|> ADRIAN SHAW / The Bevis Frond|
|< Collaborator of V|
bass player in 1977/78, recording the Quark,
Strangeness and Charm and PXR5
albums with them.
| This is
the period that I consider the two very best years of the band - and Shaw's
outstanding bass-playing had it's fair share in it - as Gary
Cooper put it in an article:
"Now Adrian Shaw has taken the gig and grabbed the band by the scruff of its neck, shaking it back into peak form with a driving melodic excellence."
Before these days Hawkwind was known for it's simply overwhelmingly pounding rhythm section - at times banging away with two solid drum kits and a throttling bass. Adrian Shaw's "driving melodic excellence" increased the band's variety and musicality a lot. While still pushing the band forward the bass-lines are much more lively - melodic and flexible - and still, if the performance calls for some heavy noises or improvisations, its all there. Just listen to a live version of Sonic Attack from these days will know what I mean. It's simply hard to believe that one can produce such sounds with a 'simple' 4 string-ed instrument....
Shaw's superb melodic sense can also be heard in his (unfortunately) only song he wrote for the band: Jack of Shadows. An -in Hawkwind terms- unusually lighthearted song - that inspired the band to even put their one and only "lala - lalala" chorus to the end of it - which, surprisingly, works extremly well!
Writes Gary Cooper: "His history as a player is as unusual as you have every right to expect from a Hawklord."
You might as well
say, it's a typical late-sixties-hippie career - only a bit stranger and
more twisted as usual...
on to join The Crazy World
of Arthur Brown - Adrian followed him shortly afterwards to the Crazy
World's notorious farmhouse in the strangely-named "Puddletown".
A bit too much of
lunacy was probably involved for Arthur Brown
- whatever it was, he left the band who then contacted Rod
Goodway and born were Rustic Hinge and the Provincial
Adrian Shaw: "Drachen and Andy unfortunately didn't want to gig, but were intent on becoming the British answer (if one was needed) to Captain Beefheart, whilst Rod and I wanted to be out playing live in a "people's band", so we split to Bristol and formed Magic Muscle."
Magic Musle, like Hawkwind, became one of the people's bands at the time, playing numerous free gigs together with Hawkwind, The Pink Fairies a.o. - even the Hells Angels took a special liking in them:
"The house in Bristol
we were living in was a notorious centre of depravity at the time, we
were adopted by the West Coast chapter of the Hells Angels.
Some time later Hawkwind's
Turner asked Adrian for the first
time to join Hawkwind,
as the notorious Lemmy
had just been given the boot.
Numerous, more or
less short timed outfits followed. Magic Muscle
regrouped several times in different line-ups, recording some material
which eventually saw the light of day on some albums.
It's not likely you're
going to find them in the Guiness Book of Rock bands, as they were often
operating in the background of some dubious "cabaret shows":
Adrian took over
from his relatively short termed predecessor and ex - Pink
So, Adrian Shaw came right in (as the only new member) for a fresh start and the recording of their next album Quark, Strangeness and Charm.
Ok, I know I am repeating myself here for the x...-time - but - it's a FACT: the band has never seen a finer moment and delievered a better, more imaginative and innovative record than this one. I am not again going into all the details of this grand-album - as you can read about it as well in the Calvert and Hawkwind section of this site.
The album - and especially the single were quite successful - the Melody Maker elected the title song as 'Single of the Month' and soon afterwards even the television offered the band another one of their extremly rare TV appearances:
"We did, amongst other
things, the Marc
Bolan Show on ITV. Marc had the same manager as us at the time
as well as Pink Floyd. I got on well with Marc, and his death, which coincided
with the start of a European tour hit us all hard. I found out later from
our manager, Tony Howard’s secretary that Marc's bass player, Herbie Flowers
was leaving and he was going to offer me the gig. That would have been
an interesting proposition."
However, the band
got it together again and recorded some new material for their next
Surprisingly however is, how much memories and the perception of supposedly
nightmarish experiences can differ... - Calvert's
mental problems were showing up again, Dave
Brock sold his guitar after the last gig, the keyboarder returned
out of his brain"....
Then came a time when you could see him quite often on the public buses. No, not as a worried soon-to-become-father, thinking 'bout how the hell he could raise the money to afford his new 'role', but driving the very thing to earn the bloody money.
Fortunately, bit by bit, the 'showbiz' dragged him back in. He did a guest spot with Michael Moorcock's The Deep Fix and played for a while as a duo with the Canadian guitarist Dave Rutchinski as The Vox Bros.
Muscle got together one more time and "raised it’s ugly head
again." - this time joined by Simon House
and Twink. The result
was another album - entitled 100 Miles Below.
The line-up went
through a few changes and for a while did a few gigs under the brain-damaging
name The Magic Bevis Muscle Frond.
Since 1990, Adrian
Shaw is also quite busy working in what must be one of the smallest
and most effective home-studios ever: F'tang studios!
Various numbers for
compilation albums followed - and of course his constant work for The
Bevis Frond on the usual tours and at times also in the studio.
Strangely enough - and quite against the general musicians-rule: the older the man gets, the more productive & creative he seems to become.
And right when I was hacking this page together the brandnew release from
Mr. Shaw dropped into my mailbox...
might be obsolete after these lines - but is still appropriate. If you
can't find it in your next record store, you can also mail-order it via
Woronzow Rec & The Ptolemaic Terrascope
Besides being together in The Bevis Frond Adrian Shaw and Nick Saloman are also running the Woronzow label, on which they are releasing all the BF and Adrian Shaw solo-albums plus various other releases.
And - just don't
ask me how he manages - Nick Saloman is also
the publisher & co-editor of the Ptolemaic
Terrascope magazine. Over the years PT has become one of the most
acclaimed magazines - featuring articles, interviews, reviews etc. on
psychedelic music and various related subjects. PT has also set up its
own website - actually featuring an extensive interview with Nick
himself about his various activities, the band's history....