April 24, 2012

A short essay on the TEB's music by 'folkorganic' musician Sedayne

Here's a short essay published on TEB's fan Facebook page (read it at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Third-Ear-Band/156660855584) written in March 2012 by folkorganic English musician (and old TEB fan) Sedayne.

Stone circles in Swinside, Cumbria (England)

"The Third Ear Band define the essense of Folk Music in an Indo-European sense; they seem to embody A L Loyd's notions of a Dreamtime of migrations of melismatic modal hunter-gatherers following the retreating ice-sheets across ancient continents before borders had ever been dreamed of.

These ancient cultures made Very Big Monuments like Thornborough, Avebury and Stonehenge that were Bigger than Themselves and, by implication and perspective, Bigger than Nature too. These monuments and stone circles sought order in the chaos of the natural world, they created perfect flat horizons, they looked for patterns in the sun, moon and stars; they perceived in the simplicity of arcs, circles, lines and elipses an order which was entirely Unnatural and therefore Good.

Scroll on 50,000 years and many of us feel that we've taken it too far; the ordered blandness of the human world is utterly artificial and entirely uninspiring, so we might seek after a more Natural music in which Organic Process is integral, be it from one rendering of a Folk Song to the next, or simply by Improvising without pre-conception. The music is still Traditional, just that the potentials are entirely unpredictable in terms of a Chaos which some of us now perceive as A Very Good Thing.

The music of the Third Ear Band is like this: organic, fluid, never the same thing twice, living and breathing in the liminal realm between Concept and Corporeality; each rendering 'as alike or as unalike as trees, grass or crickets' with the essence of the thing in the being there, the ceremonial excellence of pure experience".

no©2012 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 

April 17, 2012

At last a proper interview with CAROLYN LOOKER, Glen Sweeney missus and TEB former!!!

I know Carolyn from the half of the Eighties and I've tried to interview her many times but with scarce results.
She's a very kind woman and she cooperated very well to my book on the band in 1995-1996, writing a two-pages of memories for a projected but never realised tribute CD and helping me to clear some obscure  things (the original name of the band, the cultural sources...) for this archive... but I couldn't ever have a proper interview with her.
In the Summer 2010 at her home in London Hammersmith I recorded around one hour of questions & answers, but when I went back to Italy I discovered the tape couldn't work, thus no interview...
So, because she has no computers/e-mails, some months ago I've sent her some questions by letter and now we've got her answers through our common friend Steve Pank. 
Another chance to know some old facts on the Thirds...

Carolyn Looker, London 2010.

When/where you met Glen for the first time?
"Both Glen and I was working at Liberty's in Regent Street. Glen was doing modern furniture display. He had his drumkit in the storeroom where he would hide and practice his drumming (!) which at the time was modern jazz...".

Where Glen was from?
"Glen's family lived in Croydon, about ten miles south of the Thames".

Which was your interests at that time?
"Sartre, Kerouack and the Beat Generation, Zen Buddhism, Jazz, Occult".

Had you involved in the cultural scene of those days?
"Yes, I was reading beat poetry to avantgarde jazz to a very small audience in pub gigs".

Have you some memories of the beginning with the Giant Sun Trolley?
"Many happenings at UFO with Sun Trolley! A dog howling to Dave's sax. Total 15 minutes of silence from the two, then a spaced out kid tried to bang on Glen's drum. Glen hit him with D stick - said it was Zen - kid remained  far from that".

How Glen met Dave?
"Dave was advertising for drummer. Glen (auditioned) in Free School that was a cellar where Dave was squatting with a poet called Macavity. Glen was told to take the drum sound from here to there. Dave said making directions. Glen being good with fantasy managed to do so and got the gig!".

Which was the mood at UFO?
"Memories but not clear. It was all like a scene from a Fellini movie".

And what's about the music Sun Trolley played?
"Very avantgarde: used happenings on stage, i.e. electric scissors cutting clothes off a dancer (at the 14th Technicolor Dream)...".

How TEB started to play at the Drury Lane's Arts Lab? 
"Jim Haynes loved TEB, said they gave him orgasms. They play Arts Lab on a regular basis. A room painted black, incense burning and audience on floor cushions".

What's about the legendary levitation of St. Pancras' station? Is it all true?
"Yes, us and John Peel sat outside ohming... Hard work but it lifted a few inches (we were on acid)...".

What kind of music the first electric TEB line-up played? Do you remember some particular tunes played?
"I remember Clive [Kingsley]'s "Ronson Riff", a marvelous thing he did sliding his ciggy lighter along his guitar".

Do you remember something about the instruments stolen after a concert that induced the new TEB acoustic line-up?
"Instruments were left in van overnight, gone in the morning. Never found out who took them. Of course they weren't insured!".

Carolyn with her cat Leonardo (London 2010).

How John Peel was involved at the "Alchemy"'s recording sessions?
"A friend of Glen's took us around to Peel's flat. I remember us all discussing the existence of fairies".

Can you tell me something about that wonderful album cover?
"Glen was very much into Alchemy, the illustration was in a book he had".

Any memories on the second album recording sessions?
"Sorry, we were all stoned. Glen would suggest a feel or a vision for each track and the guys played it".

Is it true EMI engineers left the studio during the sessions?
"I don't think the engineers liked or understood the music, so mixing they weren't into".

And what do you think about EMI? Why they gave up the band?
"EMI were fine. I think the contract ran out".

Do you remember the gig TEB played with Bernard Parmegiani in London? Can you tell me something about it?
"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".

How did it go with Polanski?
"Lots of memories of Polanski. He and Glen were the same height, so got on really well. Recordings were made improvising the pieces of the film which were projected in the recording studio".

Which is your opinion about Blackhill? Do you think the agency was really involved into the TEB music?
"Blackhill never really understood the music, if they had been more supportive made more of film music. I.e. Polanski and Kubrick admiring TEB and involved them more in the arts as in Pink Floyd. Steered the right way the band could have been big".

One of the most obscure period of your (Glen and you) life is when you lived on a boat in a river during the Seventies...
"We had an idyllic Summer on the boat. Glen was writing poetry, I was painting. Hard work because the mooring wasn't residential we had to collect our water and calor gas about 1/2 mile away. We retired to a friend's flat in the Winter as the river flooded all the time. Infact one huge flood, the Ark, our boat, flooded over into the field and settled there when the floods ended. We lived that way chocked up in the middle of a field for an year. The council complained and at great expense we hired a crane to put us back in the water".

Which was the feelings of Glen about music just before I met him in your Sheperd's Bush flat? Why at the beginning he was so suspicious of me?
"Before meeting you I think Glen had decided to retire from the music scene.  I was envolved in managing a prop hire company and we figured it Glen's turn to take a rest. Glen suspicious of you? I think he was suspicious of most people's intentions till proved otherwise!".

Some TEB fans are interested to know if Glen was involved in black magic...
"Glen was very interested in esoteric, also in black magic, but did not practice it".

And what's about TEB's relation with Druids?
"Steve Pank can tell you more about the Druid meetings and the Glastonbury Tor concert. As he is now a fully fledged Druid and Dave Loxley the Head Druid who created the celtic border of "Alchemy"".

no©2012 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 

April 11, 2012

Denny Bridges updated.

Denny from his MySpace profile.
"Hello Luca, 
I still truly like the term 'fascinatingly old-fashioned' [note: I used this expression in one of my last e-mails to him to define his music...]. Next CD maybe. 
The days and then the years pass by so quickly. I have intended to do much and regretfully have achieved less than that intended. 
I look at the Archive from time to time. I saw (how would you describe what I saw?) references to "Fleance"'s Song. I' m not sure that these new folks have recorded a version but I wish I could hear it if they did. I did hear what the band from Bristol did some time ago. I tried to contact them through Reverbnation (I think) but no response. You may be interested to know that last night Paul Buckmaster and I spoke, by telephone, for 3 hours catching up on all things. Who knows what may develop. 
I am still working on locating enough material for a decent length CD. It must be somewhere. 
I regret that the 2011 Renaissance tour was limited to USA which seems to be what will happen this year. We can live in hope for Europe - one day. 
So, just to keep you a little informed but it is, regretfully, it is very little - for now. Finally, it's Denny not Danny (bottom if "Fleance" page). That is the scourge of my life. In America they always get it wrong. 
Denny Bridges".

Follow Denny Bridges at:

no©2012 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

April 07, 2012

Soon an interview with Carolyn Looker, Glen Sweeney's missus and TEB founder...

Some months ago I sent some questions to Carolyn because she hasn't got computers and e-mail. She has written down all the answers and given them to Steve Pank (TEB former driver and manager) when Steve went London from Norfolk for the Druidic Spring equinox meeting.
Just few days ago I've received a postcard from her where she tells me Steve will send me all the answers by e-mail.
So at last well have soon Carolyn's point of view about many old and obscure things related to the Third Ear Band...

Apart this interview (another important piece for the reconstruction of the TEB's e(pic)soteric story), you have to admit it's difficult to hold the interest for this archive because, you know, it’s about a band (apparently) dead and buried.
We need rare stuffs, photos, stories, memories, essays - all can be of interest for who was/is involved in this extraordinary story.
Otherwise this archive risks to be closed soon.

no©2012 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 

April 02, 2012

Italian edition of Barry Miles' "London Calling" out now with some quotes of Dave Tomlin, Glen Sweeney and the Giant Sun Trolley...

As reported in July 2010 (read  at http://ghettoraga.blogspot.it/2010/07/some-quotations-on-third-ear-band-and.html), on the last wonderful Barry Miles' book dedicated to the London underground ("London Calling", published by Atlantic Books), also some quotations about UFO epic era and some characters as Dave Tomlin (excerpts from his books inspired by the Embassy experiences...), The Giant Sun Trolley and Glen Sweeney (excerpts from the famous Muz Murray "Gandalf's Gardens"' interview).

Now is available an Italian translation by A. Lovisolo of the book published by EDT (pages 544, euros 23,00). Info at http://www.edt.it/viaggi/london_calling/
An excerpt from a chapter on the Punk scene at http://www.edt.it/viaggi/london_calling/lettura.php

no©2012 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)