**Sat 16 Jan 16**
BRI's 3-D NEWS - CRINOLINE !!!! [EXCLUSIVE]
Well, we’re finally about to release the CRINOLINE 3-D book, promised from last year. It’s all about the most outrageous fashion of all time, something Denis has researched for years, and I’ve learned a lot from the project. Crinoline is something a lot more significant (and dangerous!) than you might imagine … and there are great resonances from this 1860s phenomenon to the present day, as you’ll see. The release of the book is timed to coincide with the V&A – Victoria and Albert Museum – exhibition on the History of Underwear – called "Undressed” ! SEE HERE. Our title is much less sensationalistic than theirs ! ha ha ! We have contributed some stereos to their exhibition, which looks like it will be sensational, so plan to visit the V 'n' A next month ! OK ?
Here’s the Crinoline slipcase cover (exclusively to Soapbox readers and LSC pals !) … to look out for in, hopefully, a couple or three weeks time.
And the back of the slipcase gives a but more idea about what the book contains. Hope you’ll all get as fascinated as I have been.
An early layout - since amended.
Yes ! There is some humour in it ! Now that this weighty tome is at the printers, we’re hard at work on the next one … which will be all about that old group Queen, seen in a new way … “ QUEEN in 3-D ? ” You think ?
Well, more of that very soon.
Crinoline ROCKS !!! Believe me ! Launching imminently !
First trade announcement !
Brian May and V&A to release 3D Crinoline book
14 January 2016 by Katherine Cowdrey
Check out the V&A UNDRESSED Exhibition.
(PLEASE OBSERVE COPYRIGHT)
**Mon 11 Jan 16**
HOW QUEEN AND DAVID BOWIE WROTE 'UNDER PRESSURE' - EXCLUSIVE
My piece for the Daily Mirror (11 January 2016)...
[They are devoting an entire souvenir issue to Bowie, Tuesday. Bri]
David Bowie and we guys from Queen came from the same country, of course … and quite close by, in London, at that. But we only hooked up properly because of a coincidence. We all happened to be in a sleepy little town called Montreux in Switzerland at the same time. In the 70s we worked at the small studio there, Mountain Studios, with David Richards, and liked it so much we bought it, and continued to work there until Freddie’s passing many years later. David Bowie had actually settled in Switzerland to live, very close by, and since we already knew him a little, he popped in to say hello one day while we were recording.
Now time dims the memory a little, but the way I remember it we all very quickly decided that the best way to get to know each other was to play together. So we all bowled down into the studio and picked up our instruments. We had fun kicking around a few fragments of songs we all knew. But then we decided it would be great to create something new, on the spur of the moment. We all brought stuff to the table, and my contribution was a heavy riff in D which was lurking in my head. But what we got excited about was a riff which Deacy began playing, 6 notes the same, then one note a fourth down. Ding-Ding-Ding Diddle Ing-Ding, you might say. But suddenly hunger took over and we repaired to a local restaurant for food and a fair amount of drink. (Local Vaux wine as drunk in Montreux is a well-kept secret).
A couple or three hours later, we’re back in the studio. “What was that riff, you had, Deacy?” says David B. “I was like this”, says John Deacon. “No it wasn’t, says Bowie – it was like this”. This was a funny moment because I can just see DB going over and putting his hand on John's fretting hand and stopping him. It was also a tense moment because it could have gone either way. Deacy did not take kindly to being told what to do, especially by physical interferences while he was playing! But he was good-natured, and it all went ahead. Then we began playing around – using the riff as a starting point. Now normally, if it had been just us, we probably would have gone away and thought about it, and started mapping out a song structure.
David said something like “We should just press on instinctively. Something will happen.” And he was right. It did. I put a little tinkling guitar riff on top of John’s bass riff (David later was adamant it ought to be played on a 12-string, so I overdubbed that later at some point). And then we all mucked in with ideas to develop a backing track. The track had something that sounded like a verse, then a quiet contemplative bit, which built up ready for a climax. I managed to get my heavy riff in here. I remember saying … "cool – it sounds like The Who!” At which point David frowned a little and said “It won’t sound like The Who by the time we’re finished!”
Now at this point there is no song … no vocal, no words – no title, even – no clue as to what the song will mean – just an instrumental backing track. But it really rocked. Born completely spontaneously, it was fresh as a daisy. Stop there? Go away and write a song for it ? “No” – says David.
He’d been working with a bunch of people who developed a technique for creating the top line by ‘democracy’ as well as the backing track. The procedure was each of us went into the vocal booth consecutively, without listening to each other, and, listening to the track, vocalised the first things that came into our heads, including any words which came to mind, working with the existing chord structure. At this point Freddie laid down his amazing De Dah Day bits, very unusual, which actually made it to the final mix.
The next step was to cut up everybody’s bits and make a kind of compilation ‘best of’ vocal track – which would then be used as the template for the final vocals. It came out pretty strange, but very different. We all went home that night with a rough mix which was provisionally called ‘People on Streets’, because these words were part of the rough.
The next day we reconvened, and I think I was prepared to try some new ideas out. But David was in there first, and told us he wanted to take the track over, because he knew what he wanted it to be about. So, to cut a long story short, that is what happened. We all backed off and David put down a lyric which now focussed on the ‘Under Pressure’ part of the existing lyric. It was unusual for us all to relinquish control like that but really David was having a genius moment – because that is a very telling lyric. And the rest is history?
When it came to mixing the track, I, (uncharacteristically, since I was usually the last one left in the studio of a night), opted out altogether, so that there were fewer cooks to spoil the broth. Roger hung right in there – and Roger, who had been a fan of Bowie from way back, was very instrumental in making sure the track got finished. In fact it didn’t get mixed until a few weeks later in New York. That’s a whole different story, but I wasn’t there, so all I know is that Freddie and David had different views of how the mix should be done, and the engineer didn’t completely know how the studio worked! So it ended up as a compromise … a quick rough monitor mix. But that was what became the finished album track, and a single too, which made a mark all around the world.
Now Roger stayed close to David from then on. We all frequently bumped into each other in Montreux at the Jazz Festival, at Claude Knobs’s house (creator of the Festival) or at the house of Charlie Chaplin, close by in Vevey – his last wife was a friend of David’s and very hospitable. So the links were there, and I remember David was always very patient with my small boy Jimmy … playing with him on the floor with Claude’s toys.
But the next time we really spent serious time together was at the rehearsals for the Freddie Tribute Show, which Roger and I put together after we lost Freddie. There was one bizarre moment, when I looked around in the rehearsal room and realised that, on some makeshift chairs, in a line waiting for their rehearsal spots, sat Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, George Michael, and David Bowie. David, as I remember, was very mellow by then, and made a wonderful contribution to the show, including a literally show-stopping moment when he went down on one knee and recited the Lord’s Prayer. If you look at our faces on the video for that moment, you can see that it was just as big a surprise to us as it was to the audience!! David’s duet with Annie Lennox that night is legendary. But pretty much everything David did was legendary.
Never predictable, never classifiable, immensely lateral thinking and fearless, he stands as one of Britain’s greatest musical creators. I’m certainly proud to have worked with him.
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**Thu 07 Jan 16**
MY SPEECH NOTES FOR COZY PLAQUE UNVEILING
It was a great day in Cirencester - a great turn-out and a great showing of love for our dear pal Cozy Powell. Along with my best mate Tony Iommi and Suzi Quatro and an impressive bunch of his old colleagues we unveiled a blue plaque, permanently honouring this son of Cirencester.
After this there was a reception and lots of speeches - from people who knew him at all points of his life. I had written some notes - but of course I didn't stick to them when I spoke. Here's my text of stuff I intended to say !
Cozy was one of those people who never had a moment’s doubt about who he wanted to be. He was a drummer through and through. He never knew his real Mum and Dad, so perhaps made his own role-model. Grew up listening to every drummer he could … many of them Jazz, but had a vision in his head of what kind of drumming HE wanted to create.
I’m a guitarist, so in a sense I have a different point of view from a drummer. But the first place a guitarist looks for to anchor himself to is a great drummer. So it’s a great vantage point.
Many of today’s young musicians quote US as influences now .. but I know Roger would endorse me saying that Hard Rock Drumming was defined by a generation just ahead of us. Similar age actually, but they got stuck in professionally at an earlier age !
The backing to early Rock and Roll records was actually quite light and syncopated … like Elvis Presley records, Bill Haley … it was quite Jazzy … drum sticks were held loosely with the thumbs --- lots of wrist action. The body stayed still.
But with the second wave, led quite largely by the British, a new feeling about ALL-OUT High Intensity drumming – along with all-out high intensity guitar playing - was forming in the air. Most of our generation were inspired by the new LOUD hard hitting style … largely defined by Carmine Appice, John Bonham, and COZY POWELL. The style is epitomised by actually hitting the drums hard and moving a lot of air, the sticks are held in a firm embrace by the whole hand, and the WHOLE BODY is brought to bear on the action that makes the hits on those drum skins.
There’s a kind of unstoppable rhythm that you can see in the evolved Rock Drummer’s action. There is so much movement, and it’s so cyclic, that it’s almost impossible for him to hit something NOT in time. You can see it in Roger Taylor, my own colleague in Queen. You can see it in Matt Sorum in Guns n' Roses, Chad Smith in Chili Peppers, and in Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters. The drummer becomes a machine, but more than a machine, a vehicle for the all-out passion of someone living and breathing the song. It’s not just about how hard the drums are hit … it’s a physical magic that comes from passion and commitment. Cozy was an immensely PASSIONATE drummer.
My own association with Cozy starts properly backstage with Queen at Hyde Park, 1976. He surprised me by saying I was one of the musicians he’d most like to work with. So when I organised a Guitar Legends concert in Seville a while later, it was Cozy that I called to do drums. We had an amazing time. He was totally inspiring as I had hoped … for all the guitarists.
And when we lost Freddie, and I plunged into touring with my own band, it was Cozy I called – he’d made me promise I would. We did loads of shows together, and we recorded together with great joy and creativity. He was a wonderful friend and ALWAYS a boost for my sometimes failing confidence. “Fabulous ! We’ll nail it – loud .. hooligan ! Just roll it !” I can hear him thundering away in Resurrection in my head. In fact I think I’ll head off and watch it on YouTube right now !!
Cozy was a lot more than a drummer … he was a fine human being. Always considerate, generous and compassionate, he dealt fairly with people and with other animals too.
One of my favourite images of him is from his own proud accounts … him dealing with the Hunts when they attempted to trespass on his property. He was out with his gun, and stood defiantly with the cry “Get Orf My Laaand !” And they did !!!
Born in Cirencester, it’s very fitting he has a proper memorial here … a trigger to focus people’s memories and love for the man.
I loved him like a brother. And still miss him greatly. He had a wonderfully focussed life … played with a whole catalogue of Rocks’ greatest … From Ritchie Blackmore to Tony Iommi, to Jeff Beck … from Rainbow to Black Sabbath to his own solo hit, Dance with the Devil. Did I mention he was a brilliant demon race driver ?
THANKS FOR doing this … Mark - Mr. Mayor - Town Council – Rosella Amadori – and the Civic Society.
He was a son of Cirencester, a brilliant soul – a fantastic passionate Drummer, and a shining soul … Let him always be remembered here !
Bless ya' Cozy ! Great Man !
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