December 01, 2009
Another interesting reconstruction of Glen Sweeney on the Third Ear Band parable is from "Harvest Festival" (EMI-Harvest Records 521, 1982), "a 120 page 4 colour 5CD musical celebration of the Harvest label covering its output from 1969 to 1979".
Between contributions from various artists as Pink Floyd, Kevin Ayers, Edgar Broughton, Roy Harper and others, on this very limited edition album Sweeney offers his personal memories (taken from an interview probably made at the beginning of '80's) about the origins of the band:
"Myself and Dave Tomlin pratically invented the whole hippy scene (!!!). We were the first into Hyde Park and Glastombury with the Druids. Peter Jenner picked up the idea and started to get the whole things together. The Third Ear band started opening the shows at Hyde Park.
I originally had an electric group , standard rock'n'roll, but we were all on something or other and forgot one night about our instruments and by the morning they and the van had disappeared. I took my advice from the Mothers of Invention and 'necessity' and thought I'd better do something because I was a lazy bastard. I knew two or three guys and put them together and went down to a place called the Arts Lab which was very well known and did a concert where I met a guitarist called Davy Graham who was well very known for eating any kind of flowers you left around. The gig was an all-nighter and it gave us the opportunity to learn how to play.
We started to do gigs with Blackhill at about £25 a show and it went on from there. We penetrate the Continent doing clubs like the Paradiso where we were so stoned we couldn't play and just looked at the audience who thought we were an ace group and so underground.
One day, to my utter astonishment, Pete Jenner said that we had a record deal. This again caused ultimate paranoia and half the band collapsed on the spot. My philosophy was always to get stoned and then you could play everything. To my astonishment this worked perfectly. EMI at this time was run by a lot of old ladies who were in love with Cliff Richard. I met them once but we were all on acid so it was a bit of a strange one.
We did a gig at Alley Palley (Alexandra Palace) called the 14th Hour Technicolor Dream. 'Hoppy' who ran the gig thought that banana skins was a turn-on, so everyone was smoking banana skins, which didn't work and made you ill.
I remember Polanski, who we worked with for the Macbeth soundtrack. They had rented him this really flash fat in Chelsea. Moving to drums was a mad moment. For some reason I came into a large sum of money and Coff (who now run an infant violin school in Miami) suggested I buy a full set. I couldn't play them and went back to hand drums.
After Macbeth it collapsed. Paul Buckmaster joined the band briefly but left shortly after stating that his reputation was in danger".
On "Harvest Festival" the Third Ear Band has "Stone Circle" from "Alchemy" (1969): it shows also some photoes of the Thirds, with posters and record covers. Carolyn told me that Glen was very proud of it, expecially for the portrait with his hand drums on the album cover...
no©2009 Luca Ferrari
Edited by Luca Chino Ferrari