With all the bad news about musicians leaving the planet in the last year, especially ones I have played with, Chris from The Saints and Steve from Atlanteum Flood, it was more bad news to hear that Ken West, the man behind the Big Day Out festival in Australia, had also left us, all three dying in their sixties, too young and to think I’m 64 on May 7th. So sad for their families to lose them and so unexpectedly. All we can do is carry on and do what they would be doing if they were still with us, making music. So today I have been listening to vinyl test pressings of Space Summit’s Life This Way and the album I made with Jerome Froese. There will be more recorded projects this year because that’s what we do, we’re musicians, and we keep on going to the very last.
Whatever happens in your life, out in the street everything carries on the same, regardless of grief. So it was quite apt to wake up to torrential rain. When I finally left home, it had eased but I was still attempting to hold an umbrella above my head whilst disposing of the garbage and the recycling. The park was deserted, puddles had formed in the gravel and the benches were empty, the pigeon bench had become slimy. Still, the pigeons sat there on the branches of the tree above the bench, kings of their domain, unperturbed by the rain, staring down at the humans, wondering why they were so bothered by a bit of water falling from the sky.
Later after swimming the sky had cleared but left with it a robust wind that had been responsible for blowing away the rain clouds. But as spring is here the wind was warmer, it didn’t have the arctic chill, it had blown in from warmer climes confusing everyone and making it impossible to know how to dress on such an unpredictable day. I had my scarf and needed it until I didn’t. In the psychedelic psupermarket I was weighed down with fruit and vegetables, after-weekend supplies and overdressed, heavy bags, the wind, the clothes, the pace and things on my mind.
I got back just before Olivia went to her Portuguese lesson and managed to get that healthy time-consuming lunch ready just in time to sit down with sessioneer Matt in Brooklyn which led straight into Craig in Atlanta, which led straight into dinner and a new series to watch, which led into French, followed by the test pressings which led into comfort music, that is music I listened to as a teenager. It could have been any of those records that came out between 1971 and 1974, post-sixties, pre-punk.
Music today has been Humble Pie’s double live album Rockin’ The Fillmore, recorded live at the Fillmore East in 1971 and released in the same year. Lots of distorted guitars with Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton playing harmonies and Marriott’s voice beaming in from another planet, Frampton’s lead playing stands out as him. A stirring 23-minute version of I Walk On Guilded Splinters, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore. A 16-minute Rollin’ Stone with a bleep out at 5.06? Really? I don’t remember hearing that on the original record. Bands like this are so out of favour, but the crowd then loved it, another world. I was asked to post something about Humble Pie as I was seemingly listening to bands with the letter H, Humble Pie are not quite as obscure though, a supergroup really with Marriott from Small Faces and Frampton from The Herd, Greg Ridley on bass from Spooky Tooth with Jerry Shirley from the lesser-known Apostolic Intervention on drums.
Lovers of this record often cite the final track, the 9-minute I Don’t Need No Doctor, as their favourite with the classic Marriott line in his ‘Landan’ accent, “We go ’ome on Monday, but I wanna tell ya, we ain’t ‘alf ‘ad a gas this time, it’s really been a gas”.