June 29, 2010

One of the first quotations on book about TEB.

Probably the first book on pop music edited in Italy, "Guida alla musica pop" ("Guide to Pop Music"), translation of German "Das Buch  der neuen Pop Musik" written by journalist Rolf-Urlich Kaiser (1971 the Italian edition edited by Mondadori; 1969 the German one edited by  Econ; also a Spanish edition was printed the first time in 1972...), contains some few notes about the Third Ear Band.

A short file card on the group with this interesting recollection of Glen Sweeney related to the origins of band's music:
"The prototype Third Ear was electric, and we were doing what we called "electric acid raga" - which was terribly pretentious, and in fact was the most diabolic thing you ever heard in your life... After that, most of our equipment was stolen, and we found ourself with just oboe, violin and hand drums - and we were really depressed, we thought it was the end really... we're all interested in music - the other three guys are out of classical music colleges - and we do a lot  of listening and a lot of talking about it and we've got a basic theory that music, or sound or whatever you like to call it, came a long time before musical notation... and working along that theory we found that Western notation is a kind of symbolism which has been evolved in order to kind of measure the music...".

After a slim discography (only the first two albums, of course...), just an address (for a possible contact?):
Blackhill Enterprises 
32, Alexander Street, London W2
phone: 01-22957148

no©2010 Luca Ferrari

June 16, 2010


On next July I'll be in London for holidays and I'll meet probably Carolyn Looker (Glen Sweeney's partner), Dave Tomlin, Steve Pank, Ursula Smith, John 'Hoppy' Hopkins, Clive Kingsley... 
If you have specific questions to ask them, about the story of the band, please write me through the personal e-mail address and I'll use it for the interviews... 

June 15, 2010

Brief memories of Jim Haynes about the Arts Lab and the TEB.

I have contacted Jim Haynes to interview him about the Arts Lab and the Thirds. He was agreed with it ("Yes, you may interview me about the TEB, but I am afraid that I have very little to say. My memory of events in those far away days is extremely limited..."),  but when I sent him some specific questions, he answered just this:

Barry Miles (left) and Jim Haynes in a recent photo.

"Luca, The Arts Lab was a product of its time. 
I was young and full of creative energy and believed that I could do anything. I wanted to make a mixed-media centre that would be full of life. And I succeeded! 
London was the capital of the world in the mid-60s. 
I don't remember how I met anyone in the 60s; they just all came to the Arts Lab and I suddenly knew everyone. I loved their concerts. They were magic. Often only candle light. 
We closed the Lab because I ran out of money and the landlord wanted his property back. 
Sorry I do not remember more... 

Jim Haynes is a key-figure of the Sixties English (European) underground. Info and news about him at his personal Web site (http://www.jim-haynes.com/).

His autobiographical "Thanks for coming!", published in 1984 by Faber & Faber, is a funny reading, really important to understand the climax of that time...

no©2010 Luca Ferrari

June 12, 2010

An old Glen Sweeney interview published in a Brazilian book!

Brazilian DJ and journalist Fabio Massari did an interview by telephone with Glen Sweeney in 1991. He transmitted the interview during his programme "Rock Report" with some edited TEB tracks (probably for the first time in Brazil!).
Now that interview is included in a book titled "Emissoes Noturnas. Cadernos radiofonicos de fm" ("Nocturnal Emissions. A FM radio album") published by Grinta Cultural in 2003.

In the short interview, talking about the origins of TEB, Sweeney admitted his delusion for the scarce result of "Macbeth" soundtrack. 
He said: "The album was an our big commercial opportunity. We had a great expectation, but the distribution was terrible... as for the film as for the record. We did play some concerts to promote it, but we lose some of our energy... we had economic problems and we were sad about negative results".

About the new album recorded for Materiali Sonori, "Magic Music", Sweeney explained that "a music is magic because it doesn't exist, it hasn't a concrete form. So the voice... It's all very subjective, so it's magic".
"Are TEB playing "world music"?" - asked the journalist.
"It's cosmic music! It's music of the universe. It embraces all cultures, we mix all kind of references - Africans, Indians... We play every kind of mixture...".

The 152 pages book, among the others, also includes interviews with great musicians/bands as Nick Cave, Sonic Youth, Ramones, Henry Rollins, Wayne Kramer, Ozric Tentacles.
A copy can be ordered writing to the author at fmassar@hotmail.com

no©2010 Luca Ferrari

June 10, 2010

Steve Pank about the origins of the Third Ear Band.

On July 2004, Steve Pank, original TEB road manager and promoter, wrote a piece for the booklet of "The Magus" CD, under the name of Steve Barker.
This is the first part of it, related to the origins of the TEB, that I print with the kind permission of Steve.

"The Third Ear Band was born out of the mystical swirlings of the artistic underground of the London of 1967.
In the early Sixties the free jazz revolution in New York City happened, and a flurry of records on the ESP label came out, in the wake of the experiments by Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra etc.
Glen, then a jazz drummer, had an idea for a free jazz group with a light show and poetry, and he visualised that this could produce a commercially successful record. He advertised in the "Melody Maker" for musicians and among those whose applied were Dick Daden, an ex army trombone player who had worked commercially in circus bands, a tenor saxophone player of Russian descent called Jan Diakov, and a trumpet player whose name was Steve Pank.

Sounds Nova rehearsed upstairs in a public house in Barons Court, called the Barons Arms, later called the Nashville. Glen’s partner Caroline read poems by the Beat poets, and a primitive lighting system flashed for effect. This band still existed in 1966 when a newspaper called the "International Times" appeared, describing itself as an underground newspaper.
Around this time, Glen met Dave Tomlin, a new wave [free jazz] player who played tenor and soprano saxophone and flute. Dave was well respected on the jazz scene and had led jazz groups including such people as Jack Bruce of the Cream and John Hiseman, later of Coliseum. He had also played on a tour supporting Ornette Coleman.

Soon after this, the publisher of the "International Times", John Hopkins, or ‘Hoppy', started a weekly Friday night all-nighter called UFO, in the premises of the Blarney club, an Irish club in the Tottenham Court road. It was run to raise funds for running "International Times".

Hoppy asked Dave Tomlin to play there. Dave asked Glen to accompany him and the free jazz duo they formed was called The Giant Sun Trolley. UFO was a mixed media event with light shows, film clips, poets and bands. It was also a launching platform for bands such as the Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine.

Around December 1966, the offices of the "International Times" were raided, and the police took virtually everything out of the office in Southampton Row. It was decided to continue with the newspaper, and to hold a bumper event called the "14 hour Technicolour Dream" in Alexandra Palace, as publicity and as a fundraiser for relaunching the paper. At this event Glen had a pickup band with a guitarist called Clive Kingsley, and a saxophone player called Barry Pilcher. This group was called the Hydrogen Jukebox. They gained notoriety at the event by accompanying a girl called Nita having a paper dress cut off her with scissors, this was reported with a photograph in the "News of the World".
Late in 1967, Glen formed the first edition of the Third Ear Band, a name suggested to him by Caroline, taken from a book title.

Soon after its formation, the van carrying the equipment was broken into and Glen’s drum kit was stolen. Nothing daunted, Glen formed another line-up with his friend oboe player Paul Minns, and decided to play hand drums. He then met viola player Ben Cartland who had played with Steve Took, the original drummer of the duo Tyrannosaurus Rex. Ben had an intriguing style of using one string on the viola as a drone and playing notes up and down the next string up giving his style a very Indian sound.

Soon after this, Richard Coff joined the band on violin. Richard was a classically trained violinist from Florida. With this line up, the early Third Ear Band did a number of performances in a church hall called All Saints Hall [now demolished] in Notting Hill. They signed a management deal with Blackhill Enterprises, formerly the Pink Floyd management who booked them into concerts and colleges around the country. They had a weekly residency in the Arts Lab, run by Jim Haynes [on the photo below] in Covent Garden, and performed in the Albert Hall at the ‘Alchemical Wedding’, an Arts Lab benefit at which John and Yoko also performed.

Shortly after this Ben Cartland left the band and. Glen cast around for a replacement, a bass instrument. He engaged Mel Davis, an avant-garde jazz pianist who was the leader of the People Band, and who also played the cello. At this time the band’s road managers were Steve Pank and Jan Diakov, former members of Sounds Nova. Meanwhile, Blackhill Enterprises had negotiated a record deal EMI on the Harvest Label. It was this band line up which recorded the first album for Harvest Label, ‘Alchemy', along with guest appearances by John Peel, [jaws harp] and Dave Tomlin, by now playing the violin. Mel Davis left shortly after the album was recorded. Initially Mel’s replacement was Paul Buckmaster, the cellist and arranger.

The Third Ear Band was the opening act at the free concert given by the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park. Subsequently, because of his other commitments, Paul Buckmaster left and his place was taken by cellist Ursula Smith, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, who first met with the band at a benefit concert for the remand inmates in Holloway Prison.
The first album was released and the band did a concert in Queen Elizabeth Hall called ‘The Crab and the Crescent Moon’, titled from a dream that Glen had had. Then later they did a National tour with folk singer Al Stewart.
In summer 1969t the Third Ear Band appeared on the Bill with Bob Dylan at the Isle of Wight Festival.
The second album, called variously "The Third Ear Band" or "Air Earth Fire Water" after the titles of the four tracks on it, appeared early in 1970.
Early in 1971 Ursula Smith and Richard Coff left the band and Paul Buckmaster returned. Along with guitarist  Denny Bridges.
This was the line-up which recorded the music for the Roman Polanski film of "Macbeth" and the album ‘Macbeth’, the last one recorded under the EMI Harvest contract...".

©2004-2010 Steve Pank

no©2010 Luca Ferrari                                                                    

June 02, 2010

Glen Sweeney interviewed himself in 1991 talking about the Hydrogen Jukebox!

This is a very exclusive document, an unrealised interview made by Glen Sweeney to himself in 1991 to give me informations for writing down an article on the Hydrogen Jukebox, just before Materiali Sonori realised "Prophecies".

Glen had the idea to record at home on an old Dindy Super C46 tape (!) some questions to answer by  himself. The thing was quite funny and we joked for some weeks talking about it...
So you can listen (& download) now to his husky unique voice at
talking about the Hydrogen Jukebox and the strange meeting with his old friend Barry Edgar Pilcher...

The Dindy Super C46 tape.

Thanks to this "auto-interview" I wrote a stuff for Italian rock magazine "Rockerilla", trying to reveal another little TEB mistery...

no©2010 Luca Ferrari