January 29, 2010

Morgan Fisher joined the Third Ear Band in 1972. Here's the proof!

Morgan Fisher (www.morgan-fisher.com), eccentric  English musician (keyboards and synthetizer player), composer and photographer, played for some weeks with the Third Ear Band at the end of 1972. He has been so kind to answer to my quick questions....

When/How did you join the band?
"I joined TEB in late 1972. I think it was through an ad in the back pages of Melody Maker, where most bands used to advertise for new members (including the next band I joined - Mott the Hoople). I think they may have been aware of my previous prog-rock band Morgan, and that I had a groovy VCS3 synth - as did Simon House, who I gather I was replacing".

Do you remember which was the line-up?
"Glen Sweeney, Paul Minns, Mike Marchant and one other guy on bass, I think. Glen seemed always cheerful and a bit in another world. And now he really is - RIP. Paul was a bit distant and forbidding as a person, but his sound was a vital part of the band - perhaps at this time the most important and distinctive element in the TEB sound. Beautifully fluid and mysterious. Mike was always friendly and chatty and his guitar (with plenty of flanging and delay) seems now like a forerunner of the Cocteau Twins sound. We reconnected via Facebook a few years ago. I was sad to hear he had
passed away recently. Is any of the band alive I wonder...?

Where did you play with them?
"The answer that pops up in my head isalways "2 radio shows and one gig" but it may be the other way round. I think we
did one show in North London, one radio show for the BBC (possibly Peel?) and perhaps one show for another radio station. I remember recording one of the radio shows at home when it was broadcast, so it didn't go out live. I'm afraid that recording has disappeared. I don't remember playing any keyboards or melodic stuff - mostly drones and effects from the VCS3". 

Do you know if some recordings exist?
"I can't remember there being any rehearsals at all - I just stepped into to the band and started playing".

Have you got stuffs as photos, magazine cuts or something else from that period?
"Sorry I have nothing at all. I was with the band such a short time, I doubt there were any photos taken or reviews written. I was ready to continue with them, but when Mott came into my life in early 1973 the attraction was greater. Glen was very gracious and understood that I would be better off in a band who were working hard and about to do a big US tour. I never saw TEB after that".

What do you think about TEB and their music at the time?
"Frankly I felt that TEB were better as an all-acoustic band, which is how I had always heard them before. Somehow they could create eerie, hypnotic atmospheres and structures without the need of electric instruments. That was their unique quality. So while I was with them I felt the band's sound (with Mike on electric guitar and me on synth) had become a bit more ordinary, with shades of Tangerine Dream and similar bands - and it was partly my fault! I knew that if I stayed longer with them I would try to discuss it with them and see if they could return to their earlier sound. But alas there was not enough time for me to get to know them better and become more of a contributing member. Still, I am grateful for that brief visit to the shadowy and sometimes sparkling world of TEB".

Two footnotes:
a) I've checked all my sources about TEB radio shows recordings, but nothing is documented from that period.  So... ?!
b) I'll be grateful to Morgan forever for the clever & brilliant idea to edit "Miniatures" in 1980. A real minimalist masterpiece! Thanks.

no©2010 Luca Ferrari

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