I want you to cast your mind back 31 years. It was the height of Thatcherism, and I was living in a little house in one of the suburbs of Exeter whilst commuting each day to Crediton, where I worked in a crumbling old red brick hospital for what were then called the mentally handicapped. For reasons that the cognoscenti amongst you will know, Frank Zappa was in the middle of complex legal difficulties with his ex-record company and his ex-manager. Therefore, hardly any of his music was available. So, those of us who wanted a Frank Zappa collection to be proud of, spent much of our time off wondering around second hand record shops, market stalls, and junk shops in search of our precious prizes. This was, remember, the pre-internet age when one actually had to search for things on foot.
One sunny afternoon I was on Exeter’s Fore Street, engaged in my regular weekly trawl around the shops. I was in a particularly crappy second-hand shop at the bottom of the hill, when I found something that gave me palpitations. It was a copy of a Frank Zappa compilation album, that had been put out on (I think) Polydor in 1976. I had been looking for it for a long time, because it was the only place that one could find that one particular song. But that doesn’t really matter at the moment.
I bought the record and sent up a silent prayer to the gods of record collecting that my then-wife would not berate me for spending 6 quid on a peculiar record, rather than spending it on groceries or the electricity bill.
Suddenly, my reverie was interrupted by a gruff voice. I turned around a saw a scruffy looking individual whom I had seen around town but never actually spoken to.
“You lucky bugger, I’ve been looking for that for months!”
Thus a friendship was born. It turned out that his name was Richard, and he was an avid collector of music by Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa and David Bowie. He also knew more about the lives, work, and influences upon these three artists than anybody else I’d ever met before, or have met since. He was also a very talented artist, and when a few months later I started what was to be my publishing empire with a couple of little music fanzines, Richard designed the logos, did the cartoons and much of the artwork, and was an enthusiastic and useful co-conspirator.
We were friends ever since. The night that his first baby was born the two of us got legendarily drunk together. When he and his young family moved to Teignmouth, we didn’t see each other as much, but we remained friends, and up until a few years ago we would still contact each other on a whim to talk esoteric bollocks about something or other.
On Monday night, I had a phone call from his son, whom I haven’t seen since he was 6, something like 15 years ago. He passed me on to his mother, who still sounded like the charmingly dippy 17yr old girl I had first met in 1987, when Richard proudly introduced her to me. Richard had struggled with mental health issues throughout his life, and last week, probably when drunk, he killed himself.
I do know more of the back story, but it’s nobody else’s business. I have spent much of the time since contacting mutual friends of ours to tell them the sad news. He is the third of my friends to have died in the last 6 weeks, but I can truthful say that he was one of the friends that I truly loved. He was a massively irritating human being at times, but he was always loveable and although he did his best to hide it, he was a highly intelligent and literate man. My heart is heavy today. Even though we hadn’t seen each other for some years, the knowledge that I will never again pick up the telephone at an inconvenient time I the middle of the night to hear Richard’s gruff voicer on the other end of the line saying “’ullo, you mad bugger. What have you been listening to?”
My world is a far sadder place without him.
Forgive me for banging on about our webTV show, but it matters a lot to me, and I would be grateful for an many people as possible to see it, and spread the tidings of it far and wide:
But now, here is the news:
Hurricane Irma Relief Fundraiser with Patrick Mora...
THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem
ANNIE HASLAM IN THE NEWS
FAIRPORT CONVENTION: Ric Sanders interview
HERMAN'S HERMITS IN THE NEWS
Gonzo Weekly #253
THE SENSORIUM SUPERSTARS ISSUE
In which we meet the very legendary Dana Gillespie, Alan goes to the Hapi Festival, Richard presents part one of a short series on Steve Kimock, Greg remembers seeing Gentle Giant back in the day, Graham writes about Hawkwind,and we send Sensorium Girliebox to a desert island!And is there more? You can bet your pondohs there is. And it is all free/buckshee/gratis. There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but there is a truly free magazine!
And there are radio shows from Mack Maloney, Strange Fruit, and Friday Night Progressive. We also have columns from all sorts of folk including Roy Weard, C J Stone, Mr Biffo, Neil Nixon and the irrepressible Corinna. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and common planigales who have cooked some stews (OK, nothing to do with small marsupials who have been culinarily creative, but I got carried away with things that rhymed with OOOOS) than you can shake a stick at. And the best part is IT's ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
This issue features:
Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, Biggles, Richard Gordon, Gerald Durrell, Yoko Ono, Bruce Springsteen, 2017 Progressive Music Awards, Gorillaz, Damon Albarn, Morrissey, Roger Waters, Bob Dylan, Strange Fruit, Friday Night Progressive, Mack Maloney's Mystery Hour, John Everett Sandlin Jr., Laudir Soares de Oliveira, Harold "Harry" Dean Stanton, Violet Brown (nee Mosse), Wiarton Willie, Ameer Isah Hassan (aka Lil Ameer), Ben Dorcy, Mary Hopkin, Man, Arthur Brown, Tony Ashton and Jon Lord, Martin Springett, Third Ear Band, Benjamin Britten, Dana Gillespie, Alan Dearling, Hapi Festival, Asylum Seekers, Daniel Wakeford, Big Brother Soul, Mike Pender's Searchers, The Fab Beatles, the Animals and friends, Forever Queen, Limehouse Lizzie, Fleetingwood Mac, From the Jam, Iron Tyger, Big Noise Samba Band, Greg Jarrells, Gentle Giant, Richard Foreman, Steve Kimock, Kev Rowland, Lightning Strikes, Afterbirth, Beastmaker, Ohio Knife, Opeth, Forever Still, Pelander, Midnight Oil, Sensorium Girliebox, Mr Biffo, Roy Weard, Hawkwind, Nicki Minaj, ABBA, Neil Nixon, Easy Star All Stars
Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:
Issue 252 (Cropredy)
Issue 251 (Scott Walker)
Issue 250 (Jamms)
Issue 249 (Bill Bruford)
Issue 248 (The Selecter)
Issue 247 (Don Airey)
Issue 246 (Steve Hackett)
Issue 244-5 (Summer Special)
Issue 243 (Galahad)
Issue 242 (Steve Miller Band)
Issue 241 (Carol Hodge and Steve Ignorant)
Issue 240 (Midsummer Madness)
Issue 239 (Miss Peach)
Issue 238 (Hawkwind)
Issue 237 (Hawkwind)
Issue 236 (Manchester)
Issue 235 (Jon Anderson)
Issue 234 (Al Atkins)
Issue 233 (Richard Strange)
Issue 232 (Roy Weard)
Issue 231 (Allan Holdsworth)
Issue 230 (Curtis Womack)
Issue 229 (Larry Wallis)
Issue 228 (Space Pharoahs)
All issues from #70 can be downloaded at www.gonzoweekly.com if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. The first 69 issues are archived there as well. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!
You can download the magazine in pdf form HERE:
SPECIAL NOTICE: If you, too, want to unleash the power of your inner rock journalist, and want to join a rapidly growing band of likewise minded weirdos please email me at email@example.com The more the merrier really.
* The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at email@example.com. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow...
* The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link: www.gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.co.uk
* We should probably mention here, that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!
* Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures (and several others) is an old hippy of 58 who - together with a Jack Russell called Archie, an infantile orange cat named after a song by Frank Zappa, and two half grown kittens, one totally coincidentally named after one of the Manson Family, purely because she squeaks, puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention Archie and the Cats?