In his own words
Ten Years After Songbook Volume 1,
from Alvin Lee himself on the meaning
behind twelve of his songs:
and Roll Music to the World
magic invocations, the wish of me to play anyone,
music, for the sake of music, because music is a true
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
suffering from an overload of inputs to the brain (Lane's
theory) I cut myself from all entertainment and news
media as an experiment.
improved, but I noticed definite T.V. withdrawl
symptoms, as usual compromise was the solution.
words that wrote themselves and do not relate to me in
anyway (in this life).
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.
Love to Change the World:
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.
world could use some changes, but who can make
decisions for other people's lives, only the ignorant
stars, so many solar systems, so many galaxies and so
much time, one day we will be contacted.
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.
A despairing song brought on by a godless cosmic
invitation to suppressed females to get it on, it
the equivalent to a chain gang work song, only as I
envision it could be in the future.
after this song was written I dropped out for three
months to recover from an outburst of lethargy.
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
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
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
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,
The ALVIN LEE Interview
"Little Richard turned me on to
rock 'n' roll and others I like".
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
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.
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
Steve Miller Band
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.
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.
Years After Equipment
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
10 SRO speaker cabinets 2 - 12in
speakers per cabinet, handling capacity 60 watts per
2 SRO speaker cabinets 2 - 15in
speakers per cabinet, handling capacity 65 watts per
1 Teletronix leveling amplifier
3 Crown DC 300 amplifiers, each
Crown has a stereo amplifier of 300 watts per channel
1 Fender Stratocaster guitar.
2 Gibson 335 stereo (1 cherry
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 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
1 - 24" x 14" bass
1 - 61/2" x 14" snare
1 - 13" x 9" top Tom
2 - 16" x 16" side Tom
1 Gretsch Maple Wood drum kit
1 - 20" x 14" bass
1 - 5" x 14" snare
1 - 12" x 8" top Tom
1 - 14" x 14" side Tom
2 Avedis Zildjian cymbals
2 - 15" Avedis Zildjian
4 - 16" Avedis Zildjian
2 - 19" Avedis Zildjian
1 Hi-Hat Ching-ring
February 20, 1971
Ten Years After must be
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
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.
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.
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
members of Ten Years After -- Alvin lee, Leo Lyons,
Ric Lee and Chick
- 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
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
Ten Years After on "Beat Club"
Ten Years After