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Brian Eno 1975

The man who came out of Roxy Music and since then has worked with numerous musicians like John Cale, Nico, The Talking Heads, Jon Hassell... and also produced artists like David Bowie, U2 and many more... - and amongst them: Robert Calvert.

Their first collaboration was Calvert's solo-debut, released in 1974: Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters, his brilliant rock-satire on the Lockheed / Starfighter affair, on which Eno 'only' appeared as a musician.
The line-up consisted of many Hawkwind members, the fabulous performers Arthur Brown, Vivian Stanshall, Jim Capaldi (from Traffic), Paul Rudolph and Twink (from The Pink Fairies).

by the way: don't bother to search for the name ENO in the credits, as he is appearing under his full name Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle ...

Some of the above mentioned musicians also appeared on Eno's first solo-albums - particularly Paul Rudolph was a strong link between Calvert and Eno - appearing on all of their early solo albums.
"Paul Rudolph is Hawkwind's talented bass player. Paul is an exceptionally nice person. This is a strong reason for working with him."

Obviously, Calvert and Eno got along very well, as Eno agreed to produce the follow-up to Calvert's successful Captain Lockheed album.
The also seemed to share a liking in combining the most unusual musicians and and styles.
Eno on his own method of working at the time:
"On my next album (Here Come The Warm Jets), I will follow my idea of using musicians who are not compatible with each other. The studio provides a unique opportunity to put together people who wouldn't in any other situation work together, who basically don't agree.
You just couldn't do it onstage. Imagine trying to get Robert Fripp together with Simon King, the drummer of Hawkwind!
The concept is ludicrous, neither would agree to it."

These very strategies Calvert and Eno employed on Calvert's next solo-album Lucky Leif and the Longships - Calvert's witty and at times surreal version of the Viking's quest for / and discovery of AMERICA - and some particular aspects of US-culture and history.
Not only did Calvert and Eno mix a great variety of musicians - the line up consisted again of various Hawkwind AND Roxy Music members - they also succeeded in developing a lot of (hilarous) musical styles and parodies for the various musical ideas and stories Calvert wanted to tell on the album.

Calvert on the recording of LUCKY LEIF and working with Brian Eno:
"All the tracks have got more than one musical reference. I tried to keep the cross reference between American culture and Scandinavian foklore and ancient myths.
Brian Eno made a lot of difference. We both had to compromise. I really wanted his more objective view, it's easy to imagine that an ideas's working out when in fact it isn't.

I still think Eno's the best producer I could possibly have had. The recording went like a dream.
We did have some friendly arguments while we were working. Originally I wanted some dialogue sketches between the tracks, to help along the narrative. But Eno advised me that dialogue and humour don't really work on an L.P.
I decided he was right, and we left out the talking. But the storyline's still there. People had said that each track's too isolated, and the album doesn't flow. But to me, it's just a different kind of flow. At the time I was writing "Lucky Leif" I was very impressed by Peter Barnes approach to theatre. It's a magpie kind of attitude - taking aspects of lots of theatrical genres, anything from music hall to Shakespeare. That's what I tried to do; to be eclectic not for the sake of it, but when it seems appropriate

viking good times > LISTEN to one of the album's highlights: THE LAY OF THE SURFERS
- one of the best Beach Boys parodies ever made, beside avantgardistic spoken word collages, country and western oddities, folk-inspired poetical pieces....

And again Paul Rudolph was on board to join Calvert and Eno on their musical Viking-ish voyage to Vinland:
"It was very interesting working with Bob & Brian Eno - two very artistic people on the sound front.
Lucky Leif started with the idea of making a concept-type album about vikings -- then Robert decided to continue with the idea that as the vikings discovered america they encountered different american things, travelling around the country, exploring.
As Bob's imagination ran wild --and thankfully it did-- we got some twists going on at what point in time things were actually at!! We travel through the thirties (...) to the surfers on the west coast of California -- "I guess you could call us Barbarians -- Bar-bary-Annes" -- fashioned after the Beach Boys song "Barbara-Anne"!
A lot of the ideas Bob and I got together and then gelled things together in the studio with Eno.
Once Bob started thinking of America a whole style opened up and we would just ride his thoughts...(more of Paul Rudolph on Calvert).

Eno live - w. Roxy Music on German Television However, the project was obviously much too strange and ambitious for the wider market and the better (i.e. worse) part of the music journalists.
Lucky Leif provoked some bad reviews - or general misunderstanding with many people just unable to cope with the variety of styles. Shortly after the release of
Lucky Leif, Calvert took a first extensive break from his activities as a solo-musician and rejoined Hawkwind to lead them into their most creative period.

Unfortunately, Calvert and Eno never again joined forces for another project - both following their quite different paths.

There are some stories around that Calvert - shortly before his death in '88, was actually planning another collaboration with Eno on a new record - but I can't really confirm this so far.

Brian Eno, as you probably know, became one of the, if not THE main-figure in the development of ambient music. He is for several years now also enjoying an enormous success in the electronic and media arts, planting his numerous video- and sound installations in galleries and museums around the globe - while he keeps on doing numerous producer / remixer / writer and speaker jobs - AND doing his own music...

More about all of this on the pages you'll find linked below.

The two essential ENO - LINKS:

  • The (inofficial) Eno Web
    "EnoWeb -- serving your Eno needs with impunity since 1993" - is their motto.
    Find news, FAQ's, interviews, articles, reviews, links and more.

  • The Nerve Net
    is another extensive web-resource on Eno: News, tangents, stories, Eno-concepts,
    a mailing list and more.