"English" rock star Alex Harvey is planning to see a psychiatrist ---because he believes he fought at the Battle of Waterloo. He is going to see American Ian Stevenson, an authority on reincarnation, after having recurring flashbacks of being in a line of highland soldiers during the 1815 battle.
Alex the founder of the Alex Harvey band, said: "I don't like to talk about it because too much about it because people think I 'm crazy" "What about the stories of queues of people in psychiatrists waiting rooms thinking they're Napoleon? I don't know what they'd think of me. But I honestly do believe I fought at Battle of Waterloo."
Mr Stevenson has compiled a dossier of similar cases from Alaska to the Middle East involving people who claim to have memories of a previous life. And Welsh hypnotherapist Arnal Bloxham has shown how hypnotised people can recall life in Nelson's navy and medievil England.
Alex, 44, who has reformed his band after a years break from recording, said: " The name Waterloo always fascinated me as a child. I still get this mental picture of me at Waterloo. "There's an incredible mixture of din and smoke, the jingling of the harness and the smell of sweat and leather.
"My wife Trudy accepts the fact completely. So do my friends. I plan to talk about it more to Mr. Stevenson.
(RAM c. 79) transcription courtesy of Brian Murray
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were just that - sensational. I felt the same way after the recent Manchester concert as I had when I first saw them many moons ago supporting the Groundhogs at Sheffield Union. It's the kind of concert that fills you with admiration and enthusiasm, you want to go out and tell everyone just what they're missing, hoping that you can convince them to catch the group another time. Since that Union concert, the audiences have grown, largely I suspect by this word of mouth reputation. Certainly they have received some amount of press coverage, but neither this, nor their LP output can convey the atmosphere of an Alex Harvey Show.
From the moment Alex strolled on the stage, his communication with the audience was complete. The concert opened with 'Faith Healer', but only after Alex Harvey had demanded that everyone will be on their best behaviour! Action Strasse next, and apart from the Tomahawk Kid, the middle section of the concert was given to the current album. Many of the songs evoke the more chilling undertones of Kurt Weill's Weimar, with its rising tide of Nazi hysteria. The imagery in 'Give My Compliments To The Chef' is still above me, I'll let you know when I've listened to the words for a while! The Band raced into 'Delilah', and it was a beautiful send up, complete with Zal and Chris Glen doing the dancing. Soul in Chains (for chrissake get it out as a single - quick!) gave Zal a chance to shine on guitar; you're so busy watching his amazing expressions that you tend to take his playing somewhat for granted - but his ability is phenomenal. One of the nearest vambo's I've seen closed ! the set (I thought I heard him say at the Palace last year the he wouldn't be doing Vambo anymore!) The group encored with Sgt. Fury - still one of his most successful studio songs, with the amazing dancing routine again from Zal and Chris. Framed closed the set, hell that drumming at the beginning kills me! Despite the support Alex Harvey has received throughout the evening, he gets the thumbs down as he pleads innocence. There was a fight going on between a steward and one of the crowd as Alex left the stage, he almost exploded on them, they soon stopped!! In a way it is frustrating to think that the band are really restricted to such small audiences. If there is one group which could carry off a TV show successfully, it's them. (Wish I'd seen their recent Whistle Test debut, but it crossed the PFM! He achieves a unique degree of audience communication which has to be seen to be believed.
Christ he's 40!!
(Live Reviews in this mag are listed to be by: Martin Zero, Dave Belbin and Geoff Winston... but no one in particular is named for writing this article. transcription courtesy of Pauline Cooper)
A sure sign that a band on its first tour is Happening is the headliner's nervousness about having them on the bill. A las minute cancellation in California didn't faze the Sensational Alex Harvey Band in the least; Fleetwood Mac was merely added to the growing list of established bands who prefer not to follow the Sensationals onto a stage. Undaunged, amidst the confusion, a smiling Alex waxed nostalgic about his group's competitive ways on tour abroad. The Band are always greeted by a thousand rowdy rock fans with arms outstretched in the Harvey fashion.
"What happened was, people weren't too keen on having us on their tour, because like if we're on before somebody, well , it's really good fun then," chortled the feisty Scot. "In some ways that's the best position. When the Band started, some of the best receptions we ever had was people throwing things at us ... It's tradition you see. People are incredibly conservative, even freaks. They've got an idea of what a rock 'n' roll band should be, and if you don't adhere to these rules then there are some people who don't like it. It inspires amazing anger. And that's a lot of fun, because the adrenalin gets going then."
Harvey then recalle, with something of a wicked grin, the approach he took when his group supported Slad in England. "They were big, a great big act. Their fans came along like a football crowd, and in certain places they didn't like us at all. 'Cause it's a big act, you can play safe, and you can be polite, and you can play a meledy of curent teenage hits. But we didn't do that. Like we were saying 'we're the best band in the world -- we're senstational., and your wasting your time for this lot that's coming on after.' And sometimes I used to say things like 'After our show, boys and girls, we're bringing on four young boys from Wolverhampton, and I hope you give them as good a reception."
(transcription courtesy of Terry Coyle)
It's a mighty long road down rock and roll and nobody has had a longer journey than 41 year old Alex Harvey.
But somewhere along that road Harvey has learnt one important lesson: make the audience feel wanted. Nowadays when you go to a rock concert you go to see the show; when you go to see the Sensational Alex Harvey Band you are a part of it.
The audience at Bracknell Sports Centre on Saturday could see no wrong in their hero, and he looked equally pleased with them. After making an entrance in spectacles and smoking jacket, Harvey introduced the band before they went into Jethro Tull's "Love Story".
The bins and jacket soon made way for a striped sweatshirt as Harvey gave notice where not to urinate on his interpretation of Alice Cooper's "School's Out." Zal Cleminson, a true power guitarist if there ever was one, is still the instrumental pivot of the band, but it doesn't mean to say he does all the work; the other three can play a bit.
As well as the tried and tested favourites such as "Vambo" and "Tomahawk Kid", the band introudced two new numbers: "Dance To Your Daddy," where Harvey plays the dirty old man, and "Are You Going To The Boston Tea Party," featuring the whole of the audience on vocal.
By the time of the inevitable encore, "Delilah", everybody was singing and swaying.
Barry Flatman (transcription courtesy of Theomando Hathway)
"Sometimes I feel like quitting", Alex Harvey mused backstage. "I could quit tomorrow and do a lot of other things, but there's a problem. It's them you see," referring to the audience. "They're just wee babies. And I love 'em."
And they love him. Do they love him? Whiles London was swarming with Thomas Jerome Newton doubles bent for Wembley, the Newcastle Town Hall was full to belching with barrel-chested boy babies in uniformly sweaty striped teeshirts, clutching Marvel Comics-inspred programmes and bellowing, "VAMBO" at the drop of a Newcastle Brown bottle.
The great thing about a SAHB crowd is that they're there to bang their heads against the wall alright, but they dinna wreck the joint or each other while they're getting doon and wi' it. When Alex saunters out, bespectacled in a red lounging jacket, and strews roses into the front rows they give out with an amazing ovation, cheering and whistling - a performance they repeat between every number. But when the band breaks into whamming and bamming they'tr settled down, heads lowered like rams rutting and mime playing bass like nice, appreciative lads.
And away we go. In the opening number, "Love Story", Alex munches on his roses and croons loudly like a Glaswegian snake charmer. For "School's Out" he switches into his mock nasty vicious bit so well complimented by Chris Glen's crutch thrust bass delivery and Zal Cleminson's sharp, slapping lead.
The audience comes right in on the nose from the start of "Tomahawk Kid" to sing spontaneously along, gleefully in their element. Alex cuts into "Isobel Goudie", his twisting vocals a rivetting mixture of sophisticated theatricality and feverish, childlike intensity.
It is in the meaty new numbers "Dance to Your Daddy" and "Amos Moses" that the band as a whole is most impressive, with locomotive power riffs and Hugh McKenna's power-driving on keyboards, characterising the former harmonic precision and Ted Mckenna's muscular drumming highlighting the latter.
The current SAHB Theatre Presentation features Zal in dejected mime attempting to wrestle, cajole and bribe his guitar away from the wily Alex, popping like Punch out of the upper window of the tenement backdrop. The audience provide "shh's" "aahs'" and "yay's" like kids at a pantomime and cheer Zal's success through an unlikely classically-styled solo on amplified acoustic guitar.
I think these boys are telepathic, you know, for they start clapping in time to "Framed" almost before Ted McKenna kicks it off. Alex appears overhead with brand new lyrics, written that day, clutched in his hand for the best parody of Hitler since Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator". Wearing a milk carton swastika and a string of sellotape moustaches on his sleeve which he peels off and slaps on one after the other as they slop off his lip, he complains, "I was freymed." The Glen, Harvey, Cleminson trio goose step to the front of the stage, Alex grinning menacingly about being bombed in his bunker and bombed in his balls and succeeding completing in stitching up the chicification of fascism in certain red-headed quarters.
It's a continuous thorn in Harvey's side that the band's comicstrip rock and roll pastiches of violence and nastinesses have been taken as read and criticized. "Now you listen," he splutters after "Framed." "That was good fun, but don't you think for one minute that we think that bastard was a good man."
By this time everybody's going well loony. Alex strafes the audience with blazing light beams from a double-barrel shotgun torch during "Midnight Moses". (How can it fail to turn an audience on when they get bright lights flashed in their faces?) The kid infront of me is thrashing to the rythym like a beached whale, and what he's doing to himself is nobody's business. Security men converge to keep an eye on him but maintain their cool since he's not aggravating anyone. It's amazing really, how fired up this band gets people without triggering any heaviness. Even when the stage is besieged by a tough looking bunch during the charismatic raunch of "Vambo", Alex managed to get them arranged in ranks and singing lustily along as if he was a popular schoolmaster.
The band's current single, "The Boston Tea Party" and two encores, "Delilah" and "The Faith Healer" wind up like Singalongamax gone berserk, the band relentless and the audience practically glowing in the dark, straining forwards and singing along very well indeed. Excellent, excellent. I think if Alex really wants to quit he could run against Bowie for Prime Minister - he's got the heavy industrial area votes sewn up.
Angie Errigo (transcription courtesy of a SAHB List contributor)