Archive for close to the edge

PETER MURRAY-On Druckfarben, And More

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

pm4I set out to do an interview on the progressive-rock band, Druckfarben. As I sat down with Peter Murray, bassist, I instead found myself immersed in his story. Not a bad afternoon at all.

We began by comparing notes about progressive-rock bands, from Yes, King Crimson, and Flash, to Rush and Kansas. We taked about Gentle Giant. We talked about music. We discussed the lack of airplay progressive-rock received in the 1980s and 1990s and how it could be considered underground. We talked.

Peter is an easy interview. Ask a question and he will talk. He has stories to tell. Stories from his days with Surrender Dorothy and the major label deal; stories of his singer/songwriter solo album; stories of his pm3learning the bass line to Yes’ Close To The Edge, for the first Druckfarben gig . He is animated, and energetic. He has strong opinions on music, and the music industry. He is a musician, but foremost, he is a music fan. His interests cross all genres. If it is good, Peter appreciates and enjoys it.

We discussed The Beatles influence on progressive-rock, and queried whether Sgt. Pepper could have been the 1st progressive-rock album. As Peter sees it, progressive-rock is not so much a genre of music, pm5but an attitude. An attitude that encourages experimentation. An attitude to do something that is not usually done. An attitude that impacts not only the song writing, but the instrumentation and arrangements as well.

We delved into bass players, and I asked about his favorite. In true Peter Murray style, he couldn’t or wouldn’t identify one. Instead, names started swirling around the table: Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, Mark King, Robbie Shakespeare, Stanley Clarke, to name a few. Paul McCartney came up, and it was agreed that he is perhaps the most under rated bassist around. It was here that I saw the true passion for music in this man. He told a story of how, as a writer for Bass Player magazine, he traveled to England to interview Colin Moulding and Mark King. With his face ‘lit up’, he spoke of spending an afternoon at Moulding’s farm house, drinking tea, and listening to the as yet unreleased ‘Apple Venus’.  Very cool.

pm6We talked about Druckfarben, which grew out of  Classic Album’s Live. All of the band members have a love for progressive-rock. They enjoy playing and performing. Peter looks like a man who is having the time of his life. Bassist, song writer, teacher, author,  producer. This is an accomplished man, a Renaissance man, who shows no signs of slowing down.  Despite his impressive resume, there was no name dropping. An incredibly talented guy, who is kind, humble, and grateful.  Peter Murray is simply, a nice guy. A nice guy who just loves music. Hard not to like him.

 

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WHO WAS FIRST?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

I haven’t been to a large venue concert in a long time. I refuse to pay several hundreds of dollars for a ticket and honestly, there is really no one that I want to see. It did however, start me thinking about the first concert I went to. Truth be told, I just can’t remember. I don’t know if it is the years of illicit substance use or age induced memory failure. Or a little of both.  Sadly, I just can’t remember!

BDGRSMBAnd so, writing about my first concert is clearly an impossible task. What about my most memorable concert? Well, there was Badfinger at the old O’Keefe Centre, Spirit at the old Victory Burlesque Theatre, Tommy James, The Band, The Grateful Dead, Clapton, Jethro Tull, Harrison, and a litany of others to choose from. What would make a concert the most memorable? Well, for starters, remembering it! And so the dilemma began. I remember generalities, but no details. I remember going to see Steve Miller. I remember it was just after the release of the Book Of Dreams album. I remember Norton Buffalo was the opening act, it was at Maple Leaf Gardens and that I ate a gram of gold Lebanese  about 30 minutes before show time. Well, now i know why i can’t remember anything else!

yesAnd so, the highlight reel in my head began playing, reviewing every concert I could remember attending. I saw Yes on at least 2 occasions.  The 1st tine was following the release of Close To The Edge. I remember almost nothing. The other was the Tales From Topographic Oceans tour. I remember sitting 4th row, floors at Maple Leaf gardens. Pretty sure we were on opium. I remember bright lights, dry ice, and Jon Anderson emerging from darkness about halfway through the introduction of the “The Revealing Science Of God“.

genesisI saw Genesis, not the And Then There Were Three version, but the real Genesis, with Peter Gabriel. You know, “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway“, genesis. I saw Queen, right after the release of Sheer Heart Attack and remember nothing.

It was suggested that I write about the 1st concert I remember. I couldn’t tell you what that was. Another suggestion was t write about the last concert I attended. Not surprising, I can’t remember hat either. Had I known this would happen, I would have attended concerts in alphabetical order, beginning with AC/DC and ending with ZZ Top. The only certainty in my concert going days, is that I never saw The Beatles. Now, that I surely would have remembered.

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AND THE BANDS PLAY ON

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

americaI was recently at the local track here in Toronto, and was surprised to see a billboard advertising a performance by America. America? “Ventura Highway“, “Lonely People“, “Sister Golden Hair“, America? Yep, that America. I was surprised for two reasons: What was this band doing playing at at race track, and secondly, can there really be an America without Dan Peek?

3dognightIt has become increasingly common for bands to continue on following the death or departure of one of the founding members. Years ago I went to Casino Rama to see Three Dog Night and was somewhat disappointed that only two of the Dogs appeared. Chuck Negron was not touring with the band at that time. It was a great show, but Chuck’s vocals were noticeably absent.

It appears that if the “front man” is strong and charismatic enough a band can go on without missing a beat following the departure of a member. The Rolling Stones moved on following the departure and subsequent untimely death of Brian Jones, replacing him with Mick Taylor and then with Ronnie Wood. Bill Wyman’s departure had no impact either-he was replaced by Darryl Jones. Following the death of Keith Moon in 1978, The Who released 2 albums of moderate success and disbanded in 1983. The remaining 3 members continued to perform until John Entwhistle’s death in 2002. Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend continue to perform as The Who, but are they really?

yes-band-np01Yes has taken to touring, performing entire albums of The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, and Going For The One. I was always a huge Yes fan. From Time And A Word up to Relayer. Never really like Going For The One or subsequent albums.. Hard to imagine Close To The Edge without Jon Anderson! Hard to imagine Yes without Jon Anderson!

INXS1INXS is another failed attempt to carry on. Following the death of singer Michael Hutchence in 1997, the band attempted to replace him with vocalists Jimmy Barnes, Terrance Trent D’arby and Jon Stevens. Really? With little success, the band participated in a reality show, Rock Star:INXS in 2005 and selected J.D. Fortune as their new lead singer. He was replaced by Ciaran Gribbon in 2011 and the band formally put an end to their misery in 2012.

Skynyrdpic7301The saddest of these attempts at carrying on, is Lynyrd Skynyrd. Following the death of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines in 1977, Skynyrd disbanded. 10 years later, they reformed, using Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie’s younger brother as vocalist. (There is a 3rd brother, Donnie, better known as the lead singer for 38 special). Currently there is only 1 original member left in the band. Yet they tour and record as Lynyrd Skynyrd!  Apparently, owning the name or getting consent to use the name, gives anyone an opportunity to try to be Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have heard this incarnation, and no one, and I mean no one can sing “Gimme Three Steps  “, “You Got That Right“, and “What’s Your Name” like Ronnie Van Zant. May as well they bring on “Miami” Steve Van Zandt as the front man! Yeah, I know its spelled differently, but what difference does it make? Still not Ronnie Van Zant!

The-BeatlesIs everyone replaceable in a band? Impossible to believe that any one of The Beatles could have left and the band carried on. Perhaps they would have had to find look a likes. AC/DC replaced Bon Scott and had remarkable success. Journey replaced Steve Perry with a sound alike. So who is dispensable? It doesn’t make much of a difference to me. Don’t try to sell me tickets to The Grateful Dead without Jerry Garcia. Don’t tell me The Band is reuniting without Danko, Helm and Manuel. And don’t ask me to listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd without Ronnie Van Zant.

Is it really so difficult to disband and carry on under a new name?  Would U2 be U2 without The Edge? Jefferson Airplane had the decency to reform as Jefferson Starship. Its not about respect but rather a belief that the great music that had been created should be a legacy of a great band. Leave it as such. Reform under a different name, but let me remember Lynyrd Skynyrd, INXS, America and many others as they were. Amazing bands with a catalog of great music. Replacements never quite do the music justice, and more often than not, destroy the legacy left by these incredibly gifted musicians.

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