We'd just started to notice how many bassists — especially slappers — were using Music Man basses, and had also heard that a new MM four-string, the Cutlass, was on the way. Ah-hah, went the collective One Two thoughts, time for a review.
But UK distributor Strings & Things tell us that they've got no stocks of Music Man, and they don't envisage getting any more.
They say the stuff was getting too expensive, and that Music Man (based in Anaheim, California) were "quite willing" to drop their UK and German distribution to concentrate on the home market.
Oh well, so much for that idea.
Turbosound PA speaker units, used in live setups by groups like Culture Club, Soft Cell, the Belle Stars and Peter Gabriel, have just been made available for sale — previously these highly-praised modules have only been usable as part of hired rigs. More info from Turbosound Sales at (Contact Details).
WHERE Roxy Music paved the way, ABC follow. You think we make cheap, unsubstantiated joke? Not us.
Roxy Music used a blue Hagstrom P46 Deluxe on the inner sleeve of their first LP. And what's that red guitar on the "That Was Then..." ABC single cover? You've got it in one.
Actually it is rather a looker, this axe. Paul Day, west country collector of and expert on such instruments, tells us that The Deluxe was made by the Swedish Hagstrom company around 1959 and features such bizarre accoutrements as a glitter-finish plastic front and a plastic mother-of-pearl-style fingerboard, neck, and back of body.
The line of strange pushbuttons along the top of the four (!) singlecoil pickups selects different combinations of this quartet, and gives various tonal settings thanks to an internal capacitor or two.
The price of these collectors-item guitars shot up soon after the Roxy LP in the early '70s, but now you'd need about 200 notes to own such a thing - if you could find one that someone actually wanted to sell. Wonder where ABC's came from?
Down to the Venue in London to see Zildjian endorsees Simon Philips and Mel Gaynor hit lots of things in a clinic situation. After they'd done that for a while the large and largely drummerly audience threw questions — Mel went first, and after three or four about his Premier kit he tentatively suggested that some questions on cymbals might be a good idea. So why Zildjian?
"Before, I was with another company," he explained. He couldn't afford Zildjian then, but now he's "in a position to pick the cymbals I want". And he gets the after-sales service he needs when on the road so much with Simple Minds.
Mel parted with the news that he practises with his feet quite a lot, and then on came human octopus Simon Philips. It is astounding that one man and a pile of (Tama) wood, plastic and steel can make such an enormous din.
"Did you do 'Hurricane' in one take?" demands an onlooker. "Which one was that?" comes the seasoned sessioneer's reply. But he's joking, and plays the drum part (all of it) instantly. "That was 'Space Boogie'," suggests the questioner afterwards. "No, 'Space Boogie' is in seven, like this..." So there.
Cheers all round, from people like Mike Oldfield, Fish from Marillion, Joel Bogen from Toyah's band and Neil Murray.
Lost for a new sound, that all-elusive racket that no-one has ever used? How about a lead dolphin solo? No sweat.
Computer music people Syntauri have developed a software program called Dolphin Dialogue for a project underway at Delphinid Research in Florida. Delphinid Research are keen on getting a chat going with dolphins, just in case they know something we don't (slim chance).
Charlie Kellner, inventor of the AlphaSyntauri computer music system, tapped out the program for the dolphin interlocutors. Ron Reisman heads up the men who would be fish. "Imagine a dolphin composing and communicating an intelligent, unique sentence to a human!" exclaimed the clearly potty Reisman.
Obtain your lead dolphin sound from Syntauri Corporation, (Contact Details).
TAPE makers TDK celebrate 10 years of their Super Avilyn cassette formula by telling us that since 1973 they've manufactured 83,889,000 miles of the stuff. They also mention that this would not only take you to the moon and back 175 times (try it tonight), but would replace the gap in the Watergate Tapes 661 million times. It might just be enough to finish off the new Human League LP.
Fancy linking a drum machine into the arpeggiating potential of a Casio CT1000P? Micro Musical Ltd of Coventry have developed a printed-circuit module, which they call the ML-1, allowing you to do just that. It costs £75 if you do the work of installing the thing yourself, or £99 if you want Micro to do it for you. A mod for you to add to your existing Doctor Rhythm so that it'll work with the upgraded CT1000P costs a further £4.50. Fuller details from Micro Musical Ltd, (Contact Details).
If you read the review of the new Fender Elites last month, you may remember we said that the pickups' insides "remain a mystery". More evidence on the innards has come our way from Bill and Rob Turner, makers of EMG (Electro Magnetic Generation) pickups in Santa Rosa, California. Rob — apparently the technician of the team — said they did some research and development for Fender on the Elites.
"What happened was they didn't really know what they were getting into," Rob said. "They thought they were gonna be able to build another pickup as easily and simply as they had built their standard line for the last 20 years, and when they found out how complicated it was...
"They wanted to do it and we did too," continued Rob, "but it was just a little bit too much of a jump for CBS. It would have been akin to them starting a fresh pickup company."
Meanwhile, the new Fenders can be seen in action when they're demo'd in late November by 'The Hot Duo' — Alan Murphy on guitar and Felix Krish on bass, who have a wide experience of Musicians Union session rates.
Fender have promised COMPETITIONS with PRIZES at the demos, and there will be rap, slap and whammy bar for all. Good show!
Dates and music shop venues for the shows are as follows (with information phone numbers in brackets): 22 Nov Alpha Music, Leeds ((Contact Details)
); 23 Nov Sound Control, Edinburgh ((Contact Details)
); 24 Nov A1, Manchester ((Contact Details)
); 28 Nov City Electronics, Torquay ((Contact Details)
); 29 Nov John Ham, Swansea ((Contact Details)
); 30 Nov Music Stop, Wolverhampton ((Contact Details)
Policeman Stewart Copeland's home studio and general filmic leanings have led him to write the score for the new Francis Ford Coppola film, "Rumble Fish", which gets its UK premiere at the London Film Festival on 2 December. The film, apparently featuring "rebellious, trapped teenagers" and set "in the near future", will open in at least one major London cinema in January.
There are a couple of other interesting music-related flicks to be shown at the South Bank's National Film Theatre, which hosts the London Film Festival every year.
"Cool Runnings" records the 1983 Reggae Sunsplash festival held in Jamaica's Montego Bay. The film (you sure? - Ed.) is directed by Robert Mugge, who also made "Black Wax" about Gil Scott-Heron and "Sun Ra; A Joyful Noise". "Cool Runnings" shows at the LFF on 18 November.
And "Ghost Dance", directed by Ken McCullen, explores "the possibility that ghosts have been able to use electricity and electronics to expand their presence in the modern world". The music score for this is written by Flying Lizards' strange one David Cunningham, along with ancient King Crimson collaborators Michael Giles and Jamie Muir. Rush along to the NFT on 19 November for these electro-haunts.
For box office enquiries concerning the Festival, phone (Contact Details)
News has just reached us of the death in August of session bassist James Jamerson, who was 45. James was best known for his period with Motown from 1959 to 1973. While his most insistent contribution to Tamla's revolutionary early use of foreground electric bass was probably on the Four Tops' "Reach Out", he played on scores of records by all the biggest artists on the label at the time, including hits from Gladys Knight and the Pips, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Junior Walker and the All-Stars, and the Temptations. His son James Jamerson Junior continues the bass-playing tradition, with a recent success on the session for the Crusaders' "Street Life".
Further to our report last month on BBC2's "Rockschool", which aims to help your fumblings with guitar, bass and drums, we took a wander down to Television Centre and caught programme eight being teased into shape.
Perched up in the gallery we observed the producer and pals sat in front of stacks of TV screens, shouting things like, "Cue Geoff," or even, "Cheeky bleeder," as bassist Henry makes it look like he's shifting the last Quantelled shot out of the way with his bare hands.
Meanwhile down on the stage, floor manager Bob tells the small audience — who are preparing to aim their probing questions at the Presenters — not to worry. "Just ask the question like you would at a public meeting," he reassures them. They look puzzled.
But Henry remains the star of the evening, and even makes up a question about slapping on fretless bass for someone to ask him. Keep your eyes peeled on December 20th for Henry acting all surprised when thrown his own question. "I'd never thought of that... let's try it..." While you're at it, you might look out for Deirdre's luminous socks when she demonstrates her volume pedal: for those watching in black-and-white, they're the bright grey things on the ends of her legs.