Musicians as  Arseholes (English for :  Assholes)

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Posted by Keith E Rice on 01/03/02 - 00:36:49
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I once (72) got a roasting from Linda Thompson because I didn't have any of hers and Richard's post-Fairport albums.

They were playing at Bradford University where I was studying. I loved Thompson's playing and writing in Fairport but hated his singing. (I was a lot less tolerant of crap singers in those days than I am now!)

So I didn't shell out for the records. But live...and some friends were going. So why not?

Richard and Linda were going in through the students' door - Richard carrying a guitar case - when I arrived. They seemed pretty unassuming, so I made the mistake of engaging them in conversation.

(Good gig, though, with Simon Nicol on rhythm and backing vocals.)

So...the point of this?

Well, Paul might now be an affable old guy who comes out after gigs and signs autographs and chats with fans, etc.

It wasn't always that way.

In the early 70s, when they were dubbed "the Richard and Elizabeth Taylor of rock'n'roll", Paul and Grace were regarded by many people in the "business" as two of the most unpleasant rockers around. (Paul's since given the impression that much of his "coldness" around that time was down to the sheer amount of coke he was using.)

In fact, they upset so many British journalists when they came to London in Summer 73 to record parts of "MANHOLE" that the psyche of the British press seemed to turn collectively against all things Airplane. (Previously, the British press had been pretty pro.)

Of course, the British press couldn't ignore the huge commercial importance of Starship 75-78 but they took every opportunity to knock them. ("SPITFIRE" was "patchy"; "EARTH" "sleepwalking" - and they never ever forgave Hot Tuna for Knebworth 76!) As soon as the Starship's commercial status started to slip with "MODERN TIMES", the British press studiously ignored them.
Nothing more was heard about them until 85-87 and a few desultory remarks about "We Built This City". Even "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" being at no 1 for several weeks was effectively ignored.
KERRANG, then a new mag, employing youngsters with little prior knowledge of the Airship, was the only one to do a major interview during the Jefferson-less Starship years. KBC was ruthlessly ignored and the Airplane reunion was barely mentioned.

Such was his frustration with the British press totally igoring "PERRO" that Steve Rowland started the TRANSCAUCASIAN AIR MACHINE BLUES fanzine - which led to Bill Parry's HOLDING TOGETHER.

Even by 95, when there still seemed some possibility that JS could be big time again, Kantner and co were upsetting British journalists.

When the band came to London that year, with "DS/VS" just out, MOJO - the only one! - asked for a major interview. Of KB&C, only Balin would consent to be interviewed -and he was in one of his more dismissive moods. Result, following a fairly mediocre gig, was a put-down article and review.

Paul and Marty in the inervening years do seem to have learned a little more how to treat people, judging from US reports of their approachability in recent years.

Judging from Michael's treatment of Scott, I wonder if he has...?

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