Well, sooner or later, it had to happen: I’d meet some English rock musicians to write about. And how I explained the group 10cc (pop/art/rock) was pretty darn good, if I don’t say so: “a serio-nutty quartet. . . imageless image. . . Mavericks from the northern slums: Gritted teeth, passionate playing, keen rivalry, ‘no hard feelings.’”
Sometimes when I re-read my Trixie A. Balm stories (some of which were luckily “preserved” in a cute little volume I made called Confessions of a Teenage Rock Scribe), I realize how right I was to follow a career in rock music writing. I really “got” it. And talking to other musicians was just very natural for me.
I was re-reading a story I wrote for Circus Magazine, “10cc’s Obscene Phone Call. . . “ (hmm, how’s that for a catchy header??)
At any rate, meeting one half of the Mancunian-origin foursome (from Manchester, England -- in the north) in the persons of Eric Stewart and Kevin Godley, I was “practically oblivious to my role as interviewer” due to the very relaxed, jovial, ad-lib vibe in the room. These guys were very charming and down to earth, and I really enjoyed asking stuff like, “Did you become involved in music because making it in the visual arts was too discouraging?”
Eric Stewart’s answer: “Most of the rock groups are littered with failed artists, artists who can’t work in art. So music’s just an extension of it.”
The interview occurred in a “pseudo-ritz Manhattan hotel suite -- imitation French Empire sofa and chairs, plush mustard carpeting, squat coffee tables cluttered with ashtrays, coffee cups and assorted Danish, horrendous décor.”
I must have listened very thoroughly to the How Dare You album, one that, at least initially, joined the ranks of other banned-in-the-U.S.A. imports such as Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover and Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.
Now, in my cynical later years, I wonder if the banning was a publicity ploy to get more press for the album?!! Oh well. Maybe I just think more like a publicist.
I’m pleased to report that these guys -- who’d been pro musicians, hit writers, and recording artists already for over a decade -- Kevin Godley and Eric Stewart, were easy to
Interview/work with. They could have reeked of attitude and been miserable if they’d wanted to, but no. . . they were cool.
So as much as I find 10cc’s music not to my taste, I had to admire their graciousness and talent, withal.
. . . Couldn’t say the same for another Brit pop group I interviewed, years later, for Creem. More about that, next time?