Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Recommended: Benediction [Dave Scott-Morgan]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS does not happen to believe in coincidences and that things happen for a reason. Hence, in the week that I revisited 1992's "The B.C. Collection" by Tandy Morgan Smith [i.e. Richard, Dave and Martin], it was nice to get back in touch with Dave Scott-Morgan again this week having touched base during the release of the revitalized "Earthrise" last Summer but having, sadly, not got around [yet] to meeting up with mutual acquaintance Colin Owen.

Dave has asked me to check out his new track "Benediction", a very nice bluesy folksy tune that promises much for the forthcoming "Across The Divide" release later this year thus:
"Benediction" is the first digital download release from DSM's forthcoming new album "Across The Divide" and features guitar work by Tony Kelsey [Steve Winwood/Bev Bevan's The Move] and production by former ELO cohort Martin Smith. Here is what Dave says about both "Across The Divide" and "Benediction":

"Dave, last-century European hit writer and guitarist with the cosmic British band, the Electric Light Orchestra, still a minstrel of follies and fables in his own digital workspace ... Where is that space exactly? It's in Birmingham, in the Midlands of Great Britain. It is here that we hear, wafting up from the dungeons, the strains of a new album - set to be called: "Across The Divide". Why is it called that? Dave writes: It's "Across The Divide" that technology has come to the rescue, to forge my motley gathering into a family. Some of them had previously defied my attempts to make them upstanding members of the dots and crotchets club but behold, new software and new ways of working have provided the missing link. Now my babies are mixed over the internet, with Martin Smith, 150 miles away in Sussex communicating with me in my home studio, ‘Grimm Doo’. These songs, given to me over many years, were put together with the help of many visitors to ‘Grimm Doo’. If they all knew each other we could call it a group, but no, they are pals just stopping by - and I guess that’s another divide that this album reaches across. The first track to be aired is: "Benediction" [the others are under wraps just for the time being]. The video here [see above] is kinda appropriate as it covers the roads between my house and Martin's. Check it out! The Irish have such a way with words huh? The inspiration for this song came to me via my friend Oliver, whose parting homily was always: "May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be in your back ..." The recording of: "Benediction" was begun on a Roland VS system and then migrated to ProTools. Guitars parts are by Tony Kelsey, Jack Rosa and myself, Mandy plays tambourine and the production mix is by Martin Smith."

You can buy "Benediction" by Dave Scott-Morgan in digital format via this link thus:
davescottmorgan.bandcamp.com/track/benediction

"Across The Divide" will comprise these songs: "Girl In A Jaguar" ~ "Samson And Delilah" ~ "Ball And Chain" ~ "Benediction" ~ "Shanty Town Blues" ~ "Normal Day" ~ "Post War Baby" ~ "Across The Divide" ~ "Cold City" ~ "Mission Impossible"  ~ "Robin's Song"

Here is a link to the official web site of Dave Scott-Morgan for you to peruse and keep up to date with his latest musical developments thus:
www.davescottmorgan.com

 ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "Benediction" by Dave Scott-Morgan to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 30-May-2012

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Interview: Bev Bevan [Village Times]

 Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The forthcoming appearance of Bev Bevan's The Move at the Brewood Music Festival in July has been preceded by an excellent interview series by Jason Bate with The MoveELO and Black Sabbath legend, published recently over four [4] weeks for The Village Times between 6th and 27th May respectively. Jason has kindly granted permission for ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] to publish his interview in its entirety. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as Yours Truly KJS has enjoyed pulling it together.

Bev Bevan was born in Sparkhill, Birmingham on Saturday 24th November 1945. He was educated at Moseley Grammar School, gaining two 'O' level passes before starting work as a trainee buyer at the Beehive department store in Birmingham with school friend Bob Davis [Jasper Carrott]. His professional music career began with Denny Laine & The Diplomats [Denny Laine later of Moody Blues & Wings fame] before a stint with Carl Wayne & The Vikings. Bev was a founder member of The Move in late 1965 along with Roy Wood, Trevor Burton, Ace Kefford and Carl Wayne. Bev was also a founder member of the Electric Light Orchestra [ELO] in 1971 and was also a member of Black Sabbath in the 1980’s. Village Times caught up with Bev recently ahead of his performance with Trevor Burton at this years’ Brewood Music Festival. Read our interview with Bev as he talks about The Move, ELO, touring and lots more!

JB: Do you see the current line-up as a continuation of The Move or a case revisiting the band?
Bev: I think revisiting is a nice expression. It’s born out of when ELO Part II finished in 1999, I took a bit of a sabbatical and started doing some radio station work, which I’m still doing, and got the urge to play and form my own band which was The Bev Bevan Band. I actually just bumped into Trevor Burton one day and we ended up doing a gig together and he said I wouldn’t mind doing more of the old Move stuff. So his band still exists and so does mine but from time to time we get together and do these Move shows and do some of the old Move tracks.
JB: Has Roy Wood ever been tempted to get involved?
Bev: He’s been asked! I don’t think he’s ever been tempted. He’s very reclusive, I last saw him in January at the funeral of an old rock singer, Gerry Levene. But Roy very rarely comes out to play, he did the Status Quo Christmas Tour, guested on that, but probably the next time you see him will be next December!
JB: What are the strengths of this incarnation of The Move that we’ll see at Brewood?
Bev: They’re great people to work with. Of course Trevor Burton was a founder member of The Move along with me so we’ve got two original members which in this day and age is pretty good. A lot of 60’s bands have only got one or even none in some cases. The rest of the guys are terrific players. Phil Tree, the bass player, has been with The Bev Bevan Band since the outset and spent around 12 years as Roy Wood’s bass player. Neil Lockwood on keyboards was with me in ELO Part II, again he’s been with me right from the start of the BB Band and he was lead singer with the Alan Parsons Project for some time. So, he’s a really talented keyboard player and singer. The lead guitarist, a guy called Tony Kelsey, right now he’s working with Steve Winwood and he’s a really terrific guitarist. We obviously do several Move tracks but we try and evoke, unlike many other 60’s bands I think, the rockier side of the time. A lot of the 60’s bands can be a bit cabaret but we do things like ‘Gimme Some Lovin’’ or we do versions of ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Hey Joe’. We do some Cream songs, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac songs so we’re trying to remind people of the rockier side of the 60’s. We did a 60’s weekend at Butlins recently and we were discussing what to put in the set and we actually said that Hey Joe might be a bit much for this crowd, but then thought oh no we’ll put it in anyway. It went down better than anything, standing ovations for Hey Joe, which just goes to show you that people are quite shocked to begin with because it’s quite loud and jammy but absolutely went down a storm with the Butlins crowd which speaks for itself really.
JB: Birmingham was a real hotbed of talent in the 60’s?
Bev: Yeah, it was an incredibly healthy time that. I started out with Denny Laine, and what a talented guy he is! We went to see The Spencer Davis Group at Birmingham University, when I was with Denny Laine & The Diplomats, and he just fell in love with what Steve Winwood was doing, found the blues and then went and formed The Moody Blues and went on to Wings after that. There’s so much talent around this area, Tony Iommi’s still my best friend in the music business, Robert Plant’s a good friend, Steve Winwood I’ve just mentioned, Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne, it really was a great place to be in the 60’s.
JB: Similarly to Liverpool I guess there were lots of great bands working who just never got discovered?
Bev: Oh yes, definitely. I also play in a little music revue that goes around the area usually once a year called “It’s only Rock n Roll”. It’s basically my band and we’re backing Geoff Turton, lead singer with The Rockin’ Berries, Raymond Froggatt, another very talented singer-songwriter, Trevor Burton, who comes on and does some bluesy type stuff and also a guy called Danny King. Danny was the original Birmingham rock ‘n’ roller going way back to the 50’s and what a talented guy he is. He goes down a storm every single night but he never really made it. Steve Gibbons is another one who never really made it but should have.
JB: Do you think the Move have been undervalued over the years?
Bev: I think they are, particularly with the record buying public but you can’t blame people for that because, people listen to the radio, and used to go and buy records, but if they hear things like Flowers in the Rain, Blackberry Rain, Fire Brigade they think yeah, good little pop group that. But really anyone who followed The Move from the start, when we used to work regularly with Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and The Who, we were very much in that mould really and very much a rock band. We were a progressive rock band when we started out and kinda turned into this singles band type thing. 
JB: Thought lost for over 30 years, the master tapes from The Move’s shows at the Fillmore West were saved by Carl Wayne but suffered technical problems and could not be released. Thanks to advances in studio technology, Carl began restoring the tapes in 2003. Sadly Carl died in 2004 and was never able to complete the live album he believed would show how incredible The Move were as a live band. Now, with the full cooperation and permission of his wife Sue Wayne, the tapes have been painstakingly restored, remastered and released in memory of The Move’s dynamic front man and lead singer. The new release of the USA tour in 1969 is a great listen and shows an incredibly versatile band?
Bev: Well, I know that’s ‘69 and it was really Carl Wayne’s last performances with the band, but that is a lot more like what we were when we started out really. We were very chameleon like, we were able to change direction at any given moment. We were forever changing our image. We had a manager who was publicity mad called Tony Secunda and he was forever changing our image. We were in gangster suits as hard men for the first single ‘Night of Fear’, by the time we got to the third one, ‘Flowers in the Rain’, we were all hippies and then by ‘Fire Brigade’ we were all on motorbikes and wearing black leather! I don’t think even we knew what we were supposed to be half the time!
JB: Tony Secunda was involved with the famous postcards featuring Harold Wilson too wasn’t he?
Bev: Oh yes! That was a step too far actually! He was really good for us to begin with, it was him who got us a residency at The Marquee club in London and which led inevitably to us being signed. I mean, we didn’t have to go knocking on record companies doors, they were queueing up to sign us! So, he was great at that and he did give this image that gave us great publicity, great photo’s and really put us in the public eye. But, just for the sake of publicity to upset the Prime Minister of Great Britain was just too barmy even for us! In fact, we still don’t get any royalties from ‘Flowers in the Rain’ or the B side, Roy Wood’s never had a penny in songwriting royalties which is really unfair. After that we did split with him [Secunda].
JB: Wilson sued The Move for libel and the group lost the subsequent court case. As a result they had to pay all costs and all future royalties were awarded to charities of Wilson’s choice. The ruling remains in place today, even after Wilson’s death in 1995. ‘Flowers in the Rain’ was the first chart single played on Radio 1 when it began broadcasting at 7am on 30th September 1967, introduced by Tony Blackburn. Do people focus too much on the Harold Wilson incident and Flowers in the Rain as first song on Radio 1 and forget the other things The Move achieved?
Bev: Probably. I think people within the industry realized just what a good band we were. I got to play on Paul Wellers’ ‘Wake up the Nation’ album, [Bev plays on ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Wake Up the Nation’] which was a massive hit, simply because he’s such a huge fan of The Move. And when you start talking to people there’s a lot who are big Move fans. They’re generally people who were in bands themselves around about that time, John Lennon liked The Move, McCartney did, Eric Clapton did, Pete Townshend was a fan but at the time we were a very ‘in’ group. Before we became darlings of Top of the Pops I suppose!
JB: Between 1971 and 1986 ELO released 11 studio albums enjoying huge success all over the world. The group achieved 20 Top 20 UK hit singles and also hold the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100, Top 40 hits in US chart history without ever having a number 1. They have sold over 50 million records worldwide. Would it be fair to say that there was a point in the 70’s with ELO where you were just about the biggest band on the planet?
Bev: I’m not sure about that but we were certainly one of the biggest. Fleetwood Mac were enormous at about the same time, and Abba of course, but we were certainly well up there.
JB: You used to double track drum parts for ELO didn’t you?
Bev: Yeah, it was a bit of a pain in the behind to be honest but we did get a big sound that way. We used quite old studio techniques and used to put down a basic track in the studio, probably with guitar, bass, drums and keyboards which would probably get wiped and be done all again, and then I used to go into the Musicland studios in Munich. They’d put me into the toilets area because it had got this tiling that gave a very live sound and then I’d have to copy exactly what I’d played before which is one of the reasons that none of the ELO drum parts are that over-complicated because I had to get them beat for beat so they could be double tracked.
JB: That must have been a real feat of concentration and endurance? 
Bev: More concentration really, it really was. We didn’t double track the bass drum,that would have been really difficult, it was basically just the top kit. If you were only a fraction of a second out it had to be done again so there were a lot of takes to get it spot on.
JB: Might ELO have been even bigger had Jeff not been quite a reluctant live performer?
Bev: It’s unfortunate I think that he was quite a reluctant live performer because we could have toured a lot more really. I do understand where he was coming from because we did tour an extraordinary amount during the 1970’s. We toured in 72, 3, 4, 5, and 6. 77 we were basically recording Out of The Blue, we did a massive tour in 78 and Jeff had by this time become very successful and to be fair to him he never liked the touring. Even going back to his time with the Idle Race he was a studio person and a lot of guys are. You’ve either got a love of being on stage or you haven’t. There’s no way Paul McCartney or Elton John need the money but they still tour all the time because they love it obviously.
JB: Do think Jeff might have been put off by an incident early on in his time with The Move?
Bev: I think it was his first ever gig with The Move and we were in Ireland and he did that routine where you check the mic by putting the guitar strings against it. As soon as he touched the guitar to the stand every string was broken and he was blown backwards. If he’d have done it with his lips on the mic at the same time he would have been electrocuted.
JB: What are the downsides to touring?
Bev: The last major ELO tour, the “Time” tour, I got kidney stones in Europe and was flown back to England and I was in hospital for about a week. But for several days I was trying to perform and I played drums with kidney stones which was not recommended. Then when I was with Black Sabbath on my second American tour, I actually got viral pneumonia but still carried on playing! I went to hospital in Boston and the guy said ‘well you’re a young fit guy, you just gotta rest for a couple of weeks and you’ll be fine’. I said sorry but I’ve several shows to do across America in the next couple of weeks! So, you just carry on but it’s a miserable experience to be on the road and feeling unwell. It can be enough to put you off touring.
JB: Was there ever a chance of you being involved with the Zoom album?
Bev: No.
JB: Was that from your perspective or choice?
Bev: Jeff and I haven’t spoken for about twenty odd years. Jeff has the rights to the ELO name now and it’s up to him what he does with it. There’s always rumours of a new album or tour and stuff but if it does happen I’m pretty sure it won’t involve me.
JB: You also had a spell with Black Sabbath in the 80’s?
Bev: Yeah, 83/84 went back again in 86, 87 just odd shows here and there. The initial tour, the ‘Born Again’ tour was terrific and they’ve just re-released it in the last year. They’ve re-released ‘Born Again’ and the bonus album was our performance live headlining at the Reading festival in 83 which sounds great. After all these years to hear it again was terrific. That bought back massive memories and with this Move 69 album that’s two very different but very good performances being released within 12 months of each other.
JB: You worked as a fundraiser for The Birmingham Children’s Hospital. You must be very proud of what you achieved with Heartbeat?
Bev: Yeah, we raised an incredible amount of money for the Birmingham Childrens Hospital and the concert was terrific actually. I think we raised close to £1 million by the time we finished. George Harrison even turned up at the end of the concert, as surprises go that was pretty damn good. It was virtually the last time ELO played, I think we only did 3 more shows after that.
JB: Are you a steering wheel drummer?
Bev: I never stop! There’s a tune going through my head all the time and I’m always tapping things and walking in time to music or a tune that’s in my head. But yeah, definitely a steering wheel tapper!
JB: Given your profession, it’s just in you isn’t it?
Bev: That’s the great thing about drummers, you’re either a drummer or you’re not actually. It’s almost impossible to teach anyone, if you don’t have a natural sense of rhythm then you can’t play. It’s as simple as that really.
JB: Maybe impossible to say but has there been a particular highlight in your career?
Bev: I suppose when we did the ‘Out of The Blue’ tour and we played Wembley and my Mum came to the show, my Dad had died when I was 10 so he never saw me become a drummer like he was actually. So that was a very proud moment and it was a charity concert, the Duke and Duchess of York were there and for my Mum to come to that, coming to Wembley to see the show, in front of 12,000 people, I suppose that would stand out as a highlight.
JB: Starting out at The Beehive you’ve been drummer, rock star, TV personality on Pop Quiz in the 80’s, author, DJ, fund raiser – is there anything left on the to do list?
Bev: Yes! My good friend Tony Iommi has just released a book called ‘Iron Man’, which is a terrific read actually, and came out in hardback just before Christmas. The paperback comes out I think in July or August but so does the talking book CD and you can download it from all sorts of places, and they’ve asked me to narrate the book. So, that’s a first – I’ve never been a narrator before!
JB: You’ve had an amazing career though so far?
Bev: I’ve been very fortunate, got to work with some great people and avoided having a proper job all these years!
JB: Village Times would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Bev Bevan for agreeing to participate in this interview.

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] wish to thank Jason Bate and The Village Times for their kind permission to edit and publish the above interview with Bev Bevan. This interview remains the copyright of Jason Bate t/a The Village Times.

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Village Times and Brewood Music Festival to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 29-May-2012

Monday, 28 May 2012

Interview: David Myhr

#350: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! In the ELOBF interview booth today is David Myhr - former leading light of Swedish power pop supremos The Merrymakers and now striking out on his own as well as being a label mate of our friends Pugwash - for this not-so-long-distance interview for ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF]! David contacted me after seeing an ELOBF review by Yours Truly KJS which mentioned his gig in London in late March. He's also just released a superb debut solo album, also reviewed here thus:


KJS: David, I guess the first thing to do here is to ask you to fill us in about your musical journey up to and including your time with The Merrymakers?
DM: In brief, I learned the piano at five years of age and fell in love with music in general through the music of: The Beatles in particular around the time when John Lennon died when I was ten years old. I started in a band at the age of fifteen and formed: The Merrymakers when I was twenty. That band took most of my attention in the 1990’s and the climax was the 'break' we had when we got to work with Andy Sturmer from our favourite band: Jellyfish. Our albums sold a lot in Japan and we were making progress in the US. However, it all faded out and [since then] in the Noughties I’ve been mostly writing and producing for other artists, among them the Japanese duo: Puffy. But now I’m back in the game again and really excited to have my own solo record out! Although I’m in my forties I feel I’m in my twenties again - it’s great!
KJS: But now you are a solo artist ... so when and why did you decide to go it alone?
DM: At the precise moment when we decided to dissolve: The Merrymakers. During the final years, there were only two remaining members and we seemed to have grow apart musically. But we were also quite different characters. I was frustrated because I was writing song after song and my supposed song writing partner Anders didn’t seem interested in what I was doing. It was such a relief when I went solo and I could approve all my songs at once! There was no-one I needed to convince anymore about the brilliance of my songs ... except the rest of the world of course now that the record is out!
KJS: Upon listening to the CD, I can detect the influence of ‘The Beatles’, Jeff Lynne [and also ELO, of course!] in the song arrangements and vocal harmonies. You mentioned this in your YouTube posting of: “Don’t Say No” – which was recorded in your kitchen! But what other artistes inspire you, David?
DM: My all-time favourites, except for: The Beatles, their respective solo careers and ELO/Jeff Lynne also include Tom Petty [yet another Wilbury!] and lots of classic stuff from 1965-1975. David Bowie is one of them. But when I think of: Crowded House and Jellyfish as well as lots of other Brit Pop and Power Pop bands - there are just too many to mention! My most recent sources of inspiration include: The Feeling, Keane and Tim Christensen.
KJS: "Soundshine" is a really good name for an album! How did you come up with the idea ... and who is responsible for the colourful artwork for the sleeve?
DM: Glad to hear you like it! I was thinking a lot about possible album titles. I’ve always liked the tradition of using a play with words with some kind of double meaning in the album title. There are many examples from the pop history like: "Rubber Soul", "A New World Record" and my old band The Merrymakers’ album: "Bubblegun". So I was aiming for something like that and my working title for a while was: "Pop Into My Head” but a musician friend of mine said that he “strongly disagreed” about using the name of genre in the album title. And deep inside I kind of agreed. So my struggle continued. I played around with words like: "sound", "sun", "summer" and many others until I came to think of: "Soundshine". It felt really good! Then, when it was time for the artwork, I wanted something playful, colourful, semi-retro but most of all timeless, sunny, and “soundshiny”. I took my list of criteria and talked to the only professional sleeve designer I know. He also designed: The Merrymakers first album cover. We agreed on arranging to take one photo and basing the artwork on that photo. Quite quickly we also agreed on making a miniature montage. He asked me to look around for small things that I wanted to put in the picture. That summer I was in Bangkok with my wife and we went to the famous Chatuchak market. I went around there looking for silly things to put in the artwork and came back with a sunflower, other small flowers, miniature animals, and some other weird stuff. He made a great work in arranging everything and putting it in a landscape that he created. 
KJS: I like "Soundshine" ... it’s a really well put together “feel good” album. But how did you go about writing, recording and selecting the songs for it?
DM: I'm always writing songs every now and then. In the 2000’s I had the luxury of working as a guest producer for a musicians programme at a university in my former hometown of Pitea. Those occasions, recording with talented students, have been important for my song writing because every time I went there I wanted to experiment with a new song. I always hoped that those songs would be candidates for: The Merrymakers third album - but as I mentioned before, it never materialised. Another outlet was to send them to my publisher in Japan in the hope that she would find Japanese artists interested in recording them. But a few of them actually became singles for the Japanese duo: Puffy. When the day came to start recording my solo debut, I went through my list of song ideas. There were quite a few lying around from those demo sessions that weren't recorded by those Japanese artists. So it felt like a natural decision to make something out of them. But the first thing that happened was that “I Love The Feeling” was suddenly picked to be recorded as a single by the Japanese artist: Miku Kakoi - but I didn’t let that stop me from recording my own version as well! The recording is a long story in itself! In summary, I called a Swedish producer and drummer named Andreas Dahlback and told him I was eager to make an album. He invited me to his studio and we called in a guitarist and a bass player too for the sessions. During four days in the summer of 2010, the four of us recorded the basic tracks for all of the songs on the album. It was such a relief to see things happen so fast after so many years of inactivity with: The Merrymakers. Whenever Andreas had time, we continued with overdubs in his studio. I was playing pianos, keyboards, and additional guitars and we also had a brass section. Later on I brought the project to my home studio where I spent ages doing vocals and more additional stuff. It was mixed in the spring of 2011 and finally mastered at Abbey Road Studios which was very cool!
KJS: I’ve seen much positive critical acclaim for this release.So, what were your goals for the album?
DM: My main goal was just to make the album. I had been carrying the songs around within me for years and I felt a strong need to see them materialise and be heard by more people than just myself, my wife and a few students. But once I threw my self into the business again, of course the list of goals became longer and longer. An important one was to have it released by a Japanese label. It was no easy task to track down a surviving record company with an interest for Power Pop! But I did finally succeed and that led to my promotional tour there in January this year. The gig in Tokyo was a true milestone in my career. I had been longing for so long to play for a Japanese audience again. Later, I also found labels in Spain and in the UK too. So, yes, I have basically achieved what I wanted and what I thought was realistic. But, of course, I would love to have my songs utilised more in TV, films and commercials in order to have them heard by a larger audience. But, if that happened, it would be a bonus and not something I had counted on.
KJS: How is the album doing? ... Are you getting regular air play out there in radio land?
DM: It is difficult to get on the radio. The competition is worse than ever [and it was never easy]. If you mean by: "radio land”, those in Sweden, it has only been picked up by some local radio stations. Sweden is the third biggest exporter of music in the world, but it’s a small country, and to get a 'break' here may be even more difficult than in other territories. For instance, I did a promotional tour to Spain in March and several radio stations there were very welcoming and they gave the record some airplay. So it varies. But in short, the album has been very well received and appreciated in the Power Pop community. But the majority of the people have no idea that it exists! The million dollar question is how to reach out to them. Who knows ... maybe this interview will lead to another three or four copies being sold, Ha ha!
KJS: You recently joined your ‘LoJinx’ label mates ‘Farrah’ and ‘Pugwash’ on the stage at ‘The Borderline’ in London [and ELOBF featured a review of that gig]. What has been the reaction to your songs when you have performed them live?
DM: Shock and confusion! No, just kidding! The reaction to the few live performances I’ve done has been great. The two best concerts were the one in Tokyo mentioned above and also the one you are referring to in London. It was such great fun to share the bill with my friends in Farrah but also my new friends in Pugwash. They are both brilliant bands in their respective ways, and the crowd at 'The Borderline' was enormously welcoming with a very positive attitude. It was a great night!
KJS: How did you get on with Thomas Walsh and the gang [Pugwash] when you shared the stage with them that night?
DM: It wasn’t until after the show that I could finally relax and stop worrying about musical and technical stuff. It was then when I discovered the extremely sweet personalities of the Pugwash guys. I already loved their music but I also really loved hanging out with them. Thomas [Walsh] talked about the possibility of making something together in Dublin in the future. That’s something I’d really like to see happen.
KJS: Are there any plans for you to return to the UK in order to tour and promote“Soundshine”?
DM: At the moment, I’m awaiting the reactions from media and radio. I would need some help from them in order to create the interest. My song: "Got You Where He Wanted” was hand-picked by: "The Word Magazine" to be part of their compilation CD that will be included in the June issue. And "R2 Magazine" also wrote a really positive review. So, with a little luck, there will be more of that. Nobody would be happier than me if I could come back to play a bit more in the UK!
KJS: If you had to pick a favourite track on the CD ... what would it be and why?
DM: I think I’d choose: "Never Mine” - which is the opening track. It has a certain melancholy that I like and the melody is the kind of melody that stands on it’s own, so to speak. It’s a quality I always say to my song writing students that melodies should have. What I mean is that they have to be good enough to work without any accompaniment. I think, in that particular case, I have succeeded [and hopefully in other cases too]. Also, I have a soft spot for [George] Harrison style slide guitar playing - which is an art form I practice on this song. Not to mention the Jellyfish and Beach Boys style middle eight.
KJS: What [and when] will be the next David Myhr project? Can you give us a clue to your plans?
DM: Well Keith ... it took fourteen years from the release of The Merrymakers' album: "Bubblegun" until I had gathered the songs, strength and finances to make: "Soundshine". So, if I were you,  I would count on a follow-up in 2026 after recovering from this! Until then I will be tirelessly try to make this album heard by every living soul on the planet. That’s my project right now!
KJS: Here’s a question that I always ask next when ‘interviewing’ for ELOBF: David, what would be your personal favourite ELO, ‘Beatles’, ‘Move’ and /or Roy Wood tracks?
DM: My favourite ELO song is: “Livin' Thing”. But first and foremost it’s the verses that I love. It’s such a brilliant chord progression when the very traditional C-Am is followed by Ab-Fm. Jeff Lynne himself talks in a YouTube clip about the magic of the next chord - Em - which is also true, but for me, the magic comes with the Ab. Sorry if this is a bit nerdy and only in musician speak! My favourite ELO album is probably "Time". I love “Twilight” and the beautiful “Ticket To The Moon”. Also, Andy Sturmer of Jellyfish introduced The Merrymakers to its B-side “Julie Don’t Live Here”. He even suggested us making a cover version of it. Loved it! As for The Beatles, everyone knows it’s impossible to choose a favourite track. I went from loving the obvious ones to the obscure ones [“I’m Only Sleeping”, “Hey Bulldog”]. But then, one day, since I get this question every now and then, I decided to make a serious attempt at picking “the best song” without considering the cool factor or anything. I made a list from the top of my head of forty “favourites” and started to cross out one after one, until I realised what my favourite song was. It was: “Help!”. And I’m still happy with the choice.
KJS: ELO Beatles Forever is pleased to have introduced you and reviewed your album in 2012. The album, as previously mentioned, has now been released here in England on ‘LoJinx Records’. Could you please tell the ELOBF readers how to get a hold of “Soundshine”for themselves?
DM: There are many ways. The easiest way I think is visiting my web page www.davidmyhr.com and click on: "Store”. I’m shipping all over the world and also offering a digital download. But there are many other places where it’s available such as: iTunes, amazon and the LoJinx web site. For those who want to listen to it before making the purchase, there’s also Spotify of course.
KJS: I would like to extend my appreciation and thanx to David for participating in this interview.
DM: Thank you so much for your interest! My pleasure!

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "Soundshine" by David Myhr to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 28-May-2012

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Village Times: Bev Bevan Interview [4]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Here is the fourth and final installment of the superb interview by Jason Bate of South Staffordshire's Village Times with Bev Bevan in anticipation of the arrival of The Move featuring Bev, Trevor Burton, Tony Kelsey, Neil Lockwood and Phil Tree at the Brewood Music Festival on Saturday 14th July thus:


Yours Truly KJS thinks that this interview by Jason with Bev is incisive, well researched and will be of interest to fans of The Move and ELO for a long time to come.
ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Village Times and Brewood Music Festival to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 27-May-2012

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Recommended: Restless Rampage [Radio BackTrack]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Over the years, Yours Truly KJS has become increasingly aware of the synergy that exists out there in the ELO [and related artistes] fan base with the many admirers of Brian Connolly and Andy Scott - namely Sweet.

Indeed, you may recall that in my exclusive interview with WelshMansHill for ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] last year, that alongside Phil Hatton are two ex-BC Sweet members in Steve Turner and Phil Ridden. In that interview, the subject of Brian Connolly was covered in one or three of the questions. Hence, I've been minded for some time to give out an ELOBF mention for the bi-weekly radio show Restless Rampage over at Radio BackTrack. It's a great radio show which is hosted by DJ Kaz Earl and always features The Sweet and their extended musical family over the whole five [5] hour slot. The show goes out between 9:00PM and 2:00AM every other Monday evening. Click on the links below to reach Radio Backtrack and the superb chat room thus:


ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Sweet Radio Show: Restless Rampage to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race, 'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 22-May-2012

Monday, 21 May 2012

Village Times: Bev Bevan Interview [3]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The third installment of the four part interview by Jason Bate for South Staffordshire's Village Times with Bev Bevan in advance of the arrival of The Move featuring Bev, Trevor Burton, Tony Kelsey, Neil Lockwood and Phil Tree for Brewood Music Festival on Saturday 14th July has just been published thus:


Included in this particular portion of the interview are some very good and direct questions to Bev regarding classic ELO recording techniques, his relationship with Jeff Lynne and that "Zoom" question! The fourth and final part of the interview will be published next week and, based on the content of the first three, it will continue to be of interest to fans of The Move, ELO and [by extension] The Beatles.

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends both The Village Times and Brewood Music Festival to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 21-May-2012

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Recommended: Xanadu [Sarah Blasko]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Not without coincidence - and in the same week that Yours Truly KJS posted this article about the excessive bidding on eBay for that ultra-rare 10" "Xanadu" picture disc - a surprise arrived in the post this this morning in the form of a single track demo of a lovely version of that ELO/Olivia Newton-John classic "Xanadu" that was released by Sarah Blasko last October thus:
The recording consists of Sarah singing with just a piano accompanying her and I have to admit it's a nice interpretation of the Jeff Lynne penned song. It very much reminds me of one of my other favourite artistes Katie Melua - who is ironically enough a label mate of Sarah's on Mike Batt's Dramatico label. The song was released on a five track EP entitled: "Cinema Songs" and was preceded on the EP by the songs: "Seems Like Old Times" [from "Annie Hall"]; "Something Good" [from "The Sound Of Music"]; "Maybe This Time" [from "Cabaret"] and "Out Here On My Own" [from "Fame"].

Whereas the version of "Xanadu" released by Sharleen Spiteri in her 2010 release "The Movie Songbook" was very true to the original and commendable, this stripped-down, almost classical version is truly beautiful and refreshing to hear. I like it a lot for its simplicity if nothing else:
"Cinema Songs" and "Xanadu" by Sarah Blasko can still be purchased from amazon.co.uk in CD and/or mp3 formats via these links thus:

amazon.co.uk/Xanadu-Sarah-Blasko-mp3

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "Xanadu" by Sarah Blasko to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 19-May-2012

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Interview: Gary Frenay [The Flashcubes]

The Flashcubes [L-R]: Gary Frenay, Paul Armstrong, Arty Lenin and Tommy Allen ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! In the ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] interview booth today is Gary Frenay - who is co-founder, bassist, guitarist and vocalist for The Flashcubes - from Syracuse, NYC - for this short long distance interview with Yours Truly KJS relative to the recent release of their Roy Wood covers album "Sportin' Wood" thus:

KJS: We have finally been able to sample The Flashcubes new Roy Wood tribute album “Sportin’ Wood” thanks to its recent release in Japan and we are all suitably impressed with it! First thing first. Please fill us in about The Flashcubes, their origin and their musical journey from 1977 to 2012?
GF: We all met in 1977 while working at the same record store in Syracuse, NY. The Punk and New Wave scenes were big then, and we were certainly part of that, but we were also a power pop band, who were influenced by the British Invasion and the early seventies US power pop bands like The Raspberries, Big Star and The Dwight Twilley Band. We made a name for ourselves, mostly in the north-east USA, and released two indie 45's. We broke up in 1980, and went our separate ways. In the early '90's, our single "Christi Girl" was released on the Rhino "DIY [Do It Yourself] Anthology" CD "Come Out & Play: American Power Pop - Vol. 1". That sort of gave us a new lease of life. We started doing annual reunion gigs then in Syracuse and assembled our own Anthology CD "Bright Lights" - which was released in 1997. The following year, we travelled to Los Angeles to take part in the International Pop Overthrow [IPO] Festival. Several power pop fans from Japan saw us, bought our CD, and took it back to Japan with them where they shared it with other like-minded fans - and Hiroshi Kuse - who runs the label Airmail Recordings. He offered us a deal to distribute our CD in Japan and brought us over to tour in early 2002. Since that first CD, he has released five more of our CD's in Japan, including our new album. We just went over for another tour last month. A pretty amazing experience for a bunch of old guys!
KJS: The Flashcubes are Tommy Allen, Paul Armstrong, Arty Lenin and Gary Frenay. Could you tell us about the personalities in the band and their roles?
GF: Tommy is the drummer, our studio wizard who produces our recordings, and is the biggest Raspberries fan in the world! Paul was actually born in Nuneaton, England and his mum is a proud Brummie! He moved here as a child and was raised in the Syracuse area. He's the brasher element in the band. Live, he's the one singing Sex Pistols and Ramones covers! He also sings"Wild Tiger Woman" on the new disc. Arty is an amazing lead guitarist and singer. He sings "Forever", "Curly", "Brontosaurus" and "The Rain Came Down On Everything" on the CD. I'm the bass player and lead singer in the band. A major Beatles and Beach Boys fan, who came up with the idea for our Roy tribute disc. I was the one who kept pushing the idea on everyone, and created all the demos we worked from. I'm sort of the organizer in the band.
KJS: It’s pretty obvious as to who one of your major musical influences is! But besides Roy Wood, what other artistes inspire you and ‘The Flashcubes’?
GF: Paul is way into harder rock like Mott The Hoople, Black Sabbath, The Faces and Led Zeppelin. Anything loud and British! Tommy is, as I said, way into power pop, but also loves more modern pop bands like Prefab Sprout and The Pernice Brothers. Arty is a big fan of Ray Davies, The Velvet Underground, The Left Banke and Richard Thompson. I'm mostly a pop fan, with my heroes being Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach, Todd Rundgren and Jeff Lynne.
KJS: I believe that it was your idea to record an album of Roy Wood covers. Please tell us how your idea began and how it felt as it came to fruition?
GF: I heard The Move in 1969, and my first band Fieldstone used to try to play "Hello Susie" in the early '70's. After The Flashcubes broke up, Tommy, Arty and I had a band called Screen Test - from 1980 to 1986 - and we used to do "Hello Susie" live at our shows. A good friend of ours had a live tape of us doing it, and shared it with me a few years back. That was probably what got us thinking about it. We had done a studio album in 2002 called Brilliant which was all originals. In thinking of a follow-up, we thought it was going be tough to reach any more people with another CD of our own songs than we had with "Brilliant". So one day, during a brainstorming session, I suggested that we do an album of all Roy Wood songs. The idea was the easy part. The follow through - actually finishing the album - was much harder!
KJS: “Sportin Wood” is a wonderful album and truly a quality nod to Roy’s musical legacy. What was it about Roy’s music that appealed to you and how did you go about selecting which songs to record?
GF: As I say in the liner notes to the album, Roy is a British Invasion, Glam, Prog, Hard Rock, Power Pop and Singer/Songwriter - all rolled into one. A multi-instrumentalist, an outrageous performer and a wildly original - and prolific - songwriter. We all had favourites that we wanted to do and we just tried to arrive at a list that represented our collective tastes. Many songs I love didn't make the cut "Dear Elaine", "Any Old Time Will Do" and "It's Not Easy" to name a few, but being in a band is always an exercise in compromise and we are - ultimately - all thrilled with the final product!
KJS: What are your aspirations for the album? How are sales going?
GF: We just hope to reach new people who are into Roy, and have them find our other recordings. Obviously, Roy is a legend in the UK. But in the US, he is like a "best kept secret" for Anglophiles like us! We do hope that our fans will be inspired to search out Roy's own recordings as a result of hearing our disc. Sales are very brisk in Japan, and the album will be released for digital sales worldwide [iTunes] on June 1st.
KJS: The band recently travelled over to Japan for some live dates. What was the reaction to your promotional tour and the response to the release of “Sportin’ Wood”? Are you getting regular air play out there in FM radio land?
GF: We have a pocket of fans in Japan who treat us like we are The Beatles! It's truly amazing! They know the words to every song that we've written. They rush the stage, sometimes they even jump ON the stage to sing with us! They love Roy Wood! "Hello Suzie" and "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" were highlights every time we played them. Radio play is just starting for us with limited play here in Syracuse, but also at a few station in NYC, NJ, Connecticut and Massachusetts. We've been hesitant to push too much until the CD is released in June.
KJS: Are there any plans for those Flashcubes to tour the US and beyond - even England - promoting the release?
GF: We're really hoping a British label will pick it up for distribution in the UK, given Roy's standing there. We've sent it to a few labels already, but have nothing to report yet. We have always dreamed of touring in England, and after our success in Japan, we guess anything is possible!
KJS: If you had to pick a favourite track on the CD, What would it be and why?
GF: From my perspective, probably either "Green Glass Windows" or "Givin' Your Heart Away" because both of those are a bit more obscure than say, "Blackberry Way" or "Forever" which were both huge UK hits. It was really fun shining a light on those two unsung gems!
KJS: What will be the next Flashcubes project Gary? Can you give us a clue or three?
GF: We keep joking that Jeff Lynne is next! In fact, as we were putting the track list together for this CD, we'd keep running into Move songs we loved, only to look at the credits and see Jeff's name, instead of Roy's! But seriously, we're just going work really hard to get this one heard by as many people as possible. If that happens, who knows where it will lead us? That's the fun part!
KJS: Here’s a question that I always ask next when interviewing for ELOBF: Gary, what would be your personal favourite song by The Move, Roy Wood, ELO and The Beatles?
GF: If I have to chose one, it would be the following: "Blackberry Way", "Why Does Such A Pretty Girl [Sing Those Sad Songs]", "Strange Magic" and "Penny Lane".
KJS: ELO Beatles Forever is pleased to have introduced The Flashcubes to the ELOBF universe and we have also recently reviewed "Sportin' Wood". The album, as previously mentioned, has already been released in Japan. But we are all eagerly awaiting news of its release in the States and Europe. Could you please advise visitors to ELOBF just how to get a hold of "Sportin' Wood" both now and in yet future days?
GF: Right now, it's only available from airmailrecordings.com - as an import from Japan. After 1st June, it will be available on iTunes and, hopefully in physical form later in the summer on a UK label. We're hoping!

Yours Truly KJS would like to extend my appreciation and thanx to Gary Frenay for participating in this interview. ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "Sportin' Wood" by The Flashcubes to those enlightened folks who also like ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, 'Brum Beat', The Idle Race, The Move, The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 17-May-2012

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Rare Xanadu 10" Picture Disc Surfaces on eBay

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Quite by accident, whilst surfing over on eBay the other night, I discovered that a mega rare copy of the 33 1/3 RPM, 10" promo picture disc of "Xanadu" [1980] is up for auction. It started life with a price of $9.99 yesterday and, at the time of writing, is already holding a bid of $530 at the time of writing with six days to go until the auction ends. Both Martin Kinch and Jeff Cooper have informed me that this item was sold for the best part of $5,000 last time making it one of [if not] the most expensive of ELO rarities alongside those 2LP acetates of "Secret Messages" including, of course, "Beatles Forever".


The summary states that it is an "... authentic copy from an ex-record exec's collection ..." and this is the full item description of the offering:

"Here’s one that doesn’t show up often ... the 10” picture disc of the track “Xanadu” track featuring Olivia Newton-John singing with Electric Light Orchestra as a backing band. What makes this piece particularly interesting is that it’s not supposed to exist! This copy comes from a friend who worked in the record industry and was given this picture disc as a gift before Olivia ... decided to have the company recall the record because she didn’t like the picture on it! [or so my friend says]. Some internet sources say as few as 31 copies are known to exist, so needless to say, you’re not going to have many chances to get a copy. This copy has been stored in a display case by the original owner since he got it, and I will include the copy for whoever wins the record. The matrix etchings are MC10384; L2315 ... I’ve played both sides to make sure [that] there [are] no major flaws and both sides play through with no major incidents."

Neither Yours Truly KJS or ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] have deep enough pockets to procure this very scarce item but it surely is of interest to ELO fans and collectors alike that the item is still out there and available - at a price! It'll be interesting to see what the final price turns out to be!

STOP PRESS: This item was eventually sold for $9,105 or £5,760 ...

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 16-May-2012

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Jeff Lynne News [4]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again!  Our friends over at elodiscovery.com - the excellent and renowned Jeff Lynne/ELO and related web site run by Nicolas Guibert - have posted some exciting and interesting news regarding the long-awaited and [hopefully] forthcoming new Jeff Lynne/ELO album[s] as well as some exciting news about a Jeff Lynne themed 'Rockumentary' due possibly for release [in the States initially] later this year:


The articles [click on the above link and scroll to read] mention the tweets of music writer David Wild regarding the anticipated Jeff Lynne releases [as well as the above right photograph], the sleeve work for one of the expected albums [see above left picture] and the aforementioned documentary as well as Nicolas' contribution to the project.

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends elodiscovery.com to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 15-May-2012

Monday, 14 May 2012

Village Times: Bev Bevan Interview [2]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The second installment of the four part interview by Jason Bate for South Staffordshire's Village Times with ELO and The Move co-founder [and former Black Sabbath member] Bev Bevan in advance of the arrival of his incarnation of The Move - featuring Bev alongside Trevor Burton, Tony Kelsey, Neil Lockwood and Phil Tree - at the Brewood Music Festival on Saturday 14th July has just been published thus:


The two remaining parts of the interview will be published on Monday 21st and 28th May and, based on the content of the first two, they continue to be of interest to fans of The MoveELO and [by extension] The Beatles.

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Village Times and Brewood Music Festival to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 14-May-2012

Monday, 7 May 2012

Village Times: Bev Bevan Interview [1]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Recent visitors to ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] will know that the local music festival at Brewood on Saturday 14th July later this year will see the arrival of The Move featuring Bev Bevan, Trevor Burton, Tony Kelsey, Neil Lockwood and Phil Tree here in South Staffordshire:


Naturally, Yours Truly KJS will be there to witness the event. I was also pleased last week to be contacted by Jason Bate, who runs The Village Times [a local web site covering Coven, Brewood and Bishops Wood] and is also busy promoting the Brewood Music FestivalJason has interviewed Bev Bevan for his web site in anticipation of the gig and the first of the four installments of that interview has just been published thus:

www.villagetimes.co.uk/Bev-Bevan-interview-Part-1.htm

The three remaining parts of the interview will be published on Monday 14th, 21st and 28th May and, based on the content of part one, they are sure to be of interest to fans of The Move,and ELO.

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Village Times and Brewood Music Festival to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 07-May-2012

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Village Times: A Beatle in Brewood

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Here is a well written and researched article of not only local interest, but also it is worthy of a wider audience. It was written by Jason Bate, who runs the Village Times [a local web site covering Coven, Brewood and Bishops Wood in South Staffordshire] when he was "Starting Up" his new site back in 2011 thus:


You may recall also that Jason has also been busy promoting the Brewood Music Festival and has also interviewed Bev Bevan in anticipation of the forthcoming visit of The Move to Brewood on Saturday 14th July thus:


ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Village Times and Brewood Music Festival to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 05-May-2012

Friday, 4 May 2012

Follow Me Follow ELOBF? [4]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Those of you who are regular visitors to ELO Beatles Forever can also follow ELOBF via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever.blogspot.com
twitter.com/KJS_ELOBF

You can then keep up-to-date with my latest articles. I'm thrilled by every visit, thankful for every comment and Yours Truly KJS values your feedback! ELOBF is on course to achieve an electric light fantastic milestone of 100,000 visits in 2012 too! "Follow Me Follow" ELOBF?

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 04-May-2012

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Interview: Thomas Walsh [Pugwash/Duckworth Lewis Method]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! First an apology is due for the tardiness of the publishing of this, my epic interview with Thomas Walsh of that gentastic band Pugwash. This was my third attempt to transliterate and edit an interview carried out originally in January 2012.  My wholehearted thanx go out not only to Thomas but also Mark Burrows [for introducing me to the band] and Kath Lapington [for ably assisting me in transliterating the first half of the interview].

KJS: A big welcome to Mr. Thomas Walsh who has kindly agreed to this long distance interview for ‘ELO Beatles Forever’ ... but also known as ELOBF! 
TW: OK. This is a big “Hi!” to Mr. Keith James Sinclair and all the wonderful people of ELOBF or ELO Beatles Forever! Oh, that bloody song! This is Thomas Walsh from Pugwash and I’m going to answer some questions for Keith.
KJS: Thomas, thank you in advance for agreeing to answer these few questions for me. First things first! Pugwash is a great name for a band! Please tell us how Pugwash came to be and the reason for the fantastic band name?
TW: OK Keith. Well, Pugwash came to be back in the early to mid-nineties, when I started recording at home ... in the shed at the back garden of my parents’ house in Drimnagh, Co. Dublin. I just wanted to be Andy Partridge at the time, from XTC, because he recorded in a shed and, you know, I was a big fan of them. I’m still a big fan of them but obviously my first and greatest love is the band that I still love, first and foremost and above anyone else, and that is ELO. Obviously, you know, I didn’t know much about Jeff’s recording processes. And obviously, he’s kept a lot very private over the years, but it’s still the mystique about Jeff isn’t it that, you know, even snippets of demos are snippets, like a minute long. And we all dream of hearing the “Swiss Chalet” tapes and stuff like that! But at the time, it was wanting to record at home and then just wanting to demo songs, learn my craft and try and write good songs. I wanted to start doing that better and better and better because I was recording three, four or five songs a day sometimes. Four of them would be s**t but one of them might be alright! So I ended up doing two to three hundred songs in the shed over a period of a year or two, maybe a little less. I just kind of learned a little bit about how to write and how to maybe double track with [the kit I had] which is the size of a cabinet now, but you know compared to some of the stuff that was out there, it was kind of what it was. And then the name: simply that I always wanted to be a band but I never wanted a band because bands were a pain in the bum, as they say, and you just couldn’t get the right people. I had some great people around me at the time, just friends, and that but they were always off doing other things. So I just wanted to do it on my own and I thought I could just earn a living out of sitting at home and writing songs. But obviously you can’t! But I played the demos to some friends, some very good friends who I still work with to this day - Keith Farrell and Stephen Farrell – the brothers. They said that they we’re brilliant and that I should record them a bit more professionally. So I did them up at the Glebe House in Dublin in about ’95 or ’96. I sent them one of our songs that were on the first album. I became a better songwriter and the demos became a bit more elaborate. So what happened was then I met Kim Fowley, the Svengali, famous American supremo producer. He lived in Ireland for a while. I learned a lot from Kim. I love Kim. A lot of people don’t. But, you know, there are people that don’t really understand the fact that he is a bulls*****r and that’s why you’ve got to love him because he has got through life recording with some of the greatest acts of all time and finding some of the greatest acts of all time, by bullsh*****g. You’ve got to admire that! But he’s extremely talented as well. I will blab on Keith, as you can hear, so God bless you editing or writing all of this! So, what happened then was he got me a job with Andy White, who was a Belfast song writer, and I did some touring with Andy. I learned a lot from Andy too and did some studio work that I hadn’t really been privy to before ... a lot of studio work on a Cooking Vinyl release by Andy White called “Teenage”. If you want to track that down, I’m on that. It was the first record that I’m on and so, anyway, that was it. What happened then was that Hot Press heard my demo and voted me “Hot Press Album” or “Demo of the Year” back in ’97 or so. Through that I got a support slot with some friends of mine, a band called Lir. They brought along a record company guy from Velo Records – who was Michael O’Shea – and still a great friend of mine. Michael just thought I was great and he just gave me a few bob to record a first album, and it was a few bob! It was a pittance really but we had great friends around us, we made “Almond Tea” and that was pretty much how that happened! The name Pugwash stuck because I’d gone through a few silly names before then. I remember Belch being one of them but I found out later that Bev Bevan had a covers band called Belch. I didn’t know that but that was definitely one of the terrible names! The Pepper Circle was another one that was particularly bad! Honestly, Pugwash - Captain Pugwash - I looked like him and so I wrote down the chubby P’s and G’s and W’s - it’s a chubby name for a chubby man and it just stuck! So I’d better shut up anyway, it’s only the second question!
KJS: Pugwash are your good self, Tosh Flood, Shaun McGee and Joey Fitzgerald. Can you tell me about the band members, their roles and personalities?
TW: Well absolutely! Tosh Flood is, I don’t mean to say “right hand man” in a derogatory way, because a lot of people say: “Oh, he’s my right hand man ...” and never go into why these people are “right hand men”, but ... he’s absolutely on the same wavelength as me because his knowledge of music is second to none and his own talent top notch. I mean he’s a worthy song writer of any ilk, really. He has written some great songs for his band Saville – who released three albums in Ireland in the late nineties and 2000 - and I’m very honoured to be working with Tosh. He’s just a great guy as well, such a super talented kind of visionary really, and when we’re playing my songs he seems to know the wavelength I’m on! It’s a jump start on anyone else really. It’s that good you know! So Tosh’s work on “The Olympus Sound” cannot be underestimated and that’s why it had to be a co-produced album, because I’ve had assisted production work on all my other stuff and I’ve produced The Duckworth Lewis Method with Neil Hannon but this was completely me and Tosh producing this album from the start. So, you know his role is big and his personality second to none as well He’s a great guy, a very funny guy. I mean we get on great!
Shaun is next. Shaun McGee is there longer than everyone really. I’ve worked with Shaun since the nineties and you won’t find someone who has a voice as good as Gene Clarke or David Crosby and can play bass like Paul McCartney. Shaun writes incredible songs as well but he’s not as forward in bringing them out to the public. He just likes to have those as personal things and you’ve got to respect that. But you know, there’s some stuff on YouTube with Shaun involved - people can check that out, The Dynamo Hymn being one of them but, clearly he’s just a super talent! I’m always honoured to play on stage with Shaun and to have him up there. You know, as I said, he sang the vocals on “It’s Nice to Be Nice” and he’s been there through a lot of Pugwash albums playing bass on “Almanac” and other bits and pieces. He’s always been there vocally for me and his vocal blend is second to none as well. So, Shaun is a hugely important part of any band and I’m just very proud that it’s mine!
And then there’s Joey Fitzgerald who, you know, it’s almost like again, without sounding slightly derogatory, he’s just the glue that will hold it all together because he’s such an ‘on it’ drummer. I never have to worry about Joey. I’ve been on stage with the best drummers in the world to be honest with you. Some incredible drummers and you still sometimes worry that it could be too loud or they could just go off on one. But Joey is just so ‘on it’. I mean, and again it’s never derogatory, people always say he’s a very ‘Ringo’ drummer and think that it is kind of a put down, but it couldn’t be any more of a compliment. He’s an incredibly melodic drummer and again you know, he plays a lot of tracks - 80% of Pugwash tracks live now - or with backing tracks, so he makes it sound like an absolute natural drumming gig. It’s a pity he can’t be a bit more free-form but he’s got so good with the ‘click’ tracks you know - he shouldn’t - he should actually play a bit more s**t because we’d probably give him every track or backing track because he’s so good. He makes the gigs flow you know. He’s also incredibly good behind the scenes with me. I do a lot of the Pugwash nitty gritty stuff with Joey now. It’s usually important that I have somebody like that in the band and it’s relieving a lot of the stress off me when it comes to the basic stuff like gigs, correspondence, helping out with emails and all that. So he’s essential. They’re all essential and I love them all you know, idiots that they are! 
KJS: You are especially influenced by and well-known for your love of the musical works of one Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. What is it about Jeff and ELO that grabbed your attention, musically?
TW: Now Keith ... How many questions have you got left, hold on, let me see, goodness me! And this is only question three! I heard ELO when I was about six back in about 1975. It’s incredible when you’re six years old [that] things can have an effect on you the way they do, but they did. I just thought this was music from the Gods, it’s kind of funny. I kind of found The Beatles are in your soul because everyone was playing The Beatles and listening to The Beatles. All my family and people around the family would have been listening to them when I was in the womb so I was obviously getting The Beatles in there so you were getting The Beatles then early then in your life - but you can’t remember. But then, when you start to remember, I got ELO and its brilliant to find The Beatles through ELO really because I never got the whole massive, you know, connection. Of course, I know there’s a connection because you just know there is melody. As McCartney once said: “Any person who writes anything with melodic content will get compared to The Beatles.” You know again it’s just a cheap journalistic cop out really but ELO are so different in so many ways to The Beatles and that’s why I’ve got such affection for them and The Beatles. They are two separates but they are two incredibly important entities for me. But with ELO it’s just ... I mean the guys were so cool ... Jeff Lynne was so cool ... the band were so cool and when [Jeff] sang, it absolutely burst your soul. His voice would melt [me]! I‘ve always said that he’s the only man I’d probably sleep with because his voice is so good! If he sang to me I’d probably collapse. He just has a voice of milk and honey. He’s just ... I absolutely idolize his voice ... and of course he can write a good song [too]! I think maybe I’m getting goose pimples thinking about the songs [that] he’s written! But then, of course, I found The Idle Race and I nearly s**t myself because [back then] it was a slightly rougher, psychedelic Jeff ... and that’s even more appealing to me. He has given so much to me. You know all this [fuss] about when his new stuff is coming out ... when he is going to do something? Of course, we would want Jeff Lynne to release an album every five f*****g minutes because we want to hear his voice, we want to hear his songs, we want to hear those chord changes, we want to hear his production, we want to hear everything because we idolize the man. But to [criticize] him about not bringing out stuff regularly ... it’s just b******s. You can’t, for one thing, force the music anyway and secondly, he can do what he f*****g wants – he’s Jeff Lynne you know! He can come over here and kick me in the b******s if he wants because I’d accept it. So you know, I’ve got such a deep and incredible love [for ELO and Jeff Lynne] that I’ve often put myself out of contention with things in Ireland with the TV shows and radio [as] I don’t hit the ‘cool’ barometer with certain people because I never shut up about ELO! And the great thing about that is that it makes me even more cool in my head because I know they’re all [so-called experts] and they don’t know what they’re talking about! And I know that I’m right and I know what I’m saying is right. In the end, what happens is someone like James Dean Bradfield from Manic Street Preachers will start talking regularly about Jeff Lynne and his love of ELO and people will start going: “Ooooh, they’re a guilty pleasure” There’s nothing worse in the world for me. I hate the term “guilty pleasure” because it’s basically said [because] someone hasn’t even got the bravery to say that they love a band for what they do. I mean, if someone says,: “Oh, The Dooleys are a guilty pleasure”, that’s b******s as well because if you like “Wanted” by The Dooleys – you like it! There’s no reason to put it under an umbrella of “a guilty pleasure”. I mean, if you like something, you like it. You can’t feel guilty about something that gives you pleasure. It makes no f*****g sense! It’s a complete and utter oxymoron – if I’m using the right term. So, I hate that term. It was invented by a guy that wanted ... to sell records and he did. He sold loads of them but ELO have never been a “guilty pleasure” for me. They have been a very top of a mountain, screaming, banners, flags love [of mine] and there, I will forever keep saying it, and forever never be embarrassed by anything that they have done, including “Doin' that Crazy Thing” and “Drum Dreams”! 
KJS: A certain gentleman who shall remain nameless - Mark Burrows - mentioned to me recently that you had a surprise letter from LA recently from your musical hero. What was it like to correspond with Jeff and can you reveal any of the content of that letter?
TW: Funnily enough Keith, the letter is sitting right beside me here because I have it in a frame on my 1967 Dansette and, you know, I’m not being wacky here but it’s such a beautiful thing. I mean anyone can look at it and when other people who know me come in and touch it, or touch the glass anyway, they won’t touch the letter because I’d f*****g kill them! But they can touch the glass and they can hold it and they can read it, but ... to put it out on the internet verbatim, I just don’t want to do that as it’s just such a beautiful, personal thing to me. Obviously I can read you a bit of it ... he starts off [by saying] that first of all I’d like you to know I’m a big fan of yours ... I’ve known about Pugwash for a few years now and I’ve always admired your lovely vocal sounds and super double tracking. Now, when I read that there was p*ss flowing down my leg with complete fright and I froze! I didn’t quite get ... what was going on. I [then] see Jeff’s famous squiggly signature at the bottom. He goes on to say such beautiful things and I couldn’t begin, I still can’t even begin to, appreciate so much what he did. I mean, he stood in the queue in LA and posted that letter himself I suppose ... he posted it all himself as well ... it still kind of blows your mind because ... I’d be able to meet Jeff Lynne and talk to him and shake his hand, you know, and we’d have a great time. But ... when it’s at the stage where he sends a letter, it’s still the Jeff that made me get goose pimples when I was like eight years old [and] buying “Mr. Blue Sky” ... or you know when I went with whatever money I could get to buy “The Diary of Horace Wimp” on picture sleeve. Because if I’d seen it in the shop and it hadn’t got a picture sleeve ... I wouldn’t buy it but I desperately wanted the single so I had to go home or go to another shop on my bike and buy it on a picture sleeve! I used to be at the shops where they’d have it on display in the picture sleeve and then they’d give you the f*****g white sleeve version and I’d just stand there as an eight or nine year old saying: “Don’t do that. I want that one!” Maybe there was a reason they’d hold onto the picture sleeves, but you know, I wouldn’t walk out the shop until they [gave it to me]! Even then ... they used to put the price stickers on them and I’d shout at them: “Why you putting the stickers on? They’re going to leave marks on the sleeve!”. I’d be freaking out ... I haven’t changed one bit you know ... actually I’ve got worse as I’ve got older! But when I think of what I’ve done for that man ... [and] ... what he’s given me ... where I’ve gone and where he’s brought me in my life ... and the way he made me feel! When you’d be sitting in your house when you were in the seventies and that song would come on the radio ... you’d just hug the radio, just to hear it! That somebody did that for me! You’d always have an incredible affection ... for him to send that letter and say what he did ... it still blows me away. I know he’s a genuine fan now. He’s a genuine, genuine fan and it’s thanks to Roger Spencer as well, who I’ve got to know really well, Roger is such a beautiful guy and a great friend of Jeff. He was really instrumental in making sure that Jeff heard my stuff, even though it had been given to him by a couple of different people. I got various stories back that he had listened to it ... which is very nice and it actually made me very excited. But ... when Roger said it and when he got in touch and said Jeff listened to it, [it] was, you know, something very special! So, you know, all I can say is that it’s one of my most prized possessions, if not the most prized possession I have, and I love it and thanks Jeff! 
KJS: Did you ever get to hear ELO Part II or The Orchestra playing live and, if so, what were your thoughts on them?
TW: I’ve never been a fan of ELO Part II or The Orchestra. I love Kelly and I love Mik and I love Louis. Obviously, I’ve nothing against Eric Troyer or Phil Bates and all those people because they’re all wonderful musicians ... really incredibly talented people but ... it’s wrong. It’s not wrong to go and play the music but it was definitely wrong to go ELO Part II ... that really p****d me off and I wrote a letter to the FTM Fanzine back in 1989. Rob [Caiger] still has the letter I wrote. It was ridiculously long, a rant about why was he putting ELO Part II all over the cover of the fanzines. I was totally against it. I made a point at the time that ... I was seeing a lot of posters that had ELO up, instead of ELO Part II, and the band’s response to that at the time, Bev’s response was: “Well, it’s not our fault if people don’t put the Part II up ... You can’t blame us for that ... We just want to play music ... go out there and play to people.” When he said that, I thought that it was a fair point. I love Bev of course but ... when I was ranting back in the day ... if you just want to play music, call yourself Bill’s Whistling Pigeons and just go out and play the music! Because if you just want to play music then you can play it under any guise to anybody but the basic bottom line was that they wanted to play music to many thousands of people and you know get that buzz back of the seventies ... they wanted that buzz. If they’d been more honest, I would have had a bit more respect for the whole thing but [when] they said they just wanted to play music and it was b******t because they wanted to play big arenas, make a few bob and do their thing. But you know ... it’s a sin ... you can’t have ELO without Jeff Lynne. It’s a f*****g sacrilege. I never liked it and I never got a buzz from it but I respect the musicianship and I respect some of the great gigs they must have done with orchestras ... but ... it absolutely doesn’t appeal to me whatsoever. So I’ve never been a huge fan. I had a bit of correspondence with Parthenon Huxley as well, he was a big kind of 'Power Pop' [guy] and I was classed as ‘Power Pop’ too in America [which also p****s me off because I hate the term]. ‘Power Pop’ was any idiot with a Rickenbacker thinks he can make a jangle sound ... but they don’t have any songs. But Parthenon Huxley is a very talented guy, he’s written some great songs and it must have been a dream job to get for him to do that ... I’d have obviously thought about it if I was ever offered something like that. But being honest with you, it just doesn’t appeal to me. When Jeff came back with the “Zoom” CD, the mini “Zoom” tour or whatever it was .... it just blew all the others out of the water because there he was! So there is no underestimating what these people have done in the ELO story, some of those people, especially Louis Clark and Mik and definitely Kelly. But it just wasn’t right for me. That’s my honest opinion on that.
KJS: Over on YouTube - there are not a few clips of you, Neil and the band covering ELO [and Move] songs. I’ve seen and heard great versions of “Mr. Blue Sky”, “Telephone Line” and “Chinatown” for example. It sounds like a perfect fit hearing your interpretations of those classic Lynne-penned songs - what’s it like performing them?
TW: Well, funnily enough I did “Chinatown”. I live in a kind of a flat, an old house with the flats around. They’ve all got thin floors and thin walls. I’d be here at three in the morning [as I am now] listening to music on the headphones or if I’m writing, I’m writing very quietly. I just memorise the melody on a little ‘Dictaphone’ and I memorize it so I’m not here screaming out songs because it’s not really fair to people around. I don’t feel comfortable with it either, so, when I do something like “Chinatown”, I have to sing it like as in [quietly] ... so I’m kind of obviously not singing it. We’ve done it live a couple of times over the years and I can certainly belt it out and totally nail that song. It’s a genius song but the clip I put on YouTube, people seemed to like and, of course, the song is in my blood. I mean - any ELO, Move, Idle Race, Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne song is in my DNA so I don’t even have to. I mean, had to look up the lyrics to “Chinatown” because I’ve sung that song with my own lyrics for thirty f*****g years so ... I’d be making up anything! You know just your own lyrics over the years, but when I read the lyrics I was blown away. It gives you another buzz, another aspect to what their genius is like. I get a massive buzz but I also get very wary of the fact that I’m doing songs that you know had eighty piece orchestras and choirs and stuff on them. I don’t like to ... I very rarely do a lot of different ELO stuff in ... gigs because I only settle for the best and even listening to the best. Of course ELO are the best and when I hear a song, an ELO song back in my head, and I’m singing it with the lads ... we’re just doing a guitar, drums and bass version of the song and it’s not doing it for me, I get f*****g annoyed! I’ve very much got a strong production head on me when I’m playing ELO songs so I don’t really play a lot of them. But when I need to, I can because they’re in my blood, so I do always love playing them.
KJS: I reviewed your latest album entitled “The Olympus Sound” on ELOBF recently and remain highly impressed by it [as well as its predecessors “Eleven Modern Antiquities” and “Jollity” by the way!]. Thomas, what are the themes and inspirations for the twelve songs that make up “The Olympus Sound”?
TW: Well, it’s pretty much six and six ... before I went into hospital, I was drinking and doing drugs and doing all kinds of s**t. Then afterwards, when I came out, my life changed. I stopped drinking and doing anything so I’ve obviously changed my life. I’ve lost some weight which has helped obviously, but I’m still hardly “twiggy” as they say! I’m obviously six stone lighter than I was. I don’t drink anymore. I didn’t do a lot of drugs but I did enough drugs so there’s none of that anymore and I don’t smoke. I never did smoke cigarettes and stuff. I’ve changed a lot of things about my life. During that album, I’d written a stash of songs leading up to that time. I went into hospital for a while to recover and when I came out, I wrote a whole set of other songs. You can, if you listen to the album, hear themes of upbeat songs ... looking for the answer, things are going to get better ... sort of thing. They are the ones I pretty much wrote when I came out of hospital and some of the darker ones are the ... ones that were written before. So the inspiration has always been, you know, something personal to me but themes and inspirations are personal and I don’t really go into them. Once they’re there, I love the process when it’s done but I’m not really a fan of the process going through it because I always think ... I actually don’t think I can write a song. Sometimes I write a song. I sometimes pick a guitar up and go: “How do I even write one song in my f*****g life?” but then I ... have to remember that I am ... a little bit respected and I have done some quality stuff, a little bit ... and I do look at my Jeff letter too! I sometimes pick my guitar up and don’t even know how to play ‘A’ minor! ... so that is why eight months of the year I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything or even pick up a guitar cause. I wouldn’t be interested ... and then all of a sudden I vomit out in a big spew of ... ideas. I put them all down on ‘Dictaphone’ and I end up with a couple of hundred little snippets and then I get back and I put them all together ... the ones that have any kind of merit and stuff. So that is normally how I approach an album and the theme is, as I said, personal. The inspiration is to make and write a hummable tune and something that people can remember. I think with this record we’ve stuck a few in there ... I always try and put as many as I can in ... I’m not one of these people who lets an album wane when it gets to six or seven tracks. I’d rather let an album tarry than wane.
KJS: You have a growing collection of followers both on-line and in person! How important are those fans to you?
TW: Well you know I and we barely if at all make a living so it makes these people who are fans and followers and buyers even more special in our lives because we can just about still do it because of them, you know they start coming along in their hundreds and thousands, we can all start you know, possibly buying places to live and you know, having some kind of comfort in our lives which would be wonderful, then having to take toilet roll out, taking venues when you’ve got none and, you know, going to Tesco at four in the morning to get the cheap stuff that has been marked down. So you know we have very tight budgets ... we have just enough of a fan base which is affectionate, loving and considerate. A very dedicated fan base that are there for us and we love them. They are hugely important because we wouldn’t be able to make another record without them. So, thank you all! 
KJS: You have a strong personal and musical association with another well-known ELO-loving Irish musician - Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy – who often joins the band on stage. But how did this friendship come about?
TW: Well, basically, I was asked to do because Saville - Tosh and Joe’s old band – they couldn’t do this gig that they were asked to do for Graham Linehan’s wedding – who wrote “Father Ted” with Arthur Mathews. We were always doing covers gigs with Saville at the time and they just said to me that I should do the gig because they couldn’t. I had spoke to Ken Sweeney - who was also in “Father Ted” a lot and was the Best Man for Graham - and Ken really liked Pugwash anyway so he was delighted and so to cut a very long story short, we did Graham’s wedding. Everyone was there ... Chris Morris, Simon Pegg, Jonathan Ross, David Walliams, Matt Lucas, Kevin Eldon ... all these incredible people, comedians and actors that I idolize. And we went down a bomb! They loved us and that night, obviously, Neil was there as he wrote “Songs Of Love” - which was the “Father Ted” theme. He also wrote a lot of stuff for Arthur and Graham for the show and he is a good friend of theirs. And he came up to me and asked if he could use my guitar to sing “Songs Of Love” for Graham and Helen. Someone snapped a picture of him asking me for the guitar and I have that – it’s pretty cool! And that was the start of a great friendship – working and personal. That was it. We didn’t gel there that day at all, that night. He went off and I didn’t speak to him or about a year or more. But what happened was that when I knew he’d moved to Dublin, Graham inadvertently sent me Neil’s email address in an attachment. At the time I was doing a Christmas charity single for the Irish Epilepsy Association: “Brainwave” and I said it would great to get Neil Hannon on this record as it would help the sales and it would be nice to get him in the studio. He wonderfully said yes and he was fantastic in the studio and did some wonderful work on the song. While we were there, we both listened to the cricket on the radio, which was on at the same time. I didn’t think he would be into cricket and he didn’t think I’d be into cricket! We both said to each other: “This is weird ... we’re both big ELO fans and we’re both big cricket fans!” We got on really well and that was it! We just kind of started writing together and had great fun. Next of all we had Duckworth Lewis Method really!
KJS: You gained an Ivor Novello Award nomination for your debut album with Neil Hannon “The Duckworth Lewis Method” last year. I remember your interview on BBC News back in 2009. Your love of the game of cricket does indeed shine through this recording; but what were your hopes and ambitions for the project?
TW: The hopes were that we could actually write twelve songs ourselves for album because when we wrote three or four, they were brilliant and we were delighted with and very excited about them. I heard the story about Jeff and Roy bringing cassette copies of “10538 Overture” on the road with them when The Move were still playing or on early ELO gigs obviously - they were probably Move gigs actually! – and they were just playing and playing it to people and they got really p****d off with hearing cassette roughs. And I love that because that’s the excitement ... that’s the great side of music when you’re writing and you do something like that and you say to yourself: “This is f*****g great!” You get excited by it and we got excited by the few tracks we’d done. I think we’d recorded “Age of Revolution”, “Gentlemen and Players” and maybe “Test Match Special”. Those three or four demos we did early on were pretty cool, really cool. I loved the demo of “Gentleman and Players” as much as the [album] song. We just started playing the demos to everyone and it gave us a great buzz so we said to ourselves that we should record another three and have an EP. So when he had six, we then said to ourselves that we already had half an album. Then when we had done nine, ten and eleven songs and we said that we needed one more. I had this rough, silly little melody ... it was kind of like a Ringo “Yellow Submarine” track which ended up as “Meeting Mr. Miandad”! The thing was that it was the hardest one to write ... we just about had an album with eleven tracks but we did want to finish one more. It ended up being a really big song for us, a great little song. We watched more cricket during that song than we did during the whole album! We sat over at Neil’s house watching some cricket on HD at the time and we had great fun! And it ended up being a great little song. Our aim was that people would not just think it was a cricket record. Why people got freaked out by it was because the general public don’t understand cricket! They were saying to us: “How can this be good? Cricket is s**t! ... We hate cricket ... five days long ... Is the album five days long?” All these f*****g stupid comments. I’ve said this before and I don’t want folks to think that this is a comparison but I’ll always remember McCartney saying that people thought that ‘The Beatles’ had lost it because they hadn’t said in four months that they had [Sgt.] Pepper ready to go and he kept saying: “Just wait and see!”. Of course I’m not comparing anything but we did have that little buzz just saying to people: “Just wait and see!” We really had a bit of fun with ourselves going around when people were saying to us: “This is going to be s***t!” or “This is the most embarrassing thing!”. Even people who knew Neil probably thought that he’d lost it because he’d done an album with a rotund catholic man, being a protestant, about cricket! They might have thought that he’d lost his marbles or was having a mid-life crisis! But, you know, it’s a very special record and it did brilliant. And, yes, having an Ivor Novello nomination was one of the great days of my life! I’ll always be proud of that.
KJS:Will there be a continuation of DLM and your partnership with Neil Hannon in yet future days?
TW: Yes, I can officially announce the possibility of maybe ... No, the truth is that in 2012 we are going to attempt to write a DLM II and if it’s s**t, we won’t record it so there won’t be a DLM II! Neil is doing a mini opera for the BBC and he’s also doing “Swallows and Amazons” in the West End and so forth but he’s really looking forward to having some fun and getting in with myself and writing some stuff – whilst having a bit of a laugh, because he has done a lot of ‘serious’ work doing the various projects he’s on but it’s nowhere near as much fun as doing a Duckworth Lewis Method record! I’m really excited at the prospect of writing it and I’m almost apprehensive about the fact that we do have this very cultish but respected and much loved album before us and people keep telling us that there’s no way we can do another cricket themed and maybe we won’t ... but it’s like waving a red rag to a bull to us because it’s more than likely we will write a cricket themed one. But I think, in all honesty, that – and it is a bit of a coup for yourself at ELOBF – we are seriously thinking of getting in contact with Jeff to maybe play or sing on one track because he was a fan of the cricket record – he said that in the letter – and because the concept of the DLM is our love of ELO and cricket. We did a full-on cricket alum with the first one so if we do attempt a second one, the big coup could be we have the ELO ‘main man’ involved! This is all in our heads by the way, nothing has been done, nothing has been asked, no-one has even been considered but it’s just a little tiny nugget of fun for me and Neil. It is a possibility because of the letter that Jeff sent and because we have some contacts there. You never know – an Ivor Novello nominated threesome – it could be a big ‘ol album! If I had Jeff on a song I’d written or co-written and he was in the studio there, I’d quite possibly have to have twenty-four hour medics on hand to resuscitate me every time he opened his mouth because I’d be in an awful state! I think that I’d have to just film him and keep asking for his autograph! But it is a possibility ... it’s a little dream for us at the moment and, yes, we will attempt a second DLM album Keith.
KJS: Returning to “The Olympus Sound”, do you have a personal favourite song on the album and, if yes, why?
TW: I do really like “See You Mine” because it doesn’t really make a lot of sense but it’s very bouncy and melodic and it does a lot of great things that I like in music which is key changes and maybe tempo changes ... it’s got its drop down bits, bouncy bits and I like the lyrics too. So “See You Mine” would probably be my favourite but also “To The Warmth Of You” and I’m very proud of with “There You Are” being one chord, pretty much. I’ve learned over the years. For songs I would have written, there would have been twenty five chords in the song and would have gone around three times but now there is nothing like the buzz of getting load of melodies out of one chord! I’m very proud that “15 Kilocycle Tone” as well has one chord and there’s a lot of melody in there too. But that’s extremely ‘Beatlified’! But “There You Are” has something that most bands don’t have that I’m also very proud of ... a strong melody content for one chord and a nice bit of Korg, Moogy or another synth [that I can’t remember the name of] but Neil had a go on! That’s the genius of having someone as brilliant as Neil in the studio - as well as having Tosh, Joey and Shaun. That’s always a plus for me. So I’ll say that “See You Mine”; “To The Warmth Of You” and “There You Are” are my faves.
KJS: What’s next for Thomas Walsh and ‘Pugwash’ in 2012 and beyond? Will we see ‘Pugwash’ touring in the UK and Ireland [or beyond] in 2012?
TW: Well the big news for us is that we signed a deal with LoJinx, which is a wonderful label in London, with Andrew Campbell and Amy his wife. They’ve released ‘Fountains of Wayne’; David Myhr, Tracey Bonham; ‘The Wellingtons’ and ‘Bleu’ [which is a kind of ELO tribute album]. So we’re very proud to be on that label. And they are releasing “The Olympus Sound” on vinyl which is hugely and absolutely exciting. I mean that if Jeff Lynne himself was to present me with my first copy of it on vinyl, I think I would die! We can’t wait to see the album on vinyl ... it’s going to be a very proud moment. I think the album is being released on Monday 16th April 2012. The CD will have three extra tracks in “Heal Me” - which was the B-side of the “Answers On A Postcard” vinyl single; “Happy Again” – which was the B-side of the “Fall Down” vinyl single – and a track called “Waltz With Me” which we completely recorded for the album and were going to close it. But it ended up that we only took a tiny bit that Simon used as the Coda on the end of “See You Mine”. It’s a five and a half minute big, huge song that I just didn’t nail – everyone else did great work on it – a song that I just didn’t think worked during the original sessions. We’re going to go back in and mix it his weekend. It’s actually one of my most Jeff sounding tracks, it’s got all the right connotations. For the first time I will admit that I did take the idea of “I wish I was in the land of Dixie” from ELO’s “Down Home Town” for the finale, for the end bit. I always loved that idea. It’s a production technique that I’ve always wanted to use. On this track it seemed to work. It is a very Jeff track ... I’ve got to say it. You’ll be interested to hear that one when we do it! And that’s the appeal for people to buy the expanded CD from LoJinx because it’s going to have this song that’s totally unreleased. And touring ... we’re literally talking to agents in the UK and a gig around St. Patrick’s Day in London, maybe The Borderline, everything will be up on our web site, Facebook and the LoJinx web site as soon as we know. It’s very exciting. My back catalogue will also be coming out in Japan in July, from the Summer onwards. We’re very proud that’s going to happen too. That’s all happening in 2012 folks!
KJS: Now a question that I ask every interviewee here on ELOBF: What are your absolute favourite songs of Jeff Lynne, ELO, The Beatles and [naturally] The Move?
TW: I’m going to do what I normally do just today ... I continually play “21st Century Man” because that chorus “Though you ride on the wheels of tomorrow” absolutely melts my f*****g heart ... that chorus from “21st Century Man” is up there with some of the greatest melodies ever written in the history of the world of pop. It blows my mind, it’s so good it’s just phenomenal! It’s probably one of my absolute favourite Jeff Lynne songs. That covers ELO. ‘The Beatles’ ... where do you start? It’s the same kind of thing ... but today I’d probably say ... I’ve actually been listening to an instrumental mix of “Abbey Road” lately, the whole album without the vocals, someone has done an incredible job of dubbing the vocals out. It’s phenomenal. If you listen to “Something” without the vocals, you listen to the arrangements on that song and you just melt! So today I’d say it’s the instrumental version of “Something” or let’s just say “Something” by ‘The Beatles’! And ‘The Move’ ... I’ve been definitely been playing early Move of late. I’ve just got a “Curly” picture sleeve from France! I love “Curly” ... “Wild Tiger Woman” – I’ve just done a video for that where I’ve edited some YouTube footage together so it works as a whole video. I’ll also stump up “Omnibus” for today because it’s just so melodically brilliant and then there’s “Useless Information” ... I’ll go with that!
KJS: Finally, with two [2] bands on the go, there must be multiple ways for folks to get a hold of your music and catch up with what you guys are up to. How can folks keep in touch; purchase and/or download your music?
TW: The album “The Olympus Sound” was taken off from iTunes because of the deal with LoJinx but that will be going [back] up in the next six to eight weeks on iTunes. You’ll also be able to buy the expanded CD from LoJinx in April with maybe pre-orders in March. You’ll also be able to buy the vinyl of “The Olympus Sound” in March through LoJinx. You’ll also be able to buy it at various and expanded outlets throughout the UK and Europe. You’ll also be able to buy all my catalogue from Japan towards the end of the year. I’ll get some on import and will sell them through our web site, which is www.pugwashtheband.com ... I’m also up on Facebook and Twitter as @ThomasWalsh1 [not @Thomaspug – that was something I set up and can’t get rid of!] ... and if you’re still stuck; you can email me directly via the Pugwash web site!

Yours Truly KJS would like to take the opportunity to thank Thomas Walsh for participating in this interview. ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends Pugwash and The Duckworth Lewis Method to those enlightened folks who also like ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Idle Race, The Move, 'Brum Beat' and The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 03-May-2012