August to December

TEN YEARS AFTER - Newspaper Articles - Aug to Dec







(Love Like A Man)


Chick Churchill has suddenly learned to come to terms with the pressures  of his environment. He now appears to be far happier and more contented than I have ever seen him look before.
I wondered if this was perhaps due to the fact that Ten Years After are on the NME charts with "Love Like A Man." To be honest, Chick wasn't aware of his newly acquired status until I broke the glad tidings to him. The reason for this was that he had just flown into London for a brief stop-over half-way through TYA's lengthy, strenuous coast-to-coast tour of the American continent.
Actually, Chick was more concerned with the fact that he had forsaken the perils of the dreaded nicotine habit, though he admitted rather sheepishly that he'd accidentally fallen off the "juice wagon" the previous evening. This was forgivable, as it was his first lapse in all of twelve months.


Following jokes about him being a "pop-star." Chick was quite frank when he confided with a shrug of his straight frame that he couldn't relate as to what a hit single meant to Ten Years After. "As this was originally an album cut, we haven't got a follow-up prepared," he admitted. I suppose you could say that groups like TYA don't really need singles, as their policy is directed more towards the album market. However, I'm sure that it gives them a great sense of achievement and personal satisfaction when they make in-roads into the realm of ballads and bubblegum.
Prior to its release , "Love Like A Man" presented Ten Years After with many problems as Chick made pains to point out. "Originally it was a track off our "Cricklewood Green" album, but the record company said that with tight editing it could be a good single. "We agreed to let them do it on the understanding that we could use an extended "live" version of the same song, which we had cut at the Fillmore, on the flip side." In fact this record made phonographic history in that the A-side was at the standard speed of 45 r.p.m. while the B-side was cut at 33 r.p.m to accommodate the lengthy concert version. "Naturally, it's the Fillmore cut that I enjoy most of all," Chick admitted, who then quickly points out: "I also like the original version on the album." With a big smile, he drew attention to the fact that there are now three different versions of the song available by the group.
Though perhaps the most lucrative, the summer is not always the best time of year to tour the States, specially with its ever changing patterns of behaviour and values. "The recent Atlanta Music Festival created much press copy, but not for the music. TYA were one of the many attractions on it and Chick told me about it. "The Festival scene in the States is getting very strange. There seems to be a movement that says that people shouldn't pay admission to see a rock concert. They should all be free because all the groups really belong to the people."
It goes without saying that is a most ludicrous philosophy and one that can only cause trouble.
Continuing, Chick explained: "From what I can gather, only 50,000 actually paid at the Atlanta Festival. About a QUARTER OF A MILLION got in for free.

"On top of that, it seems as though all the drinks backstage had been spiked with acid, with the result that they had to fly quite a number of people to the hospital by helicopters.  "The spiking of the drinks was a most irresponsible thing to do because some people were very ill. And with the place being crowded, they completely freaked."
British groups returning from across the Atlantic are nearly always full of alarming stories about the increasing hassles of working in the States. "I just can't put my finger on it, but it's all getting a bit uptight. Perhaps it could be something of an anti-reaction towards Woodstock, but I'm not sure," he went on. Enquiring about the aftermath of TYA's rather splendid presentation in the filmed documentary of Woodstock. Chick informed me: "It has given the group a great deal of respect everywhere we've appeared in the States," Due to return to the States the next day to resume the group's cross-country trek, Chick confessed: "The novelty of the States is wearing off. I'm not knocking the place, because it's a beautiful country. It's just that I feel that the Americans can't fully realize the turmoil and violence that they are living in." Obviously Chick can, and for a second his smile completely vanished. 




Ten Years After Tour Schedule For 1970 - August 


August 6, 1970 – At The Curtis Hixon Hall in Tampa, Florida

August 7, 1970 – At The Goose Lake Park Festival, in Jackson, Michigan

August 8, 1970 – Ten Years After play at The Strawberry Fields Festival in Moncton N.B. 

August 30, 1970 – Ten Years After perform at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Afton Downs, England.







August 1970 - Musik Express Magazine





NME - August 8, 1970




August 7 - 8 - 9,  1970  - Goose Lake International Music Festival, Goose Lake Park

with Ten Years After -   August 7, 1970


The event was an outdoor rock festival that was held from August 7th through the 9th 1970, located in the Leoni Township of Jackson, Michigan. The festival was strongly opposed by the local residents, who failed to prevent its occurrence, despite attempts at litigation.

Approximately 70,000 advance tickets were sold, but contemporary press estimates report that as many as 200,000 people actually attended. The festival was characterized by the widespread use and exchange of hard drugs. The local authorities chose not to intervene in the open drug use for fear of starting a riot and causing a violent scene. It was bad enough that the festival attendees were forbidden from leaving the grounds once they entered. The entire area was surrounded by a razor sharp wire fence, that was under constant police patrol, including persistent helicopter surveillance.

 There is 8mm film footage of this concert, but not with a lot of music in it. There is, Ten Years After performing “Sweet Little Sixteen” along with The Stooges doing their song “1970” and playing together live for the last time. Leslie West and Mountain doing their new hit song from a few months before, called “Mississippi Queen” written by Corky Laing, along with some local Ann Arbor bands performing.

This (basically) home-movie film is a time capsule from 1970 and the hippies from that period. The influential line-up included Jethro Tull - Ten Years After and John Sebastian, the latter two fresh from their Woodstock appearances the previous summer. Local talent included Bob Seger, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Frost and the MC5 supporting the “White Panthers” and John Sinclair.  

 Just to keep the record straight, Alice Cooper – Joe Cocker and Savoy Brown were listed on the hand bill to attend this gig, they didn’t come. MC5 and Rod Stewart were added at the last minute as replacements.

According to reports, 13,000 Kilos of marijuana were digested at the three day festival.

The headlines in the local newspaper reported, “125,000 and still coming”. The reporter also stated: “Goose Lake Park’s Rock Festival is no country fair, or worlds fair – It’s a young person’s fair”. 

John Sinclair was one time manager of the band “MC5” and also leader of, “The White Panthers Party”, which was a militantly anti-racist counter – cultural group of white socialists who were seeking to assist the “Black Panthers” in the Civil Rights Movement. He was also a distinguished poet as well as the president of the Cinema Guild.

 As a final detail: After this concert took place, the local residents passed a law that forbid any concert of this type ever taking place at Goose Lake Park or surrounding areas again.    



The Goose Lake International Music Festival – Friday August 7th  through Sunday the 9th

Friday August 7th Featured Acts Are:

The Mighty Quick, John Drake’s Shakedown, SRC, The New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, The Flying Burrito Brothers, John Sebastian, The MC5, Chicago, Rod Stewart and The Faces and Ten Years After.

Saturday August 8th Featured Talent:

Third Power, Brownsville Station, The Litter, Tee-Garden and Van Winkle, The Stooges and Mountain.

Sunday August 9th Featured Talent:

Suite Charity, Tee-Garden and Van Winkle, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, Bob Seger, The Frost, The Flock, Savage Grace, The James Gang and Jethro Tull.

Originally scheduled to appear, being listed on posters, flyers and on tee-shirts, but were no-shows: Joe Cocker, Alice Cooper, Ram and Savoy Brown



August 7, 1970  -  Goose Lake Festival - Alvin with sticker on pickguard





August 7 - 8 - 9, 1970

Strawberry Fields Festival Poster

Mosport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada







August 7 - 8 - 9, 1970  -  Strawberry Fields Poster, signed by Ian Anderson





TEN YEARS AFTER:  Strawberry Fields Pop Festival 1970

Moncton, Canada

Featuring Music Artists:

Led Zeppelin – Janis Joplin – Ten Years After – Sly and the Family Stone – Grand Funk Railroad – Leslie West and Mountain – Leonard Cohen – Jethro Tull ….

It took place at the Mosport Park Raceway in Bowman, Ontario, Canada – which is located one hundred kilometres east of Toronto. It’s reported that between 450,000 and 500,00 were in attendance, and the festival took place on August 7-10 1970 just one year after the Woodstock Festival. A three day ticket cost $15.00.

It was originally intended to be held by John Brower with John Lennon and Yoko Ono to host the “Toronto Peace Festival” but their permits were denied. The Canadian Security Service began spying on John and Yoko after they announced the plans to host this festival.

The “Strawberry Fields Festival” was promoted heavily in the United States as a three day rock music festival – “Love – Sun and Sound”. The concert was emceed by the one and only Chip Monck who was also the host of Woodstock 1969.


Other Artists on the bill Included:

Jose Feliciano, Delaney / Bonnie and Friends (Eric Clapton), The Young Bloods, Melanie, Hog Heaven,
Freedom Express, Leigh Ashford, Fat Chance, Cactus, Syrinx, Crowbar, King Biscuit Boy Luke and the Apostles,
Lighthouse, Alice Cooper, Eric Burdon and War
It should also be noted that - Led Zeppelin and Leonard Cohen – were no shows at this event.

Strawberry Fields Festival, Moncton Maritime Province, New Brunswick, Canada





August 10 & 11, 1970  -  Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York




Evening Post and News – Wednesday August 12, 1970

On the Square – Alvin and Company Are Top City Dollar Earners … Rock Goes A Million.

Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones are probably the only two bands that would currently outsell them. If Nottingham’s financial wizards ever got together to work out who or what are the city’s biggest dollar earners, some of the answers would probably cause a raised eyebrow or two. Because, right up there at the top of the list, rubbing shoulders with the city’s industrial giants would be for outrageously long haired and even more outrageously dressed young men guaranteed to bring a shudder to the gnomes of Nottingham. The four young men are known jointly as Ten Years After. And if that doesn’t mean anything to you it illustrates my point exactly.

Ten Years After is a rock music band which has enjoyed only moderate success in this country – nothing to cause more than a faint financial fluctuation on the city’s ledgers.

But start taking the band’s American profits into account and some of Nottingham’s export giants are rocked and rolled right to the bottom of the list. The band’s four LP’s alone have rung up millions of dollars on the American cash registers. Alvin Lee and Company – as he’s generally regarded as the man owning the the fastest guitar playing fingers in the business

of serious rock music are among the three or four British bands guaranteed to draw capacity crowds where ever they play in America.

Festivals. They’ve been featured at all the big rock festivals including Woodstock, on the film version of which they receive a significantly large portion of time, and are constantly in demand for one night stand tours of the States. Poor Old Alvin is even in the unfortunate position of having to instruct his agents that he doesn’t want a separate limousine from the rest of the band, in which to travel from town to town during tours. Such is fame.

Before the days of wine and roses, Alvin Lee and Chick Churchill from Nottingham and

Leo Lyons and Ric Lee from Mansfield, the band’s original line up, could be found at local hops in Sutton, in Ashfield as the Jaybirds. Next step was Mansfield, Palals, Nottingham, London, America – and whatever’s next is anybody’s guess.




JACKIE  - August 15, 1970






BRAVO No. 34  - 17 August 1970   











At Deutschland Halle Berlin, Germany

Held September 4, 1970 – The festival was headlined by Jimi Hendrix and featured, Ten Years After, Cold Blood, Cat Mother, Canned Heat and Procol Harum.

 Jimi Hendrix Experience were the headliners of the event and played their signature “Sunshine Of Your Love” and “Purple Haze” which of course whipped the audience into a real frenzy, and then the bootlegged Roman Candles started going off everywhere…bouncing off of the rafters, into the crowd, off the crowd and onto the stage. Amazingly, the Deutschland Halle didn’t catch on fire and burn to the ground. It’s a wonder!

This was also the second to last show that Jimi Hendrix would perform at. After this Jimi did the Open Air Love and Peace Festival in Fehmarn, Germany. He died on September 18, 1970.  

 Canned Heat

But, the first casualty happened the day before this event, with the sudden death of Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson on September 3, 1970. Alan was co-founding Canned Heat member along with Bob “The Bear” Hite. Alan played harmonica, guitar, vocalist and song writer.

Canned Heat had a huge loyal following in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. They could always be counted on to deliver a “Heated Performance” of  extremely cool heavy attitude blues rock. Their two best known songs, “Going Up The Country” and “On The Road Again” had every nook and cranny of the huge Deutschland Halle arena rocking heavy.  

 Procol Harum – Performed their “Progressive Symphonic” rock style set. Including their biggest hit from 1967 “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”. All I can remember at this concert however was “Oh, my god…it’s Procol Harum”.

Note: Cat Mother and Cold Blood did not appear, instead Birth Control.

This festival was supposed to be an outdoor festival at "Waldbühne", but because of bad weather it took place at the Deutschland Halle.




Ten Years After Tour Schedule September - 1970

September 4, 1970 – Deutschland Halle in Berlin, Germany. This event was also promoted as the “Super Concert 70”. Also on the bill with Ten Years After were, Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum, Canned Heat, Cat Mother, and Murphy Bland.

September 5, 1970 – Hamburg, Germany





September 6, 1970
– At The “Love and Peace Festival” at the Isle Of Fehmarn, Germany.

Ten Years After were due to perform at this festival, but due to severe thunder storms and high winds, that incidentally tore the entire stage apart, to the ground, it was impossible for the band to play at all.

Herforder Kreisblatt, September 2020




The Love and Peace Festival, Fehmarn – September 4th through the 6th 1970

In 1970 three young Germans had a dream. Helmut Ferdinand 33 was an Engineer, Christian Berthold 28 was an Inn-Keeper and Tim Sievers 30 was a student, planned a European equivalent of the all American Woodstock Festival that took place the year before. They were also inspired by the Isle of Wight Festival as they liked the idea of having it on an island. Which quickly led to the realization of the Isle of Fuhrman, a well connected island located between Germany and Denmark. They were hoping to entice the artists playing at the,

Isle of Wight to come over and play their festival as well. The date for this new festival was set for September 4-6th. The idea was to feature 30 to 40 bands that also included

Top International Talent. But what they got instead was closer to a nightmare than a heavenly situation. They got the heavy torrential rains of Woodstock, only this time lasting all three days, the rain more on than off. It was also colder in September than the August weekend of Woodstock. They got the Altamont version of the Hells Angles Pseudo Security Force, heavily armed, ignorant and brutal as always, causing problem everywhere they went. As if this wasn’t bad enough, they also got the ugly side of the Isle of Wight experience to boot. Although it must be pointed out, that the audience tolerated incredible hardships for those three days and are to be commended. Many bands who were promoted on posters and flyers to perform there either cancelled or showed up, but because of all the chaos had to leave to fulfil other commitments. These were: Ten Years After (showed up but never played) Cactus, who never returned phone calls, or showed up. Colosseum never made it there, car trouble. Taste (Rory Gallagher) never showed or cancelled as the band broke up right after the Isle of Wight concert. Renaissance – cancelled. The best thing to happen here, was that Jimi Hendrix did show, did stay over-night and did play the next afternoon, as the sun finally came out and lightened everyone’s soul, spirit and overall attitude.

To learn more, I found this excellent website, to which I highly recommend it: www.fehmarnfestival1970.com





DISC and MUSIC ECHO - September 5, 1970



TEN YEARS AFTER in action at the Forum, Los Angeles. The front line of police were not there to listen to the music


Alvin Lee’s present is catching up with him. Lead singer and guitarist with Ten Years After and amateur cine-photographer, experimenter with electronic sounds, songwriter and producer of demo-discs for Ten Years After’s songs, the equipment and possessions that these involve are encroaching on the living space of his London W1 mews flat. “I’m moving to a house in Berkshire. I need somewhere to relax. American tours and things and things get a bit hectic and I need a bit of open space and fresh air when I get back to Britain. “I’m having the top floor converted into a studio and all the equipment re-wired”. Alvin’s involvement with movies and sounds are something he keeps apart from his work with Ten Years After. “They’re sort of glorified home movies. I carried cameras around and shot a lot of film while we were in the States, but I don’t have time to do much with them. I just get a load of cuts and stick them together, and put some weird noises on the soundtrack, which amuses my friends and relatives. I don’t think of it as a commercial thing. “I like to make surrealistic sounds rather than that actual soundtracks, like if someone is talking I don’t have lip synchronization, just an echoing mumble going on to give it an unreal feel. All my films are unreal because they are mostly taken in America which is unreal for a start !”

On the subject of films, Ten Years After’s part in “Woodstock” has increased the Alvin Lee cult in America, and Alvin has received film offers, all of which he has turned down. “I’ve had two actual scripts. I get the feeling that the powers that be think: “Here are people who are well-known, and if we put them in a film, we’ll get people to come and see it”. “They all seem to revolve round British hands in America. A cross between “Woodstock” and “Easy Rider.” I think it’s very commercial box office stuff, but as I am not an actor in the first place, I feel I can turn such things down.

“They say I could change things round a bit to suit myself. But although it would be good fun to appear in a film, I think it would be bad to play a musician, because then people would think it was me, not just me playing a part. “I’m a bit embarrassed to say "Yes, I would like to appear in a movie,” I’m not sure about it. I have always been interested in behind the camera. If I was involved, I would like to be artistically involved rather than come on and say some lines, then walk off."

 Mr. Lee is apparently genuinely embarrassed about another subject as well. Hit singles. And before talking on the subject he steps over the sitar and a pile of albums to find the menthol tipped cigarettes he smokes lost in the lower strata of a pile of “Man, Myth and Magic” magazines.

“We have a hit single with a number we think is really atrocious. But who are we to judge if people want to buy it, we’re not going to stop them. We don’t really think it’s representative of what we’re trying to do because it was taken from our album, and they took the solo out and released it. It means nothing to us. It might as well have had another name on it.

“The idea of editing album tracks stems from America where you have FM and AM radio. FM plays albums and AM plays singles, and its very difficult to break into the AM circuit with just albums, so they cut the numbers down to give them to AM as advertisements. “So we have more or less had a hit single with a trailer for our album”.

“I’m not really embarrassed about it, because anyone who is intelligent will realize what’s happened to it, you will notice we haven’t been on “Top Of The Pops” plugging it, or anything”. Alvin doesn’t consider TV as a medium for Ten Years After’s  kind of music. “TV watchers want to be entertained. We’re not entertainers, we don’t actually do anything. We may be entertaining but we’re not entertainers. “I think people who do have things to gain from TV might plug their records on it, but our mission is not to sell records, but to create what we are proud of in records. We just hope they sell and leave it up to peoples discretion”.

  When pushed on the subject of “Top Of The Pops” he does admit: “They asked us to do it. They asked us a couple of times actually. I don’t I don’t know if I should say this, but we have gone out of our way not to do it. When I watch it I find it insulting – it’s nothing at all to do with music. I feel that it’s presented to a market that doesn’t really exist – a market of about eight years ago. “I think the answer would be a film, if you could make your own and give it to them, but there again, we don’t really want the medium. We don’t want to be nasty about it, but we could live without it, and I’m sure they could get by without us, so we should all be happy.

  Back on his favourite subject, Ten Years After and their music, Alvin relaxes in the huge armchair in the one-time stables and servant quarters that served the “Big House,” but a suggestion that Ten Years After might be planning their progress in music brings expansive hand movements: “We never plan anything. We prefer to just let it happen naturally. There is a temptation to think: “Oh well, we should progress towards this, because this is becoming trendy,” but if you do, you lose any kind of identification with what you are doing yourself.   

“The commercial success which we are having is very flattering and very nice, but we haven’t aimed for it. If anything we have tried to discourage it. I mean, we have never blatantly sold ourselves, or played what we thought people wanted to hear. “We have just played what we believed. Now that it is successful we’re not going to change it because people say we’ve gone commercial. We starved for eight years playing what we believed in”. And the songs he writes don’t come easy. “I usually have to sit for about four hours in a sort of vacancy waiting for some sort of inspiration, and it doesn’t always come, even after four hours. “It is an atmosphere which is usually the first thing that hits me. Then the rhythm or the beat. Then a chord sequence, either putting words to it that I’ve written before (I’m always jotting down odd words) or write something special for it”.

  Then comes his penchant for electronics. He makes a demo disc and takes it to the rest of the band. “I just take it to them and see what everybody likes. Everybody throws in ideas and someone might say, “It could be good if it had this feel to it”. And maybe we all agree, or disagree. So out of many songs, hopefully we are going to find ten or twelve that we all like. “But often the songs turn out totally different from the originals I’ve written.

  “We have two verses and a middle eight, then some solos to bring out the musical ability of the band. Often this takes off into something else. If this happens it’s really good because you are actually creating first hand and not planning”. With the success goes money, and money, says Alvin, is not a fulfilment in itself.

“Playing to 18,000 in the USA, we felt we lost rapport with the audience, and were offering ourselves as superstars instead of people.

“We tried playing smaller places, but all that happens is the place gets completely packed, and people who get turned away cause trouble.

“Los Angeles I didn’t like. There’s a civil war between young people and police there. The police are so heavy handed. They don’t believe in suffering anything. “I don’t know why they have a line of policemen at the front of concerts. If the police freak out and start clubbing people, that’s when the trouble starts.

“I’ve never known a crowd that actually physically wants to get the band. Like the Royal Albert Hall, that’s cool. The crowd are all just there digging it and come down the front. A few leap onstage and start freaking out. The roadies just usher them off, they go and there’s no trouble….that’s cool” !


By Gavin Petrie       



September 5, 1970 - Disc And Music Echo - Front Page




 MELODY MAKER, September 5, 1970   ... the melody maker interview ...

by Michael Watts


FOR A CULT FIGURE, Alvin Lee Has A Curiously Flat Image. Sure He Looks Photogenic.

But Then So Do Ten Thousand Other Rock Singers. And, Agreed, He Has A Fast Guitar Technique, But So What? What The Hell Is The Use Of Being Called The Fastest Guitar In The West Anyway?

All The Same, He Must Have Got The Super-Star Tag, Somehow. I Mean He Has Made Minimal T.V. Appearances, Had Only One Hit Single, And Was Included In Just A Five Minute Clip In The "Woodstock" Film. On Top Of That, The Guy Hardly Ever Plays In England! He Must Have A Whole Lot Of Something Going For Him.


In Person He Is A Mild Mannered, Belaying The Grimacing, Pouting Figure In "Woodstock."

He Seems To Have No Positive Ambitions About Politics, The Contemporary Situation Or Life In General. He Is The Epitome Of The Ordinary Guy In The Street Who Has Made It: A Pop Singer Who Has Grafted His Way To The Top, Just As The Bank Clerk, Becomes The Bank Manager. His One Conceit Is His Guitar Prowess, And Who Can Deny He Has Good Technique? After All, He Is Paid For Playing Guitar, Not Shooting His Mouth Off.

He Lives In A Small Mews, Cottage, Which Used To Be A Stable, At The Back Of London’s Baker Street. He Was Thrown Out Of His Last Place, In Belgravia, Because Neighbours Thought He And His Friends Were Drug-Crazed-Hippies. That’s The Price One Pays For Being A Pop Star, I Suppose. The Small Down-Stairs Room Reflects The Interest And Outlook Of It’s Occupant. A Sitar Is Propped In The Corner By The Stairs, An Electric Piano Stands Like A Child’s Toy Against One Wall, And An Amplified Acoustic Lies Flat On Its Back In The Centre Of The Floor. A Quick Look Through The Record Collection Housed In A Long Shelf Establishes The Fact That The Owner’s Taste Are Largely Confined To Rock. All The Ten Years After Albums Are There.

It’s A Revealing Room. In A Notebook Lying Open On A Pouffe Are Written Words Of A New Song, The First Verse Goes: "Gonna Run, Runnin From The City, Gonna Run, Runnin To The Country, Gonna Run, Runnin From The City, Got To Ease My Aching Mind (Oh Yeah)" – And The Last One Reads: "Gonna Run, Runnin From The Ego, Gonna Run, Find Out Where The Free Go…." Alvin Lee Walks In Dressed Completely In Maroon.

You Look At Him Carefully. He Has Hollow Cheek-Bones, Which In Less Successful Years Gave Him The Appearance Of A Tubercular Victim. That Was A Long Time Ago, Though When Ten Years After Was Just Another Cute Name For A Group. And When A Residency At The Marquee Meant Steady Work In God Knows How Many Months.

It’s A Long Way From Nottingham Now…

(The Alvin Lee - Melody Maker - Interview).

First Off, A Lot Is Made About Your Guitar Speed: That You Are Fast To The Detriment Of Feel And Emotion. What Do You Think About This Whole Question?

Answer - Alvin Lee:
Who Says This? Some Guys Say You Can Always Tell A Good Guitarist Because He Doesn’t Look At The Fret-Board, And A Good Drum Solo Is One Where The High-Hat Goes All The Way Through. You Can Only Answer Criticism If The Criticism Is Valid, And I Don’t Think It Is. I Could Play A Lot Faster If I Wanted To Blind People With Speed. Perhaps I Do Play Faster Than Some, But I Just Play my Style. I Could Play In Another Way If I Wanted, But I’m Going Somewhere Else Myself You Know, I Use Speed As An Effect, A Kind Of Crescendo. If I Want To Bring Something Up I Use Set Phrases, But Perhaps To Some People, It Doesn’t Sound Like A Kind Of Feeling. It’s Not Like B.B. King, Where He Slurrs The Notes; That’s Another Trip. A Guitarist To Me, Is Not How Good He Is, Because The Top 30 Guitarist Can All Play Like Each Other, If They So Wished. It’s Just A Matter Of The Style They Prefer. And You Either Agree With Their Preference, Or You Don’t. But It Doesn’t Make Them A Bad Guitarist, If You Don’t Like The Style They Prefer.

Can You Pick Out Any Contemporary Guitarist You Admire?

Answer - Alvin Lee:
I Don’t Listen That Much. When I Do Listen, I Listen To People Like George Benson And Such. You Know, Rock To Me Is Something I Play The Way I Feel It, And I’m Not Interested In The Way Other People Feel It. I Suppose It Sounds Weird, But I Play Rock The Way I Like To Hear It. So In That Sense I Suppose I Could Say, I’m My Favorite Rock Guitarist, And In That Sense I Suppose Every Rock Guitarist Is Their Favorite Guitarist.

Let’s Put It Like This. Which Guitarist Have Influenced You, If Not Now, At Least When You Were Growing Up.

Answer – Alvin Lee:
First Off, Scottie Moore, Elvis Presley’s Guitarist. Chet Atkins, I Got Into A Finger Style Thing. Then I Went Into A Bit Of Classical. Merle Travis. Then I Got Into Charlie Christan And Barney Kessel, And Yes Les Paul. I Went Down To His Studio In New York, It Was Really Incredible. We Had A Little Blow, It Was Good Fun. He’s Very Clean, And He Plays With A Lot Of Swing. He Really Is Neat.

Melody Maker:
Not Unlike You In A Way. You Don’t Use Feedback, For Instance.

Answer – Alvin Lee:
No, No Boxes Or Anything Like That. I Haven’t Got Anything Against Feedback, But All Gimmicks Like Fuzz, Wah-Wah And Such, You Can Get The Sound By By Buying The Equipment; They Are Not Very Individualist. Anybody Using A Wah-Wah Pedal Has Got To Be Exceedingly Lucky To Find Something New He Can Do On A Wah-Wah, Because It Makes All Guitars Sound The Same.

How Far Is Jazz A Big Influence On You?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
It’s Not A Big Influence, I Like The Feel Of Jazz; I Don’t Like The Jazz Tradition, I Don’t Like The Philosophies, The Attitude, Of Jazz People At All. They Are Inwards Looking People, Jazz People, They Look In All The Time.

How Is It Then, That You Played With Woody Herman?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
We Didn’t. Somebody Fixed It Up, But We Didn’t Do It. The Only Reason We Were Going To Do It, Was That We Had Recorded "Woodchopper’s Ball," And The Only Reason It Was, "Woodchoppers Ball" Was Because Of The First Verse And The Last Verse, It Was Just A Jam With A Tune Vaguely Resembling "Woodchoppers Ball" To Start It Off With…And We Were Going To Do Carnegie Hall With Woody Herman And Do "Woodchopper’s Ball" Together, And I Happened To Mention To The Powers, That What We Did Was Nothing Like The Original, So We Dropped The Idea. The Only Kind Of Jazz I Play Is Mock-Jazz---It Has A Jazz Feel, A Jazz Tone. I Like A Jazz Tone Sometimes---More Mellow Sounds---But Really I Am Still Playing The Same Style Of Guitar.

What Therefore, Do You Feel About These Apparent Fusions Between Jazz And Rock? Do You Think They Ever Succeed?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Not To My Taste They Don’t, Because The Only Kind Of Fusions I Have Heard Are Like A Watered – Down – Brass Section. I Don’t Think It Is Either Jazz Or Rock, It’s A Middle Of The Road Between The Two, A Fusion Of Lesser Jazz and Lesser Rock. The Thing I Like About Jazz Is The Feel and The Freedom."

If Jazz – Rock Is Out, In Which Musical Direction Are Ten Years After Going?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Mmmm, It Is Difficult To Say. If You Evaluate Where You Are Going You Tend To Jump To Conclusions, Which Is Bad. We Just Let It Happen, Really. We Won’t Know What The Next Lp Is Like Until We Have Got It Down. That Is The Way We Have Always Done It. Like, An Album Comes Out The Way We Feel At The Time We Make It. Sometimes It Comes Out Of A Whim, Other Times It Just Comes Out Naturally. Sometimes We Experiment A Bit And Say, Let’s Lean This Track A Little More Towards This Or The Other."

There Will Be No Future Changes In Lineup Then, Such As The Addition Of Brass?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Personally, I Don’t Like Anything Over A Four Piece. For The Sake Of Music It Is Nice, But Creating Music Is Another Trip Again. We Are Not Really Into Creating Music, We’re Musicians Working Out. Do You See The Difference? Like Say, You Have A Brass Section, Or Reeds And Things, That Limits What You Can Do. You Know, Brass And Reeds Have To Riff, So You Are Tied Down To A Riff. The Way It Is Now, We Can Just Start Something Off On Stage, And If We Don’t Like It, We Can Just Change It Round Completely. Nobody Knows That They Have To Do Something Particularly.

You Started Off In Nottingham Didn’t You? What Was Your First Group?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
The First Band I Was Ever With Was A Weird Affair, Called Vince Marshall And The Square Caps. I Played Rhythm And I Would Be About 12. It Was A Very Amateur Affair – Well, It Was And It Wasn’t. This Guy Had A Very Freaky Mind. He Was Planning It Like A Show, And We All Had Different Numbers. He Just Advertised In The Papers For Everyone To Meet Him In Lyons Café In Nottingham. He Was In There, And He Waited An Hour, So That Those Who Weren’t Very Keen Would Go, And He Said He Would Keep The Rest. It Ended Up With Two Drummers, Five Guitar Players, No Bass Player, An Electric Accordionist And A Country And Western Banjo Player. We Rehearsed About Three Times A Week For Six Months, Did One Gig And Broke Up And That Was The End Of Marshall and The Square Caps.

We Played All Souls Church Hall, And We All Had Little Plywood Stands To Stand On Because It Was His Idea Of Professionalism, And This Guy Vince Marshall, Conducted And Sang One Number Out Of Key. But I learnt A Lot Off The Guitarist There Who Played Lead, And I Picked His Brains And Got To Know Quite A Bit. Up Till Then I Had Been Playing Just On A Hobby Basis; I Never Thought I Would Be Able To Get It Together On Stage. But That Broke Up, And When I Was 13 I Phoned Another Band, Called Alan Upton And The Jailbreakers.
We Played Sort Of Rock ‘n’ Roll Because He Played Piano And Liked Jerry Lee Lewis, And By This Time I Was Into Scottie Moore And All Those Rock Guitarist. I Played Lead With That, And I Got A Proper Electric Guitar For My Birthday – A Guyatone, Crystal Pick-Ups, A Weird Thing. But We Had Some Fun, It Was An Experience.
We Used To Play At A Cinema, At Sandiacre, The Palace Cinema. We Used To Play In-Between The Films. I’ve Still Got One Of The Things In a Scrapbook Somewhere Where We Are On With Brigitte Bardot, And I Was Also Learning A-Lot Around That Time About Amplifiers Ang Things. When That Finally Broke Up, We Were Playing At A Lot Of Pubs And Low Places, You Know."

That Was Still At 13 Was It?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Yeah. I Did That Probably, For About A Year, Then I Did Nothing Again For A Year, Then I Left School, When I Had Almost Turned 16. I Got Out As soon As I Could, I Decided What I Wanted To Do, And I Was Wasting My Time At School."

Which Was What? To Be A Musician?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Yeah! Somehow, Someway. I Did Not Really Think About It In Those Days, I Just Thought, Oh, I’ll Do It. And Er, I Left School And Got A Job In A Factory For About A Month, Which Didn’t Seem To Go Down To Well. But My Folks Said, If You Want To Get A Band Together And Work Like That, You Had Better Leave Your Job. Which Was Very Cool Indeed."

What Does Your Old Man Do?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
He Was A Bulider, They Were Not Very Well Off At All, But You Know A Lot Of Parents Would Have Demanded Their Three Pounds A Week Board. They Were A Bit Cooler Than That, And They Encouraged Me All Along. So I Left This Job And I Answered This Ad In A Nottingham Paper, For A Band Based In Mansfield, Called The Atomites, And Leo Lyons Our Bass Player Was In There – He’s Just A Few Months Older Than I Am, And We Met, And Were Into, Like Well, We Were Playing Shadows Music To Get Gigs. And I Knew This Singer From Nottingham Blond Hair And A Very Early Freak, Who Used To Do Well On The Pub Circuit – Ivan Jay Was His Name. So We Roped Him Into It, And Changed The Name To Ivan Jay And The Jaycats. We Tried Various Combinations For Awhile, And Then Came Up To London; I Would Be About 17 Then.We Came Up To London For About Six Months, And Lived In Finsbury Park, And Nearly Starved To Death."

Did You Have A Manager Then?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
No, Leo Was The Manager. He Used To Call Himself Mr. Lyons. It Was Very Funny Because He Used To Ring Up The Pub Owners The Next Day And Say, How Were They, Were They Great? All This Spiel. He Was Pretty Good. But Down Here In London, We Hardly Got Any Work At All. We Came Down Here To Get Work, But The Only Work We Ever Got Was Up North. We Did A Few American Air-Force Bases, But We Were A Bit Proud. Like We Had Been Getting 15 Quid A Gig In Nottingham, And They Would Offer Us Eight Quid Down Here. I Think, Though, We Had Some Sort Of An Original Style…Oh, I Don’t Know, It Was Like The Early Cliff Richard Stuff, "Nine Times Out Of Ten" And Stuff Like That, The Ravier Ones, And Some Of The Old Ones, And Some Of The Elvis Ones. Anyway, We Didn’t Do Very Well, So We Went Back To Nottingham, And The Singer Ivan Jay, Stayed In London. He Didn’t Do Anything, And That Was The Last We Heard Of Him. We Got Another Singer When We Went Back To Nottingham, Called Farren Christie. We Worked With Him For Awhile, And We Were Doing Alright, Like Travelling Around To Places Like Rugby. It Was A Bit Of A Giggle.

Anyway, We Went Over To Germany As The Jaybirds, With A Rhythm Guitarist We Got From Rugby, And Hamburg Was Very Interesting. I Learnt A Lot There.
Cliff Bennett Was In Hamburg With Nicky Hopkins On Piano and Strawbeffy Watson On Guitar; Tony Sheridan Was There.

A Lot Of Good Musicians Were Kicking Around On The Scene – Albert Lee Was Playing Down The Road In A Club On The Reeperbahn, The Top Ten, A Very Seamy Place In Hamburg. The Big Three Were There, A Lot Of Liverpool People There. Everybody Was Talking About The Beatles, But They Hadn’t Done Anything, Then We Saw Photographs In Windows Of Them In All The Leather Gear, And There Were A Lot Of Stories About John Lennon. Hamburg Made Us A Lot More Professional, Because We Were Playing To An Attentive Audience, Which Is More Than We Were Doing Before, And When We Got Back To England, We Really Pulled It Together, Like The Band Got Into Playing Its Own Stuff, Doing An R and B Thing. So We Tried London Again, Moved To A Slightly Better Part Of Finsbury Park, But Failed A Second Time, With The Result That We Went Back To Nottingham, Where We Began To Do Pretty Well; We Were Getting 40 Quid On A Saturday Night, And Doing Co-Op Halls And All That."



This Must Have Been The Time Family Was Coming Up As Well?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Oh, We Used To Play With Them From Leicester, When They Were Called "The Farinas" And Even Before Then. Roger Chapman Used To Wear A Leather Hat And An Overcoat And Do "On The Boardwalk" And Things. He Was Good As Well, A Sort Of Smoothie Type. He Used To Do Standards And Things – Quite Incredible. Anyway Back In Nottingham, The Drummer With Us Left – Dave Quickmire – And Ric Lee Was Playing In A Group Called "The Mansfields" And Doing Everly Brothers Type Things And Buddy Holly Numbers, And He Was About The Only Drummer We Ever Heard, Who Could Do The Bass Drum Best, Which Was Bum-Ba-Bum, Instead Of Bum-Bum-Bum….He Was Reluctant To Join At First, But Somehow, We Talked Him Into It; And We Were Doing Chuck Berry Stuff Still, And He Was Never Into It As Much, As The Other Drummer, And We Wondered At Times, If He Was Going To Be As Good As The Other. (Dave Quickmire Was Replaced By Ric Lee – Ric Was Reccomended By Dave To Replace Him).

Then Of All Things, For A Joke – We Auditioned For, "Saturday Night And Sunday Morning" – At The Prince Of Wales, And They Were Interested In A Nottingham Band. A Bit More Authenticity, As It Were – To Play In The Wings, And Do A Pub Scene, And That Was All Right For Half an Hour’s Work; It Was 30 Quid A Week.

Did You Ever Think At Any Time, During This Period, That You Weren’t Going To Make It?

Answer – Alvin Lee: 
I Always Thought We Were Somehow.

You Can Read Music?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Er, Just The Chords…We Used To Do All The Really Corny Standards, And A Few Spanish Things, And We Get A Free Meal and 24 Quid A Week, Which Was Pretty Good, But The Only Gigs We Were Getting Were In Wales and They Were Terrible. You Know, We Could Still Get The Backing Jobs, And Do The Odd Session, But Everybody Was Down-Hearted Indeed. This Was About The Time I Started Thinking Perhaps It Is Not Going To Work At All."

You Were Very Disillusioned At This Point?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Exceedingly So.

Did You Ever Think Of Packing The Whole Thing In?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Well I Walked Along By The Thames A Few Times, But I Never Got That Together (Laughter). But It Was Really Grim, Because We Could See How It Had Been For The Last Six Years, And It Had Everything Pointing In That Direction For The Next Six Years If Not Worse. At This Point We Decided We Were Going To Stop Playing, What We Thought We Should, To Get Paid, And It All, Play What We Wanted Like, We Had Always Jammed Jazz Together And Done A Bit Of Blues And Stuff, And At Some Clubs We Used To Do A Gig At 10:00 To 11:00 Of Stuff Which Was In Vogue To Get The Bread (Money) And Then Go And Do What We Liked. I Would Get About Five People Who Were Really Into It, And That Used To Give Us More Pleasure Than Anything."

So This Was The Turning Point In Your Career?

Answer – Alvin Lee: "Yeah".

What Were You Called During This Period? The Jaybirds?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
No, We Dropped The "S" Off To Be A Bit More Trendy, And We Were The "Jay Bird". Then We Changed To The "BluesTrip" And We Did The Marquee Under The Name Of The "Bluesyard" And Nobody Liked Us; John Gee Didn’t Like Us, And I Still Think To This Day, He Doesn’t Know We Were The BluesYard. But During This Period We Were Really Together, And The Epitome Of Everything That Was Not Commercial. If It Looked As If The Audience Were Liking It, We Would Not Do It. We Were The Opposite Of Being Commercial, We Wanted To Play What We Liked."

It Was A Bit Masochistic?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Yes It Was, We Really Wanted People To Hate Us. We Were Still Pretty Pissed Off With The Whole Musical Scene. Then We Decided That People Did Make Bread Out Of Jazz And Blues, And There Was A Band Around Called, "Cock A Hoop" Who Were Getting 20 Quid A Night, Which Was Cool…And Their Manager Was Chris Wright And Like We Told Him, That We Were Much Better Than Cock A Hoop, And We Could Blow Them Off Any-Day. We Were Much Better Musicians And All That Bull, And We Did An Audition For Him For Ten Quid In Manchester – I Think We Made About Four Shillings Each For The Time We Had Taken Out For The Petrol Money, And Split It At The End. A Few Places Thought We Were Very Good, The Hip Places, Where The Promoter Was Interested In The Music And Not Just Getting The Money From The Kids."

Were You Writing A Lot?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
No, I Just Used To Mess Around and Jam Things. Anyway, We Talked Chris Wright Into Moving Down To London, Which Was A Good Move, And We Got The Name Of "Ten Years After" – Leo Lyons Picked It Out Of Almost 100 Names, Which We Narrowed Down To 20 We Liked. We Got Ten Years After Out Of The Radio Times, We Liked The Name Because It Didn’t Pin Us Down Musically, Didn’t Mean Anything, It Was Very Abstract. And Then We Got A Residency At The Marquee, Which Did Quite Well. We Grew From Strength To Strength As They Say, And We Got The Jazz Festival Thing, What Is It At Windsor, The 7Th Jazz Festival At The Time – And We Went Down Well There.

That Was Followed By An Audition A Decca Records With A Producer Named….I’ve Forgotten His Name, He’ll Be Glad About That, Because They Turned Us Down, And Then Three Months Later They Approached Us (To Sign A Contract) Which Appealed To Our Sense Of Humour."

By This Time The Name Was Getting Around?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Yeah, That Was Really Going Well. That’s Why They Approached Us. We Were Doing Good In London. Like, We Were Playing Up North And Getting Thrown Out Of Gigs. One Guy Sais, "It’s Bands Like You That Are Ruining The Ball-Room Business"! Another Guy Said, "I Like What You Are Trying To Do, But If I Let You Go On Again, The Kids Will Tear The Place Down." We Had Quite A Few Places Like That, We Would Rather Go Down Very Well Or Die A Horrible Death; There Were No In-betweens in Those Days. We Still Had This Masochistic Trip. We Weren’t Trying To Please Anybody; If They Didn’t Like Us, We Didn’t Like Them. And With That Policy, We Really Seemed To Get It Together. We Put The First Album Out, Which Did OK, And Then We Had Heard That It Had Done Well In A Place Called America, Which We Had Never Not Even Thought About. So We Got A Telegram From Bill Graham Saying, If We Ever Got Over There, He Would Back Us. So, We Got An American Tour Together, And The Whole Thing Went Zoom."

Is There Any Particular Time When, Or Place Where, You Can Say That You Made It? Was It The Marquee Residency?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Right, Because It Was The First Time We Had Played To People Who Wanted To Listen, Rather To Anything Else. That Really Inspired Us, Like After The First Few Gigs We Thought, Well They Really Do Want To Listen To Us, So We Started Trying Acoustic Numbers, Different Things, This And That, A Lot Of Experimation."

There Have Been Reports From The States That People Are Trying To Isolate You From The Rest Of The Group, Turn You Into A Super-Star, And Make You Travel In Your Own Limousine Separately From The Others. True?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
That’s A Complete Fabrication. I Mean, I Do Get Super-Starred Up A Bit Because I’m The Singer, The One The Light Goes On. But There’s No Pressure In That Range At All. It’s Nice To Know That People Want To Listen To Me, But Sometimes It Gets To The Point Where It Is Beyond Listening. They Just, Some Audiences, In The Less Cool Places Can’t Experience …It’s A Very Diluted Form Of Beatlemania, I Suppose."

But It Will Never Be Alvin Lee And Ten Years After?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
No, I Mean, If People Choose To Say That, Then This Is What Happens. Some Say, Like Oh, Alvin Lee, Leader And Star Of Ten Years After, Then Other People Say, Ah, Ego-Tripping Alvin Lee. It’s Got Nothing To Do With Us – Me, Or Any Of The Others."

So What Do You Envisage (Envision) Doing In Three Or Four Years Time? Will Ten Years After Still Exist?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
I Don’t Know, I Don’t Care To Think About It. I Know That I Will Always Be Playing Something, Somewhere, To Somebody, But Who With? If The Band Ceases To Play Together, Then We Will Just Have To See What Happens. We Have Never Aimed For Anything Musically, You Know, We Have Never Said, Let’s Try And Become Super-Stars And Do This. It’s Just Happened And Its All Very Flattering, Nice And Rewarding. But It Would Be A Failure For Us To Revert To Thinking, What Do People Want Now? So, Musically We Will Take Ourselves As Far As We Can Go. These Bands Who Make A Couple Of Albums And Then Break Up Because They Can’t Go Any Further Usually Do So Because Of Head Problems And Ego Trips Rather Than The Music. But We Have Been Into (Through) All That And Come Out Okay, So I Don’t Really See Any Problems."

How About The Problems Of The Musicial Scene In Britain?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Well, Technique Is Better, Musicians As Such Are Getting Better. It’s Bound To Happen. When I Was Learning To Play Guitar, The Popular Things To Kind Of Learn From Were Very Basic Pop. You Had To Search Around To Find Anybody Who Was Laying Down Anything More Musical. Now Everybody From Miles Davis To Roland Kirk Is Heard Of By Anybody Interested In Music At All. So You Have To Get A Much Vaster (Larger) Scene To Pick Things Off From."

But, Surely It Is Hard For Rock To Go (Get) Beyond A Certain Limit, Because Then It Does Not Become Rock Anymore, Does It?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
If You Call It What It Basically Is "Beat-Music"Then It Has Never Died At All. Bassically, What Is Appealing To Most People About Music Is A Beat. It Is Right To Get Away From Beats And Basic Formats, And Some Have Done It, But ….  I Like The Beat It Is Kind Of Animal Instinct, And The More Intellectual Music Lovers Usually Get Into The Reasons Why And Where It Is Progressing, But It Is Still Basically Beat Music."

But How Far Can Rock Go Before It Becomes Something Else?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
I Don’t Know. It Has Progressed A Long Way From The Rock Which Bill Haley Was Playing. (Released In 1954) Yes, And Also In The Paripheral Interest That Are Connected With The Music. Their Appears To Be A Drive At Present To Establish A Rock Culture. When I Was A Teeny-Bopper Fan Of Elvis Presley, I Used To Read These Magazines About How He Used To Comb His Hair, And People Used To Write Letters To Him Like Saying, My Mother Says I Shouldn’t Have My Hair Combed In A D.A. and Have Long Side-Boards, What Do You Think? Now It Has All Become Intellectualised, It Is On A Sociological Basis; It Is Now A Way Of Actual Life Rather Than A Fantasy. The Beatles Led A Lot Of These Sociological Changes (Hair and Beatle Boots) – But Now There Are Attempts To Relate Rock To Everything, Such As Politics And The Chicago Conspiracy Trial. It Was Never Like This In The Days Of Elvis, And All You Are Getting Really Is A Lot Of Different People’s Theories. The More Intellectual Minds, The People Who Create These Theories Have The More Intense The Whole Thing Seems To Become."

Is Your Name Really Alvin?

Answer – Alvin Lee:

No, I Left The Other Name Behind In School. But It’s Irrelevant, You Know.


Answer – Alvin Lee:

No, It Is Graham, Actually It All Goes Back To The Old Days In Nottingham With The Jail-Breakers, When We Got Round A Coffee Table And Said, Let’s Get Some Groovy Names, Alvin Is The Only Thing I Answer To Now.

(It Came From Alvin and The Chipmunks = "Alvin" and Guitarist Albert Lee = "Lee" = Alvin Lee).


How Old Are You?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
25.  26 In December. Sagittarius With Aquarius Rising, They Tell Me.

(Born December 19, 1944).

What Is Your Reaction To The Success Of The Single "Love Like A Man"?

Answer – Alvin Lee:
I Don’t Know. I’ve Always Been Shy Of Pop Parades, Because It’s Such A Fickle Little Scene. The Drag Is That The Single Isn’t Very Relative To Us. It Was Cut Off The Album, (Cricklewood Green1970) The Solo Was Chopped Out, And It Was All For The States As An Advert For The Album. I’d Like To Think That The Reason It Was A Success Over Here Is That The B-Side Was A Live Cut. We Didn’t Put The Live Cut On The B-Side In The States, We Released A Track From Our Last Album, And It Didn’t Do So Well Over There. We Did Once Record A Single For The Actual Idea Of A Single, But We Scrapped The Whole Thing Because We Thought It Was Too Unrelative To What We Were Doing Musically. You Know, It Was Nice Soul, And It Could Probably Have Got Into The Top Ten, But It Was Not Really Anything To Do With What We Were Doing."

Why Haven’t You Appeared On Top Of The Pops To Promote Your Single?

Answer - Alvin Lee:
We Have Made A Point Of Not DoingThat Because I Think That Is A Very, Very Poor Programme. It’s Unprintable What I Think About It. It’s Just A Conveyor Belt. We Have Been Approached, They Wanted Us On, But We Can’t Represent Ourselves Miming Or Even Playing Live To A Two Minute Number. All We Would Be Doing Then Would Be Selling To The Nation, Something That Does Not Exist. We Need At Least Eight Minutes To Do Something That Is Relative To What We Play. And Even Then, Television As A Music Medium I Do Not Like, Because It’s Not A Thing You Concentrate On. It’s Not A Thing You Sit And Get Into, It’s Like A Noise In A Corner."

What Do You Think Then, About Pop Films? Woodstock, Obviously, Comes To Mind.

Answer – Alvin Lee:
Woodstock Is Very Good, The Camera Techniques And Everything Are Very Fine. It’s A Very Artisitic Film, And Being A Documentary It’s Very Valid. But Now Because Of The Success Of Easy Rider And Woodstock, We Have Been Offered, I Have Been Offered A Film Part In The States, Which Is Just Like A Commerical Hype. The Story Was That We We’re An English Group (Band) In The States And We Go To Texas Because We Hear That Robert Johnson Is Alive, We Get Locked Up On A Drugs Charge, And We Get Bailed Out By A Bird In A White Cadillac. It’s Really Yuk! I Mean It’s Far Out, Filming Would Be Really Interesting….But It’s Back To The Powers, The Commerical Powers; The Studios Say All These Cats At Woodstock Are Draws Now (Famous Now).

Like, If I Was To Be In A Film, False Modesty Aside, It Would Probably Do A Certain Amount Of Business, Because The Name’s There. So That’s Why We Get The Offers. But Unless We Get Anything That Has Any Artistic Value At All, Forget It. It’s Nice To Be In A Position Where You Can. To Turn Around And Say, It’s A Load Of Rubbish, Go And Stuff It.

ALVIN at his London home Picture by BARRIE WENTZELL




September 27, 1970  -  ROCK Magazine












Photo: Emerson-Loew



Musik Express, October 1970




Beat Instrumental  - October 1970  

The Media Is Stifling The Scene


Ten Years After had just returned from their seventh American tour when we spoke to Leo Lyons in the groups London office.

Beat Instrumental:

How did it go over there?

Leo Lyons:

It was our hardest tour so far because we were playing in baseball stadiums that were full to 15,000 or 20,000 and that went on for over eight weeks. We’ve played these big stadiums before but not so many at a time. In the past they’ve been broken up by 8,000 or 9,000 seaters in between.

Beat Instrumental:

How do you feel stuck playing in the middle of a baseball field? Can you get any reaction with the audience going under those conditions?

Leo Lyons:

Well, you have problems getting in and out, with people crushing the cars and so on, but once you’re on stage, provided the P.A. is good, it goes very well.     


U.S. View

Beat Instrumental:

How do your American audience view the groups music?

Leo Lyons:

They are much more musical psychoanalysts over there. They buy a record and analyse the personality of the people playing it, rightly or wrongly. I believe myself that what I put down on bass is an interpretation of my experiences. The Americans are into that a lot whereas the English listen to music as music and don’t go beyond. Americans probably do it to a fault and read too much into it.

Beat Instrumental:

Ten Years After have had their share of knocking from various quarters….

Leo Lyons:

Yes, once you get to a certain stage you’re bound to get knocked, which is good in a way because it means you are worth knocking. People go for Alvin because he plays too fast and so on. Well, music is shaped by the environment of the artists. The Beach Boys light music came out of the beach scene, dragsters and so on, while the New York scene was more earthy, especially Dylan. Because you can see what goes on there, the affluence and the poverty. The way our lives have been, constantly rushing around, comes out in our music. We can’t play slow and relaxed because we don’t feel it. I get the impression that some people think we play fast for the sake of it, which isn’t true at all. It comes from our environment which is fast and speedy. In December we’re going to take a while off to catch up with what’s happened to us, and maybe the music will change as a result.

Beat Instrumental:

It’s also been said that you have deserted your English fans.

Leo Lyons:

It’s difficult to explain this, but if we didn’t keep changing our environment we would stagnate. If you don’t travel, face different sorts of audiences and so on, you don’t progress.

Just as you can be stuck in a job and become bored with your own life, so a musician can get bored, and then of course people get bored listening. So it’s necessary for us to go to America and Europe, but we do intend to do a little more work in England and play a few clubs.

Beat Instrumental:

Why don’t you work clubs now? Is it just the money factor?

Leo Lyons:  

In Los Angeles we worked a 20,000 seater and 2,000 people couldn’t get in. This led to trouble outside with the police using tear-gas, and this sort of thing makes you wary of playing small places. You owe it to the people, regardless of the money, to let them see you, and it’s vital to have their support.

Beat Instrumental:

Now you’ve worked away and achieved great success, what’s your reason for carrying on playing as a band?

Leo Lyons:

We’ve never consciously thought career-wise. As far as live appearances go, we have done everything now. We’re playing the largest audiences it’s possible to play to. Where we can progress, is in recording. We want to better ourselves in this field. It’s important to play live and record. You can write a three minute number, and you take it on the road and it becomes a twenty minute one. So it’s an advantage to throw ideas around and explore them before you go into the studio. We spend less time recording than most people. We’ve tended to go in and record enough material for an album and put it out. The last album, Cricklewood Green was the first one we rehearsed before we went in. Prior to that we’d always rehearsed in the studio.

Beat Instrumental:

How does your material get written and worked out?

Leo Lyons:

Alvin writes most of the songs. He doesn’t tell me what to play, and I don’t tell him what to sing. He writes the words and then all four get together which can of course change his concept of the thing. As for ideas for albums, they are often things you pick up on tour. Perhaps you’ve been playing the basis of a number over the years and it changes within that.

You might get an idea for a new album from just four bars on one night.

Beat Instrumental:

Are you working on a new album?

Leo Lyons:

Alvin has been writing some stuff, and we’re generally formulating ideas. But albums are really a representation of what we feel that particular day. We’re off to Germany after the Isle Of Wight and then we start rehearsing for it.

Beat Instrumental:

Do you plan to record any more singles?

Leo Lyons:

We’ve had a hit single now and it hasn’t affected our policy. Our U.S.  company wanted to put out a cut-down LP track as a dust cover for the album, and they wanted to release it in England. It’s not our policy to release singles as a rule, although we have put out the occasional LP track in the past. So over here we put a live recording on the B-Side and made it thirty three and a third stereo release. We thought it would be bought for the B-Side, mainly by people who buy our albums. We were knocked out when it got in the charts, we had no idea it would be a hit, and we’re not looking for a follow up.


Nearly Starved

Beat Instrumental:

Why do you think the group has become so big over the years?

Leo Lyons:

Our successful formula has been doing what we want to do. Once you start wondering what audiences want to hear you lose direction I think. Before the band started up, we were all earning pretty good money playing around Nottinghamshire with various bands. But we started Ten Years After to play what we wanted to play. It didn’t seem a particularly bright move at the time because we were making money by musically conforming. No one wanted to know and we nearly starved. People would pay us to play as backing group because we were fairly competent musicians so we took it. After all, it wasn’t so bad, you could eat and it was playing. Then we decided to do what we wanted or go under, but be truthful to ourselves whatever happened….and we did go under. Out of 500 people at a gig, five would stand up the front digging it and the other 495 wouldn’t like it. Promoters thought our music was horrible.

Beat Instrumental:

But you started to build up a following….

Leo Lyons:

Yes, we found the Marquee audience, or some of them, tended to like it. We found we could work a blues club in Manchester where they dug it, but we couldn’t play in a ballroom 100 yards down the road. Promoters who liked it then stuck with us and put us on again because they liked the music, even though we weren’t a draw. The Marquee did that. We worked away and got to the stage where we would work a Top Rank Ballroom which would have been certain death at one time. It snowballed and we went on to play Europe, America, and eventually the entire world. This I suppose is the death of the underground. Once that music became commercial it lost its underground nature, but we haven’t lost the music. Commercial means something that sells, it isn’t a sort of music.

Beat Instrumental:

Sooner or later, I suppose your popularity was inevitably begin to dwindle. How long do you see yourselves continuing to play?

Leo Lyons:

We don’t have to carry on doing it now. We’ve enough money to live on, but as long as we want to we will carry on. When we started playing it was a love, but now it’s an addiction, and I get very uptight if I don’t play. It’s a question of having to play and I’ll continue to do so whether people like it or not.



Stagnant Scene

Beat Instrumental:

Do you think you’ll carry your present audience with you as you and they get older ?

Leo Lyons:

New bands are bound to come in, I see them coming up now. But if you can still relate to our music in ten years time, you will like it. Older people still relate to Mantovani after all.

Beat Instrumental:

How do you think the music scene is developing now?

Leo Lyons:

I think it is largely stagnating at the moment, and I think the press are partly to blame. They come along thinking “this is the angle I’ll use” and if they can’t get it – it isn’t a good interview. Sometimes journalists don’t reflect what is going on. You can say that if there is nothing new in the music scene now, it is partly a criticism of journalists. They still say the same old things, a lot of them. You know, about buying houses in the country and so on. That’s just not relevant, because if everyone had the money, they would all probably buy big houses and Rolls Royce’s. It’s the motivation for playing the music that’ the important thing.

At the end of an interview once, I was asked about my house and that was the whole story, when the article came out. I was embarrassed by that, as if it was my whole motivation. What’s the interest in that anyway?

Beat Instrumental:

Surely, British radio and television are just as guilty, if not more so, of this sort of thing?

Leo Lyons:

Yes, the media of T.V. and radio are being wasted. Top of the Pops has got nothing to do with the music scene and I don’t know where Radio One come up with the stuff they play. Where I live in Bedford the single is atrocious. Even a good record sounds awful. We need stereo radio run by people with ideas that aren’t middle of the road. Radio and T.V. are so far away from what’s is happening and that’s what causes things to stagnate. The music fan in England must be a good fan because he doesn’t have the opportunity to hear records casually, he has to go to a concert or buy a record. In the U.S. he’ll hear a thing on the radio, which is good for bands and good for the listener. I’ve bought eight or nine albums in America that I heard on the radio, and no one’s ever heard of them over here. I think the English pop fan deserves a pat on the back for making an effort. Everything seems to be against them.

Beat Instrumental:

I quite agree, but the BBC does have these needle time problems.

Leo Lyons:

Yes, it does have the needle time problems, but the attitude on pop radio live sessions seems to be “Get it over with before the pubs open”. Also their equipment is really dire and the signal that comes out is bad. You can do five minute things on the radio now, but they seem really long. It’s a negative attitude to think “Oh well, it’s only going over a transistor radio, it doesn’t matter”. I’ve got a portable stereo radio that gives hi-fi reproduction when I’m in the States, it’s just as good as a good record set up. I bring it to England and it’s a row, a distorted noise, so I switch off.

Beat Instrumental:

How does English radio (abysmal as it is) compare to the rest of Europe’s though?

Leo Lyons:

I don’t know about radio, but in Germany and Sweden for instance, music is covered excellently on television. We did a German T.V. show and the producer had been to see us at a gig. He was really interested in the music and he told us we had half an hour to do just what we wanted to do, just like on stage. We had 30 or 40 people come along and it came over well. You see, the bloke was involved in the whole thing. He had sympathy for it, which allowed it to come over. We haven’t done a T.V. show in England. At one time this was because they wouldn’t have us. Now it’s because we don’t want to.






October 17, 1970  -  Sounds Magazine





October 17, 1970


Ten Years After have an unusual place in rock idolatry; their live performances of supercharged rock and roll have made them a monster group. Woodstock has made them even bigger, and yet because of their success they’re now at a crossroads. They’ve arrived at the crossroads because their strength, their success, is in their live performance when they come together as a driving, stomping outfit with a feel that they’ve never quite come across with in the studio. But their strength has also proved their weakness because having reached so far they face the possibility of drowning in their own success and being swamped by an audience of screamers, an audience that they never wanted.
Alvin talked about these problems and other things to ROYSTON ELDRIDGE.


“Love Like A Man” was a best selling single—the standard requirement for a group’s appearance on Top Of The Pops yet TYA haven’t appeared to date. Why not?
It’s mainly their lack of artistic integrity, really, and television is a very weird medium for our kind of music anyway. It’s very difficult to get into music on a TV because of various reasons—they’re prone to cutting things and making it as short as possible. I’ve never done a session there but I should imagine it’s in and out as soon as you can.

There’s no real point in us doing it anyway. The thing’s a hit which we didn’t really want in the first place, so what’s the point of plugging it further. One day, maybe, if we can get it together we might go on and play something which we are proud of but it would just be a waste of time at the moment.
The single was just put out as a trailer for the album in the States but Jonathan King wanted it released here and we agreed to it as long as we could have the B side in stereo at thirty three and a third and over eight minutes long. The A side I personally think is a very un-valid thing, it’s not representative of us at all with the solo being cut out. When it comes back in after where the solo was cut, it’s about twice as fast. It makes me shudder every time I hear it.

When we turned down Top Of The Pops we were accused of being superstars and everything but the point is it’s not valid for us to do it. We don’t want to reach the people that watch it and you must admit it’s a pretty poor programme. The bands come on, do their thing, and off.
It’s very watery entertainment , superfluous, nothing real.  
A television enables you to reach a certain market which we’re not really ready for yet , I don’t think we ever will be actually but definitely not at the moment. The concerts draw full capacity anyway and the albums sell much more than the singles have ever done and as musicians that’s all we want…the appreciation of people who listen.
Hit singles tend to bring in people—like the Woodstock film has to a degree—who come to kind of experience the event rather than listen to the music. We try to encourage the listeners rather then those sort of teenyboppers.

Has the Woodstock festival and film appearance affected the group in any way?  
It’s affected the concerts in certain areas like New Jersey where it’s got completely out of hand, you know where it’s like a form of Beatlemania. I hate the word but a lot of people are definitely coming to see us because we’re topical or trendy or what have you. They’re just coming for the event, we played there and there were police barricades outside, it was a joke. We try and discourage it as much as we can—you know all those screamers—without sounding totally ungrateful. It’s flattering in a way but if we can’t hear ourselves then it’s not really worth playing.

The group’s been together a long time now. How does everybody feel at present?
Well we’ve been playing the same number for the last couple of months and you tend to feel a bit machine like and repetitive so we’ll be having a few rehearsals and work on some new numbers which will cheer everybody up a lot. We’re going to make another album, we’ll have some rough rehearsals first and throw a few numbers around, so we know basically what we’ll be doing before we get into the studio. Then we’re going to have a quick shoot around the States—two weeks—and then we’ll have quite a bit of time off for policy talks and everything to work out where we go from here.
I think we’ve gone like so far, we’ve gone beyond where we were actually hoping, so now we’ve got to re-assess what we want to do and what direction we want to go in. We’ve so many ideas at the moment. It’s difficult to know which will be the best for us. Everybody’s had lots of thoughts musically and no chance to put them into any solid form.

We’ve got to decide whether we want to go on just as we are because if we do it might get too out of hand, we might get too teenyboppery. We’ve got to discuss if we want to control it and if so, how we can. It’s been suggested that we don’t do any small clubs anymore which in a way is sad because they always have a very good atmosphere. The question is can we play at any small clubs again? If you get a lot of people turned away at the door, which happened in the States, you get trouble outside. There’s not really the venues in England anyway. There’s such a lot of difference between going down well in the clubs and from stepping up to the Albert Hall. There’s nothing between, say the Marquee, and the Albert Hall and then that’s it.
Once you’ve played the Albert Hall it’s difficult to go back to the Marquee and there’s nothing beyond the Albert Hall really except for the festivals.
I miss the club dates in a way because that was half rehearsal, half playing, sort of thing where we used to experiment a lot. When you’re doing really organised gigs you get rushed in backstage, quarter of an hour before you’re on, and before you know it you’re on, you’ve played and you’re rushed out again.

Have you considered increasing the size or instrumentation of Ten Years After?
Our musical interest in TYA is seeing what we can do with what we have. The format is very loose the way we play now and any more instruments –although it might sound strange—would limit us because then you start getting into set arrangements. As soon as you’ve got a certain section playing this and a certain section playing that, you loose any informal thing that you may have. Now we can just play and if we don’t like the way it is going, I can switch the rhythm around and everyone picks up and we’re off again somewhere else. Any more people than four and you might get some problems.

Do you feel that you’ve reached as far as you can go with four people?
I think when you hear that it’s an excuse. Like King Crimson reached as far as they could go in one album? I don’t believe it, I believe bands break up because of personal problems. I’m sure if we can keep our heads together and keep a good relationship on a personal level, the music will go on forever. It gets to the point when you even surprise yourself with what you’re doing. I don’t like forcing progression, you let it progress naturally, but you can be making and album and you’ll find yourself onto something else which you don’t realise until it’s done. There’s no limitation at all with four people, probably even less with three.

You’re interested in electronics. Have you considered getting into electronic music a little more deeply?
It’s like a hobby thing which is creeping into the albums a bit. I’ve got ideas for using it for effects on stage but there again I’m not too sure because electronics is my personal thing, it’s a hobby, and if it gets to be part of the band, it could ruin the hobby thing about it. Basically we want to stay musical. We want to play music, everyone has interest which are side trips but it’s the music the TYA makes together that is Ten Years After’s music, if you exert any one influence in any one direction on it, it can change the group’s direction and it’s wrong to interfere with something that’s happening all on it’s own. TYA is a fusion of four people and it just happens to work that way. If it doesn’t well, it doesn’t, but if it does that’s fine.
We prefer to let it happen and improvise rather than guide it. We could say, guide it more towards jazz, we could take it to jazz, we could take it anywhere, but we prefer to let it have it’s own natural head and see what happens to it.

You’ve been singled out as the face, the spokesman, of Ten Years After. Does it worry you at all, this superstar image?
Only when I’m accused of doing something that I haven’t done like ego-tripping or being a superstar or something. A lot of it is just stories Rolling Stone did a story about me having my own limousine; it was completely untrue. In fact the actual thing was that it was Ric and his wife travelling in another limmo. I think the reason I’ve been singled out is because I sing and it’s the singer who has the spotlight on all the time. It wasn’t planned that way and whether it’s good or bad I don’t know.
What does get annoying, and what can happen to anyone is that you get put up on a pedestal, somebody puts you up there, and then other people start knocking you off. I long ago realised that whatever you do some people are going to like it and some people aren’t. Some people write things which they can’t possibly know about, the most common is being accused of being on an ego trip. It’s really weird because that’s the one thing that I have always been aware of and tried to avoid.
It’s easy to get too flash and for the seven years that I was struggling I always thought to myself if I got anything together I would definitely not get into one of those flash scenes. And I’ve always done the opposite. I’ve always gone out of my way to be non-egotistical.

What about the criticism that you sacrifice taste for speed in your guitar playing?
I never know how to answer that, I just play the way I want to play and I can see that in some people’s eyes that might be true, but it’s not true to me. I don’t play as fast as I could, I could play a lot faster, I could be a lot showier, a lot flashier and a lot more commercial. If I go too fast for some people then that’s up to them to decide but to actually say something like “he plays too fast”, that’s a very weird thing to say. How do they put themselves into a position to judge anything so definitely. I’m going somewhere, my own style is developing still, and I’m never going to be happy with it. I know that, I’m always striving for something more but I’ve never strived for speed except for perhaps eight years ago when I used to do speed scales and things but that was just to get fluent.
When I’m playing I get kinda heated and then what I play is more or less sub-conscious. I don’t think “now I’m going to play this or I’m now going to play that”, it just happens I don’t see any reason to change it.

I think what is most valid is what is most real and what’s most real comes out naturally. If I play too fast for a lot of people’s taste and I therefore slow down because I want to please them, then it wouldn’t be real anymore.
The whole business is really funny anyway with all the lights coming down on you and all those people looking. I mean how can it be a normal event. I can’t really relate to it, I just do it, I don’t analyse it. If I thought to myself I’m walking out onto a stage, bathed in floodlights, where ten thousand people will be watching. I’d probably crack up and never do it again.

Rock music is being used as a medium of political protest with bands like MC5, Country Joe McDonald, Grateful Dead and our own Edgar Broughton involved. Does this present a difficulty in the States where everyone seems to be on some political bandwagon?

I don’t believe people can learn from other people’s values. What’s right for me isn’t going to be right for someone else. I’m not really interested in politics enough to talk about it and even if I was to use my popularity as a musician as a platform for something else is a bit strange.
When we’re in the States people come into the dressing room and ask you questions but you don’t really talk. You just answer questions—“What do you think of this? What do you think of that? What are your views on this? – They obviously attach importance to your views but I don’t. I don’t attach importance to anyone’s views unless they’re actively involved in it, and I’m not involved in anything besides music—and I don’t think you reach anyone who’s going to do anything about it anyway.

You’ve got a very wide selection of albums here. Do you still listen to people like Broonzy and do you take much notice of what other groups are doing?

No, if I listen to too many rock bands it’s obviously going to influence me in the direction which isn’t very good because we’ll start sounding like someone else. Rock music to me is something that I enjoy playing rather than listening to.
Music to me falls into something like fifty different aspects: music for for listening to for company, nice sounds in the corner like Crosby, Stills, Nash and the Band which just make nice noises to me. And then there’s the intense stuff-jazz and the more progressive rock sounds that get into heavy thing.
I still enjoy listening to the Beatles, I don’t really know why, it’s just a matter of interest to see what they’re up to. I listen to electronic music as a means of escapism. I think that I probably listen to it in the same way as someone who doesn’t play an instrument listens to rock. They’re not aware of the effects and how the instrument is being played, it’s just a noise to them and electronic music is just a noise to me.

There’s been a revival of interest in rock and roll. A lot of bands are going back to those roots. Why do you think this is?
There’s a tendency to go round in circles in music and as a musician tends to progress much faster than the people in the people who are listening, you tend to outgrow the audience after awhile which tends to make you feel less successful. I think this has happened to the Beatles, they’ve gone on in themselves but they’ve left the audience behind a bit and then they try to go back and pick it up where it was but then you lose your own interest in it. I think it’s inevitable that it’ll happen at some stage and if it does then I’m ready for it.





October 24, 1970 - New Musical Express

Is This “Reduced?” – Last week’s New Musical Express stated that Ten Years After were doing a short British tour at reduced prices. After applying for a ticket at Bournemouth Pavilion, I was told that prices were 18s each, 4s. more than Black Sabbath the previous week. Having seen Ten Years After for 12s. twice last year, it seems that prices are spiralling out of all proportion. Guys just haven’t got the bread to throw around at these prices. Greedy promoters will kill off the club circuit by their own actions.

            K.J. Woodford, Christchurch, Hants     




November 1970  -  POPFOTO TEENBEAT






Ten Years After Tour Schedule October to December - 1970

October 27, 1970 – At The Olympia Venue in Paris, France 

November 1, 1970 – At The Pavilion in Bournemouth, England

November 2, 1970 – At The Civic Hall in Dunstable, England

November 3, 1970 – At St. George’s Hall in Liverpool, England

November 12, 1970 – At Winterland in San Francisco, California. This was the beginning of Ten Years After’s eighth tour of the United States.

November 13, 1970 – Ten Years After at Madison Square Garden, New York City. This concert also featured, Brethren and The Buddy Miles Band.  

November 16, 1970 – Ten Years After perform at the Memorial Auditorium in Dallas, Texas

November 18, 1970 – At The Sam Houston Coliseum, in Houston, Texas

November 19, 1970 – At The Jailai Fonton in Miami, Flordia

November 20, 1970 – At The Syndome in Chicago, Illinois 

November 21, 1970 – Ten Years After play at the Berkeley Community Centre in Berkeley, California

November 22, 1970 – At The Hic Arena in Seattle, Washington

November 25, 1970 – At The Seattle Centre Arena in Seattle, Washington

November 26, 1970 – Freedom Palace in Kansas City, Missouri 

November 27, 1970 – Ten Years After play at the historic “Warehouse” in New Orleans, Louisiana

November 28, 1970 – In San Jose, California

November 29, 1970 – At The Sports Arena in San Diego, California

December 1, 1970 – Ten Years After perform at the Atlanta Municipal Auditorium in Atlanta, Georgia








What this country needs – and has always needed – was a sex symbol. Not so much for the boys: there are always loads of Hollywood starlets and models cooing silently from billboards to give young males the stuff that dreams are made of, but something for the girls. After Elvis came the Beatles, then Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison. Now Morrisom’s gone too way out, and Jagger’s gone too way in (into himself, really) and about all a girl can say these days is, “Thank heaven for Alvin Lee!”

What is so astonishing about the handsome and talented leader of Ten Years After
super-group is that he himself felt that he was already beyond superstar – pop idol status at the time that the group first broke big. Their name was a highly accurate, descriptive one – they had been together, more or less, for about ten years when things really started popping, and Alvin thought of himself as a mature, seasoned, musician, and hardly grist for the teeny-boppers´ mill. The teenyboppers thought otherwise. At sell-out concerts everywhere, their frantic screams for the presence of Alvin Lee can be silenced only by his walking out on stage. After that they are quiet. God bless em´ for that. One thing, at least, can be said for this brand of fan: they listen. And that is a groovy thing, as anyone who has ever attended a superstar concert can tell you. Like, people went to the Beatles concerts to see them; it was impossible to hear them, because all their adorers were screaming at the tops of their lungs, and drowning out the possibility of catching a single note. But the audience for groups like Ten Years After has matured, not in age but in taste and respect for their idols. They are no less adoring, but they dig the sounds that the groups are laying down, and they come to listen as well as look.

This is very gratifying to Ten Years After, because they consider themselves to be musicians first and idols after. They each grew up in Nottingham, which for centuries was famous as the hangout of the legendary Robin Hood, but now has a more contemporary claim to fame in the form of the famous foursome. They gigged around the area, first as a trio, then adding Chick Churchill on organ to Leo Lyons on bass and Ric Lee on drums.

Although they are all natives of the same little English town, their roots, as a band are fundamentally American. It was the big beat of American  - rock – the Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry generation of sound – that turned each of them on to opo music, although they had all started playing their respective instruments long before they ever met or thought of becoming professional musicians. And it is the blues, in its purest form, that is the greatest influence on them as a group today.

They started making it big as a group right after the Beatles broke the music scene wide open.

The duality of the situation led to this, they would play the first set of the gig in typical mod gear, velvets, ruffles and the like, and do soft tunes that the girls in the audience went crazy over. Then they would come back to do their second set in rougher work clothes, and play the blues, and that would get to the guys. So from the very beginning, they had the best of both worlds going for them. And the best it was. Alvin had been listening to authentic blues and jazz ever since he was a child. Both of his parents were jazz buffs, and later on, when someone mentioned the work of the late guitar great Charlie Christian, Alvin was able to head home and go through his old records and find just what he needed. This is still another example of English musicians knowing more about American music and musicians than Americans did. Alvin would hang out in the clubs of Jamaicans living on the outskirts of the city in order to dig the music. He listened, and he learned, in the same respectful way that his fans are listening to him today, and for some but not all of the same reasons.

They listen in part, because fans today are so much more knowledgeable than they ever were before. Nobody who screamed over Elvis in the old days ever stopped to think that his gestures, his wiggles, even his songs were taken directly from the soul singers like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Big Mama Thornton, whom he watched and listened to so carefully. But today’s fans know where the roots of the music are, because artists like Alvin Lee have acknowledged their indebtedness and inspiration.

The other reason they listened is because there is a gorgeous man up front worth screaming about. No question. Alvin Lee is a face of today, and a mighty good one at that. He has that famous something that no one has ever been able to define, only identify, by ticking off the names of those who do have whatever it is: Presley, McCartney, Morrison, Jagger, Sinatra in the middle ages: maybe James Taylor in the soon. But right now, it’s Alvin Lee country, and we all want passports!    





November 7, 1970  - New Musical Express

Live Concert – Ten Years After – Front Row Reviews – By Roy Carr –

Without a doubt, Ten Years After have always been a people’s band … playing to and for their audiences. Never over or above their heads. Despite the fact that it seemed like the start of the monsoon season, Ten Years After filled the Civic Hall at Dunstable on Monday Night to the point of overflowing. It was a most enjoyable night when Alvin, Chick, Leo and Ric went back to the roots and created some nice crowd reaction. Starting with the now familiar riff of … “Love Like A Man,” they then presented some new material from their next album, which included “I’m Coming On”. “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” brought forth cheers of approval and countless bobbing heads”. “I’m Going Home” was the obvious show – stopper, which had Chick a – top of his Hammond organ leading the cheering, yelling, dancing crowd into a right old rave-up for their encore of “Sweet Little Sixteen”. Those who did wish to make Ten Years After the subject of their own petty controversy should be left well alone to get on with their mindless rappings. For me, I’d rather just go along like most people and hear some good contemporary rock.




New  Musical  Express  November  7, 1970



November 13, 1970  -  Capitol Theatre, Madison Square Garden, New York City

Concert Poster








Billboard Magazine - 28 November 1970


From Cash Box – 11/13/ 70

Ten Years After and The Buddy Miles Express Concert

Madison Square Garden – New York, N.Y.

Madison Square Garden NYC. Judging from their November 13, 1970 Madison Square Garden performance, two things became apparent: Firstly, that the new material being prepared by Alvin Lee and Company for their forthcoming “Watt” LP is far superior to their previous efforts, and secondly, organist Chick Churchill serves little or no function with the group during live concerts.

“I’m Coming On” and “She Lies In The Morning” the two new cuts performed by Ten Years After are more rock oriented as opposed to their traditional blues style that so predominated their earlier albums. These two selections prove that Alvin Lee is capable of leaving the blues roots behind and able to venture forth into new musical realms.

A sudden relief !

Chick Churchill though, poses somewhat of a problem. In the studio, he is effective, but live, he contributes so little to the groups overall sound, that I’ve often wondered why Ten Years After hadn’t performed as a trio. Be that as it may, Ten Years After is a super group, and in the tradition of super groups, the screaming audience wildly applauded their every move, now that’s success !

Preceding Ten Years After was The Buddy Miles Band. Miles, drummer now turned vocalist, got the audience to its feet on several occasions with his performances of “Them Changes” and Neil Young’s “Down By The River” both taken from earlier LP’s. His band was tight at all times, and played a short set of “get up and dance music”

The opening act, Brethren seemed to be the most creative amongst all the performers on the show, but I got the feeling that their music was somehow lost somewhere within the huge Garden complex. In a smaller hall, the audience would have given them the attention they deserved.

By K.K.





November 14, 1970  New Musical Express – New Music News

Led Zeppelin is virtually certain not to appear in this country before 1971, and Ten Years After’s projected concert at London Royal Albert Hall on December 9th has been cancelled by the venue’s management as a result of damage caused there during the group’s last appearance at the hall. Zeppelin was to have undertaken four or five concerts at major venues in late November or early December – including the

Albert Hall – but manager Peter Grant has been unable to find halls willing to accept the group, because so many are apprehensive about possible rioting.

Ten Years After last appeared at the Albert Hall on December 15, 1969 – A number of seats were damaged by fans, and the group has now been banned from appearing there. A spokesman for the Albert Hall told the New Musical Express, that application had been made to book the venue for the Ten Years After concert on December 9th, but that the booking had been rejected “because of the trouble which occurred the last time the group was here”. A spokesman for Ten Years After’s  management said:

“More and more venues are refusing to book rock groups, and it is becoming impossible to find large halls to accommodate them. It is no use playing small clubs, because many fans would be turned away, and those allowed in would be extremely uncomfortable”.




November 14, 1970




Melody Maker – From November 14, 1970

“Rock Causes Trouble” Ten Years After Banned From Playing London’s Royal Albert Hall On December 9, 1970 – Alvin Lee says “Unfair to Fans”


Alvin Lee, leader of Ten Years After, lashed out this week against a ban on the group’s projected concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall on December 9th. The date was cancelled because the hall’s management fear the group will provoke damage and vandalism.

“Our music is not violent,” Alvin told Melody Maker, “But it does provoke excitement, and people may climb on chairs to get a better view. “But we are all fully insured. The last time we played there we paid out  200 £ for damage to chairs. “A ban like this is hardly fair to fans. The Albert Hall is the only place in the centre of London with the capacity for a good concert. It seems the Royal Albert Hall is doing a bit of an Establishment thing. They seem more interested in giving out Duke of Edinburgh prizes, than putting on a pop show.”

Would Alvin and Ten Years After accept the ban? “We shall do what we can to protest,” he added. “But I can’t see myself walking up and down with banners outside the hall.”

Chris Wright, of the Chrysalis Agency, told the Melody Maker, “I called the Albert Hall, and was told I could have December 9th, when there had been a cancellation. Then someone phoned to say they didn’t want Ten Years After to appear there.”

A spokesman for the Royal Albert Hall confirmed that the Ten Years After booking had been rejected. The spokesman said: “A ban does apply to some groups, where we’ve had trouble.

“It may seem very harsh and a bit arbitrary, but there was trouble at a concert in which Ten Years After appeared about eighteen months ago.”  




November 14, 1970 - Spectrum, Philadelphia


Concert Poster


Hard Rock Lives On At The Spectrum By Jack Lloyd Of The Inquirer Staff.

Alvin Lee… Here From Britain. Acoustic Guitars, Softer Sounds, Intricate Harmonies, Finesse… These Are The Elements That Are Receiving A Steadily Increasing Amount of Attention These Days. But Don’t Fret, Darlings, That Good Old Fashioned Hard Rock Lives On. There Are Still More Than A Few High Powered Amplifiers That Are Regarded With Tender Affection.

Case In Point: A Case In Point Was Made At The Spectrum On Thursday Night During A Rock Concert Headlined By "Ten Years After" One of The More Powerful Groups That Periodically Makes The Economy-Minded Pilgrimage From England To The Colonies. Also On Hand Were Another Brand of British Marauders Called The "Mott The Hoople" and the Philadelphia Based "Sweet Stavin Chain."

Low Key Vocals: Lee Is Hardly One of The Best Rock Vocalist Around. The Sholiowness of His Tones Are Especially Emphasized On The Low-Key Vocals That He Occasionally Throws In To Slow Down The Proceedings. But On Those Good Old Hard Rock Outburst That Are The Sum and Substance of The Group’s Appeal. Lee Overcomes The Weakness of The Flesh With Sheer Brute Force-A Raucous Vocal Breakthrough That Soars Out On The Back of A Throbbing Rhythm Section and His Own Brilliant Guitar.

Rock Revivals: There Was Also An Abundance of Hard-Hitting Rock Provided By The New Group Called "Mott The Hoople" Which Is More Than Capable of Hitting Acid Rock Plateaus But Really Doesn’t Stir Up The Folks Until The Group Cuts Loose With Their Romping Rock and Roll Revivals of Such "Classics" As "A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On." And When You Hear The Response From Those In The Crowd, Who Were Barely Able To Toddle In The Heyday of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, You Suspect That Maybe Rock Had Its Grandest Hour Back In Those Innocent 50’s.

Note: From Concert-Archives.org


November 14, 1970  -  The Triangle - Concert Review

- Independent Student Newspaper, Drexel University -






November 18, 1970  -  Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas


November 22, 1970  -  HIC Arena, Honolulu International Center


November 25, 1970  -  Seattle Center Arena


November 28, 1970  -  Santa Clara County Fair Grounds Pavilion, San Jose, California


Ten Years After – Tuesday December 1, 1970 – Atlanta Auditorium

“It was like I was going through a door and into an alternate universe. I’m not sure that I ever came back into this one after that experience. That was a heavy scene."




1970 November 25  -  Ciao2001 - Italian Magazine, No. 47








1970 December - French Magazine BEST




WATT - Release Date 10 December 1970

Watt by Ten Years After, shows how much the group has matured during the last few months.

Alvin Lee is still the star with his inventive guitar playing and funky singing, but the other members get a chance to shine, particularly CHICK CHURCHILL on piano, and organ. Included is Sweet Sixteen, a ‘live’ recording from that historic Isle of Wight concert—and it’s a knockout (Deram).

Tracks: I’m Coming On; My Baby Left Me; Think About The Times; I Say Yeah; The Band With No Name; Gonna Run: She Lies In The Morning; Sweet Little Sixteen. 





This review is from: Watt (Audio CD)

In hindsight Ten Years After's breakthrough (their star-making turn at Woodstock in 1969, and especially when they featured prominently in the film of the festival) was both the best and the worst that could have happened. The best because it graduated them to a real semblance of commercial success on their own terms after two years' slogging (and an unforgettable live album, "Undead," still the best set of their career); the worst because they'd spend the next two years trying to live up to it and running out of gas. A decent remastering job still cannot overcome the point that "Watt" sounds written and cut under sheer exhaustion---which is probably how it was cut in the first place. (It also finished their original recording contract.)

After the last truly luminous exercise of their career (the marvelous "Cricklewood Green"), here is a band just about out of ideas. Which is saying something for a band that didn't exactly have pocketfuls of ideas above and beyond their distinctive enough marriage of blues and bluesy jazz. ("Undead," their early live set, is the best example of that marriage and probably the best album of their career.) How drained were they? The lyrics (never a TYA attribute in the first place) are even more throwaway than in the past; the butterfingered guitar runs sound extremely repetitive (against each other and against a lot of Alvin Lee's earlier exercises) and almost mechanically executed; and, even allowing for bad recording, the version of "Sweet Little Sixteen" that closes the set, drawn from a 1970 concert, sounds anything but the band whose rip-snorting Woodstock set made them superstars in the first place.

If "Watt" was Ten Years After's way of saying they were gassed, they couldn't have done it more vividly. The lone exception, perhaps: "Gonna Run," which graduates almost seamlessly from a simplistic but paranoid-sounding stroll into an exuberant, jazzy blues jam not dissimilar to what they loved to unhorse pre-Woodstock---so exuberant, in fact, that you'd be forgiven if you suspected Lee and the guys were really yelling "Stop!" to the two-year whirlwind that slammed them to this point. They took a long break (and signed with a new label, Columbia) after this album hit the racks. Then, they tried a mild shakeup, adding a few folk and soft rock elements to an attempt to streamline their style a little more overtly. They got away with it for one album ("A Space in Time," their first and best Columbia album), learned the hard way it wasn't really them (they hinted as much with "A Space in Time"'s closing track, the quick "Undead"-like "Uncle Jam"), and faded away quietly enough by 1974, not exactly the way you would have expected one of Woodstock's biggest breakouts to go at the time of the festival.



I'm Coming On  /  Think About The Times -  Single published in Japan 1970


I'm Coming On / My Baby Left Me  -  published in Germany


I'm Coming On / She Lies In The Morning  -  published in France


From Melody Maker - December 19, 1970


Ten Years After: “Watt” (Deram)
In the past most would agree that the figure of Alvin Lee has dominated the group, as a guitar hero, rock idol, singer and writer. But from the evidence of this solid, unpretentious album of modern group wailing, Ten Years After are now much more of a band.
It’s nice to hear Chick Churchill’s piano and organ coming through strongly on the swinging jazz blow “Gonna Run,” and adding meaningful chords to “Think About The Times.”
Leo Lyons and Ric Lee make a driving rhythm section and Ric gets a nice “feel” going particularly on numbers like “She Lies In The Morning.” Production is excellent and has only sparing of use of gimmicks that became a little heavy handed on one of their previous albums.
The significance of the Duane Eddy inspired “The Band With No Name” followed by street noises is somewhat obscure—but it sounds effective! Alvin sings in a painless style that makes him a good band vocalist without being a new Neil Young , and his guitar playing displays invention and good taste without any of the excessive histrionics of which he sometimes stands accused.

It’s fun to hear the “Sweet Little Sixteen” track a “live” recording from the Isle Of Wight festival and the first from that extraordinary event we have heard. The drums stomp along. Alvin shouts with funky power and blows a mean guitar….and the crowds cheer. When they write the history of rock (if they haven’t already), Ten Years After could well be exemplified as the archetypal crowd pleasing, open air festival, guitar boogie shuffling rock band. And for proof that they have even more to offer—give an ear to “watt” they have been doing in the studio.

Photo by Thom Lukas



From  December  26,  1970





Record Mirror – December 26, 1970

When The Riffing Has To Stop – By Garry Monroe

Ten Years After “Watt” Album Review

Well, this is going to be a very successful album – following on precisely from “Cricklewood Green” with Alvin Lee’s guitar as the dominant factor. “Watt” starts with Lee’s own “I’m Coming On,” a fast number displaying Lee’s fast guitar-work.

That’s followed by “My Baby Left Me” a slow blues, and not the Arthur Crudup number – again written by Alvin Lee. The next two tracks, “Think About The Times” and “I Say Yeah” are both taken at the same tempo, a little more relaxed than the opening track, and both based around a permanent riff. The opening track on side two,

“The Band With No Name” is a little different taken a little more lightly than the other, with Lee on acoustic guitar. “Gonna Run” built around a medium-paced riff, while “She Lies In The Morning,” the long third number, changes tempo mid-way.

           The final track is Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” – recorded live at the Isle Of Wight Festival August of this
           year. Altogether, a certain chart entry and presumably, a must for Ten Years After fans. But really, the riffs must be
          wearing a little thin by now, and as for the groups version of “Sweet Little Sixteen,” well, I prefer Chuck Berry.






New Musical Express
December  26, 1970 



After a break of several months since the last album, during which time they managed a record-breaking American tour, a smash appearance at the Isle Of Wight Festival, and—ye Gods!—even a hit single, Ten Years After have popped up again with a splendid effort designed to bring joy to their fans as they gather round the log fire digesting the Christmas pud.

The brave hero Alvin Lee is up front again, collecting the honours as he races away on his electric steed (heavily disguised as a guitar), but loveable Chick Churchill plays a more audible part than of late, while Leo Lyons and Ric Lee consolidate their respective positions of strength within the merry band.

In no time at all, I expect to see the album cutting a dash up the rungs of the ladder of fame, sometimes known as the chart, and mighty will be the roar of the pennies clanking into the coffers of the record company, and the group alike. But enough of this little tattle, here is a track by track run down on the goodies in store:

      1.I’m Coming On:

Not to be confused with the TYA standard I’m Going Home, this features Alvin building patterns on Leo’s repetitious bass riff. Ric’s drumming compliments the bass on a number that is mostly instrumental with a fast and exciting build up. 

 2.My Baby Left Me: 

Piano chords introduce a slow blues with Alvin’s voice revealing traces of Dylan. It suddenly switches to a boogie rhythm. Alvin and Lee fusing their music together, then reverts to the original mood before once again picking up the alternative theme.

 3.Think About The Times:

Another slow blues, Leo’s bass is prominent playing very clearly, and leading the other instruments in support of the vocals. The lead guitar solo midway is subdued with a lot fuzz on it.

 4. I Say Yeah:

A long track, Alvin creates all manner of effects at times sounding like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and Leo plays superbly, proving his leadership in the field of bass players. The excitement mounts, and the toes begin to tap.

 5. The Band With No Name:

Very short and obviously a spoof, this sounds like the theme from “A Handful Of Lire” or some other spaghetti Western.

 6.Gonna Run:

A variation on the basic 12-bar that has been used by thousands of bands for many, many years. The difference here is the way in which TYA build the tempo gradually. Chick’s piano becoming more prominent as the number progresses. There’s the famous Alvin Lee-Leo Lyons combination of Leo running up and down the scale, and Alvin relaxing into a jazz mood. The drumming is skippy and fluent, and the piano takes a very good solo, rolling and jumping about in fine form.

 7. She Lies In The Morning:

The drums show the way on what begins as a medium-tempo rocker that gets so fast it sounds as if the tape has been speeded up. As suddenly as it increases in speed, the whole thing slows almost to a crawl before the drums, bass and piano tempt the lead guitar into a fit of wildness.

 8. Sweet Little Sixteen

Recorded “live” at the Isle Of Wight Festival, it packs a hell of a lot of power and gets right into a beautiful rock and roll beat. The excitement generated by the crowd and the group makes up for the poor recording quality. If you listen closely you may even hear my piercing whistle at the end. Where are my royalties, Alvin?  






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