>   Adrian Wagner                            
< Collaborator of V          

a game of cricket
> "Robert Calvert was very much responsible in introducing this 21 year old contemporary music dropout to the world of rock music - including his band Hawkwind.
But most of all he was a good friend to me. I think the years will show that Robert Calvert made an enormous and unique contribution to Rock Music."
<
> Adrian Wagner
Adrian Wagner is a prolific musician, composer, inventor of instruments and - by now - multimedia producer, who collaborated with Calvert on a number of recordings.

Looking at his familiar background it's hardly surprising he became a musician - not only was his own father -amongst others - teaching him on composition at the Royal Academy of Music - but his great great grandfather was the Wagner - first name: Richard.

But classical music didn't seem to be a destiny for a 20-year old in the days of the underground of 1972... He got in touch with various rock musicians like Steamhammer, Alexis Korner, Arthur Brown and....Robert Calvert.

arthur brown It was through the 'God-of-Hellfire' Arthur Brown, that Adrian Wagner and Calvert got in touch for the first time.
Wagner had already played with Arthur Brown, when Calvert in 1973 asked Brown to join him for the recordings of his first solo-album Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters, to take over the part of the Gremlin.

Calvert wanted to give Brown as much freedom as possible in the recording of the Song of the Gremlin - so, he simply handed him the lyrics and let him develop the song.
And that Brown did together with Adrian Wagner, who also played keyboards and synthesisers on the two parts of Song of the Gremlin.

By that time, Wagner was not only an expert in playing the still relatively new synthsiser instruments - in fact he had started his pioneering work already at the Academy, learning to play the earliest models EMS and VCS3 - besides that he ran the -by now legendary - Robert Moog's UK service branch.

Later he went on to invent and manufacture his own synthesiser - 'the famous and highest selling British synthesiser of the 70's The Wasp, which was the first battery operated, digital synthesiser - sold in volumes to musicians and producers across the world.'
...and one of them was bought by Robert Calvert, who kept it dearly 'til the end of his life, using it as his main tool for composing and (demo)-recording his own songs.


1974 saw the release of Captain Lockheed... which both sold well and received a great critical acclaim.
In the wake of the success, Calvert approached his current label United Artists to record quite an unconventional type of single - in the light of his former recordings and the current popular taste - a reggae number... - which he wanted to do with Adrian Wagner.
Eventually, Calvert managed to convince UA and the recordings for Cricket Star took place in July '74 with the help of Steve Took (former T-Rex member) at Trident Studios.

> LISTEN   to Robert Calvert telling the Cricket Star story and his attitude towards reggae in general...

cricket star The release was meant to coincide with the West Indies Cricket Tour of England - a sport, that Calvert was always fond of.... alas, the tour was cancelled and apparently the record company didn't like this odd piece of music anyway...so, with the tour the release got cancelled.
In the turmoil of the busy years to follow, the original tapes got lost - but...
Cricket Star finally saw the light of day in '79, when Adrian Wagner approached Calvert about a new recording of the song - which eventually turned more into a "joke version" -- and was released as a flexi-picture single on Wagner's own label.

> LISTEN   to Cricket Star - this quite rare oddity in the Calvert oeuvre...

a game of cricketRobert Calvert:
"I wanted to make Cricket Star as a sort of send-up reggae.
In those days reggae wasn't a commercially viable music. I haven't heard the song since then, but it isn't the original tape, unfortunately. The original tape was in fact so authentically reggae-sounding that the director of United Artists, was absolutely horrified, he wanted to have nothing to do with it at all."
.

But the misfortune of Cricket Star didn't prevent Wagner and Calvert from continuing their collaboration. The next project was the debut album of Adrian Wagner, entitled Distances Between Us, released in 1974.

calvert doing the steppenwolf Calvert delivered two tracks to the original release - one was Messengers of Morpheus, a poem, to which Wagner set his music and the first -quite minimalistic- version of STEPPENWOLF - a song - or rather the lyrics - that two years later, set to a new musical background, should turn into a classic for Hawkwind, after Calvert had rejoined them.

> LISTEN   to the original version of STEPPENWOLF
- rec. by Calvert and Wagner in 1974.

Distances... "deals with rebirth as a reflection of the composers earlier experiences" - and is of course a synthesiser dominated album - without being one of those pompous 70's keyboard orgies, as it also features various musical styles - like the brilliant funky 'Amazon Woman' - and of course the Calvert tracks.

But, as it often seems to be the case in the music-biz, the initial enthusiasm about a new trend or project, wasn't followed by the support that the finished product - which probably turned out more 'complitcated' or stranger than desired - deserved.
In fact, no one at Atlantic Records 'lifted a finger to promote it'.
Consequently - and despite that even with the total absence of any suppot a few thousand copies were sold - the album soon vanished from the stores and turned into a very rare collectors item.

It took 16 years, before Distances... saw it's highly deserved re-release on CD-format.
This new release contains another collaboration by Wagner and Calvert - the unreleased single Stranger in a Strange Land - based on a Robert Heinlein story of the same name.

Adrian Wagner:
distances... "For me, at the time (1974), the album had been finally put to bed. Until now I had absolutely no reason or desire to re-release Distances Between Us.
Two things have made me change my mind.
Over the years people who have purchased my other albums have wanted 'Distances...' to complete their collection of my music. The second reason is considerably sadder.
In 1988 Robert Calvert died suddenly of a heart attack. He was very much responsible in introducing this 21 year old contemporary music dropout to the world of rock music - including his band Hawkwind.
It was Robert that implanted the seeds for 'Inca Gold'. He influenced my lyrics for 'Amazon Woman' also on this album.
But most of all he was a good friend to me.
I think the years will show that Robert Calvert made an enormous and unique contribution to Rock Music."


So, the re-release of Distances Between Us was the final chapter in the collaboration of Wagner and Calvert.
Wagner's work after the album consisted of a lot of compositions for Films and TV programmes - and the release of a number of other solo-albums. In 1981 he founded his own company The Music Suite - which by now contains not only his own Record and Publishing company but also a fully equipped digital editing suite for sound and images alike - since his works have more and more developed into the area(s) of multimedia productions.

Wagner's current projects - on both audio and CD-ROM format - are based on the the Celtic origins and folklore of Wales and he has also started on the next album in his Grail Trilogy, 'The Sword and The Stone'.
This project in a way brings us back to the beginning - to Adrian's ancestor Richard Wagner and one of his main subjects: The Grail Tradition - which has become a "leitmotif" in Adrian Wagner's work as well:

"In 1982, I started research into the Grail Tradition. My quest started with a fresh, new look at the work of my great, great grandfather, Richard Wagner's opera 'Parsifal'. (...) My research has always been concerned with the characters involved in the 'Quest for the Holy Grail', who are the archetypes which are contained in mankind's innermost spirit. (...) At Christmas, 1996, a book was launched called Bloodline of the Holy Grail, written by the Chevalier LabhrÓn de St Germain, Sir Laurence Gardner, which instantly became a 'Best Seller' across the World. This brilliant book, a remarkable achievement in the field of genealogical research, contains revelations which completely reflected the music I had written. "

Gardner and Wagner soon met and by now both the book by Gardner and the record by Wagner are available as accompanying projects on the same subject. Much more in-depth infos on both the book and the record can be found on THIS PAGE of Mediaquest's own site.

LINKS - More on : Adrian Wagner

  • [ HERE you can read what Wagner wrote about the DISTANCES BETWEEN US album in the liner-notes for it's re-release - attached you'll also find a bio-sketch of him. ]

  • Mediaquest's page on the music and recordings of Adrian Wagner - plus a biographical sketch.
    This is also the place where you can mail-order the Calvert-Wagner collaboration Distances Between Us

  • the page on the most recent project by Adrian Wagner The Holy Spirit and The Holy Grail - a record that accompanies the book Bloodline of the Holy Grail.