Kevin Harrison

PERSONAL MUSICAL HISTORY

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After forty-days and forty-nights I move to London (Holland Park then Camberwell) with Lynda, in search of fame and fortune, ha! I finally get work in Baker Street and we make good friends with Ken Burns, an Australian who, like myself is interested in William Burroughs' writings and when his visa expires decides to move to Tangiers.

We see lots of live music at the Roundhouse and other venues, the highlight for me is probably the MC5! Funny, somehow Hawkwind always seem to be playing support at these gigs. Somewhere along the way we also get to see Bowie taking Ziggy out for his first test drive at The Imperial College. After only a year or so, psychedelics, a strange chance meeting, and a personal tragedy affect me in a big way. I finally flip, engage in lots of weird behaviour and try to steal a luxury coach. I can't drive! Suffice to say, I'm soon back in Keresley a bit the worst for wear. It takes me a good three months to recover. The 'budding' Andy Warhol has somehow along the way, turned into Frankenstein's 'Psychotronic' monster! "Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible".

Boxing Day '72 I get married. Oh happy day! I'm listening to T.Rex, Bowie, Roxy Music, The Stooges, Velvets, Lou Reed, Steve Reich, and lots of German Musik: Stockhausen, Amon Duul II, Can, Faust, Kraftwerk, Neu! Cluster, Harmonia. I'm beginning to see the light and I'm getting interested in different ways of making music.

'73-'76. I must get a job. Money is short and I end up working at Jaguar Cars with a nice bunch of chaps who, without much resistance from me I might add, lead me astray. There's much serious drinking to be done! I do some demos with alto sax and flute player, Mick Gawthorp, another good friend of mine, with his Akai reel-to-reel recorder. (It sounds a bit like Faust). Simon Draper of Virgin Records seems to be interested, then not. Eventually the job I'm doing is put under the umbrella of JRT and after two years of working there, the boredom kicks in. I take voluntary redundancy and spend some of the money to pursue my ambition of becoming a professional recording artist. (I've finally reached the point of no return, I'm not afraid of work but I can no longer stand being told what to do by other people, It's my life and it's a game I'm not prepared to play, I've always been viewed as an outsider and outside interference is something I can no longer tolerate)

Anyway back to the music - I buy a '75 Fender Strat, EMS Synthi AKS, Hohner Melodica and a Revox A77, I now have some equipment and start in earnest to try to write and record some music. Along the way I become good friends with nascent outfit This Heat in London. I'd met Charles Bullen previously in Nuneaton and at The Farm in Burton Hastings, we rehearse under the name Zoastra a couple of times at The Nags Head with Westy and two drummers, hmm. I wish I had recordings! We swap tapes/phone calls and listen to interesting challenging musics (e.g. Can, Beefheart, Philip Glass, Magma, The Residents, Devo, Eno, Miles, Sun-Ra, Harry Partch etc.) and on one occasion in '76, I get asked if I would record an early gig in a London pub, so I travel down to London, with my Revox, Lynda and John Westacott. When I remove the headphones the sound they make blows me away. Fantastic! One of the tracks I record ends up on their debut album, (released in '79 - the blue and yellow one). Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward visit Lynda and myself in Bedworth and some casual recording is done. At Gareth William's invitation, I also spend a few days in Camberwell playing & recording with the trio. Later Lynda and I go to some memorable parties! >>> can't stand this heat? - article from NME, July 29th 1978 >>> prima donnas have more fun - article from Melody Maker, February 10th 1979 >>> 1976 Splice Edit.mp3 (1.9mb)

Easter Sunday and our lovely daughter Rebecca is born eight weeks premature, Charles Bullen & Mary are visiting, we spend time in the sun and take photos at the Blue Lagoon in Bermuda Village. (The weather is hot and sunny for this time of the year). Next time they visit, Rebecca is finally allowed to come home from the hospital after spending six or seven weeks in an incubator. Life is sweet again!

'77-'81. Everybody I know celebrates the arrival of 'punk'. The Sex Pistols & The Clash play Coventry Lanchester Polytechnic. I meet Joe Strummer, friendly, positive, and Johnny Rotten, snotty, negative. Perfect! The gig is a great inspiration, that is until some cretin pogos on Lynda's foot! We meet twenty or so other punk revellers requiring medical attention in Casualty at Cov. & Warwick Hospital including good mate from Keresley, Roddy Radiation who sometimes pops round to our gaff and records a few demos. Favourite UK bands during this time include The Pop Group, This Heat, Subway Sect, The Fall, Gang of Four, Wire, PiL and Magazine. American 'new wave' artists, I like are Patti Smith, Television, Suicide, The New York Dolls, The Modern Lovers, The Cramps and Père Ubu. Later on I'm also spinning Dr. Alimantado 'Best Dressed Chicken', Tapper Zukie 'MPLA', Augustus Pablo 'King Tubby meets The Rockers Uptown', Dillinger 'Cokane in my Brain' and Lee Perry 'Double Seven' and anything else I can find that is produced by 'Scratch'. Completely stoned 'bonkers' genius!

Photos: top to bottom: Kevin in Whistler - Unknown. '69 • Kevin & Lynda at Holland Park '71 by Ken Burns