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Old 2nd March 2011, 01:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

One of the authors who features in my recent NewCon Press anthology Further Conclicts, Philip Palmer (whose wonderfully retro space opera novels for Orbit are well worth checking out), recently invited me to write a guest entry for his site. The subject? Science Fiction songs.

After brief contemplation, the choice was obvious, but writing the piece took me back to my teens and reminded me just how exciting the discovery of rock music was and why the bands of that era will always mean so much to me.

To understand what I'm gabbling on about, please feel free to check this out:
http://www.philippalmer.net/
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Old 2nd March 2011, 03:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

Youngster.
I was cutting my teeth on the Yardbirds, the Spencer Davis Group, even the Stones and the Kinks weren't only producing pop numbers. The first time I saw Yes was in '68, the Iron Butterfly concert in Bert's Barn (um, excuse me, the Royal Albert Hall). You didn't get to see them until I'd already stopped touring with them after the "Going for the one" trip, and if I ever had any descendants, they'd probably be able to play "Roundabout" from the cradle, for at least three generations.

Jon wasn't actually a great SFF reader; not like the Hawkwind boys or even Bowie. I sometimes think he adapted the lyrics to match the Dean covers. Now, should I be nostalging about the IES and the LedZed concert in the Palais des Sports, Lyon? Your Move.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 03:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

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Youngster.
Your Move.
Please feel free to be as nostalgic as you wish, Chris; All Good People will doubtless relate to your comments. I envy you having toured with so many of the groups I love(d). I only saw Zep the once, at Knebworth, and Iron Butterfly had already flown into the sunset before I picked up an import copy of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on the cheap...

I cut my concert teeth at the Marquee and the Roundhouse, seeing folk such as UFO, Curved Air, Stray and Man -- groups that really knew how to provide a moment's answers to the dream.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 12:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

Not all shows are memorable for the right reasons.
YES first North AM tour, Vancouver- Howe stepped onto the huge stage and a shriek of feedback nearly killed those of us in the first rows. Hollowbody guitar, he had no idea how to control it cranked up in a hockey arena. Squire stole the show, purple cape and all, they were good.
Yardbirds here the first time, maybe 300 people there, at a community center.
Then the 1st Zep show here, broken up by armed thugs, sorry cops, after two songs! "Mr. Plant has lost his voice- please file out calmly." We walked out into a riot going on.
hMM. Deep Purple, Edmonton- another riot, armed men on horseback riding into the crowd outside, after some guy who had thrown a bottle and injured a train engineer. Many in the crowd injured by horses and batons, then the wrong doors opened and it almost got really ugly. Weeks later, 11 trampled dead at a Who concert.
Ian Lloyd and stories, Vancouver- opening for I forget who... forced off stage in a hail of beer bottles.
The Battered Wives, Vancouver- opening for Elvis Costello- forced off stage in a hail of bottles.
The Dead Boys, Vancouver, opening for Pere Ubu, Magazine- forced offstage in a hail of bottles.
Squeeze- Vancouver- show stopped due to flying bottles, crowd spitting on band.
Led Zep- Seattle- show stopped multiple times due to fireworks raining down from upper deck. Page sat on a stool the entire show, refused to look at audience.
Then there was the train tour across Canada... w/Joplin, The Dead, the Band, etc. Huge riot in calgary, manager of tour punched the Mayor of Calgary in the head. Grateful Dead forced to give a free show in a park nearby, in order to draw the dangerous crowd away.
John Mclaughlin, Vancouver- played a great show, cut short due to some cops showing up and informing JM that he 'had to be out of the country by midnight." or some similar nonsense. Mclaughlin attempted to explain this to the crowd, then, clearly disgusted, and with the crowd screaming angrily, they packed up and left.

Last edited by J Riff; 3rd March 2011 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 01:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

Nice talkup for an album I've never got around to hearing- must rectify that.

I think its great that Phil Palmer has invited SFF writers to write about their musical influences. From what I've read there's seems to have been a real cultural dialogue between genre writers and rock musicians during the new wave 60's (Michael Moorcock, Hawkwind et al) which doesn't seem so marked nowadays.

There's musical artists that have informed my writing as much as man author. I guess SF and popular music have grown up together.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 01:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

I think Tolkien was more evident. Moorcock was visible, can't think of any other SF music... not directly anyway... and Moorcock was no kind of player as I recall... but Hawkwind were cool.
There was also the H.P. Lovecraft album... and Shatner did an album, as did Spock.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 01:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

Phil K Dick was listening to Bowie's stuff in the seventies and DB read a lot of SF novels on tour, where he'd probably bump into Phil's stuff. I can see possible slivers of influence on each other's work.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 02:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

Pop music has grown up? I missed that part I guess.
Was it possible not to hear Bowie in the seventies?
Jimi did a UFO song w/ Curtis Knight, called, brilliantly- UFO...about little green men. Also the UFO and alien references on Electric Ladyland, there's a few.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 07:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

Parliament weren't shy of the occasional Saucer either.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 07:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

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and Moorcock was no kind of player as I recall... but Hawkwind were cool.
There was also the H.P. Lovecraft album... and Shatner did an album, as did Spock.

No, Moorcock wasn't a player. Hawkwind featured a poet (the late Bob Calvert) in their sets. Having produced the Warrior at the Edge of Time album in collaboration with Moorcock -- a musical adaptation of his Eternal Champion series -- Hawkwind invited him to replace Calvert after the latter had a massive falling out with the band, and he did so for one tour (if memory serves me right; this was all some time ago).

Have you heard Shatner's album??? His rendition of the Beatles' 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' is... memorable. Almost as memorable as Nimoy's twee little song about Hobbits.

Glad you liked the piece, J-WO, I think in a sense rock music as I think of it has grown up, because the musicians responsible have matured... but there will always be new generations of raw, aggressive kids with attitude coming up behind them. That's the nature of the beast, and long may it continue.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 08:13 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

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Glad you liked the piece, J-WO, I think in a sense rock music as I think of it has grown up, because the musicians responsible have matured... but there will always be new generations of raw, aggressive kids with attitude coming up behind them. That's the nature of the beast, and long may it continue.
Absolutely, Ian; long may it continue! But I wasn't thinking so much of the individuals involved so much as SF and Rock as cultural forces. Affordable electric guitars appear at roughly the same time SF novels start getting mass produced in a serious way, basically post-war America's boom. And when rock freaked out in the sixties New Wave mirrored it. Plus, I guess, there's Cyberpunk existing alongside 80's electronica.

Anyway, I think its great you modern authors are talking about your favourite albums- its a different angle on what influences your work.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 08:15 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

I can't find a 'new' rock band worth listening to. I think the corporate 'Empire' (zep,beatles,floyd,stone,bowie,dylan,etcetcetc.) are stoppinganything good that might sell to an adult audience, and cut into profits.
Hence, Avenged Sevenfold etc. which nobody who grew up on the rock/blues crowd can quite justify purchasing, it targets a very specific age range. Not like there aren't lots good talented rock kids, they just kinda don't make it for one reason or another. Oh well.
I prefer Shatner to most of it.
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Old 14th March 2011, 10:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

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Led Zep- Seattle- show stopped multiple times due to fireworks raining down from upper deck. Page sat on a stool the entire show, refused to look at audience.
I need to know what year this was, if you are referring to Led Zeppelin Seattle in 1977 you are 100% wrong, the show wasn't stopped due to fireworks, Robert Plant just called for the audience to stop throwing them and Jimmy Page only sat on a stool during the acoustic set.
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Old 15th March 2011, 11:15 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

I'm delighted to say I'll be discussing Tangerine Dream circa 1971 in a few weeks on Philip's blog.
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Old 15th March 2011, 11:24 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis... why they matter to me.

Aha, the tape.... Robert Plant says: 'Please stop throwing fireworks down on your friends!" a few other things.. they stop again and he asks if anyone is there from Vancouver B.C.- a good place to play. We cheer weakly. More fireworks. Page sits, he sat through Rock n Roll and a few others, acting disgusted with a smoke hanging from his mouth. Sarcastic stage moves from Plant, in a snit. Awful crowd, dreadful show, huge busts and delays at the border afterwards too. They played, but it was less than halfhearted for Led Zep, famous for no openers and long shows.
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