Platform End - Back Issues
Platform End was the The Official Manfred Mann Fan Club Magazine during the 1990's. You can view most of these below.
WINTER 1992 - Issue No 1
Manfred Mann in Conversation with Andy Taylor - Workhouse Studio, London
Manfred, can we talk about your recently released work, the beautiful Plains Music album. The album is strongly influenced by the traditional music of the North American Indians, how did you become interested in that?
I bought a book several years ago, I recorded a song about Geronimo and I was trying to find a book which gave me some historical background information, and I had a look at this book and it was full of music, it was quite expensive and I realized it had nothing to do about Geronimo in it, but I bought it anyway, and about three years ago I was doing some straight commercial pop music and I suddenly felt that actually it was something that I didn't want to be doing any longer, and I started playing these melodies, just playing around on the piano, I started off with a song called Medicine Song - God this is a really nice melody, just playing it simply, increasingly disenchanted with the recordings I was doing, I was more and more attracted to these melodies, it wasn't so much North American music as such, it was just the melodies, I don't know anything about North American Indians culture, I am pretty ignorant, so that it was really just the melodies, and some time after that I was going to visit, my family in South Africa, and I took a tape with me, because somebody had sent me a tape of a guy called Smiles Makama, who played African Hunting Bows and stuff, and I thought well maybe we will just do something. Slowly the idea came together very casually in Johannesburg, and the album came together in four weeks, I spent two years fiddling around trying to improve it and change it, putting choirs on and things, throwing most of that away leaving what's on the album, with the exception of two tracks, very similar to what I recorded just in four weeks. A lot of it was mixed quite quickly, even though it took me a long time to fiddle.
The end result you kept very short and simple, didn't you?
Most of the tracks have got pop song format, they are very short with a jazz element. Everybody likes jazz for eight bars, but they don't like it for 20 minutes, that includes me, so I kept all the solos really short, I just did it to what seemed natural for me.
Where there any other influences that got involved in the Plains Music thing?
Well I was in South Africa so there's a natural influence, the musicians I was playing with, they themselves would have an African influence, if I was playing it in England with different musicians it would have been different, but I don't particularly look for influences, whatever is happening at the time, whatever seems to work, I go with that, in the end you are looking for the same feeling in all music you do, its a kind of emotional content that you're looking for, I don't particularly look for influences, but there have been influences.
There is a beautiful song Sikelele on the album where did that come from?
That is the only non-Indian song and it was my realisation half way through that in the real world I wanted to sell this album. The record companies are going to want to hear something that they believe could be a single or successful, and so it was quite calculated to find a song that had more obvious communicative powers, you might say accessible, although I think the whole album is very accessible. Sikelele I did with samplers and machines and stuff in England, that took more time that the rest of the album.
I was going to say there were lots of versions of Sikelele originally, and you ended up with two on the album, how do you pick out the ones you are going to use in the end?
With extreme difficulty and immense confusion
Platform End Summer 1993
For those of you who were members of the fan club back in the early/ mid 90's here's a re-print of Platform End #2, for those who weren't, here's what you missed.