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The early 70's was for me a unique period in Rock Music many years before the Commercial Video age and record Company hype, a time when musicians had to be good in order to impress the media, E.L.P. King Crimson, Gentle Giant. The Prog Rock movement was a period of experimentation when many new interesting instruments were being invented to create new sounds. A new keyboard instrument which would be particularly prominent in this new scene would be the moog synthesizer, the masterful invention of the late Robert Moog, which later became fashionable to be known as simply the Mini Moog, would play an integral part in the overall sound of many of the days most successful contemporaries like Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes and indeed MMEB. Although Uriah Heep stated from “Very 'eavy and very ‘umble” beginnings mainly due to an infamous review in Rolling Stone magazine, when a somewhat idiotic American Journalist proclaimed ‘if this band makes it I’ll have to commit suicide’ I have been an ardent fan since the tender age of 12 once hearing the wonderous crunching hard biting chords of Gypsy for the first time I was immediately hooked and have never looked back (Tis true). Look at yourself, their third album and first for the Bronze Label is indeed an accomplished work and is quite
possibly the most respected album in Uriah Heep’s illustrious career. It was issued in September, 1971 With it’s mesmerising sleeve design which enabled it’s purchaser to do exactly what it’s title suggested. It featured Manfred as a guest musician for the first time on Vinyl debuting his beloved new keyboard, adding colourful dimensions to the closing sequence of the albums, undisputed highlight ‘July Morning’ a marathon extravaganza clocking in at 10 minutes 27 seconds of sheer magic. It starts as a ballad and gradually builds into a tour de force rocker, given the right exposure it could very easily ranked up alongside Deep Purple's "Child in Time" and Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven", as an undisputed rock classic. This was a very important period for Heep. Dividends were to pay off with a respectable No 39 chart placing much owed to the perseverance of Radio Luxembourg D.J. Kid Jensen and for the first time they were gaining favourable press. Other outside musicians were present during the recording sessions notably the percussionists from Osibisa, 27 years on “Look At Yourself” stands the test of time as a great rock album. If MMEB fans missed it all together you will be well advised to check out the recent remastered reissue with generous bonus tracks, I promise newcomers won’t be disappointed. About 5 years ago I travelled to Belgium to see the final gig of The Different World tour I was with the boys backstage when a couple politely entered the dressing room and presented Mick Box with a bottle of champagne, friendly and genial as ever Mick gratefully received the gift although somewhat bemused. Before he could get a word in edgeways he was pleasantly informed that the song was used as the contented couple’s wedding march indeed on a July Morning.
Life and Love First
Your Friend Barry Winton.
Robert Corich was responsible for the remastered Look at Yourself.
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There are several interesting comparisons between both bands. Bronze Records label mates for over a decade, during 73-75 MMEB supported Heep during their heyday on several American and European tours, playing to capacity crowds this proved to be a very valuable building process for MMEB both acts were complementing each other very well musically. The 5-4-3-2-1 days were long gone and at last Manfred was becoming accepted and respected as rock musician, in fact Germany and the States had taken them to heart and were going down so well deemed them popular enough to warrant their return to headline their own tours selling out the 6,000 seater The Spectrum in Philadelphia on their reputation alone a good 2 years before “Blinded By The Light" dominated the airwaves. Aside from this Mark Clarke though better known through his work with Colosseum had a brief spell with Heep - co writing “The Wizard", Clarke was invited to join Earth Band following Colin Pattendens resignation learned the bass parts for the Watch session but later declined in order to take up residency in the United States. Mick Rogers did in fact accept Heep main man Ken Henslev's offer to replace the late David Byron following his sacking in 1976 augmenting the line up to a dual guitar band unfortunately following a week's rehearsals things didn’t quite work out and Mick was soon back under fronting a jazz/rock outfit called Eclipse.
Last but not least former MMEB drummer Chris Slade was not going to miss an opportunity of joining one of the worlds most seminal rock groups and beat some would be 50 other hopefuls and joined as permanent member in November, 1979, sadly this was to be a low ebb following the disappointing Conquest album, he quit in 1981 and has since toured with Dave Gilmour, The Firm, Gary Moore and AC/DC: (what a player), during many of the social chats Mick Box and I have when he's in town I asked him in detail about these early tours. With a glint in his eye be reflected they were great days and great guys to tour with and enjoyed their music tremendously, in his own words, MMEB were a real bands band, with both acts now under the watchful management eye of the Neil Warnock Agency who knows Uriah Heep and MMEB could well tour together again. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. what wouldn’t I give to see my two favourite bands sharing the bill again dreams do come true lets hope this one does.
Life and Love First
The Earth Band were already special to me - top of my favourite musical tastes when something happened which raised them even higher than the pinnacle they had already achieved in my eyes. It was in the mid 1970's and soon after the Roaring Silence had been released - one of the best albums ever made in my opinion. The Earth Band were out on tour and one of the venues they were playing was at Southampton University. A friend of mine lived at Andover and he also liked the Earth Band sound and I said "Vic, how do you fancy a trip to Southampton to see Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in concert?". He agreed immediately and I said fine, I would arrange to purchase tickets and I then set out to try and purchase some in advance. The University told me that tickets were not yet available but it was unlikely to be a sell-out and if I turned up on the night I would have no trouble getting in. I was not happy with this scenario and a day before the concert was due to take place I checked once again with the venue, only to be told the same thing again. I reluctantly accepted this and informed Vic I would be down the next afternoon to pick him up and drive us to Southampton.
The day arrived and as usual all I could think about was the couple of hours of extreme pleasure I was going to get later that evening. I was not working that day so I sorted out a a selection of the Band’s finest music to play in the car to both get in the mood for the gig and also to keep the momentum going afterwards - it was going to be a memorable day, one to remember for a long while. Little did I know how true this was going to be. I drove down from West London to meet Vic and after a spot of tea drove down past Winchester to Southampton and on to the venue. l parked the car, and we duly made our way to the venue for the concert only to see SOLD OUT plastered outside the entrance - a disaster, the impossible had happened, we had driven all that way for nothing. I tried to see if we could purchase tickets but the booking staff apologised and said all tickets had been sold and despite me telling them of my telephone calls to try and buy tickets, they said "sorry, there was nothing they could do".
I turned to Vic, uttered a few choice words (definitely not printable) and we set about the disappointment of returning home without getting our Earth Band "fix". As we started to walk away
from the venue we noticed Chris Thompson, along with a couple of other people heading in the opposite direction towards the entrance - we said hello and he said aren't you going to the gig
lads?". We said we had driven down from London to see the concert and told him the whole saga about the tickets, and now we were having to return home extremely disappointed. His attitude was one
that I shall never forget, he said we’ll sort this out, you come in with us and you can watch the concert from the front. He was good to his word and apart from meeting a couple of other members
of the band and some of the road crew, we were having the bonus of seeing the band from a privileged position. The Band were soon on stage and proceeded to play yet another quality live set -
what had seemed likely to have been a big let down was now even more memorable than even I could have imagined. Other than a quick thank you to Chris for giving Vic and I the opportunity to
see the gig I have never really had the chance to say thank you" properly, until now, where through the pages of Platform End I can say THANK YOU MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND FOR GIVING ME SO MUCH
PLEASURE OVER THE YEARS AND IN PARTICULAR ON THAT OCCASION AT SOUTHAMPTON UNIVERSITY FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE A MEMORABLE LIVE CONCERT. The kindness and consideration shown to my
friend and I that evening proved that you are not just any band but that you are THE BAND for me - to quote someone else ”Simply The Best".
Editors comment: What is it with Southampton!!
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Platform End No 16 - Summer 1998
PE#16 - Page 2
A Yawn in Your Ear .........……....2
World Service News.........……...3
Earth Band Live 1998......……....4
Not Quite Overnight
Sensations - Part 1 ......…….......6
The Brook - Southampton …....8
Jimi Hendrix ........................…..9
The Ascent of Mann.........….....9
Manfred Mann's Tall Stories...10
Mann Alive ...........................….11
The Earth Team
Editor ...............…...…..Andy Taylor
Desrgn/Typesetting...lain R. Scott
Master of Envelopes .Thomas Taylor
Web Master .........……..Ron Clint
Printer ........................James Porter
Front Cover Photo: Andy Taylor
Back Cover and Men In Black Photo: Carol Taylor
Cartoon's: Rita Gerlach
Printed by: Penketh's Print Limited
Bassendale Road, Bromborough, Wirral
Merseyside L62 SOL
No deliberate mistakes have been deliberately harmed during the making of this journal. If you have any articles, pictures or views you would like to be considered for inclusion in our next
issue, send them along to Andy & Carol Taylor to the address below, together with a stamped addressed envelope for return. All articles, stories, pictures, etc. will be returned safely. The
Manfred Mann Fan Club,
C/o Andy 8 Carol Taylor,
29 Lyndhurst Road, Wallasey,
Merseyside. ENGLAND L45 6XB
Tel: (44) 151 639 7057
A YAWN IN YOUR EAR
Not much room for my ramblings this time out. With so much happening it's another packed Platform End. No. 16 sees the start of a marathon but fascinating journey from the very beginnings of MMEB to the present day from the knowledgeable Mr. Barry Winton. Barry is one of the World's undisputed experts on all things Rock & Roll. When asked were there things I didn't know in the ultimate Winton works, my reply was something on the lines of "Shit Man, there's things here Manfred doesn't know". So Barry alone should keep you all spending money for at least a couple of years. That's not all, we have reports from the Southampton, The Brook gig from Martin, I told you so Wilson, and from the Jimi Rogers show in Luxembourg, how I would have loved to be there. Mark from Australia is probably right about the 'Ascent of Mann'. The Mann himself, Manfred Mann is well known as a great story teller. Many a long coach ride across Europe has been brightened up by one of his many true stories, some funny, some thought provoking, some sad. a From this issue we are delighted and honoured to be able to start sharing some of these stories with you.
Manfred's first victim is Noel - well why not! So full are we with goodies, that some things have been left out till next time, but please keep sending stuff, you have no idea how good it is to have some items already for the next Magazine. Rita, Dieter, Helmut and Karen and no doubt others will be burning much midnight oil on a German translation of all this. A stamped addressed envelope is all that will be required, but be patient!
We enjoyed meeting up with Members at the Southampton, Croydon and Camden gigs, but Dudley was special. Loads of you from all over the place. Carol and I had a great afternoon meeting with everyone and as a bonus we had Ron Clint, Web Master without his suit.
Special thanks to Manfred and Mick for being on the photo with some of those who turned out, and for all of MMEB for a memorable show to a packed audience. Mind you I'm told the really good gig
was South Shields, the only one I failed to make!
See you next time!
Carol and Andy.
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You should now have your copy of the long awaited Live album. Well worth the wait, switch on the stereo, turn up the volume and enjoy. Going by the mail bag, this was the album everybody wanted and I doubt you will be disappointed. Let us know what you think.
Now then about that video Manfred........…
Terry and Linda, who were among the Dudley crowd, Terry making 3 of 5 gigs despite awkw'ard shifts are getting married on July 4th. Instead of the Bridal March they have chosen 'Sikelele'. Both have been of much help to the Fan Club and some of the photo's by them from the May gigs are included herewith. Terry has also sent me some great archive pictures so watch out for them. On behalf of all their friends around the world our congratulations to a smashing couple.
AN APOLOGY TO THE BEAVER
We always seem to miss a typing error in Graeme's articles, so in the last edition’s centre spread we employed at huge expense an outside proof reader who was so spot on he managed to correct a deliberate mistake thus loosing the thread at one point.
Chris Hamlet Thompson should have read
Chris Hamlet Thomposon.
Whoops! Sorry Graeme.
BEST OF AND THE RE-MASTERS
The re-masters promised in PEI5 will now be out around September and will be fully reviewed next time. Also, a new "Best Of” is on its way which will differ from previous "Best Of’s" quite significantly and there’s more...…..
STILL DIZZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
This two CD compilation of classic 70’s progressive rock has just been released as a tribute to the famous Vertigo Label. There are some very well known names included here, Black Sabbath, Phil Lynott, Alex Harvey, Rod Stewart, Status Quo, Uriah Heep, The Spencer Davis Group and many many more, including one of my favourite bands of all time, Colosseum, although oddly the track chosen to feature this wonderful jazz rock outfit was not originally put out on Vertigo.
Nevertheless, it is a really good collection on which some of the less familiar artists (to me anyway), produce some of the real treats. However, if you are still looking for two good reasons for adding this nicely packaged item to your CD library, then look no further. Firstly the excellent sleeve notes are written by our own Barry Winton, and secondly one of the featured bands is needless to say, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and ‘Joybringer’.
'GROOVIN!' AND ***** 'GROOVIN?'
The Manfreds have been on the road once again proving what an enormous amount of talent these seven chaps have, although the restriction of running through almost every hit single connected to anybody in the band, (and to be fair there are quite a lot of such hits), somewhat limits the potential for any member to really let the audience see how good they are. Still everyone there seemed to enjoy themselves.
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IT’S JUST A PERFECT GIG
By Graeme Yates
We all I’m sure we all have our own favourites from the sizeable Earth Band back catalogue. Some of these tracks may well be the likes of “Blinded By The Light” or “Davy’s On The Road Again”, which sold well and have been played without fail at every Earth Band gig since. Others may be stage favourites like “Father Of Day” or “Martha’s Madman” but other tracks may be fairly obscure personal favourites.
I fully appreciate that crowds going to Earth Band shows will expect the hits, and for this reason I know that “Mighty Quinn” for example will always be played although l feel there are plenty of tracks which are in need of dusting down and inclusion in the set. As the band have become, to use an old phrase, a real working band again, some tracks have been brought out of retirement. “You Angel You” really works live with Mick and Chris rifting hard together and Manfred extracting some wonderful noises from behind his bank of keyboards. This track is a crowd pleaser and went down a storm at Southampton last January (sorry editor - a great show with the band obviously enjoying it so much). Other tracks have been re-worked, particularly “Blinded By The Light”, which to be honest never excites me that much on record (or should l say CD these days?), but when you hear it live, especially after the lengthened and disguised intro, never fails to send goose bumps down my spine.
So after this long introduction (!) I'd better get down to a fantasy track-listing of songs I’d like to hear. it ignores some crowd expectations and doubtless balance and the need for band members to rest their lungs or fingers, but how about:-
Mercury/Joybringer intro: This works well and gives the audience the chance to recognize the instrumental prowess of our favourite band. (Although I’m sorry to say Mick that “Joybringer” is a great track and you ought to sing it)!
The Times They Are A Changin’/Hello Hello: This works well with Noel holding court. A strange theme this one but one that encourages audience participation, being the unrecorded opener from the Chance tour with Chris handling vocals. Perhaps this song could be recorded and retain its direct and “fresh feel. It could run directly into, You Angel You, I’ve talked of this already and its inclusion is mandatory.
California: This would slow things down a lot and could feature Chris and Noel sharing vocal duties and a nice Manfred solo. The inclusion of this track, would I know, please this Platform Ender and many others who rate this song.
Father of Day: Always a favourite and one that Mick has really been going to town on in the last couple of years. The arrangement is constantly dynamic and it almost seems Mick and Manfred make it up as they go along - great!
Look Around/I’m Gonna Have You all: A bit of a surprise here, but surprises can be fun. A heavy blast from the past which I’m sure the band would enjoy performing. I’ve given a choice as a pointer to the sort of track I’d like included though both would be even better.
Shelter From The Storm: This track works well and allows Noel to get back into things, before he performs a surprise selection, namely, Questions, I believe Manfred has thought of doing this live and l think Noel would do the trick.
Demolition Man: Madman McCaIIa performs this so well as a crowd pleaser and following on from “Questions” would show his versatility.
Martha’s Madman: This has always been a favourite provided Manfred delivers on the moog and l know Mr. Taylor likes to keep a mental list of best Martha solos. I do think however, that Watch was such a great album that the show would benefit from the inclusion of say: Circles/Drowning On Dry Land: I would allow these to be rearranged as time is short, but might suggest “Drowning On Dry Land” flows into Noel amazing everyone with a soulful rant of Give Me The Good
into overdrive as one of his own band’s shows doing this sort of thing and I think that for a couple of minutes the lyrics from this song would work. This would prove innovative for Earth Band in the way that Noel put his own stamp on “Medicine Song” in 1996 and, who knows, might even be wicked(!).
Tumbling Ball/Banquet: A great Earth Band song from the last album which could be included here unless the boys felt like doing “Banquet”, which was the classiest track from Tango and one which, if l remember correctly, went down very well at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1986.
Blinded By The Light: What can l say about this song currently? The band would go off at this point - with applause ringing in their ears and the phrase “What a set” springing to mind. We checked my timings and I reckon there is time for one other surprise and it’s, Don’t Kill It Carol: The band would return to stage with this track as it’s well known by most European punters and would work given the range of vocal skills in the band, perhaps with Chris, Noel and Mick having a vocal argument as to who actually had the damn rose. Solos are obligatory of course.
Questions: This song could be slipped in here instead of earlier to even out the set instead of “For You” which has often taken its place here. Or alternatively, Redemption Song/Davy’s On The Road Again: A crowd favourite and quite rightly. Someone might insist that “Mighty Quinn” is included, but I’ve left it out to stimulate debate and give me the chance to include a few of my favourites.
I guess basically what I’m missing is a live tape from the Watch tour (address supplied on request?) However, I would dearly love to see some of these played live and know that I’m not alone. “California” for example is a must and I fancy some of the others too. Mick is a talented guitarist but, Chris should be encouraged to play also as this adds a further depth to the trademark Earth Band sound, which in this set would emphasise their instrumental prowess and vocal talents. There’s room in the set for development as knowing the band they’d continue to work on songs once they were in the set and also new songs could be tried out within the set to promote ideas in the studio. Do think of Noel in his locks swirling to his ecological rant!
Dream or reality?
Editors comment: Well the debate is on. Let’s hear a few more fantasy gigs and maybe I could get them to play the winner in bloody Southampton!
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BARRY WINTON'S NOT QUITE OVERNIGHT SENSATIONS - Part 1
Dear Platform End. A while ago Andy and I worked on a ‘Where are they now’ feature. Although this is still a proposed intention for future use in this publication, I have instead opted to write a feature based around some very interesting and useful MMEB facts, connections and personal recollections, many of which have never before been documented not even in Greg Russo’s encyclopaedic, ‘Mannerism’s' extravaganza.
I would firstly like to take this review back to Chapter 1 when a young Phil Collins, fresh from a stint with Progsters Flaming Youth, unsuccessfully auditioned for the vacant drum stool position. This vacancy was eventually filled by the hugely underrated Andrew McCullough, who later found favourable critical acclaim with King Crimson and Greenslade, (played on ‘It’s Good To Be Alive’, on their second album), who is today one of Britain’s leading yacht instructors.
Chris Slade was drafted in as a session musician to help out on the proposed, abandoned and lost third Chapter Ill album, but was wisely maintained by Manfred for the formation of his next group. Chris was a seasoned player, having bashed the skins with a fellow Welshman from Pontypridd, Tom Jones, for seven years as part of the Squires.
A period of heavy session work followed guesting on albums by Tony Hazzard who penned “Ha, Ha, Said the Clown”, and bottle neck guitarist Stefan Grossman. Chris was also invited to join Olivia Newton John’s Toomorrow for a proposed film and album. Although this project materialised, Slade was musically unfulfilled so it was a blessing in disguise when Manfred called him up and offered him a session.
Bassist Colin Pattenden joined MMEB through a mutual friendship with the aforementioned Chris Slade. This new rhythm section must surely rank Live as one of the most powerful and tragically underrated partnerships in rock history. I saw Colin and Chris perform together a total of 43 times, the sheer energy level was absolutely stunning. Pattenden, the youngest member of MMEB Mark One, was another session musician who was born in Beckenham, Kent. He was self-taught, an avid Free fan and had served his early apprenticeship playing on recordings by (wait for it) Leapy Lee, Engelbert Humperdink and Solaman King, (She Wears My Ring), and his first cousin guitarist Graham White, himself quite a name in the world of record collecting circles having played on the £200+ rated Fuzzy Duck album, as well as the respectable early 70'S circuit band Caperbility Brown.
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Although Pattenden and Slade quit MMEB respectively in the mid to late 70’s, they briefly teamed up together again in the short lived Terra Nova (New Earth in Latin), along with vocalist Peter Cox , who was later destined to become a heart throb to scores of adoring female fans as half of one of the most successful 80’s chart acts Go West. Although this operation was short lived they did, however, secure a Monday night residency at London’s Marquee Club, issued a lone single and furthermore bore the distinction of having supported The Scorpions on a UK tour.
Colin and Chris continued their musical business interests by co- managing Rock City studios in Shepperton. In 1979 Slade was lured back into the limelight having been sponsored by Stacatto drums (the loudest and strangest shaped drum kit in the world) to give drum clinics. Bronze label mates Uriah Heep were looking for a replacement for the recently departed Lee Kerslake. One quick audition was all it took and he was in beating some would be 50 other hopefuls, in the process. Although I briefly detailed Slade’s post MMEB work in issue No. 15 following his short lived spell with the mighty Heep. In 1982 he re-emerged with new romantic sensation Gary Numan and can be heard on the ‘l Assassin’ album. The following year, thank goodness, Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers sharply snapped him up.
Colin Pattenden today runs a lucrative P.A. Company and has recorded with a revamped line up of Beggars Opera in 1980 and has toured the live circuit with Mungo Jerry and The Nashville Teens.
Contrary to public opinion that Mick Rogers is from the land down under he is in fact an Essex boy born and bred from Dovercourt, Essex near Harwich docks. Mick is another self- taught musician, though having had the distinction of being born into a musical family (like Chris Slade). His dad was a drummer, whilst his Uncle Ernie was a double bassist.
His schoolboy obsession with rock’n’roll, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and in particular Elvis Presley made the young Michael ever more determined to fulfil his teenage ambitions. Purchasing his first guitar at the age of 14, his adolescent ambitions soon turned into a reality, as within a year he was a fully accomplished player. Upon leaving school he was briefly employed as a shoe salesman, followed by a 6-month period as an apprentice Engineer. However, the ever restless Mick decided to make music his full time occupation. He jacked in his day job and turned pro soon afterwards, securing live work as a backing musician for Adam Faith and Gene Pitney before the eternal search for pastures new prompted him to travel further afield to Australia to seek his fame and fortune. It was here for the first time that he was recognised as a major talent for the group he joined, Normie Rowe and the Playboys, who were quite a sensation, securing rather a sizeable female following. Next up were Procession, whose eponymous album secured a UK release on Mercury in 1968 with the quartet of musicians posing for the front cover holding a banner, with Mick looking remarkably like a young David Essex.
Sadly their lone studio album doesn’t stand the test of time particularly well though it has since gone on to become something of a minor collector’s item. However, the
album does bear significant Manfred connections as it was produced by our old friend Mike Hugg (Manfred’s former partner). Upon the group’s break up in early 1969, Mick’s credentials were jotted into Manfred’s little red book, whilst the procession drummer Craig Collinge jumped the gun and joined Manfred Mann Chapter III. He stayed long enough to complete work on both their albums for the Phillips Corporation’s, new progressive orientated Vertigo label. Craig later played with ‘Shoot’ and ‘Third World War’.
Mick returned to Australia somewhat disillusioned. Out of the blue Manfred called up to inform him that he was planning to put a new band together and whether or not if he would be interested in flying back to the UK for an audition. The Mann in question was more than impressed with Mick’s abilities as a songwriter, singer and guitarist and promptly asked him to join with the new line up intact by the 3lst of January 1971.
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band were born.
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May 5th and we are at the Brook in Southampton yet again, and our Platform End editor Mr. Taylor has come to see "What it is with Southampton", I speak for myself, but he could not have been
The audience were as usual enthused that Manfred Mann's Earth Band were back. With a great instrumental and ‘Shelter' Opening, the nights proceedings were off to a brilliant start, the crowd even getting in on the act, singing 'Shelter From The Storm', at the end, much to Noel's amusement. Then Noel showing how it was supposed to be done. 'Nothing Ever Happens' followed. This is fast becoming a favourite live track of mine, a fine piece of guitar work in the middle. After the opening section of 'Martha‘s Madman', Chris Thompson got a great reception and sang the rest of the song. Manfred played a rather laid back synth solo slowly building into another rousing finale. Another favourite of mine ‘You Angel You' with the vocals of Chris, Noel and Mick. This is sheer heaven. So glad this is back in the set. With ‘Times They Are A Changin' coming straight after, there's hardly time to draw a breath. The audience by now, are well into the evening and beginning to move. I turned to Andy and said ‘Good 'ere ain't it?‘ His smile said enough.
Then Mick's show case 'Father Of Night“. What can l say? Brilliant guitar playing,
subtle and then forceful, magical. The Mick and Manfred interplay towards the end was exceptional.
The wonderful ‘Medicine Song' came next, a complete contrast. One of the reasons the ‘Earth Band' are great to see. I love John Trotters drumming on this, and Noel's voice is entrancing. 'For You' and Chris Thompson's turn. Superbly sung with Manfred playing piano and no other instruments, it becomes almost haunting.
Demolition Man', had the crowd moving again. Tight and rocking, you almost feel like you have been hit by a wrecking ball.
A bit of a surprise the next one, “Spirits In The Night'. it even surprised Chris, OOOOpppps! With Mick, Chris and Noel taking it in turns with the vocals. Lovely guitar solo by Mick. This went nicely into the instrumental segue, magnificently played by Manfred into 'Blinded By The Light‘. Unusual synth solo, well executed then Mick taking over, Playing Bach what next? Well! We had a singing competition, the crowd. Mick, Noel, Steve and Chris against Manfred. Not quite sure who won but great fun.
The crowd by now were partying, so when 'Davy's On The Road Again' started not many were standing still. A really rocking organ sound from Manfred and a strong boogie from John, Steve and Mick. Wow.
The audience and myself then gave a rendition of ‘Mighty Quinn' Nice!!
Chris Thompson then reappeared and started to sing and play Redemption Song‘ joined later by Manfred, Noel and Mick.
The biggest surprise of the evening was the next song, 'lf You Gotta Go, Go Now‘ my favourite of the Paul Jones era. l hope they record this for inclusion on a live single which would be brilliant. Last, but by no means least, 'Mighty Quinn' incredible. Great rock rifts by Mick even slipping into 'Smoke On The Water'. The rockiest version I have ever heard.
This is the third time I have seen Manfred Mann's Earth Band at the Brook and each time they have been great.
I am so glad Andy Taylor got to see them perform here. Southampton seems to have a great atmosphere and the audience love them. l cannot wait to come back again.
Thanks to the band and thanks to
Martin Wilson - Maidstone, Kent.
Editor: So OK they played well in Southampton, but apparently not as well as South Shields.
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JIMI HENDRIX IS STILL ALIVE
LUXEMBOURG 21ST APRIL, 1998
Well at least his music that we heard at the tribute to Jimi Hendrix music festival at the 'ATELIER'. We had four brilliant guitar pIayers who made us relive Jimi's music. The guitarist were: Tony MacAlpine, Pat Travers, Mick Rogers an Steve Lukather. The opener of this nearly five hours Feedback evening was Tony MacAlpine, with his band, Ricky Riccardo (bass/vocals) and Visa Mike Terrana (drums), a real power drummer. In the second part of Tony's 45 minutes set, there was a real guitar firework going on, songs like 'All Along The Watchtower', 'Manic Depression' and ‘Wild Thing', the enthusiastic audience were taken by storm. The only missing joke was that at the end of his set Tony should have set the guitar on fire as Jimi Hendrix did 30 years ago, at the Monterey Pop Festival.
Just to slow down a bit, the Canadian Blues Rocker who has played guitar since he was 12 years old, counted Jimi, Cream and The Yardbirds as his favourite bands. Pat played 'Spanish Castle Magic', 'Bold As Love', 'The Wind Cries Mary', 'Hey Joe', 'Voodoo Child' and 'If Six Was Nine'. He was followed by Juan Van Emmerloot on drums, Walter Latipurrisa on bass and Bobby Vandenbergh on Keyboards, this same hand backed both Mick and Steve. Next guitar hero, was_ Manfred Mann's Earth Band founder member Mick Rogers. Mick saluted the audience and he did not deny from where he's coming from. He must nearly feel at home for nearly the third time playing on stage at The Atelier.
Mick started with ‘Tribal Statistics', well known from the ‘Somewhere In Afrika' album. He then continued with 'Fire' and 'Stone Free', both from Jimi's first album 'Are You Experienced'. Followed by Mick's favourite … one When he started turning the key of Damon Hill's Formula One engine, yes your are right, ‘Father Of Day, Father Of Night', and to finish the Mick Rogers version of The Mighty Quinn', which sounded very good.
Last man in the row Steve Lukather then showed up on stage. He played 'Freedom' from the album 'First Rays Of The Rising Sun', 'Purple Haze', 'Little Wing' and a wonderful 'Red House', a great homage to his idol, Jimi Hendrix. With the Bob Dylan song 'Hate Everything About You', be underlined the respect for master Dylan.
We lived during these memorable five hours a guitar thunderstorm, it was just a pity that a jam session Iike it happened_last year 'A Tribute to Luther Allison'. Well it was late in the evening or early in the morning, just a point of view, and my ears were still... yes infact 'Roaring Silence'. After the concert I spoke to Mick and he told me that it was great, he just met the guys in the band three days ago and they were playing very well together. and he also promised to be back with the Earth Band on tour in Luxembourg very soon.
Wirth Paul, Luxembourg
PE#16 - Page 10
THE NOEL IN SWEDEN ONE (1993)
“This is Crap” said Noel.
“What’s wrong with it?” l said.
“It’s fucking cold, that’s what”, said Noel, and then I understood six months were up and Noel was having his twice yearly, hormonal imbalance, and Standing Up For His Rights!
Noel McCalla is a wonderful musician, a great live performer and also a warm naturally friendly open human being. However, twice a year this warm human being turns into a werewolf, and behaves like a complete dickhead. Noel naturally enough sees it somewhat differently. Noel suddenly feels that because he is the nice warm human being that he is, we don’t respect him, we take him for granted, and so Noel ‘takes a stand’ to remedy the situation. Now Noel will take a stand on anything, that happens to be happening. For example, he will arrive in a German department store for a free leather jacket, on the grounds, that he can’t afford one. To Noel, taking a stand means digging his heals into a completely hopeless cause, such as this. What Noel hasn’t quite grasped, is that when behaving like this the rest of us don’t see him, as a noble chap, who knows his rights, and won’t be pushed around, standing his ground resolutely in the face of adversity. We just think he’s being a bit of a dick really, and as Noel said “It’s fucking cold, that’s what”. I knew that Noel, was once again embarking on a campaign to protect his civil liberties, in this case it happened in an Indian Restaurant in Sweden.
“Call the waiter over Noel and ask to have it heated”.
“Tell him”, I said, in an obviously futile and pathetic attempt to calm this bubbling, impending explosion.
“This is fucking ridiculous”, was Noel’s reasonable response.
l edged away from him, hoping that if l paid no attention, things might improve, and the group and crew continued our discussion on the influence of late etruscan pottery on urban 19th Century design, as rock groups often do! Noel was now pushing his curry Pasanda around the plate and fuming away. His anger and resentment became a self fulfilling prophecy, because by now the curry really was cold.
Reason was leaving Noel at the speed of light, as he departed back in time to a more primitive and simple age, sometime before the Iron Age, when men were men and life was brutal. At the moment
the innocent lamb Pasanda was the victim, as it was roughly moved about the plate but any moment now we knew we were in for a really embarrassing scene with the waiter, and sure enough it
Noel said, “Fuck This”, and then shouted in a loud offensive voice and tone, “Excuse me pleeeze!”.
I thought ‘Oh God, here we go’, it was at this point that the most achingly beautiful young Swedish girl, a waitress appeared, she was 3/4 Cinderella and 1/4 Marilyn Monroe, the
sort of girl that instantly triggers male menopausal depression in male menopausal men, and could also bring life to a corpse. She turned to Noel, who was by now a large dreadlocked fuming rasta
and said sweetly, with a hint of a lisp, “Can I help you sir?”, or words to that effect. Noel moved from the Stone Age to the age of chivalry. Never has a Swedish accent sounded more
lovely. Noel immediately and without blinking, transformed himself into a large friendly version of a childhood cuddly teddy, (Paddington Bear), and said, “I thought the lamb was perhaps a
bit tepid”. She smiled attentively and beautifully, “But on reflection, it’s probably that I am used to hot curries on hot plates”. She looked at him demurely, he continued,
“Actually it’s much nicer when it’s sort of coldish really”. “I could have it heated for you if you are unhappy, or dissatisfied?” She looked slightly unhappy herself at this
prospect. “Oh God no, whatever gave you that idea” said Noel, “I just wanted a beer, if that’s OK”.
The crisis was over, and as Noel tucked enthusiastically into a by now ice cold curry l thought, ‘Oh well, another peaceful six months before Noels next explosion!
PE#16 - Page 11
Manfred Mann has been making music now for 35 years producing an extraordinary number of international hit records during the 60's, 70's and 80's. Since 1971 Manfred has had his Earth Band and despite many personnel changes Mick Rogers, lead guitarist/ singer one of the founding members and Chris Thompson, who sang on most of the big hits are both in the current line-up along with Steve Kinch - bass player for the last dozen years. Noel McCalla whose incredible vocal range puts a little soul into the band and newest member John Trotter on drums completes the present day Manfred Mann's Earth Band.
So what makes the new album Mann Alive one of the bands most important releases to date. True the double CD contains full length and edited versions of Earth Band classics 'Blinded By The Light' and 'Davy's On The Road Again', but then Mann Alive is full of Earth Band classics starting with the wonderfully moody and atmospheric 'Martha's Madman', all ten minutes and including rock anthems like 'Father of Day', featuring Mick on vocals as well as lead guitar, and Sting's 'Demolition Man'. A glance at the track listing and this could be the 'Very Best Of', Greatest Hits album, but it's much much better than that. This is Manfred Mann's Earth Band at their very best, live and on stage. I do not know of anybody who has gone to see MMEB Live and not been blown away. They have one of if not the greatest live sounds of any contemporary rock bands.
The problem is catching the magic on tape and that is not easy. A few years ago the album 'Budapest' set out to do this. It is generally accepted that Budapest is a great 'best of' but disappointing as a live album.
So the network of loyal fans have kept themselves
happily swapping poor quality bootleg tapes. Now with the new album at long last we have a live album that captures the excitement the atmosphere and the fun of the Earth Band in concert. John and Steve keep everything solid and tight enabling Chris Thompson and Noel McCalla to set about proving they are two of the greatest vocalist around while we are treated to Manfred's distinctive keyboard sounds and Mick Rogers guitar on a variety of blistering solos. It's hard to pick out highlights because from the start of 'You Give Me', an instrumental with strong Joybringer undertones , the album does not let up. Bob Dylan's - 'Times They Are A Changing' has never been released before by MMEB and the semi-acoustic version of Springsteen's 'For You', and Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song', add further depth. The latter comes in two versions, one sung by Chris Thompson and one a Chris Thompson and Noel McCalla duet.
Do I have any disappointments? If I was honest, I don't like the inclusion of the two 'Plains Music' tracks, although, hopefully they will inspire one and all to acquire a copy of the beautiful 'Plains Music Album' if you don't already have it. Then there's that song from the live show I would have included and they are a bonus to a very long album.
Does it matter? Not one bit. Get your copy of Mann Alive, turn up the volume and if you find yourself in 7th heaven somewhere between the vocals, bass and drums, the guitar solo on Father of Day or the keyboard/ moog solo on Martha's Madman, don't be surprised if you bump into loads of other people there - me included.
ROCK AND ROLL
Platform End No 17 - 1998
PE#17 - Page 2
A Yawn in Your Ear ......……….....2
World Service News......……......3
John Trotter Interview ...….......4
Not Quite Overnight
Sensations - Part 2 ……............6
Steve Kinch Interview...……......8
Manfred Mann Story Teller....10
Rickman Files 2..................…..11
The Earth Team
Editor .....................…..Andy Taylor
Desrgn/Typesettmg ..lam Scott
Master of Envelopes..Thomas Taylor
Web Master ............….Ron Clint
Front Cover Photo-Simon Rickman
Cartoon's: Rita Gerlach
Printed by: Penketh's Print Limited
Bassendale Road, Bromborough, Wirral
Merseyside L62 3QL
Anyone who complains about PE17 will he harmed. I mean Steve Kinch, John Trotter, Simon Hickman and the Mann himself. what do you want blood or something?
If you have any articles, pictures or views you would like to be considered for inclusion in our next issue, send them along to Andy 8 Carol Taylor to the address below, together with a stamped
addressed envelope for return. All articles, stories, pictures, etc. will be returned safely. The Manfred Mann Fan Club,
C/o Andy 8 Carol Taylor,
29 Lyndhurst Road, Wallasey,
Merseyside. ENGLAND L45 6X8
Tel: (44) 151 639 7057
A YAWN IN YOUR EAR
Munich Airport early afternoon the sun is shining and two minibuses standby to transport the hand and crew to the hotel. I arrived an hour earlier than everybody else from Manchester, but time passes quickly and soon half the party are Crammed into Minibus No. 7 heading for the hotel Ian Tompson, Simon Rickman, Noel, Chris and, Steve. I'm asked how the new album has gone down with you lot out there. Good by and large, some people didn't like the fades, most would have liked the whole of 'Pleasure And Pain' but mostly its really good, great atmosphere.
Chris is pleased with 'For You', sounds really great, best thing on the album, other reckon 'Martha'. The conversation moves to this very journal.
What about the Rickman Files 2 I ask Simon? Simon mutters something about not knowing what the hell to write about and we arrive at the Hotel.
The Marquee at the Tollwood Festival looks massive, full of people it's even bigger empty like a giant Circus Tent. Simon and I took a load of photos of John and his kit with the lights, because drummers are hard to photo during the gig. One of Simons photographs, forms part of our, cover, then John and I wandered around the Festival. Tollwood has a really good vibe - the gig alas great although they weren't given a lot of time, so they had to cut some stuff. Luckily the packed audience didn't seem to care. They loved it.
A long night drinking, short nights sleep, and we're on the road again. There's a bit of sitting on buses, hanging around in hotels and stuff out on the road, so it's a great time to catch up those more reluctant for interviews. So we bring you the Engine Room this time in the form of Steve Kinch and John Trotter, without whom the rest would sound a mess, I guess. Shortly after arriving home the Rickman Files 2 arrived through the letterbox. I love a man who can take a hint. Simon who by the way has lit more shows and not just Earth Band, with whom he has a very long association than he cares to admit, obviously has. It's a sobering thought sat on a barstool with Mick Rogers late of a night (and who needs sobering thoughts late at night), that he first set out on the road with Manfred some 27 years ago.
Barry Winton captures more of the atmosphere of those very early days of MMEB in the second part of his brilliant history of the hand. Once again we are able to reproduce another of Manfred‘s short stories (the Mike Hugg one, how many fan clubs do you know where the man himself is so interested in his fans?).
Back on terra firma, Manchester Airport its grey, its raining and no sign of poor Carol who got left at home this trip. Who cares the Bike Festival was an experience I won't forget for a long
time. Thousands upon thousands of beautiful bikes, (and Hells Angels!), a great atmosphere to go with them: fantastic open air stage a great and appreciative crowd 8- 10, 000 strong, the band on
top form playing a blistering set. This is what life is all about, isn't it, Rock'N'RolI.
See you next time. Carol & Andy
PE#17 - Page 3
Well back in the UK the newest and longest serving members of the band are going high profile these days. Mr. Trotter can be found on peak Saturday night TV this autumn on the Lenny Henry Show sounding and looking good, whilst Mr. Rogers is featured in Guitarist Magazine available from all good newsagents around the UK. An enjoyable interview and some good pics.
As previously mentioned in these pages, the first batch of remastered and repackaged albums, complete with bonus tracks and additional sleeve notes are now due out around November. Messin', Solar Fire, The Good Earth, Watch, Roaring Silence and Plains Music, all have additional bonus tracks. Messin' for example includes 'Pretty Good' previously only released in the States. Plains Music comes complete with one previously unreleased song that will be familiar to Earth Band fans. However, when compiling the forthcoming Best Of Volume I, the problem became only too clear, as we had planned to include the Single 'l Who Have Nothing'. Sadly however, the masters for these and indeed almost everything pre-l 986 were destroyed
in a fire at the Workhouse Studio. Whilst some masters have been recovered from Europe and The States, others including such’ gems as the Solar Fire Holst Recordings and the Chapter III Volume 3 unreleased album, together with other unreleased material have probably been lost for ever. On a happier note, after much searching the single version of For You' was discovered and has been included in the Best Of, the first time this version has been on CD. The new compilation will be different. An attempt over 2 CD's to do a true Best Of. Volume 1 will be in chronological order (almost), but will contain some versions of songs never released on CD before.
UP THE JUNCTION AGAIN
Manfred Mann Go Up The Junction, or at least they did in 1968 when Mann and Hugg were busy writing music for adverts T.V. drama and in this case film music. Up The Junction, the film is a remake of a BBC TV play typical of its time a, kitchen sink drama. Rich girl moves to the wrong side of the tracks in 60's London, and sees the rough side of life. One of its stars Dennis Waterman went on to become a household name here in the UK for TV shows such as The Sweeney and Minder. Manfred Mann and Mike Hugg used a combination of straight Pop songs and modern jazz, a
medium they had featured on one or two tracks on previously released albums. The title track stands out as a fine piece of writing and sounds just as good almost 30 years later. Sadly
Manfred and Mike wrote only one more film score that I am aware of Venus In Furs, which turned out to be a soft porn film. A shame because Up The Junction worked very well and I would recommend
the CD release to anyone complete with bonus track Sleepy Hollow, the 'B' side of the Up The Junction single. But beware the sleeve notes, which are sadly once again inaccurate and
MANFRED MANN THE BBC SESSIONS
7243 4 97770 2 6
Just before we went to press l acquired a copy of this new CD featuring 24 tracks recorded at the BBC between October 1964 and April 1966. A mixture of Classic R&B, Jazz and some of the early Pop, hits that first made the name Manfred Mann famous. There are some wonderful live versions of familiar tunes, as well as a number of previously unreleased songs such as ‘l Need You’, recorded 5.1.65. ‘That’s The Way I Feel’ 3.65. ‘Parchman Farm’ 7.7.65, and 'It Took A Little While’ 7.12.65, 33 years to be precise. Everybody knows by now how much I love this early stuff, there is a great live feel to a lot of this, although the sound quality is not always wonderful, and the packaging basic to say the least. Nevertheless, this is a must have if you have any interest in the early stuff and I know for a fact that the BBC have plenty more Manfred archive material including quite a lot of early MMEB tracks, so lets hope that this is just Volume 1 of several.
PE#17 - Page 4
The sun. is shinning on the beautiful surroundings of the Mosel valley. l finally track John down to his room, which is right on the bank of the river, whilst boats of various sizes sail gently
past, we begin to explore the man behind the drum kit. Once again we start right back at the beginning.
I remember one day at school aged 11, a school winter concert. Suddenly these drums started, I'd never actually been in a room before with a drum kit, all the kids' head's turned when these drums started. It sounded fantastic and that was it, I was hooked from then on. Back then I used to play along to the Top of the Pops, on a couple of pots and pans in my bedroom. Then my home background changed. I'd lived with my Mother, and went to live with my Dad and got involved with a drum shop in Newcastle, called Ronnie's Drum Shop which was fantastic, that was the nucleus certainly for drummers in Newcastle. l met a guy called Barry Black who was a drummer with John Miles, he was like the local star - he'd get any session work going in the area.
My Dad paid for my lessons, l learnt to read music, then started to get gigs. l was the dogs body in the drum shop, always practising, and it just blossomed from there. There was a recording studio in the basement and I used to go in on Sunday's and listen to the sessions and learn from them. The guy who ran the studio used to get me to play on his backing tapes, l was only about 13 or 14.
Then l got into a band in Newcastle at the local Mayfair, with a guy called Don Smith. I think in the 60's he'd had one of the top bands in the country, second only to the Ted Heath Band. He had some fantastic musicians in his band. Don used to give me a really hard time, but l was only 16. it was a fantastic experience for a lad of 16 to play all styles and not just the pop stuff, Tango, Quick Steps, Fox Trots, Samba's etc, and you were backing the cabarets of the time, Little & Large, Bob Monkhouse, The Nolans, people like that.
We were resident at the Mayfair in Newcastle then we would go off to do a summer season in Blackpool. l had the time of my life a 16 year old, earning about £140 per week. l didn't have any responsibilities, spent £10.00 and put the rest in the bank to buy myself a proper kit. At the time l had a Premier kit, it was bits put together, all sorts of bit and bobs and we recovered it all one colour. After that some of us moved on, got our own season in Great Yarmouth.
I worked in London for the first time in 1985, then went back to Newcastle and formed my own band. We were the Top Club Band in Newcastle. The idea was we’d do the clubs, do a few covers so we could get some cash together to record our own songs. It was the world's worst run band. We were paying for three vans at one time. Somebody went out and bought a van only to find we couldn't get all our gear in. Even back then l was a pain in the arse, wanting to rehearse, change the set etc., whilst the rest were content sitting in the pub. l was offered the gig at the Empire in Leicester Square London, through some guys I'd worked. with - so I left that band.
Phil Pope was my first break into TV work. He'd put together a project for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1991 with comedian, Rory McGrath. Graham Ward was the drummer booked to do the gig, but then became unavailable. l was recommended but initially didn't really fancy a month in Edinburgh for not a lot of money, but couldn't help thinking that if Graham, (a very in demand player), was going to do it, it must be good. l didn't expect to see Phil again, but after a couple of weeks l got a call to do Spitting lmage, which Phil was M.D. for at the time. l have worked constantly for him since, with shows like the Fast Show, Harry Enfield, Not The Nine O'Clock News etc. etc.
Most of the TV stuff is pre-recorded unlike my latest venture for Lenny Henry, which is all live.
I asked John about the problems of doing Live TV of this type.
You have to get there for a start, it's always a worry getting there. It was on location that show - Dundee, Wales and being a drummer you have to be there earlier than everybody else is. Getting your gear into some of these theatre pits is a nightmare. Then you have to get parked, then you think I've got to start work now. You've already been on the go six or seven hours. Getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning for an 11 o'clock sound check, the show going out at 8.00 o'clock. If you make a mistake you don't get to go again, it still goes out live on air.
It's fast and furious in typical Lenny style, with various musical guests whom we played for like Robbie Williams, Mick Hucknell, Ruby Turner etc.
At this point l observed that John set very high standards for himself.
Yes, you want it to be the best it possibly can be, it doesn't matter if it's a demo for Mick or something really good like a demo for Noel, (only joking Mick)!
I worked for Richard Niles, for a film session, he's had a lot of success, very well respected. He believes that if there's something written in your part, it's there to be played.
"Oh yes Mr. Drummer, the 3rd bar of letter B, the 4th semi quaver in, there's an open high hat, I didn't hear it".
He certainly knows what he's talking about this bloke. l got on very well with him and. did quite a lot more work for him.
l found this interesting because of course back in the late 60's early 70's ,Manfred and his then partner Mike Hugg, did a lot of T.V. advert and film session work. Speaking of Manfred Mann's
Earth Band, it is a seriously different gig from anything we have talked about so far. Yes, Progressive Rock l suppose it is. I'd done quite a lot of blues stuff before with the Moody Marsden
Band and with Don Airey, with various singers such as Colin Blunstone, Chris Farlowe, Jimmy Barnes and Chris T.
PE#17 - Page 5
And recently you have played with the legendary Blues Guitarist, Peter Green.
That's right, Peter was lovely to me actually. When we were doing the audition we played 'Green Manalishi' and he said that's the best it's ever been played, and l was extremely flattered. I knew the stuff, however l wasn't the guy they had pegged for the gig, that was a guy called Geoff Britton, who used to be in Manfred Mann's Earth Band (Angel Station). In the end l got the gig.
Even the Earth Band gig l fully expected John Lingwood to get. He'd been in the band before, and he plays very well. So John or somebody like Chris Slade or Clive Bunker who they already knew. I mean they don't know who I am, they don't know what I'm going to be like on the road, l could be a complete nightmare (ha! ha!). The gigs only 3 hours of the day, it's not the hard part, it's the other 11 hours of the day you have to live with these people. I see that as being a big thing with the band, and everybody does get on really well. There is always banter of course. l moan as much as anybody but it's never nasty, if it was l wouldn't do it.
Right, say’s I, but isn't it true that you were a bit of an Earth Band fan yourself in a previous life?
l bought Watch for 30 pence in Edinburgh in a second hand shop because l loved Davy. Somebody had been singing it on a bus and l thought l haven't heard that song for ages. I didn't even know it was MMEB and obviously everybody likes Blinded, that was a hit when l was a kid in 1976. l would have been 1O. I didn't even know who Manfred Mann was, l thought Manfred Mann was the name of the band but not a bloke. I got to meet and record with Chris, but l still didn't know much about MMEB.
The day before l did the audition, Chris told me to speak to Manfred. l asked what should I learn to play, and he said Martha's Madman. l booked a rehearsal studio and practised. I knew the arrangement of the song had totally changed from Watch, even so l think it was that which got me the gig. Having been on the road with the Earth Band for the last three years, l think I am a much better player. Playing three-minute songs it's easy, if your having to cope with ten-minute arrangements to the extremes of the Earth Band stuff, say something like Martha, which is absolutely flying at some stages, then drops down to nothing. To physically go through that, keep it all together, and hold the band together is a hard job for the drummer. This is a hard gig for a drummer to keep it feeling, to use my expression, ’expensive'. l don't believe I'm a busy drummer, I'm quite happy to hold the whole thing together.
My hero was Jeff Porcaro, when I was 13 I heard Randy Crawford's Secret Combination, which was great funky groovy stuff, which of course featured Jeff. Then l heard Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross and Toto of course. "This guy's on everything, so l thought people obviously like the way he plays, so it made sense for me to think I'll try and copy this bloke". "Jeff had the 'Golden Groove'. I did have other influences as well, Harvey Mason, Steve Cadd, John Robinson, Carlos Vega and English drummer Graham Jarvis, but l suppose long term it's been mainly Jeff.
l heard a rumour things got a bit emotional at times when finishing off the new album Mann Alive. How do you feel about the finished product?
I think it's pretty good. It started off a bit unpleasant l fell out with people over it because of the way l am. From the initial Dat tapes it was clear this was going to be a good album. The initial slave tracks didn't sound too bad, then it all came up and it just sounded awful,but it gradually got better. Davy on the album is in two halves, the moog solo is one gig and the song is another gig and Manfred sliced the two together and he's done a fantastic job, you can't tell the difference. The Moog solo l think sounds lovely.
The whole album has got a great feel and I'm very proud of it. You do get very precious about these things. I'll play an album l played on 4 or 5 years ago, which l absolutely hated, listening to it now, it doesn't sound too had really.
There are some songs not on there that l would have had, Miss You, Medicine Song, Pleasure and Pain and even Fire. l thought there were some lovely versions of Fire - l think I'm the only one who did think that!
At this point we suddenly realised that we had been talking for seriously long time, and were in great danger of missing dinner. Not to mention the bike festival. I thanked John for spending so much time putting this piece together for all the fans out there, and asked one obvious final question. "What about the future"?
Who knows. You never know what is around the corner. It would be nice to have some success with MMEB and do a big tour with the films. Manfred says we don't need that now with two singers and a great band and maybe he's right. We are one of the few bands who are blessed with great singers. There's life in the Earth Band yet. Outside of Earth Band l'll still be busy doing what l'm doing.
l just want to go on working with good people and make a living. I'm not bothered about being a POP STAR.
After all as MM says, "l'm just a bit of a boy tapping away in the corner".
Congratulations to John and Hope on the birth of their son Joseph John, from everybody in the Fan Club.
PE#17 - Page 6
BARRY WINTON'S NOT QUITE OVERNIGHT SENSATIONS - Part 2
The original impetus of Manfred's new direction was simple, a back to the roots type band. The cost of putting together a large type ensemble like Chapter III back out on the road was financially disastrous, doing a Paul Jones or Mike D'Abo project all over again was a step back and most importantly could Manfred survive the new decade after all he was not exactly giving his original fans quite what they wanted. A new audience was what he most needed, a new identity at this point was vital to his future survival.
An extensive rehearsal period followed. It seemed logical to record some songs targeted at the commercial rock market to somehow or other regain his flagging popularity. Manfred was one of the first musicians to experiment with a mini moog, a new keyboard instrument, of which he would later be renowned as the ultimate master. Once again signed up by Phonogram, this time to the Philips label, his first two singles Bob Dylan's, 'Please Mrs Henry' and Randy Newman's 'Living Without You', a minor hit in the States, were both relatively commercial failures on these shores. Both were credited to simply Manfred Mann, however during the flight to a Dublin Gig a new name was debated. 'Head Band' was out for sounding too hippyish, 'Elastic Band' was out for sounding too silly. it was vegetarian and ecology enthusiast Chris Slade who finally suggested 'Earth Band'. The Group looked at each and said "yeah that's it". 'Manfred Mann's Earth Band', their eponymous debut album appeared in February 1972. In my view interesting but somewhat muddled, though it was a step in the right direction.
There are some really nice bits Prayer' a reworking of 'Dealer, Dealer’ from the 'As Is' album was for me the icing on the cake. The song was an early strong show opener and 'Captain Bobby Stout', though not that powerful on the album, was certainly very different live, where it hit hard and went on to become a live favourite for many years to come. Before very long Manfred had abandoned his original commercial intentions and was quick to realise the potential in his Earth Band and decided 'that's my new direction, melodic progressive 'heavy rock'. MMEB had musically gelled together so quickly and had carved out a unique identity with Manfred and Mick improvising a lot on the instrumental passages by augmenting the lead solos.
An early tour of Australia was soon underway. For some strange reason The Promoter reverted back to the Chapter III namesake and would you believe
PE#17 - Page 7
they received the distinction to tour with two of Britain‘s premier rock bands; Free and Deep Purple in a package deal. Apparently every night the Manfred's went down a storm. Towards the end of the tour they eventually one night headlined over the enormously popular Deep Purple, on their reputation alone.
Once back in old blighty MMEB recorded an 'in concert' for John Peel's Radio One in Concert. Three songs, 'Ashes to the Wind', 'Happy Being Me' and 'Black Betty” were previewed displaying an astonishing progression in such a short time. On the subject of these early tours between 1972 - 1975 MMEB. supported ELP, ELO & ZZ Top. More diversely they also undertook a coast to coast tour with 'Bronze Label Mates' 'Uriah Heep' when Canadian superstars 'Rush‘ were third on the bill. Also in 1974 MMEB. toured the States, this time around they topped the bill over 'Kiss', as well as fulfilling European tours with the Sensational ‘Alex Harvey Band', and 'Hudson and Ford'.
It was also during the same year that Mick Rogers was to receive his perfect accolade when MMEB. supported his mentor 'Frank Zappa'. This esteemed great honour was to have a prolonged effect on the guitarist who was totally besotted with the late great musician. This was to be the proudest moment of Mick's entire career when Zappa personally invited him to play bass with him at a gig, something he never quite recovered from. From that moment onwards it was Zappa, Zappa and more Zappa driving the rest of his colleagues nuts. Yes Mick was totally obsessed with the man to put it mildly.
As we all know MMEB. Mk.One stayed together for five and a half years releasing six studio albums (the same length of time the 60's Manfred Mann had lasted). In my view this will always be the definitive line up, although I dearly love the
band all the way through but somehow the original MMEB were something very, very special. I avidly remember the day
when 'Solar Fire' was released I waited impatiently at Cloud Nine record shop in Wimbledon for its arrival, bunked off school for the day, ran home to play it. For me it was MMEB's masterpiece. I will remember how I forged a sick note to my school so I could stay at home all week and played it over and over again. In fact all the other bands I liked, Heep, Argent, Gentle Giant, Mahavishna Orchestra, Atomic Rooster and King Crimson all took a back seat for months. I must have played Solar Fire at least 400 times straight before I gave anything else consideration. A quarter of a century on it still stands as my favourite album of all time.
Anyhow by 1975, I witnessed Mick Roger's final show with MMEB at the Greyhound, Croydon. I had tickets for the Rainbow Theatre to see John Martyn, Kevin Coyne and Hatfield and the North, but I ended up giving my tickets away to a friend. Hell on earth wouldn't deter me from missing an MMEB Gig.
I kept my eyes glued to the music press for further information and regularly phoned the Workhouse who were always very kind and helpful to me. By this time I had become a huge fan of US. heavyweights 'Blue Oyster Cult’, and I was absolutely over the moon when MMEB paired up with them to co-headline a European tour with provisional British dates to follow, (with a pencilled in date at the Hammersmith Odeon Theatre in London). I think I ended up driving the Workhouse to a frazzle. Sadly these gigs never took place on these shores.
Following the release of 'Nightingales and Bombers' in August 1975 a band meeting was called. Mick Rogers, still smitten with the Frank Zappa bug and increasingly wanting to steer the Earth Band into a jazz rock unit parted company by mutual consent.
When I heard the news I was devastated. Would MMEB continue, and if it did would it ever be quite the same for me again? Would such an important band member ever be replaceable?
Auditions were soon underway. The best Manfred had so far heard, via the time honoured code of a demo tape, was an English born gentlemen who had spent most of his life in New Zealand by the name of Chris Hamlet Thompson. Hamlet was deliberately double barrelled because there was another Kiwi singer of the same name who incidentally was the other Chris Thompson's next door neighbour (small world eh). Anyhow, when the vocalist finally made the audition stage he was promptly invited around to Manfred's house to sing his heart out. When Manfred answered the door, his would be hopeful applicant was to his horror sporting a Frank Zappa Tee shirt. Manfred's initial reaction was 'OH NO' not again!
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The tour bus is making good progress, speeding us towards the next hotel and the next show, for the Band and Crew, just like any other day. They finished taking last night's show to pieces, Steve Kinch has tried out his new shades following the instructions to the letter on how to put them on his face! Now he's really bored, time to strike methinks.
Let‘s start with a bit of background l suggest casually on the real Mr. Kinch.
I was born in Hastings, May 17th, 1955 spent a lot of my life in or around Hastings, l did pretty average at School, got an 'O‘ Level, left school at 16 and became a glass blower. I did that for about two years and then left to become a fill time musician gigging all around England and Wales, France and Germany.
The band was called Factory, with a keyboard player called Andy Qunta, who wrote Tribal Statistics for the Somewhere in Afrika album, which I helped him demo incidentally. He was also one of the co-writers on You're the Voice. Played with Andy in Factory for quite a few years. It was basic Rock Music with a few Jiggy things thrown in. Andy's brother, Tony played Violin as well as guitar, it was a fun band. After 3 or 4 years we decided on a bit of a change of direction when the jazz fusion thing was happening, so we headed in that direction a bit with a band called Head On, and that was really good. Andy, Tony and me and a change of drummer. That finished around 1979-80 and then in 1980 I got a call to audition for Hazel O'Connors band. Andy Qunta was already in the band, as was another friend Wesley Magoogan and they suggested me. l got the job and stayed with Hazel for a couple of years touring Europe, and The States recording l think one album and several singles. Then in 1982 Hazel decided she wanted to do her own thing without the band. Shortly afterwards l got a call from Jim Capaldi who wanted a Bass player. Initially it was just for a week in Ibiza. 'How do you fancy a week in the sun - two or three gigs in Ibiza?‘ I remember sitting outside the villa that was rented for us, with the rest of the band trying to learn 90 minutes of material. The other guys weren’t overly keen to spend time on the songs (being in Jim’s band and already knowing the songs). They seemed more concerned about the time they were missing out on by the sea, so I thought if you can’t beat them join them, anyway if the gig was a disaster there were far worse things I could be doing than sitting by the sea in Ibiza soaking up the sun. So l did that, then it was decided to do more gigs, there was going to be a tour of the States which we spent many weeks rehearsing for, but in the end that never happened.
It was a shame, I'm not sure why it didn't happen, we were supposed to be playing with Santana, James-Taylor - all these names had been floating about.
That was 1984/85. In between projects, I was writing and demoing. In think it was the end of '85, early '86, Andy Qunta phoned me. "The Earth Band need a bass player, they've been auditioning but so far have not found anyone suitable. You should have a go." It's always been a band
I'd respected always enjoyed the music. I ended up going to a studio in London to audition. It all went very well, we played Davey and a couple of other songs, and afterwards we went around the corner to the pub. I thought they can't be taking everyone round to the pub, this looks hopeful.
Got the train home and before I got in there was a call from Chris Thompson saying I'd got the job. That was 1986 and I recorded just one track for the Criminal Tango album, Do Anything You Wanna Do, the last track. Then we spent what seemed like years, in fact four or five months rehearsing for the Criminal Tango tour of Europe.
At this point I asked Steve, if anything in particular stuck in his mind from that period. Giving my question some thought he replied.
Musically it was enjoyable. It was good, the shows were bigger but it wasn't as enjoyable as it is now, now its much better. It's just a really friendly vibe now, except for that Tony McGrogan (Tour Manager), who makes all our lives really very difficult.
He's so big time, I agreed, and Tony who had entered a few moments earlier "yells abuse back in a big time way and leaves to plot some ludicrous practical joke on some poor unsuspecting fool, such as me! Where the hell are we I ask, having lost track completely.
Oh yes Masque? I did absolutely nothing on the Masque album I've always maintained that my telephone had developed a problem preventing any calls from Manfred getting through to me.
So what were you doing whilst your phone was out of order. I spent about 3-4 years with the Rubettes. Mention the Rubettes and some people snigger, but it was good fun. Probably not the ideal gig for me, but you have mouths to feed, bills to pay.
An advert in ‘Melody Maker“, 70's band requires bass player/singer’, so I auditioned, again I got the job touring all around Europe, U.K., Scandinavia- The guys were nice chaps to work with, lots of singing, lots of backing vocals which I was worried about but in the end it was good. So you were just doing the 70's revival thing? No there was some new songs, songs people wouldn't recognise. Obviously you got to do the old ones like Juke Box Jive, Sugar Baby Love. We did some recording and had some success, mostly in France. They're still going strong, the original bass player is back nowadays.
You keep mentioning writing, what kind of stuff does you write? I wrote a song a few years ago Gary Holton from Auf Wiedersehen Pet. He was a singer before he was an actor, a band called the Heavy Metal Kids - he got to hear my song which he liked I think it was recorded at the Workhouse. Jimmy Lee from Slade produced it. Sounded great, a bit Sladeish, a bit singalong, but really good. It was called 'That‘s How the Story Goes', not suitable for the Earth Band, mind you most of the stuff I write isn't suitable for the Earth Band, it's pretty diverse. There's a thing I‘m working on at the moment, parts I'm trying to arrange, voice and strings for which doesn't have drums as such. You can't really call it a rock track, acoustic piano - voice - a few strings that sort of thing. The next song I do could be almost like an Indie sort of song. If I get an idea for a song I try and just let it take its own direction. So are you a demon on the keyboards? Not at all - takes me forever but that's the good thing about using a computer you don't have to have a great keyboard skill as long as you can, play a few chords. You can always put certain sections together to make it sound like one continuous section - you can cheat! Every musician tries to be a songwriter, I do it mostly for enjoyment, I'm certainly not a
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prolific songwriter, I do it when the mood takes me. Back to Earth Band, the next album was Soft Vengeance.
Half the tracks I played on, half I didn't. At the end of the day it's Manfred Mann's Earth Band and for recording he gets in other musicians as well.
Let's talk about the new live album.
What the album has managed to do is capture the excitement of the band, it's and exciting album. It's the closest thing you are going to get to Manfred Mann's Earth Band Live, that's for sure, apart from being a live show. Very few overdubs which is unusual, most live albums you wonder how live they are. I've heard albums where you think there is no way they could have done that live, but this is as live as it gets. That's not to say all the songs are taken from the one show. I am pleased with it but as a musician you always listen to it thinking I wish I'd done that.
And the next album?
A Difficult question. Manfred decides what he wants to do and I believe he‘s started the next album for the Millennium, so you never know. I would like to break free of some of the restrictions that are imposed on the band. A lot of the older songs have a similar feel, maybe some different grooves would be nice, not to break away entirely from the Earth Band sound. I think that is the sort of direction Manfred wants to take. Settling into a groove, letting that groove establish itself, rather than getting near then changing direction.
This is by far the best Earth Band we all get on; we are all
very different people. More diverse characters than any other Band I've ever been in, but that can be a positive thing, we get on great, we’re all relaxed and that’s what makes it so enjoyable now. The music is better than its ever, ever been. I think we've got out of the ‘prog rock’ thing although there's still little bits of that like Father Of Day, but you have to do Father of Day cause people want to hear it, but its great fun. I will always be writing because it's a fun thing to do, so I'll always do that. Perhaps pursue that more seriously. I love gigging, live playing in live shows, l can't imagine not doing live shows. As Mick would say, "You’ve gotta rock!"
The coach suddenly grinds to a halt, McGrogan returns to try out the practical joke he had been working on and Steve is once again studying the small print for his new shades, so we left it there. Thanks Steve.
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Mike D'Abo and I stepped out on the stripped pine veranda of a very lovely house in a forest in the North of Sweden. It was early evening, it was summer, and we two had bravely volunteered to taste the local delicacy, a partly rotted fish that was traditionally eaten with a boiled potato. It was a famous and very well known food combination, I was proudly informed. I later found out that the reason we were out on the veranda, and not in the house, was that if the tin was to be opened in the house, the fumes would lodge in the furniture and curtains, would infect the fabric of the premises when the next generation inhabited the premises and probably for many years afterwards.
I wonder who the person was, who decided that what this area needed to be associated with, was partly rotted fish eaten with a boiled potato. One would have thought that anyone with a piece of fish would generally be seeking for it not to go rotten. Did some Johan Swede forget about it, or was he perhaps delayed by an attractive Ingrid, and came home later to the smell of partly rotted fish, and sniff and think '0 Goody, Goody', it's nearly gone off and smells terrible, but I bet it tastes good, 'I'll put it in a tin and create a local delicacy‘.
I have travelled a fair amount and have noticed that the word famous, when referring to famous local delicacies seems to have a somewhat different meaning to the one we associated with it. I have as the years have gone by, begun to develop an amount of sympathy with the philistine who travels the world looking for Chicken in the basket, and seeks a hamburger when standing in a Bavarian street market, and I have regularly cursed my gastronomic open mindedness, as I ask for Reindeer eyebrows in Finland, or pigs toenails in aspic, in Thuringia. I often would look enviously at my colleges who had ordered Steak and Chips, which looked and smelled wonderful.
I went first, don't know why, perhaps bravado. A piece of potato was put on a fork, the tin opened, several metres away. Oddly enough, I don't remember a smell, anyway the famous Swedish concoction went into my mouth.
There are at least two things I never thought I would acquire. a taste for. Two horrible, horrible things, olives, blue cheese and no sugar in tea and coffee. Well as time saw has gone on, each of these has become a part of my
diet. I am not quite sure how much time would have to pass before the Swedish fish was an unnoticed food in my life, but I suspect evolution would have evolved a few more complete species before this would happen.
I was apprehensive, everyone was watching me, I chewed and my fears evaporated. This didn't taste too bad, actually it didn't taste at all for a few microseconds, my sensation of taste had been numbed, my taste buds just gave up life for a bit, and emigrated, at this grievous assault. When my senses came back, a sensation started at the top of my sinuses and spread rapidly downwards. I hurled myself at the veranda rail and spat out in a vain attempt to get rid of the taste, if taste was the word for the intense fumes that engulfed me. This was a taste that defeated endless rinsing toothpaste's and brushing/flossing etc., for a considerable time after.
It now fell to Michael D‘Abo to show courage and fortitude in the knowledge of the fact that the fish had reduced me to a shaking spitting swallowing and rinsing obsessive compulsive. Michael was an aristocrat amongst us, he had gone to the same school as Winston Churchill, and Michael had been Captain of Cricket at that school. Michael's ancestors were the same people, who had created, ruled and maintained the British Empire across the globe. Michael was born to eats Yaks testicles, in the Gobi Desert, Sheep's eyes in Arabia, crushed locust in Central Africa, all for the sake of Great Britain. Michael D'Abo was born for this moment; he stepped forward with a casual unfazed manner, as if to merely have a cup of tea in an English country house, the old clocks» ticking in the corner, the horses in the field, the servants in their place. If a negotiation were taking place this would be an opportunity to add Northern Sweden to the British Empire. The potato and fish went into Michael's month, he chewed casually for a short while, as the fumes made their way around to every sensory nerve ending, in his head. He swallowed, considered casually as if savouring a great and special delicacy for the first time. He paused, then said, and considering how to describe what he had tasted, and then Michael said casually 'You know', he said, ‘These taste very much like English potatoes’!
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THE RICKMAN FILES - STUDIO LIGHTING Simon J. Rickman
When I was young (December, 4th 1969), it wasn't possible to study stage lighting as one can nowadays. Nor were there any ‘lightshows‘ accompanying live gigs. None of the seminal or influential bands of the early sixties, The Beatles, Elvis, Acker Bills, not even Manfred had a regular lighting chap (although Manfred does have an early-days story about attempting an effect by having the lights turned on and off, if I've got it right, but you'll have to ask him). These groups all lay under theatrical lights, more often than not with no colours or flashing about like you see everywhere today. It wasn't until Pink Floyd took 'Liquid Len' on the road that touring lightshow was born.
Len worked at the Roundhouse in London and was the inventor of the liquid wheel, a Heath-Robinson contraption comprising two transparent plastic circles about a foot or so in diameter, stuck together, and rotated mechanically in front of a light source, a film projector. Sandwiched between the circles were links of different colours and consistencies which, heated by the lamp, would slip and slide around each other producing a trippy effect when shone onto a screen or a white wall, something like a paisley tie in a lava lamp. Len's lightshow was all part of a night out at the club, no matter who was playing.
Since then the technology has taken off and taken off and taken over in many cases - to where every act now has all sorts of whizzbang moving bits, as I'm sure you have seen. However, as any good lady will tell you its not what you've got but what you do with it that makes the difference, something that most light jockeys don't understand, which is why so many band's shows end up looking like an Italian TV extravaganza., lighting the lights, not the musicians.
But we digress. When I was at school I had not the slightest inkling what I would be making a career of lighting - it is now over twenty years since my first show with the Rezillo's! In fact, I did have an idea to go and work for the civil service in Customs and Excise, or for the International Displacement Inspectorate, somewhere that gave the opportunity to travel and where I could put my knack for languages to good use. (For those of you who may not know it, the IDI is a small U.N. department which ensures that all maritime nations adhere to their equilateral agreement NOT to have more than 50% of their shipping at sea at any one time because of the global risk of flooding to low lying areas, a la greenhouse effect, is just too great, according to Archimedes principle. But I didn't get the required grades at Maths and Swimming at A level having gotten, along with many of my contemporaries, 'into music'. I has started playing in a bluesy band with my brother and mate from school and I was therefore a bit distracted from homework. I remember well in fact, watching Cream's farewell concert in 1969 (first show 5:00 p.m.), and thinking to myself, during a savage rendition of 'Politician', that I ought to really be at home swotting up on Asian-Pacific water-treading technique. But I wasn't; I was there instead and I like to think that it is a direct result of following and understanding music of Cream, Yes, Edgar Broughton et al (Stewart) that I am now able to provide that just-so' intimate, lighting of atmosphere that is crucial when, for
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example Mick goes into one of his post-neo-avant-garde contrapuntal solos. So that time wasn't wasted, honest Mum!
Those early days in the evolution of Rock Music that I experienced first hand as a paying punter have also given me a distinct advantage when it comes to lighting in the recording studio, as you can see if you examine any track on the 'Mann Alive' CD. The introduction of the blue-green for the first time in 'Martha' for instance, along with those dramatic white stabs, or the hypnotic pulsating reds cleverly swapped with deep blue for 'Demo Man' . Most of you will of course taken these for granted but there is a lot more to lighting a CD particularly a live one, than meets the ear; a special thank-you here for those of you left messages of appreciation on the cobweb-site especially those who vibed with the unison floor-lights on Soft Vengeance's 'Miss You' - losers who don't know it, check it out! And I wonder how many of you will notice the subtle 'edits' taking place on several songs on the new CD, between the end of the vocal line and the start of the solo! It appears very smooth, as indeed it is, but did you know that it is actually a masterful piece of interplay utilising Pat King's expertise on the follow-spot and my digital dexterity on the lighting faders? It is, really! Look at the CD. Listen to it. See if you can spot the others.
One interesting thing to finish with; the sleeve notes for 'Mann Alive' would have you believe that there are two versions of 'Redemption Song' because the song was as good with Noel singing along as it was with just Chris or some such; but take a good close listen to the lighting on the two tracks - is it the same? Hey, we all enjoy a brass section but I'm not blowing my trumpet when I say do you see what I mean?
Thanks. It's been a pleasure.
Words, pictures and lighting by Simon Rickman.
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