Robert Calvert

John Weinzierl

(excerpts from a talk I had with Weinzierl in Oct. '96)

> Calvert was one of the best 'freaks' I met in my entire life. Not the 'freak' in the classical notion - he just had his very own, very unique way to live, to communicate and get along with other people.
An extremly direct way.

Talking with Bob you never got away with any hackneyed phrases - he was very direct and took you by the neck - on the spot: "What is this? What is that supposed to mean?" etc... - and then his vivid imagination - these phantasy-somersaults he'd do all the time - you could talk of the remotest subject to him and he'd be able to carry it away and paint it out in the most astounding, colourful way.

He was a poet, a real poet. This is also refelected in the project I did with him, that was stolen than by (Dave) Anderson (released as Die Lösung) - it was meant to be entitled 'Weinzierl meets Calvert' - his poetry reacting with my music.

Robert continuously smoked these Virginia cigarettes he rolled himself - and he always spat a lot when he was talking - unbelievably, really. There was this huge studio and normally I sat next to him during the mixing - but as soon as we started to discuss something I moved over to the opposite side of the board to be out of reach. That was real acid! They had to thoroughly clean up and renovate the mixing desk after the sessions as it had acid stains spread all over it.

And they had to hire two sound-engineers working continuously in 12 hour shifts each to keep up with Robert's creative pace.

Various people said Calvert was mad. I never found him mad but merely consequent.
There was for instance this Hawkwind gig. I don't know if he had split from the band before or if he was sacked - anyway, there was this gig in London and Bob didn't took part in it.
Instead he simply rented the hall next to Hawkwind's venue and when they started playing he went in with his megaphone and took the people with him into his own hall. That was just one of his legendary stories - though, in fact he did similar things all the time.

But I don't find this mad at all! He was in no way mad or insane. He was really into his work - maybe manic, but not mad.

He was pleasant company, a permanent fountain of creativity - always ready to work in new, open processes. During the sessions (for 'Die Lösung') as we played along you could already hear it in the background: hack, hack, hack - Robert, hammering the lyrics into his typewriter which he handed out to us immediately. Today he'd probably have a laptop...
K.G.: I am sure these days Robert would be quite busy on the internet.
Yes, for sure.

It was a real pleasure to meet Bob - and a pity he died so early - before we could even finish the album. But I'll definitely use Robert's original melody lines on any forthcoming recordings that'll make use of songs from that period - just to pay my reference to him.

He did it, like no one else did - not just droll and strange but really different. He built bridges and opened doors for those who came after him and worked in similar directions. <

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