By JACK CLARK
Being a member of the Class of 1975 at Mt. Vernon Township High School, I realize that I spent my formative years witnessing a renaissance of what was to become known as rock music.
From Chuck Berry and Bill Haley, original rock ‘n rollers, to surf music with the Beach Boys and conceptual music of the Beatles, rock ‘n roll has been in a constant state of change, even though some things never seem to.
There have been Elvis impersonators for decades now. Those guys who dress in white leisure suits, sometimes with flashy sequins, who have long sideburns and sunglasses and pretend to be Elvis Presley. There will most likely be Elvis impersonators for decades to come. Some acts from the early days of the rock ‘n roll era are thought to be one-of-a-kind.
Other acts, such as Sha-Na-Na, capitalized on the art of re-vitalizing older music.
But over the last decade, retro-style tribute bands have secured a place in the entertainment world. I’m sure that you have heard about some acts that tour the country, performing a show based on the music of a legendary rock-act, mostly from the 1960s and 70s.
There are bands out there based on Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and many more.
The premise that people will want to come and hear a catalog of music from their favorite artists, is the same premise that is being utilized by my guests on the Musically Speaking radio program this Sunday at 6 p.m.
I will be in the studio with the members of local band Eye of the Needle. This newly-formed act consists of King City area musicians Keith Woods, Rick Kirkpatrick, Roger Greenwalt and Brent Hahn. I’m certain that middle-aged music fans in this area recall the performing exploits of each over the years.
The plan for Eye of the Needle is really quite simple. They have been practicing regularly for the last few months in preparation of performing a show in the area, featuring the music of Camel.
Camel was an English band, formed in 1971. The members were Andrew Latimer, Peter Bardens, Doug Ferguson and Andy Ward. The band had morphed from The Phantom Four and The Brew through the 1960s.
Camel played their first gig at Waltham Forest Technical College near London, in front of Kim Simmons and the heralded Wishbone Ash on Dec. 4 1971.
By August of 1972, Camel was signed to MCA Records. They quickly entered the studio to record their first self-titled album. A collection of individual songs, chiefly from Latimer and Bardens, the album was greeted with muted success and MCA did not take an option for a second album. The group, under new management, moved to Decca Records, where they would remain for 10 years. The push and pull relationship between Latimer and Bardens brought out the best from their compositional skills.
The following came directly from the band’s web-site:
“Their second album, Mirage, heightened their profile and the album sleeve attracted the unwanted attention of the U.S.A. branch of Camel cigarettes who demanded the band change the cover or face legal action. The U.S.A. record company quickly fashioned a new sleeve to avoid legal hassles. The original sleeve remained unchanged throughout the rest of the world as new-manager Geoff Jukes had already struck a deal with the European branch of the cigarette company to release tiny packets of cigarettes (5 cigarettes to a packet) using the Camel artwork, including track-listing. So enamored were the executives in Europe, they visited the band in the studio, trying to talk Camel into renaming the songs on Mirage (e.g., ‘Twenty To The Pack’). They also wanted Camel to cover their amps with camel skins, allow advertisements and give-away cigarettes at all the performances. The latter was successful as Jukes had struck a deal the band was never privy to. The band members were getting belligerent and a sarcastically-amusing Peter Bardens suggested an album song-title of Twenty Sticks Of Cancer.”
Obviously, someone got paid a lot of money to come up with that marketing scheme. The thing is that it is sometimes hard to get a group of musicians to do what you want them to do.
Now, on to WolfStock 2009 news.
The official line up has now been set for the memorial benefit on Oct. 10 at the Bob Trout Farm, on the north side of the King City, which will begin promptly at 11 a.m. Saturday.
One show. All day long. But, what a show! A virtual who’s who of music in this area:
11 a.m. - Nedra, featuring Kyle Sanders from Woodlawn; 12:10 p.m., Neverwell, featuring Jeff Ward from Mt. Vernon; 1:20 p.m., Meghan Crain, solo folk/country/rock artist from McLeansboro; 2:30 p.m., Home Grown Harmony, featuring Steve Berry and family from Nashville; 3:40 p.m., Little White Fish featuring Kevin Little and others, a holdover act from 2008; 4:50 p.m., Moonbeam Lane, the opening act at the inaugural WolfStock; 6 p.m., Snake Lane Revue, featuring Del Herbert, Jeff Miller and them good ‘ol boys from Dahlgren; 7:10 p.m., South of 70 , we’re hoping that all four original members will be here for this show; 8:20 p.m., The Crave, this 2008 holdover band got the crowd keyed-up for The Answer last year; 9:30 p.m., The Pumphouse Monster, last year they were the final act, as The Answer; and 10:40 p.m., Torn & Frayed, their new CD is now available at Main Street Records in the King City.
Now, that’s a line up! Ticket prices are yet to be set. The prices will most likely be in the $15 range.
WolfStock 2009 information will also be available on-line at www.wolfstock.mvn.net.
Have a safe weekend, my old friend Brian Lewis and his associates with the Illinois State Police are counting on it.
Jack Clark is the host of Musically Speaking, a local radio program heard Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. on 102.1 WIBV
n Jack Clark is the host of Musically Speaking, a local radio program heard Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. on 102.1 WIBV.
By JACK CLARK
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