1975 - 1976
||My Bucket's Got A Hole In It / I Can't Boogie released.|
I thought I'd do a Top 40 records. All this is what I'm into now. Nobody is making nice pop records at the moment. I know it's easy to say it, but you've got to follow your nose.
When that was not a success, I decided to have a re-think. The first thing a solo artist should have is a producer. I was in the fortunate position of having worked with every producer in this country, from Geroge Martin to Mike Batt. Mickie Most (see Spedding's comment) is the guy I get on with best of all. I knew that he'd produce my record and make it sound like me.
And then Spedding signed to RAK Records.
||Recording Motorbikin' at Morgan Studios with Dave Cochran on bass, Barry Morgan/Tony Carr on drums.|
It's time to step out. I'm much more sure of what I'm doing. I've made about all the mistakes it's possible to make. I've consolidated it. This is a conscious attempt to start a career under my own name, to have some hit singles that will establish a Chris Spedding Sound, so that when I form a group people will know what to expect.
Session with Roy Harper, which came out as HQ (see his comment) in May.
Harper hired Chris as a member of his backing group Trigger for his British tour.
Then Spedding got a phone call from Mick Jagger, but he turned down the Jagger's offer.
My schedule was too full. It would've meant cancelling the Roy Harper tour.
It might seem a bit presumptuous of me to say to Jagger 'Sorry Mick, I'm working'. But it's not quite as simple as that. They've been looking for a guitarist for six months - they've ever had Beck down there. The Sharks split up at around the same time that Mick Taylor left (decided to leave) the Stones - there I was, lead guitarist from a group that had just broken up, itching to get straight into something else straight away. And I was there and they knew about me.
People had been talking about me being the obvious choice as soon as Taylor left. I thought 'Let's wait for the phone call then'. I waited two weeks. Nothing Happened.
If I was in the Stones, I'd only be a back-up man, and I want to do my own thing.
||John Cale released Slow Dazzle in March and kicked off the tour with Spedding, Pat Donaldson on bass, Timi Donald on drums and Chris Thomas on keyboard this month.|
They went around Europe for a month.
||John Cale - John Peel Session (aired on May 9)|
They played, Taking It All Away, Darling I need You, You Know More What I Know and Fear.
Taking It All Away, Darling I need You and You Know More What I Know are contained on his bootleg Lou Reed/John Cake - Take Off Your Mask and Fear is on Roxy Music - When You Were Young
||J.Cale - Essesx University, Colchester (British tour started)
||J.Cale - City Hall, Glasgow|
||J.Cale - Lancaster University|
||J.Cale - Sussex University, Brighton|
||J.Cale - Southampton University|
||J.Cale - Drury Lane Theatre, London (with Eno)|
||J.Cale - Cambridge University|
||J.Cale - St.Andrews University|
||J.Cale - City Hall, New Castle|
||J.Cale - Repertory Theatre, Birmingham|
Slow Dazzle tour ended up.
Then Spedding joined the Roy Harper's backing band Trigger, consisting of Dave Cochran on bass and Bill Bruford on drums.
Roy Harper says,
I've known Chris for some time. We're both from the same latitude in the North. I think Chris is a very, very underrated and original guitarist.
I would say that having played with the people I've played with, like Jimmy Page and Dave Gilmour, that he's right up there with them. There are some amazing guitar solos on this album.
I liked working with Jimmy Page because he understands my music better than anyone. Chris isn't quite like that. He's more interested in the actual music, how it sounds than what is actually going on in the lyrics.
||R.Harper - Town Hall, Birmingham|
||R.Harper - Guildhall, Portsmouth|
||R.Harper - De montfort Hall, Leicester
||R.Harper - Hempstead Pavilion, Hemel|
||R.Harper - City Hall, Sheffield|
||R.Harper - Guildhall, Preston|
||R.Harper - Free Trade Hall, Manchester|
||R.Harper - City Hall, New Castle|
||R.Harper - Usher Hall, Edinburgh|
||John Cale - Crystal Palace Concert Hall|
||R.Harper - Woodville Hall, Gravesend|
||R.Harper - John Peel Session|
||R.Harper - Brangwyn Hall, Swansea|
||R.Harper - Hammersmith Odeon, London|
||First solo single for RAK Motorbikin' / Working For The Union released.|
||R.Harper - Paris Theatre, London|
||R.Harper - Knebworth Festival|
R.Harper - Blackpool Rock Festival|
Harper decided to disband the group for economic reasons,
even though most of the tour was sell-out and the album sold well.
But he explained recently,
That's one of the bugbears, one of the drawbacks of being me.
I can't do that stuff all at the same time, you've got to give people
a relatively accessible evening. the crucial thing with that band,
and it's such a shame, was that I think Bill Bruford was, perhaps, the odd one out. But he was the most technically gifted of all of us. He could have a job anywhere, anytime he wanted, and will do for the rest of his life. He's an excellent drummer. But Spedding didn't like how busy he was. Bruford didn't like Spedding either,
because he thought he was too minimalist, so there were these two figures who didn't really like each other. But the band was good, it was really good, and it's a shame that band didn't stay together. I know that Spedding thinks of it as some of his best work, on record.
||Alan Price show at Royal Court Theatre, London|
||J.Cale - Roman Amphitheatre, Orange, France|
||First TV appearance as a solo artist on Top Of The Pops.|
He plays Motorbikin'.
Motorbikin' reached 14 in the UK chart.
I'm just waiting for the right moment. The band has to be successful in America, otherwise there's no point in having a band. We learnt with the Sharks that a band can't exist in England, purely on economic grounds. I want a band on a pretty high level and the guys I want to get are worth a lot of bread and I don't want to have to shop about doing clubs and small gigs just pay the road crew and hotels. I did that with the Sharks.
||Played Motorbikin' on TV Program Supersonic|
John Cale's Helen Of Troy session in autumn
||John Cale kicked off Helen Of Troy tour in Europe.|
||J.Cale - A show in Sweden was aired on FM radio. A few songs from this show are offered on his bootleg Down At The End Of...Hard Rock Cafe.|
Helen Of Troy (see his comment) was out on 14th.
And he had the UK tour.
||J.Cale - Polytechnic, Oxford|
||J.Cale - Bristol University|
||J.Cale - Exeter University|
||J.Cale - Civic Hall, Guildford|
||J.Cale - Town Hall, Birmingham|
||J.Cale - New Victoria Theatre, London|
||J.Cale - Brunel University, Uxbridge|
||J.Cale - Free Trade Hall, Manchester|
||J.Cale - Corn Exchange, Cambridge|
||J.Cale - Nottingham University|
||J.Cale - Fairfield Hall, Croydon|
John Cale was quite enjoyable. He works very hit and miss, though. You don't get a chance to craft a finished thing. It's a bit like painting a picture by throwing paint against the wall and seeing what sticks - his way of working. It was interesting. Very effective on stage, but quite frustrating in the studio.
In 1975 I was anxious, after the failure of the Sharks, to get busy again and I took all kinds of gigs, looking for a new direction.
The Cale band of 1975 was perhaps the most exiting live band I've ever played with. John was very challenging and inspiring to play with. I learned a great deal from him. The only disappointing thing was that John failed to recreate the same spontaneity on his records. I had some ideas but he never listened to me.
Chris Thomas says,
Touring with Cale was great fun and I enjoyed it a lot. When we started off that tour, it was insane, because we didn't know the songs, we didn't know the keys, we didn't know what the hell we were doing, so there were a lot of theatrics in the hope audience wouldn't spot what was going on
John Cale says,
I want a song where you never know what the song is going to be. Pick two chords and if you don't have anything to say, don't say anything. Then you're al least working from a point of honesty so that people can see something grows from there.
||Composed the songs for his first album on RAK and recorded at the RAK Mobile Studio taken to Paris, with a bass player Les Hurdle, drummers Brian Bennett and Tony Carr and a producer Mickie Most.|
|Spedding was chosen the Best Dressed Musician Award 1975 in New Musical Express.|
Jump In My Car / Running Round issued.
I don't know Mickie would choose to release this track first. But, I always set out to make every track I record as good as possible. I never consciously do album tracks as such because then you tend to play the music down.
The promotional video clip was made for the first time, but not never shown ever.
||Played Jump In My Car on TV program Supersonic|
||New Girl In The Neighbourhood / Truck Driving Man released.|
||Chris Spedding album released|
I'm really trying to make classical pop music. The things that excite me are the things that excited me when I started out in music. Anyone involved in music, even the most boring guitar hero you could imagine, was probably turned on by a Top 40 single. It's the common denominator of all musicians. I date back to the early rock'n'roll, Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent, they're the first records I remember.
The form I'm interested in mastering now is three minute single. The albumis really too long. You can't really point to anybody who's mastered the art of the album. All my favorite albums are the Greatest Hits albums, which is why I tried to sort of have the atomosphere of a Greatst Hits album on mine.
Guitar Jamboree / Sweet Disposition issued.
That's not my typical of the material I'm doing. That's just a one-off track that I thought of. Actually, the reason that I did it was that the rest of the album was so full of very short two-minute pop performances with guitar fills but no solos. I figured that I ought to give all the peoplewho know me as a guitar player a bit of flash guitar - which I don't know why they expect flash guitar from me because I've never, ever done it, but I get the distinct impression that people expect me to be a flash guitarist. The reason I don't normally do it is because I find it incredibly boring and unfulfilling. So what I did was to construct 'Guitar Jamboree', an interesting song about lots of interesting things around a few flash guitar solos. That's why the song was like that, but it's not typical of the album.
I suppose you could say that the guitar style popularised by Eric Clapton can be traced back to Albert King. He was the father of that style. As far as electric blues guitar is concerned you can't really trace it back much further. He's someone I've only come to admire over the last five years.
I was never very interested in the kind of blues which spawned, and was played by, English bands like Cream or Free. I was always more into acoustic blues, people like Big Bill Broonzy. I didn't get into electric blues until much later. I was originally interested mainly in older forms of blues and jazz, and then, through people like Junior Walker and Otis Redding and black soul music in general, I gradually moved on and discovered Albert King.
He's become my favorite in that particular electric blues guitar school. He always plays the same solo. I have an album of his and every solo he plays is the same. He always starts with the same long note in the same key. Sometimes he'll change the phrasing or timing, but there'll only be a slight difference between each solo.
He's totally different from B.B.King. I don't like B.B.King at all. He's nowhere near Albert King. Neither is Freddie King. B.B.king is a bit too sophiscate for me. It's all smart, supper-club guitar. Freddie King just isn't very good. Albert king is the only one of those guys with any talent.
The founder of the rock and roll guitar style. He's one of the three guitarists that I've taken quite a lot from. Definitely one of the most important rock and roll guitarists. He may, actually, have been overlooked as a guitarist but he's been very influential, because he can be emulated quite easily.
Every guitarist plays a Chuck Berry riff at some time. I'm sure that a lot of young guitarists play Chuck Berry licks and don't even realize it. They probably think they're playing Keith Richard licks...
The ultimate guitar virtuoso. The others were great stylists, but Jimi was the ultimate guitar virtuoso. It would be impossible to pin him down to one specific style. There are just so many aspects to him work. What I play on the album isn't a Jimi Hendrix solo at all - it's just some flash Stratocaster guitar.
I remember the first time I saw him, it was on Top Of The Pops when he played 'Hey Joe'. I thought he was fantastic. My own style was pretty well developed by that time, and he was the last guy I saw who really impressed me as a guitar player. No-one since has impressed me.
I don't think he's been influential really. He was too individual. He had no style which could be emulated, because he was capable of playing in so many styles. Chuck Berry, although he's not as great an instrumentalist, has been more influential simply because his style is easier to assimilate.
The only way you could copy Hendrix was by being as good as him. If you could play that well you wouldn't, I suppose, need to copy anyone.
No one, before or since, has got as much out of a guitar. He was aware of all the possibilities. Of course, he's had a lot of them around today, and perhaps I could have used Robin Trower as an example on the record.
It would still have sounded like Jimi. And there seemed little point in recording a copy of someone who spends so much of his time copying someone else. Trower's been very clever, actually. He's got himself noticed. Everybody argues about him sounding like Jimi Hendrix and he just stands in the middle and collects the royalties.
Pete Townshend / Keith Richard
The two most famous and important rhythm guitarists in rock. That I've imitated them on the record is a kind of acknowledgement of their value. I really don't think I'm at all familiar with much of Pete Townshend's work. I suppose I just pick up on what the avarage, half-interested music fan picks up on. I'm not authority on Townshend, or modern rock for that matter, and I don't really want to pointificate about his style or his influences.
I don't think there's any point, really, in me interesting to Pete in the same way was I listen to Jimi Hendrix, because we're more or less contemporaries and I probably get my inspiration from the same sources as pete.
There's not much point in us listening to each other in fact, I only occasionally listen to other guitarists, and when I do it's only for research.
Keith Richard's done all right for himself. Both as a musician and as a rock figure. As soon as you say Keith Richard you see a picture of him up there playing. He has a very definite public image, a very special image.
He's got that solid style of playing which I really admire. His playing has so much credibility, but it would have been impossible for me to have played something like the definitive Keith Richard guitar solo because it would have ended up sounding like Chuck Berry.
I really like Leslie. As far as heavy metal guitar players are concerned he's probably got a hell of a lot more style. It's not a shcool of guitar playing that I particularly like, but there are a lot of heavy metal guitarists about and it's difficult to ignore them.
He's a very economical player. He never overplays, never goes over the top. He's always very, very cool. Nothing fazes him. you don't usually associate economy with heavy metal, but that probably makes Leslie better than most of the others.
Eric is so derivative that if I'd attempted to play the definitive Eric Clapton solo I would have ended up sounding like Albert king. Actually, Eric's solo on 'Strange Brew' is just a compilation of all the solos on that Albert King album I mentioned.
It's just as if Albert King had recorded an extra track for his album. It is one of Eric's best solo, though. I couldn't imitate Eric without sounding like somebody else because he's always been very derivative.
I suppose he's a very important and very influential musician, but I've never actually been an Eric Clapton fa. I've only heard a few of the things he did with the Bluesbreakers. To this day I've not heard 'Stepping Out' and I only listened to Cream after I'd done the session for 'Songs For A Taylor', because I thought I'd better suss out what the geezer had been doing.
I never really came under his influence came his influence, although I remember being told once that he was the guitar player. But we've tended to work in different areas. He's taken care of business in one specific area, and I've been taking care of business in other areas.
He's like a lesser Eric Clapton. He's not been responsible for fouding any new style. He's just bulit on what other people have laid down and he's extremely good at working like that. I don't find him a particularly adventures player.
I've never been excited by his work. I've been disappointed by his work, in fact. Everyone builds him up to be such a great guitarist but I enjoy him as a technician rather than a mucisian.
He was still an obvious choice for any song about guitar heroes because he is now the archetypal guitar hero, but he doesn't really play like one anymore Jimmy Page still does, he seems to enjoy himself as that kind of figure.
Jeff Beck's been overlooked in England, but then, England is terrible musical backwater. And, in some ways, I think Jeff Beck has overlooked himself. I think he's a great player, but I don't think he realizes how good he is.
Lately, and especially on 'Blow By Blow', he seems to be following John McLaughlin, which name is a shame because that jazz style isn't quite suited to Jeff. It's a pity that Jeff seems to have been taken in by someone like John McLaughlin. Jeff has much more to offer, he's more original than John McLaughlin. I've only got one McLaughlin album - 'Extrapolation'. I thought that was all right, but I wasn't too excited.
Session with Bryan Ferry. (or in May), which came out on his album 'Let's Stick Together'
Produced Sex Pistols at Majestic Studios
The reason I did the Sex Pistols was that I think I was about the only musician that Malcolm McLaren knew. I knew him because he used make clothes for me. And a lot of people were putting the Sex Pistols down because as being not very talented, and not very good, and I've heard them and they were good. I thought, if I produced a demo for them then people would be able to hear them. So that's what I did. I think it got them the deal - it certainly got them the producer Chris Thomas because I sent him the demos. That got him in interested in the group.
Go to the Sex Pistols page for his another comment.
||Chris Spedding band formed.|
Consisted of Simon Nicol on guitars, Pat Donaldson on bass and Timi Donald on drums. They recorded 'Lone Rider' for a single, but disbanded two months later.
||Session with Frankie Miller|
Punk Rock Festival at the 100 Club|
The Sex Pistols headlined the first night, and I was on the second. I was auditioning people then. The promoter said, 'Come down for the soundcheck and see what you think of the Vibrators. They've got a good band and they can learn your songs pretty fast.' I thought 'That's silly, they can't learn a whole set. But I'll come on at the end and do two numbers.'
That's what happened, and they played so good, but I thought they needed a front man because they didn't have much of an identity.
They played together,
'Hurt', ('Hungry Man' - really played?), 'Motorbikin'', 'Great Balls Of Fire', 'Let's Twist Again' and 'Say Mama'
||Session for Ginger Baker with Snips.|
Recording with the Vibrators.
They played Pogo Dancing / The Pose for Spedding's single and We Vibrate.
Both were put out in November.
||Played John Peel Session|
'Motorbikin'', 'Misunderstood', 'Hurt', 'Pogo Dancing' and Get Outa My Pagoda'.
||The Vibrators - North East Polytechnic|
Spedding went on the stage and played together for 30 min at the end of their show.
||Played 'Motorbikin'' and 'Pogo Dancing' on Supersonic|
Maybe the last collaboration
There's nothing more boring than being respected. It's just not what rock and roll is all bout. I mean, I didn't respect Eddie Cochran, I just thought he was far out. And I don't want people to respect me.
A lot of mucical taste is just inverted snobbery. For instance, a lot of kids who play or follow punk rock are very middle class. Like, the Ramones come from Forest Hills which is a very respective American suburb. And these are just nice kids who feel that they're missing something in their comfortable middle class lives, so they look far a way to express their aggression or frustration. It was the same with Eric Clapton really - he was an art school student who wanted to break out a bit, so he got into black music.
Not that I'm any different. I mean my dad was a bank manager, but at least I'm honest about it and I don't try and pretend that I was born on the street. When I was a kid I never felt a part of straight society. Then the peace'n'love era happened and histrical perspective shows us that it was mainly a reaction to the Vietnam War. I never felt a part of that movement either, just as I don't feel involved in the punk rock wave. It's just one reaction after another and when something happens as a reaction, rather than spontaneously, it gets tied up in dogmas and uniforms. Then before you know it, any so-called new wave gets swallowed by what you could call the boring fart syndrome.
Recorded a Bryan Ferry's album 'In Your Mind'.