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Benjy says...

Dear rock fans,

Despite crippling power cuts in Cape Town over the last few days we managed to keep Rock of Ages on the air this week, all hail the Rock Gods! ... How was that Iron Butterfly special? very groovy indeed. It's a pity that the band were tagged as 'one hit wonders' because if you dig into the early albums like "Ball" and "Heavy" you will find some real rock gems. However whether we/they/all of us like it or nor "In-a-gadda-da-vida" will epitomise the band and a period of rock when improvisation and creativity were more important than being hip, trendy or commercial.

Next week's special will be Genesis and specifically the early years of the band, up to the departure of Peter Gabriel .... should be quite a trip and I hope you will join me!

The definitive Genesis ..... The group had its roots in the Garden Wall, a band founded by 15-year-olds Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks in 1965 at Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey, where fellow student Anthony Phillips was a member of another group called Anon whilst Mike Rutherford was in The Climax. They initially merged out of expediency as the older members of each graduated; Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, Phillips, and drummer Chris Stewart soon joined together as the New Anon, and recorded a six-song demo featuring songs primarily written by Rutherford and Phillips. The Charterhouse connection worked in their favor when an ex-student, recording artist and producer Jonathan King, heard the tape and arranged for the group to continue working in the studio, developing their sound. It was also King who renamed the band Genesis.

In December of 1967 the group had their first formal recording sessions. Their debut single, "The Silent Sun," was released in February of 1968 without attracting much notice from the public. A second single, "A Winter's Tale," followed just about the time that Chris Stewart quit -- his replacement, John Silver, joined just in time to participate in the group's first LP sessions that summer. King later added orchestral accompaniment to the band's tracks, in order to make them sound even more like the Moody Blues, and the resulting album, entitled "From Genesis to Revelation", was released in March of 1969. Music seemed to be shaping up as a brief digression in the lives of the members as they graduated from Charterhouse that summer. The group felt strongly enough about their work, however, that they decided to try it as a professional band; it was around this time that Silver exited, replaced by John Mayhew. They got their first paying gig in September of 1969, and spent the next several months working out new material.

album cover Genesis soon became one of the first groups signed to the fledgling Charisma label, and they recorded their second album "Trespass" that spring; following its completion, the unit went through major personnel changes -- Phillips, who had developed crippling stage fright, was forced to leave the line-up in July of 1970, followed by Mayhew. Enter Phil Collins, a onetime child actor turned drummer and former member of Hickory and Flaming Youth. The group's line-up was completed with the addition of guitarist Steve Hackett, a former member of Quiet World; his presence and that of Collins toughened up the group's sound, which became apparent immediately upon the release of their next album, "Nursery Cryme".

album cover The theatrical attributes of Gabriel's singing fitted in well with he group's live performances during this period as he began to make ever more extensive use of masks, make-up, and props in concert, telling framing stories in order to set up their increasingly complicated songs. When presented amid the group's very strong playing, this aspect of Gabriel's work turned Genesis's performances into multi-media events. "Foxtrot," issued in the fall of 1972, was the flashpoint in Genesis's history, and not just on commercial terms. The writing, especially on "Supper's Ready," was as sophisticated as anything in progressive rock, and the lyrics were complex, serious and clever, a far cry from the usual overblown words attached to most prog-rock. Genesis's live performances by now were practically legend, and in response to the demand, in August of 1973 Charisma released "Genesis Live," an album assembled from shows in Leicester and Manchester originally taped for an American radio broadcast. 1973 also saw the release of "Selling England by the Pound," the group's most sophisticated album to date.

album cover The release of the ambitious double LP "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" in late 1974 marked the culmination of the group's early history; in May of 1975, following a show in France, Gabriel announced that he was leaving Genesis, owing to personal reasons. The group tried auditioning potential replacements, but it became clear that the remaining members all preferred that drummer Collins take over the role of lead singer. The band returned to the studio as an official quartet in October of 1975 to begin work on their new album: the resulting "Trick of the Tail" made number three in England and number 31 in America, the best chart showing up to that time for a Genesis album, its success completely confounded critics and fans who'd been unable to conceive of Genesis without Peter Gabriel. album cover The group seemed to be on its way to bigger success than it ever had during Gabriel's tenure as 1977's "Wind and Wuthering" became another smash. But then Hackett announced that he was leaving on the eve of the release of a new double live album, "Seconds Out"; he was replaced on the subsequent American and European tours by Daryl Stuermer, but there was no permanent replacement in the studio.

In 1978, Genesis released "And Then There Were Three", which abandoned any efforts at progressive rock in favor of a softer, much more accessible and less ambitious pop sound, a style that brought them gigantic commecial success over the next two decades. For more information on Genesis go to www.genesis-music.com

Rock of Ages's recommendations


Eric Burdon


Eric Burdon


Highly regarded as one the greatest white British blues/R&B shouters of the 60's Eric Burdon has had a chequered career since bailing out of the Animals in the latter part of that decade: discovering the mind altering properties of LSD he first led the Animals into psychedelic territory with albums like "Winds of change" and "The twain shall meet" before reinventing himself as the Lord of Funk Rock with the band War and hits like "Tobacco Road" and "Spill the wine". By the mid 70's however he seemed to have burnt out as an artist and after a series of patchy albums Burdon faded from the greater rock conciousness and although he has continued to record it's been a long, long time since he made a record worth raving about ..... Thankfully his new album "A soul of a man" is a true return to form. With a red hot ensemble behind him Eric's blues drenched vocals tackle songs by the likes of the legendary Blind Willie Johnson, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Chester Burnett. If you are a bonefide blues fan then its worth investing in.

Strangely strange but oddly normal - an Island anthology


Strangely strange but oddly normal - an Island anthology


I have had a whole bunch of stuff arrive from overseas this week and none more exciting than "Strangely strange but oddly normal - an Island anthology". Island Records was the first and most successful independent label, signing some of the most important and influential rock, jazz and folk artists including Free, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Traffic, John Martyn, Spooky Tooth, Nick Drake, Fairport Convention and many more. This amazing 3 CD box set charts the period 1967-1972 when the label was at it's creative peak. With it's wonderfully eclectic music selection and an accompanying 48 page booklet this is a must for any self respecting rock fan!

Competitions


Attention Rolling Stones winners ..... Our apologies for the delay in you receiving your copy of "A bigger bang", it seems that someone in EMI, who sponsored the prizes, got into the Xmas spirit a little too early and forgot to mail these. This has hopefully now been rectified and your prizes should be their way to you.

As hard as we tried on Thursday's show we just couldn't give away the Judas Priest "Live Vengeance '82 Tou" dvd, the opening question (one of three in "Who's the Rockspert") was "What band did Robert Plant and John Bonham play in together prior to joining Led Zeppelin"? ... Surprisingly no-one got it right so the competition and the prize will move forward to next week's show, that will give to time to get the answer to the first question! (the other two are harder).

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Contact Rock of Ages

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Snail mail:
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Studio phone: 089-1102003
Richard Filmer @ CDW

Disclaimer:
The views, opinions, rants, raves and ramblings expressed on this website are the author's own and in no way reflect the views of Radio 2000 or the SABC.

Latest Playlist
News from the
World of Rock
Roger rants on....again

Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters will perform the band's legendary "Dark side of the Moon” album live at a Danish summer festival - as a solo artist.The bassist, 62, rediscovered his love with the songs from the 1973 LP when the band reformed for Live 8 last July but he would rather play alone than take to the stage with estranged bandmate Dave Gilmour again.A source tells British newspaper the Daily Mirror, "Roger feels reinvigorated after the one-off reunion. He can't wait to play Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety, even if it's in a gig by himself." Waters played Pink Floyd's "The Wall” album in Berlin in 1990 after the city's infamous wall was pulled down.

You don't mess around with Henry!

Ex Black Flag frontman and Henry Rollins ran into trouble while flying from Auckland, Australia during the Big Day Out Tour. Apparently, the former hardcore vocalist and author made the mistake of reading "Jihad: The Rise of Militant Island in Central Asia" while on the flight. The individual who sat next to Henry had reported him to the government because of the book; while the letter he recieved from the government dismissed the accusation as "idiocy," Henry responded: "I was reading a book called Jihad by Ahmed Rashid which is a history of Central Asia. I didn't speak to the man next to me past 'how do you do'. I think Ahmed Rashid is published by Yale University Press, Bush's alma mater. Please tell your government and everyone in your office to go fuck themselves. Tell them twice. If your boss is looking for something to do, you can tell him I suggest he go fuck himself. Baghdad's safer than my hometown and your PM is a sissy."

Can't Believe Ozzy Did this? The Ozzy TV commercial for "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" where the Prince of Darkness is joined by a leading impersonator is now available for download at Ozzyhead. Click the full story link to see it in it's full gory. (that's not a typo) http://www.ozzyhead.com/2-20-06.htm

More Rotten BS

Former Sex Pistols star John Lydon has slammed New York punk bands, including The Ramones, citing them as repetitive, tatty and spoilt. Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, insists his transatlantic punk contemporaries lacked the original talent of British bands and were deprived of the chance to prove themselves by wealthy parents. He says, "The Ramones to me were more like Status Quo.

U2 vs France

Campaigning rocker BONO is planning a showdown with French President JACQUES CHIRAC, because the leader's agricultural policies are affecting his battle for fair trade in Africa.

"France is one of the biggest problems in reaching a trade deal. People are worried that dismantling the common agricultural policy (CAP) in Europe will really affect small French farmers. We don't think it should."

Bee Gees Reunite

The Bee Gees, famous for singing songs like castrated infants and getting all narky on a chat show a few years ago, have reunited for a charity concert. Sort of - two thirds of them reunited at least. The show, a private concert to raise money for diabetes, was the first time Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb have performed together onstage since the death of third Bee Gee Maurice three years ago. The terrifying reality of a new Bee Gees album just became a little more terrifying, people.
Live Gigs
The Nu Folk featuring Albert Frost, Jim Neversink, Sinister Minister and Josie Field
Sunday 5 March from 15h00 Tanz Café, Bryanston

Stoned Goblin
4/24 March Gandalfs, Observatory
11 March Belgian Beer Pub, Stellenbosch

You say it's your birthday ...
February 17
Rickey Medlocke (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
February 18
Robbie Bachman (Bachman Turner Overdrive) - 1953
Yoko Ono - 1933
Dennis DeYoung (Styx) - 1947
February 19
Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) - 1948
Mark Andes (Firefall, Heart) - 1948
February 20
Jerome Geils (J. Geils Band) - 1946
Walter Becker (Steely Dan) - 1950
Randy California (Spirit) - 1951
Jon Brant (Cheap Trick) - 1954
Lew Soloff (Blood, Sweat & Tears) - 1944
February 21
Paul Newton (Uriah Heep)
Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads) - 1949
February 23
Johnny Winter - 1944
Rusty Young (Poco, Buffalo Springfield) - 1946
Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) - 1952
February 24
Paul Jones (Manfred Mann) - 1942
Bob "Bear" Hite (Canned Heat) - 1945
Lonnie Turner (Steve Miller Band) - 1947
February 25
George Harrison - 1943
February 26
Mitch Ryder - 1945
Paul Cotton (Poco) - 1943
Jonathan Cain (Journey) - 1950
Fats Domino - 1928
February 27
Neal Schon (Santana, Journey) - 1954
Johnny Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd) - 1959
February 28
Brian Jones (Rolling Stones) - 1942
Cindy Wilson (B-52's) - 1957

Courtesy of About ClassicRock

Birthday archives

December
January
February

"Benjy says..." Archive

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Benjy Mudie
Benjy Mudie with Void in the late 70's Benjy Mudie 2004
Then Now

Benjy Mudie was inducted into the South African Rock Hall Of Fame on 14th August 2002. Of Scottish origin, Mudie started out in the music industry working in record shops. He later became the A&R man for WEA records, signing such luminaries as Lesley Rae Dowling, Baxtop and Falling Mirror. He has ventured briefly into the realms of songwriting, getting co-writing credit for Little Sister's song 'You Got My Heart', but it is mainly for his running of record labels, notably Tusk and more recently Fresh and Retro Fresh that he is honoured. With these labels he has tirelessly dedicated himself to putting South African music out there, showing an unshaking belief in the quality of SA music.

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