Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Recommended: Benediction (Dave Scott-Morgan)

#352: 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:

"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:

 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)

#351: 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 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

Bev Bevan: Village Times Interview (Part 4)

#349: 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)

#348: 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

Bev Bevan: Village Times Interview (Part 3)

#347: 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 Brewood Music Festival to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, '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)

#346: 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) ~ "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 to hear. I like it a lot for its simplicity if nothing else:
"Cinema Songs" and "Xanadu" by Sarah Blasko can be purchased from in CD/digital formats via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Xanadu" by Sarah Blasko to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles 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 & Tommy Allen
#345: 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 & 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 - 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 WoodThe Move'Brum Beat', 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

#344: 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. My good friends 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

#343: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Our friends over at - the excellent and renowned ELO/Jeff Lynne and related website run by Nicolas Guibert - have posted some exciting and interesting news regarding the long-awaited and (hopefully) forthcoming new ELO/Jeff Lynne albums 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 to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

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

Monday, 14 May 2012

Bev Bevan: Village Times Interview (Part 2)

#342: 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 Brewood Music Festival to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

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

Monday, 7 May 2012

Bev Bevan: Village Times Interview (Part 1)

#341: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Recent visitors to ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) will know that the Brewood Music Festival will welcome the arrival of The Move featuring Bev BevanTrevor BurtonTony KelseyNeil Lockwood and Phil Tree on Saturday 14th July later this summer here in sunny south Staffordshire:

Yours Truly KJS will (naturally) be there to witness the event. I was also pleased last week to be contacted by Jason Bate, who runs The Village Times (local website 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:

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 Brewood Music Festival to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, '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

#340: 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 website covering Coven, Brewood and Bishops Wood in Staffordshire) when he was "Starting Up" his new site back in 2011 thus:

Jason is also busy promoting the Brewood Music Festival and has recently 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 Move'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

#339: 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:

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