AFTER TEA - After Tea (Decca Records 862 534 DQY, 1969)
After Tea from the picturesque town of Delft were formed in 1967 after a row in the group The Tee Set whose singer Peter Tetteroo had problems with the psychedelic leanings of his"backing group". Tetteroo chose the James Mean musicians as his new colleagues and the rest of the Tee Set became After Tea.The line up this time was Hans van Eyck (vocals, keyboards), Polle Eduard (vocals, bass, guitar), Martin Hage (drums) and the Englishman Ray Fenwick (vocals, guitar). All members were composers, expert musicians and good vocalists and soon became well respected and were quickly signed to Decca. Together with producer Bert Schouten they worked hard on their first single, the first Dutch "flower power" record "Not Just a Flower in Your Hair" (complete with children's choir). On the b-side was "The Time is Nigh", with the same choir as a gimmick together with the Sousa march "Stars and Stripes Forever" at the end. The Beatles ended "All You Need is Love" in a similar way later on. The single was played a lot on radio and reached 11 in the Top 40. In the studio new numbers were tried out for the new album. The old Tee Set song "Long Ago" was redone in a new "easy" style and "Don't Waste Your Love On Me" was written with lyrics by Hitweek's magazine's Laurie Langenbach. In December 1967 the album "National Disaster" came out. The LP is packaged in a "Wanted Dead or Alive" sleeve and includes a large poster inside. The music is a mix of flower power ideology and fragile numbers such as "Gotta Get You In My Garden Girl" and "In The Land Of The Bubble Gum Tree" and more progressive songs like "Play That Record" , the new version of "Long Ago" and Ray Fenwick's title number "National Disaster". The album got a good public response and glowing reviews in Hitweek, Musiek Express and Teenbeat. The LP was released in the UK in June 1968 and received good reviews in NME and Melody Maker. In England Steve Winwood from the Spencer Davis Group was forming his own group, Traffic. Davis was looking for a replacement and when After Tea and Spencer Davis played together in Rotterdam, he asked Ray Fenwick if he would like to join his band as a replacement for Winwood. Ray had some doubts , but because his work permit as a musician had only months left to run and the possibility of him being asked to leave the country he accepted and left for England. He continued to write some songs for After Tea and played now and then on a few records. "We Will Be There After Tea" written by Hans and Ray became another hit in December 1967. The song with it's catchy lyrics was underpinned by a strong melody and later became a regular favourite for The Spencer Davis Group with Ray. After Tea went through a period of many changes, Polle was in and out of the band and experimented briefly with Frans Krassenburg (vocals) and Henk Smitkamp (bass) and Ferry Lever (guitar) as a long term replacement for Ray. In May 1968 they released "Snowflakes On Amsterdam" and then in September, their fourth single"Peregrine Thomas" a country influenced song which didn't break into the Top 40. It's follow up "Love In Jeopardy" didn't make it either. Thanks to their loyal fans, they kept touring and at the end of the sixties they made a picture disc for the jewellers Desiree which was packaged with an engagement ring and book. The songs on the disc were "Desiree" and "The Wedding Song". The last single for Decca was "A Little Bit Today" in August 1969. Here they chose a standard R+B style. At the parting with Decca the album "After Tea" came out filled with a and b sides of previous singles.
"Aliens Ate My Buick", released in 1988, was the third studio LP release by new wave synthpop artist Thomas Dolby. It peaked at #30 in the UK Albums Charts. The album's sales were disappointing and reviews were mixed. The lead single from the album, "Airhead", peaked at #53. Second and third singles, "Hot Sauce" and "My Brain Is Like A Sieve", peaked at #80 and #89 respectively. In the U.S., the album peaked at #70. Thomas Dolby has said in interviews that he believes the album's commercial failure was due to his change in musical direction, evident on the album. In contrast to the overall introverted nature of his before released album "The Flat Earth", Dolby described his next release, "Aliens Ate My Buick", in the following quote: "I think it's very bold. Some people who've known my stuff from the beginning find it a bit hard to stomach. They think it's a bit brash. It's certainly unsubtle in a lot of ways. It goes for the jugular. There was always a side to the stuff that I did that was very extroverted and wacky. The flip side of the coin was the more atmospheric, moody stuff. There was always room for both of them. But this album, with the exception of maybe one song ("Budapest by Blimp"), is all on the extrovert side". "Aliens Ate My Buick" was strongly funk and dance influenced. The first single was "Airhead", a satirical song about a stereotypical young and rich Californian woman. The second single, "Hot Sauce" was a cover of a George Clinton song. The album was co-produced by Bill Bottrell, and featured Terry Jackson on bass guitar.
Thomas Dolby was born in London, England, contrary to information in early 1980s press releases that reported his birthplace as Cairo, Egypt. His father, Martin Robertson, was an internationally distinguished professor of classical Greek art and archaeology at the University of London, Oxford University, and Cambridge University (Trinity College). In his youth Thomas lived or worked in France, Italy and Greece. He attended Abingdon School in 1975–1976, completing his A Levels while there. One of his first jobs was a part-time position at a fruit and vegetable shop. Thomas Dolby spoke of his early musical experiences in a 2012 interview: "I sang in a choir when I was 10 or 11, and learned to sightread single lines, but other than that I don't have a formal education. I picked up the guitar initially, playing folk tunes from Bob Dylan then I graduated to piano when I got interested in jazz, listening to people like Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, and so on. The first electronic instruments started to become accessible in the mid-70s and I got my hands on a kit built synthesizer and never looked back". He married actress Kathleen Beller in 1988; they have three children together. His great aunt was noted British Suffragist Margaret Hills.
The Thomas Dolby stage name originated from a nickname that he picked up in the early 1970s, when he was "always messing around with keyboards and tapes". His friends nicknamed him "Dolby", from the name of the audio noise-reduction process of Dolby Laboratories used for audio recording and playback. Thomas Morgan Robertson (jis birth name) chose to adopt the stage name "Thomas Dolby" to avoid confusion with British singer Tom Robinson, who was popular when Robertson began his career. Early publicity implied that "Dolby" was a middle name, and that the artist's full name was Thomas Morgan Dolby Robertson; this is legally incorrect, but he does sometimes informally go by the initials TMDR. After the release of "She Blinded Me with Science", Dolby Laboratories expressed concern regarding the musician's stage name. Dolby's record label refused to make him change his name, and Dolby Labs did not raise the issue again until later. After a lengthy legal battle, the court decided that Dolby Labs had no right to restrict the musician from using the name. It was agreed that the musician would not release any electronic equipment using the name. (Coincidentally, inventor/founder Dr. Ray Dolby had a son named Thomas, now a novelist professionally known as Tom Dolby.)
Early in his career, Dolby played keyboards with Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club and is credited on their debut album. The instrumental track "WW9" in the album "English Garden" is the first recorded example of Thomas' writing. He also wrote Lene Lovich's hit single "New Toy" and played keyboard as part of the backing band for her tour. Dolby played some synthesizer parts on the Thompson Twins album Set and co-wrote "Magic's Wand" with Whodini, and played keyboards on one track ("Love") on Robyn Hitchcock's first solo album, 1981's "Black Snake Diamond Role". Dolby played synthesizer on two tracks on the album "Pleasure" by the band Girls at Our Best!. Around this time, he also formed a short-lived band called The Fallout Club. By far the most significant session relationship for Thomas in the early days was when he contributed the signature synthesizer sound on the track "Urgent" on Foreigner's 1981 album "4". On the same album he played the atmospheric synthesizer intro to the mega-hit "Waiting for A Girl Like You". The fees from this work, including tour dates, bankrolled the studio time for the recording of the 1980s benchmark album "The Golden Age of Wireless" from which his solo career began.
In October 1981 Dolby made an appearance in the video for the Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin British number one cover of "It's My Party", playing the part of Johnny in the "Judy and Johnny just walked through the door" section of the song. The video made its first Top of The Pops appearance on 29 October 1981. Dolby also worked as session keyboard player on Def Leppard's 1983 Pyromania album. Dolby appeared on Pyromania using the alias Booker T. Boffin, as his affiliation to another record label restricted the use of his real name. In 1985, Dolby appeared at the Grammy Awards, which were televised, along with Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, and Howard Jones. All four musicians were successful in the mid-1980s music scene, and they were also all keyboard and synthesizer experts. That same year, Dolby performed at the Live Aid concert in London as part of David Bowie's band.
While best known fpr his musical works, Dolby successfully established the Headspace company in 1993. Headspace developed a new downloadable file format designed specifically for Internet usage called Rich Music Format with the RMF file extension. It had the advantage of small file size like MIDI but allowed recorded sampled sounds to be included at a higher bitrate for better overall reproduction. RMF music files could be played in a browser using the free Beatnik Player plug-in. Later versions of RMF permitted artists to place an encrypted watermark in their files that were supposed to prevent unauthorised duplication. In 1999, Headspace, Inc. was renamed Beatnik, Inc., and specialised in software synthesizers for mobile phones, which it licensed to mobile phone manufacturers including Nokia. Beatnik is no longer in business. While still remaining on the Beatnik board, Dolby stepped down from his position as CEO to pursue other technologically innovative interests, such as founding Retro Ringtones LLC in 2002, which produces the RetroFolio ringtone asset management software suite for companies involved in the mobile phone ringtone business. At the second annual Mobile Music Awards, Miami, Florida, in 2004 RetroFolio won "Best of Show" and "Best New Technology" awards.
Dolby's musical talents have also been put to use creating hundreds of digital polyphonic ringtones on mobile phones, including the polyphonic version of the infamous Nokia signature theme. He is often a major speaker at technology conferences such as Comdex, Websphere, and Nokia. From 2001 to 2012, Dolby acted as Musical Director of The TED Conference, an annual event held first in Monterey, California, and subsequently in Long Beach, California. In this capacity he provided live musical introductions to sessions, sometimes with a TED House Band, as well as helping secure guest musicians and entertainers for the event. Onstage, he played with singers and performers such as Eddi Reader, Natalie MacMaster, Rachelle Garniez and David Byrne, and premiered his own song "Love Is a Loaded Pistol" onstage at TEDGlobal 2010. He retired from the post in September 2012 to pursue music. In March 2012, Dolby spoke at the DESIGN West conference in San Jose, California at the McEnery Convention Center, produced by UBM Electronics. In March 2014, Dolby was named Homewood Professor of the Arts at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University. In March 2017, The Peabody Institute announced Dolby would lead a new four-year undergrad degree program, Music for New Media, welcoming its first undergraduate cohort in fall 2018.
MICHAEL FENNELLY - Lane Changer (Epic Records KE 32703, 1974)
Signed to Epic Records on the strength of his demo songs, Fennelly would record his long-anticipated solo debut album, 1973’s Lane Changer, in England. Produced by former Zombies bassist Chris White, Fennelly was backed by a number of England’s best, tho’ admittedly underrated musicians of the era, including bassists Dave Wintour (who had played with Rick Wakeman) and Jim Rodford (Argent, and later with the Kinks); and drummers Robert Henrit (Argent, and another future alum of the Kinks) and Henry Spinetti (who would later play with both Eric Clapton and George Harrison). Argent’s Russ Ballard added backing vocals on several tracks. In-demand U.K. session horn players Mike Cotton and Alan Holmes augment a number of performances on the album with their immense sound, and Fennelly’s former Crabby Appleton bandmate Casey Foutz brought his keyboard prowess to the party. In many ways, Lane Changer continues in a similar vein to Crabby Appleton’s Rotten To The Core; that is, hard-charging rock ‘n’ roll with pop and psychedelic undertones. The album-opening title track is an engaging slab o’ slippery hard rock featuring Fennelly’s lofty vocals, a busy arrangement with chaotic instrumentation, and rapidly-shifting changes in musical direction, all held together by Fennelly’s wiry fretwork which runs throughout the song. By contrast, “Touch My Soul” is a gentle, slow-paced ballad that mixes a folkish lyrical construction with touched of gospel grandeur and Fennelly’s soaring vocals. The highlight of the song, however, is Fennelly’s underrated guitar playing, which bolsters a wonderful vocal performance with both emotion and imagination. Jumping right back into high-octane, hard rock territory, “Won’t You Please Do That” is an unabashed Zep knock-off that expands that band’s classic sound even further with Fennelly’s hypnotizing guitar, explosive rhythms, and a call-and-response chorus that includes Argent, Ballard, and an unnamed “mystery singer” that sounds suspiciously familiar. “Dark Night” is more of a stripped-down affair, with Fennelly’s haunting vocals front and center in front of a simple bass/drums rhythm and flourishes courtesy of Casey Foutz’s Mini-Moog.**** It’s a downright beautiful song, full of texture and complexity, with a lot of musical invention hiding in the grooves beneath Fennelly’s soulful vocals and Foutz’s symphonic swells and electronic sojourning. The solo performance “Easy To Love” displays Fennelly’s talents nicely, his acoustic guitar strum nestling right nicely up against his expressive vocals, which at times hit a tone not unlike bluesman Skip James’ voice on what is otherwise an engaging folk-rock ballad. “Shine A Light” builds upon its predecessor, adding drums and bass to an unassuming, mid-tempo rocker that offers some of Fennelly’s most inspired fretwork on Lane Changer, his breathless vocals punctuated by a short but lovely solo. On the other hand, “Bad Times” offers up some good ol’ ‘70s-styled dino-stomp with bombastic rhythms and blazing guitar, the song’s lengthy intro leaping, headfirst into a raging boogie-rock with Fennelly’s sly guitar leading the charge. A stunning, guitar-driven rocker, “Watch Yourself,” features an uncredited Jeff Beck playing lead guitar while Fennelly himself keeps pace with an intricate rhythm guitar performance, his high-flying vocals presaging the rise of the arena-rock godhead. The album ends with a classic fake-out in “Give Me Your Money,” the song starting as a sort of jazz-flecked, late-night torch-song with a dark ambiance and syncopated rhythms driven by Foutz’s tinkling keys before bursting out into a fast ‘n’ furious boogie blast that, once spent, gives way to the song’s darker tones and slower pace. It’s a truly schitzo and altogether wonderful performance to close out the unique musical experience that is Lane Changer.
Michael Chapman’s first four albums came out on Harvest Records, an EMI-run British label that served as a hot bed for the psych-folk scene. It was home to, among others, Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett’s solo work, and fellow prog-folk singer Roy Harper, whose own 1971 album for Harvest, "Stormcock", is a masterpiece. If you’re looking for a comparison to Chapman’s sound, Harper is as close as you’ll get, at least in some ways. The first track on "Full Qualified Survivor", "Aviator", does little to break that comparison. It’s a nearly ten-minute epic, as moody and wandering as anything on Stormcock, though if you’re looking for an album of huge suites, it’s a bit of a red herring. After that huge, excellent, opening, Chapman continues to develop his own deep, vibrant sound. "Aviator" sets it all up for you; once you set aside the heft, you’ll hear how it falls right in line with the other, tighter songs that follow. We get Chapman’s smoky rasp of a voice, his subtly intricate guitar playing, and his eye for a sharp line, a sinister bark, and a striking detail. It’s a stunning piece about isolation and paranoia, everyone seems to be coming from all angles to take his time away, and you can feel the world closing in on him, not only in his weary voice but in the silence on the other end of a ringing phone or the stones thudding on the roof. The solitary feel Chapman establishes is nothing self-pitying or fey. There’s bite to these songs. You can feel him sneer when, say, someone tries to make a fool of him in "Stranger in the Room". "You made your snide remarks", he snaps, nearly spitting out the words. Even "Postcards from Scarborough", a much sweeter bit of melancholia and the closest thing Chapman had to a hit, finds him mourning a lost love while still scowling at his memories themselves. "The food was so tasteless, the wine was so stale", he growls, remembering his days alone. The lyrics are fully realized here, as well written as they are well delivered, but Fully Qualified Survivor is excellent because it is just as dynamic musically. Where other folk singers would rely on the acoustic guitar (and maybe some swelling strings or go the other route, the way Harper could) over building their songs with drifting layers, Chapman’s sound may align with the folk movement, but it is rock and roll at heart. Chapman enlisted some Grade-A players for the record, including guitarist Mick Ronson. This six-string legend would also later work with Elton John and was of course part of David Bowie’s Spiders from Mars on top of having his own solo career, but his work on Chapman’s record is revelatory. Check the swelling run-ups that burst out of "Stranger in the Room", not to the mention the solos. The thick riffs he drops on "Soulful Lady" are downright funky, while his gentle, distant work on “Rabbit Hills” adds an intricate layer of depth to Chapman’s already weary vocals. The sharpness of his guitar playing worked well with the complex basslines of Rick Kemp, the unsung hero of the record, who circles rumbling notes all around Chapman, giving the whole album a mossy rock feel we wouldn’t hear again, at least not at this brilliant level, until Neil Young’s "On the Beach" in 1974. Chapman leaves plenty of room to show off his own chops, of course, and mixes up the mood and tempo of the record with a series of solo acoustic interludes. His playing on these is lightning-quick and arresting, particularly the bright "Naked Ladies & Electric Ragtime" and the stunning slide work of "Andru’s Easy Rider", but it’s how these pieces manage to fit well in the seams between these full-band songs that makes them all the more striking. "Fully Qualified Survivor" is, well, just what its title claims. This is an album more than worthy of being unearthed and of being appreciated anew. It avoids sounding like anyone else and, let’s be honest, the early-70’s singer-songwriter camp can feel a bit homogeneous. It also avoids the over-sentimental schmaltz in which some of his peers indulged (another occasional drawback to that crowd). In a time where we’re constantly trying to recapture sounds from the past, any past, it’s great to stumble upon the genuine article, something that came before and that did all the things people are still trying to do. It’s heartfelt. It’s dark. It’s intricate but immediate, rocking but lush. It does all those things at once, and it does them better than most artists could hope to do any one of them. So is "Fully Qualified Survivor" a lost classic? Is it a reason to rethink Michael Chapman’s place in folk and rock music? To both questions: A resounding hell yes.
THE JAMES GANG - Bang (ATCO Records SD 7037, 1973)
The James Gang was originally formed by drummer Jim Fox in Cleveland, Ohio in 1966. Though guitarist/singer Joe Walsh is most often associated with the early and highly successful James Gang, he actually was the replacement for Glenn Schwartz, who departed in January, 1968. Jim Fox relates that the gap between Schwartz leaving and Joe joining was less than 48 hours. Dale Peters, who later played in the lineup with Tommy on guitar, came in on bass after the release of Yer Album, the group’s first with Walsh. The band’s music combined both American and British rock influences. With Walsh the band toured England opening for The Who, as well as having success with album and touring sales in the United States.
Walsh left James Gang in late 1971, in part because he was envisioning music that could not be performed with a power trio. He then moved to Boulder, Colorado. His immediate replacement on guitar was Domenic Troiano, while Roy Kenner was brought in on vocals. In Boulder Walsh took six months to study ham radio and chill out. He then began to hook up with musicians such as bassist Kenny Passarelli and keyboardist Tom Stephenson, who were playing with Tommy Bolin in the first lineup of Energy. Tommy and Walsh also met during this period, and often jammed and recorded at Joe’s garage studio. Passarelli split from Energy to join Walsh in his new band Barnstorm, which offered an immediate chance at fortune and fame. Tommy was then forced to look for a new bass player and scored with Stephenson’s cousin Stanley Sheldon. Tommy and Energy played through until early 1973, when Tom Stephenson left to join Walsh and Passarelli in Walsh’s band, and Tommy was again forced to replace a player. This time Max Gronenthal was then brought in on keyboards and vocals, but the end was near and Tommy left for New York City to record Spectrum with Billy Cobham in May.
The James Gang had not been doing as well as they had hoped for with Troiano on guitar, and Walsh was quick to recommend Tommy for a replacement. That recommendation was partly based on the intensely positive rush Tommy’s playing on Spectrum was generating, plus possibly an effort to pay Tommy back for Joe having nicked Passarelli and Stephenson from Energy. On meeting Tommy in August of 1973, Jim Fox and Dale Peters said they were impressed by Spectrum, but were concerned about Tommy’s ability to play rock. Fifteen minutes into the live audition Tommy was signed on. The new lineup went to work almost immediately on the "Bang" album during August and September, 1973 at the Cleveland Recording Company, and was released in October. The album cover photo had already been taken while Domenic Troiano was still with the band, and the album went out using the same photo with Tommy’s face replacing Troiano’s, fairly seamlessly given the technology of the day.
"Bang" relied heavily on the stockpile of songs Tommy had written with Jeff Cook in Energy, with John Tesar separately, and from solo demos he had been doing on the reel-to-reel tape deck Mike Drumm had helped him buy. One interesting example is "Got No Time for Trouble", which was a Bolin/Tesar song that had been sung by Jeff Cook on an Energy studio demo and can be heard on the "Tommy Bolin Archives Energy" CD. Of the album’s nine tracks, Tommy had written or co-written eight. In the beginning Tommy got along well with singer Roy Kenner. They enjoyed singing a cappella together, and Kenner helped coach Tommy on his singing, a place where his confidence was low. Tommy’s lead vocal on "Alexis" could not have been more perfect for the track. Later their friendship would slowly deteriorate as competition for the spotlight would contribute to driving them apart.
The album turned out very well as the band transformed Tommy’s songs into well-polished studio gems. The record label’s choice for the first single, however, was not to the band’s liking: “Must Be Love” started getting radio airplay quickly. Other songs such as “Standing In the Rain” and “Alexis” were also played by FM stations which at the time had creatively adventurous play lists. Jim Fox loved “Standing in the Rain” and fought hard for it to be the next single. Atco eventually relented and it hit in the Top 100. "Bang" stands as one of the strongest rock statements of the period. Not only are the arrangements and performances crisp and catchy, but Tommy also laid down guitar that was on par with his performances on Spectrum. To many people this album contains the quintessential essence of Tommy’s guitar tone and fire. The guitar solo in "From Another Time" is a textbook example of his ability to play with grace, fire and precision even at fast tempos. The notes still raise your hair even if the track is played at half speed. "Mystery" was another standout with its stellar string arrangements by Jimmy Haskell, reminiscent of Paul Buckmaster’s work with Elton John.
PETER FRAMPTON - Frampton Comes Alive (A&M Records SP-3703, 1976)
Peter Frampton was previously associated with the bands Humble Pie and The Herd. At the end of his group career was Frampton's international breakthrough album, his live release "Frampton Comes Alive!". The album sold more than 8 million copies in the United States and spawned several hit singles. Since then he has released several major albums. He has also worked with David Bowie and both Matt Cameron and Mike McCready from Pearl Jam, among others. Frampton is best known for such hits as "Breaking All the Rules", "Show Me the Way", "Baby, I Love Your Way", "Do You Feel Like We Do", and "I'm in You", which remain staples on classic rock radio. He has also appeared as himself in television shows such as The Simpsons and Family Guy. Frampton is known for his work as a guitar player and particularly with a Talkbox and his baritone voice. Peter Frampton was born in Bromley, Kent, England. He attended Bromley Technical High School, at which his father, Owen Frampton, was a teacher and the head of the Art department. He first became interested in music when he was seven years old. Having discovered his grandmother's banjolele in the attic, he taught himself to play it, going on to later teach himself how to play guitar and piano as well. At the age of eight, he began taking classical music lessons.
His early influences were Cliff Richard & the Shadows (featuring guitarist Hank Marvin) and American rockers Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran and later The Ventures, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. His father introduced him to the recordings of Belgian gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. By the age of 12, Frampton played in a band called The Little Ravens. Both he and David Bowie, who was three years older, were pupils at Bromley Technical School (where his father Owen Frampton was Bowie's art instructor). The Little Ravens played on the same bill at school as Bowie's band, George and the Dragons. Peter and David would spend lunch breaks together, playing Buddy Holly songs. At the age of 14, Peter was playing with a band called The Trubeats followed by a band called The Preachers, produced and managed by Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones. He became a successful child singer, and in 1966 he became a member of The Herd. He was the lead guitarist and singer, scoring several British pop hits. Frampton was named "The Face of 1968" by teen magazine Rave.
In 1968, when Frampton was 18 years old, he joined with Steve Marriott of Small Faces to form Humble Pie. While playing with Humble Pie, Frampton also did session recording with other artists, including: Harry Nilsson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and John Entwistle's Whistle Rymes, in 1972. Pete Drake introduced him to the "talk box" that was to become one of his trademark guitar effects. After four studio albums and one live album with Humble Pie, Frampton left the band and went solo in 1971, just in time to see "Rockin' The Fillmore" rise up the US charts. He remained with Dee Anthony (1926-2009), the same personal manager that Humble Pie had used. His own debut was 1972's "Wind of Change", with guest artists Ringo Starr and Billy Preston. This album was followed by "Frampton's Camel" in 1973, which featured Frampton working within a group project. In 1974, Frampton released "Somethin's Happening". Frampton toured extensively to support his solo career, joined for three years by his former Herd mate Andy Bown on keyboards, Rick Wills on Bass, and American drummer John Siomos. In 1975, the "Frampton" album was released. The album went to No. 32 in the US charts, and is certified Gold by the RIAA.
Peter Frampton had little commercial success with his early albums. This changed with Frampton's best-selling live album, "Frampton Comes Alive!", in 1976, from which "Baby, I Love Your Way", "Show Me the Way", and an edited version of "Do You Feel Like We Do", were hit singles. The latter two tracks also featured his use of the talk box guitar effect. The album was recorded in 1975, mainly at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, California, where Humble Pie had previously enjoyed a good following. Frampton had a new line-up, with Americans Bob Mayo on keyboards and rhythm guitar and Stanley Sheldon on bass. Wills had been sacked by Frampton at the end of 1974, and Bown had left on the eve of "Frampton Comes Alive!", to return to England and new fame with Status Quo. "Frampton Comes Alive!" was released in early January, debuting on the charts on 14 February at number 191. The album was on the Billboard 200 for 97 weeks, of which 55 were in the top 40, of which 10 were at the top. The album beat, among others, Fleetwood Mac's "Fleetwood Mac" to become the top selling album of 1976, and it was also the 14th best seller of 1977. With sales of eight million copies it became the biggest selling live album, although with others subsequently selling more it is now the fourth biggest. "Frampton Comes Alive!" has been certified as eight times platinum. The album won Frampton a Juno Award in 1977.
The success of "Frampton Comes Alive!" put him on the cover of Rolling Stone, in a famous shirtless photo by Francesco Scavullo. Frampton later said he regrets the photo because it changed his image as a credible artist into a teen idol. In late 1976 he and manager Dee Anthony visited the White House at the invitation of Steven Ford, the president's son. Frampton's following album, "I'm in You" (1977) contained the hit title single and went platinum, but fell well short of expectations compared to "Frampton Comes Alive!". He starred, with The Bee Gees, in producer Robert Stigwood's poorly received film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978). Frampton's career seemed to be falling as quickly as it had risen. He also played guitar on the title song of the 1978 film Grease, a song newly-written for the film by Barry Gibb. Frampton suffered a near-fatal car accident in the Bahamas in 1978 that marked the end of his prolific period and the beginning of a long fallow period where he was less than his old self. He returned to the studio in 1979 to record the album "Where I Should Be". Among those contributing to the album were past band members Stanley Sheldon (bass), Bob Mayo (keyboards/guitar/vocals), and John Siomos (drums/vocals). On 24 August 1979 Frampton received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the recording industry at 6819 Hollywood Boulevard.
In 1980 his album "Rise Up" was released to promote his tour in Brazil, although he suffered another serious setback that year when all his guitars were thought destroyed in a cargo plane crash that killed three people. Among the instruments he lost was the treasured black Les Paul Custom (pictured on the cover of "Frampton Comes Alive!") given to him by Mark Mariana and first used on the night of the recording of the Humble Pie live album "Performance", and which he had used all through his early solo career. The guitar was recovered and returned to him in December 2011. The album eventually turned into "Breaking All the Rules", released the next year in 1981. These albums were the first he recorded almost completely live. In 1982, following the release of "The Art of Control", Frampton tried unsuccessfully to split his ties with A&M Records; he, however, re-signed with the label in 2006 and released his Grammy Award-winning "Fingerprints". Although his albums generally met with little commercial success, Frampton continued to record throughout the 1980s. He did, however, achieve a brief, moderate comeback of sorts in 1986 with the release of his "Premonition" album, and the single "Lying", which became a big hit on the Mainstream Rock charts. Most notably, he also united with old friend David Bowie, and both worked together to make albums. Frampton played on Bowie's 1987 album "Never Let Me Down"and sang and played on the accompanying Glass Spider Tour. Frampton would, in 2013, credit his participation in this tour for helping revive his career.
Looking for the band experience again after touring with Bowie, Frampton kept referencing Steve Marriott, and at the beginning of 1991 rejoined his old Humble Pie mate for some shows (Marriott's last English gigs) at the Half Moon in Putney, London. The chemistry was still there for a while, as both Frampton and Marriott laid down some tracks in L.A. and prepared to do a "Frampton-Marriott" tour. However, Marriott abruptly returned to England in April and he died in a house fire less than 24 hours after his return. Broken up by Marriott's death, Frampton went off the road for a time, then reformed his old touring band with his old friends Mayo and John Regan. At least three songs, and possibly a fourth, from the ended Marriott-Frampton partnership were subsequently recorded; two ending up on Frampton's "Shine On" compilation, a third on his subsequent solo album. In the late 1990s he starred in an infomercial plugging the internationally successful eMedia Guitar Method, a piece of instructional software represented as an alternative to taking actual guitar lessons. He claimed in the infomercial that the software was the best way to learn guitar.
In 1994 Frampton wrote and released the album "Peter Frampton", the final version of which contained material recorded on Tascam cassette recorders. Originally released on the Relativity label, this record was re-released in 2000 by Legacy Records, with four bonus tracks and additional notes by Peter. In 1995 Frampton released "Frampton Comes Alive! II", which contained live versions of many of the songs from his 1980s and 1990s solo albums. "Frampton Comes Alive! II" was accompanied by a video release on DVD, recorded at The Fillmore Theatre on 15 June 1995. Although there was a large amount of marketing for the album, it did not sell well. After "Frampton Comes Alive! II", he recorded and toured with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings and Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band, where he and Jack Bruce performed a cover version of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love". In 2003, Frampton released the album "Now", and embarked on a tour with Styx to support it. It was on this tour in 2004 he lost good friend and long time bandmate Bob Mayo. He also toured with The Elms, and even appeared in 2006 on the Fox Broadcasting variety show Celebrity Duets, paired with Chris Jericho of WWE fame. They were the first pair voted out.
On 12 September 2006 Frampton released an instrumental work titled "Fingerprints". His band consisted of drummer Shawn Fichter, guitarist Audley Freed, bassist John Regan (Frampton's lifelong best friend), and keyboardist/guitarist Rob Arthur, and guest artists such as members of Pearl Jam, Hank Marvin, and his bassist on "Frampton Comes Alive!", Stanley Sheldon – the only member of the backing band on that album still alive. On 11 February 2007 "Fingerprints" was awarded the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. In February 2007, he also appeared on the Chicago-based PBS television show Soundstage. Frampton released his 14th studio album, "Thank You Mr. Churchill", on 27 April 2010. In summer 2010 he began touring North America with the English band Yes; the two acts had played stadium shows on a bill together in 1976. His 2010 band consisted of Rob Arthur (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals), John Regan (bass), Adam Lester (guitar), and Dan Wojciechowski (drums). He embarked on a UK Tour in March 2011 in support of his new album, visiting Leamington Spa, Glasgow, Manchester, London and Bristol.
Frampton went on tour in 2011 with The Frampton Comes Alive 35th Anniversary Tour that showcased and followed exactly the songs on the play list for the original tour from 1976, recorded for the famous "Frampton Comes Alive!". The concerts each night started with the prerecorded thump of a microphone being turned on, familiar to many fans of the album, followed by the recorded voice of Jerry Pompili saying, "If there was ever a musician that was an honorary member of San Francisco society, Mr. Peter Frampton" and then the crowd goes wild. He played the album song for song for 69 locations between 15 June 2011, and 22 October 2011, throughout the USA. On 11 June 2011, Frampton performed a live set for "Guitar Center Sessions" on DirecTV. The episode included an interview with program host, Nic Harcourt. In 2013 he performed throughout North America as part of the "Frampton's Guitar Circus" tour which featured periodic guest performers including B.B. King, Robert Cray, Don Felder, Rick Derringer, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Steve Lukather, Sonny Landreth, David Hidalgo, Mike McCready, Roger McGuinn and Vinnie Moore. On 9 February 2014, Frampton was one of several musicians to participate in The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles tribute to The Beatles on the 50th anniversary of their first appearance on American television. On 23 June 2014, Frampton released a new album entitled "Hummingbird in a Box". On 11 June 2015, Frampton announced his new studio album: "Acoustic Classics" then, on 14 January 2016 he launched the first song: a version of "Do You Feel Like I Do".
EUPHORIA - Euphoria (Heritage Records SMR 2018, 1969)
Imagine a time: Without cable TV, when more in-home screens were black and white than color. When FM radio stations were exceptions, not rules. When interstates and other four-lane highways were in their infancy. We're talking more than 40 years ago, when much of the world seemed far more distant than now for those of us growing up on the north end of the Appalachian coal fields. It was a time when local musicians with dreams of rock 'n' roll success weren't sure music's stars could ever shine on someone from these parts. Elderberry Jak changed that with the release of "Long Overdue," on Nashville-based Silver Fox Records, which was owned by singer Kenny Rogers' brother Leland. Now, anyone with a computer can put their music in front of millions of potential listeners without ever leaving home. They just record the songs and upload them to Web sites like MP3.com. Randy Worsham, a singer/songwriter I played bass for in Spingfield, Mo., a few years ago, has done that. So has Joe Cerisano, Elderberry Jak's lead vocalist, with his more recent work.
When "Long Overdue" first made its way onto vinyl, however, home computers as powerful as the Commodore 64, the 64 standing for 64 kilobytes of random access memory, were still on the drawing board. Most of us send email photos today that are larger than 64K! Back then, the hotspots in the still-young rock universe seemed as far away from north central West Virginia as the stars in Orion's belt. Things were happening in L.A., London and New York. Geez; Pittsburgh was a two-hour trip back then! Many of us who practiced in garages to play weekends in tiny little clubs around there took heart and hope in Elderberry Jak's success. Heck, I played covers of several "Long Overdue" cuts; "Changes," "Forest on the Mountain," Wishing Well," and "Vance's Blues."
"Little Joe", the late Dave Coombs, Joe Hartman and Tom Nicholas were several years older. I started playing locally, keyboards back then, after their debut album was recorded and released, and they'd gone on the road to support it. Dozens of Volkswagens now sit in the parking lot of what was, back then, The White House - along U.S. 119, north of Morgantown, almost to the Pennsylvania state line. To this second, I can recall the butterflies I got as a teenager the night. I first played there as a member of a Fayette County, Pa., band called Brimstone. Like the guys in Jak, my bandmates were several years my senior. A couple of them had jammed with Cerisano and Coombs when they were still part of J.B. and the Bonnevilles, pre-Elderberry Jak. All night long during that first White House gig, I willed us to be as good as Jak; but not with the goal of getting a record deal. At that point, none of us had even started working on original material.
Rather, my wish simply was that we use the stage, and those four 45-minute sets, as well as Elderberry Jak did because they showed all of us that it could be done. Even coal-patch musicians from this part of the world had a shot at realizing our goals if we let the music do the talking and respected it... worked at it... as much as some of those who'd crossed that stage before us. The White House was the only nightspot I ever played that Jak had ruled around here before recording "Long Overdue." As a result, the nights spent on its stage are among my fondest musical memories. Meeting Joe Cerisano also is among them. He continues to sing songs on the soundtrack of my musical dreams. Inspiration provided through the years by "Long Overdue" helped me achieve much of what I had hoped to in music. Some goals remain, so I keep listening to Jak to remind me that it's never too late. Some might argue; but from here, it seems Jak was ahead of its time. Listen to Hartman's pounding double-bass footwork on "Vance's Blues"and "Changes," for example. Jon Bonham, of Led Zeppelin, was playing that way back then. But most of the others - Alex Van Halen, Tommy Aldridge (Black Oak Arkansas, PatTravers and Whitesnake), Denny Carmassi (Montrose and Heart) were at least a few years away from the spotlight. Anyone who has ever seen Tom Pacheco perform knows that they have been in the presence of greatness, watching a singer/songwriter who is a master of his craft and who, if there were any justice in the world (even though we know such a commodity is in desperately short supply in the 21st Century), would be as well-known as Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan. Tom has lived the life of a troubadour since the mid-1960s, and has now made around 20 original albums which have been released on a variety of labels in the USA (his earliest recordings and several more recently) and Europe (mainly in the last 20 ears). Yet Tom is not - yet - a household name, and one cannot avoid thinking that there are parallels between this often brilliant and always engaging artist and another artist in a different field, the celebrated painter Vincent Van Gogh.
The latter is now recognised s a genius, yet in his lifetime, he famously failed to sell a single painting. Tom's fate has not been quite so desperate. He has managed to sell small quantities of is amazing albums over the past 35 years, but never as many as his artistry deserved. Tom was born on 4th November 1946, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. His father, Tony Pacheco, was a jazz guitarist who played with Django Reinhardt as well as solo in clubs in Europe before returning to the US to raise a family and open a music store, where he also taught guitar. Tom began playing guitar at the age of 10, studying both Flamenco and classical styles, and in 1965, as a 9 year old, released his first solo album, “Turn Away rom The Storm”, a collection of original folk songs he had written two or three years before. It was made for a small local label known as Witchgreen Records, and Tom thinks they probably only pressed 500 copies. He also notes that he now owns that album and could be leased to license it if anyone's interested. The Van Gogh comparisons continue: that solo album could soon be reissued, and now the Euphoria album.
Tom left Massachusetts to study at Hofstra niversity in New York City, where he formed a band called The Ragamuffins, which supported Jimi Hendrix in a number of occasions and also released two singles on Seville and London Records. These singles are extremely obscure; no doubt, if Tom had become a superstar, they would have been reissued on many occasions, but as it is, hunting through oldies shops probably provides the only solution if anyone feels that owning them is important. In 1969 Tom joined forces with The Beckets which actually were Roger and Wendy Penney, they started their entertainment careers as actors, working with Boston's Theatre Company. Using the stage name Roger and Wendy Beckett, by the mid-'60s the pair had turned their attentions to music, becoming fixtures on New York's Greenwich Village folk club scene. By the time they released their 1967 debut collection, they'd followed the crowd into a more electrified folk-rock sound with Roger jammin' on electric autoharp, while Wendy had picked up electric bass. After splitting Euphoria the couple toured and released records as Roger and Wendy and later -in mid seventies- as The Bermuda Triangle.
Back to Euphoria, Tom recalls: 'Thirty years later, I listened to Eurphoria album and realized it was not as bad as I thought it was, considering the times. If it weren't for that album at that point in my life I might have quit playing music professionally and become an English teacher, something I had gone to University to study". Which explains why Tom's lyrics are so impressive. He could have been a great teacher. The sleeve picture of Euphoria is curious, to say the least. A very tall female standing with a male dwarf. Tom explained: "That was a picture of a relative of mine, who was dreadfully poor, but very attractive, and she married a rich dwarf who lived on an island in The Azores, and lived happily ever after with him. The female head has half of Sharon's face and half of Wendy Becket's and the dwarf has half Roger's face and half mine". Tom now has a band in Norway with whom he recorded 'The Long Walk', released by Playground Music Scandinavia, which is an album full of his songs, while Jim Welder produced and performed instrumental tracks on Tom's newest album, "Year Of The Big Wind (Bare Bones III)", recorded at Moonhaw Studios in Woodstock and released by Frog's Claw Recordings.
KARNATAKA - Secrets Of Angels (Immrama Records KTK LP001, 2015)
Karnataka were formed in 1997 by founding members, Ian Jones (bass, acoustic guitar), Jonathan Edwards (keyboards) and Rachel Jones (vocals). The band started as a project to record songs in Ian's home studio, that had been written and performed by Jonathan, Rachel and Ian in earlier bands. The project was augmented by additional musicians, Paul Davies (electric guitars) and Gavin Griffiths (drums), who had played with other members of Karnataka in earlier bands. At the end of the recording the decision was made to continue the project as a band. The name Karnataka was chosen by the band, from a suggestion by Ian, following his trips to that state of India. The five-piece recorded what would become their debut album, "Karnataka" in 1997. In the beginning, the band had no thought of actually releasing the album, they made the recording for their own pleasure. As they started to play live shows in their new configuration, however, word of mouth ensured that an increasing number of people started asking for copies. It was recommended to the band that they send a copy of the album to Martin Hudson at the Classic Rock Society. Martin gave the band their first break by positively reviewing the album in the society's magazine, and then offering them a gig for the Classic Rock Society in Rotherham, supporting the Genesis tribute band ReGenesis in 1999. The show was a success and Karnataka were offered another support with Jump in October 1999. Encouraged, the band had already started writing the material that would eventually appear on their second album, "The Storm". The album was recorded between August - November 1999 in Ian's studio. The album was then mixed at Rockfield Studios in Mounmouthshire, Wales, a studio used by such notable bands as Rush, Hawkwind, Queen and Clannad. Further live performances brought the band to the attention of record company Voiceprint through whom they are now distributed. The band toured the UK extensively with the new album, culminating in a show before an audience of die-hards at London's Mean Fiddler, which was filmed and subsequently released on DVD under licence to Classic Rock Productions. The DVD, entitled simply "In Concert", was well received by fans but frustrated the band, who still felt that the results did not fully reflect their acclaimed live performances.
The "In Concert" DVD did, however, feature some new material the band was working on for their third album, although the songs were destined to change a little before they were recorded in the sessions for what was to become the band's breakthrough album. "Delicate Flame Of Desire", the band’s third album, was recorded with producer Steve Evans and mixed by Joe Gibb. The album brought the band’s music to a much wider audience with Radio 2 airplay and widespread media coverage. This album was the only Karnataka studio album to feature new member, Anne-Marie Helder, on flute and backing vocals. She had previously appeared on the band's In Concert DVD as one of three guest backing vocalists. An in-depth interview with Ian Jones, Jonathan Edwards and Rachel Jones was conducted by Jon Hinchliffe in 2002, shortly before the release of "Delicate Flame of Desire". In the interview, all three talk extensively about the origins of the band, the writing process and the dynamics of how the band operates. Shortly after the release of "Delicate Flame Of Desire", Karnataka were invited to play their first shows overseas: indeed one of their first shows in the US was filmed and released on DVD as "Live In The USA", again through Classic Rock Productions. The band were also working on more new material, some of which was premiered over the course of 2003 and 2004, as the band continued to expand their fanbase and received increasingly positive reviews. A double live album, "Strange Behaviour", was released in mid-2004 to accompany what was to be the band's final tour with the existing line-up. The live album is particularly notable for containing two previously unreleased new songs - "Talk To Me" and "These Dreams Are Over". Although another tour of the UK was in the early planning stages, in August 2004 the band's website was updated with a notice that due to unforeseen personal circumstances, the band had decided not to continue. There followed a period of inactivity, during which the members of the band embarked upon new musical projects. Ian Jones joined forces with songwriter Steve Evans and guitarist Ian Simmons to record an under the moniker Chasing The Monsoon and would be joined later by Lisa Fury performing vocals. Rachel Jones decided to take time out from the music business and returned to college, although she appeared on recordings from other bands and occasionally took to the stage as well, most notably with Mostly Autumn. She subsequently joined Cardiff-based rock band, The Reasoning, as a vocalist in late 2006. The remaining members of the original line-up of Karnataka, Paul Davies, Jonathan Edwards, and Gavin Griffiths, along with Anne-Marie Helder, formed Panic Room in 2008.
Karnataka was then resurrected as a band when Ian Jones' started writing with keyboardist Gonzalo Carrera. The pair were initially joined by vocalist Alquimia, guitarist Nick May (formerly of The Enid), and drummer Bob Dalton, however this line-up proved short-lived and Karnataka evolved to feature a line-up consisting of Jones and Carrera along with vocalist Lisa Fury, drummer Louie Palmer, and guitarist Enrico Pinna. This new line-up of the band toured in Spring 2007 playing a selection of fan favourites and four or five new songs to provide a flavour of the work in progress. Following Palmer's departure from the band later in 2007, Karnataka were joined by Ian Harris, who had previously played with a multitude of acts, including Chris Rea, Mica Paris and Nitin Sawney. Work on the band's fourth studio album "The Gathering Light" continued in 2007 although started in 2005 with all three writers; Ian Jones, Lisa Fury & Gonzalo Carrera. The band continued to tour. This time the old favourites took a back seat to a slew of new material, showcasing the band's confidence in their post-split writing. The tour was very well received, resulting in strong voting for the band and the individual musicians in 2008's Classic Rock Society awards, even though the band had yet to release any recordings with the new line-up. The fourth Karnataka studio album, "The Gathering Light", was finally released in February 2010, although fans who had pre-ordered a special edition of the album received their copies slightly earlier. The band embarked on a string of live dates to promote the album, which had already received some exceptionally positive reviews. It also featured in many music magazines - Classic Rock Society, Get Ready To Rock, Fireworks Magazine with a featured track on the accompanying CD, Dutch Progressive Rock Page, Powerplay Magazine, Musical Discoveries & Where Worlds Collide, inc front page of Classic Rock Society Magazine. "The Gathering Light" also Winner of Best International Album at the Prog Awards. "The Gathering Light" stands true to Karnataka's heritage, yet illustrates significant artistic growth since the former lineup's "Delicate Flame of Desire" release six years ago. progressive rock influences are more apparent. While their fans have waited a long time for this release, the care taken in the writing, recording and production of "The Gathering Light" has delivered an outstanding progressive rock album. In May 2010, Ian Harris, Gonzalo Carrera and Lisa Fury announced on their websites that due to personal reasons they would be leaving the band. It was announced in October 2010 that Ian Harris would be replaced by former Karnataka drummer Louie Palmer, and in October 2010 multi-instrumentalist Colin Mold was revealed as having joined the band in a new role. In February 2011, it was announced that Hayley Griffiths was the new lead vocalist for the band replacing Lisa Fury. Hayley was previously a lead vocalist with global phenomena Riverdance and Michael Flatley's Lord Of The Dance. The band's new lineup was completed in March 2011, when Cagri Tozluoglu was announced as the band's new keyboard player. In Sept 2011 the new line-up announced an extensive 15 date tour of the UK would take place early in 2012, subsequently named the "New Light Tour". Due to the second departure of Palmer, the band were joined by session player Matt McDonough for the tour (and continued to tour with the band until 2014). Following the completion of the 2012 tour, Mold departed the band, and was not replaced. The band filmed and recorded their show at The Met Theatre in Bury on the New Light Tour. The show was enhanced bylights and lasers, and filmed in high definition. The live DVD and was released in late 2012. The band continued to tour this show into 2013.
The band revealed in August 2013 that they were working on a new album. It was revealed on 31 May 2014 that the band had hired drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi as an official replacement for Louie Palmer. The long-awaited album was released on 7 March 2015, with the first copies being available at the concert in Derby and preorders shipped the next week. The album contains 8 tracks, including the title track, a '20 minute epic opus'. Other tracks on the album include "Forbidden Dreams", "Poison Ivy" and "Feels Like Home", which were previewed on the Forbidden Dreams tour in 2012/13. The band went on a UK tour starting on 28 February, playing every track from the new album each night. The band continued to tour the "Secrets of Angels" album through 2016 and 2017, both in the UK and Europe. A DVD was recorded in London in 2016 and was released in December 2017. 2017 also saw a tour entitled 'Back to Back', which saw the band perform the albums "The Gathering Light" and "Secrets of Angels" in their entirety. Keyboard player Cagri Tozluoglu decided to step down from the band towards the end of 2017, with guitarist Enrico Pinna also indicating he was likely to leave the band to pursue other commitments. Following a concert at the Robin on 3rd December, band leader Ian Jones announced on Facebook that the current line up of the band had come to an end and it would likely continue with a new line up. This was met with shock by singer Hayley Griffiths and drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi, both of whom said they were not consulted or informed about this decision prior to the announcement on Facebook. In February 2018, Ian Jones announced on the band's website that Gonzalo Carrera had rejoined the band, and that they were working together on new material.
TOOL - Ænima(Zoo Entertainment 61422-31087-2, 1996)
"Ænima" was the second studio album by American rock band Tool. It was released in vinyl format on September 17, 1996, and in compact disc format on October 1, 1996 through Zoo Entertainment. The album was recorded and cut at Ocean Way, Hollywood and The Hook, North Hollywood from 1995 to 1996. The album was produced by David Bottrill. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart upon its initial release, selling 148000 copies in its first week. It was certified triple platinum by the RIAA on March 4, 2003. The album appeared on several lists of the best albums of 1996, including that of Kerrang and Terrorizer. The title track won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1998. In 2003, "Ænima" was ranked the sixth most influential album of all time by Kerrang. Rolling Stone listed the album at No. 18 on its list of The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time. "Ænima" was Tool's first studio album with former Peach bassist Justin Chancellor. The title "Ænima" is a combination of the words 'anima' (Latin for 'soul' and associated with the ideas of "life force", and a term often used by psychologist Carl Jung) and 'enema', the medical procedure involving the injection of fluids into the rectum. Promotional singles were issued, in order of release, for "Stinkfist", "H.", "Ænema" and "Forty-Six & 2" with just the first and third receiving music videos. Several of the songs are short segues or interludes that connect to longer songs, pushing the total duration of the CD towards the maximum of around 80 minutes. These segues are "Useful Idiot", "Message to Harry Manback", "Intermission", "Die Eier von Satan", "Cesaro Summability", and "(-) Ions". Themes of the album include Egyptian mythology in a seven-pointed star symbolizing Babalon, and sacred geometry in dividing the planet into grids related to chromosomes. The liner notes included references to ketamine producing dissociative anesthesia as well as Timothy Leary, ritual magic, and religious fundamentalism. The band dedicated the album to Bill Hicks (a comedian who the band felt was going in the same direction as them) and said this album to be partly inspired by him. The inside cover displays art featuring a painting of a disabled patient that shows a resemblance to singer Maynard James Keenan and Bill Hicks depicted as a doctor or "healer" with the line, "Another Dead Hero". Lines from Bill Hicks' standup set, "One Good Drug Story" and "The War on Drugs" are sampled before the song "Third Eye". Demo versions of the songs "Pushit", "Stinkfist", "Ænema", and "Eulogy" were recorded with Paul D'Amour on bass, before he left the band. These appeared online in early 2007. D'Amour also worked on "H.", as he is credited as a co-songwriter on ASCAP's website. Danny Carey labeled L. Ron Hubbard as the subject of "Eulogy". Speculation has surrounded the song "H." The "meaning" of this song has seldom been detailed by the band, as they do not regularly comment on such things. However, on several occasions, specifically on November 23, 1996 during a show at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Maynard did grant some insight into the meaning of the song. Speaking to the audience, he said, "Any of you ever seen those old Warner Bros. cartoons ? Sometimes there's that one where the guy is trying to make a decision, and he's got an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Seems pretty obvious, right ? The angel is trying to give him good advice while the devil is trying to get him to do what's bad for him. It's not always that simple, though. A lot of times they're not really angels or devils, but friends giving you advice, looking out for your best interest but not really understanding what's going to be best for you. So it kind of comes down to you. You have to make the decision yourself. This song is called 'H.'" The song was discussed live during a few other shows around this time, one example being on February 23, 1997, when Maynard introduced this song by referring to the shoulder angel and devil, and also said it is about a hurtful yet dependent relationship. In an interview Keenan gave in December 1996, he commented, "My son's name is Devo H. That's all I'll say." It is also of note that the song's working title was "Half Empty", as it was introduced during a mini-tour of California by the band in December 1995. In the book Teachings of Don Juan, a Yaqui Way of Knowledge, Carlos Castaneda refers to a character named H. Keenan. The track "Useful Idiot" features the sound of the needle skipping at the end of a gramophone record growing louder as the track progresses. The track was set at the end of side 1 of the vinyl versions of "Ænima" as a joke to fool those who owned the version. The song (on vinyl) not only ends in a locked groove, which requires manual lifting of the needle to end playback, but also continues on the run-in groove of side 2. "Message to Harry Manback" features calming new-age piano music and the background noises of seagulls while a message from an answering machine plays. The person who leaves the message is reportedly an uninvited Italian houseguest of Keenan's; the guest consumed much of the available food supply and spent much time on the phone. Upon being forced to leave, the guest called "Harry Manback", a pseudonym for Keenan's friend, and launched into a diatribe against him, forming the basis of the message. There was a follow up message that the guest left on the answering machine which became "Message to Harry Manback II", found on Salival. "Hooker with a Penis" refers to a fan who accused the band of selling out after their first EP. "OGT" is taken to stand for "Original Gangster Tool". Keenan whispers in the left channel throughout the song. At 1:41, "consume, be fruitful, and multiply" may be alluding to Genesis, which contains the phrase "be fruitful and multiply" six times. During Lollapalooza 1997, a version of "Hooker with a Penis" remixed by Billy Howerdel in the form of lounge music played over the public address system between sets. During 1996 concerts, Maynard told audiences that the song "jimmy" is the sequel to "Prison Sex", and how it's about getting through the abuse. It is preceded by "Intermission", a short organ adaptation of the opening riff of "jimmy". The fourth, and most controversial segue is the NDH style "Die Eier von Satan". It is introduced by a distorted bassline giving way to a heavy industrial guitar, starting at the :23 mark and lasting only ten seconds, playing a single chord in Drop C tuning over a reversed drum beat in compound triple meter or 98 time. The lyrical component of the song is spoken in German by Marko Fox, bass player for ZAUM and SexTapes. He is backed by a sound that resembles a hydraulic press, and crowd cheering and applause that increase in volume as the lyrics are read with increasing ferocity. These combined effects make the song sound like a militant German rant or Nazi rally. While the tone is aggressive, the speaker is merely reciting a recipe for a cannabis edible. The band tried working titles like "The Final Recipe" (playing on Final Solution) and "Holocaust in 98", an allusion to the 1972 Genesis epic "Supper's Ready" and its final sections "Apocalypse in 98" and "As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs". The song was originally translated by Gudrun Fox. According to Blair McKenzie Blake, the maintainer of the official Tool website, "Die Eier von Satan" originally were cookies that "Marko Fox's grandmother used to bake for him as a child, without using eggs as an ingredient. The substitution for eggs is a magical incantation from the worm-eaten pages of some moldering grimoire." This magical incantation ("sim salabim bamba sala do saladim") is taken from the German children's song "Auf einem Baum ein Kuckuck" and popularized by Harry August Jansen. According to the lyrics, the special ingredient besides this "incantation" is "a knife-tip of Turkish hashish". The title is a play on deviled eggs, translating to "The Eggs of Satan" in English or "The Balls of Satan", due to a German double entendre of "eier", which can either mean "eggs" or testicles. While there may not be eggs, "balls" do appear in the form of "ground nuts" (150 grams) while the dough itself is rolled into tiny balls before baking. So far the only time it has been performed live in its entirety was on December 19, 1996 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. The track has been compared to the work of industrial and experimental artists such as Einstürzende Neubauten, Rammstein and Tom Waits. "Pushit" was titled as a single word to emphasize the ambiguity of the pronunciation in regard to the "s" word (push it on me/push shit on me). An alternate version of "Pushit" was performed live, including an Aloke Dutta tabla solo, and appears on Salival. The song "Third Eye" contains samples of comedian Bill Hicks. The title may be a reference to Hicks' assertions that psilocybe mushrooms could be used to "squeegee one's third eye clean." A goal of the album as a whole was to "open people up in some way and help open their third eye and help them on a path." "Ænema" makes lyrical references to Bill Hicks' set Arizona Bay, in which the San Andreas fault collapses, purging the continent of Southern California and the Baja Peninsula which would give Arizona its own oceanfront. This is further illustrated in the lenticular map under the CD tray. The alternate spelling for the song emphasizes the "enema" portion of the combined title also used for the album; in this way, it differentiates the meaning of the song (with California's collapse seen as a 'flushing out' for the country) from the meaning of the album (the "anima" emphasis indicating a spiritual, Jungian focus for the album in its entirety) while retaining the song's placement as the title track, though the differing spelling and pronunciation marks a different approach from other Tool albums that are named directly after songs (Opiate,Lateralus and Undertow) or sections of songs (10,000 Days).
Upon its release, the album was met with generally favorable reviews by mainstream music critics, citing the band's innovation and ambitions within the album's sound. Rob Theakston of AllMusic gave the album a positive review, stating that "Tool explore the progressive rock territory previously forged by such bands as King Crimson. However, Tool are conceptually innovative with every minute detail of their art, which sets them apart from most bands." Jon Wiederhorn of Entertainment Weekly said that "Ænima" was "one of 1996's strangest and strongest alt-metal records". David Fricke of Rolling Stone said that the band shoves "their iron-spike riffing and shock-therapy polemics right up the claustrophobic dead end of so-called alternative metal in the name of a greater metaphysical glory", calling it "very admirable" and "even a bit impressive", going on to say that "the best parts of "Ænima come when Tool just let the music rip". USA Today's Edna Gundersen cited it as Tool's best release, adding that the combination of the band's sound combined with the vocal capabilities of frontman Maynard James Keenan creates an album that is "Pandora's toolbox". Among negative reviews, The Rolling Stone Album Guide was extremely critical of the album, citing its weaknesses especially when compared to the likes of the band's later releases: "With "Ænima", the band's ambitions nearly get the best of them. The increasing density of their relentlessly downcast music, augmented by occasional electronic noises, begins to feel ponderous. 'I've been wallowing in my own chaotic insecure delusions,' Maynard James Keenan mutters, and the music indulges him. The claustrophobic production doesn't help." The album appeared on several lists of the best albums of 1996, including that of Kerrang and Terrorizer. The track "Ænema" won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1998. In 2003, "Ænima" was ranked the 6th most influential album of all time by Kerrang. In 2006, it placed 14th on a Guitar World readers poll that attempted to find the best 100 guitar albums. In 2014, readers of Rhythm voted it the third greatest drumming album in the history of progressive rock.
GAZPACHO - Missa Atropos (HWT Records, no number, 2010)
"Missa Atropos" is the sixth studio album by Norwegian rock band Gazpacho. The album released on September 15, 2010 in Norwegia by HWT Records and it released in United Kingdom and worldwide on March 22, 2011 by Kscope. In the early days of 2010 a replacement for recently departed drummer Robert R Johansen was found in Lars Erik Asp, just in time for him to get to know the music before the second part of the "Tick Tock" tour kicks in. It was planned to again visit 6 countries in the March/April period but due to a plane tragedy in Poland giving rise to a week of mourning the Polish promoter decided to postpone the concerts planned for Poland on 16–18 April. The dates were rescheduled for September 2010. On 1 May 2010 the first concert in the USA took place as part of a prog festival at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. For the later German/Italian festivals and the Polish gigs in September they hired a stand-in guitarist by the name of Micheal Krumins to cover for Jon-Arne following the arrival of his first child and his decision to give priority to his family. Meanwhile, in July 2010 the band announced that they should still go on without Robert Johanson and recording of the new album is almost over and it will be out by the end of the year. they also revealed the name of the album a month after that during a gig. During the Tick Tock Tour on September gigs, pre printed copies of the new album "Missa Atropos" were available to the present audience. And even before the official release of the new album (November 26) it was already number 1 charted at a Dutch prog site in October and November. The new album is intended to be another album in the series of films without pictures that they started back in 2007 with "Night". In other words, a concept album intended to give the listener a chance to take some time off from the world. In December 2010, Gazpacho brought the news that they have licensed "Missa Atropos" to Kscope in the UK. They will have the rights to the album worldwide. The new album was accompanied by a 12 gig tour in 5 different countries in January / February 2011. Gazpacho are an art rock band from Oslo, Norway. The original core band of Jan-Henrik Ohme (vocals), Jon-Arne Vilbo (guitars) and Thomas Andersen (keyboards, programming, producer) started making music together in 1996 and the band has since expanded with Mikael Krømer (violin, co-producer), Robert R Johansen (drums) and Kristian Torp (bass). Gazpacho's music has been described by one critic as being "classical post ambient nocturnal atmospheric neo-progressive folk world rock". The music has been compared to A-ha, Radiohead, Marillion and Porcupine Tree. Childhood friends Jon-Arne Vilbo and Thomas Andersen had played together in a band called Delerium before, which in their own words "whittled away." After several years of separation, the two friends met again and started making music together again. Andersen had met Jan-Henrik Ohme through his work as radio commercial producer and brought him into the jam sessions, which laid the foundation for Gazpacho as it exists today. The band name comes from an attempt to describe their music. Andersen: "We are a very unlikely mixture of people really, not the average types you'd expect to see in the same band, so we thought Gazpacho, which really is the bastard of soups (meshed up vegetables served cold), was the perfect name for our group. With Gazpacho you get a surprise, something unexpected, something out of the norm, a 'positive' contradiction. We feel this describes our band very well." Roy Funner played bass on the finished recordings of the band, though he wasn't part of the writing process. For the drum tracks a computer was used. For two years the band worked on a concept album Random Access Memory; a piece of work which they discarded altogether when they felt they had not yet reached the level of musical maturity for such an ambitious project. All three members of Gazpacho were involved with the Scandinavian branch of Marillion's The Web fanclub. This led to Ohme being invited to sing the Marillion track "Afraid Of Sunlight" at the Swap, The Band show of the first Marillion Convention Weekend. At this convention the band handed out free four-track promos called "Get It While It's Cold" to anyone interested. These promos also found their way to several internet magazines which gave the band almost unanimous acclaim with one reviewer calling the music expertly-crafted and truly inventive. In May 2002 the band entered a song contest on Make-A-Star with the song "Sea Of Tranquility" and won. Their second entry, "Ghost" made it to second position, but was enough to gain them the opportunity to release an album through MP3.com. "Get It While It's Cold (37°C)" contained three tracks of the promo EP and three new tracks. One of these new tracks, "Nemo" saw the band winning the Make-A-Star contest for a second time. The release of the EP continued to garner the band international acclaim. In 2003 the band released their first proper album "Bravo", which contained five of the six tracks off the MP3.com album, and six new compositions. Utilizing the possibilities of the Internet the band had teamed up with the American singer/songwriter fellow Make-A-Star contestee Esther Valentine and New Zealand producer Peter Kearns. Valentine sang a duet with Ohme on the song "Novgorod" (which she also co-wrote) and Kearns produced two of the tracks off "Bravo". "Bravo" gained the band more international acclaim, with Dutch leading music magazine Oor stating "their debut album is a rare beauty". The band was invited to perform at the second Marillion Convention Weekend. For their live band the band was further expanded with drummer Geir Digernes (who had also played drums on some of the tracks on "Bravo") and for the performance of the title track they were joined by Mikael Krømer (violin) and Kristian Skedsmo (flute). The performance at the Convention Weekend led to a support slot on Marillion's 31-date European Marbles tour around 11 countries, further raising the profile of the band. For this tour Robert Johansen joined the band as the new drummer, and Mikael Krømer and Kristian Skedsmo also joined the live line-up. Prior to the tour the band released their second full-length album, "When Earth Lets Go", giving them enough material for their live repertoire. On "When Earth Lets Go" the band collaborated with producer Steve Lyon (Paul McCartney, Depeche Mode, The Cure) who had agreed to produce one track "Substitute for Murder" to see if he could potentially interest any labels. Despite Lyon's involvement, the increased awareness after the Marillion, and more rave reviews on their album the band was not able to secure a record deal. In the end their friends among Marillion came to the rescue offering Gazpacho the chance to release their next album on the band's own Racket Records label. Racket released the band's third album "Firebird" and re-released "Bravo" and "When Earth Lets Go". The support of Marillion also led to the collaboration with guitarist Steve Rothery who plays a solo on the track "Do You Know What You Are Saying". Other guest appearances on the album came in the form of fans who had been encouraged to send in sound samples which the band would use. Among the unusual instruments featured on the album are maracas, a comb and a Leopard II battle tank. Roy Funner had left the band after the 2004 tour to focus more on his family and he was replaced by Kristian Torp. With the new line-up the band supported Marillion once more on 4 gigs during the Not Quite Christmas Tour. After this tour Kristian Skedsmo announced he no longer wanted to go on prolonged tours away from home and the live line-up was reduced to a six-piece band. After a year of silence "Night" was released in February 2007. For this occasion the band was once more invited to appear at the Marillion's Convention Weekend, this time in The Netherlands. The band also played their first international headlining gig at the Boerderij in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands on 1 February 2007. "Night" shows a departure of the short song format of the previous albums, but instead consists of one long 50-minute conceptual piece, divided into five parts. In the words of the band it is a musical description of a dream or a stream of consciousness. It explores the question of where dreams end and reality begins and the mind as the tool that has to decide what to believe. The character goes through various memories real and imagined and sees the world from the angles of different people. He travels through time and visits places across the world including old New Orleans and Ancient woods with Pagan rituals being performed. "Night" is about life and the various ways of interpreting existence. Pretentious? Oh yes but delicious as well, very delicious. Mikael Krømer, who had played violin on all previous albums and live shows, was welcomed as a full-time band-member on "Night", also earning a co-producer credit. "Night" also saw the return of Kristian "The Duke" Skedsmo, playing six different instruments on the album. Skedsmo rejoined the band for a one-off live appearance in Oslo on 19 January 2008. The album was almost instantly well received in prog-circles, topping the Just For Kicks Music sales chart for two weeks after its release. The (prog related) international press was almost unanimously positive, calling the album "very, very grand art, nothing short of a masterpiece" and "an incredible album". The album charted in the reader's top 20 at Progwereld for more than a year. "Night" also did very well in several readers' polls at the end of 2007. The album was voted 9th best album of 2007 by listeners of Polish radio station MLWZ and 8th best album in the Dutch Progressive Rock Page Poll. During one of the live performances of "Night" on 18 July 2008 the audience at the Boerderij in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands get a first taste of a new work in progress song called "Tick Tock", which was played for the first time in its entirety clocking 22 min and 24 seconds. Later it appears to involve the title track for the successor of "Night". As of 1 October 2008 the band teamed up with new management and booking agency: WiV Entertainment. The goal is to be able to be more on the road with their new release.
On 15 March 2009 the 5th studio album "Tick Tock" was released on HTW Records a division of Sony BMG. The album is based on the story of French writer and navigator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who took off in an attempt at a long distance flight from Paris to Saigon (1935). He crashed in the Sahara Desert many hours later stranded with his co pilot Prevot. Later he recounted his experience in a book called Wind, Sand and Stars and this story forms the basis of the "Tick Tock" album. The metaphor of a desert walk represented by a ticking clock may not be sublime but by golly the music is in moments. The apathetic underscore of a sweltering almost synthy loop which really is a b4 organ played through a guitar amp and a sequencer brings at first hesitation then desperation then more hesitation and then something happens and you get sucked into a glassy mood. Almost as if you were walking a long and lonely walk in the desert where there is only you, the stars, wind and sand, the sound of your footsteps softened by the burning sand and heard only through the bones of the body. In connection with "Tick Tock", the band conducted their first official headlining tour (Tick Tock Tour), visiting six different countries between 26 March and 8 April 2009. In the meantime, the album and corresponding shows received rave reviews. "If you are a fan of music that transports you to another place, you will find nothing better." 10/10 and Gazpacho achieved the impossible. They delivered an album as good as "Night". Which band can deliver two masterpieces after each other these days ? !" to quote only two, more can be found here reviews. On 10 July 2009 Gazpacho head off to Germany to perform as headliners for the 4th night of the prog festival at Loreley Germany. The concert was caught on tape to be released in January 2010 as "A Night at Loreley". The first official live album and limited edition DVD is a fact. At the end of 2009,during the process of editing, mixing and producing that first DVD , comes the news that Robert R Johansen (drums) has decided (due to personal circumstances) to leave the band. At the end of 2009 Tick Tock reached top 5 ranks in various polls: among them are rank 5 at DPRP, 2nd at MLWZ in Poland and Rock Area, 1st rank at Dutch Progwereld. In the early day's of 2010 replacement for Robert is found in Lars Erik Asp, just in time to get known to the music before the second part of the Tick Tock tour (The T.B.A. tour) kicks in. Again the March/April period is planned to visit 6 countries again, planned because due to a plane tragedy in Poland with the corresponding 1 week of mourning, the Polish promoter had decided to cancel the concerts in Poland from 16–18 April. The dates where postponed until September 2010. On 1 May 2010 the first concert in the U.S.A. is a fact, as part of a prog festival the band plays at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg Pennsylvania, later for the German/Italian festival + Polish gigs in September, they hired a stand-in guitarist by the name of Micheal Krumins (Green Carnation, Sirenia). This because of the arrival of Jon-Arne's first born and his priority to the newborn family. The story of the album "Missa Atropos" is about Atropos goddess of fate and destiny in Greek mythology, one of the Moirai. The Story goes on when Atropos decided to choose the mechanism of death instead of mortality and ended their life cutting their thread with her special scissor which they call it "Abhorred Shears". She wasn't all alone in this, her other two sister; Lachesis and Clotho helped her. Clotho was the youngest of all sisters and Lachesis was the kindest one. But as Atropos was so inevitable and hard she used her power to convince them to help her to destroy mortality. They say Atropos was jealous of her sisters because they were deciding for humans' lives. Clotho was responsible for spinning the thread of human life and Lachesis was the apportioner, deciding how much time for life was to be allowed for each person or being. She measured the thread of life with her rod. She is also said to choose a person's destiny after a thread was measured. In Greek mythology, it is said that she appears with her sisters within three days of a baby's birth to decide its fate. In between all these Atropos was the only one who should have sat somewhere and watches her youngest sisters doing their jobs, so that's when her jealousy overcame her feelings and made her to choose the mechanism of death, then she would have been a part of this circle to end humans' lives on certain time which Lachesis decides. The album "Missa Atropos" characterizes a person who becomes trapped in a lighthouse after leaving the earth. He tries to fight against his destiny, which Atropos and her other two sisters decided for him but he finds out he can't overcome his destiny so he starts writing his "Will to Live". And in the end when he's dying, he's saying his last words in "An Audience" that he feels Atropos is standing next to him and she's ready to cut his thread of life and finish him. But we find out that this person was in love with Atropos and he was waiting for his time to come, which Atropos comes along then he can see her face and say goodbye to this world. That's when he starts describing beauty of Atropos to his only audience that was watching him dying, which is a "Snail" and asking that snail to describe Atropos' beauty to anyone he see. The album mostly received positive reviews. Website Prog Archives gave a positive review to the album and awarded it with 4 star out of 5 and called it: "Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection." Craig Hartranft of Dangerdog Music Reviews gave 3 and half star out of 5 to the album and wrote: "This work is both hard and hearty to digest. It's progressive, art, and alternative at its best with a dark sense." and described the album as "dark, despondent, but artfully creative progressive rock." Jerry Ewing of Classic Rock Prog gave very positive review to the album and wrote: "A delightfully mellifluous selection. They won’t be Norway’s best kept secret much longer". The end of 2011 brings us the news that "March of Ghosts" will be the band's 7th studio album and the follow-up to "Missa Atropos". While as mentioned "Missa Atropos" was a long story about one person leaving everything behind, "March of Ghosts" is a collection of short stories. The idea behind the album was to have the lead character spend a night where all these ghosts (dead and alive) would march past him to tell their stories. Characters include Haitian war criminals, the crew of the Mary Celeste, a returning American World War I soldier who finds himself in 2012 and the ghost of an English comedy writer who was wrongly accused of treason. They are short stories. They are a march of ghosts. They are tales that need to be told. The new album "March Of Ghosts" was released on Kscope 12 March 2012 and was accompanied by a tour March / April 2012 tour As a support to the album and the upcoming tour, on 10 March the band's first official video/clip is released. The song "Black Lily" features footage from an idea by Antonio Seijas, who's also the artist responsible for all the album artwork from 2005's "Firebird" and onward. Two months later the 2nd official video is a fact, a clip directed and edited by James Jones Morris supporting the song "What Did I Do ?". A song that's based around the story of the English writer P. G. Wodehouse, who was accused of treason after a series of broadcasts he did on German radio during World War II. He was interned as a foreign national by the Germans and spent some time in prison camp before finally being released at 60. After he was released he stayed for some time at a country estate where he was informed of what crimes the Nazis were guilty of and how impossibly stupid it was to agree to broadcast on their radio. It is his ghost we hear sitting on the porch listening to the gramophone recordings of the broadcasts trying to understand why these simple funny narratives had caused such an uproar. In September the marching of the ghosts continued with a festival and a club gig in Poland. In late 2013, the band announced via their Facebook page that they had finished recording their 8th studio album, "Demon", due to be released in 2014. "Demon" was released in March 2014 and the band toured the UK and Europe in support of it in April 2014. Gazpacho released a live CD/DVD album titled "Night of the Demon" in April 2015. In October/November 2015, Gazpacho toured in support of the album Molok (Kscope; 23 October 2015). They completed two venues in Poland, two in Germany and two in Netherlands, including The Boerderij, Zoetermeer. They completed the tour with a gig at the O2 in Islington, London. The band were joined on the tour by chamber progressive band Iamthemorning. Gazpacho announced in October 2017 that drummer Lars Erik Asp had left the band to focus on other commitments. The band announced that they would be releasing their tenth studio album, "Soyuz", in 2018, and will embark on a European tour in support of the album, before appearing at the Be Prog! My Friend festival in Barcelona in June. Former drummer Robert Johansen was named as Asp's replacement for the "Soyuz" album, which, according to keyboardist Thomas Andersen, "is about being frozen in time". "Soyuz" was released on 18 May 2018, with opening track "Soyuz One" released as the first single on 23 February 2018.