Technology enables us to do amazing things. One such amazing thing was an album I was asked to collaborate on, featuring musicians from several continents and members of Tuff Darts, Mod Fun, TV Toy, Joe Jackson, Captain Storm, Bram Tchaikovsky, Bon Jovi, Greg Abate, The Royals, The Punster, Ghost Walks, Puzzle Monkey, The Larks, and Bill Nelson’s Red Noise.
The album “Steve’s Theme Park” was masterminded by Steve Peer in Miami and produced by Jeff Crossman who had the patience of a saint in bringing together so many diverse contributions.
Read the story of this Herculean enterprise, with many transferable lessons for people trying to do complex things across continents, such as:
1. Global collaboration relies on strong leadership and direction. Steve provided this from the outset.
2. Global collaboration relies on excellent systems of co-ordination. Jeff provided this essential mechanism without which we would not have succeeded.
3. Global collaboration relies on give and take behaviours on the part of the team involved. Guided by Steve’s leadership, the various experts were able to give of their best.
A couple of the songs from Steve’s Theme Park are included here:
I managed to snatch a mini interview with the legend that is Jah Wobble after a two hour performance recently. The video also captures some of the performance that covers jazz, dub, reggae, punk, experimental music – what a complete joy to watch:
Wobble gained his name after Sid Vicious misheard his name John Wardle. He had a period as a station announcer on London’s Underground where he once broadcast “I used to be somebody. I repeat, I used to be somebody” over the tannoy system. It seems that he learned some of his stage skills from this period of his life as much as from musical performance. Having played with a diverse cast of music legends, from Public Image Ltd to Brian Eno, Sinead O’Connor, Can and members of U2 and one of my own local colleagues Clea Llewellyn, he has a supremely talented band in the form of The Invaders of the Heart. You can see some of their skills in this video:
Bill Nelson formed Red Noise having become restless as a guitar hero and leader of the band Be-Bop Deluxe. After a string of successful albums and singles, this change of style was a difficult change for both fans and record label alike. As a result, his record label Harvest dropped Nelson and this commenced his solo career which has seen him produced over 150 albums.
In this interview I discuss Bill Nelson’s Red Noise album and one of its tracks with Steve Peer, who performed on the Red Noise live shows. The lyrics on the album are inspired by science fiction and are a joy in themselves. Although the album was dismissed by some audiences in 1979, it has gained critical acclaim as being ahead of its time.
Check this video out in our series “The Peer Reviews”, where we discuss Marquee Moon by Television. My co-presenter Steve Peer was Television’s roadie and has previously unheard insights about the band and its music, including stories about Brian Eno, Patti Smith and other aspects of their development.
Also The Police – Synchronicity II. This song foretold a lot about the times we live in and I still go back to it for some stimulation in dark times.
Our tribute song for Bernie Torme is now released with a contribution to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Get copies of the songs on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify etc. There are both male and female vocal versions.
Prince defies classification. Funk, Rock, Jazz, Pop, fusion, ambience and so on. In this video we take a look at one of his early tracks and look at his ability to seamlessly fuse genres, genes and jeans.
The last few days have been something of an emotional roller coaster for me, as someone who is the same age as Prince and who has followed his career from start to finish. Prince Rogers Nelson’s untimely death at 57 has deprived the world of one of its greatest polymaths and on Friday I was compelled to give a talk on his life, creative contribution and perform some of his songs at Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money Lounge. Whilst preparing to give the talk I listened to Marvin Gaye’s rendition of “Abraham, Martin and John” and finally broke down in tears – I always think “better out than in” 🙂 and 10 minutes of uncontrollable sobbing gave me enough energy to carry the rest of the day without losing control. I also recalled our wedding day some 22 years ago – we had “The Beautiful Ones” as our wedding dance, much to the surprise of my Father in Law, once the screaming started … 🙂 As part of my own cathartic release of energy surrounding this very sad event, what then can I say about the man behind the controversy, sexual ambiguity, a symbol which journalists could not type on a keyboard and platform shoes that has not been said already in the media?
In this edition of The Peer Review, Steve Peer and Peter Cook examine Roxy Music’s opening track “Re-Make, Re-Model”. Roxy Music were an unusual fusion of glam, rockabilly, avant garde and much more. Check the review out:
In 1972, it was indeed common to “trade instrumentals” by taking a break in a song for individual musicians to take a solo break. However this generally did not extend to ambient synthesiser breaks, nor quotes from “March of the Valkyries” on sax! Nor was it common to quote the number plate of a car as a refrain. Roxy Music broke boundaries. Too many for Polydor records ….
They also influenced massively. Brian Eno went on to be an ambient professor and production legend whilst Bryan Ferry became a style icon with Roxy Music and then in his own right.
In this edition, we examine the classic rock track “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. Check out Steve Peer’s interview below:
In the interview we deal with subjects such as:
Which was the definitive Deep Purple line up? One of our commenters sums up the answer!
“It just isn’t the same band. Oh sure, they say it’s still Deep Purple but to me, “Purple” was Gillian, Glover, Lord, Blackmore and Ian Paice. With new players, the band has evolved into a completely different entity. Good music yeah…but not stone cold Purple.“
What are some of the distinctive elements of the track that make it so enduring? The drummer’s view and the guitar hero’s obsession?
What about the anatomy of the band? How do you hold dysfunctional and explosive elements together?