23 febbraio 2013

The Guardian pubblica un ritratto dello scomparso Kevin Ayers e recupera anche una delle sue ultime interviste (è del 2008, per la rivista Word): http://tinyurl.com/a7oyzwv e http://tinyurl.com/adwnw49

Un ricordo del suo incontro con Ayers lo scrive Marco Rossi per Shindig! Magazine: http://www.shindig-magazine.com/kevin-ayers.html

E un ricordo giunge anche da oltreoceano, da Bruce Lee Gallanter di Downtown Music Gallery: "It begins with a blessing, it ends with a curse... Why, why, why...why are we sleeping...?" Those words were written and sung by Kevin Ayers for the first Soft Machine album in 1968. They are troubling, nightmarish yet they speak directly to our unconscious collective minds. This was my own, and many others', introduction to Kevin Ayers with cohorts Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt. Soft Machine Volume One is unlike any other album that came out in a year of gems, it is filled with rock, psych, jazz, progressive and whimsical elements. A true pataphysical introduction. Mr. Ayers toured with the Softs in 1968 opening for the Jimi Hendrix Experience across the US but disliked the dehumanizing part of touring so he left before the end of the tour.
Throughout his life Mr. Ayers divided his time between living in England and living in Majorca. Within a year of leaving Soft Machine, Ayers began his solo career with Joy of a Toy (1969), another masterpiece of weirdness that only he could pull off. Ayers organized a band called the Whole World which included saxist Lol Coxhill (hilarious/bizarre bald-headed maestro who recently passed), guitarist Mike Oldfield (pre-breadwinner for Virgin Records) and David Bedford (pianist & distinguished modern composer). This band toured quite a bit in Europe and recorded another brilliant album called Shooting at the Moon. This band helped magnify the importance of each of its band-members, yet it soon broke up. The third Ayers record, Whatevershebringwesing was the last of a trilogy of wonderful, unique records that still sound fresh, strange and beyond category today. Ayers made a few other fine records like Banamour and Confessions of Dr. Dream and was involved in a famous concert and album with Nico, John Cale & Eno called June 1st, 1974. After this Ayers' career was often uneven and unpredictable with occasional moments of brilliance. Ayers often chose amazing and/or eclectic musicians to play with like the incredible guitarist Ollie Halsall (from Patto & Boxer) in his band for many years.
More than a decade later after his first trip to the US with the Softs, Mr. Ayers came to NY in April of 1980 with his trusty guitar-slinger Ollie Halsall and backing from members of then-current John Cale band. They played two amazing gigs in Hurrah's and Trax and I had a chance to chat with Mr. Ayers backstage. Ayers continued to make occasional albums, some good, some not, but none exceptional. He made it back to these shores, usually playing solo sets at sympathetic venues like Caravan of Dreams, Under Acme, Maxwells and even record stores like Brass City Records in Conn. and Other Music in Manhattan. The last time I caught Mr. Ayers was at a Canterbury Fest in Seattle, Washington. It was common knowledge that Kevin Ayers drank heavily and often sang about being a wonderful wino. He certainly looked a bit buzzed when I saw him live. If you haven't heard any of his solo albums, do yourself a favor and check out any of the first three. They are classics and unlike anything else from that time. I will leave with some words from Kevin Ayers, "So let's drink some wine and have a good time and if you really want to come through... here's what you got to do..."