The band is in the middle of yet
another extensive tour
but we caught up with bassplayer
on one of his rare days off and
asked him about
dvd which is being recorded in
how the tour is progressing, and
about why their plans
don't include 'going home' for quite
a while yet!
on 40 years of Ten Years After! This
year you've played in Europe, America
and Canada, and we can see from your website
that the last eighteen months has been
quite an intense schedule. How has the
anniversary tour been going so far?
been going really well, thundering
along! Weíve even played places that
Ten Years After have never been to
before and the audiences have been
of the European venues are ones you're
returning to after playing there in
the last three years - and as well as
that you're also performing in cities
where TYA hasn't played since the 70s.
What is the age range of the audience,
and are many of the younger members of
the crowd familiar with the early
incarnation of TYA (with Alvin Lee) or
are they new to TYA's music?
audiences range in age from about 13
to over 50 and in some places young
people are in the majority. Many
young fans Iíve spoken to had no
idea of the band's history. They come
along with friends, enjoy it, and tell
others about it. One guy I spoke to
has seen us sixteen times this year.
People who come to a show often check
us out on the internet afterwards and
those new fans are probably
responsible for the increase in sales
of our earlier records.
Of course we also have a strong
long-standing fanbase and thereís
always at least one person every night
who says to me "I saw you in
Munich in 1971. Do you remember?"
Itís a wonderful thing.
have the old-school fans reacted to
Joe Gooch taking over the guitar and
vocals from Alvin Lee?
who expect us to stay as we were in
1969 will never be satisfied but I
think those people are now in a
minority. Longtime TYA fans whoíve
kept an open mind and checked us out
are now some of our most vocal
supporters. Fans may have been
skeptical at first as to how we would
sound, but I felt confident that once
weíd played a few gigs with Joe all
would be fine. He brings a lot to the
table and with 75% original members
itís no surprise that the TYA sound
is still there! Our audiences get
bigger so we must be doing something
much of a dilemma was it for you,
Chick and Ric, to re-form the band
with new blood?
record label suggested it in 1975 but
at that time my heart wasnít in it.
When we reformed four and a half
years ago it was meant to happen. I
was in a different frame of mind, I
missed playing live and I jumped at
the chance to do it. My songwriting
friends thought I was crazy but I
thought it would be an exciting
challenge and itís proved to be very
We knew it wouldnít be easy and that
we had to start virtually from scratch.
To many people TYA was an unknown
quantity and we had to prove ourselves
all over again.
The key really was not just to find a
good guitar player but one that would
also fit with the band's
idiosyncrasies. Finding Joe was
against all odds but we found him and
itís a pleasure for us to introduce
another great guitar player to the
the recent albums, Joe's also been
involved in the writing. How much has
he contributed to the new tunes?
contributed a great deal. His guitar
work is superb and he sparks off many
musical ideas. Heís also put his
mark on the old TYA songs we play
us about your upcoming show in
Luxembourg which is being filmed for a
DVD, and when the DVD is due for
DVD release is long overdue. Our fans
have been screaming for it for over
two years, as have our record
We had some earlier footage but there
was always something not quite right
with either the lighting, the
camerawork, or the way the sound was
captured in the video. To get the best
possible result weíve booked a 40th
Anniversary gig in Luxembourg and
invited all our fans to come along to
take part in the shoot. Weíve hired
a lighting director, film crew and
director and sound truck to get the
best possible results.
The DVD will be released complete with
some extra footage as soon as possible
but realistically it may not be in the
stores much before January 2008.
Weíd like to do a special edition
pre-release for fans.
Which classic TYA songs are we likely
to hear in the set, and how many of
the new numbers?
Weíll play two
sets, which will include most of our
new material and a great many more TYA
classics than on a usual gig where
weíre always stuck with a time
problem. Hell, we may even play the
same song twice if someone asks for it!
Chick and Ric were there right at the
beginning and toured for many years
with Alvin. But you're such a close
touring unit with Joe these days that
there must be times when you almost
forget that Joe wasn't with you back
then? In what ways is touring with Joe
different to touring with Alvin?
with Joe is very enjoyable. We work as
a team and pull in the same direction.
Many things are a new
experience for him and I think the
rest of us get a kick out of sharing
it. Itís the kind of pleasure you
get from showing someone around your
favorite places. There were many times
with Alvin when he really didnít
want to be on the road and it made
things difficult for us. It could be
very stressful in those days.
Weíve forgotten Joe has only been
with us for a short time and so have
many of our fans. Perhaps being a
member of TYA has prematurely aged him!
us some of the funny incidents from
those for my book. Most would take far
too long to explain in an interview!
amount of travelling and performing
you're doing is extremely arduous.
Without wishing to sound rude, you're
no spring chicken... and yet the
reviews emphasise the liveliness of
your performance! However do you
maintain the energy for each show?
cryogenically frozen and travel in a
coffin from gig
to gig! Itís a mindset. Because I
love what I do I find boundless energy
to do it. Our audiences are a great
source of energy and enthusiasm. If I
were a ditch digger in the Tennessee
sun Iíd be tired and flagging within
minutes. Iíve also learnt to relax
and fall to sleep whenever I get in
the band bus.
What other projects have you got on at
the moment? Studio work, producing
mostly. I get production offers but
itís hard to make a commitment
because of TYAís hectic schedule -
but please keep them coming. Iím
also a bit lazy. I have some books
Iím in the middle of writing but
often on days off I just sit around
and donít even think.
you been to any of Alvin's recent
shows? Has Alvin been to any of the
No not recently.
Iíve not had the chance but Ric saw
Alvin perform on his last UK tour. I
doubt Alvin would come to see TYA.
In the late eighties my band KICK
played two festivals with the Alvin
Lee Band and I made the point of
watching his set but so far as I know
he never saw me play. It would be fun
for TYA to play a gig with Alvin and
I've got to ask about that moustache....
as Hercule Poirot would say, "c'est
magnifique!". What's the secret
of its magnificence?
wax is courtesy of the Pinaud Company.
Lots of bees making lots of wax. I
grew it for a joke in 1968 when the
band had a week or two off. And it
stayed. Itís become so much a part
of me I darenít shave it off. My
family would disown me.
have been the highlights of the last
40 years for you as a member of TYA?
What are your happiest memories? Which
were the best shows you played?
have to include our first headline gig
at the Marquee club, The Reading
Festival, the first US tour,
Woodstock, The Isle of Wight, The
Newport Jazz festival, Madison Square
Gardens, The Forum L.A, The Filmores,
The Budokan, Tokyo and The Royal
As well as the above, and Iíve
missed lots out, I enjoyed all those
support spots where we were lucky
enough to win over someone elseís
crowd. Itís all been a blast.
And what would you like TYA to be
doing in five years time?
I suppose I ought to say "headlining
two days at Wembley Stadium televised
live all over the world", but
five years is a long way away and
Iím not sure where weíll be - but
right now Iíve no plans to change
what Iím doing. I enjoy it too much!
I would like to think that in five
years time weíd be a little more
organized. With new dates coming in
all the time, we never know from one
week to the next whatís happening!
be in with a chance of winning a
40th Anniversary TEN YEARS
go to the
Get Ready To Roll - 3rd September 2007