… in which we sum up the research which took place between June and September 2022 for the forthcoming biography of Hugh Hopper to be entitled ‘Dedicated To You But You Weren’t Listening’ (to be published by Jazz in Britain).
Part 1 (January – February) is here:
whilst Part 2 (March – May) can be seen here
June saw the release of ‘Branes, the album Glass member Jeff Sherman did as a distant collaboration with Hugh, to go alongside the various contributions Hugh had made to three separate Glass releases – all are available at https://therealglass.bandcamp.com/ . Jeff spoke to me at length about various work he had done with Hugh in an interview we did in 2021. In June I also had the first of 4 exchanges with people who had taken part in Gary Windo’s ‘Steam Radio Tapes’ sessions between 1976 and 78 at Britannia Row studios – this one with guitarist Richard Brunton, who had also appeared on the ‘Hoppertunity Box’ album.
Things were winding down a bit for the summer break, but in July I managed to eke out a few words from Veryan Weston about the Oh Moscow gigs in Russia in 1991. And then right at the end of the month I was privileged to get the much anticipated semi-tome from Kramer, musical maverick and Shimmy Disc at https://shimmy-disc.net/ . Kramer has much to say about the two duo albums he did with Hugh: ‘A Remark Hugh Made’ and ‘Huge’, as well as the shortlived supergroup ‘Brainville’ (with Kramer, Hugh, Daevid Allen and Pip Pyle), and there had been a suggestion that he might hold this back for his own memoir (which will certainly be a blast!), but almost overnight he was kind enough to pen and give me 15 or so pages of text about these and the never-intended-for-release ‘Still Alive in 95’ album recorded during Hugh’s first trip to Japan.
Staying with the Japanese connection, July also saw the release of a 6-CD box set on Esoteric Records of Stomu Yamash’ta material, including the 2 CDs which Hugh Hopper played a full part in, ‘Freedom is Frightening’ and the film soundtrack ‘One by One’.
Back to phone calls and Zoom for August and after a chance posting on Facelift the month kicked off with an interview with ‘Kip’ Stewart, who grew up with Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen and the Hoppers in Kent and had some entertaining stories of the very early days… And then a lengthy conversation with drummer Charles Hayward, who talked me through his involvement with Hugh for Clear Frame, Numero d’Vol, the Triklops project (with Lisa Klossner) and other even lesser known projects. A very illuminating couple of hours.
It was round about this point when news came through of the sad death of another drummer (and interviewee for the book) Trevor Tomkins..
September also saw the latest in a series of email snippets from American musician Virginia Tate – her unfinished and unreleased album with Hugh: ‘V’ remains one of the unheard mysteries of Hugh’s later output, although enticing written contributions about the project continue to arrive periodically. Electronic experimentalist Bernard Wostheinrich sent me a few thoughts about a Burning Shed showcase gig he did with Hugh in 2002 in Norwich, whilst an email to flautist/saxophonist Jimmy Hastings brought a friendly response in relation to involvement in Soft Machine’s Third and Fourth albums but, as would reasonably be expected, few specifics. This became something of a familiar theme as the year progressed …!
Another Schnittpunkte snippet following communication with Belgian guitarist Gilbert Isbin, this produced some details of a concert he did with Hugh in 2005, as well as a fabulous audio document here:
In late September I received a phone call from guitarist Gary Boyle; we’d spoken a couple of times in the last 2 years about the Hugh project, as well as an interview a little further back for the Isotope at the BBC release on Hux Records. The last time we’d spoken, it was in still during lockdown and I implored Gary to let me know if he played any gigs post-COVID (we live in the same sliver of Pennine countryside). True to his word, he did and my thoughts of his pop up gig at the Puzzle Hall Inn in Sowerby Bridge (where I had a chance to meet and chat for the first time – with some hilarious tales of Bilschen in 1969). Review of his concert here: https://canterburyscene.com/2022/09/30/the-gary-boyle-band-puzzle-hall-inn-29-september-2022/
Final part of the round-up tomorrow!