TEB on stage at Umbertide, first Italian tour on September 9th, 1988:
(L-R) Allen Samuel, Mick Carter, Paul Minns and Glen Sweeney.
thanks for your letter, and many apologies for taking so long to reply. In the interim I have managed to lose your letter amid the chaos on my table but I can remember most of your questions I haven’t been sure how to answer them without adding a sour and perhaps unnecessary element. With members of the band now deceased, I didn’t want to add a posthumous unpleasantness. But on reflection, I’m sure you would prefer a truthful account of my experience with the Third Ear Band.
The Allen Samuel's letter.
There was one thing that I really enjoyed and that was the inspirational playing of Paul. In a way, the rest of the band were a rhythmic background to the stories that he told on the oboe. When I joined the band Glen and Paul were the only original members and the sound was very different from the earlier incarnations of the band. We had just a few play-throughs in my room in London [at the Cambodian embassy] before coming over for our first Italian trip. I don’t think we had enough time to find a new integration between the players, but it could have been a lot worse.
Before joining the band I hadn’t even known of its existence and had no idea of what to expect beyond stories I heard about wild madness an nervous breakdowns during previous tours of the band. Though classically trained, I have always loved making up my own music as I went along. It seemed that the Third Ear Band might be a valuable opportunity to collaborate with others in a spirit of free improvisation. A major problem with the band was emotional dischord between its members. For myself, an emotional harmony between musicians is essential for satisfactory music making. Music is a language of the feelings expressed in sound, and the feelings between the players are the raw ingredients of that language. I don’t enjoy bad feelings between people and I find playing music in such an atmosphere a nightmare.
Cremona (September 1988), first Italian tour: L. Ferrari, Glen Sweeney,
Allen Samuel, Mick Carter, Paul Minns, Kathryn Ade (Minns' wife) and Elena Blasi.
In our first tour in Italy, Paul and Glen were falling out and Glen was giving me a very hard time. Paul was so distressed that he left the band.
Before we even arrived we were all emotionally drained and physically exhausted from the long car drive from London. We arrived at the hotel at dawn and got no sleep. I have no idea how we were even able to stand up, let alone play, in the first gig. We were ill-prepared in every sense, and the most I can say in that my experience with the Third Era Band taught me a valuable lesson, but not one that I would ever wish to repeat.
I was never the less glad to meet you and appreciated your kindness and enthusiasm. All I can say is that I am sorry this is not a more positive reply to your questions. I am still playing and engaged in some unusual and interesting musical projects.
All best wishes,