The Consequences 10cc podcast
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...

Consequences 10cc podcast 45: The Sixties - Eric Stewart the Mindbender

Consequences 10cc podcast 45: The Sixties - Eric Stewart the Mindbender

May 25, 2020

This week Paul and Sean are joined by podcast regular Pany Bogdanos and author of 'The Worst Band in the World' Liam Newton. Both bring some welcome perspectives and factual accuracy to this week's look at Eric Stewart's work in the 1960s.

We try to give Eric's 60s work a thorough going-over here. We cast the time machine back to Eric's first record, his first band and some lucky coincidences that saw his early career reach giddy heights very quickly indeed. Their 'Game of Love' was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic, at a time when Manchester bands were enjoying disproportionate success Stateside. Harvey and Ric would have been key players in this of course! At first playing lead guitar fiddle behind singer Wayne Fontana, Eric was thrown into the spotlight as lead singer once his predecessor had flown the nest, and scoring a monster hit with the classic 'Groovy Kind of Love'. Paul relishes his moment to tell us where the song's brilliant writers Wine and Bayer-Sager came by its melody! The band, the now Wayne-less Mindbenders never managed to match the success of this wonderful record, but their attempts became ever more interesting and worthwhile. The immediate follow-up, 'Can't Live With You, Can't Live Without You' for example is an absolute beauty.

We put a lot of focus on this fascinating period for the band, where they embrace many of the musical tropes of the time, and become a little psychedelic in the process. And very effectively too. Perhaps most interestingly, we see Eric start to develop as a songwriter, and a number of his tunes can be found on the b-sides of these later singles. 'My New Day and Age' in particular is a cracker. We also discuss his fascinating vocal journey; Eric hasn't found his natural voice yet, but he makes some highly proficient attempts. He's almost unrecognisable in places from the man who would blossom into one of the best, and most underrated singers in 1970s pop.

So, much to enjoy here. Onto the late 70s and early 80s next time, with Eric's first solo projects 'the 'Girls' soundtrack and 'Frooty Rooties.

 

 

Consequences 10cc podcast 44 - Graham Gouldman in the 1970s / Animalympics

Consequences 10cc podcast 44 - Graham Gouldman in the 1970s / Animalympics

May 11, 2020

After a three-week lay-off, but still buoyed by our recent chat with Graham, we plough into his interesting and eclectic work in the 70s. 

Though not strictly up to the impossibly high standards of songwriting set by his 1968 album 'The Graham Gouldman Thing', some of Graham's solo dabblings in the early part of the 70s came close. It seems to Sean that his short stint as jobbing shirt-and-tie songwriter with Kasenatz and Katz in New York rather knocked the stuffing out of him. But he was given a new lease of life during a dizzying and prolific period of creativity with the other 10cc boys at Strawberry Studios playing on sessions with every Tom, Dick and Rameses that came through the door. He penned some interesting tunes too, including a single for CBS which Paul particularly admires.

We've already documented the major rift between Graham and Eric Stewart, that was further widened after the latter's near-fatal car accident when Gouldman took on two high-profile film projects. 'Sunburn' was, if not a classic, a light-hearted and hit 10cc tune in all but name, and arguably several degrees more heart-warming than anything on the band's album 'Look Hear' from the following year. The B-side's interesting too, with an (amusingly) familiar backing track and some interesting and possibly dark lyrics.

But the main course this week is most definitely Graham's final work of the 1970s, an unassuming soundtrack album for an equally unassuming animated film, semi-released in 1980 into an unfortunate political vacuum surrounding the summer and winter Olympics of that year. That the film 'Animalympics' and Graham's accompanying songs should disappear immediately into obscurity is a huge pity. This album literally bristles with fun, joy and musical ideas. The musical styles are at once pastiche and highly original. Styles range from white-boy Disco and Beatle-y pop, to anthemic or tender ballads, orchestral theme tunes, German Electronica, African tribal rhythms, AOR and The Who. This is a band really having fun! The melodies and musical hooks are literally bulging out of its grooves, and it's truly an album that can be played over and over. It's no Sheet Music, but it is in our opinion more enjoyable and cohesive than any album 10cc released thereafter.

Hope you have as much fun as we did, and see you very soon for more digging around the archives!

Consequences 10cc podcast 43 - Modesty Forbids - an interview with Graham Gouldman

Consequences 10cc podcast 43 - Modesty Forbids - an interview with Graham Gouldman

April 20, 2020

At last we got him! Sean and Paul are thrilled to have spent over an hour e-chatting with Graham Gouldman about his excellent new album 'Modesty Forbids'.

The 10cc maestro is on great form, going into fantastic detail with every track on the album. We quiz him on the songs' origins and inspirations, his collaborators, influences and often unusual and exciting use of instruments. Sean's very excited about the long-overdue appearance of the Gizmotron, for example! We hear a lot too about his highly fruitful partnership with keyboardist, collaborator and co-producer Graeme Speeth, who has fashioned a gorgeously warm and charming close-knit family of songs from a wide range of eclectic styles. A very nice production job indeed. 

Along the way of course we take the tiniest opportunities as excuses to do some 'deep diving' into the less-trodden corners of 10cc-ness, and Graham obliges with some tasty new morsels! 

We're hoping that we'll have a rematch soon; we're sitting on a lot of questions about his solo and songwriting work, the lesser-known 10cc projects and other pet subjects of ours. Bring it on - this was fun! Hopefully for you too.  ;- ) 

Consequences 10cc podcast 42 - The Worst Interview in the World - with author Liam Newton

Consequences 10cc podcast 42 - The Worst Interview in the World - with author Liam Newton

April 13, 2020

Many of us have received an incredible surprise thudding onto our doormats over the last couple of months. Liam Newton's long-awaited and astounding new book, '10cc: the Worst Band in the World' was finally published by super-cool Rocket 88 to a shower of rave reviews.

An almost complete re-write of his book of the same name some 25 years ago, this answers many prayers for fellow 10cc fans. It's a comprehensive and exhaustively-researched account of the 10cc universe, giving fascinating detail on the lives, careers and output of Lol, Kevin, Graham and Eric. Literally every page reveals hitherto unknown nuggets of information, culled from Liam's hugely extensive, first-hand research and reliable sources, such as interviews with band members and many others, press articles, tour dates and diaries. 

Paul and Sean are having real fun here chewing the fat with our affable guest. We use it as an excuse not just to delve into the genesis and mechanics of this major undertaking, but of course to discuss some of the murkier and more fascinating corners of the 10cc closet! We discuss the book's launch in Stockport, the importance of the bands' 1960s work, the splits in 1976 and 1980, the effect of Eric's car crash in 1979, 10cc mkI versus mk2, some of the musical highs and lows, Liam's enormous collection of music papers, some of the incredible photos, and key players who've led and crossed their paths over the years. We critique the book a little of course, but this is almost churlish. This is a 514-page treasure trove.

Thank you so much to the podcast subscribers who so kindly sent us mini-reviews of Liam's book: Michael Svensson, Andrew Dalgarno, Panayiotis Bogdanos, Karen Piercey, Marc Hollis, Shelby Guinn, Nigel Collyer and Simon Smith. Your contributions are fantastic, and I'm sorry that we couldn't play all of your tapes to Liam during our conversation.

The Worst Book in the World? Not half!

The book is available from Rocket88 via www.10ccbook.com

 

 

Consequences 10cc podcast 41 - Mirror/Miroir (1995)

Consequences 10cc podcast 41 - Mirror/Miroir (1995)

March 30, 2020

Blimey, this was difficult, but not for the reasons you might expect. Apart from feeling a sense of sadness at coming to the end of our 10cc album discussions, Andrew, Pany, Paul and Sean recorded this on Monday 16th March 2020, just an hour after Boris Johnson announced a stricter UK lock-down in the face of the Coronavirus outbreak. For this reason, we were all distracted and emotional. We often struggled to get our words out, as you'll hear.

You might be surprised to hear how positive Paul and Sean are about this last venture by the band, who had now fractured to the point where they couldn't even bear to write songs together. And all their contributions were recorded separately. With keyboardist and programmer Adrian Lee working hard as co-producer to make the album hang together, the product of this lucrative deal with Japanese label Avex doesn't look good on paper. But strangely, the album possesses more charm and warmth, more pop hooks and humour than many of the records released by the band since the 1970s. Graham's songs in particular are cracking, and we agree that he's on fire on this record.

Sean in particular is full of praise for many of the songs on this record, singling out some unexpected favourites. He even gets out his electric guitar to demonstrate Graham and Eric's craft! While we all agree on the majesty of Graham and Andrew Gold's brilliant Ready to Go Home, there's almost no agreement between the four of us on the other tracks. Sean's on his own with Peace in Our Time, he and Paul fail to convert their pod guests on the merits of The Monkey and the Onion, and poor Andrew and Pany are raving in the wilderness about Now You're Gone and Code of Silence respectively.  Maybe this is why, once again, we've clocked in at over two hours. Sorry about that - we're finding a lot to talk about in these recent podcasts!

Eric continues to plough his own furrow here, with a few very long songs that struggle to raise our pulses, but he does put in two of his best vocals since the early days, and there's some spirited and catchy pop writing on display too. Two of his best songs are left over from his keynote collaboration with Paul McCartney on his Press to Play album. Mirror Mirror may not be your cup of tea, but in places it really is ours! A lot more than the sum of its parts? We think so. In many ways a return to some kind of old form; there's a joie de vivre, immediacy and humour about so many of the tracks that had been lacking on previous albums. 

Those of you who make it to the end of the podcast will find an Easter egg, recorded by Sean a couple of days after we taped this episode. He was moved to finally give his and Paul's beloved Gizmotron 2.0 its recording debut. We hope you like the track - with a nod to Sean's favourite 10cc track, this is a tribute to what is in his view the best song 10cc released after Deceptive Bends. Call it an early Easter present! 

Thank you for keeping listening everyone, and we look forward to bringing you some more chapters in our continuing 10cc odyssey.

 

Consequences 10cc podcast 40 - Meanwhile… in New York and L.A. (1992)

Consequences 10cc podcast 40 - Meanwhile… in New York and L.A. (1992)

March 23, 2020

Paul, Sean, Andrew and Pany tackle 10cc's penultimate album in this extremely long podcast - you might want to digest it in two separate sittings! For an arguably weaker album by this band, we found an awful lot to talk about...

The Meanwhile project began with bright optimism, after Polydor Records discovered a public appetite for a new 10cc album. Eric and Graham broke their long radio silence and got quickly back in the saddle for an extremely positive and productive period of songwriting. The pair penned no fewer than 22 songs, and were full of hope for this new project. And could this really be a reunion of the four original members? In order to better appeal to the elusive U.S. market, the label decided to employ Gary Katz and numerous luminaries from the Stateside session scene to embellish the album. Given Eric's love of Katz's work with Steely Dan, what could possibly go wrong?

Suffice to say, our intrepid podcasters have a lot to say about the gulf between Graham's and Eric's optimism and the finished product. This record certainly has its fans among 10cc circles, and there are some good tracks, but we leave you to hear our opinions on this collection of finely-polished and FM radio-friendly fare. Kevin and Lol guest on vocals on numerous songs, but have their individual talents been buried in glossy production? You decide.

Next time we move, with heavy hearts, to 10cc's final album. We're not finished yet with our odyssey around the 10cc universe, but this feels like we're nearing the end of a chapter...

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