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In his own words

From The Ten Years After Songbook Volume 1,

Thoughts from Alvin Lee himself on the meaning behind twelve of his songs: 

1. Rock and Roll Music to the World

The magic invocations, the wish of me to play anyone, music, for the sake of music, because music is a true essence.

2. Turned Off TV Blues

I realized that the T.V. was wasting my creative time and I was becoming aware of too many unpleasent or useless events, which in previous generations was not the case. After suffering from an overload of inputs to the brain (Lane's theory) I cut myself from all entertainment and news media as an experiment. Creation improved, but I noticed definite T.V. withdrawl symptoms, as usual compromise was the solution.

3. You Give Me Loving:

Strange words that wrote themselves and do not relate to me in anyway (in this life).

4. Hard Monkeys:

I decided to indicate that I was not involved in hard drugs. Many people were assuming that I was into heavy dope and I did not wish to contribute to the increasing use of bad medicine. 

5. I'd Love to Change the World:

On the news media again. I realized that the world was definitely not living up to my hopes, I find it difficult enough to control my own life. Yes the world could use some changes, but who can make decisions for other people's lives, only the ignorant I fear.

6. Here They Come:

So many stars, so many solar systems, so many galaxies and so much time, one day we will be contacted.

7. One of These Days:

I have the ability to associate with any emotion imaginable, I call this song "Caucasion Spiritual" to indicate my sympathy with the suppressed Negro work songs that I grew up with.

8. Circles:

A despairing song brought on by a godless cosmic revelation.

9. Love Like A Man:

An invitation to suppressed females to get it on, it liberated me.

10. Year 3,000 Blues:

This is the equivalent to a chain gang work song, only as I envision it could be in the future.

11. Working On The Road:

Shortly after this song was written I dropped out for three months to recover from an outburst of lethargy.

12. Sugar the Road:

I wish to encourage all individuals to explore their individuality, break the umbilical cord and try it your way, it's the only way.



Another woman in love with Alvin Lee: Georgina Mells article:    IPC Magazines Ltd. 1971



Just looking at Alvin Lee is enough to stop you in your tracks, he's devastating with his thick blond hair, hazel eyes and tough physique which is one very good reason why he's probably as well known by name as Ten Years After.
He's the "face" of the group, the one whose photo all the fans want and who gets singled out for publicity, which Alvin seems to think is a bit of a drag. He'd much rather people thought of him as the brilliant guitarist that he is rather than "just a pretty face". On the subject of the way he looks Alvin says: "I was very paranoid about it at first, it started in America where the very business-like publicist we had over there found people were picking up on me and decided to exploit the situation. That led to a weird feeling about it in the band....but finally we sat down together and discussed it and it was decided that if it was going to help the band we would let it go, but I've never really liked to think of the band as anything other than a band".
Since then, the whole thing has snowballed--with Alvin developing into something of a cult, especially with the group's younger fans, and the film Woodstock did plenty to swell their ranks, because Mr. Lee somehow seemed to be the "star" turn of all the footage shot at that memorable venue. That certainly has a whole lot to do with his face as well as his dexterous hands and his sexy voice. So much so that recently he has been subjected to a selection of film offers, mostly from the states, to further his career as an actor. But Alvin just doesn't want to know. This is because he loves guitar playing and among the connoisseurs of the music world he has been called " the last of the great British guitarist" and earned the nickname Flash.
His present popularity is a long way from the beginnings of the band. A few years back Alvin Lee, Leo Lyons and Ric Lee started playing round Nottingham, they had lean times until they moved to London, and did a lot of session work that got the group together on musical experience. Then Chick Churchill joined them on organ.
On stage they finally talked their way into a date at the Speakeasy and that was how Ten Years After started to become well-known. 
Afterwards they hit States and became really red hot musical property. Now at last they have the recognition they deserve in Britain as well. As well as playing lead guitar like an earthly angel and singing in the same sort of vein Alvin is the member of the band who gets things moving, the one with the ideas. He works very hard at writing songs which he admits he finds hard work, luckily for us the results are always worth the effort.
Nowadays when he's not on the road he spends much of his time at his Berkshire country home experimenting with good sounds and editing his cine films.
When you're one of the budding legends of the 70's it's nice to have somewhere where you can get away from all that snowballing fame.
The beautiful back-page pic of the irresistible Alvin (in glorious color!) almost does justice to his colorful character.
Well worth a spot on your wall I'd say..... Georgina Mells
Note: This article and accompaning photo is presented here on www.alvinlee.de  for the first time anywhere. The text is complete, the photo is in mint condition and it comes from the personal collection of Brigitte Scholz. 


Under the Influence, this week:
The ALVIN LEE Interview  "Little Richard turned me on to rock 'n' roll and others I like". 


Elvis Presley "Hound Dog"
This has to be included simply because of its guitar sound. The second guitar solo is completely amazing. It comes in like somebody dropping about fifty scaffold poles. It's always been a sound I've tried to emulate but never got anywhere near, and never met anybody who has. 
John Lee Hooker "Sugar Mama"
I think anything by John Lee is good because he's got such a funky style. There's nothing forced. It's just the way he is, stomping and natural. 
Big Bill Broonzy "Hey Bud Blues"
Big Bill Broonzy has always been one of my favourites. He's got an unusual guitar style, almost playing rhythm and picking at the same time. It's very earthy as well, which I like.
Little Richard:
It's hard to think of any one track. There are just so many classics. Basically I admire him for his original rock and roll. I mean he didn't invent it but that's who I first heard it from and his playing and style has always stuck with me a lot.
Steve Miller Band  "Sailor"
It's an incredible production and stands up as a whole album. Like, side one is a complete entity by itself. I don't think any track picked out would sound as good as the whole side played through all at once. You've got the fantastic start with foghorns before it builds up and then comes down with the rain and everything.
Steve Stills:
I also like Steve Stills particularly for his country feel. He plays good guitar and writes interesting songs. His records have an unoffending atmosphere. It's just natural music. He's also the first guitarist who plays in open D a lot. It's a different tuning with its own sound,and I think he does more with it and has taken it further than anybody else.
Otherwise I like the album with Jack McDuff and George Benson. Simply because it's good playing.



Ten Years After Equipment (1971)
5 - 100 watt Marshall amplifiers
12 - 100 watt Marshall cabinets
1 Fender twin Reverb
2 Acoustic 360E bass amplifiers
2 Lashramme speaker cabinets each containing 36 - 4/12 in. speakers, handling capacity per cabinet 560 watts rms.
4 A7 Bass Reflex cabinets 1 - 15in speaker per cabinet, handling 35 watts per speaker.
10 SRO speaker cabinets 2 - 12in speakers per cabinet, handling capacity 60 watts per speaker.
2 SRO speaker cabinets 2 - 15in speakers per cabinet, handling capacity 65 watts per cabinet
1 Teletronix leveling amplifier LA2A.
3 Crown DC 300 amplifiers, each Crown has a stereo amplifier of 300 watts per channel rms.


1 Fender Stratocaster guitar.
2 Gibson 335 stereo (1 cherry red,
1 sand color) guitars.
1 Eko 12-string Ranger guitar.
1 Fender Telecaster bass guitar.
1 Rickenbacker bass guitar.

fender/Gibson Sonomatic mixed strings.
Labella heavy guage bass strings.

1 Hammond M102 organ
2 Hammond B3 organs
1 RMI 300B electric piano
1 Steinway grande piano

6 ShureUnisphere 565
5 Shure Unidyne III
1 Beyer 260
1 Electro Voice
12 AKG microphone stands 



2 Gretsch drum kits:
1 Gretsch Black Pearl drum kit consisting of:
1 - 24" x 14" bass drum
1 - 61/2" x 14" snare drum
1 - 13" x 9" top Tom Tom
2 - 16" x 16" side Tom Toms
1 Gretsch Maple Wood drum kit consisting of:
1 - 20" x 14" bass drum
1 - 5" x 14" snare drum
1 - 12" x 8" top Tom Tom
1 - 14" x 14" side Tom Tom

2 Avedis Zildjian cymbals
2 - 15" Avedis Zildjian Hi-Hats
4 - 16" Avedis Zildjian crash cymbals
2 - 19" Avedis Zildjian ride cymbals
1 Hi-Hat Ching-ring


February 20, 1971
Ten Years After must be seen

TEN YEARS AFTER are a band who've made it on the strength of their live appearances. It's on stage, playing supercharged rock 'n roll that they've made their name, coming across with a power that only a few groups can equal.

Stage appearance have always been vital to the group and festivals have played a major part in their success since they first reached a large audience at the 1967 Windsor Jazz Festival which they followed with a residency at the Marquee where they built a huge following.
After their festival debut, the group recorded a first album and in the summer of the following year they made their first tour of America.

They played with Canned Heat at Bill Graham's Fillmore West and Graham, certainly one of the most influential powers in the American rock scene, booked them to open his new Fillmore East in New York with Butterfield Blues Band.

The American reaction to the group was so strong that they suddenly found themselves one of the most popular British groups to tour the States only a little while after they'd first come to London from Nottingham where they started.

Individually, the members of Ten Years After -- Alvin lee, Leo Lyons, Ric Lee and Chick Churchill - had been playing around the Nottingham area for a number of years although Leo and Alvin played together in various groups at one time.

As Ten Years After the group has been together for nearly four years. They had, however, been working under other names - like the Jaybirds - for nearly two years before that. Organist Chick Churchill being the last member to join.


To date the group has made a total of eight tours of America. They returned to the Fillmore East to appear with Janis Joplin and have in fact spent over half of their time together working in the States where they are an enormous drawer capable of filling 6,000 capacity halls with thousands left outside.

The summer of 1969 proved to be another turning point in the group's history. It was the year they appeared at nearly all the major festivals including "Woodstock", which attracted half a million people and some of the best rock groups in the world.

The music that Ten Years After play is a contemporary mixture of blues, rock and roll and jazz that is definitely their own. Their music varies from a souped up jazzy version of Woody Herman's "Woodchopper's Ball", which became the stand out number of their Marquee stage act, to a wild, rocking version of "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl"

Its one of the strangest things about the group that none of their six albums - "Ten Years After", "Stonedhenge", "Sssh", :Undead" Cricklewood Green" and "Watt" - have come close to capturing quite what Ten Years After are all about. Their records are good but nothing like their stage appearances.

As a group they're at their best when they're working on stage, they drive each other, working, moving and playing seventies rock and roll with a force and excitement that is impossible to ignore. - ROYSTON ELDRIDGE





Original Photo from 1968



Ten Years After on "Beat Club" 


Ten Years After 1967



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