The Consequences 10cc podcast
Consequences 10cc podcast 55 - with Peter Kearns, author of ‘on track… 10cc and Godley & Creme’

Consequences 10cc podcast 55 - with Peter Kearns, author of ‘on track… 10cc and Godley & Creme’

September 21, 2020

2020's been a terrific year for 10cc fans, with exciting releases of Consequences, Modesty Forbids and Muscle Memory, and two books by Liam Newton and now Peter Kearns. Paul and Sean really enjoyed our conversation with the affable author, professional musician and New Zealander.

The new tome is an excellent complement to 'The Worst Band in the World'. It catalogues every song, chronologically, that 10cc and Godley & Creme released officially between Hotlegs and Mirror Mirror. As a musician, Kearns discusses each track with a good deal of musical and lyrical analysis, as well as some interesting back stories and great insights. He tackles much of the material from different angles to where we've come from on the podcast; we learned a lot! Graham Gouldman and Kevin Godley helped with the research too, which gives the work added accuracy. Befitting the 160-page length, the author packs his prose tightly; there is a lot of detail here - some songs and albums much more than others of course.  The style is concise and punchy, which makes this a quick-fire and very informative reading experience. Occasionally, we glimpse Peter's own preferences. You can really taste the admiration he has for some of the four-piece's more off-the-wall work, particularly L and Freeze Frame. It's well worth the price tag!

Peter's had varied and interesting musical and writing careers.  He's collaborated with Judie Tzuke and Norwegian Prog-rock band Gazpacho among many others, and has produced two other books in the 'on track...' series, featuring the work of Elton John and (soon to be published) Joni Mitchell. We recommend his album 'No Such Thing as Time', from which you'll hear a few tasty clips on the podcast.

He gave us a typical succinct and spot-on appraisal of 10cc's historical standing:

'10cc and Godley & Creme were artists who cared about music and cared about their contribution to it. They worked through a time period where their commitment to quality steadily increased, against the background of a mainstream that was moving in the opposite direction.'  Hear hear, Peter.

'On track... 10cc and Godley & Creme' is available worldwide, and is well worth your shekels. 

 

 

 

Consequences 10cc podcast 54 - Graham Gouldman #5: And some other things…

Consequences 10cc podcast 54 - Graham Gouldman #5: And some other things…

September 7, 2020

Paul and Sean bring to a close our five-episode dissection of all things Gouldman with a conversation attempting to do justice to Graham's post-2000 solo albums and the enormous number of songwriting collaborations that he has taken part in since Wax.

Graham has been incredibly prolific, by any songwriter's standards. With his 'insider' access to the PRS database, Paul has unearthed just shy of 1000 songs attributed to Gouldman. Many solo, many co-written with a vast array of songwriters, some of the very highest pedigree. Today's podcast can only scratch the surface of this rich seam. We look in some detail at his excellent work with Claudio Guidetti, Kirsty Maccoll, Henry Priestman (of Christians fame), Suggs (Madness) and Chris Difford (Squeeze), all of whom he rubbed shoulders with at EMI's residential songwriter workshops at Huntsham Court. Once again, we're massively indebted to both Graham and his archivist David Jarvis for allowing us to play snippets of some of the wonderful live recordings and demos of songs that were born during these star-studded jaunts.  We hear some truly delightful clips from Graham's songwriting sessions with Gary Barlow (Take That) and Kevin Godley (for 'GG06'). Along the way, we touch on assorted projects with Andrew Gold, Roger Cook and less well-known but notable collaborators such as Barry Greenfield, Gordon Kennedy and Gary Burr. There are even some lovely revelations about his early Strawberry work with Neil Sedaka. Sadly, our efforts to shine light on some mystery compositions by Eric and Graham are in vain. Graham has no recollection of them, if they existed at all!

Gouldman rekindled his solo career with several fine and enjoyable albums which seemed to capture the same warm, natural and personal touch exhibited by his songs on 10cc's 'Mirror Mirror. 'And Another Thing', 'Love and Work' and 'Play Nicely and Share' all receive a good and deserved delving here. 

90 minutes were simply no time at all to try and encapsulate Graham's discography over this 25-year period. Waiting in the wings for discussion, with rare tape recordings to hand, were the likes of Lamont Dozier, Tony Hadley, Steve Piggott, Kevin Kennedy and several others. But we hope that with the cross-section we did manage to cover, we succeeded in conveying the simple fact that Graham Gouldman is an exceptionally prolific, productive and consistent songwriter. It's a joy to hear him recall these many, many musical journeys with such clarity and fondness.

Thank you so much Graham and Dave, it's been a pleasure for us. 

Consequences 10cc podcast 53 - American English: Graham Gouldman on Andrew Gold

Consequences 10cc podcast 53 - American English: Graham Gouldman on Andrew Gold

August 24, 2020

This is one of our favourite ever episodes. Sean and Paul once again had the pleasure of Graham's company for a loving and hugely enjoyable tribute to his late friend and prolific songwriting partner Andrew Gold.

Graham shows his massive admiration and love for this supremely talented multi-instrumentalist, who rose to prominence as musical maestro with Linda Rondstadt, among others.  He gives a comprehensive account of his involvement with Andrew, from his introduction to the Ten Out of Ten album in 1981, when the Californian was brought in at the behest of the U.S. record company. The spark was lit, and Gouldman sought him out soon after he and Eric parted ways. We hear the complete story of how the duo Common Knowledge was formed, in Graham's home studio, and we hear lots and lots of never-heard-before songwriting demos.  Once again, we thank Graham and David Jarvis for these wonderful recordings, spanning their collaborations from 1986 to 1997.

With their second project, now named Wax, the pair had their breakthrough hit with with the storming Right Between the Eyes.  There was an infectious energy about this new music, all but completely missing from 10cc's post-70s output. We shine a torch on the highlights of all four of Wax's album releases: Magnetic Heaven, American English, A Hundred Thousand in Fresh Notes and Bikini. Sean even gets out his guitar to quiz Graham on a song he hugely admires: Wax's biggest UK hit, Bridge to Your Heart.

So this is a candid, warm, funny and poignant appreciation of Andrew Gold the person and musician. We hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Consequences 10cc podcast 52 - The Great Gambo: Paul Gambaccini

Consequences 10cc podcast 52 - The Great Gambo: Paul Gambaccini

August 3, 2020

Sean and Paul have been trying to pin this man down for over a year. Thanks to Graham Gouldman, we finally did! Paul Gambaccini is arguably the best-known and respected Rock journalist in Britain. His career spans five decades. He was co-author of the Guinness Book of Hit Singles and countless articles, notably for Rolling Stone. Amazingly, he has presented primetime shows on four of the BBC's major stations: Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4, as well as Classic FM. He's presented the Ivor Novello Awards since 1990. His face and voice are continually familiar to fans of Pop and Rock documentaries. Yep, he's a legend.

Ostensibly, Paul and Sean invited him on the podcast for his insider views on the Consequences sessions. It is his diary that we read in the booklet after all! And what about his cameo as the Bad Samaritan on Godley and Creme's 'This Sporting Life'? Also, we were keen to hear his unique take on 10cc's artistic merits and early success (for which he greatly helped their cause in the States, with his important piece for Rolling Stone, '10cc - The Hottest Band in Britain').

What we got from this conversation was predictably much, much more than that...  Don't expect this to be solely focused on the world of 10cc! This is akin to a masterclass in after-dinner speaking: a series of fascinating, funny and surprising tangents, anecdotes and details, taking in dozens of the major artists he's known, reviewed and rubbed shoulders with over fifty years. His account of the Consequences launch in Amsterdam features a classically surreal Peter Cook episode... So our advice here is to pour a large cup of tea (or three) and relax into the experience of hearing a Pop and Rock guru-cum-raconteur at work!

Next week we're joined again by Graham Gouldman for a hugely enjoyable romp through his work with Andrew Gold.

 

 

Consequences 10cc podcast 51 - Graham Gouldman on 10cc

Consequences 10cc podcast 51 - Graham Gouldman on 10cc

July 20, 2020

Paul and Sean are incredibly excited about this episode. 

Not only did Graham give us two hours of his thoughts on 10cc's entire career, from his first song with Eric to the current touring band, he's given permission for us to include clips of a whole slew of unreleased tapes. We thank Graham's archivist David Jarvis for his generosity in letting us hear and restore these wonderful artefacts! You'll hear snippets from songwriting sessions and original demos with Graham and Eric - a real treat, in other words. We've also tried to include lesser-known live recordings of many of the tracks, and Sean's done his best to isolate and process moments from some of our beloved 10cc album tracks to highlight the hidden genius and inventiveness on display.

Graham gives honest and often highly detailed insights into 10cc's 48-year history, covering every album.  Some of his views will startle you! He has his guitar on hand again, and his live demos of some of our favourite melodies and chords are wonderful to hear!  We learned so much from this conversation, as you will too, and we were surprised by his sheer openness and candour.

We'd love to know your thoughts on this episode. It took a long time to put together. Thanks.

 

Consequences 10cc podcast 50 - Memory Lane - Graham Gouldman on the 1960s

Consequences 10cc podcast 50 - Memory Lane - Graham Gouldman on the 1960s

July 13, 2020

Welcome to the 50th Consequences podcast!  Paul and Sean are delighted to welcome Graham Gouldman for his second interview with us. This time, we focus on his meteoric songwriting work in the 60s.

Graham's on tremendous form here, giving us a joyful whistle-stop tour of many of our favourite corners of his early career. It's so good to hear him talking so fondly and frankly about his dad Hymie's massive contribution to his canon, with many insights that are new to these ears. We press him on his time at Olympic Studios, including the excellent tracks on his solo debut arranged by John Paul Jones.

We even ask him to give us some live demos on his guitar, which he dutifully does, to beautiful effect. We of course don't stick to the hits - we're keen to know more about such forgotten gems as Behind the Door, Nowhere to Go, Getting Nowhere and some of the early Strawberry Super K material, and we find out so much. The keen-eared listeners among you will notice that we're including audio clips of at least three recordings that have never been released before, bootleg or otherwise. Huge thanks to David Jarvis and Graham for these treasures.

Oh, and there are revelations about I'm Not in Love thrown in for good measure too! A real treat for all of us 10cc fans.

Tune in next week for Graham's account of 10cc, from Alpha to Omega.

Consequences 10cc podcast 49 - Eric Stewart: Ne Pas Plier

Consequences 10cc podcast 49 - Eric Stewart: Ne Pas Plier

July 6, 2020

Paul, Sean, Liam and Pany continue our epic four-hour conversation from last week with this exhausted hour tackling Eric Stewart's last musical offerings: Do Not Bend (2003), Viva La Difference (2009) and Anthology (2017).

It's a joy to hear Liam's account of his eight hours in Eric's home studio in France, hearing brand new tracks from the album slated originally as 'My Dear Friends'. This gives a key insight into the premise of the 2003 follow-up to Frooty Rooties.  They're ostensibly songs written and recorded about - and for - his friends and neighbours: Norman, Fred, Audrey, Yves, Nettie et al. Perhaps this is why the album struggles to work in a wider public context? But we highlight two songs in particular which do translate better in the world outside Templar Studios. Sleeping With the Ghosts and Set in Blancmange have some real saving graces.

Three of us agree that the follow-up, Viva La Difference, is more successful. This is in no small part down to Eric returning to social commentary for some of his lyric inspiration. 10cc fans will sense familiar territory here, with targets that include financial corruption, injustice, homelessness and racism.  Opener Gnomes Sweet Gnomes is perhaps the most successful at hitting its targets, odd as they are. Sixties Prime Minister Harold Wilson coined the 'gnomes' tag to refer to the Swiss bankers who were manipulating the currency market at the time. Eric is both snarling and having fun with this track, we sense. Down By the Palace tackles the gulf between the luxury of the ruling classes contrasted with the poverty of the homeless living in the same borough. The title track champions racial diversity. So in many ways this album is a partial return to form, and this is certainly true of the highlight track We Are Not Alone. Musically, there are echoes of the more interesting production touches of 1982's Frooty Rooties. And this is not just a shallow 'Close Encounters' premise; Eric is pondering big existential questions here, his place in the universe and the depths of his emotions, the macro and the micro. Ultimately, most questions are left unanswered.

You won't be surprised to hear that Sean has a lot to say about Eric's production choices here, especially on the 2017 compilation. He feels that Stewart has simply been a bit over-eager to tinker and tweak at the knobs. Suffice to say that Paul and Sean have really struggled with these two records. We're hugely grateful to Pany and Liam for their positivity and objectivity; we genuinely think that this episode tries to give a balanced view, and praise where praise is due.

Next time round we're thoroughly excited about our conversation with Graham Gouldman about his lesser-known 60s exploits, with his 10cc episode coming quickly on its heels.  Happy days!

Consequences 10cc podcast 48 - Take It Away: Eric Stewart’s outside collaborations

Consequences 10cc podcast 48 - Take It Away: Eric Stewart’s outside collaborations

June 29, 2020

Once again, Paul and Sean are joined by the expertise and insights of Liam and Pany for a lengthy look at Eric Stewart's outside collaborations from 1979 through to the 90s.

In the late 80s Eric was on fire in the recently launched Strawberry Studios South. Hot on the heels of the huge success of Deceptive Bends and Bloody Tourists, as well as his film soundtrack for 'Girls', he took on the task of giving Sad Cafe their first hit album. 'Facades' is a cracking production job: full of fresh, edgy pop sensibilities, eclectic but commercial. The band, fronted by the excellent Paul Young, and featuring future 10cc keysman Vic Emerson, the album yielded a number of sizeable hits, including the classic Everyday Hurts.

But what happened shortly after the album was recorded changed the trajectory of Eric's career. We'll never properly know how Eric's horrific car accident affected his mental and physical powers, but it's true to say that nothing seemed the same in its wake. Certainly, his production of Sad Cafe's follow-up album was a poor reflection of the previous release. His album 'Frooty Rooties', though not exactly chocked with classic hits, was perhaps his last notable production work. However, this is the point at which he began a hugely important collaboration with long-time friend Paul McCartney. After lending his vocal skills to the wonderful vocal blend on the 'Tug of War' album, Eric forged a more substantial role in the Macca set-up, effectively surplanting Denny Laine. This culminated in the two co-writing many of the songs on 1986's 'Press to Play' album. 

Other projects followed, with Stewart at the knobs for a range of artists famous and less so. Most notable was an album with ABBA's Agnetha Faltskog, which although a big hit in northern Europe, leaves Sean very cold indeed!

We close the episode waxing lyrical about two particular songs from Eric's guest gigs with Alan Parsons. A beautiful and fitting coda to Eric's extra-10cc work. Next week, we feature the second half of this epic conversation, by rounding up his musical career in focusing on the mixed bag that are his two final albums, 'Do Not Bend' and 'Viva La Difference'.

Consequences 10cc podcast 47 - Hooray for Hubcap Jenny!

Consequences 10cc podcast 47 - Hooray for Hubcap Jenny!

June 15, 2020

This episode is a real departure for us! After receiving an incredible email from Tanya Smith and her sister Lindy, both from Melbourne, Australia, Sean and Paul were bowled over by the fresh perspectives and alternative take on how 10cc's output might be viewed by women. We're blokes, and we simply hadn't realised that as blokes, we've been thinking and listening through a very different filter!

We found this discussion absolutely fascinating, and we really hope you do too. Like us, Lindy and Tanya are big fans of 1970s 10cc and the first three Godley and Creme albums. The podcast helped to shed some light on the later material, and also raised some questions for them. For example, why aren't we hearing the same 'pop genius' in Donna and the other 1950s pastiches? Surely the more 1960s-influenced Hotlegs material, as sung by Kevin, is much more worthwhile? Why are there so few female musicians and collaborators? And many more questions besides.

Much of this podcast aims to analyse 10cc and Godley and Creme through a finely-focused lens of how Eric, Graham, Lol and Kevin have portrayed women, both lyrically and through album artwork. Some of the recurring female archetypes are really interesting, so we won't spoil the surprise. There's no accusation of sexism here; the band were in many ways simply the product of their culture at the time. Suffice to say that we discuss a huge range of hits and much lesser-known songs, including Donna and Rubber Bullets, I'm Not in Love, Blackmail, Iceberg, Don't Hang Up, Modern Man Blues, Strange Lover, Working Girls, Something Special, Green-eyed Monster, Sandwiches of You, Wedding Bells, Cats Eyes, Cry, Golden Rings and plenty more. Oh, and Consequences of course! Lindy's takedown of the Neanderthal Man promo film is worth its weight in gold! It was also great to hear an Australian perspective on this great band's rise and fall.

And what's all this about Hubcap Jenny? Well, you'll just have to wait and see. Hear.

I'm sure you'll find this as interesting and refreshing as we did.  Apologies and thanks to Karen Piercey too, having 'missed the boat' due to Sean sending his invite to the wrong email address! 

Consequences 10cc podcast 46: Eric Stewart’s Girls & Frooty Rooties (1979 - 1982)

Consequences 10cc podcast 46: Eric Stewart’s Girls & Frooty Rooties (1979 - 1982)

June 1, 2020

Once again, Sean and Paul are joined by author Liam Newton and Pany Bogdanos for a detailed look at Eric Stewart's first two solo projects.

The first is a movie soundtrack from Just Jaeckin's 1980 French film 'Girls'. The project was ostensibly composed by Eric with 10cc keys man Duncan Mackay and aided by musicians Paul Burgess, Rick Fenn, Simon Phillips et al. We can't be too critical of it as an album, as much of it was intended as 'incidental' music, but much of it is pretty faceless, very much with a cod-Funk, electro-Disco late '70s feel. Sean singles out Duncan and Eric for some virtuoso playing, but there's little in these semi-instrumentals to get our pulses racing in the songwriting department. All of us agree that there are three stand-out tracks here: the much more coherent songs 'Warm Warm Warm', Girls' and 'Make the Pieces Fit'. Liam especially admires the latter, which was originally slated for 10cc's 'Look Hear' album. It's certainly a lovely, warm vocal and melody from Eric. Paul prefers the title track, and Sean raves about its textures and production; if only 'Look Hear' sounded a little bit more like this!

'Frooty Rooties', Eric's first proper solo album by his own reckoning, has more to offer. It's a fairly eclectic mix of musical styles that have excited Eric since his youth, and he's clearly enjoying himself, singing and playing superbly. We hear him pay tribute to the Blues, RnB, Boogie Woogie, Rockabilly, Psychedelia and Rock - many of which appear in one track, his musical compendium 'Guitaaaaaarghs' (arbitrary number of As!). But these are not the tracks that catch our ears. Much better in our mutual opinion are three tracks: the afore-mentioned 'Make the Pieces Fit' which glides out of the opening track 'The Ritual'. Here Eric gives epic treatment to rather mundane subject matter - going out on the pull - but achieves some nice musical sections and great production tricks in the process. He's busier and more creative at the knobs here than at any point after 1982.

But three out of the four us agree that, by far, the highlight of this record is the unassuming and gentle little song 'Doris the Florist'. Sean has a tinkle on his little classical guitar to throw some light on the beautifully Gouldman-esque chords, and we love the tenderness and subtlety of Eric's lyrics and treatment. A real gem.

We take a brief break from Eric-ness for a few weeks, while Paul and Sean venture into uncharted territory next time...

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