell you, it was 10 minutes
long; they weren’t used to long numbers,
and what they used to do was record one
number on this side of the tape and turn it
over, and record another number on the other
side. And the two overlapped, because we
used to do long numbers. We were the cause
of them stopping that particular way of
Did you have any problem moving from being
exclusively a live band, to now doing studio
Lee: Oh, yeah. Straightaway, the technicians
then weren’t used to – you couldn’t go
in with four Marshalls. It was un-heard-of.
They’d think you were a maniac and
they’d always get you to play through
smaller amps. So we had a hard time just
getting our own sound happening, because
they encouraged you to play quieter. Also,
they want you to do the backing track and
then they go back and you overdub the vocals.
The first time I’d done that…lose a
little of the feel by doing that, too.
Lee: Also, drum-wise, you’d only have
probably two mikes live, one overhead and
one on the bass drum, which tends to get a
better balance across the kit, on the top of
the kit, on one mike, if you place it
correctly. In fact, I found out, Terry
Manning who was just on the new album, (Ten
Years After – About Time – as the bands
producer) was telling me that he engineered
the Led Zeppelin 3 album, and John Bonham
insisted on having two mikes on the kit when
he recorded. He said, “I’ll get the
levels, you place the mikes to get it
right.” Which I think accounts for the
drum sound he got on the albums.
Lee: That’s right, you’ve got to
control your own dynamics.
I assume, being in the studio for the first
time, though, this was the sort of situation
where, pretty much, the engineers were
setting things up and more or less telling
Lee: Yeah, they just said, “You just
play and leave the rest to us.”
Lee: Which is your first mistake.
Lee: And from doing that, then we
started to experiment ourselves, and take
more time and get more complicated , which
finally leads up to the situation today
where some bands take a year to make a
record. We never got that bad. I think that
eight weeks is a maximum. I’ve seen a lot
of bands, you get through two albums and
you’re doing your live set, you record
your live set, then you have to start
writing new material and often you can see
bands start to droop a little because
you’re playing stuff you’ve had in your
set for five or six years, and it’s very
rehearsed and very tight, and basically you
just play it and it’s recorded as it is.
But then you get to the point where you’re
writing material and you play and you want
to hear it back and see how it sounds. It
gets to the point some bands start writing
in the studio, which is very dangerous,
because it can go on for months, that way.
The first two albums were easy, then you
have to start thinking.
You had to go from being a band that played
primarily cover material, to being one that
played primarily original material. Was that
a natural transition for you?
Lee: It was, really, but as I say, when
you’re on the third album and suddenly you
need eight new or ten new songs, you can do
a couple of covers and then try to write the
rest yourself; that’s a vast departure. I
think on the first album I wrote about three
or four, maybe five, (one of which was
co-written by Chick Churchill, and one by
engineer Gus Dudgeon), which is not to hard.
When you have to come up with a whole album
concept and everything else…
Lee: It must also be difficult to get
stuff with a band that’s got as diverse
influences as we had then, getting stuff
that suits everybody to play.
Lee: It was trial and error, to be
honest. We were experimenting a lot in the
studio. We’d say, “Let’s try a
country-style number,” “Let’s try a
slightly funky number.” We weren’t
saying, “This is definitely our music.”
Was the second album Undead? (asked Alvin).
Lee and Goldmine: Yes
Lee: That was recorded live at Klooks
Kleek and I remember when it came out I was
delighted. I heard it in L.A. when we came
here on the first tour (1968 – Fillmore
West) and I thought, “Well, that’s it.
What can we do? That’s everything.
That’s probably as best as I’ll ever
play.” I thought it really captured the
band at its best. And I kind of had an
inkling that there were going to be problems
in the future recording, because what was on
those two albums encompassed
everything the band could do.
Up to that time
The next album, “Stonedhenge,” sounded
like a movement in the band’s sound to
different kinds of things.
Lee: That was the first experimental
album, and also the influence of the West
Coast. The San Francisco thing, the
Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead,
were already creeping in there, with the
strange sound effects and oddities going on.
Lee: That was the album, also, we all
did a separate track, which was a bit of a
Lyons: Twenty years later, perhaps, not
so much of a giggle!
It was very much in keeping with the times.
Lyons: Yes, it was
Lee: (speaking to Alvin) They tried to
get you to do a mini-opera at one point,
because the Who were doing it. Didn’t they?
Lee: Yeah, it was mentioned. I think it
was good that everybody had a little chance
in those days to do something special, and
different, as well. What we were doing with
those albums, because of the psychedelic
kind of influences, you record different
songs, but then you try and tie it together
and make a concept, so you make the whole
album like a “trip”. So that one side
would be a twenty minute piece, although it
may be five or six different songs in it,
and we’d link them up with sound effects
and try and make a little adventure out of
One of the things too, that was happening at
this time, in a career sense, that I note,
is that you finished a contract with those
Lee: No, the contract was for six albums.
The other three were on Decca, as well.
Lyons: To a certain extent , you’re
right, because there was a production
company that came in between, so it was the
formation of Chrysalis Productions. When we
got a production deal with Chrysalis
between us and Decca, we were allowed
to record whenever we wanted to, with a
budget. Prior to that, we were told when to
record, how long we were recording, and more
or less we had to record at Decca studios.
So we moved over then to an independent
recording studio called Morgan Studios, and
it’s now called The Workhouse. And that
was an eight track. So the “Ssssh” album
was the first one that was done on the
eight-track. So Ssssh for us was the turning
By this point, also, the band was growing in
popularity. Did that put greater pressure on
the band? Ssssh came out just after you
Lee: Woodstock was not a particularly
– it was an event, obviously, we were
aware when we arrived. But we weren’t
ready for any event, it was just another
name on the date sheet.
Lee: We’d done a bunch of quite large
festivals. It was just another festival.
Lee: In fact, we weren’t even that
aware that it was that different when we
left there. Obviously, it was special, but
we weren’t aware that it was going to be
remembered so strongly. Had it not been for
the rain storm, we’d have probably flown
in by helicopter, played, and gone out again
within two hours and probably would never
have even seen it. But we were about to go
on and the rain storm broke. There was no
way anybody could play with the sparks
flying up on stage. The rain storm was
actually the highlight of Woodstock for me.
I thought it was better than all the bands.
There’s no way half a million people can
run for shelter, so they just sat there and
started singing, and I took a walk around
the lake and kind of joined in with the
audience and experienced it first hand,
which was good.
we didn’t play that well at all, because
when we finally did go on there was a lot of
brouhaha, because nobody wanted to go on
first due to the risk of shock, and I think
we took the plunge eventually and said,
“Oh, what the hell. If we get electrocuted,
we’ll get good publicity.” And we went
out and actually had to stop playing during
“Good Morning Little School Girl” and
re-tune because of the atmospherics. The
storm had done so many changes in the
atmosphere, the guitars went way out of
tune. I actually had to say, “excuse us, but we’ve got to stop and re-tune.” The audience
didn’t seem to mind; they were just having
fun anyway. But it wasn’t particularly a
good gig, playing wise, we didn’t rate it
at the top. It’s all in retrospect that
it’s such a huge event.
One of the things, obviously that had a big
effect was when the Woodstock
movie came out a year later.
Lee: I think the pressure probably came
Was there a reaction immediately after the
Lee: Not at all. We went on for a year
playing the same three to five thousand seat
venues. When the movie came out, we suddenly
shot up from 5,000 seat venues to 20,000
Lyons: I think what happened with the
movie was, it opened up all the small towns
in between the large towns we were already
Lee: It crossed us over to the masses
rather than a cult following thing. It was
the end of the underground. A lot people say
that Woodstock made Ten Years After, but it
only catapulted us into that mass market and
in a way it was the beginning of the end.
Going into the ice hockey arenas, where you
can’t hear much, the sound’s terrible,
you can’t see the audience, it wasn’t
that much fun and it was a decline of
enjoying touring as much as we had done
previously. Also, the sad thing about
Woodstock it seemed it was the peace
generation all coming together, and then
they all went back home again, and never got
together again, as it all dissipated
By talking about Woodstock, we’ve
skipped over the next album, Cricklewood
Green, which almost shows a moving back
towards blues or a more basic sound.
Lee: It was still experimenting, but I
suppose we did start looking for our roots.
We didn’t want to get too far from the
roots. Cricklewood Green had “Year 3,000
Blues.” “I thought that was quite an
innovative song at the time, a blues based
on living in the year 3,000. Automatic
bloodhounds chasing people.
Leo Lyons: I think by the time of Ssssh and
Cricklewood Green we’d been exposed, quite
overexposed, to the American drug culture of
the time, too and I think that had an
influence on the albums.
Alvin Lee: On Cricklewood Green, at one
point, “Working On The Road,” which is
still one of my favourite songs, actually,
the tape slurs. It slows. Somebody leaned on
the tape machine when we were recording it,
and nobody even noticed at the time! So that
gives you a clue as to what state we were
in. Producers, engineers and band, no one
There’s also a fair amount of quieter
music that you play on these albums, Ssssh
and Cricklewood Green, and the next one,
“Watt”, and in some cases slower music.
I wondered if that was a reaction since
there was so much writing about the speed at
which you could play.
Lee: Yeah, I was kicking against that
criticism. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have
done that, but in those days I hadn’t
quite got my professional opinions sorted
out, my own attitudes. I was having a few
personal problems. I was starting to become
marketed, and I felt like a box of
cornflakes, and I wanted to be known as a
musician and not a pop star. Now you’ve
brought that up, that’s the first time
I’ve realized that was the period that
started. And probably I wasn’t too aware
of it at the time, but I was definitely
having thoughts in that area.
Part of the effect of the Woodstock film was
to separate you out as a celebrity apart
from the group.
Lee: Yeah,, we had always been a
communal band, and I was trying to kick
against that to some degree. I was actually
trying to de-escalate the “getting famous”
Lyons: Which probably made it even worse.
Lee: Also, you’ve got to remember, for
the idealistic 1960’s, it was also very
un-cool to be rich and famous. It wasn’t
one of the things we were striving to be. We
were striving to be credible musicians, much
more than trying to be pop stars. I’ve
never wanted to be a pop star, it was never
an ambition, and it seemed to be happening,
and I was kicking against it. I was kicking
against the criticism. People were saying I
was just a flashy, fast guitarist that
didn’t really have any taste and
couldn’t really play, and that was
upsetting me. So I suppose that was all
coming into the music.
One album that stands out is “A Space In
Lyons: Well, that was a new contract.
That had a lot to do with it.
Lee: Ah, but remember, we’re talking
of working on the road, which was the Ssssh
album, “Working on the road for fifteen
years, blowing my mind and blasting my ears”
(Working on the road is from Cricklewood
Green), and I was basically saying,
“It’s time to take a break.” And I was
campaigning for a break, because in those
days, we would do like a ten week tour of
America, come back to England for three days,
then do a five week tour of Germany, then
another three days off, then onto
Scandinavia and Italy, and after that
somebody say, “You’re in the studio next
week for the next album.” And I was
writing songs in the taxi on the way to the
studio, and not really having any time. Watt
was definitely suffering from no time to
write. In fact, even the original title –
was suppose to be called “WHAT”
and not “WATT” – but it came out as
Lyons: Ten Years After What, wasn’t it?
Lee: I eventually dug my heals in and
said, “I’ve just got to have some
time.” And I wanted six months off, which
was ludicrous. I think it ended up being
about three or four months off. It gave me
time to sit down with the acoustic guitar
and write some good songs, and I think “A
SPACE IN TIME” was the culmination of that.
A bit of time and there was the space to
write A Space In Time !
Churchill: That was why it was called
that, is it? I never knew.
Lee: I think “A Space In Time” is
still my favourite Ten Years After album,
because we had time to work on it. “I’d
Love To Change The World” was that on “A
Space In Time?” asked Alvin.
Ric, Lyons, and Churchill: Yeah
Lee: I was embarrassed about that song
because I don’t like preaching in music. I
like music to be apolitical and I thought I
was maybe pushing my luck. To start off, I
was criticizing freaks and hairies in the
first line, and I thought, “ I’m going
upset a lot of people with this song,” and
I very nearly didn’t even put the song
forward. But it was a good song and it’s a
good job I did in the end. But I don’t
think it’s a typical Ten Years After song.
In fact, we never have played it live.
Much to the management’s disgust!
Lee: The record company would come to
the gig and say “When are you doing your
hit?” And I’d say, “We don’t play
it.” “What? I said, “What’s the
point? It’s a hit already.” But, you
know, it was evident that people didn’t
come to the concerts to hear us play the
records, they come for the whole emersion in
the live concert thing.
Is there a point here where there’s a
diversion between the albums and the live
Lyons: Very much so, yes
Lee: Yeah, Right
Lee: What album was “Choo Choo Mama”
Lyons: The live one.
Lee: No, Rock and Roll Music To The
Lee: And that was the one after “A
Space In Time” and after the “I’d Love
To Change The World” and we didn’t play
it live. After that embarrassment, (Columbia
Records president) (Clive Davis) actually
picked a song, I don’t know which one it
Churchill: “Tomorrow I’ll Be Out Of
Lyons: “The Positive Vibrations”
album you mean. What a wonderful title.
Lee: A very inept title, in fact. That
was the least positive thing we’d done.
I guess the band had broken up by then.
Lee: It almost didn’t get finished.
Lee: Of course we were also going
through the Country House Syndrome there. We
all had nice houses in the country and were
starting families and things like that and
there wasn’t really that much will to go
out and sit in the Holiday Inn for six
Lyons: Funnily enough, there were one or
two tracks on the “Positive Vibrations”
album that I quite liked, some of the rocker
tracks. The Little Richard number, “Going
Back To Birmingham,” I quite liked that
and one or two others.
Lee: Also, the other syndrome of a band
breaking up was that we were all building
our own home recording studio’s and nobody
wanted to go out and play, we all wanted to
stay in and make our own music. I think
it’s a natural thing to happen. I think we
just weren’t communicating. We’d just
spent all those years working together and I
think quite naturally we all just drifted
apart a bit, and started to find other
interest besides the band.
That tour you did, that 1975 tour, was a
very big tour, and then you just stopped
Lee: We were just bribed into doing that
tour. We had broken up by then, we were just
bribed to go and do one more.
But it was enormous and it was a huge tour,
and then you stopped touring, and it was not
like a lot of other bands, where it gets
worse and the audiences get fewer and then
suddenly it falls apart.
Lee: I think in a way, it was quite
fitting that we finished then, because we
were always very honest. It was a very
honest band, there was no bullshit, no
hyping, and really, the honesty was going
out of it, and we got disenchanted with that.
We were going out and playing automatically.
I think I started quoting the band as being
“a travelling jukebox.”
I think “honesty” is a good word here,
because it would be natural that there would
have been pressure on you (Alvin) to hire
some people and call it Ten Years After and
go out there.
Lee: Yeah, it was suggested at the time.
You called the band Ten Years Later.
Lee: Yeah, but that was considerably
Lee: That’s because I sued him! (Laughter)
There’s a long time between that break-up
Lyons: Fourteen years. The positive
thing of Woodstock – we’ve talked about
all the negative aspects of it – is, that
is probably the reason why we’ve got the
opportunity, in many respects, to be able to
start all over again.
What brought about the reunion?
Lee: It was sparked off by a German
promoter who called me up and said he’d
like to book Ten Years After, the original
band, for four festivals in Germany, which
was last summer 1988, which then prompted me
to call `round the guys, and say, “How
The new album, “About Time” came out on
August 22, 1989. Is there a tour?
Lee: Yeah, it starts on October 1st
Written By William Ruhlmann