Dave's Tribute to the classic TEN YEARS AFTER 1967-1975

 

 

TEN YEARS AFTER 

Ric Lee          Leo Lyons         Alvin Lee           Chick Churchill


In honor of these four men and the music they created

Introduction:


  
Rock & Roll has many memorable stars  but for me personally there is only one that remains in first position on my record/cd shelf and that is Ten Years After. A pedigree Jazz,  Rock'n Roll, Blues Band that came out in the mid sixties and lasted until the mid seventies with the same band members.
   Two reunion tours that served their purpose but failed to reunite them for a longer period of time or ignite the passion they once had from playing together.

 

    There is something about this group of musicians that makes them stand out above all the rest, part of it is because they were an underground band  which put them into a special catagory right from the start. They were amoung  the Cool and the Hip and it was these qualifications that placed them with the sacred few artisits who had that extra something that we'll call "mystique". 

 

     The second reason was because they never sounded dated or tied down to just one style of music, and there was an unbeatable chemistry between all the band members that lasted for years, and this bond came through on stage and also in their recordings, they were tight and real.

   

    Their performance at Woodstock ended their club / underground period that launched them in the first place, and stardom with all its pitfalls took its toll on their time to expand their musical horizons and improvisations as well as to keep their personal lives in balance and intact. 

 

    So this is what makes Ten Years After so very special: the cool mystique great success in every venue they played, including super stardom at Woodstock, and the Isle of Wight and their final break-up as a working band with Alvin Lee going solo in 1973. They have done it all and their legend is forever sealed in sweat, vinyl and celluloid.  

My first knowledge of them was the Woodstock movie and the soundtrack.

Then came the word "Stonedhenge" from the Head Shops and Freaks I had contact with.

It was Alvin's poster from the "Cricklewood Green" album posted on the inside door of a Hippie Van in the mountains of Upper New York State and hearing that great music that pointed me in the right direction. From that moment on I was an Alvin Lee/TYA fan.

 

 


Photo from Brigitte's Private TYA Collection

 

The shirt that Ric Lee is wearing, was a birthday present from Don Law who ran the "Boston Tea Party"

 

 What it took for me to become a true TEN YEARS AFTER Fan:

This is my first entry on the Alvin Lee guest book written here  just as it was posted on 04/08/01  05:47:48 PM      David Willey  Troy,New York   
“Thank you Toni Franklin,you are our only contact to the great man himself.As an Alvin fan for 31 years I would like to Thank Mr. Lee for all the great years of music and the thousands of hours of pleasure that he has given me in my life. I would like him to know that his true fans are a loyal and devoted lot,and that we have supported him through all of his musical changes,and artistic efforts,and will continue to do so unconditionally. Roll with all of life’s changes Alvin and keep Rocking until we all drop. One of your most devoted fans”.  


Dave 1956

   To start with I have now been a Alvin Lee / Ten Years After fan for 33 years as of the present date of this letter 9/20/ 03.   People keep asking me, why has my opinion changed about Alvin from this original letter,and how did this change come about. So with that in mind this letter in in response to these inquries,and also my personal perspective as a TYA fan, this also goes along with John Kenney’s  wonderful experience with Leo Lyons.

 

Our Experience with Leo:

 It was Leo’s kind reply to our first e-mail and continued communication with us and other fans that wrote to him, that proved that this man was willing to give of himself and looked for nothing in return. Where a lot of famous people ignore your honest efforts to reach out to them,Leo takes the time and makes the effort to let you know that he is interested in your opinions,and always makes you feel comfortable. Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s I always thought of Leo as an older brother type,but now as we have all grown older and I have had the chance to meet him in person he is more of a father figure to me,in fact he has many of the great qualities that my own father has and still does to this day,these include a good work ethic (they are both work-a-holics),a dry sense of humour but deadly accurate, a kindness and gentleness to people and animals alike ( Leo is a Vegitarian)  and when people meet them they can’t help but to like them right away. My father doesn’t have an enemy in the world and I can’t imagine anyone not liking Leo.   

 Every time we met Leo in person I still stand in awe of this man, we can talk-- as fan to musician or just as friends but then your in shock when you think about the people he has known, the venues he has played, and the places he has travelled to in his life time. As an example,we were all standing around and I brought up the name Graham Bond when Ric started telling us all a story about him and then asked Leo for the facts, we all burst out laughing at their memory of the situation.  

  To start with and in retrospect shame, I made one mistake right from the start, in my guest book posting was my unfortunate use of the word unconditionally, but at that time it was what I believed. In fact no one and nothing could shake my love, respect and support for Alvin Lee and Ten Years After. It has been my desire and dream to one day meet the man in person, to say hello, to shake his hand, express my praise of him and the music of Ten Years After, and that was all (just like Lincoln Baraccat showed in kissing Alvin’s hand)  I was not obsessed, or possessed by the man but I did feel a common bond in our life experiences, and emotional troubles that everyone who lives in this world feels at one time or another, we all get the Blues and we all like Rock ‘n’ Roll music.  I could relate to the man and the music, and like so many others we felt so much better when we put on a record by Ten Years After,  good music always helped to ease the confusion of the times and the music of Ten Years After served that purpose very effectively,it also helped to increase the effects of our current drug use during those times---what a rush!!!

 I ran a shop out of my grandmothers barn from 1968 to 2001 called simply enough “Dave’s Small Engine Repair” as a mechanic I spent thousands of hours in that building repairing everything from lawn mowers, snowblowers, chain saws, snowmobiles, weed eaters and then my cars, dirtbikes ect. One thing was missing: TYA music, so I transported my stereo from my bedroom into my work area, and then I had 24/7 of great music to keep me company. I found myself sleeping in the barn most of the Summer and I could listen to my music and run motors all day and night and not disturb anyone.



Dave 1970

  When each new record came out I was the first one to buy it, and add it to my growing music collection, my friends didn’t understand my love for this band so I didn’t have to fight them over my TYA records. They and I were also into Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, Allman Brothers, Led Zepplin, Cactus, Blue Cheer, The Who, Johnny and Edgar Winter, The Guess Who, Frijid Pink, Bloodrock, Mountain, Pink Floyd, Humble Pie, and Jethro Tull just to name a few, but for me it was always Ten Years After that was different and stood out.  So for all these years this band has had the number one position on my shelf, and they have out lasted all the others and when I couldn’t decide what I wanted to listen to I put on any record by TYA.

  The great memories I carry with me are: the movie Woodstock, my first copy of Cricklewood Green (with the free give away Alvin Lee poster in Black and white silhouette) all the way through Watt, Recorded Live and all the rest I was a loyal, devoted Alvin Lee /TYA fan. 

 Remember I said my friends had no interest in TYA, now they were now stealing my records left and right, (sorry I mean borrowing and never returning them), and the TYA records that I brought to parties never came home with me, and I gave away more than I can count. The fact is I bought at least twenty copies of every record from Stonedhenge on and I didn’t mind at all, I was spreading their great music all over my hometown, around the whole State of New York, and later everywhere that I travelled across America.    

         
                1970                                             Diane and brother Dave - 1974

 So this is how it went until the next great change came along, the computer age and in April of 2001 I got the chance to follow my dream to the next level of electronic communication and I entered the Cyber Space era. One of the first places I visited was the alvinlee.com website, I was glad to know that my hero was being represented on the world wide web, Alvin had made it into cyber space thanks to his fan club president Toni Franklin and  TYA were not forgotton. What a great chance for him to have world wide exposure once again. I say this because the records were long since gone, cd’s were in and by 2000-2001 even the complete TYA cd catalog was being discontinued all together. I for one was not going to let my favorite band just fade away or worse die, it was time to act and act fast.

  Every chance I got I tried to promote TYA / Alvin Lee, I made record stores re-stock their cd’s and when the TYA section was removed I insisted they correct this error and put them back into circulation.  I was feeling strong empathy for the band and through the Alvin Lee message board (because I was yet to have contact with Leo, Chick and Ric) I made my position clear. My intent was nothing more than to express my feelings and to let the band know how much they meant to me personally, I hoped they would all find some comfort and support in my brief comment and know that someone that cared was still out there.

  I then decided that meeting my hero was not out of the realm of possibilites, because everybody now days is accessible through this new world wide web.  On  4/10/01 Brigitte posted her message right after mine on Alvin’s website and she and I started writing to each other, then in August 15, 2001 my best friend of 40 years John Hardie and I made the trip to the site of the original Woodstock festival, we took lots of pictures and I then sent them on to  Brigitte in Germany to post on our brand new Ten-Years-After.com website. Brigitte bought the domain name for us and she was as proud as I was to be the sole owners of this prestigious URL. I told Brigitte about the goals I had in mind for our website, in the end we decided to call it Tribute to TEN YEARS AFTER. I also explained to Brigitte that  I have  two dreams, one was to meet Alvin in person and the other was to have him and all the members of Ten Years After sign our guest book.

   As time passed Leo Lyons was the first to show his support, second was Chick Churchill through our new friend Mama Paula and third was Ric Lee who was a great surprise to everyone. Brigitte and I were working very hard to make our site and our  dreams come true.  Try as we might there was no input from Alvin, I tried everything to contact him and went through  many different people to accomplish this, but with no luck.  

  Another reality came to light when I learned their were other TYA fans in the world besides just me and what a surprise it was to learn that they were even more dedicated than I was. John Kenny, Herb Staehr, Dan Jasper, Patrick Bellier, Kevin Antonovich, Ian Radburn, Dale Manning, Matt Sutton, Izumi Tada, Big Ed, Torsten Strube. Fans in England, Germany, Norway, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Australia, South Africa,  Japan, Brazil, Faro Islands -  from every part of the globe and from coast to coast back in the states.

      Now, with the reality that Alvin Lee was not coming back to the fold as an active member TYA has become an extended Rock Family that includes Leo, Ric, Chick and newest member Joe Gooch.  There is an English expression that says “Where the Rubber Meets the Road”  and this is what is apparent here, no frills no false pre-tense, just Ten Years After back with a Vengence and Kicking Ass. They’re playing for keeps and as if their lives depend on it, nothing’s really changed cause it’s always been in their blood.

    Our first experience with the band is simple - we had some e-mail contact, some good positive support from Leo and then on April 12th of 2002 we met them in person at the "Blues Garage", Hannover, here in Germany, they didn’t know us from Adam and as fans we knew much more about our heros and that is all that mattered. Great men, great band, great time together. Brigitte and I have had the great chance to see and meet the band in person ten times in the last fourteen months. We were at their second gig  featuring Joe Gooch in Twist Germany, and were there when they returned to Twist to record their live cd called "One Night Jammed" we tried to encourage others to come out and see them perform live with us.

  In my letters to the band I have stated that for Brigitte and I to be a small part in their future success is our greatest reward, to have been loyal fans for so long and to have supported them in record sales and their live concerts was also a pleasure. To see all of them happy together, playing for their fans and having fun while they're doing it.

  As of 5/16/03 the band is in the studio in Oxford rehursing for their new tour, there was a silence before the storm as TYA once again hit the shores of England/UK and Europe, and from then on there was to be no turning back or stopping them now. A new CD, their very first DVD and tours throughout  this year and into 2004.

  Thank You Leo, Ric, Chick,and Joe for letting Brigitte and I be a part of it all, you have made us very comfortable and happy. A big thank you also to their fans and friends who helped us along the way, without whose support in the last two years we never would have accomplished all that we have in such a short amount of time.

  Leo thanks for your cooperation in doing those two interviews that we have posted on our website, it takes a great deal of integrity to stand up, speak your mind in a clear and objective manner without any malace as you have done. The feedback that we have received from the people who did the interviews with you were very grateful for your time, help, patience and understanding.

 For Brigitte and I it has given us great satisfaction, to look back on where we started on our website and where we are right now. To hear from other TYA fans who are surprised to learn that there is really someone on the other end of their keyboard who is as real as they are. There is a vast Ten Years After family in the world, and little by little we have been reaching out to say hello to all of you.

                     
                                                    Dave and Brigitte 2002 

 

Photo from Brigitte's Private TYA Collection


Chick Churchill,  Leo Lyons, Alvin Lee and Ric Lee.  Reunion Tour 1991 (Gig in Herford, Germany)

 

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