Nov 302012
 

RTH: I have one more memory lane-type question for you. I’ve told you that I grew up listening to your records with my friends, and the records of your colleagues. There used to be a syndicated radio show, called King Biscuit Flower Hour. I think it broadcast Sunday nights in Philadelphia. I would tune it in every Sunday in my bedroom. They would often have bands I liked, instead of Foreigner and Journey and stuff I couldn’t stand. One night I was very excited; it was going to be Elvis Costello & The Attractions and

MB: It was me!

RTH: It was you! Everything came together that night, because I have one of my favorite guitarists playing with another of my favorite musicians. And it was fantastic.

MB: I’ll tell you how that came about. I obviously knew Elvis and The Attractions because we were all part of that same…thing. They were scheduled to do a 3- or 4-week European tour, and a day or two before the tour Steve Nieve, the keyboard player, had got in a horrible car wreck. They couldn’t cancel the tour and they couldn’t find another keyboard player that could do what he did, so they said, “Let’s get Martin in. We know he’s a good bloke, and he’ll be able to play the songs.” I had to learn hundreds of songs, and Elvis’ songs, some of them are quite simple except but he’s got a habit of the second verse being not quite the same as the first. Then the third verse is not quite the same as either, it’s got a few extra bars or lines.

So I did that, and it was at the end of that tour that we did that gig at a little pub in London, the Hope & Anchor. I used to live there. That’s the pub that Dave Robinson had the 8-track studio where we formed The Rumour. It was recorded there for King Biscuit Flower Hour. So yeah, I had a cassette of that – I probably still have the cassette, but I was never able to transfer it. It was great, because he used to throw in covers. He did the Sonny Boy Williamson song, “Help Me.” We probably did the Elvis [Presley] song “Little Sister”…

RTH: “Don’t Look Back,” The Temptations’ song.

MB: Yeah, “Walk and Don’t Look Back.”

I end the proper portion of our chat by reverting to something probably worse than the Chris Farley character, describing in a bit of detal my band’s fascination with that show and how we still point back to it as a template for how we wish we could sound. Belmont asks if I can burn him a copy of my digitized cassette tape in return for a proper CD of The Guest List, complete with the 12-page booklet!

Finally: Rock Town Hall’s first audio Dugout Chatter…after the jump!

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  30 Responses to “The Rock Town Hall Interview: Martin Belmont’s Got Answers”

  1. Right On! Thanks to Mr. Mod for conducting, and even more to Martin for his extensive and informative answers.

    A rumor of a Rumour movie is captivating. Let’s hope for fruition.

    Love seeing those live clips. Always looks like Martin is really enjoying himself. The dude always has an understated but entertaining version of Mach Shau going on.
    You’d better get him the Hope and Anchor show. He earned it. I know it will live up to his recollection.

    Well done!

  2. Awesome job, Mr Mod! Great audio dugout chatter

  3. mikeydread

    Mr Mod: two big thumbs up! You are the Samuel Charters of the interwebs,

  4. Very very cool.

  5. I was under the impression that Brinsley was the lead guitarist, and Martin the rhythm guitarist for some reason. Maybe just from the couple of Squeezing Out Sparks videos I saw as a youth. You Tube and this interview cleared that up. The 2 of them really did play off each other well.

  6. Mr. Moderator

    Yes, they seemed to have a pretty good split of responsibilities. I think you’re right that the videos and songs performed on Fridays when we were kids featured Brinsley on lead.

    You know what I love seeing when I watch the old GP & the Rumour clips? The movement of each band member! Natural, onstage movement is something I can’t get enough of when I see a band live. This probably ties into my somewhat bizarre thoughts on the possibilities for crossover between sports and music, but if you’re choosing sides for a pick-up game of football (American or otherwise), wouldn’t you look over at a band like The Rumour to make your first pick?

  7. Yeah. That’s the Mach Schau I noticed, too. No one is doing windmills, but everyone seems to have their own circle of energy up there.

    It’s got to be basketball for this band. MB is 6′ 5″ and Bodnar and Schwartz don’t look that much shorter. We should challenge them! I’ll cover Parker.

  8. BigSteve

    This was pretty cool. You can tell he’d be a good sideman, very easy to get along with. Wouldn’t it be great to have him as your guitar teacher?

    I think it’s interesting that punk never came up in the interview (unless it was edited out). Guys like Belmont and the Rumour seemed to be catching the wave at the time, but really they just kept doing pretty much what they’d been doing all along. Andrew Bodnar’s golden suit in that first clip was a bit much though.

  9. Mr. Moderator

    Punk itself never did come into the discussion. Throughout, such as when I asked him whether Ducks felt like part of a “movement,” his take was more along the lines of he and his mates being committed to and happy with what they were doing. Meanwhile, I was having too much fun doing what I was doing in talking to him as freely as we were to loop back and try to ask a similar question regarding punk. By the point of the punk years, I took it, the band was gunning for mainstream success.

    That’s one of the things, as a teenage fan of those bands, that I always take out of that time in my life as a rock fan: I truly hoped that, and expected that, a few of my favorites would be “The New Boss” – not Him, not Bruce, that is:) – but among the mainstream standard-bearers of the traditional forms of rock ‘n roll that I grew up loving. Tom Petty, who I liked coming out of the gate, made it, but although people like Elvis Costello and the legacy of The Clash et al are respected and still carrying critical weight and space on the “coffetable collections” of educated rock fans, they’re still not threatening to play the Super Bowl.

    Whether this would have been a good thing or not is beyond the point. When you’re a boy you tend to root for things, don’t you? I did, and from the way Belmont tells it the Rumour also felt they should be getting some of the rewards that some other artists were able to manage at that time.

    Can a teenage boy still “root” for his favorite underground bands to “make it” to this bigger level? Are there kids sitting around hoping that Vampire Weekend will succeed to a level that will cleanse the earth of all that they feel sucks about today’s popular music?

  10. sammymaudlin

    I could hear the wind leave your sails when he, appropriately, chose the Mick Taylor era.

    Nice tune-age under the chatter. Is that like our version of the Final Jeopardy music?

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    Mod, you outdid yourself! That was great!

  12. Not a particularly deep observation, but having a lilliputian lead singer with a clearly receding hairline tends to limit the overall mass appeal of an artist regardless of the quality of the music. Then again, Petty’s no cover model either. Great section about the lack of Mercury’s promotion. That played a part, too.

  13. Mr. Moderator

    My wife thinks Tom Petty’s HOT – but this is the same woman who’s digs young Woody Allen and pre-promotional baseball cap-donning Ron Howard. God, what does this say about me?

  14. 2000 Man

    That was a great interview, Mod! When I get a chance I’ll play the dugout chatter, but right now I’m listening to the Quadrajets and that really can’t be interrupted.

    I had a friend in high school that looked like Tom Petty. He even had Tom’s haircut before Tom did, and I think he enjoyed the ridiculous amount of attention girls gave him. They all seemed to think he was something else, so I just assumed Tom Petty was a good looking guy.

  15. Fantastic article and interview – thanks for posting! Just a few questions if anyone can answer them:
    Has Graham Parker and The Rumour’s “Heat Treatment” ever been released on CD? I’ve searched high and low to no avail.
    How long did The Rumour’s stint backing Garland Jeffreys last? Did the full line-up of the band join him on tour?
    I ask because Jeffreys has posted a good number of YouTube videos (http://www.youtube.com/gjeffreysadmin) where he’s backed by only a few members (Steve Goulding and Brinsley Schwarz) of The Rumour in 1981.
    Jeffreys, like Parker, has never received proper recognition from critics or the public.
    Thanks again!

  16. Mr. Moderator

    welcome aboard, rockandrolldetective. This isn’t a sting, is it?:) Yes, Heat Treatment is available on CD. It’s available through Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Heat-Treatment-Graham-Parker-Rumour/dp/B00005LP1I?&camp=212361&linkCode=wsw&tag=rotoha00-20&creative=391881

    I was looking for a Jeffreys video with the full Rumour for use in this post but only came across the ones you found. Thanks for checking in.

  17. 2000 Man

    I really liked the audio Dugout Chatter. However – You sure are slow to pull the Cop Out car on a celebrity, aren’t you!

    I hope he gets a shot to play with Dylan some day. He’s paid his dues, and he’s go the chops. Bob would be lucky to have him along for a tour.

  18. Mr. Moderator

    I consider it “respectful,” 2K, but firm. I did make him choose a Stones era, didn’t I? I know, though, I let him slide on choosing ONE favorite guitar part. My apologies. For future audio chatters I’ll come up with a “Cop Out!” drop, as I think they call them in the biz, a little clip of someone yelling that phrase to cue the interview subject to make up his mind already:)

  19. diskojoe

    Thanks for the interview, Mr. Mod, which was highly entertaining & informative. I was also a big fan of GP & the Rumour.

  20. Great interview Mr. Mod and love the Dugout Chatter audio!

    He sounds like such a nice bloke. Invite him to the next RTH meetup!

  21. Just listened to Hound Dog and yeah, the second solo IS an “OH Shit! what do I play!” moment…

  22. Great job, Moddy! I really, really enjoyed that. Mr. Belmont has been a longtime guitar fave. Glad to see that he’s a real gent, as well.

  23. Anyone who knows whatever happened to Brinsley Schwarz, the man not the group I mean. Did he just quit playing after his stint in The Rumour?

  24. Mr. Moderator

    Welcome aboard, leif. From what I’ve read, Schwarz (the man) pretty much left the playing end of the music business and got into equipment design. I think he modifies and designs amplifiers, in particular. I found a good interview with him a while back, while researching for this interview with Martin Belmont.

  25. There’s a video of Garland Jeffreys performing “We the People” with nearly all the original members of the Rumour on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s-x66caAqs. Band members include Brinsley Schwarz, Martin Belmont, Steve Goulding, Andrew Bodnar and Artie Funaro.

  26. Mr. Moderator

    Thanks for the tip, connectartists, and welcome to the fray!

  27. […] honor of the recent RTH interview with Martin Belmont I want to have a look at his first band, Ducks Deluxe, and the later careers of […]

  28. […] October to celebrate a documentary being made on the band. (Martin talked about this in his excellent Rock Town Hall interview!) In case they play together again, I figured my suggested cover might be taken into […]

  29. […] and his band (including longtime drummer Bobby Irwin and keyboardist Geraint Watkins, whom Martin Belmont raved about in these hallowed Halls) brought it down, raved it up, and covered a range of rock […]

  30. […] up loving. An update on the documentary on the band that Rumour guitarist and Friend of the Hall Martin Belmont first discussed with us as well as Parker’s upcoming appearance in an upcoming Judd Apatow movie are also covered. […]

 
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