February 2004
I'm still buzzing from the excitement of my time in Zurich for 'Art On Ice'. It was truly one of the best produced shows I have ever been part of. To be amongst such talented and devoted people for a week was a revelation
to me.
First the musicians; I played with my friend Alan Simon, who is becoming a legend in France for his integrity and for his dedication to the major environmental concerns of the world (he's also an excellent musician) as part of the Gaia band (with John Helliwell on brass and woodwind, Jeremy Spencer on guitar and Jessie Siebenberg on bass), along with many fine French musicians that were either on the CD or have been part of the live performances of Gaia so far. John and Jessie are members of Supertramp, who for the first time in 20 years, were joined on stage by Roger Hodgson, the voice of so many of their wonderful hits. Barclay James Harvest (who once recorded a song called 'Poor Mans Moody Blues') were also on the bill. Their songs are fresh and unique, and I was reminded why groups of their era are still so revered today. Lesley Bogaert, who has such a lovely voice and style, completed the musical performers.
We all played in the vast Hallenstadion ice rink in the suburbs of Zurich as the World champion skaters performed their interpretation, in ice dance, of our songs. Many of the skaters I had seen on TV and some, like Evgeny Plushenko and Stephan Lambiel were like young pop stars with the dedicated following that they had. I also very much enjoyed the company, and the dancing of Rory Flack-Burghart and Surya Bonaly. Sarah Meier, the sensational young star of Swiss ice skating, interpreted' Nights' with grace and beauty, and at every performance I was entranced by her.
We were all in the same Hotel together and as the mealtimes were at set hours each day I got to know everyone very quickly. Jeremy and I had met in the 60's and so we hung out together with our family groups, and, as the week went on we got to know the skaters better and better. So you think musicians can party? Well the skaters were always the last to go to bed (particularly the Russians), and the first up practising in the morning. The Rink held about 10,000 people and each performance was sold out. The production, the lighting the effects and sound mixing were all first class, and if they don't ask me to play next year I'm going as a member of the audience because it is brilliant. Do you think it would work in the U.K. or America? I don't know! You can find some pictures from the event at http://www.foto-hangartner.ch/
The highlight for me though was the China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe. It was magical and totally serene. Check them out on the internet as well.
Lots of stuff going on with the band. Trying to put our house in order and make plans for the future. I'm now checking out the sleeves for the solo albums "Songwriter" and "Nightflight" which Universal assure me will be out in March.
I'm off to see Alberto Parodi this week in his new recording studio in Genoa. Alberto owned Mullinetti, where we made the last two Moodies albums and the Imax film. I also recorded a movie project for Phil Palmer there, and of course Gaia and my own "The View from the Hill". I loved that place so much, but all things must pass. And I know Alberto's new place will be just brilliant.
The Spring/Summer Tour will be upon us before too long, and I hope soon to have ready for release a DVD of the Cleveland "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" show mixed with some private studio footage shot in New York that Martin Wyatt and Danilo Madonia have put together, along with some seventies bits of film I found. I hope you like it.
"Ideas usually occur to me while I am composing....The uninitiated imagine that one must await inspiration in order to create. That is a mistake. I am far from saying that there is no such thing as inspiration; quite the opposite! It is found as a driving force in every kind of human activity, and is in no wise peculiar to artists . But that force is only brought into action by an effort, and that effort is work....
The musical sense cannot be acquired or developed without exercise. In music as in everything, inactivity leads gradually to the paralysis, to the atrophy of faculties."