Thanks to Denim Bridges I've got a contact with musician/producer/arranger/sound engineer
A long career started in the early '60's and filled by important collaborations (Miles Davis, David Bowie, Elton John, Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen...) and many hits (i.e. a Grammy Award in 2002) that is well summed up in an excellent 2009 interview by Christian Dueblin published in this archive at http://ghettoraga.blogspot.it/2011/12/interview-with-paul-buckmaster-from-net.html with a selected discography.
Here I ask Paul to examine in depth his experience with the Third Ear Band, a dimension often strangely disregarded in his biography...
Which was your first impression about the group?
I mean did you know them?
What did you think about their music at that time (I refer to the first two records)?
Do you remember where did you rehearsal with them?
"Rehearsed (infrequently) at Glen's (or was it Paul's) place in South London, Battersea area, I think".
Which was your contribution to their music? I mean, all the tracks was usually "composed by TEB", but I know that your specific contribution regarded the composition and the music orchestration...
What about the reactions of audience there? And generally which was the reactions of people at your concerts?
I was told, later, that they (the Stones) had chosen us to open for them, because we were more likely to calm the crowd. You've got to remember that a large number of people were (stupidly) into drugs (mostly hashish and herb), me no less. So maybe that was a part of the audience … 40 percent or more? Who knows!
All four of us had spliffed up – a large six-Rizla-skin combo of tobacco, sensimilla, Moroccan kif, and heavy opiated Afghani hashish, with a concomitant thin cardboard roach – and were smoking it prior to going on stage. So you can imagine just how ripped we must have been. The music – whatever there is that remains from the gig – does not display any bravura or professionalism.
As for any other gigs, we were sometimes excellent – even transcendent to the Empyrean; that is what I and all the members lived for - and sometimes not quite so transcendent, and the Hyde Park gig was among those. The audience didn't notice anything, tho' - as far as I could tell".
What do you remember about the period before "Macbeth", when the band tried to record a pop album at the London Balham Studios titled "The Dragon Wakes"?
I'm sure at that time you was in the band. You can listen here (https://rapidshare.com/#!download|452p1|407890537|_Raga_n.1_|8181|0|0) to an unrealised track taken from the Balham sessions in February 1971 titled "Raga n. 1" (Paul Minns discovered it on a reel in his attic). The line up included you and Bridges. There's a remote project of Bridges to realize a CD with that tracks, because he has all the original reels of it, but we're talking about it from 2010 and at the moment nothing happened... Anyway, can you comment it for us?
"Amazing! Sounds really good; and as you say, shows the potential of what kinds of directions the music might have taken ...
You know, I cannot recall the session, tho' I'm obviously playing on it, and cannot recall any "Balham Studios". Paul has clearly double-tracked - or even triple-tracked - himself, and altho' there's no violin, heard some brief phrases of a bowed instrument towards the end, which is probably me overdubbing some cello.
I miss the sound and texture of a violin, and have some critical thoughts about the bass guitar, which are in any event irrelevant, since nothing can be done about it. What's wrong with the bass? a) rhythmically too "on" the beat; the bassist (me!) should have being playing a regular, repeated, tho' slightly syncopated riff, perhaps never changing at all, and perhaps staying only on one note. b) The problem here is that he (the bassist) is playing too many tonal phrases, even in the major mode! And is a bit scattered in the ideas. I could say more, but don't want to spoil the listening of the fans!
Everybody else is playing great, altho' Denny has a slight tendency to rush … but I attribute that to us not playing together more frequently, and doing lots more gigs! Who knows where it would have gone, had the band stayed together and played at least four days a week … I'm sure somewhere really special and new, and strange and other-worldy – I mean in the science-fictional sense, not "supernatural" (whatever that means). The potential was vast".
|A rare picture of the TEB in 1971.|
"I had a little more say in the direction the music took for the movie score; Glen, Paul, Richard and Denny trusting me with my suggestions. For example, I actually wrote the dreary "Witches Song", which we played, and sang. The singing was done by the five of us; Roman wanted it to be "kind of disgusting" … We did a certain amount of overdubbing, to create a more dense texture in places, with me and Richard making clustery string harmonies … I think the End Titles is one of the better pieces in the score; Denny contributed a lot to that, and a great driving pulse from Glen! I believe Denny composed "Fleance"'s Song" with Paul … but we're all credited as co-writers, which was Glen's democratic, egalitarian virtue".
Infact in that period (January 16th, 1971) you sent a letter to Melody Maker explaining about the rules in the band (you wrote: "(...) If anybody thinks differently, thinks that the band "led" by one member (i.e. one person deciding the format, tempo, key or mode, changes etc. and imposing this on the others) then they have totally missed on the most important point, if not the most important point of the Third Ear Band. It's not I, it's we, and we're free".): why did you decide to write it?
|Paul in studio (February 2012).|
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