INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Hit Parader OCTOBER 1980 - by Lisa Robinson
WHERE DOES HE GO FROM HERE AND IS IT FAR?
This winter Kevin Ayers came to New York City from the tiny village of Deya, Mallorca, where he claims to have been hiding for the past few years. Kevin, who has always been one of the more interesting musical personalities, stands six feet tall, is devastatingly charming, and has a reputation first as a rake - then as an eccentric decadent who would rather lie around and drink white wine in the South of France than make records (Who wouldn't?).
Widely regarded as one of the more avant garde, eclectic rock and rollers, Kevin's music combines the very best of melody and drama. He writes and sings songs with a kind of Ray Davies wit, and a style that has strongly influenced Brian Eno. It was about time he got here.
"I finally had to get of my butt and do something," Kevin said as he prepared for a series Of New York shows that would bring him the attention he deserves here. "I had a bad night at poker, so I jumped on a plane and just came here. I'm optimistic about getting a record deal here, but the machinations of the record industry really are more cutthroat than in Europe."
(In Europe, Kevin is on EMI Records, but he's available for the U.S., and someone should snap him up any minute.)
Kevin hadn't performed live in the U.S. since he was with the Soft Machine thirteen years ago, and played in New York with the rhythm section of VHF (Rich Teeter, Donnie Nassov and Bruce Brody), and Ollie Halsall - the guitarist who's played on nearly all of Kevin's albums.
"I'm doing pretty much what I've always done," Kevin said, "taking the best stuff off each album, and I have eleven to choose from. I really had no idea whether the kids here know me or not, and it's frightening and intriguing at the same time."
One of the ways that audiences in the U.S. do know Kevin is from the legendary June 1, 1974 album: the one recorded (at London's Rainbow Theatre on June 1, 1974) by Island Records. That concert (and record) was a magical event that combined the highly original talents of some of the English rock scene's most eccentric personalities: Ayers, John Cale, Nico, Brian Eno, Mike Oldfield and Robert Wyatt. "I'd like to be involved in another one here," said Kevin. "Especially in New York, which seems to me to be the most lively and receptive place for such an event right now."
(Among the musicians Kevin approached about this while in New York were John Cale, David Johansen, and the Talking Heads - all that's needed now is for someone to organise it. With all of the recent commercial involvement in rock and roll - Hall & Oates/Carefree gum; Debbie Harry/Murjani jeans - this would be a good opportunity for some company to support a prestigious rock event.)
While in New York, Kevin did manage to see a lot of the local bands, but admitted, "Of course, I'm probably a bit out of date, but I'm not madly impressed. I don't like being shouted at - I'm still old school melodic."