There is something fascinating about old newspaper archives and seeing how people got the news about important events. One of the avenues of research for the upcoming Machine Head book has been to see how they covered to story in the country, and this front page is from the Nouvelle Review. As this did not have a Sunday edition, the story is from the Monday after the fire (which happened 44 years ago today) and clearly it is still big news. But not too big to squeeze some of the weekend sports stories off the front page! (And a reminder too of issues closer to home, with a brief report of an explosion in a Belfast restaurant as events there began to worsen.) Coverage of the fire and the aftermath continued across page two and as late as May the following year the debate was still going on, and journalists were trying to get to the truth behind many of the rumours about the causes of the fire. Read more about the book on the publisher’s sitehe
Posts Tagged ‘Fire In The Sky’
Work on the Machine Head book is proceeding, with Stephen corresponding with Jean Paul, who was at the Casino event the night the place went up. And he clearly wasn’t afraid to get stuck in either. This amazing photo we’ve seen before on this site, but we now know that is Jean himself on the right with Claude Nobs desperately trying to get one of the hoses round to tackle part of the blaze. Jean was one of Claude’s best friends, and has been able to help us fill in some of his early career and explain how the whole Montreux Super Pop and Jazz festival events came about.
During work on the book we’ve also found pictures of the blaze inside the casino roof which kicked the whole saga off (though you do wonder who would stop inside the hall to take such a picture…!), and a bewildered security guy on the stage with a megaphone trying to get people to take it seriously and leave. The more I see of the event the more I’m amazed everyone got out safely. Claude by the way reckoned the band only finished Smoke off for him as a thank-you tape given at a party before they left, and hadn’t intended it for the album…. We’re still trying to get the chronology sorted as photographer Didi Zill now thinks he snapped Ian writing the lyrics only a couple of days after the fire. As ever any info on the scene or events welcome!
Well we know who the bassist is obviously, but couldn’t resist the header! It’s Ritchie Blackmore, caught by a 15 year old fan at the side of the stage with his instamatic back in April 1971. Apart from the fact that Blackmore has made a swop with Roger for the Precision bass, the extra interest is that the band are playing at the Montreux Casino just 8 months before they would return there with plans to record an album on this very same stage. I think it’s one of the earliest shots of Ritchie with a bass, there are a couple of Ritchie playing bass with Alex Harvey from 1974.
Jean-Lou who took the shot can’t recall too much about the show (and to be fair my recollections of first seeing the band that same year are a little limited), but he has hunted out his original photographs so we can get hi-res scans which will appear in the upcoming Machine Head book Fire In The Sky later this year. If there are any other fans out there who saw the band at the time, or went to the infamous Zappa show in December, please do get in touch.
Thanks also to Stephen Clare. Here’s a recent pic of him doing the same thing, 40 something years on; not sure about the pink finish though!
It being that time of year (Christmas? No, much more important – the anniversary of the Machine Head sessions! 43 years ago this week) I’ve been reminded to mention the ‘looking back’ feature we did some time ago which some will have missed. A sort of glance at events day by day in December 1971. It’s been updated a little, we now know for example that Jon drove down in his E-Type Jag (nice), but fun to look through and think back.
We are working on the Machine Head book (Fire In The Sky), which will follow the In Rock title early in the new year. More details of that on the publisher’s website (where you can also join a newsletter service to keep up to date on progress). In connection with this, if there is anyone out there who knows people who worked at The Grand Hotel or the other venues the band used / stayed in, please try and put us in touch. If you worked for the Stones Mobile crew back then (in the office perhaps) we’d love to ask some questions. We have found a few people who went to the actual Zappa show too and witnessed the fire, but it would be interesting to get more reports.