::                                                              ::
  ::                     - WHAT'S RATTLIN' ? -                    ::
  ::       The Weekly Digest for Canterbury Music Addicts         ::
  ::                         Issue # 148                          ::
  ::                 Thursday, January 25th, 2000                 ::
  ::                                                              ::


                      CANTERBURY FESTIVAL - 2000

I have just been informed of - and asked to help with - a project to organise a Canterbury Sound Festival next summer, featuring Caravan and other bands from the scene. Pye Hastings is currently working on it with promoters, with a planned date of Sunday July 30th 2000, and a location of Mount Ephraim Gardens, Herne Hill, Faversham, Kent, England.

In order for the event to happen, commercial sponsorship is needed urgently, as well as of course the support of all Canterbury fans who think they can make the trip. Interested parties are welcome to get in touch with me, and I will put them in touch with the promoters. Needless to say, the festival will not happen unless a financially viable arrangement can be found, so all help is welcome!

Please e-mail me at: <calyx@club-internet.fr> if you can help!


On a much sadder note, I was informed last week of the passing of former National Health drummer/percussionist John Mitchell. I was particularly shocked at the news since I'd spoken to him last year with a view to do an interview. At the time he was about to move from London to France and we agreed to do an e-mail interview. But my e-mails went unanswered. As it turns out, John died (of a stroke or heart attack) shortly after settling in France. A sad loss indeed. John was a talented instrumentalist, equally skilled on percussion and keyboard instruments. His most notable contribution to Canterbury music in the last few years was his excellent collaboration with Phil Miller on "Split Seconds" - such a success that Phil's album "Digging In" was originally going to be based on the Miller/Mitchell duo. John Mitchell joined National Health in the spring of 1976 after Bill Bruford (and, briefly, Chris Cutler) had deputised on drums on the band's debut tour. In the end, John only played one gig, at Louveciennes near Paris in June 1976, with National Health, but he stayed in contact with the band, being Amanda Parsons' boyfriend at the time, and guested on their first LP the following year, playing percussion. Mitchell was also featured on various recordings on the jazz side of the British 70s music scene. I was expecting to get to know him better through the opportunity of interviewing him, but sadly this will not happen.


Now, some good news from the Phil Miller camp. The recording sessions for his new album, featuring all of In Cahoots but possibly not to be released under that name (these compositions were originally to have been recorded by Phil in collaboration with his late brother Steve), went as planned in early January. All the basic backing tracks have been completed, and work has now started on the overdubs, editing and mixing.

As you will read just below, work is also underway on archive projects involving Phil and Pip. Peter Lemer is concurrently recording the new album by Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia, again involving Thompson's husband and drummer extraordinaire Jon Hiseman. He has also finished recording (in a kibbutz in Israel!) his new solo album, the belated follow-up to 1966's "Local Colour" (!). The final mix is soon to be completed and Peter will be looking for a label to release it. He has already premiered some of its contents in a one-off jazz gig with bassist Steve Cook (formerly of Gilgamesh, Paraphernalia, Soft Machine and Mike Westbrook) and drummer Roger Odell (currently in Shakatak!). There are plans for more gigs by this prestigious line-up.


From: CuneiWay@aol.com
Subject: National Health
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 09:31:37 EST

Hello All,

This is a call for assistance!

I am happy to announce that in late 2000 or early 2001, Cuneiform Records
will be releasing a live album recorded in 1979 by the final line-up of
National Health:

Alan Gowen
John Greaves
Phil Miller
Pip Pyle

This album is being co-ordinated, edited, mixed & mastered by Pip Pyle with assistance from Phil Miller.

What tunes will be on the album and which concerts these tunes come from has not been definitively determined at this time. When we can definitively let you know about this, we will.

What we DON'T have & what we need are photos of the band or of the individual members of the band during this time period.

Since this is the version of the band that toured the US & Canada in 1979, I am asking everyone who sees this & would like to help to please dig through their photo archives if they did indeed take shots of the band or to try & give us leads on anyone who may have taken [usable] photos of the band during this time that they would be willing to let us borrow for use in the booklet.

All originals WILL be returned.

If you CAN help please contact me privately at: <Cuneiway@aol.com>

Thanks very much!

Steve Feigenbaum
Cuneiform Records


From: "David Kipling" <David_Kipling@bcit.ca>
Subject: Mothers
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 15:28:24 -0800

The recent Craig S. mention of the Mothers at the Royal Festival Hall, 1968,  gave me a shudder: a few years back, here in Canada, our Conservative prime minister Joe Clark (aka "Joe Who?") offered his cool credentials by boasting that he dated his wife-to-be (Maureen McTeer, big shot lawyer) at that very Mothers concert.  (The only time I have shared music with a head-of-state-to-be, as far as I know!)

Now, I concede that a band cannot be held responsible for the sins of its audience, but I wonder whether some inspired and necessarily insane web-nut has yet created a page on Right Wing Celebs Who Once Pogo'ed to Punk Protests?  It's bound to happen.

How many who licked cement dust from the Roundhouse floor or the Arts Lab kitchen counter now adorn the highest Whitehall suites or City boardrooms?

Let's hear from you --- you know who you are and God is listening.

David Kipling
BC, Canada


From: "Pat Buzby" <pbuzby@surfnetcorp.com>
Subject: Various
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 11:18:04 -0500


Re Soft Machine videos - the "Beat Club" appearance w/Wyatt drumming with his bare hands is from  1971 - in fact, it is an excerpt from the same performance that appears on  Virtually.

To answer Jed Levin's query,
* The Muffins were a Maryland-based group who had a very strong Hatfield/Soft  Machine influence in their mid-70's records (Manna/Mirage and the archival  release Chronometers). They went for a more avant-jazz sound before disbanding in 1981. They have some Canterbury connections, in that they  appear on Fred Frith's Gravity, and ex-member Michael Zentner made a solo record (Present Time) with appearances by Daevid Allen and assorted H Cow and P  Moerlen's Gong alumni. (How did  Zentner get so well-connected?  What became of him?  Any chance of a  reissue on Cuneiform?)
* Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic I would say is more of an Americanized, post-punk spin on the Henry Cow/ROI sound. No Canterbury personnel connections.

Pat Buzby
http://www.surfnetcorp.com/pbuzby (personal page)
http://www.tautologic.com (band page)          


From: Dave Wayne <d-wayne@lanl.gov>
Subject: Drachen Theaker
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 09:34:21 -0700

[In WR#146, Chris Cutler wrote:]
>>And the band - for my money
>>Drachen Theaker was a truly great drummer...

[And in WR#147 Craig Shropshire replied:]
>Once again, *so* true!  No one ever seems to mention him, but his
>skills are self-evident. Think I`ll also go pull that "Strange
>Lands" LP out for a fresh listen.........

...my first exposure to Theaker came via the Rustic Hinge LP (re?) issued on Reckless in the 80s. This is basically the 'Crazy World' w/out Arthur. It is a wonderful LP, and VERY VERY influenced by Capt. Beefheart & the Magic Band circa "Trout Mask". Theaker's playing on this LP is phenomenal...

dave wayne

PS: my band 'Protuberance' opened for Amy Denio's solo performance last Nov. in Albuquerque, NM. What a joy Ms. Denio is! She basically brought the house down with her amazing voice, great storytelling, wit, warmth & of course her most excellent bass playing & accordion playing. Amazing what one person can do with a bass & that VOICE!!! She made many new fans (incl. my wife, sister-in-law & brother-in-law) that night.


From: Dgasque@aol.com
Subject: Birdsongs of the Mezozoic / The Muffins
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 13:57:36 EST

[In WR#147 Jed Levin wrote:]
>I was just reading a recent digest, and someone made a reference to
>the bands Birdsongs of the Mezozoic and the Muffins as being
>Canterbury related. I've not heard either of these bands, and
>hadn't realized somehow that they were related at all.
>Can someone describe their sounds?  Are they Canterbury-like?
>Or, are their any Canterbury musicians on them?  Any opinions
>of their sounds would be interesting to read.

I couldn't exactly place BotM in the Canterbury camp, but The Muffins - definitely so.  Give a listen to _Open City_  (OOP?) to hear them with their best Canterbury faces on straight.  _185_ could at times be mistaken for a missing Henry Cow album.  These guys were, pardon the cliche - the bomb.
>Also, how about the US band However?  Do they have a Canterbury sound?

At times, they do exude such a sound, IMO.



From: Jacques van den Oever <jvdoever@worldonline.nl>
Subject: Zappa connections
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 20:56:40 +0100

Talking about connections between Zappa & Canterbury music: have a listen to Hatfield playing Son of There's no place like Homerton (no.5 on first CD) and Uncle Meat (it's Main title theme and/or it's Variations.) Naming a song 'Son of...' is quite usual with Zappa, by the way.

What we should keep in mind though is that using someone else's musical ideas for the creation of new music is as old as music making itself. Musicologists usually say it this way: every music is about other music. For the connoisseurs it is quite easy for instance to point out Johann Sebastian Bach's musical examples, varying from medieval folk music to Vivaldi.

And how about the Beatles (Strawberry Fields, I am the Walrus) and their influence on Soft Machine?

The great thing about these musics influencing other musics is that it stimulates the musician to shape a new context around them. Again and again we hear something new in tunes that might be handed over (and over again) from who knows where. A bit like Richard Sinclair wrote in his Winter Wine where he dreams about:

...Sounds of a distant melody
once played - lost from memory...
Funny how it's clearer now
You're close to me.

It's a shame they don't write songs like that anymore.
(said the old man)


[Note: On the topic of "(Son Of) There's No Place Like Homerton", it should be noted that the composer's credit on the CD reissue of the first Hatfield album is inaccurate. It is credited to Pip Pyle, but it is of course a Dave Stewart piece, originally composed for the last series of Ottawa Music Company performances in 1972 - AL]


From: mihra@cerbernet.co.uk (Roger Bunn)
Subject: Good morning France
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 11:58:06 +0000

For the next edition of What's Rattling and Fyi and enjoyment?

In terms of UN documentation upon "copyright". And an individuals access to ears. For all creators of music, there is a (permanently marginalized) interface between property rights and human rights.

The narrow engish voice of Mick "Hucknewt" of Simply Red, a favorite tea drinker with Tony Blair at Number Ten, is again on prime time (rights unconscious) BBC this night.

But all is not well with Tony, the guitar player's musical friends. Alan McGhee of Creation Records, who, while refusing to take calls from the Music Industry Human Rights Association that would discuss the many policies of the UK music industry, along with Hucknewt, is also a member of the UK Music Industry Forum. An undemocratic group that "advises" the New Labour governent upon the many delights to be found deep inside its music industry, also discovered a band of mediocre copyist musicians called Oasis.

The battle for Mayor of London is getting more bitter by the day. Red Ken Livingston, the man most hated by Thatcher is back. And Ken is topping the polls for the most popular mayor.

Frank Dobson, the Blair candidate, has a wandering personality. Solid and Dobbinlike, he ploughs the furrows of the Brit media, seeking soft earth in which to plant his New Labour seeds of a mayorial London life.  But it the race for the third most important position in the land. Frank looks like a non-starter. Which has lead to many problems for the government heirachy which attacks Red Ken at every opportunity.

However when one thinks things can't get worse, sometimes it happens.

Malcolm McLaren, who discovered and managed, if such a thing is possible, the Sex Pistols, and their efforts to introduce the junior world to the happiness found through the use of heroin etc etc., has entered this race of glory. And Alan McGhee has seconded his canditature. Hence, "He is signing his own exclusion from the Labour Party" says a suddenly very unmusical Downing Strasse.

When Branson ripped off the music of native America, one heard but few public comments. The recently honored, Sir Richard being a friend of Thatcher could do no wrong. What now Mr Blair? Hath one gone down the same industrial road, crossed the same politically incorrect bridge too far, comparable with the Conservatives beloved Margaret?

Politics and music? Pure White House Downing Straase hip hop hurrah easily taxable farce. With Blair on guitar and Clinton on horn. And the ghost of ex PM Edward Heath, lurking in the shadows. And who, in 1972 sold his nations creators down the river to Brussels. Without singular protection, but in colusion with an union which since 1946, had already nobbled all the recording royalties of the
majority of its own and many other session musicians.

Will Red Ken take on the music policies of those who contract and chose for the BBC? Who knows. But something nasty happens to all politicians when it comes to their own "personal choice in music". that's for sure.

Mihra can only suggest that if Downing street had not taken up with such doyons of pop image laundering. Then the Blairs and the Browns would have stood a chance of having more consistent and intelligent friendships with those who understand what really goes on inside a mainly culturally criminal music industry..

Roger Bunn

Director of Policy.
21 January 2000


From: GHodges223@aol.com
Subject: SF Improvisational Concert/Maybe Monday
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 01:35:45 EST

This is just to report an interesting concert last Wednesday at the Great
American Music Hall in SF by Fred Frith, Miya Masaoka, and Larry Ochs,going by the collective name "Maybe Monday".

Two slab-like sets of intense improvisation, with Larry Ochs (of ROVA Saxophone Quartet), playing a plethora of saxophones from tenor to sopranino (it looked like)... no baritone, though, Miya Masaoka- getting beautiful acoustic amplified sounds from many parts of the koto, and Fred Frith, barraging his acoustic-electric guitar from every angle and possible sound source,using pedals and devices including bows, towels(?!!), strings, dropping chains, dropping particles, playing from subtle softness to ear-frying, teeth-rattling, distortion. It was balanced sound, though. With his monopoly of the electric hookups it never seemed to go over his third of the sound territory.  The acoustic sounds of the bridge of the koto with the wood and string construction came out well in the PA (unfortunately my late arrival put me behind a pillar, and the only way I could see Ms. Masaoka was to crane my neck and look above another crowd member, over whom, I could see her in the mirror-(I'm sure I was being annoying, but hey...).  Larry Ochs struck a good balance between playing and not-playing, switching instruments, freely.

At one point, Fred Frith, who had been erasing the attack on a lot of his
notes with deft use of his volume pedal, repeated this motion/move that was quite extraordinary. In a truly simian gesture, he would lick his fingers, quickly rub part of the top wood of the body of his guitar several times, and then play his note (without the attack) while bending the string with the other hand. He would repeat this series of movements several times, rapidly - it was funny AND provocative. At first it made me think of an interesting tribal ritual, but on reflection, it made me think more of work in the business world, where there is needless preparation for the actual work (the note), just to identify (put your scent on)/categorize, perhaps own, the work. At another point, he would make these brief hand salutes, third reich-like, before he would actually hit the string.  It was hilarious on repetition - and he just deadpanned.  I remember reading someone else describing the way he deadpanned and stared into space when asked by someone in the audience to "play something improvised." at a previous concert. (I think he'd make a hell of an abstract, stand-up comedian).

It was a nice concert - almost purely improvisational.  Enjoyable, although increasingly expensive - the ticket was a very modest $12, but once you added gas, bridge-toll, parking, panhandlers, drink minimums with gratuity - it started to approach $30.  Everyone ratchets things up (even panhandlers), and you get what you get.  I'm not sure I care for this perpetual economic jostling.....

Elsewhere, The Science Group CD is well-performed, very precise, though a bit numbing - not really progressive rock to my ears- more Henry Cow-like,
though different. Well-crafted and atonal (or perhaps pantonal). Dense and precise. Amy Denio's performance of Chris Cutler's words is top-notch. The music lightens up for a brief moment at the end when you get some friendly tonality and a rainstorm. The words are interesting - I'll vote to put Napoleon in Schroedinger's Box,... (along with Schroedinger...). The CD is available thru Cunieform and probably Wayside, or you can get it through ReR Megacorp directly.

**Remember to support Lindsay Cooper through the Bassoonist Club.

**Thanks to the person who mentioned the CD Warehouse in Sunnyvale - I'd wanted to check it out, but had forgotten the name.

**And as always, thanks to Aymeric L., for providing the platform. His dedication and energy level put us all to shame. And he asks for no recompense for his efforts!!  What is WRONG with this picture!!

[I don't ask for any recompense, but a recompense is always welcome! ;)) Suggestions to: <calyx@club-internet.fr> - AL]


                           END OF ISSUE 148


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CALYX - The Canterbury Website


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