10 Questions and Answers
1.Who are your influences and what makes someone want to beat the hell out of drum skins for a living?
Mainly jazz players- Buddy Rich of course, then Art Blakey, Shelly Manne, Joe Morello. Rock: Mitch Mitchell, Clive Bunker and Ginger Baker. More recently, Chad Smith, Dennis Chamber, Vinnie Colaiuta, Rene Creemers, Greg Bissonnette, Simon Phillips and many more. My eldest brother Peter, wanted to be a drummer and tapped all around the house. It rubbed off on me and I became obsessed with the instrument.
2.. During the tours Ten Years After did which opening band(‘s) actually gave you guys a run for your money?
No opening bands but a few headliners such as Janis Joplin and Big Brother, Jimi Hendrix Experience and Fleetwood Mac, the original lineup with Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Jeremy Spencer.
3. Since TYA originated in England, was the band decisions a monarchy or a democratic vote?
In the beginning, Leo managed the band and the material was chosen by Alvin and Leo. When we started recording, Alvin became “the songwriter”. Chris Wright took over management of the band but operated through Leo (ie he made suggestions to Leo, who fed them to us, got feedback and then decisions were made). For in depth answers to this question you’ll have to wait for my book. The subject is too complicated and diverse to give a short yes or no here.
4.In your honest opinion, Did you think Ten Years After would achieve the success that it did?
When I first saw Alvin, I knew he had a phenomenal talent as a guitarist and when he and Leo asked me join the band I was determined to hang in there as I believed one day we would become big, if there was any justice in the world. We had some tough times and narrow squeaks but we kept going and came through.
5. I’ve seen Kim Simmonds several times, What was it like playing drums for Savoy Brown?
An honour and a joy. We had a pretty hectic schedule on the European tour but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great playing with Kim and Nathaniel even though the sets were sometimes gruelling, one and a half to two hours long at times, which I hadn’t done for a while.
6.What is the Real story behind the name “Cricklewood Green?
You’ll have to wait to read the sleeve notes of the re-mastered album when it comes out later this year/early next.
7.What is your rememberance of Woodstock and the latter 60’s & early 70’s?
Woodstock was a one-off phenomenon. It was terrific and I’ll always remember it. To have 300,000 plus people in one place with no violence was incredible. The cameraderie of all those there was unbelievable. Bear in mind we were there for one day only as we were in the middle of a long tour. In contrast, the IOW fetival in 1970 turned rather nasty and the love peace era was definitely at an end. One of the things I’m doing at present is a series of lectures titled “Woodstock Revisited” sub titled “From Mansfield to Woodstock - Ten Years After - A History” and I cover all these subjects. A two hour, one man, audio visual presentation with a bit of drumming thrown in, it’s going over a storm here in UK. I’d like to bring it to the States. Any suggestions?
8. What is your take on the songs played live on Ten Years After setlists? Did you want to do more material / different tunes?
I always thought the TYA sets were a little short and would have been happy to play longer. I also thought that in certain venues we could have done an acoustic spot similar to the ones we used to do at the Marquee Club in the early days. We grouped round the mic centre stage. Alvin sat and played an acoustic guitar, Chick played “steam” piano (an ordinary non-electric piano), Leo was on an upright string bass and I had just my snare drum and played with brushes. We did two or three tunes, one of which was “Don’t Want You Woman”, I think. I suggested to Alvin we do that again when we played the Hammersmith Odeon in London in the late eighties, but we didn’t. A short time later, everyone followed Eric Clapton’s lead and did “unplugged” concerts for VH1. What can I say?
9.On the subject of your Ten Years After diary, Will you publish it? What years and subjects does it cover?
I’m working to publish my book. It’s more of a story than a diary covering from the time I started playing with bands, through joining Alvin and Leo, Woodstock, the albums, tours, the business set ups and downs and loads more.
10. In your opinion will Ten years After ever tour or record again?
As I see it at present, no. But as Leo says,”Never say never”.
There you go Dale. I hope it’s what you wanted. I look forward to seeing it on the site and will be happy to feed back through you any questions my comments may raise from other fans.
My Thanks to Ric Lee 7 / 2002
The Machine Stops - 1972 CBS (with Andrew John)
You And Me - 1973 Chrysalis (with Chick Churchill)
Moments Of Madness - 1973 Blue Horizon (with Mike Vernon)
Jumble Queen - 1974 Chrysalis (with Bridget Saint John)
Wizard's Convention - 1976 RCA (with Eddie Hardin)
Chicken Shack - 1979 Gull (with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack)
Roadie's Concerto (Live) - 1981 RCA (with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack)
Tribute To Jimi Hendrix - 1991 MGI (with Paul Gilbert)
Milan - 1995 Fast Western (with The Breakers)
2001-2002 Ric is currently getting the TYA CD cataloug back in shape with many added tracks & liner notes