Interview with Derek Shulman (lead singer of Gentle Giant)[Listen:31:26 min] – Starting Funny Ways with Derek
Interview Date: December 15, 2011 @6:30pm EDT
Audio (Part 2 of 2): Derek Shulman (of Gentle Giant) and Written (Part 4 of 4): Daevid Allen(founding member of GonG).
Derek Shulman was the lead singer and multi-instrumentalist of the influential band Gentle Giant. After breaking the band apart, he has gone on to change the music landscape. He's responsible for signing bands like: Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Kingdom Come, and overseen the signings of Slipnot and Nickleback. In this podcast we talk about the albums S/T, Three Friends, Octopus, In the Glass House, and about going on tour with Black Sabbath. We also get into how he became a record company executive and get into his part in signing Bon Jovi and Nickleback.
The GTV and Daevid Allen Interview (Part 4 of 4)
Q: I kind of think that the Radio Gnome Trilogy also say something about pirate radio. Did you spend time listening to pirate radio stations and what do you remember about them?
To promote the first Soft Machine single in 1967, we visited the Radio Caroline ship of the coast of UK on a small motorboat and were interviewed live in a pretty crazy way.
I have always loved radio. I was a child radio actor in Melbourne while still at school. But I have never felt anything as wild and wonderful as Radio Caroline at the height of its infamy. Everybody in the UK listened to it and there were no laws in place to stop it.
It is my protection. I play the foole. I can't bear listening to myself talking seriously about anything. Fortunately I am deaf. But I also never want to talk down to anyone from some self righteous moral high ground. I am allergic to top-down systems.
Bottoms up is preferable but nothing beats from inside out.
Q: Often the use of humour can obfuscate the conveyance of the message. What is your dedication towards having your audience get it?
They are only going to get it their own way and I will never know what that means to them. I am just the agent provocateur. I just drive the bus of irony. I am my own roadie.
Q: What's it like being the doppelganger of Emo Phillips? Do you like his humor?
The idiot savant is a very useful disguise. You can get away with an awful lot like that. But you have every right to make this connection, even though I can't figure out why.
Q: Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield came out a year and was a big smash hit for him and Virgin Records. I hear nuances of that in High Tea Moonweed playing on “You.” Do you remember if you or he talked about that album (Tubular Bells)?
Mike Oldfield was recording Tubular Bells at Virgin's manor studios with producer Tom Newman at the same time as Gong was recording Flying Teapot with Simon Heyworth.
We would work until we dropped and then they would work till they dropped. We all knew each other anyway so psychic cross fertilization could have happened at any time.
Q: In the song’s lyrics it is talking about building a temple with your imagination. How are people who are really high suppose to wrap their head around this?
If by high you mean helpless then it aint gonna happen. If by high you mean 360 degrees awake and acutely aware, then like astral projection, focussed visualization is a powerful tool that can definitely help build your own temple in your own mind.
Q: Our hero is named “Zero” and is in search of a “real” hero (later to discover that it is in fact himself) hence the title of the last album “You.” How close is pain and suffering associated with cultivating wisdom, compassion or courage?
Ecstasy swings to its other extreme which is suffering, until it eventually settles into a perfect balance between the two.
This balance is empty of ego. It is zero ego. But it is also a reward for perseverance in the field.
Q: is it better to move toward or away from painful situations?
Q: It is an obvious influence on the Band Ozric Tentacles. What is your thought on their music? I remember reading that they and you both played at Stonehenge; does that place have any meaning to you?
I liked Ed when I first met him in 1988 and we flirted with the idea of doing a single together.
Stonehenge is the dead drama queen. Her false teeth stick up out of that ancient turf but I personally prefer Glastonbury Tor which can be dangerously alive at times.
Q: Many references state your influences to the beats, but through what I've found, Burroughs seems to have an exclusive impact. Are there any other books that have had as much an equal impact as Burroughs?
Not true. Corso, Ferlinghetti, Frank O'Hara, Diane De Prima, Ginsburg all came before Burroughs His work was too junky dark for me though he himself was a true gentleman. Brion Gysin influenced me more than Bill.
Q: Has the stream of consciousness approach influenced you?
Q: I have two shoes. And half a mind. I need a new place to put 3/4 of my sandwich.
Q: Have you gotten onto unlearning?
It is a vital post-educational discipline which may save you from untold exploitation by your peers.
Q: What's the sound of a falling tree doubting it's own existence?
A free form guitar solo by daevid allen whoever he is.
Q: I would imagine Teapot transportation is pretty comfortable; I was thinking of swinging by to pick you up; I was wondering if you could give me a crash course on driving it and is there anything else we need to know about it before we take off?
A crash course sounds too dangerous. My great great grandmother's teapot is too beautiful to risk.
The symbolism runs thus: the teapot is the mothership. The handle the ear of intelligence.
The spout the phallus. The lid the cockpit. The infinity symbol is the energy supply. At the first landing in Tibet the teapot mothership was so huge it blotted out the sky.
Thanks for sitting down to talk to us Daevid Allen; you are an amazing guy!
Daevid Allen was nice enough to send me a cool drawing I thought might be a nice way to finish this amazing interview off with. Got to love creativity!
P.S. Radio Caroline is still in operation. You can view their page and listen to their stream.
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