on 40 years of Ten Years After! This year you've
played in Europe, America and Canada, and we can
see from your website
that the last eighteen months has been quite an
intense schedule. How has the anniversary tour
been going so far?
been going really well, thundering along! We’ve
even played places that Ten Years After have never
been to before and the audiences have been great.
of the European venues are ones you're returning
to after playing there in the last three years
- and as well as that you're also performing in
cities where TYA hasn't played since the 70s.
What is the age range of the audience, and are
many of the younger members of the crowd familiar
with the early incarnation of TYA (with Alvin
Lee) or are they new to TYA's music?
audiences range in age from about 13 to over 50
and in some places young people are in the majority.
Many young fans I’ve spoken to had no idea
of the band's history. They come along with friends,
enjoy it, and tell others about it. One guy I
spoke to has seen us sixteen times this year.
People who come to a show often check us out on
the internet afterwards and those new fans are
probably responsible for the increase in sales
of our earlier records.
course we also have a strong long-standing fanbase
and there’s always at least one person every
night who says to me "I saw you in Munich
in 1971. Do you remember?" It’s a wonderful
have the old-school fans reacted to Joe Gooch
taking over the guitar and vocals from Alvin Lee?
who expect us to stay as we were in 1969 will
never be satisfied but I think those people are
now in a minority. Longtime TYA fans who’ve
kept an open mind and checked us out are now some
of our most vocal supporters. Fans may have been
skeptical at first as to how we would sound, but
I felt confident that once we’d played a
few gigs with Joe all would be fine. He brings
a lot to the table and with 75% original members
it’s no surprise that the TYA sound is still
Our audiences get bigger so we must be doing something
much of a dilemma was it for you, Chick and Ric,
to re-form the band with new blood?
record label suggested it in 1975 but at that
time my heart wasn’t in it. When we reformed
four and a half years ago it was meant to happen.
I was in a different frame of mind, I missed playing
live and I jumped at the chance to do it. My songwriting
friends thought I was crazy but I thought it would
be an exciting challenge and it’s proved
to be very exciting indeed.
We knew it wouldn’t be easy and that we
had to start virtually from scratch. To many people
TYA was an unknown quantity and we had to prove
ourselves all over again.
key really was not just to find a good guitar
player but one that would also fit with the band's
idiosyncrasies. Finding Joe was against all odds
but we found him and it’s a pleasure for
us to introduce another great guitar player to
On the recent albums, Joe's also been involved
in the writing. How much has he contributed to
the new tunes?
contributed a great deal. His guitar work is superb
and he sparks off many musical ideas. He’s
also put his mark on the old TYA songs we play
us about your upcoming show in Luxembourg which
is being filmed for a DVD, and when the DVD is
due for release?
DVD release is long overdue. Our fans have been
screaming for it for over two years, as have our
We had some earlier footage but there was always
something not quite right with either the lighting,
the camerawork, or the way the sound was captured
in the video.
To get the best possible result we’ve booked
a 40th Anniversary gig in Luxembourg and invited
all our fans to come along to take part in the
shoot. We’ve hired a lighting director,
film crew and director and sound truck to get
the best possible results.
DVD will be released complete with some extra
footage as soon as possible but realistically
it may not be in the stores much before January
2008. We’d like to do a special edition
pre-release for fans.
classic TYA songs are we likely to hear in the
set, and how many of the new numbers?
play two sets, which will include most of our
new material and a great many more TYA classics
than on a usual gig where we’re always stuck
with a time problem. Hell, we may even play the
same song twice if someone asks for it!
Chick and Ric were there right at the beginning
and toured for many years with Alvin. But you're
such a close touring unit with Joe these days
that there must be times when you almost forget
that Joe wasn't with you back then? In what ways
is touring with Joe different to touring with
with Joe is very enjoyable. We work as a team
and pull in the same direction. Many things are
a new experience for him and I think the rest
of us get a kick out of sharing it. It’s
the kind of pleasure you get from showing someone
around your favorite places. There
were many times with Alvin when he really didn’t
want to be on the road and it made things difficult
for us. It could be very stressful in those days.
forgotten Joe has only been with us for a short
time and so have many of our fans. Perhaps being
a member of TYA has prematurely aged him!
us some of the funny incidents from the road.
save those for my book. Most would take far too
long to explain in an interview!
amount of travelling and performing you're doing
is extremely arduous. Without wishing to sound
rude, you're no spring chicken... and yet the
reviews emphasise the liveliness of your performance!
However do you maintain the energy for each show?
cryogenically frozen and travel in a coffin from
gig to gig! It’s
a mindset. Because I love what I do I find boundless
energy to do it. Our audiences are a great source
of energy and enthusiasm. If
I were a ditch digger in the Tennessee sun I’d
be tired and flagging within minutes. I’ve
also learnt to relax and fall to sleep whenever
I get in the band bus.
What other projects have you got on at the moment?
Studio work, producing etc?
mostly. I get production offers but it’s
hard to make a commitment because of TYA’s
hectic schedule - but please keep them coming.
also a bit lazy. I have some books I’m in
the middle of writing but often on days off I
just sit around and don’t even think.
you been to any of Alvin's recent shows? Has Alvin
been to any of the TYA shows?
not recently. I’ve not had the chance but
Ric saw Alvin perform on his last UK tour. I doubt
Alvin would come to see TYA.
the late eighties my band KICK played two festivals
with the Alvin Lee Band and I made the point of
watching his set but so far as I know he never
saw me play. It
would be fun for TYA to play a gig with Alvin
and his band.
I've got to ask about that moustache.... as Hercule
Poirot would say, "c'est magnifique!".
What's the secret of its magnificence?
wax is courtesy of the Pinaud Company. Lots of
bees making lots of wax. I grew it for a joke
in 1968 when the band had a week or two off. And
it stayed. It’s become so much a part of
me I daren’t shave it off. My family would
have been the highlights of the last 40 years
for you as a member of TYA? What are your happiest
memories? Which were the best shows you played?
have to include our first headline gig at the
Marquee club, The Reading Festival, the first
US tour, Woodstock, The Isle of Wight, The Newport
Jazz festival, Madison Square Gardens, The Forum
L.A, The Filmores, The Budokan, Tokyo and The
Royal Albert Hall.
well as the above, and I’ve missed lots
out, I enjoyed all those support spots where we
were lucky enough to win over someone else’s
crowd. It’s all been a blast.
what would you like TYA to be doing in five years
I suppose I ought to say "headlining two
days at Wembley Stadium televised live all over
the world", but five years is a long way
away and I’m not sure where we’ll
be - but right now I’ve no plans to change
what I’m doing. I enjoy it too much! I
would like to think that in five years time we’d
be a little more organized. With new dates coming
in all the time, we never know from one week to
the next what’s happening!