Kazumi Watanabe Group poster: see Adam Garrie’s question below.

Hi Everyone –

If you haven’t seen Gavin Harrison on a recent Letterman, check it out on youtube. His playing is sublime – and in a high pressure situation, too. It’s rare to have that much drum talent paraded in front of the mass US viewing public – well done Gavin, and D. Letterman.

Plenty going on this Fall. I’ll be in the US mid-west and Boston from October 16th to 26th talking at various retail stores supported by Tama Drums – full details opposite on the News page. A trip to Swedish Universities is confirmed for November 6-11th, but these are academic institutions and I don’t believe the talks are open to the public. There will be a book launch for the special limited-edition Foruli Edition of the book in London on October 5th. I understand there will be a competition at Foruli for some guest list places. As ever, all details on the news page of this site as soon as they are confirmed.

I continue to be in modest demand as a talking-head commentator for TV documentaries and films about the music of the seventies, now increasingly seen as ‘authentic’ i.e. it wasn’t cut and pasted from a computer. Usually metal passes me by, so I’m slightly surprised to be included in the Banger Films epic coming up on VH-1 on 11.11.11, hereby designated by some VH-1 EVP (executive vice president? How many EVPs does it take to change a light bulb? What’s the President of VH1 like? The mind boggles…) as National Metal Day. I’ll just take cover. But for you guys who like to hold your fingers in that weird way, heaven awaits.

The last North American tour of the One of a Kind/Hell’s Bells Bruford band in 1980 has become something of a legend. We went flat out for two months in a van up to 400 miles a day in that summer’s unbelievable heatwave playing some 43 gigs in 38 cities in two months. In all possible ways, we were on fire. A lot of folk were there and remember those shows. Good news – the shop has just added a retro T-shirt celebrating the tour, with all dates listed. Very cool.

The King Crimson Surround Sound releases of Starless and Bible Black & Discipline are upon us. I prefer Discipline myself, but these versions of both albums have been written about very eloquently by Sid Smith over at DGM Live which has all the details.

A couple of questions answered:

Lazaro Vergara – Date: 18.08.2011 – wants to know if I played with Emerson Lake and Palmer in the mid-80’s?

Lazaro – no, I didn’t! They already had a Palmer!

Adam Garrie – Date: 09.08.2011 says – “I’ve just discovered some clips on youtube of a trio performance you did with Jeff Berlin and Kazumi Watanabe. Judging from your electronic drums it was probably sometime in the mid 1980s. Are there any plans for an official release of the performance? I found it terribly good and a good chance to see your electronic style in a context quite different from the first Earthworks”.

Adam: Yes, I enjoyed that band. We did two albums for Polydor Japan –The Spice of Life, and The Spice of Life, Too in 1987 and 1988 respectively – and toured extensively in Japan. Kazumi was and remains a huge guitar star in Japan. Their Eric Clapton. Can play any style at all. The scene there was very buoyant from the early eighties to the early nineties, when the bottom fell out of the economy. The project was very Japanese based and made little impact here in the west. I don’t have the rights to the music, so I don’t have the authority to re-release, but I note the CDs are still available at amazon.com along with a live performance laser-disc, probably the origin of the youtube clips. My favourite track is ‘Andre’from the second CD – the Simmons SDX was delivered to the studio around then and that was my first track with it. Wicked tom sound, and the right hand plays a (sampled) bicycle bell. Perfect for the oriental/Hong Kong vibe of the track!

Matt – Date: 02.08.2011 says – “With your CD reissue of ‘Music For Piano and Drums’ a few years back, I was finally able to put my turntable out to pasture…But with the impending vinyl release of “From Conception to Birth,” it would seem I’ll have to bring the needled behemoth out of retirement! No doubt it will be worth it. Thanks, as always, for all the music and inspiration”.

Sorry, Matt! Just to fill others in on what you’re talking about – there is shortly to be a high-end very limited special edition of my book published by Foruli. As part of the package, there will be a double 10” vinyl album of demos and masters called ‘From Conception to Birth’ Foruli have confirmed a book launch at the Forge in Camden, London, on October 5th, at which I shall be doing my thing for the assembled glitterati. There will be a competition at Foruli for some guest list places as mentioned above. All details on the news page of this site shortly.