It's a generational thing
I had a dream last night which featured a long-time friend, a guitarist who was voted 3rd in a music poll organised by the Time Out (London listings) magazine in 1976. Mickey looked well in my dream and he was playing a pub gig with once-famous megastars Asia; his playing was, as always, phenomenal.
I mention this because sitting in my inbox this morning came the sad news of the death on Sunday morning of Pip Pyle
, drummer extraordinaire. He died, apparently of "natural causes", at the Gare du Nord in Paris, on his way back from a Hatfield and The North
gig in Groningen, Amsterdam on Saturday.Drummer and composer Pip Pyle is widely recognized as the drummer of the Canterbury school of progressive rock. As the drummer for Hatfield and the North and National Health, as well as stints with Gong, In Cahoots, Soft Heap and many, many others in both England and France, Pyle is one of the great drummers of both progressive rock and jazz-rock/fusion.
My musical education grew out of Housewive's Choice
and Workers' Playtime
on the radio in the late 50's, into my father's wartime piano jazz roots, the London's blues scene of the 60's and, of course, the Beatles.
My musical tastes matured when I encountered Soft Machine and Caravan at the end of the 60's. Inevitably, as the core musicians explored their own paths, we listeners followed.
My first concert T-shirt came from a Hatfield and the North gig in 1973 or 4 at the Logan Hall in London, a gig which I'll never forget. I went with two friends newly arrived from Spain. Looking around, I saw many old friends from previous Canterbury gigs so, unrepentant hippy that I was, I proceeded to light up my large marijuana spliff. My two friends were a little worried when I told them to pass it on but, as I said, we were among friends.
A dozen spliffs found their way back to us and in the interval ~ yes, there were two halves to the concert ~ the band came round and distributed hash brownies. And we all loved the music.
Some of you reading this may tut-tut under your breath but, hey, you weren't there and, as I've said, we were family.
Thirty years later, we are still family
. These musicians have continued to produce albums with familiar cadences and connections to where their musical explorations have taken them and us. They continue to inspire new generations of musicians and listeners, but, tempus fuckit
, their numbers shrink.
I'm working from home today so am able to listen to Elton Dean
and Pip In Cahoots
, this year united in the hereafter, and forever in our musical archives.
It may be a generational thing and inevitable, but it doesn't diminish the sadness.