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There are two million ways to tell this story: through the music, the social arrangements, politically, artistically, subjectively. Certainly every member of the group would have a very different version. I'll just try to give some bones, some significant events, a little background and say, now and then, how, I felt about some of it. Memory is treacherous, so I write this referring as much as possible to contemporary documents and notes. Most what follows is adapted loosely from something I wrote for Andy Ortmann soon after the band broke up. Which explains why the style is sometimes a little odd.

A couple of other preliminaries:

Henry Cow was first and foremost a performing group; none of the records we released got near to what we were like on stage, and of course, there is a mass of music that we never even tried to record. To a limited degree this has been ameliorated recently (2009) by the double box collection of previously unreleased materials: 9 Cds and one DVD of live recordings, radio recordings and studio recordings. (ReR HCBOX 1, 2, 3)

For the bulk of our touring life, there were as many women in the band as men - road crew as well as performers.

Henry Cow was a full time project and we pretty much lived on top of each other for about 5 years, either on tour or rehearsing. We lived frugally - all the money we earned went into a kitty to pay for equipment, vehicles, repairs, and travel. Only in the last three-and-a-half years were we finally able to pay ourselves anything (£10, £15, £20 and in the last six months £25 a week). The band fed us - that was my job along with with Maggie Thomas, who came on most of the tours with us and ended up being our sound engineer. John's wife Sarah was also our sound engineer for a long time, and their tiny son Ben travelled with us often, as did Dagmar and Anthony's son Max.

The group was run through a combination of formal, minuted, weekly meetings - and assigned personal zones of responsibility - for the accounts, catering, route planning, administration, maintenance, and so on. We wound up in a lot of bizarre places and did some things which, looking back, might appear extremely eccentric - noble - ridiculous - stupid - idealistic, but which seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. There was hardly any outside - so where would perspective come from? I just mention it, since there's no space for any of that in here. Your cue, then, to dip what you read below into a pot seething with failure and achievement, art and psychology, agape, confusion, suffering - and moments nothing could improve upon. And hormones. Lots of hormones. You talk about a revolution? We...eel.. someone else already had the last word on that:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

HENRY COW

Around 1970, I put an advert in the Melody maker. Through this I met many of the people who formed the first The Ottawa Music Company (a 22 piece Rock Composers Orchestra I had set up with Egg's Dave Stewart a year or so before), but no permanent group until Henry Cow got in touch. Founded at Cambridge University in 1968 by Tim Hodgkinson and Fred Frith, the band had gone through a succession of styles and extra members until, by the time I joined in 1971, it had settled into the permanent core of Fred, Tim and John Greaves - all of whom were still at Cambridge finishing their degrees. For a while, I commuted, rehearsing and doing the occasional concert. Then university ended and there was some serious thinking about careers and music. Music won. The band relocated to London and started to rehearse in the house I then rented part of (an old shop with a covered outside yard that had been used by David Nash as a sculpture studio). We rehearsed every day from 0900 to 1800, six days a week, slipping away occasionally for a concert somewhere, usually out of London. The band as a whole also joined the Ottawa Music Company and performed at its last series of concerts. It was in Ottawa that Henry Cow met Geoff Leigh (he and I had been at school together) and invited him to play on our second John Peel show. After that, we asked him to join us permanently. He declined, and went to live instead in Holland.

When he came back about a year later, we were busy with a production of Euripides' The Bacchae at the Palace Theatre in Watford. This involved commuting from London - we had to arrive by half past eight, to prepare new music and rehearse before the actors arrived - working all day with the cast and director and then staying on afterwards to rewrite and rehearse until about 22.00. Then we drove home to sleep. This was our itinerary seven days a week for three weeks - and it changed us. The director, Robert Walker, was treating the production as a collective process, meaning that we were also involved in endless discussions and struggles over the direction and interpretation of the play, necessitating continual rewriting of the music all the way through to the opening night. (The music Robert Wyatt eventually recorded as Muddy Mouth was in fact the music Fred wrote for the scene where maddened Corybantes tear Pentheus to pieces. Bob had asked for 'hot Bacchic music' here, but our alternative reading eventually prevailed). In all, it was an intense, demanding and concentrated period of work, and after it,we became a qualitatively different band. This band Geoff Leigh did want to join. So Henry Cow became a quintet.

 

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That summer, we were in Edinburgh for a series of repertory concerts at the Traverse Theatre, followed almost immediately by writing and performing music for a ballet with artist Ray Smith and the Cambridge Contemporary Dance Group at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The music for this constituted our fourth John Peel broadcast and part of it survives on Leg End (With the Yellow Half Moon and Blue Star), for which Ray did the cover - the first of his three paint socks). But that came later...

Back in London, we started to organise our own concerts under the name of The Cabaret Voltaire, which involved - as well as music - performance art, cookery and a little theatre. The ubiquitous Ray Smith was a regular there, as was writer DJ Perry. Henry Cow played at each concert (varying its programme) followed by our invited guests. We generally ended up all playing together. Printed programmes and refreshments were provided free.

In early 1973, we started a second series, this time under the name The Explorers Club with invitees Derek Bailey, Lol Coxhill, Ivor Cutler, Ron Geesin, The Scratch Orchestra, David Toop, Paul Burwell, and Christine Jeffries, as well as regulars D.J. Perry and Ray Smith. During this series, Simon Draper of the then incubating Virgin Records showed up and after many negotiations offered us a contract. We deliberated, but signed it.

Within two weeks, we were at The Manor recording Leg End. It took three weeks and seemed like hard work. Though we were lucky with engineer Tom Newman, who not only remained cheerful and patient but also taught us how to handle the studio ourselves.

 

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Within two months, we were on tour, co-billed with Faust - which both helped confirm us as a Rock Group (until then much of our work had been in arts centres, theatres and university jazz societies) and marked the beginning of our association with the Virgin concert agency, and it's attendant diminishment of our former self-sufficiency - at least in the field of providing ourselves with work. During this tour, we were simultaneously preparing music for a second play, Shakespeare's The Tempest, for which we nominated our own director, John Chadwick. The play was a success, I think: it was certainly quite unorthodox and provocative - a strong alternative reading of the play. Our musical contribution, though, seemed not really to do it justice. That was my feeling anyway. Perhaps we were over-confident, or just over-stretched? Whatever the reason, we ended up with too little time to do the job thoroughly. Fred's Solemn Music( on side two of Unrest) is the only music that survived.

In the middle of a Dutch tour, Geoff decided to leave. We didn't want to replace him but we did want an extra voice, so we started to look round for someone to invite. We were also thinking about finding a more unusual instrument to draw us further away from the standard rock and jazz sonorities. At which point enter Lindsay Cooper (I had seen her some time before in Comus and soon after Geoff's departure, Fred and I went to see her playing with old Cow and Ottawa associate Clive Bell in Ritual Theatre). With hardly any time to rehearse - and Lindsay still bleeding from the extraction of four wisdom teeth - we all went into the Manor to record Unrest.

The music we had managed to prepare for this record was too little and appallingly under-rehearsed (it's all on Side 1). As it turned out, this lack was probably a blessing, since it forced us to invest a good deal of time developing the studio composition process that filled Side 2. That was another intense experience, and the strongest period of collective learning since The Bacchae. We needed it too; the group was flying apart at the seams - half of us hardly on speaking terms with the other half, John contemplating leaving and life with Virgin already problematical. (I think Deluge, on side 2 of that record can be heard both as an exquisite encapsulation of the existential state of the group, and the extraordinarily productive potential of the studio composition method which we evolved - under duress). Anyway, we all came out of the studio happy, thinking we had achieved something. I remember, we even organised a special staff listening for Virgin - as if we were all really a big, interested, family. Virgin seemed.... non-plussed, not to say unimpressed. But I think it helped to bring the rest of us back into focus.

Almost at once, we were on tour again - with Capt. Beefheart this time - for five weeks around England and Europe. Somewhere along the way, something snapped and we all woke up with a start. Was this it? Locked into the rock circus, staying at Holiday Inns, watching the way Beefheart's managers behaved, doing our 30 gigs in 34 days? We watched Don come off stage and say "that was the worst gig I ever did in the whole of my life - and they loved it". It seemed to be a warning: we were getting lazy. Until now, we had tried to change our programme from concert to concert, write new bridges, vary the material, change things around, now, suddenly, we were just playing the same thing night after night.

We decided to come off the road to regroup and rethink. After three months we reconvened, asked Lindsay to leave and toured Holland as a quartet. In the absence of all our learned material (which we couldn't play without Lindsay), we took ourselves to Yorkshire for 10 days, rehearsing in a rented village hall and emerging with a 50 minute piece derived entirely from the first three minutes of an unfinished composition of Tim's (Living In The Heart Of The Beast). At the concerts we'd perform the piece, take a break, and then perform it again.

After this, we came back off the road - this time indefinitely.

 

 

Months passed. SlappHappy called to arrange a meeting. They were about to make their second LP for Virgin and wanted to meet us and talk about it. A couple of days later they arrived - armed with a great deal of alcohol - and invited us to be their band for the session. We agreed. It wasn't a hard decision. The two groups had already become entangled: we had met Peter Belgvad playing with Faust on the tour we did together; I had worked on the SlappHappy single Casablanca Moon around the time of The Tempest (another version was released with a more competent percussionist); Lindsay, Fred and John had all worked on the single Europa (not released) and Geoff, Fred and John had been on the famous Slapp Happy John Peel broadcast (with Robert Wyatt and Geoff Clyne)

Working on Desperate Straights was eye-opening. By the end of it we had decided to merge the two groups and integrate Slapphappy into our next record for Virgin. So, in the dead of winter, we took ourselves off to a freezing gymnasium at St. Christopher's school to rehearse.

At the same time, we were planning a third series of Explorer's Clubs - this time over 7 consecutive nights at the ICA. It never happened: we felt that, nowt that we were signed to Virgin we couldn't in all conscience ask guests to perform with us for nothing, and Virgin - believe it or not - refused to underwrite even basic travelling expenses (to a total of £150) in spite of the fact that half our invitees were also on the label (e.g. Robert Wyatt, Slapphappy, Daevid Allen, Gylli Smythe, Lol Coxhill and Ivor Cutler).

We almost froze to death in that gym. The heating was off and playing was hard. By the end of the week, we realised that the merged band wouldn't work. Apart from anything else, I think we all had very different ideas about what conditions we would be willing to work under. And, as it turned out, those conditions would be stringent and extremely demanding. However, we still went to The Manor and made In Praise of Learning together. Afterward, Dagmar stayed with Henry Cow. We had already invited Lindsay back to do the recording (in her absence we realised how indispensable she was) so now we became a sextet and began to prepare for what would become the most sustained and rigorous work schedule of our career - about two solid years of virtually continuous touring in Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Spain and Finland.

This would be the place to mention Jack Balchin, Phil Clarke, Sarah Greaves and Sula Goshen, the longest serving other members of the group who were with us over that period (driving, road managing, mixing, administrating) whose contribution was critical, but has disappeared - if it was ever on - the record (ref. Who built the seven gates of Thebes?).

 

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In April that year (1975) before embarking on our new life, we rehearsed with Robert Wyatt for a concert in Paris to promote his and our new records. It was a wild success - the public applauded for about 15 minutes, forcing Richard Branson to come back and beg us to do something more. Since we didn't know anything else, we went out and played the old Soft Machine song We did it Again. Soon after, we repeated this programme in London and were then invited, with Gong on board, to a giant open-air festival/demonstration in Rome.

Italy was a closed territory at that time - because of a famous Lou Reed concert at which an enraged audience had trashed thousands of pounds worth of equipment. They wanted to show that they disapproved of high ticket prices and what they saw as an American/English entertainment mafia (young Italians had a far more robust idea of politics than the British at the time). The result was that promoters refused to send artists to Italy any more. However, our concert was not show business but a manifestation organised by La Stampa Alternativa, (an alternative newspaper). And it was free. 20,000 people showed up.

After the concert, while the others took planes home, Henry Cow stayed on. We parked our truck - and our office/mobile home/ bus, in the Piazza Farnese and started to meet people, notably organisers from the Partito Radicale and the PCI (the Italian Communist Party). The PCI immediately offered us concerts at Festa D'Unitas (massive open-air fairs they run every summer all over Italy). We accepted everything; drove and played, drove back and drove and played again. Soon we were making plans for the following year. Out of this single action - made possible in the main by the recent acquisition of our bus/kitchen/home - we returned at least twice a year to Italy from then until the band broke up (indeed, we did our last concert there). We were probably the only non-Italian group able to do this. On this first visit, we also met Stormy Six, joined L'Orchestra Cooperativa (a musicians' co-operative in Milan) and found Nick Hobbs (then working in an Italian pump factory) who eventually became our administrator.

In March 1976, while we were rehearsing for a tour in Scandinavia, John Greaves said he wanted to leave. He did his last concert with us on March 26th for Radio Hamburg. Uli Trepte came to this concert (he had been in Faust when we had toured together) and returned to England with us. We rehearsed with him for a while, and with Steve Beresford too, but neither worked out. In the meantime, we were committed to a tour of Scandinavia and decided, again, to do it as a quartet (Tim, Fred, Lindsay and me this time - Dagmar was ill in Hamburg). Again, we took the radical option. Each of us prepared materials on tape (with different but chronological content: the history of Henry Cow (Fred), the music of youth through old age (Lindsay), ethnic to late C20 contemporary (Tim). Each tape was 2 hours long and ran continuously through the piece, silent until made it audible (using a foot pedal). You couldn't know, therefore, where exactly in the tape you might be or what you would get if you let it sound. Sometimes the tapes would hardly be used, but they were always running. Each concert had the following structure: we would improvise for an unbroken 2 hour stretch in the dark (or in candlelight) under a broad but muted linking concept which had something to do with the genesis of music, ritual and western culture. Each concert started with a drum and a flute and each ended with a march written by Fred - and there was always a kind of musical wedding theme (played on tubular bells) somewhere about a third of the way in. Otherwise, we just made it all up as we went along. It was a risk, and it probably cost us some popularity in Scandinavia. But it kept us awake.

Just before we left for this tour, we compiled a double LP (Concerts) for a new Norwegian label: Compendium. For the first time, we did everything ourselves: mastering, cover design, cutting, pressing, manufacture - and found out how easy it was.

Back from Scandinavia, we continued to audition bass-players until we found Georgie Born - also a classically trained cellist, and an improviser. The compositions grew more complex. We continued to tour, rehearse and tour some more.

 

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Early in l977, it was time to merge again, this time with the entire Mike Westbrook Brass Band and folk singer Frankie Armstrong (as The Orckestra). We played our first (3 hour) concert at the Moving Left Review at the Roundhouse in London and then in an open-air theatre in Hyde Park. After that, we went on to tour together in France, Italy and Scandinavia.

At more or less the same time, we were involved in setting up Music for Socialism (also in London) and its May Festival (at which we played and disputed vigorously with Cornelius Cardew and Peoples Liberation Music). With all this activity in London (it had been 3 years since we had done more than one concert a year in our own country) we thought we should try to break the curious ring of apathy that seemed to be discouraging anyone from wanting to put us on. So, we tried to organise a small alternative tour ourselves, the first half with Red Balune (Geoff Leigh's group at that time) and the second with Etron Fou Leloublan, whom we invited over from France. After 11 concerts, we ended up with a loss, and no progress at home.

By now, we had been negotiating with Virgin for about a year to end our contract. It had become a millstone around both our necks: theirs because they weren't making any money out of us - and anyway had long since dropped the experimental groups in favour of the commercial ones - and ours because none of our records was licensed or distributed in the countries in which we spent all our time playing. So long as we were contracted to Virgin, we had no other options - and by now we wanted to record again while Virgin preferred, understandably, not to waste their money. Stuck at this impasse, it occurred to us that insisting on the fulfillment of our contract might be the easiest way to terminate it. So we went to Virgin and told them we were ready to make our next LP, as per our agreement, and please to book us a month at The Manor. They refused. We pointed to the contract (they wrote it: one month at a first class studio) and after a short negotiation, they agreed to let us go.

By September, Dagmar's health, which had been getting poorer and poorer, was in such a weakened state that touring became impossible. Two months later, she decided to leave. She wanted, however, to sing on our new record - which we had already booked to record at the beginning of 1978 at Sunrise (in Switzerland).

Just days before we left, there were serious disagreements about the material we were about to record - leaving us with a studio booking and no music. I was deputised to try to produce new texts for Tim's piece (which eventually appeared 19 years later in its original form as Hold to the Zero Burn on his CD each in their own thoughts). New texts were, of course, impossible in the week or so in which they would have to be done. So I wrote some short song texts instead and proposed that we make a song CD. In the absence of anything else, this is what we did, working on the material en route to Switzerland and then in a rehearsal room when we arrived - and on throughout the recording process itself. However, when we returned to London, Henry Cow, at another meeting, decided that this work was not what Henry Cow should be doing - and therefore that we should not release the record. Fred and I offered to pay the studio costs for the songs and release them under our own names. The Henry Cow tracks: Viva Pa Ubu, Slice and Half the Sky were retained by the group and the rest, plus four extra songs (recorded a few months later at David Vorhaus' Kaleidophon Studio), appeared as the first Art Bears LP: Hopes and Fears (it was also the first release on my own Re Records label). At the same meeting, we agreed to disband Henry Cow as a permanent group - and not to announce the fact but continue for another six months with a complete set of new material and revisit for the last time, all the places that had supported us over the years. In a way, it was the last crucial point in our collective development, from which the material for Western Culture - and Lindsay as a primary composer - emerged.

Chronologically, these were the last days of Henry Cow:

First, and against all the odds, came a short tour of theatres and art centres in England, organised and paid for by the Arts Council. Nick Hobbs miraculously mediated this, as well as a moderate grant to cover some of our accumulated debts.

Then, in March, we organised and played at the first Rock in Opposition Festival in London, inviting four European groups: Univers Zero (Belgium), Etron Fou Leloublan (France), Samla Mammas Manna (Sweden) and Stormy Six (Italy) to play at it. We had already known them all for along time, and had worked with each of them individually before. It seemed ridiculous to us that they were unknown outside their own countries and that their records were not distributed or reviewed anywhere but in local outlets (not being American or English meant not being for the English speaking world). This festival was intended as a graphic counter to British rock chauvinism - and as a move toward recognising a de facto international community of experimental musicians. It ended up grounding a temporary organisation whose aim was to represent and promote its members on a European scale, an organisation which, although short-lived, did help to identify and cohere a general tendency in music. Once done, it could never be undone.

This was also when Recommended and Re Records were born - the first a global distribution network and mail-order, the second my own label.

After the RIO festival, Henry Cow left to tour Scandinavia with the Orckestra - and immediately afterward down to Spain for a series of concerts on our own. Phil Minton (from the Westbrook Brass band) decided to come with us to Paris. Half way there, the bus broke down and Fred detoured to take it back to England on a boat from Bremenhaven. Arranging to meet him in Barcelona, the rest of us took trains to Paris. When we arrived, Georgie Born and our sound engineer, Jack Balchin bailed out, both never to return. Lindsay went back with them to England - in her case for domestic reasons (she rejoined us two weeks later) and the rest of us were left somehow to honour the group's engagements. Rapid conferences. Phil Minton agreed to play with the remaining trio, and while we tried to contact Fred to tell him what was going on, the truck and all our equipment hit the motorway for Barcelona. Tim, Maggie Thomas and I took a night train. Once there, we set the PA up as usual, and in the absence of Jack, Maggie, took over as sound engineer, a job she continued to do until the end. Fred arrived shortly before the concert, still pretty much in the dark about what was going on and we put a set together in the dressing room half an hour before the show (a bit of Cow, a bit of Westbrook, a lot of extemporising). It went fine. Why not? So did the rest of that short tour, in which we became, for a.week or so, The Lions of Desire.

Back in England we regrouped without Georgie and Jack - and with more new music, much of it written by Lindsay for the new line-up, and headed off to Paris for a week-long residency with The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Fred was playing bass now as well as guitar and we finished our engagements in France and Italy as a quartet - again (Fred Tim Lindsay, me) - and occasional invitees: Yochko Seffer (saxes), Henry Kalser III (guitar) and Anne-Marie Roelofs (trombone and violin). We had met Anne-Marie the Xmas before in Amsterdam at a gig shared with Red Balune; now we asked her to do all the remaining concerts and to play on the record we had booked to make at Sunrise when it ended. That was Western Culture.

Our last concert was in the Piazza del Duomo, Milan on July 25th, 1978.

 

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Note: There is a lot more information in the two fat books that accompany the Henry Cow 40th Anniversary Box sets, written by all members of the band.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

What indeed. We were asked many times, a lot of people thought there was a connection to the American experimentalist Henry Cowell, inclding his wife, who wrote us a charming letter about it. But there wasn't. It was just a name. You might even say a silly name. But it encapsulated the gender contradiction, it was memorable, it was strange... and eventually It became us.

ON RECORD

LEGEND Virgin LP
UNREST  Virgin LP
IN PRAISE OF LEARNING Virgin LP
DESPERATE STRAIGHTS, with SLAPPHAPPY Virgin LP
CONCERTS Caroline and Compendium double LPs
- All the above have been reissued, remastered, by ReR Megacorp on CD.
as well as
THE HENRY COW 40th ANNIVERSARY BOX SET 1 The Road Volumes 1-5 Rer HC40
THE HENRY COW 40th ANNIVERSARY BOX SET 2 The Road Volumes 6-10 ReR HC41
THE HENRY COW 40th ANNIVERSARY BOX SET 3 The Studio Volumes 1-5 ReR HC 42 (contains all the studio recordings above)
LIVE IN STOCKHOLM released alone but also in BOX 2
CABINET OF CURIOSITIES. Extra CD of unreleased materials given to subscribers to the 2 boxes.
REMIX of BITTERN STORM OVER ULM on THE LAST NIGHTINGALE (released to raise money for the National Union of Miners during the great stike)

BOOK

THE HENRY COW BOOK Assembled by Chris Cutler and Tim Hodgekinson, November Books, 1984, and long out of Print.

CODA - Fairly comprehensive list of Henry Cow's concerts, taken from one of the 40th Anniversary Box booklets.

Henry Cow Concerts.

For completists, here's a list I compiled for the 40th Anniversary Box of outr concerts:

It's invevitably incomplete, and a few entries can’t be verified (marked: ?) but it’s the best we could do with our collective diaries, surviving posters, promo leaflets, festival programmes and concert reviews.   cc

1968

May

[Band formed by Tim & Fred with Andy Spooner (harmonica), Rob Brooks (guitar), Joss Grahame (bass), and David Attwooll (drums). Plays various local gigs throughout the rest of the year, including one   on top of a 10 storey building somewhere in Cambridge, and another at the Cambridge Corn Exchange during which John Tchicai can be heard jamming with us from backstage]

June

Homerton College
The Architect’s Ball, Cambridge
October [Andy Powell replaces Joss Grahame]
December [Spooner, Brooks, and Attwooll leave. The band carries on as a trio with Powell doubling on drums]

1969

Revelation Fayre

Trinity College Cambridge May Ball

Peterhouse College May Ball

Chetwynd Room

Kings College Common Room


June

Cambridge Midsummer Pop Festival, with Edgar Broughton Band, The Deviants, Tuesday's Children 

Trinity College May Ball (with Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After, Roy Harper, Fairport Convention, among others)

Peterhouse May Ball (with Deep Purple, Bonzo Dog Band, Champion Jack Dupree, (with whom Fred played bass) & Marc Bolan, among others).


September   [Andy Powell leaves. John Greaves joins. There follow a succession of drummers: Frank Perry (we auditioned him, or the other way around, but we never rehearsed or performed together) Ashley Brown (a college friend, again, I don’t think we actually ever performed with him) and Sean Jenkins (who was in a group called The Elastic Band, and commuted from Wales to play with us.]
"Trapezium" Rock Ballet - first of a number of collaborations with Cambridge Contemporary Dance Group directed by Liebe Klug, the last of which gave rise to With the Yellow Half Moon and Blue Star.
Homerton Dance
Shelter Benefit

 1971

May [Martin Ditcham replaces Sean Jenkins on drums. Henry Cow win John Peel's "Rockatunity Knocks competition.]
BBC Maida Vale Studios, London, to record two Hodgkinson compositions: Hieronymo's Mad Again and Poglith Drives a Vauxhall Viva, plus Bloody Hair, by Greaves, for John Peel’s Top Gear. Broadcast May 29th.
]
Milton Society

June

15.Pembroke College, Cambridge
?Technical College, Cambridge?
24 Glastonbury Festival with Uncle Dog, Linda Lewis, Third Ear Band, Gilberto Gil, Fairport Convention, Edgar Broughton Band, Mighty Baby

July

21 Cambridge County School 

 August [Martin Ditcham leaves to join Nucleus. Chris Cutler joins]
Warwick University
Bristol University
Architecture Faculty, Cambridge 

October           

20 Dorothy Ballroom, Cambridge, with Velvet Underground.

1972

February

10 Essex University  (benefit) [Henry Cow joins the Ottawa Music Company, an already existing 22-piece rock composer’s orchestra founded by Chris Cutler and Dave Stewart.]  

25 St. Martin's College of Art, London as part of Ottawa Music Company
26 Emanuel School, Outer London as part of Ottawa Music Company
28 London, Playhouse Theatre. Recording three pieces of Fred’s: Teenbeat, Rapt In A Blanket and I Came To See You Today for the John Peel show (Broadcast Mar 14).

March

6 Redhill, Market Hall as part of Ottawa Music Company
16 Essex University, Colchester, with Amon Duul II

April

1 –13 Watford, Palace Theatre [Write, rehearse and perform music for Robert Walker's production of Euripides'The Bacchae, with performances 8-13]                                          

17 Isleworth Polytechnic
30 Watford, Palace Theatre (One-off programme with members of the Ottawa Music Company)  [Geoff Leigh joins]

May

8-13 Cambridge Arts Theatre The Bacchae
20 Isleworth Polytechnic, with If.

June

22/06 Parish Hall, Roehampton, as part of Ottawa Music Company
24/06 The Paradiso, Amsterdam with Lady June  £100
25/06 York Hall, Bethnal Green, with McGuiness Flint, Paul Jones, Ram John Holder, Snake Eye, and Fumble
28/06 Architectural Association, London

July

25-30 Edinburgh, Traverse Theatre [2 different programmes in repertory: A Metaphysical Introduction To Hollywood Thibet and Guider tells of Silent Airborne Machine]     

August

11 London School of Economics, Old Theatre
22-26 St. Patrick School Hall, Drummond St. Edinburgh, on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

October [We launch a regular series of events and concerts under the name Cabaret Voltaire in London]
6 Kensington Town Hall (Cabaret Voltaire), with invitee Kevin Ayers
17 BBC Langham House, Studio 1, London to record Fred’s With The Yellow Half Moon & Blue Star for the John Peel show, with guest DJ Perry (broadcast Nov 14)  
27 Kensington Town Hall (Cabaret Voltaire) with invitees Khan, Ray Smith and Bob Bery

November

17 Kensington Town Hall (Cabaret Voltaire) with invitees Jack Monck, Lady June, Anthony Marshall and Tony Wilkes
24 St.Mary’s School, Cambridge
30 Architecture Faculty, Cambridge 

December

5 Kensington Town Hall (Cabaret Voltaire) with invitees The Ottawa Music Company

1973


January

6 Kingham Hall, Watford

19 Isleworth Polytechnic

 

February

2 London, London School of Economics

23. Swansea University Arts Festival

 

March  [We establish The Explorer’s Club at the London School of Economics Old Theatre]

6 Shaw Theatre, Camden Festival, London, with Principal Edwards' Magic Theatre

9 New Theatre, Watford Boys Grammar School

11 London, Roundhouse "The Changing Face Of Jazz/Rock", with Keith Tippett's Ovary Lodge and Terry Riley "In C" by Paul Buckmaster, Morris Pert and Peter Robinson

14 L.S.E. Explorer’s Club #1 Explorer’s Club with invitees Derek Bailey and Lol Coxhill.
20 North London Polytechnic

24 Architect’s Association with Portsmouth Sinfonia


April [7. first major article by Ian MacDonald appears in NME, under the heading "3 promising bands"].
7-11 First exploratory Manor sessions for Virgin

24 BBC Langham Studio 1, Record Nirvana For Mice, Guider Tells of Silent Airborne Machine and Nine Funerals of the Citizen King for John Peel Show (broadcast May 8)
27 Explorers Club #2 with invitees Rain in the Face (David Toop &Paul Burwell), Scratch Orchestra[1], Ray Smith and DJ Perry

May

4 Explorers Club #3 with invitees Ron Geesin, Mont Campbell Wind Quartet, Ray Smith, DJ PerrY
5 London, Westway Theatre, with Sniff and Tears. On a stage set up under the Motorwa  [10. Sign Virgin contract]
11 Explorers Club #4 with invitees Derek Bailey, Christine Jeffries, RaY Smith and DJ Perry
12-14 Start recording Leg end at the Manor
15 Fisher House, Cambridge?
16-17 continue Legend recording
18 Explorers Club #5 with invitees Ivor Cutler, Lol Coxhill, DJ Perry anD Ray Smith.
30 Holbourne Museum, Bath (Bath International Festival)

June


2 Roehampton, Parish Hall (Benefit for the Servile House Home for the physically handicapped) with Hatfield and the North

3-08 Recording continues at Manor

9 London/Shepherd's Bush, Magic Roundabout with Gong

[10-14 Recording continues at Manor]

16 Greenhead Park, Huddersfield (expenses)

17 York Arts Centre, York

18 Forum Theatre, Manchester

[25 Fred Frith, Tim Hodgkinson, Geoff Leigh and John Greaves   participate in the first performance of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells at the QEH, London]                                                            


July

8 Harrow, Headstone Manor Park with Global Village Trucking Company, Mantra, Byzantium and Half-Human Band
19 Manor/mixing
20 Basildon Arts Centre
21 Ealing Technical college
30 Bath Other Festi

August

5 Dingwalls Dancehall, Camden, a Greasy Truckers Benefit concert with The Global Village Trucking Company and Camel. It was supposed to have been recorded for a live release, but the organisation was so awful and the show ran so late that we never actually got to play. (but we told ZigZag that played  for 15 minutes at the time) The date is not certain either...

6 Harrow Tech

9 Fisher House, Cambridge

[31. Leg End Released.]

September

8. Commonwealth Institute, Kensington, London, with Kevin Coyne.

TOUR WITH FAUST:

21 Reading, Town Hall with Faust
22 Cambridge, Corn Exchange with Faust
24 Southampton, Guildhall with Faust
28 Friary Youth Centre, Nuneaton
29 Dagenham, Round House with Faust
30 Guildford, Civil Hall with Faust
1 Dunstable, Queensway Hall
5 Birmingham, Town Hall
6 Newcastle, City Hall
9 Bristol, Colston Hall
11 High Wycombe, Town Hall
13 Aylesbury, College of Further Education
14 Chelmsford, Chancellor House
20 Cambridge, Corn Exchange
21 London, Rainbow Theatre, with guests: DJ Perry (text), Ray Smith (ironing), Jane Colling & Sarah Greaves (painting), David Gale, the Son & Lumière theatre group, Jean-Hervé Péron, Mark Charig, Phil Minton, Lol Coxhill, Gary Windo, Gary James, Elton Dean, Mike Westbrook, Edward Ray Smith & Nick Evans, Peter Blegvad, John Miles and Jeremy Baines.
22 Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
27 Liverpool, Stadium
31.Start rehearsal for The Tempest

END of tour with Faust.


November


1 - 17 Rehearse and perform Shakespeare's with director Jon Chadwick at the Palace Theatre, Watford.

 [4 Filmed by a French TV crew as part of a documentary on Virgin Records while we recorded our side of the Greasy Truckers compilation at The Manor].

21 Dingwall’s, London

22 Reading Arts Exchange

24 Bracknell, Sports Centre, with Man

25 Chipping Canmden Folkshop

26 Chelmsford Prison

 

December

1 De Toverbal, Maassluis 
2 MAF Centrum, Maasbree
3 Delft

6 Vakschool, Schoonhoven (morning concert) then to Zwolle (evening concert)
7 Paard van Troje, Den Haag
8 Eksit, Rotterdam
9 Melkweg, Amsterdam. [Geoff Leigh leaves.

 

1974

January  [Lindsay Cooper joins.]

19 London, Isleworth Polytechnic (lunchtime concert), then to Surrey University for evening concert
20 Crewe, College of Education with Hatfield and the North
25 London, Peanuts
26 Bristol, University with Dudu Pukwana


February


2 Hornsey, Town Hall with Global Village Trucking Company (benefit, for whom?)
7 London, Torrington with Isotope. [Record "Unrest" at the Manor (14-28/02)]


March


7 Southampton University (with Return To Forever)

8 Hemel Hampstead, Arts Centre
9 Bedford College, Students' Union
12 Lady Mitchell Hall, Cambridge, with Gong

13 St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, with Gong

18 Nottingham University (with Global Village Trucking Company)

19 Birmingham University (with Return To Forever)

[Unrest continues, 23/03-02/04]


April


Tour with Kevin Coyne:

10 Brest
11 Rennes
12 Bordeaux

13 Mont-de-Marsan
21 Hull Arts Centre

25. BBC Langham Studio 1, London record Pigeons, Ruins, Half Awake, Half Asleep and Bittern Storm Over Ulm for John Peel Show (broadcast May 9)


May


1 Midsummer Common Free Festival, Cambridge

8 Woolwich, The Tramshed

10 St. Albans College of Education

 [14 Slapp Happy recording session at Nova Studio]

15 Reading Town Hall benefit

18 Bryanston School Dorset

Tour with Captain Beefheart:

23 Patinoire, Reims, France
24 HEC Jouy-en-Josas, Paris, France
25 Palais D’Hiver, Lyon. France
26 Théâtre Antique, Arles, France

[27 Unrest released]

30 Loughborough University, UK
31 Norwich, East Anglia University, UK


June


1 Leeds University

3.Town Hall, Birmingham

4 City Hall, Newcastle
5 Apollo, Glasgow

6 Caley Cinema, Edinburgh
7 City Hall, Sheffield
8 Free Trade Hall, Manchester
9 Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London. Two shows at 1600 and 20.00
10 Town Hall, Hove
11 New Theatre, Oxford

12 North East London Polytechnic
14 Sports Centre, Bracknell
15 Liverpool Stadium
16 Colston Hall, Bristol
17 Brangwyn Hall, Swansea

20 Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
21 Concertgebouw, Venlo
22 Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

23 De Doelen, Rotterdam

End of Beefheart tour

July

6 Technical College, Ewell

 

September


13-17 rehearse at Skipton Village Hall, Yorkshire

Dutch tour as a quartet, without Lindsay.

19 Doornroosje, Nijmegen

Paard von Troje, Den Haag
21 Melkweg, Amsterdam

22 De Toverbal, Maassluis     

25 Technische Hogeschool Twente, Enschede
26 Verenigings Gebouw, Halsteren

27 De Piek, Vlissingen
28 Vera Club, Groningen

29 De Eland Delft

 

October

10 Winchester College of Art

12 Manchester, Polytechnic with Hatfield and the North

             

November
[5 Fred and Chris play on David Bedford's Star’s End at the Royal Festival Hall, London.]

[6 Chris and Fred’s first ever duo concert at Reading University]

[11-26 Recording Desperate Straights at The Manor after merging with Slapp Happy]

 

December

[10 Chris and Fred play with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra as soloists in David Bedford’s ‘Stars End.’]

 

1975


January [The newly merged Henry Cow/Slapp Happy rehearse material for their second LP and possible concerts in the gymnasium of St. Christopher's school. They un-merge as a permanent group but agree to make a second LP together. Lindsay returns. Dagmar joins Henry Cow.]

 

February/March

[Recording In Praise Of Learning at the Manor

Desperate Straights released]

 

April

[Rehearsals start with Robert Wyatt for our combined concerts.]


May


8 Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, with Robert Wyatt
9  Salle Molière, Lyon. [In Praise of Learning released]
15 Aix-en-Provence (France)

17 Palais des Sports, Grenoble with Magma and Etron Fou Leloublan.
21 New London Theatre, London with Robert Wyatt
23 Rasa, Utrecht
24 De Piek Vlissingen
25 Melkweg Amsterdam
27 De Lantaren Rotterdam

?? Helsinki


June


Tour with Gong, Magma, Hawkwind and Man:

18 Bruxelles.                                                                                                             

19 Gradignan, Bordeaux.
20 Arènes Poitiers.
21 Palais des Expositions, Nantes.
22 Ancienne Gare de la Bastille, Paris.
23 Toulouse.
25 Metz.

End of tour

27 Piazza Navona, Rome, with Gong (and last of concerts with Robert Wyatt)
[Approached to work on soundtrack for Jodorowsky’s Dune] [2]


July

20 Palermo

25. Høvikodden Arts Centre, Oslo.

 

August

5. BBC Maida Vale Studio 4, record London Beautiful As The Moon…, Nirvana For Mice, Ottawa Song, Gloria Gloom.., Terrible As An Army With Banners for John Peel show (broadcast Aug 18).


October


12. Palazzo Dei Marmi, Pordenone
13. Palamostre Auditorium, Udine
17 Festival Jazz Pulsations, Nancy, with Barre Phillips
18. Halles de la Villette, Paris. Benefit for the communist paper "Rouge." With Captain Beefeart, John Cale and Osibisa.
25. Centre Omni-Sports, Jazz Festival de Massy - Massy-Palaiseau, with the Max Roach Quartet and Irène Schweitzer.


November


2. Salle des fêtes de Fontgrande, Carmaux.
4-6. Toulouse
7. Brive

?. Carcassonne
?. Montpellier.
12. Aix-en-Provence
13. Lyon?
16. Fresnes
18. Sigma Festival, Bordeaux, with guests the Mike Westbrook Brass Band.
20. Souillac
[Legendary non-existent UK tour didn’t happen here][3]

29. Manchester, University??

 

December


2. South Harrow?                                                                                                                     

5. Strathclyde University, Glasgow.
13. Orléans  ???


1976


January


21. Kingston, Polytechnic
23. Maidstone College of Arts

30. North London Poly
31. London School of Economics 


March


26. NDR Jazz Workshop, Hamburg. John Greaves’ last concert with Henry Cow   [John Greaves leaves].


May


Second quartet tour, this time with Tim, Fred, Lindsay and Chris. (Dagmar is ill).

12 Tavastia Club, Helsinki

13. Konsettitalo,Turku    

16. Oslo 

18. V-Dala, Uppsala
19. Jarlateatern, Stockholm 
21. Musikforum, Västerås
22. Musikforum, Sundsvall
23. Stacken, Umeå
26. Studentersamfundet, Trondheim 28. Sprängkullen, Gothenburg (broadcast on Tonkraft radio programme, Jul 14)


June

[14. Georgie Born joins.]

 

August

[7. Booked for the Amphitheatre, Arles, with Pierre Moerlen, Archie Shepp, Van Der Graaf Generator, Terry Riley, and Sun Ra. There were riots and it was cancelled].

20. York?                                                                                                                                   

21. Folkstone                                                                                                                          

25. TV recording, Vevey

27. Lausanne

 

September


4. Sapinhaut                                                                                                                             

8.  Milan

10. Torino                                                                                                                                  

16. Trieste      

[17. Udine concert cancelled because of earthquake]

18. Bologna                                                                                                                               

23. Benuvento                                                                                                                                 

24. Taranto?

26 Palermo

28 Rome??                                                                                                                                   

29 Padua


October


1. Vicenza                                                                                                                                        

2. Venice                                                                                                                                     

23. Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London?
26. Lindisfarne Centre, Southend Open Door Arts Festival with Lol Coxhill, Gerry Fitzgerald and, Red Square

[31. First performance of the Feminist Improvising Group, with Lindsay, Georgie, and Dagmar at the Almost Free Theatre in London.]


November


09. Salle Fontaine d'Houche, Dijon 
10. France-Musique ["Ecoute"] Paris
11 & 12. Théâtre de la Renaissance Paris
13. Mulhouse
15. France-Musique Studio 109, Paris
16. MJC, Longlaville 3500F
17. Centre St.Exupéry, Reims 2500F
18. Salle Rencontres, Nancy 3500F
19. MJC, Hénin-Beaumont  
24. Maison de la Culture, Bourges, with Etron Fou Lelouban
25. Salle des Fêtes, Chaumont 
26. Pépinière, Belfort 27. Salle des Fêtes de la Mairie, Mairie, Louveciennes, with     Etron Fou Lelouban
30. Grenoble


December


1. Grenoble with Zao ?
2. Faculté de Lettres, Nice ?
3. Toulon with Etron Fou Leloublan & Zao
4. Théâtre du Chène Noir, Avignon
5. Salles des Fetes, St.Chamond 
6. Campus, Montpellier 
7. Forum Le Parvis ,Tarbes 
8. Théâtre du Taur, Toulouse
10. Musicorium, Centre Gagan, Limoges 
11. Bordeaux ?
13. Orléans ?                                                                                                                             

14. Maison pour Tous, Sainte-Quentin-en-Yvelines?
18. Other Cinema, London (Music Against Capitalism)


1977

 

February


1. Lady Mitchell Hall, Cambridge
3. Leeds, University
4. Victoria Leisure, Centre Nottingham
5. The Workroom, Warwick University, Coventry
13. Wandsworth Town Hall, London
18. Pavia
19. Genova
20. Parma
21. Teatro Lirico, Milan
22. Siena
23. Rome                                                                                                                                        24. Pisa
25. Torino                                                                                                                                26. Bergamo
27. Florence
28. Padova

 

March


1. Vicenza                                                                                                                                   2. Cremona
3. Brescia
4. Milan

5. Udine

6.Mestre

[Formation of the Orkhestra integrating all members Henry Cow and the Mike Westbrook Brass Band and singer Frankie Armstrong]                     

13. Roundhouse, London (Moving Left Revue). First Orkhestra performance.                                                                                                         21. Brive                                                                                                                                22. Bordeaux                                                                                                                         23. Poiters                                                                                                                              25. Orleans                                                                                                                             26. Rennes

27.Paris                                                                                                                                         28. Clermont Ferrand


April


20. Liverpool Eric’s Club
23. De Nobelaer Etten-Leur

24. De Toverbal, Maassluis 

26. De Muze, Antwerp

27. De Bottehommel, Bergen op Zoom 

30. Mariahisse, Stockholm.  

 

May


2. Uppsala                                                                                                                                      6. Huset, Aarhus

8. Festsalen, Ludvika 

9. Stockhom Radio concert.                                                                                                     11. Tarastia Club, Helsinki
14. Renstromska Museet, Gothenburg

15. Folkestius, Oslo 

16. Musikforum, Uppsala
18. Halles de Schaerbeek, Bruxelles

19. De Piek, Vlissingen

28/29. Battersea Arts Centre Music for Socialism festival, with Carol Grimes, Red Square, Leon Rosselson, Frankie Armstrong, Lol Coxhill, People’s Liberation Music, (Geoff Leigh’s) Red Balune, Tim Souster…                                                                                           

30. Solent Suite, Southampton, with Red Balune
31. Bath, Brillig Arts Centre with Red Balune

June


1. Plymouth, with Red Balune
2. St. George's Hall, Exeter, with Red Balune

3. Cardiff, Temple of Peace, with Red Balune
8. Hull, University with Lol Coxhill
9. Sallis Benney Hall, Brighton Contemporary Festival of Arts, with Miko Osborn
10. Queen's Hotel, Westcliff, with Etron Fou Leloublan                               

12. Guildford, Civic Hall,with  Etron Fou Leloublan
13. Lady Mitchell Hall, Cambridge, with Etron Fou Leloublan         

14. Leeds

[22-24 Rehearse with Orckestra]

25. Festival du Château, Sierck-les-Bains with National Health, Surya, Faton Cahen, Carmina
26. Regent's Park Open-Air Theatre, London with The Orckestra

 

July


[31. Tim Hodgkinson and Lindsay Cooper (as part of a wind quintet led by Jimmy Hastings) join National Health for a gig at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London]

 

September


9. Piscina Communale, Arzignano (Zona Festival)

10. Cremona
11. Livorno
16. Teatro Uomo, Milan, with The Orkhestra
17. Festival Nazionale dell’Unità, Modena, with The Orkhestra
18. Udine

19. Casa Del Popolo, Firenze

22. Verona                                                                                                                                      

23. Teatro Palladium, Lecco (Como Festival)

24. Lugano Festival, with John Cage, Dieter Schnebel, Christian Wolff                                                                         

25, Palazzo Sport, Cantù with Stormy Six (Como Festival)

27 Mestre with Etron Fou Leloublan

28. Rome with Etron Fou Leloublan

 

October


2. Napoli

[19. Our contract with Virgin is terminated.]

15. Nancy Jazz Pulsations Nancy, Chapiteau de la Pépinière with The Orkhestra                                                                                                             

31. Nottingham University

 

November


1. Leeds, University
5. Manchester, Polytechnic with Frankie Armstrong
8. Rennes   

9. Bourges              

10. Salle Beaurepaire Angers 

18. UCL, Woluwé-St.Lambert, with Univers Zero

20. Hippodrome (Fête du Nouveau Populaire de Paris with The Orkhestra. With National Health)

[20. Dagmar Krause leaves]
22. Limoges
24. Bilbao
25. Madrid 
26. Zeleste Club, Barcelona 
29. Zaragoza University
30 Barcelona 

 

December


2 Freiburg

3. Munich       

[5 & 6 visit and book Sunrise Studio in Kirchberg]
9. Auditorium Maximum, Freiburg University

14 Maison pour Tous, Paris suburb
15. Hamburg 

16. Melkweg, Amsterdam with Red Balune and guests Annmarie Roelofs and Geoff Leigh 

 

1978

January


10. Geneva
13, Rämibühl, Zurich

14. Kunstmuseum, Luzern

[15-29 recording at Sunrise Studios, Kirchberg with Dagmar Krause for new Henry Cow LP, most of which turns into the first Art Bears LP Hope & Fears after HC decide it’s not really Henry Cow material. Lindsay’s Half the Sky (later to appear on Western Culture) and Slice are also recorded, as well as Tim’s Viva Pa Ubu.]

 

February


Arts Council Contemporary Music Network Tour: [Fred has a letter from an Arts Council officer of the time who came to see us: “I came to your concert in Sheffield, a most depressing experience if I may say so”]

2. Aston University Birmingham
4. Hurfield Campus, Sheffield
5. Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
6. Christ's College, Liverpool
7. Town Hall, Huddersfield
8.  Foxhill’s School, Scunthorpe

10. Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol

11. Bridgwater Arts Centre

13. Warwick University Arts Centre, Coventry

14. Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton with Red Balune and Alvaro

[CC goes to USA to do concert research, paid by HC, in spite of the band no longer existing]

 

March


8. Aberdeen, Arts College 

9. Edinburgh, George Square Theatre   

12. New London Theatre Drury Lane, London, Rock In Opposition Festival, with Univers Zero, Stormy Six, Samla Mammas Manna and Etron Fou
LeLoublan                                                                                   

14. Phoenix Theatre, Leicester Rock Festival, with Stormy Six

[15-18 Chris, Fred and Dagmar record 4 more songs for Hopes and Fears at Kaleidophon Studios, London]

18. London, Middlesex Hospital Medical School Benefit for Other Cinema, with Red Balune
22. Radio Bremen                                                                                                                         26. Stockholm                                                                                                                             27. Uppsala with Samla Mammas Manna and Kräldjursanstalten

28. Kulturhuset, Stockholm. Radio concert with The Orkhestra    

29. Linkoping                                                                                                                                    30. Musikforum, Norrköping with The Orkhestra

31. Folkets Park, Kalmar


April


1.  Lund with Samla Mammas Manna

2. FFS,Gothenburg with The Orkhestra                                                                                     4. Chateauneuf, Oslo with The Orkhestra

[Although Henry Cow have concerts in Spain and France booked after the Orckestra tour, Georgie and our sound mixer Jack Balchin leave the band at this point and return to London. Lindsay also goes back, but for personal reasons, she will be back. Fred has to take the Bus back to the UK from Bremerhaven for repairs, so Tim asks Phil Minton if he would like to join them for the remaining concerts. Maggie Thomas steps into the sound mixing job and Phil Clarke takes the truck with Phil Minton and all the equipment to Spain while we contact Fred - to get him to fly out to Barcelona - and try to get hold of enough cash (borrowed from George Leton) and deliver it to Phil at a service station en route to Spain so that they can complete the journey. Chris, Tim and Maggie get on a night train to Barcelona where Tim, Fred (just arrived), Chris and Phil Minton knock a set together in the dressing room before the concert. The following concerts are done under the name of The Lions Of Desire.]

9. L’Alianca, Barcelona

13-14 Valencia 

15 Madrid
Turillo
18-19/04 Chalon-sur-Saone  - on the second night we hit a career record, no one at all turned up for the concert.

20 Paris - session for Radio France. 

[Back in England, Lindsay Cooper rejoins and Henry Cow recoups. Fred plays bass as well as guitar from now on and we play as a quartet with Annemarie Roelofs (trombone and violin) joining for most of remaining concerts, and also playing on Western Culture. Yochk'o Seffer, Chris Wangro and Henry Kaiser III also join in now and then.]

 

May

 

[15. Art Bears' "Hopes And Fears" independently released]

17. Hippodrome de Pantin, Paris, with the Orkhestra.
18. Kiosque de la Pépinière, Nancy, with The Orkhestra and Etron Fou Leloublan
19. Longlaville
20. Loos-en-Gohelle, with Terje Rypdal
21. MJC Nord (Festival de Jazz Progressif), La Celle-St. Cloud with Terje Rypdal, Jacques Thollot, Cohelmec, Dharm & Others
22. Poitiers
23. Carré St.Vincent, Orléans  (Marcoeur brothers join in)

24. Salle des Fêtes du Grand Parc, Althagore Festival, Bordeaux with Terje Rypdal and Yochk'o Seffer
25-26. Theatre du Taur, Toulouse
27. Théâtre Municipal, Castres
28 & 30. Sète      

                                                                                                                            

June


3. Salon-de-Provence 3500F

6.Bellay.                                                                                                                                                 8. Rock'n'Roll Mops, Lyon, with guest Henry Kaiser
Angers (France) with guest Henry Kaiser
13-17. Théâtre Campagne-Première, Paris. 5 day Residency, co-billed with the Art Ensemble of Chicago


July


7.Festival Della Gioventu, Milan
13. Rignon, Turin

14. Parco Sempione, Turin  

15. Football Stadium, Piacenza  

17. Festa D’Unita, Brescia               

20. Rome ?
23  Festa di Unita’ Proletaria, Cervia
24. Castello Visconteo, Pavia
25. Piazza Del Duomo, Milan. The last Henry Cow Concert.

[27- August 8, recording sessions for "Western Culture" at Sunrise, Kirchberg.]

 

August

 [We are supposed to perform one last concert in England, at a multi-band festival at Battersea Arts Centre but, as a result of incompetent organisation on their part, we ended up not playing.]



[1] Far from the free-ranging, experimental ensemble we were expecting, this turned out to be Cornelius Cardew, Keith Rowe and a couple of cohorts performing political songs, with “relevant” lyrics set to classic tunes of 50 years earlier. Stiff, humourless, and poorly executed, it was extremely peculiar and, for me, deeply disappointing! FF

[2] Unlikely though it may seem, given our general poverty, at around this time we visited - and contemplated buying - a giant dairy complex near Stevenage. It had been built, we were told, earlier in the century by an eccentric millionaire for his mistress, a vast oval building with a football-pitch-sized open courtyard in the center, an imposing pair of towers either side of its entrance and a winding covered way leading out into the fields behind. From the air it was designed to look like a cow. I wouldn’t dare make this up. For money we were planning to use the generous fee in prospect for composing a third of the soundtrack to Alexandro Jodorowsky's planned film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 'Dune'. Jodorowsky had come to the Rome concert in the Piazza Navona with Michel Seydoux, his Parisian backer and had told us (as Tim remembers it) that we were the most advanced musicians, he was the most advanced director, and we were going to do something great together. He came to see us again in Paris. The project started to look serious. Now Virgin got involved. At the beginning, each of the three planets in the story would be represented musically by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Henry Cow and Magma respectively. Then Stockhausen pulled out  - well, I don’t know what really happened but suddenly Pink Floyd were to be planet three. That’s where it all started to go wrong - from our point of view. Maybe six months into the story I had to go to see Jodorowsky at the Savoy Hotel. I was in the middle of seeing if I could go a year without wearing shoes at the time and, to get into the place I had to borrow Richard Branson’s shoes (and a tie). Richard waited in the car I think. We were told Pink Floyd’s management were pushing hard to get Magma and us booted off the project so that Pink Floyd could do all of it. It dragged on for a while longer but nothing got past talk and hustle until, eventually, the whole project was dropped, the rights were sold on and, after Ridley Scott had taken up and then abandoned it, David Lynch made a lackluster, forgettable version of the story. I still have the original – lavish – promotional book with highly exotic costume designs, plot resume and storyboard extracts; it would have pipped Star Wars to the post. Salvador Dali was booked to play the Emperor of the Universe.

 

[3] CC. We met an agent, Carol X, who said she would book a tour for us in the UK. We said great, since the Virgin agency had been pretty useless. As it happened several of us had become homeless around this time, and we stored all our worldly goods in Carol's basement before we went off again on tour. Over the next few weeks we got regular reports and before we returned there was a pretty impressive itinerary booked. Signed contracts were waiting for us on our return. A week before the first concert VIrgin took an advertisement in the music press to promote Unrest, and listed all the UK dates. On the day of publication one of the universities we were booked to play at called us, they'd seen the Virgin ad and were perplexed - they knew nothing about it. We said: ‘But we have signed contracts’. They said: ‘no one here signed them’. Then we checked the rest of the dates. Nobody knew anything about any of them. It turned out that the whole tour, contracts, signatures…. was a hopeful fiction. We never got to the bottom of this story, though we moved our stuff out of Carol’s basement that week, storing it in Virgin's Warehouse where some of it disappeared and some was eaten by mice. But that's another story. After that, British concert promoters stoically continued not to book us.

 


 

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