November 29, 2013

Ex-Judas Priest guitar hero K.K. Downing quotes the Third Ear Band celebrating his 62nd birthday!

Maybe it can look incredible, but ex-Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing quotes the TEB  while he's celebrating his 62nd birthday...
Read this, taken from the The House of Hair Web site ( ):

"Ex-Judas Priest guitar great K.K. Downing celebrated his 62nd birthday on October 27with this birthday message riminiscing about his younger days: 

“Well, it’s that time again! Another birthday comes around! All of you that were there with me in the late ‘60s/’70s and onwards will know what I mean. Isn’t it crazy that Mick Jagger is 70, for example? And Jimi Hendrix would also have been 70 this year. Anyway, not to be too down about it, because at least we were there to witness everything that is relevant to the music that we know and love today. I always say that I couldn’t have been born at a better time. I was just in my early teens when John Mayall, Cream and all of the early blues artists were just coming to fruition along with The Stones, Pretty Things, Troggs, and The Kinks, etc. This was all back in the day when music was everything to us, and it was all we had and we were more than happy with just that. Although I can remember having an insatiable appetite that always wanted feeding, so I had to go to concerts and festivals as much as I could. That’s because what I wanted was still scarce on radio and television. I seem to remember being 16 and there was only the late and great John Peel who played anything close to what we wanted to hear. Although John’s taste was often a little too diverse for me, including, for example, T. Rex, Captain Beefheart and the Third Ear Band, John was still the greatest pioneer and champion of our cause at the time.

John Peel & records
Am I jogging some memories here? Again starving for the real thing, I was lucky enough to see two shows on this Jimi Hendrix tour, Coventry 19th of November and Bristol 24th of November 1967. I can’t remember which tour it was but can remember being ecstatic when I myself with Priest played these venues later on, especially following in Jimi’s footsteps playing on stage right. Another great venue close to my heart: Newcastle City Hall — where Priest have played many times. I have only just found out that the tour went there. It is said and written that the great Lemmy [of Motorhead] himself was also working the tour as a roadie. I have hung out with Lemmy many times and never knew this; otherwise I would have wanted a gig by gig report off him. Anyway, my devoted friends, it is for sure that the Internet is our greatest friend and our worst enemy at the same time. But I am certainly grateful to the Internet today, in order to be able to bring this blog to you now. Please take care and please continue to feed the flames of metal.”

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)    

November 25, 2013

Avantguarde French composer Bernard Parmegiani died on last November 21th.

Avantguarde French composer Bernard Parmegiani has died on last November 21th at 86. He played on June 24th, 1970 with the Third Ear Band at the "Sun Wheel Ceremony", a concert promoted at the prestigious Royal Festival Hall of London.

The I.T. ad
That evening the band played with Bernard Parmegiani two traks, "Fire" and the unpublished 34'56" "Freak Dance" (other title: "Pop Secret", from the Parmegiani official Web site). On "Melody Maker" (July 4th, 1970), Chris Charlesworth wrote about the event: "The hall was barely half full. Accompained at times by electronic machines making weird sounds Third Ear Band droned through two lenghty pieces which were well accepted by their fans. Their music has no title and is 90 per cent improvisation. It just starts and finishes when the band feel like it. There's a vague anonymity about their music. However violinist Richard Coff, who hate make announcements, did mention that one piece was called "Freak Dance". This contained some haunting oboe work from Paul Minns, and I rather enjoied it. Their second piece was more ambitious and, I thought, less enjoyable. At one stage I actually saw Richard tapping his foot!".

Quite different Carolyn Looker's memories of the event (April 2012): "Parmegiani concert was at Festival Hall. It didn't work too well in my opinion. TEB's music was organic, the French were music concrete, it didn't got".

You can listen some original Parmegiani's compositions (from 1965 and 1971) at or download his "De Natura Sonorum" (1984) at


His official Web site at and a very good tribute (with fabulous music excerpts!) at
Lastly, a very good 2008 essay on Parmegiani's music by electronic sounds expert Simon Reynolds at

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

November 03, 2013

An interview with Glen Sweeney on an old Italian book.

Italian musician and journalist Pierluigi Castellano dedicated to the Third Ear Band an interview in a book edited in 2004 by publisher DeriveApprodi ( titled "Le sorgenti del suono. Trenta incontri con musicisti straordinari" ("The sources of sound. 30 meetings with extraordinary musicians" - pages 192, € 13.00). 
Among the others, original interviews (just in Italian) with 'monsters' as Terry Riley, John Cage, Philip Glass, Uri Cane, Alice Coltrane, Brian Eno... to investigate the origins of their sound.
As the author states in the preface, the aim of this book is "to detect the freedom of choice inside and against the limits imposed by present conditions. Suggesting an idea of musical expression deprived of gerarchies, with processes of contamination taken even from scientific disciplines, and restating the power of collision between subversive power of art and his reduction to the logic of a controlled communication".

About the Third Ear Band, in December 1989 Castellano asked few  questions to Glen Sweeney related to the origins of the group, the first two albums recorded ("Even today I like much to listen to them: in particular the second one that probably is the best album we have done..."), the experience with Polanski's Macbeth.
About this Sweeney reveals: "(...) Personally, I had the idea that a soundtrack were something of too artificial, not so ideal to make good music: so I replied we were just available to improvise on the pictures he'd given to us. (...) I think music we recorded was very very good, but it happened something of very funny: the copy on which we had worked was b&w and just the evening before  we realized Polanski's Macbeth was a wonderful full color movie... Obviously it was really pleasant, while the black and white ones was so glum...".

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)