------------------------------------------ VOLUME 78, sent May 28, 1997 Topics in this issue: (long one, sorry) 1. BAD REVIEWS 2. Junction 7 released in Japan!, and an Interview 3. "Spy...." single 4. Re: CD ROM's 5. Re: Dave Mason; and Virgin 6. A word on Junction 7 7. Re: First glimpse of Spy video 8. Concert on the Net ß Read this one carefully!!! 9. Touring in Europe?? 10. The Finest Things ------------------------------------------ 1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1 From: "Elena Iglio"
Subject: BAD REVIEWS Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 05:51:36 +0200 Could you please write down something about the BAD reviews? We had one right on volume 77, but I would really be interested in reading what the critics had to say. I think it is not very "hip" anyway to write a good review of an "old" performer, because usually critics have to show how up-to-date and future oriented and original they are. Sting and Elton John and David Bowie and Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney and many others belonging to the "older generations" receive identical "what-a-bore-he-has-already -given" treatment from the press, no matter how good their new records are and how much of their genius, research and vitality they put in their records, while they could rest on laurels - this is particularly true for Bowie, who has even been accused of "juvenilism" on the reviews of his "Earthlings" a very trendy, jungle- oriented album who would have been hailed as a miracle should it have been released by Trent Reznor or Marilyn Manson. And for those who would have preferred a Traffic album my opinion is: TRAFFIC HAS GONE WITH WHEN THE EAGLE FLIES AND FAR FROM HOME WAS A WONDERFUL TRIBUTE TO A UNIQUE BAND WHO WILL AND CAN NEVER EVER COME BACK AGAIN LIKE IT USED TO BE. Having said that, I think everybody should be thankful for what this great musician is STILL giving after 40 years: classy music, heartfelt singing, joy and love for music. Do you realize there is people like Status Quo (The original owners of the "Traffic" name!!!) who built up a 30 year career on "WHATEVER YOU WANT"??? Ellie who could never understand frustrated musicians (that's what critics are in my opinion) 2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2 Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 19:54:39 +0900 From: Hisao Chida Subject: Junction 7 released in Japan! I got a copy of the new album on 27th evening. I don't know why but the official release date in Japan is 28th , a week earlier than the US. As always the new disc became available at larger shops on the previous evening. I am writing this listening to the new disc!!! The jacket is a photo of SW in a leather jacket with railroads behind his back which seem crossed - a junction. Knowing that all the other members are getting a copy sooner or later and some are his fans since his debut, I am not going to write a review which I guess bears no meanings. The only thing I should comment on is the extra track on the Japanese release 'Come Out And Dance,' which is already on Refugees on the Heart. I can't find any comments on the track in the booklet. The length of it is 4: 54, which is SHORTER than that of the original, 5: 30. One big difference I can tell by comparing the two is that the 'new' version is much more 'quiet' than the original version - drums, organ, horns... Guitars can not be even heard it. I guess this is a DEMO version recorded by SW on his own without guitars, Hammond organ, real drums and real bass. Not interesting at all!!! I called the record company and found that the first single 'Spy in the House of Love' release here will be coupled with two different versions of the song and a different version of 'Come Out And Dance.' If this is also the case with the single releases of other countries, the Japanese release of the album is NOT worth getting . Dear friends, don't waste your precious money. I finished an English translation of the article I mentioned in SP #76 -- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- SW's comments in official promotional material: (Keyboard Magazine, May 97) Narada Michael Walden: "He was a member of The Mahivishnu Orchestra and The Weather Report, which both best used extremely complicated jazz theories. And he now produces Whitney Houston. Such his musical development and variety is incomparable to mine. I thought he was the best person to my music, which is probably in the middle of the two. Also he himself is a musician and that's what I wanted the co-producer of this project to be." Lenny Kravitz: "His concert at Wembley was the best live concert I saw last year. I visited him back stage and found him a perfect Traffic fan." Traffic and solo: "Traffic music became so close to mine that I wanted the two to be completely separate through the production of this solo work. Needless to say I will concentrate on my individual activity for a while. But when I want to seek sounds I cannot make on my own, what I will choose as a vehicle can be nothing but Traffic. Traffic is so important to me." Live concerts: "They will be special events because this time I will stay away from bigger halls and focus on smaller clubs so that I can have closer relationship with audience. In addition, the album has so energetic sounds that I will be able to give hot performances at the stages. Yes, just like back in the old days." --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An Interview with Steve Winwood by Charles Shimiz (Keyboard Magazine, May 1997) SW: Hello, Charles! Nice talking to you today. Q: Nice talking to you too. Thank you very much for your precious time when you are busy. SW: No, I am not so busy today because it's still early in the morning. Q: Oh, what time is it by your time? SW: It's eleven A.M. No, it's not so early! (laughs) Q: First of all, would you tell us where the title of the new album came from? SW: Junction means crossing or intersection. I mean that's where this time I crossed Narada and the other collaborators and co-writers. And this is my seventh solo album. So I added 7 on the end. The image of the figure 7 is good in my mind. I feel it has some kind of complete strength. Q: How did you work with the co-writers? SW: The roles they played are different track by track, but basically I and Narada did the music part and Jim and my wife helped us with the words. I and Narada asked Jim for his advice on music we wrote the words he wrote. So actually we did not have distinct roles but instead we proceeded talking a lot to each other. Q: I think this album has a wider variety of sounds than ever. Take organ for example, a track features a distorted rock organ sound of B-3 Hammond and other track has a southern soul sound. As to the latter in particular, I never dreamed of listening to such a mellow sound on your record. SW: You mean the second track 'Angel of Mercy,' which sounds like Al Green? That's was Narada's request. He told me to use glissandos as often as possible. It sure is one of the styles I did not have before. Q: On the next track 'Just Wanna Have Some Fun' you played a keyboard solo in that unique, warm synth sound which is already one of your patents. But it sounds a bit different to me than in the past. Did you play Moog this time? SW: No, I played Kurzweil this time. As you say I often played Minimoog in the past. Or DX7. Q: Which one of Kurzweil? SW: It's called K2500. Q: What synthesizers or sound modules did you use other than that? SW: It's not me but Narada often used Roland D-50. Q: I hear you used to use Fairlight. How about this time? Did you use one? SW: No, I mainly used Kurzweil this time. Well, of course I mixed other sound modules with it, though. Q: The sound you used for the synth solo on the track was programmed by you? SW: No, I think it was one of the preset sounds on a copy of the ROM which was Kurzweil's accessory. Or maybe I used other sound module in the end. I can't remember how the patches were. But I don't dislike programming itself though I sometimes leave it to other people. Recently I use MARK OF THE UNICORN's Performer [a programming software for Macintosh] and a Macintosh as my main tools when I do it. However, as to the sounds of such vintage instruments as Wurlitzer's electric piano and Hammond organ or of such effects as wah wah, I use real ones more often than programmed ones. But this does not mean that I defy sound modules and sampled sounds. Q: On this album a lot of guitar solos are featured. A copy of the material I was given previously says Lenny Kravitz and Nile Rodgers guested on the fourth track 'Let Your Love Come Down' and the ninth track 'Family Affair' respectively. Who played guitars on the other tracks? SW: Lenny played only that impressive cutting part on 'Let Your Love Come Down..' All the guitar solos on the track and the opening track are all mine. I did most of the rhythm guitars. The wah wah part is not mine. Q: Is that it? I thought the solo on 'Let Your Love Come Down.' was by Lenny. Sure I thought it was so bluesy that I sounded more like Albert King than him. SW: (Laughs) It was mine too. But I used Fender Stratocaster, which is not a vintage one but a recent model. As I told you about synthesizers, I don't care about that. For example, some organists okay only old B-3's, but I am not that kind. In fact, I use new Hammond Suzuki. In short, my basic idea is that instruments are just tools and no matter how old or new they are I can create as many interesting sounds as possible from them depending on the way I use them. Q: Did the idea reflect on your recording style this time? SW: What do you mean? Q: You have already started multiple recordings [recording track by track on your own] about twenty years ago. In those days music created in that way was in most cases rather mechanical focused on the sequenced parts. To the contrary your sound was very human, but it was different from sounds recorded at a time by a band. That was fresh to me and was what I sympathized with about your music. SW: Yes, that's one of the points I have always been conscious of. To put it extremely, even when I make music all by myself, I have not intended my music to be such technical sounds as Craft Works'. Q: What was your motive for starting to record on your own? SW: Because I broke up the band. In other word, I could not find so soon other fellows to make music with that I made up my mind to do by myself. When I started, there was no computers and even no sequencers. So I put rhythm loops into analog tapes and while running them I recorded other parts. Even when I make the loops, I sometimes played drums myself to avoid monotony of drum machines. So when I look back, it was very tough but it was a lot of fun as well. Q: To what degree was the music sequenced this time? SW: Probably more than half. Take the bass parts for example, normally I play ones by keyboards, but this time except the two songs I played ones by organ's bass part on and some other songs a bassist did on, I left almost all the bass part programming to Narada. However I did really various kinds of ways this time. On a track after making a rhythm frame by the computer, we added real drums to it. On the seventh track, we recorded everything live at a time. But this time again I paid much attention to keeping good balances between the mechanical parts and the other parts as a whole. Q: Oh, I was surprised by the seventh salsa track. I never imagined I could hear Latin sounds on your record. SW: I have been long interested in Cuban music [since The Fania All-Stars?] and I have wanted to make that kind of work some day. Q: Did you play the Latin piano? SW: No, that was by a Cuban female pianist, Rebeca Mauleon-Santana. But the basic piano riff itself is my idea and I asked her to play like it. All the musicians were Cuban on the track.. That was cool. Q: One of the new aspects which were not on your albums in the past is a cover. You dedicate it to Bernard Edwards, who died a sudden death on the next day of the last show of Nile Rodgers' concerts in Japan last year which you guested on. I wanted to touch on this matter in this interview because I saw the concert. Why did you choose Sly & The Family Stone's classic 'Family Affair'? From the title it sounds suitable for a memorial song for Bernard. SW: Oh, you saw the show too? It was a real shock. It caused me a great deal of pain in my heart. Actually while I was doing this project, it was weighed on my mind and I talked to Narada some times. And then he approached me with this song. I loved the song so much myself that I had no objection to it. We decided to call Nile and arrange it a la CHIC to express our feelings more clearly. So, on this song Narada intentionally played on his keyboard bass a bass line which Bernard would play if he was alive. 3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3 From: MHargre586@aol.com Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 13:22:45 -0400 (EDT) Subject: "Spy...." single It's out today in the UK : VIRGIN VSCDT 1642 1) Spy (Single version) 2) Come out and dance - this version is completely different music-wise (but vocals same/similar) to version on "Refugees...". 3) Spy (Johnson Somerset Remix) 4) Spy (Album version) The photo isn't too good, Steve looks both pale and wan - and grey round the temples - certainly not overweight!! Mike. 4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4 From: SayOnceMor@aol.com Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 14:15:55 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Re: CD ROM's I have a few of these CD ROMs (Harry Connick Jr. "Star Turtle", James Taylor "Best Live" and JT's "Hourglass") I haven't really looked at the Connick one, so I can't say much about it, but the Taylor ones have lyrics, pictures, interview clips, and things like that. They can be kind of neat if they're put together properly. BUT, I lent "Best Live" to a Windows 95 user (I'm still on 3.1) and they couldn't get it to work correctly. And he asked some people about it--none of them had been able to get them to run correctly with Win 95 either. 5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5 Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 01:18:11 -0400 From: William Subject: Re: Dave Mason; and Virgin At first, I was shocked when you said that Dave Mason had been kicked off the tour--it had been stated on one of the Detroit radio stations that he had quit the tour--but I asked my friend who supplies me with concert tickets and he said, yeah, that the band wanted to do Traffic songs, he wanted them to do his solo material, they said thanks but no thanks, he got angry, they had an argument, and he got fired. I'm really only going to see Ringo and Jack Bruce (I'm a big Cream and Beatles fan, too, although Traffic is my favourite); even though his work with Traffic was the most talented work he's ever done, and he has written some good songs while with them, and I admire his sitar playing, I think that he was probably third in importance in the band behind Winwood and Capaldi anyway; I feel that Mason has been overrated and that Capaldi has been underrated. Frankly, I wish that I could have access to some of Capaldi's solo material--I bet that it would be pretty good. :) I am also worried that Virgin is underpromoting the album and that it might not go over very well. Although Roll With It did extremely well, I think they panicked and abandoned Refugees of the Heart when it didn't go flying off the shelves. I didn't even hear about Far From Home--I stumbled upon it looking at new releases in 1994, and I remember thinking that it was a really neat title and logo, but it didn't even mention on the back that Winwood was involved-- had they, and I would probably have plunked the money down right then and there. It was not advertised whatsoever, and I never saw it anywhere else at the time except at the one store. I think that there is a very big bias right now against classic rock artists--David Bowie and U2 are doing everything possible to avoid being coined the term--and that companies are thinking that the fans that already like the artist will buy the product and that is that. Why waste the advertising budget when we can promote some new artists who will capture the imagination of the age demographic that we want to target? It is all political and all economics, and I cannot stand it, but there is nothing that I can do about it except for buying the album and telling my friends about it, buy tickets to see him in concert and hope that it isn't canceled due to underpromotion. I hope that he alternates Traffic and solo albums, putting something out every couple of years, and that either Virgin, Island, or some independent will put out some vintage live material in other years. He is a quality artist who I think deserves a lot better than he's getting support-wise from Virgin and Island these days. WthrnTree 6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6 Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 16:57:37 +0900 From: Hisao Chida Subject: A word on Junction 7 Now that I spent a day listening to the brand new disc, I have lots of things to say about it, but I don't think it's fair to tell you the story of a film before you see it. However, let me tell you one thing if you have not give a listen to the disc. I was surprised by the BIG DIFFERENCE between the new disc and the last three solo albums, not to mention the last Traffic album. I think you should be prepared for it! The biggest difference seems to lie in the rhythms, most of which NMW is responsible for this time. I was so used to the rock drumming by JC, Russ Kunkel and John Robinson that NMW's dance or soul oriented drumming and rhythm programming was a kind of SHOCK to me. Maybe I am not just used to the kind of music NMW produces. I guess it can be safely said that the new album is more like an R&B or soul album than a rock album. There are some things missing on the new album which were on the last three albums but on the other hand, there are definitely some NEW aspects of our beloved hero on this disc which might not be able to be heard without NMW. Hisao Chida 7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7 From: MomeyKate@aol.com Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 10:33:30 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Re: First glimpse of Spy video Saw entire SPY Video- Has a "dance with girls for money"/ "woman spying on Steve - taking pictures with lipstick and cigarette cases" theme to it. Fun to watch, but not his best video. Woman spying on him reminds me of the Michelob commercial girl, where girl at bar looks up at Steve on TV screen and he looks back. Still, I was glad to see it on VH1. Narada Michael Walden and backup singers are featured in the band, also. The photography is similar to the dark Melissa Etheridge videos - must be the style now. Mary 8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8 Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 12:50:44 -0500 (CDT) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul Rosano) Subject: Concert on the Net A live Steve Winwood concert, likely from LA, will be broadcast on the Internet by LiveConcerts on Sunday, June 8. Their concerts usually begin at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, which places it at 6:30 in the East. If you haven't been to this site, check it out. It's great. The URL is http://www.liveconcerts.com. All you need to listen is a Real Audio player. You can link up from LiveConcerts if you don't have one. Also, make sure to check out the site thoroughly, you should get a VIP pass and make a reservation for the show. They will send you a password to get in. I listened to part of a Todd Rundgren concert at the site a few months ago and it was quite good, performance and sound quality. Enjoy. All the best, Paul 9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9 From: Philip Hartley Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 18:48:25 -0100 Subject: Touring in Europe?? I live in Holland and I want to find out if Stevie is going to play here on his European tour. Can you suggest how I can find out? Regards, Philip Hartley 10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10 Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 20:36:42 -0400 From: William <"email@example.com"@stclairc.on.ca> Subject: The Finest Things Another thing I forgot from my letter yesterday--I had been thinking about The Finer Things box set, and it's a shame about how his non-Island material is vastly underrepresented--another case of record company politics, since The Finer Things was an Island product. Far From Home has some excellent material, and you know how I feel about Refugees of the Heart, but because those two albums and Roll With It were from Virgin, and some very nice session work (especially Rainy Day Dream Away and Still Raining Still Dreaming (!!!) from the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Electric Ladyland) was from other record companies, we were cheated. They could have filled up the four discs to capacity, or added a fifth disc to make it a more representative, and fair, set. It was The Finer Things, but without record company politics, it could have been The Finest Things. William ------------------------------------------ END OF SMILING PHASES, VOL 78