Thursday, November 29, 2018

Video: New Ringo interview


Unused gatefold art for Sgt. Pepper LP up for auction


A painting by the Dutch art collective, the Fool, originally intended as gatefold art for the Sgt. Pepper album is up for auction at Sotheby's.

“…The Beatles’ roadie, Mal Evans, brought John and Paul to our studio in St Stephen’s Gardens,” said Marijke Koger, one of the founding members of the group.

“They had seen my Saville Theatre programme cover for Hendrix and The Who and were intrigued by the artwork. They blew their minds over the ‘Wonderwall’ Simon [Posthuma] and I had painted in 1966 on an armoire in polychrome psychedelic imagery, as well as others paintings and artwork.”
Having been introduced to LSD in 1965, the Beatles were becoming well-versed in psychedelic imagery, and they felt The Fool’s work captured the spirit of the age.

In return, the group created a vivid dreamscape filled with flowing water, towering mountains, green foliage and colourful birds such as parrots and peacocks, all surrounding a blazing sunset.

However, the style of the artwork didn’t sit well with Peter Blake’s cover, or the faux-Edwardian imagery McCartney had originally envisioned, and in the end the band rejected the painting.

Instead they decided to use a group photograph taken by Michael Cooper during the shoot for the cover.

The Fool continued its relationship with the Beatles, however, designing posters and clothes for the band's Apple Boutique and painting the huge psychedelic mural on the boutique's Baker Street storefront.

The group also painted a huge three-story mural on the front of the Apple Boutique in London’s Baker Street; gave new psychedelic paint jobs to George Harrison’s custom Mini Cooper and John Lennon’s gypsy caravan; and painted instruments including several of Harrison’s guitars and Lennon’s piano.

Interestingly, Ringo Starr purchased the unused gatefold art in the 1980s, later gifting it to his manager at the time, Hilary Gerrard in 1987. Ringo even signed the reverse side of the painting “To Hill | We Love you | Billy S.”, in reference to his Sgt. Pepper alter ego Billy Shears.

Sotheby's expects the unused "Pepper" artwork to fetch more than $100,000.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Video: Help Spread Peace and Love with Ringo Starr | UNICEF USA

Join Ringo Starr in helping UNICEF provide lifesaving aid to vulnerable children around the world. Donate now to spread peace and love: https://www.unicefusa.org/ringo


Thursday, November 15, 2018

"White Album" engineers recount tales

Forbes talks with original "White Album" engineers Ken Scott and Chris Thomas here.

Some tidbits:

Scott says: “Just before starting ‘Back In the U.S.S.R.’ in August, Ringo quit the band, so suddenly there was no drummer. Initially Paul played drums. It wasn’t quite good enough, so then both George and John played drums and we made a composite of all of that. Ringo left because he felt unloved. Within a marriage, in the early stages it is ‘Oh my darling, you look so beautiful tonight’ and then after a couple of years it is ‘you look fine, now carry on.’ The Beatles were going through that. No one was telling the others how great they were. Ringo is one of the best rock and roll drummers I have worked with, he was incredible, but nobody was telling him that. He felt unimportant, so he said ‘why am I here’ and just left. The other three all went around to see him and they were all going through the same thing so he returned to the band again. George filled No. 2 studio with flowers and there was a huge ‘Welcome Back Ringo’ over the drum kit; the smell was incredible.”

... George Harrison had demoed his anti-capitalistic rant “Piggies” on acoustic guitar. Thomas, looking for a different instrument, found a harpsichord being used for a classical recording in Abbey Road’s Studio No. 1: “George was playing it and suddenly started on another song. I said, ‘that’s fantastic, it is much better than ‘Piggies.’’ It was ‘Something.’ It was the first time George had played it to anybody and I said: ‘It’s great, we should really do that.’ He said ‘Do you really think it is good? I will give it to Jackie Lomax.’ [Harrison had penned the single ‘Sour Milk Sea’ for Lomax’s first single on the Beatles’ new record label Apple.] Unfortunately I didn’t get my way and only worked on that a bit later.” The song was finally released on the 1969 album Abbey Road.

... George Harrison had demoed his anti-capitalistic rant “Piggies” on acoustic guitar. Thomas, looking for a different instrument, found a harpsichord being used for a classical recording in Abbey Road’s Studio No. 1: “George was playing it and suddenly started on another song. I said, ‘that’s fantastic, it is much better than ‘Piggies.’’ It was ‘Something.’ It was the first time George had played it to anybody and I said: ‘It’s great, we should really do that.’ He said ‘Do you really think it is good? I will give it to Jackie Lomax.’ [Harrison had penned the single ‘Sour Milk Sea’ for Lomax’s first single on the Beatles’ new record label Apple.] Unfortunately I didn’t get my way and only worked on that a bit later.” The song was finally released on the 1969 album Abbey Road.

... Scott says: “Far from the album being the sound of a band breaking up, they got on well.” They had some artistic differences and arguments “but it was always over with and forgotten 15 minutes later.”

Thomas says: “Geoff Emerick’s book said they weren’t getting on. When I read that, I could not believe it, because they were very happy times. Every now and again there might be an argument about something. Paul didn’t like ‘Revolution 9’ and in actual fact that track got wrecked. Very early on it was really quite haunting. But the reason they worked in different studios was not because they weren’t talking to each other or going off in a strop or something like that, it was because they had to get the work done and they were on a deadline.”

Scott says: “There was tension at times between George Martin and the band. We were in No 2 mixing ‘Savoy Truffle.’ George Harrison wanted it very high-endy, it was almost painful. We recorded the saxes and he wanted them distorted. George Martin came in halfway through and said ‘’Don’t you think it’s a bit toppy?’ and George Harrison turned around and said ‘Yeah, and that’s the way I want it.’ George Martin just went out.”

Ringo discusses "White Album" reissue, new book, with Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone has a new interview with Ringo here, which includes his thoughts on the new "White Album" anniversary edition and details on his new Genesis Publications photo book, "Another Day in the Life."
“Long, Long, Long” — your drumming on that is mind-blowing.“Yer Blues” is my favorite, only because of we were in a 10-foot room, not that huge room at EMI. And we were like a band again, you know — like a little club band. 
But “Long, Long, Long,” I was talking to Olivia [Harrison, George’s wife] about this. Before, “Long, Long, Long” was actually just part of the album. But with the remaster, it is sensational. So beautiful — it’s very moving. And I didn’t think we got that a hundred years ago, when we made it.


Vintage Paul McCartney Hofner guitars advertising poster


Thursday, November 1, 2018

New video: The evolution of "Helter Skelter"

Details:

Giles Martin talks us through the recording of Helter Skelter, from the first sessions of blues jams through to the revisited loud and heavy sessions and how it became the iconic finished master. Now remixed for the 2018 release of the White Album.


Vintage Beatles "Yellow Submarine" pinball machine