TEN YEARS AFTER -  January to June




Photographer: Ed Caraeff

Record Mirror – January 1, 1972

Ten Years After have been awarded their first gold disc, for sales worth in excess of  $1,000,000 for their album, “A Space In Time”. The group will make its first tour of the British University Circuit since 1969 this month. The dates are: Reading January 8th, Birmingham 13th, Sheffield 14th, Lancaster 15th, Cardiff 19th, Liverpool 21st, Leeds 22nd, Brighton 25th, Nottingham 27th, Salford 28th, and Lancaster 29th.

TYA will be supported by Jude, a new group formed by ex-Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower and former Jethro Tull drummer Chris Bunker, on the dates at Cardiff, Brighton and Nottingham. At Sheffield, Salford and Lancaster, Supertramp will be the supporting act.



January 1972  - Muziek Parade magazine







29 January 1972






February 1972  -  Musik Express magazine















February 1972

“Alvin Lee and Ten Years After did a tour of Scandinavia with us supporting (Patto). On the first night we played an absolute perfect set, and not one person applauded. NOT ONE!

Then Ten Years After come on, they hadn’t played for six months. Ric Lee, their drummer was so rusty, it was unbelievable. It was like Sweep playing the drums, with Sooty on the magic organ! And the audience went crazy. It made me wonder, what it was all about…certainly not about going on and playing well. Anyway, Alvin Lee couldn’t believe how sensational and extraordinary Ollie Halsall, our guitarist was. He’d never heard him before, and he absolutely flipped. So he got a Revox tape recorder, and recorded every single Patto gig on the tour. Alvin even used to travel from gig to gig in our van. He just wanted to be with Ollie”.

From John Halsey - Patto’s drummer


24 February 1972 - Stockholm, Sweden

3 March 1972 - Berlin, Germany



Danish Magazine "vi unge" February 1972



Poster, Danish Magazine "vi unge"






in Düsseldorf, Germany



Photos taken by

Hans Hübner

Courtesy of 

B & D

9. März 1972

Brigitte's original ticket
DM 9,50



The following photos were taken by Hans Hübner - 5 March 1972 at Philipshalle Düsseldorf











Photographer: Hans Hübner






6 March 1972 - Offenburg







11 March, 1972 - pep Magazine Cover,  Holland









24 March 1972 -  Ahoy Hall, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Leo Lyons & Alvin Lee       Photographer: Frans Verpoorten



25 March 1972  -  National Forest Brussels

  Photographer: Jean-Yves Legras


  Photographer: Claude Gassian




 DISC -  March 25, 1972      

 “Alvin Lee on the Hassles of Being a Success”

Alvin Lee is currently suffering from a surfeit of everything. He’s had too much touring, too much hype, too much idolatry. Nowadays the band can’t play without being drowned by screaming or a constant barrage of blue flash bulbs from photographers. They’re hounded at airports and their records are bootlegged.

“As a band we were always thinking, perhaps we were being successful and achieving something, but this is the first year we’ve felt we’ve actually done it to some degree. Before we were still kind of struggling to control what we were doing, and now it’s settled down. Tours come easily; the music changes, it’s almost boring because nobody’s struggling any more. “I used to enjoy the days when we’d get into the van together and sit in it for five hours, our heads were much more together then. Now there’s no hassle and you have a clockwork schedule to follow, and a tour is run like a campaign. It completely does away with that feeling of companionship.”

Alvin is talking at his large Berkshire home. It is homely and comfortable, with lots of bric-a-brac gathered on tours. One room is devoted to his photography and filming, a passionate hobby, which seems to be fast overtaking the music, with a screen that pulls down from the ceiling, and lots of big cushions sprawled on the floor for happy viewing.

                                           I Want To Make A Film

He runs through some excellent slides he’s taken in America, France and here and there. He undoubtedly has photographic talent, and is still very proud of the article a photographic magazine did on him. We also listen to some tapes of numbers for the next album, which the band recorded in France recently, using the “Rolling Stones” mobile unit. They have captured a raw, driving bite not often heard offstage, with some beautiful rock and blues numbers. They hired a chateau to record in and used the vast marble hall so the drums have a metallic bounce, and the organ echoes off into the distance. Alvin was amazed at how much was due to the unit, and how much to its psychological effect.

“Another drag about being successful,” says Alvin, “is having to record out of the country to avoid tax. I wish it would all be logical and straightforward, but instead you get more and more into sympathy with Ray Davies singing about the taxman taking all his dough. “It’s unfair anyway because you’ve got ten years maximum in this job, unless you want to go on and do cabaret work, and there’s no way I’m going to be doing that. I want to get into producing and recording; I want to make a film. There’s so many things I want to do, it’s like standing at a multi-crossroads.” Before we go any further, let it be stressed, that this doesn’t in any way mean Ten Years After will split. A group that has been together for as long, and through as much as they have, doesn’t just cave in overnight. Alvin is merely taking stock of his thoughts; pausing before starting their thirteenth tour of America. Since the hoo-hah following Woodstock, the posters, the superstar treatment that Alvin got, which he didn’t want, he’s obviously been doing a lot of thinking, which has left him feeling rather wistful and nostalgic for the pre-success days.

“We just wanted musical success really, the money is great when you earn it, it allows you to put things back into what you’re doing. Before we were just starving to do well, we were so hell-bent on getting through, we would work every night we could. When we did make it, we had so much work coming in, we were on our knees, and not daring to turn any of it down.”

“You see, we need to reach beyond our capabilities, and now we come to the point where, are we best to reach a bit further, or are we best to play the things we’re doing well? We’re going to try and do some stock old blues things, and see how that comes out, integrated with other live things. The band isn’t the kind of band that can just play in a studio. “The Beatles reached out in the studio, and didn’t play live at all, and a lot of bands are doing more studio than live things now, but we’ve always been more of a live band, and you get a feedback from an audience, which keeps you in touch, and stops you going out on a limb. “But concerts, in some places become more and more difficult. In Germany recently, there were fifty photographers out in front with flash bulbs going the whole time. It was terrible for us, and terrible for the audience. I stopped playing and got somebody to come onstage and tell them to stop in German, but they all started up again three minutes later. And once you begin to notice the hassles, it’s a psychological thing, and it gets worse, like at Madison Square Gardens, about two percent kept quiet.

                                              English Tours Are Fantastic

“English tours are fantastic because they just sit and listen, we want to do more in England, but the commercial aspects mean you have to play the bigger places, abroad as well, and of course the places where the money is, there’s thousands of people pushing and shoving and screaming, and you feel like a circus freak.” Alvin now realises the need for him to get into other things for relaxation, and diversification, otherwise his music will suffer. “I need to diversify my interest, I’m so wrapped up in music, I just get technically involved and bogged down. The music I enjoy playing now on my own is virtually Music. I need a fresh outlook, something I can get into.”

Alvin has wanted to make a film for some time. He wanted to take a camera and sound crew on the road with the band some years back, and make a film about touring, but then “200 Motels” came out, and said more or less everything he wanted to. Alvin also wants to produce a group, although he realises the irony of the situation, as he himself is terribly anti-producers. “I would never use one because I believe a true musician is the only person to produce the music on record. Lots of producers will say, “Oh, we’ll make that bass a bit more like James Brown.” But my ideals about music seem to be less and less important. But to produce a group properly, I must be completely into their music, and respect them.”

  Alvin also despairs of the music that is selling in these days. Ten Years After struggled for years unheard, but playing the music they loved, and believed in. “But now, you get bands playing so-called progressive things because it’s the thing to play, and it’s gone very shallow. I get sad when I hear all this middle of the road stuff too, because it will mean that everything we struggled for musically, over the past four years, everything the under-ground brought over-ground, will slip away and mean nothing, and more serious music won’t have got a hold.”

Alvin also wants to do some more electronic music, which he experiments with endlessly at home. He won’t use a Moog, because he reckons that’s cheating, but fiddles around with microphones on brass plates, and echo effects. He’s got hours of tape, and is considering giving it to somebody to put out if they’re interested.

!I mostly write things for the band, but what we put out is an amalgamation of all of us, so for every one number of mine we do, there’s eight the others haven’t liked, that I’ve still got on tape. I’m not saying they’re fantastic, but they’re a lot better than some things I’ve heard that people have put out.” 

Article written by Caroline Boucher    









Ten Years After - Alvin Lee & Company (Deram Records)

This LP, is a compilation of  previously unreleased material recorded prior to their label switch, (To Chryalis Records)  would seem to be comprised of mainly throw-away cuts which is definitely not the case. The material is easily as exciting and diverse as that exhibited on their “Space In Time” LP. (1971 – Columbia Records)

Alvin Lee again establishes that he is a consummate guitarist, his licks irresistibly insistent. Check out – “The Sounds” – “Boogie On” and “Portable People”.  


New  Musical  Express  April 1, 1972  




Ten Years After – "Alvin Lee & Company" 1972

This is a collection of songs that didn’t make it onto the studio albums during the 1967-1969 period. The original album features six tracks, the last one being a mini-jam-session called, “Boogie On”, which uses up as much running time as the other five combined. The jam evolves around a simple riff, that’s played over and over and from time to time being interrupted by Chick Churchill’s organ, Ric Lee’s drums, Leo Lyon’s bass and Alvin Lee’s guitar solos, that feature all of the usual aural gimmicks. However, the first five songs on the first side are a totally different matter. Plain old boogie-woogie songs, represented by, “Rock Your Mama” and “Hold Me Tight”. Then there’s some old blues with the Robert Johnson classic, “Standing At The Crossroads”, then a simple sounding bluegrass shuffle called, “Portable People”. It’s only “The Sounds” that comes across as an “experimental” piece, complete with the obligatory synth effects with a grim and desperate mood.

These out-takes all fit into the criteria of “Good but not Perfect” category, as each one of them shows distinct flaws, which make it understandable exactly why they never made it onto the official studio albums in the first place. They come across as exactly what they are, generic, underdeveloped and inferior to other similar ones. The reason being, these tracks were never intended to be released in the first place, the Decca Record Company high jacked

Ten Years After’s unfinished  work, when the band decided to change record companies, and that’s how this release came about. To cash in on the bands current success. 

By Gene Herbert CA. 




Ten Years After – “Alvin Lee and Company” - 1972 

This originally surfaced as a six-track retrospective in 1972, after the band left Decca for Chrysalis. It now includes three extra cuts, the seven-minute blues B-side, “Spider In My Web”, and the mono-only single edits of two of their most famous tracks, “Hear Me Calling” and “I’m Going Home”.

The original album was dominated by the fifteen-minute “Stonedhenge” out-take, “Boogie On”, which is exactly the way it sounds. The 1968 export single “Rock Your Mama” and “Hold Me Tight” are in a similar vein, while the live “Crossroads” isn’t very exciting.

More worthwhile are the brooding “The Sounds”, which opens  the CD, and the 1968 A-side “Portable People”, which belongs in the same distinguished company as Canned Heat singles like “On The Road Again”.







1972, April 3

Bern, Switzerland

Many thanks to Christoph Müller for his contributions



April 5, 1972  -  Der Bund - Concert Review


Ten Years After in der Festhalle Bern, Ostermontag 3. April
"Der Bund", 5. April  1972



April 6, 1972  -  Concert Review   - "Thuner Tagblatt"  newspaper




16 April 1972  -  ciao2001




April 17 - Winnipeg Arena



Ten Years After with Procol Harum


April 28, 1972   (our thanks to Alessandro B.)



April 29, 1972  - Concert Review   -  "Die Tat" newspaper



Ten Years After in concert, April 29, 1972

 at the University of the Pacific - Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium, which is a Stockton, California Landmark. It first opened in 1950 and overnight it became the city’s entertainment centre. The Stagg Stadium really was the centrepiece of the Stockton Campus, because it hosted so many big sports and concert events. A lot of our alumni have a lot of fond memories of events that took place there. When the rock group Ten Years After performed at the stadium, the opening bands were, Wild Turkey and the Tower of Power. On May 5, 1972 the rock band Chicago also performed at the stadium. The Ten Years After Set List, is as follows:

  1. One Of These Days
  2. Once There Was A Time
  3. Good Morning Little School Girl
  4. Hobbit
  5. Slow Blues In C
  6. Classical Thing
  7. Scat Thing
  8. I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes
  9. I’m Going Home
  10. Choo – Choo – Moma
  11. Baby Won’t You Let Me Rock and Roll You
  12. Sweet Little Sixteen
  13    Roll Over Beethoven


All was not peaceful at this concert. Garry Lemmons, a nineteen year old Madesto, California cannery worker, was killed and another man wounded from a “wild gun shot” during an altercation at the Pacific Memorial Stadium Concert that featured England’s Ten Years After, the Bay Area’s own Tower of Power and Ex-Jethro Tull members who formed Wild Turkey. 

This and the fact that three men suffered strychnine poisoning at a Chicago Transit Authority concert in 1972, which drew an estimated 20,000 people, brought an end to the concert run there. Marc Corren recalled that on May 10, 1969 – the stadium hosted the “Pacific Pop Festival” which featured: Santana, Cold Blood, Elvin Bishop and Sons of Champin.

A very sad ending to something that started out so good and positive.


The Audience Photo Above Was Taken By Alvin Lee From The Band's Stage Perspective






Record Mirror – April 29, 1972

Ten Years After – Alvin Lee & Company (Deram)

This is an album, that it must be pointed out, that Ten Years After are totally against the release of, since moving on to another record company (Columbia). Only six tracks are featured here, including the mammoth “Boogie On” lasting over fourteen minutes.

Heads around the Lyceum might bob to a live performance like this, but on record it’s pretty disastrous, with each member taking a solo outing on their own instrument, then join in all together for the big build up. The opening track “The Sounds” has a fair vocal treatment and the most interesting aspect of “Rock Your Mama” is the vocal effect, that is alternating between each speaker in stereo. But generally, it’s all pretty uninspiring.

Article by V.M




POP Magazine, May 1972





6 May, 1972 - New Musical Express



New Musical Express 6/5/1972

Question: To Get Into Another Completely Different Kettle of Fish, As They Say.

What Do You Feel About Decca’s Release of Alvin Lee & Company. I Know We Mentioned It Earlier, But We Didn’t Completely Go Into It. Could You Tell Me About The Material On That Particular Album?

Answer: It’s Left Over From Albums. It’s Left Over From "Stoneheng". "B" Sides of Singles Which Were Put Out and Were Nothing To Do With Us Anyway. You Can’t Tell Them They Can’t, It’s Like Saying You Can’t Have Any Money – "Well" – You Say, "If You Release A Single It’s The Record Company Promotion For The Album. We Don’t Do "Top of the Pops" and We Don’t Do Any Television. We Won’t Do Any Promotion On It, So Please Yourself." This Album Is The "B" Sides. One’s A Very Early Single We Did At The Same Time We Recorded The First Album. It’s Not Too Bad: Everybody’s Interested To See What Kind of Material We Decided Not To Put On Our Albums For Them To Buy. But Apart From That, They Didn’t Consult Us On What They Call The Packaging of It. They Didn’t Say They Were Going To Use A Photograph of Me and Call It "Alvin Lee and Company" If They Had I Would Have Said No. What In Fact I Said Was, "If They’re Going To Release An Album of Rubbish, Why Don’t We Look Around Ourselves For Better Material To Use?

Question: Would You Object To Decca Releasing "The Best Of…"?

Answer: You Can’t Object. We Have A Recording Contract Which Everybody Has To Sign,

They Own The Songs. We Can’t Re-Record With Decca. They’ve Got Thirty-Five Original Songs, Some of Which We Play Completely Differently Now Because of Those Deals.

We Signed When We Were A Bit Green. We Don’t Even Own The Rights To Play The Stuff, Which Is Sad. But It’s Irrelevent Really, Because We’re More Concerned In Doing New Stuff. I Don’t Mind Albums Being Released, As Long As People Know They’re Leftovers.

If They Did Do A "Best Of" It Could Be Good and It Could Be Bad. There’s Nothing We Could Do About It. The Thing Is, We Could Do A Better One, But They Won’t Communicate With Us About It.

Question: How Long Have You Been Together As A Band, and How Long In The Present Form?

Answer: About Four and a Half Years. There’s No Reason For The Band Not To Continue In Its Form For A Long, Long Time. A Band As Old As We Are, Has A Problem In Keeping Ourselves In Tune With The Music We Play. The More We Play, The More Rehearsals We Do, Because The More Used We Get To Hearing What We Do. When You’re Doing An Extensive Tour – Playing Every Night – What You’re Doing Is Performing Your Music To The Audience Every Night. After Awhile, Although There Are Subtle Differences Which A Musician Could Get Into, It Does Tend To Sound Much of a Muchness. You Tend To Fall Into What You Did Last Night, Because "That Sounded Good Enough". That’s The Kind of Attitude That Comes In. It’s Really Hard Playing Every Night and Travelling On A Plane.

You Don’t Have Much Time To Rehearse Or Think of New Ideas. This Is Why We Work In Tours, Rather Than Just Play. We Do A Tour For A Month, Play Every Night, Then Throw New Ideas Around. If We Can Come Out With Three New Numbers For The Next Tour, Well That’s Enough To Get Into. We Record Every Night Ourselves. We Always Record Ourselves Live, and We Listen Back To The New Numbers and Make Changes.

Question: About Two Years Ago You Nearly Went To Russia, But You Didn’t Go There,

Are You In The Future Planning To Do Iron Curtain Concerts?

Answer: Well No. That’s One Thing That "Woodstock" Stopped, Actually Because We Were Going To Play The Iron Curtain Countries On A Basis of a Cultural Exchange. "Woodstock"

Led Them To Believe It Would Be More A Rock ’n’ Roll Concert Than A Cultural Exchange, Which In All Fairness, It Probably Would. So I Don’t Think There’s Much Possibility of That Happening Now. We Get Loads of Letters Now From Iron Curtain Countries. They Can’t Buy Albums There, They’re So Surpressed, Silly Things Like They Can’t Buy A Ten Years After Album Or Anything. It Really Affects These People and They Write and Say They’ll Exchange Their Czechoslovakian Folk Records For Anything We Can Let Them Have.

It’s Sad, Sad. Something Like Music, Man, You Should Be Able To Go and Listen To Whatever You Want. Ideally, You Should Be Able To Go Whereever You Want and Say Whatever You Want. But It Does Seen Difficult In This Over Populated World.





The Private Life of Alvin Lee  -  by Simon Stable

New Musical Express  May 6, 1972

 Alvin Lee of Ten Years After seems to spend more time on tour than on holiday, but recently before yet another American tour, I managed to get to see him at his country home. After a pleasant and enjoyable chat he played me a track he’d written and recorded the night before, a number  he’s thinking of putting on the next album. It was another of his fast foot-tapers with plenty of harmonica and guitar panning from side to side. He told me he was planning to call the song “Holy Shit”, though he did say he might be forced to change the title and some of the words. I’ve known Lee for about three years and, despite his success, I’ve always found him to be an easy-to-get-on-with guy. He is, as the following interview may show, an interesting and intelligent person.  

After your third album “Stonedhenge”, why did you change producers? Why produce yourself?

Good question. Well, when we did our first album we were very new to the whole recording situation, and our producer was provided with the studio and we were told to appear at ten o’clock in the morning and make an album. And it was out in four days. We were very green. We just recorded all the numbers we did on tape in the studio. I don’t think at the time we even heard it until it came out. When it finally did go out, we were quite disappointed, really, as the result didn’t seem to have the dynamics of the record we had played within the studio. And we realised this was down to the recording techniques. The second album was live, so there was nothing to do about that. Then we decided to produce ourselves. Still, being rather green we used the same studios that we’d been given. It’s a Decca album, so we used a Decca studio. It only had a four-track machine. There were no facilities for panning stereo, and what little bit of that we did we had to have equipment specially made.  We had this little box made to pan across an instrument, from one side to another. That’s the reason for all the corny panning,  just one box with one knob on. It was just a matter of getting into the format. Getting to know what it was all about. We realised that rather than doing what somebody else suggested, who wasn’t really interpreting our music the way we wanted it interpreted, anyway, it would be best doing it ourselves. Even if you make a mistake, I believe that your own mistakes are better recorded than someone else’s.  Ten Years After music is quite personal to us as musicians, and I think it should be recorded our way than the way a third party sees it. I believe of all musicians , I find it hard to respect a musician who uses a producer, because I think that if a musician knows what he wants to put down, he should do it himself.  That’s where the art of recording comes in, to know how to apply your music to the tape, to get the results in. We haven’t, to my own personal satisfaction, done anything at all incredible, but every album has had good bits, and we’ve learned from them. So, hopefully, we are in control and will make them better and better as we go along, which is the logical progression anyway. I must be putting producers out of business!  


Do you feel your part in “Woodstock” helped your career as a musician or not? I mean, it put you in the public eye, but did you not find you were playing more and more request, and less and less of the things you actually wanted to do? 

Well, we never play request. We never play anything other than what we want to do. However “Woodstock” did have considerable effect. When we did “Woodstock” we didn’t realise it was going to be such a big thing, just a festival which we had to arrive at on time. It wasn’t until we got into a helicopter, and flew in, that we realised what a big thing it was. Even then, we weren’t to realise how much world attention it would get, which it did. It was on national news in America and everything, and that’s more than I expected, so the kind of publicity we got from being in the “Woodstock” film initially, like gave us a boost in popularity.   A lot more people had heard us, where as before “Woodstock” we were still playing the concert halls and we were still selling enough albums, we were doing really well. After “Woodstock”, well we found that more people were coming to the concert halls, more people were buying the album, but it was on the strength of “Going Home”, which is a nasty situation. You can’t take control of it. First, like, a lot of young kids were coming to the concerts who weren’t particularly into what we were trying to do, merely into us having been at “Woodstock”, and it was more or less a kind a rock ‘n’ roll circus, which is what we’d been trying to avoid up to then. And it got a bit out of hand, and I did in fact regret having been in “Woodstock”…fearing it was going too far out of hand, but we used the opportunity of the press and that, doing Press articles to say that we wanted people to get into the structures of the music, and listen to what we were trying to do as well as rock ‘n’ roll.   

EXHILARATED: I explained, that we rock ‘n’ roll at the end, just to have a good time. Roland Kirk does the same thing—plays all his serious structures for two hours, then ends up laying on the piano playing a twelve-bar. It’s a good way to finish off a gig:  gets everything out of your system, and everyone can have a good rave-up and go home feeling exhilarated, which is a good thing. But I feel that if “Woodstock” had used “I Can’t Keep From Crying”, it might have been a bit more helpful to us, ‘cos it would have spotlighted the more constructive stuff we’re doing. But all in all, now that “Woodstock” has died down, I don’t think it has made much difference. It might have turned-on a younger audience, maybe they’re now into something else. I find the straight pop, the entertainment side of music, has a very select audience. It’s not something we get involved in. Like singles, we don’t get involved in them, because you have a hit single, then “Top Of The Pops”, it doesn’t bring anything that progresses the band. Like a band that’s nowhere can have a hit single, and suddenly start getting a reasonable turn out for their concerts and probably better contracts for their next single. But they’ve got to keep on recording hit singles, and to do that there are people that specialise in aiming hit singles at the mass market. It’s a disgusting , soul-destroying kind of business to get into. I believe the musician should record the sounds he likes and wants to express, and a lot of it as far as we’re concerned is left to chance.

When TYA took off it wasn’t because we aimed to write music at the audience, it was just that people had picked up on what we were doing, and the more we did it, the more people got into it. That’s all it’s ever been really.  When thinking of Ten Years After, one usually thinks of Alvin Lee rather than the rest of the band. Do you ever feel any resentment from the others? TYA is a co-op, we all get paid the same; we all attempt to do the same amount of work; we all tour the same, because I’m the singer and the lead guitarist, it was quite on the cards I should be singled out as the front man, because I stand in the spotlight. It was intended originally, when we started out, we hoped to make it four people on an equal level. It was through nothing to do with ourselves that this Alvin Lee business  got picked out, we didn’t encourage it. 

We had to disown this new Decca album they’re bringing out of old tracks, because it’s got Alvin Lee and Co., and that’s the very thing we’ve been trying to avoid. We talked about it when it happened and said, “look, this looks like it’s going to happen, and there’s nothing much we can do about it.” When people say Alvin Lee this and that at concerts, I usually personify what they either like or don’t like  about the band. It’s just how they refer to the band. You yourself say that when one thinks of  TYA, some people do think of an Alvin Lee back-up band.

 To our minds it isn’t. It’s not a thing to really get concerned about ourselves, it’s irrelevant to what we’re trying to do. It’s a kind a super-star role, which we’ve never encouraged, it’s just a kind of misunderstanding. I mean, I can explain myself completely to anyone who calls me a super-star, but I know very well they don’t know me, they’re just saying that without enough knowledge, so there’s no answer to it. It’s a shame that everybody can’t understand every musician that exists for the true fact of what he’s trying to do. Eric Clapton is your number one guitarist, and so many people adore Eric Clapton and hate everyone else for no logical reason, it’s just the way things go. You can’t control it, it’s just the way people think.    

Your last album “A Space In Time” didn’t do incredibly well in England. Do you feel this had anything to do with the fact that American copies were imported and on sale long before its British release? Or was it that the album wasn’t up to standard?  

Well, I wouldn’t say up to standard, I think the standard as far as we are concerned was better in some ways. The major reason it didn’t do as well in your album charts was due to us not releasing it at the right time in England. We were pressured to get a release date with the new Columbia label in the States, so we released it there first. It was three months before it was released in Europe, and a lot of European sales were lost because of the import shops buying it from the States.   

NO IMPORTS: That helped the sales in the USA, it was a gold album in the States, the first one, so obviously it was received there better than anything else we’d done. That’s the reason I was given when I said “what’s happened to the last album?” I think it’s true. Our next album is going to be released on the same day world-wide, so every market that sells it will be selling their own copies, not importing it in.  

What did you feel about your concert at the Colosseum. Was the Sunday night better than the midnight, Saturday?   

Oh yeah, The midnight show was a bit slow, the audience seemed tired. Those things like having to wait an hour from the time you got in, to when the first band played, always affect a concert. That can be the difference between going down well and having chairs thrown at you, whether the road managers and equipment function well, and it all comes together in time or not. If it doesn’t go well there’s nothing you can do except get it together as quickly as possible. I wasn’t disappointed with any of the concerts.To my mind there’s no good concert hall in London. We didn’t play the Rainbow unfortunately, that might have changed my mind.   You see, we were playing to four balconies at the Colosseum, an eighth of the audience. With our spherical array of speakers and horns we can hope to cover about a hundred degrees of sound, which is about forty percent getting good sound. It’s just acoustic problems and technical difficulties in projecting the sound into the audience, which is always a problem where ever you go.  

UNFORTUNATE:  There will always be people getting bass boom, always be people hearing too much guitar, too much vocal. I think people who sit in the middle, about ten or fifteen rows back, get a good sound and know what’s going on. It’s unfortunate that someone standing at the back gets the sound blocked off by people standing up in the front.  

It’s Better At Festivals, in Fact?  

Right, you’ve got no acoustic problems, and you’re in the open air, which is always nice. There is a problem being in the open air that is easy to overcome, you just have to use a lot of power and a lot of speakers. It’s when you get sound bouncing around halls, hitting the ceiling and bouncing back. When you play loud, it’s a different case. You get good sound drifting across an auditorium, reaching a listener up on an acoustic level, but when you’ve got a lot of sound coming out of the speakers, then suddenly the corners of the room, and what the ceilings are made of, start affecting the sound. These are the problems, more or less.   

You’ve just been on an extensive European tour and you frequently tour America and Japan. Which countries do you prefer to play most and why?  

Well, it changes, at the moment I really enjoy playing in England. The last concert we did, you could hear a pin drop all night long, and people really sat listening, getting into what we were doing. When it came to like rock ‘n’ roll at the end, they got into that and had a jive around, which is—as far as the format of our concerts go—perfect . More recently than that we did the colleges, which was like getting back to the roots-razzle-bit after playing Madison Square Gardens and the Philadelphia Spectrum. Twenty thousand people. Really it was almost a shock. The first college we did was at Reading University: it’s just a little wooden hall with about 1,300 people in it.   You go on stage and there’s none of this Ten Years After bit, awoah! You just walked out and said hullo, and people were sitting there and it was like getting back to the old club bit, I really enjoyed it. I felt you had to really kind’ve work; get things to work on stage. At a really big concert it becomes a bit like a circus, often comparable to feeding lions to the Christians at the Colosseum in Rome. You stir up so much excitement: by the time the band goes on you sometimes feel that what you play isn’t that important. That’s a wrong feeling to take, but sometimes it occurs to you when you do a lot of concerts. When you walk on stage and people cheer for two minutes you feel flattered but are they going to listen to what we are going to do? And half the while, they’re cheering through the first three numbers as well. They’re just having a good time, which is great, but I like people to listen to the music. If you go down well I like to feel it’s been earned—rather than just happened.   

Are you going to do any festivals here?  

I hope so. I want to see festivals continue myself, for more reasons than one. I don’t know of any plans to do a festival, but we’ll spend time in England after we’ve recorded the next album. We’ve got possible dates for festivals, but nothing’s been confirmed.  

On your last album you added strings to your last track—are you in fact thinking of adding horns on the next one?  

Yeah, thinking of it. On an album we try and show where our music is at, but for variety, we try and have a couple of tracks to play around with, and we always find it nice to do a track which is out of character so everybody says ‘Why Good Lord This is Nothing Like Ten Years After!!!!  So therefore, if you put a nice soft mellow un-Ten Years After between two Hard TYA tracks, it adds to the overall variety of the album. You don’t get this grind, grind, grind, grind of some rock albums, because they’re all the same tempo throughout. So for that reason alone, we really enjoyed doing the strings on the last album.  It was just an experiment to see what we could do with strings, and I’m really happy with it. It’s one of the best string things there is. It had very little to do with TYA’s music as people would think of it, but there again, music doesn’t really mean that it’s just what people have picked up through things like “Woodstock”, and variety is quite important to us.

We’ve just been recording in the South of France. We hired a big house there and the Rolling Stones’ mobile truck, and whether we were influenced by being in the Rolling Stones’ truck, or whether it’s that the Rolling Stones truck has its own sound, I’m not sure—but a lot of the tracks we did there sounded very similar to the Stones. So rather than just forget them, just for a joke we got a saxophonist from Supertramp to overdub some sax parts on it and beef it up. If you listen to the last Stones album without the overdubs it’s quite surprising, and if you listen to some Beatles tracks without the overdubs there’s nothing there. Some people specialise in overdubs, but we don’t. We specialise in the basic four instruments. But I don’t see any reason why, for one or two tracks, we don’t have a nine-hundred-piece orchestra just for the variety of it all. It’s a groove to do, so we’ll probably get into something like that.   


Your best album to my mind was “Cricklewood Green”, and the best track on that was “Circles”. I liked it because it was acoustic. Are you planning more things in this vein?  

This was a side trip again. It was a direct influence from “Astral Weeks”  by Van Morrison, 1968
which moved me considerably at the time, and I used that kind of format; the folk acoustic format, to say something I wanted to say. Which was life going round in circles, which is a pretty…..well, it was just a phase I was going through. I mean. I still think that way sometimes. It was more of a folk outlet to me….more like a truthful thought….a thoughtful thought being sung instead  of spoken. I haven’t had any other ideas along the same vein. We could always do something like that. We did acoustic stuff on the first album and third album. It’s not planned. It was where we were at, really. I mean, the last album showed we could play some nice tunes, so I’m happy with that, that’s past. I think we have to show now, more of our expression of our own selves and our instruments.    






New Musical  Express May 13, 1972 

This is the concluding interview by Simon Stable with Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee. Here Lee talks about his film ambitions, and discusses Ringo Starr’s venture in the same field. 

Simon: Alvin, I know you’ve been into photography and making your own private films for some time. Are you planning in the future to make a full length feature film. With perhaps your own electronic sound track? 

Alvin: I’d very much like to. At the moment I’m finding out how much practical experience I lack to do that. However perseverance could bring something out like that along those lines.

Looking at the world of commercial films, it’s rather disenchanting ---a bit like looking at pop singles. I’d much rather be involved in something artistic, in making a documentary of what a camera sees rather than making a story about whatever---combining visuals and sound to create an environment for the watcher.  All of this very much in the air at the moment. It’s all gossip, depending on what type of filming or video system is going to come out.

If you can get your hands on a video studio that will convert your tape into film, you’ve got a lot more technical control with what you can do with the visuals. I’m well ahead on sound, I’m quite confident I can do a good soundtrack to any movie, and I’m quite confident I can do a good movie, but I’m not quite sure what direction I want it to be yet. 

Simon: Ringo’s doing this documentary of a rock ‘n’ roll star…(Note: I believe this movie to be “That’ll Be The Day” released in 1973 which also  features Keith Moon).

Alvin: I wouldn’t want to get involved in anything like that. I mean it could be good actually. Anything can be good, but more likely than not it will be more like light entertainment than an artistic masterpiece. Ideally a film I make will be more like an album, being kind of what happens with the camera with the sound at the time of making it, and whether it’s good or bad will depend on whether the heads behind the film are together. To a point, you have to pick something good to say in a film, the way that you have to pick something good to say in a song. It’s the way that you do it that makes it artistic or a rip-off, isn’t it? 

Simon: Would you like to direct a film yourself?

Alvin: I’d like to be involved in it, but I’d like practical experience, meet somebody whose done some work on films. Obviously, it’d help me a lot. I think I’d have a few original ideas to contribute. 


Simon: To get into another completely different kettle of fish, as they say. What do you feel about Decca’s release of Alvin Lee & Company. I know we mentioned it earlier, but we didn’t completely go into it. Could you tell me about the material on that particular album?

Alvin: It’s left over from albums. It’s left over from “Stonehenge”. “B” sides of singles which were put out and were nothing to do with us anyway. When you do an album, the record company will take a single off. It’s part of their bread and butter.  You can’t tell them they can’t. It’s like saying you can’t have any money. “Well”, you say “if you release a single it’s the record company promotion for the album, and not a single. We don’t do “Top Of The Pops” and we don’t do any television . We won’t do any promotion on it---so please yourself.” So they release them for promotion of the album, and this album is the “B” sides.

One’s a very early single we did at the same time we recorded the first album. It’s not too bad: there’s some nice jammers and things on it. At the time we turned it down for release, so obviously we wouldn’t have chosen it now. Everybody’s interested to see what kind of material we decided not to put on our albums, so it’s probably a good album for them to buy, but apart from that, they didn’t consult us on what they call the packaging of it. They did say they were going to use a photograph of me and call it “Alvin Lee and Co.” If they had I would have said no. What in fact I said was “If they’re going to release an album of rubbish and left over tracks, why don’t we look around ourselves and get some good stuff put on? But they didn’t want to have anything to do with that.


Simon: Would you object to Decca releasing “The Best Of…”? 

Alvin: You can’t object. We have a recording contract which everybody has to sign---they own the songs. We can’t re-record any songs which we recorded with Decca. They’ve got thirty-five original songs, some of which we play completely differently now because of those deals, that we signed when we were a bit green. We don’t even own the rights to play the stuff, which is sad. But it’s irrelevant really, because we’re more concerned in doing new stuff. I don’t mind albums being released, as long as people know they’re leftovers. If they did do a “Best Of” it could be good and it could be bad. There’s nothing we could do about it. The thing is, we could do a better one, but they won’t communicate with us about it.


Simon: How long have you been together as a band, and how long in the present form?

Alvin: About four and a half years. There’s no reason for the band not to continue in its form for a long, long time. A band as old as we are has a problem in keeping ourselves in tune with the music we play. The more we play, the more rehearsals we do, because the more used we get to hearing what we do.

When you’re doing an extensive tour---playing every night---what you’re doing is performing your music to the audience every night. After awhile, although there are subtle differences which a musician could get into, it does tend to sound much of a muchness. You tend to fall into what you did last night because “that sounded good enough”. That’s the kind of attitude that comes in. It’s really hard playing every night and travelling on a plane. You don’t have much time to rehearse or think of new ideas. This is why we work in tours rather than just play. We do a tour for a month, play every night, then throw new ideas around. If we can come out with three new numbers for the next tour, well that’s enough to get into. We recorded every night ourselves. We always record ourselves live, and we listen back to the new numbers, make changes to them, and they just progress.

Perhaps the way to stay interested in your own music is to keep it progressing, keep it moving. There’s no limitation in my mind as to what four musicians can do, as long as they want to keep progressing. As long as all the members of Ten Years After want to play, and want to play better, and want to play the music to people, then there’s no limitations. The only limitations are in your own head, as soon as you start saying you’re fed up and you don’t want to do this or that---you’re on the downward slope.

It does happen, we do get fed up, instead of breaking up we rehearse, which is the right way of doing things, and although we probably won’t be playing the same numbers in five years time, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be still making music in five years time.

I don’t see why there shouldn’t be people that want to hear Ten Years After in five years time.

There might not be as many people as now---we might phase out of popularity, but we don’t stop playing just because fifty thousand don’t want to hear us. We used to play to a hundred people, and I’d imagine we still would, if it got around to that again.

We’re all opportunists---that’s about the nearest to being a business musician---but we’re still not out-and-out entertainers. We don’t put on a show---tell jokes and things like that, a lot of the business is getting into that now. You can go and see Jethro Tull and you get an actual theatrical presentation, which is OK….but I find it rather limiting to the band, because once you’ve got your presentation set---once you’ve done it five times---it all starts seeming like a cliché to me. If we ever do a tour with a bad band, and they use the same jokes every night, it all seems a bit un-artistic to me.


Simon: Last year, it might have been two years ago now, you nearly went to Russia, but you didn’t go there---are you in the future planning to do Iron Curtain countries? 

Alvin: Well no, That’s one thing that “Woodstock” stopped actually, because we were going to play the Iron Curtain countries on a basis of a cultural exchange. “Woodstock” led them to believe it would be more a rock ‘n’ roll concert than a cultural exchange----which in all fairness, it probably would. So I don’t think there’s much possibility of that happening now.

We get loads of letters now from Iron Curtain countries, saying they can’t buy our albums there. They’re so suppressed, silly things like they can’t buy a Ten Years After album or anything. It really affects these people and they write and say they’ll exchange their Czechoslovakian folk records for anything we can let them have. It’s sad, sad.

Something like music, man you should be able to go and listen to, whatever you want. Ideally you should be able to go wherever you want and say what ever you want, but it does seem difficult in this over populated world. 


Special Thanks to Simon's wife Judy Dyble for allowing us to use her personal copy of this third article, written by Simon Stable.



1972 May - French Magazine BEST, vol. 46




Photos by Jean-Yves Legras




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 1972 May, French Magazine EXTRA, No. 18



Photos: Claude Gassian


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EXTRA  -  Poster







Mexico Canta No. 377 - 16-VI-72




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