Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Put yourself in the picture: the DJs

In case you like me were wondering, either side of Peel are Paul Gambaccini (yes) and Tom Browne. A handful were interviewed therein for that special edition, and here are a selection of their thoughts:

Tony Blackburn on who he is
"I think my job is to be artistic in sound. I think I'm painting a portrait in sound. I'm also trying to entertain the audience. My show is what I call U-rated entertainment... something which goes into the home and will not offend anyone at all."

Dave Lee Travis on his role
"My function is to enlighten the listeners by guiding them towards new music which they might not have heard otherwise and, like any other disc jockey or pop star, I'm there to amuse the listeners and be a friend in the home. You can't really do more because it isn't a political thing and it isn't your place to start discussing politics."

Kid Jensen on what he is
"A broadcaster - a communicator, and perhaps a friend. I like to have a lot of fun on the radio... And often when I go on live gigs I feel rather like a politician because, like a politician, a disc jockey obviously has to be liked by people."

Dave Lee Travis on saving lives
"Whenever I have to read a motoring flash, I always try to put a little bit extra into it. If only one person listens to what I say when he's driving along the motorway at 70 miles an hour virtually up the exhaust pipe of the car in front and in the driving rain, and if I have the effect of making him think for a moment how silly he is and thus make him pull back a bit, then it's been worthwhile."

Tony Blackburn on progress
"I think people take popular music too seriously. At the moment everyone's talking about punk rock. That will probably last for another two weeks and then be replaced by something else. But all the time there are a number of good artists, not affected by the trends, who keep on turning out good records year after year."

Dave Lee Travis on not being Bill Grundy
"Punk rock is exciting and good for the entire business. Eighty per cent of it may be rubbish, but the other 20 per cent might be good. And I'm sure that out of punk rock will come some good, new and exciting bands."

Kid Jensen on enlightenment
"I read a lot of Zen, but I would never mention that over the air. I can't impose my own views in that way."

Tony Blackburn on forseeing modern day commercial radio
"If I were in charge of a popular music station I would rotate the same 30 records all day"

Incidentally, these interviews are accompanied by photos of the DJs with pop stars they like and know: Tony and Cliff, Jensen and Linda Lewis, DLT with Hot Chocolate, Patrick Olive in a ridiculous white boiler suit. Annie Nightingale, who I've not included for synchronicity reasons, is with Eric Clapton.

While the big pile of RTs is out, let's focus on the RT Generation Game Christmas Special of 1974, which as well as various games and interviews with Brucie with stuff also includes quizzes, recipes, "Old Took's Almanac", a huge pic of Pan's People with a caption on how they stay in trim ("Dee Dee Wilde 34-24-35, 5ft 5in does The Dirty Dog - good for diaphragm and legs") and a photo shoot with all the Radio 1 DJs, apart from Noel, and their tips for 1975. So that's...

"They fill a slot with the departure of The New Seekers and appeal to both youngsters and their mums. Now the only thing the have to do is get the right song."

They both come from Leicester and were founders of Family which they dissolved so they could develop their own ideas. "I dont like categorising music, it's either good or bad. Chapman Whitney's is good."

A soul group brought up within the sound of Bow Bells. "They've got a nice tight soul sound which is synonymous with the States. You've got to combine visual gimmicks with good sounds and they have both."

The drummer from Traffic who's recently issued a solo album of his own compositions, strongly influenced by what's happening around him. "He's now becoming a commercial musician, writing material for hit songs and is thinking commercially. The business needs solo stars and Jim has the talent to become that."

Bill Nelson who was reforming his band is a blues rock guitarist from Yorkshire with a successful first album behind him. "I've followed his career and given him some fatherly advice. He's a good guitarist, plays with a bit of attack - tearing into a solo like he's been waiting to play. You haven't heard that sound since Hendrix died."

The Mael brothers came over from The States and successfully reformed Sparks. "Musically speaking, they are starting afresh and provide us with a picture which is quite separate from the sound."

A Geordie who started his musical career at 15 backing Billy Fury. Now a solo act, which is highly rated in discos. "John is in the same category as Rod Stewart. He's got a gutsy singing voice and writes and plays most instruments in the musical spectrum. It's only a matter of time." (the picture of Miles is very different from his Music look,
sporting long hair and huge platform boots)

Started in Edinburgh five years ago, most recent hit was Summer Love Sensation. "The Rollers sell colour, personality and freshness. They have a happy sound that people want to watch, listen and dance to."

Once backed Screaming Lord Sutch, now a rock'n'roll band in their own right. "They're one of the tightest rock'n'roll bands in the country. Brilliant! Rock Rebellion's live gigs are fantastic. They have drive, much too good to be passed over."

She started at 16, mostly in cabaret and was the first white lady on the Motown label. She always felt misdirected until Elton John recognised her great soul sound and signed her on. "At last she's been given the chance and the facilitis to develop her enormous talent and potential. She's a natural singer."


Arthur Nibble said...

DLT, punk rock's friend (sort of)? Unexpected but somehow refreshing. At least he had a finger somewhere in the vicinty of the pulse, unlike our Tone, acting like an ostrich in the face of new trends and possibly giving us the blueprint for the phrase 'rotation squad'.

Anonymous said...

Who's the beardy guy right at the back?

Arthur Nibble said...

The beardy bloke at the centre of the back row is Paul Gambaccini. It's only now I've noticed the high beard quotient amongst the DJs in the photo - it reminded me of those photos of football clubs in the 1890's where nearly every player had a luxurious moustache.

wilberforce said...

never mind radio 1 DJ's - has anyone else noticed that practically every film director of note is (or at least was) a beardy? it's almost like it's part of the job description...

with regard to moustachio'ed footballers, there was also a preponderance of them in the 1980's (notice the similarity in the digits of the two decades - spooky!)... as far as i'm concerned 'tashes have always been spectacularly naff, but fortunately (in the western world anyway) they now seem to be a thing of the past, with only the combover generation still persisting... i was concerned when some sportsmen started sporting them a few months back, but thankfully it turned out to be only temporarily for charitable purposes!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Arthur. If that's Gambo then who's between him and Diddy?

Steve Williams said...

Paul Burnett!

It wasn't until Simon pointed it out that I knew the guy top right was Tom Browne.