After many months of speculation and rumour, it was recently officially confirmed that Pallas, one of the most potent bands of the Eighties, have signed a worldwide recording deal with EMI. The first fruits of the deal will be the release of the "Eyes In The Night" single on January 16th, followed by the February release of "Atlantis". The single and album were recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, with Eddy Offord. There are full details on the album and the trip to America inside this issue.
Inside this issue of The Sentinel:
"That Was The Year That Was", a personal look-back on last year by Graeme Murray, photo feature on the Reading Festival and The Brave New World tour, plus the band in Atlanta. There's also an exclusive preview on Patrick Woodroffe's new artwork and full details on the "Eyes In The Night" single and "The Sentinel" album.
That Was The Year That Was
When I sat in a drunken stupor with the rest of the band and crew on Hogmany 1982/3, we all contemplated what promised to be a great year ahead. 1982 had seen us work into the ground, day jobs paying for 1000 mile trips to the Marquee and financing loss making tours to take our music to your good selves in person. We had sold the Marquee out during a week long residency and signed a deal with a manager who we felt was the man to lead us to the top. What could stop us now? I can honestly say I've never looked forward to a year so much. If only we knew...
February saw the most important landmark when we all jacked in the day jobs and became "pros". No sooner had we hung up our suits and tool kits, than we found ourselves embarking on a major UK tour of clubs thro' February and March. This was a great time, feeling free of 9 - 5 worries and getting out to so many new audiences. After a relatively seccussful tour, we recorded the spoof single "Paris Is Burning" which sadly the media took seriously and slagged to death for. Can you take them seriously? Say no more!
Vic, our coach, had just cooled off from the Spring tour when we found ourselves off again in April and May with a couple of the new songs under our belt and realising an ambition when we guested on the Uli Roth minitour, winding up at the Hammersmith Odeon. If any of you saw us on that tour, then thanks for making it a great experience. Sadly however, the record deal had not yet materialised. We were treated shamefully by Polydor who led us up the garden path for several months and then left us in the lurch. The tours and delays brought us to the brink of financial disaster as our resources and those of Harry Maloney, our manager, reached the red zone. Through the desparation when we could so easily have given up, we wrote on at our farmyard retreat and gave birth to the rest of the songs which make uip the album. Take a listen to "Ark Of Infinity" and perhaps you can understand how we felt.
The songs were duly "demoed" and sent in many directions. We then sat and waited. One day in June, Harry's phone rang and the gloom cleared with the news that Eddy Offord loved the material and wanted to "start the album yesterday" We hardly had the heart to tell Eddy that we didn't have a record deal to finance the project.
The next few weeks were the worst of our lives, I can tell you. Eddy and ourselves became great friends, over the telephone and we gathered everything we had to sell, bus, equipment, our bodies, our dogs and cats, to raise enough to go to the States and do the album anyway!
Harry was working 18 hours a day to rekindle cold relationships after our being "dumped" by Polydor and on Friday the 22nd July, 1983 at 7.00 PM, I received my daily phonecall from Harry. Harry took a great delight in discussing the weather, the price of coal in newcastle, the cost of living, his breakfast that day and "oh yes, I almost forgot, we've got a deal with EMI." Neither I, nor the rest of the band or crew or families or friends could tell you anything about that weekend except that the "ring pulls" bought 352 guide dogs for the blind.
Writing this for "The Sentinel", I now realise that '83 was split in two. Up to July, our world was coming to an end. From the end of July until now has seemed like a dream.
No sooner had the deal been confirmed than we heard we were on the Reading bill. Before we could catch our breath we had itineraries of our trip to the US to work with Eddy Offord. No sooner had we walked off the stage at Reading (walking in thin air, I can tell you) than we were boarding a British Caledonian DC10 (eeh!) to Atlanta, Eddy's new home.
Reading was a great experience for us all, although I must confess it was marred by a terribel onstage sound (the monitors were skull crushingly loud) and our having to run flat out from the station to the stage courtesy of British Rail. (Gosh, don't I slag a lot!)
The highlight of '83 tho' was our two months in Atlanta with Eddy and his amazing studio. (I'm sure you're seen the feature in Kerrang.) The studio itself is very unconventional, being an old cinema. As you know, studios usually have a control room and the studio itself. Not so at Eddy's - the desk and effects are in the front stalls, the band on the theatre stage, with the speaker cabinets locked in sound proof cupboards.
The studio was very easy to work in, not being claustrophobic like so many studios are and we must all admit the weather in Atlanta wasn't that bad either, averaging 95° during our stay.
Our stay in Atlanta seemed to fly past working a 12 hour day, 6 day week although the early risers managed to get a sun tan to take home with them. Obviously, it was a great experience for us to work with such an experienced guy as Eddy, his having overseen many Yes and ELP albums, but he was only too pleased to teach "us newcomers" the tricks of the trade and proved to be a really amusing and humble chap. It was with mixed feelings that we left Atlanta, delighted at the way the album had turned out, relief and excitement that we were going home to our loved ones after two months, and sadness at leaving Atlanta, which we had grown to love, and our new "mate" Eddy and his family with whom we had become so close during our stay. Unorthodox it was, but we feel the end results speak for themselves.
The good news doesn't stop there, however. On our return we learned that artist Patrick Woodroffe had agreed to do our album cover, his first in five years. So not only are we over the moon with the way the album sounds, but also the way it will look haivng now seen the amazing artwork Patrick has done for the cover. All I can say is that we hope all of you are as knocked out with things as we are.
Finally, of course the year was rounded off with the Brave New World Tour, our first national excursion since May, and we were all enjoying it so much, having a good time with Solstice and Trilogy. (The foam flans were many backstage.) Sadly, the album had taken its toll on Euan's throat, and with the cold and damp, plus sleeping in the bus and hectic gigging schedule, his throat started bleeding. This sadly brought the tour to an early end and to those of you who missed out due to cancellations, our genuine apologies. We wanted to be there as much as you wanted us to, but don't worry, we'll be back.
And so ends 1983, a year of extremes for Pallas. Personally, I'm glad to see it go as the bad memories were really bad. 1984? Well, after being so confident last year, it seems foolhardy to be overconfident but it does seem to be looking good. The singel is out on January 16th, the album "The Sentinel" in february on EMI's Harvest label. I hope you enjoy this, our first "real" efforts on record and hope to see all of you in the New Year. We have some ambitious ideas for our live show, if only we an talk EMI into approving the budgets.
Well, Happy New Year to you all. I sincerely hope that 1984 is Pallas' year. I hope we get to all of you on the tour and I hope you'll let us know your views on the singles, album, live dates etc. thro' writing to this newsletter and most important of all, thank you for your support because without you there is nothing.
See ya soon
THE LONG ROAD TO READING
The band's highly successful Reading debut nearly didn't take place at all. This was due to the band's previously faithful tour coach, Vic, literally grinding to a halt on the M6 on the way to the festival, leaving the band, crew and gear stranded on the hard shoulder, in the middle of nowhere.
After a long wait and many phonecalls, Vic was coupledup to a tow truck and was slowly negotiating the side streets of Chorley, Lancs, eventually coming to rest at the Weldbank Garage. Vic was coaxed into the yard under his own steam, but the horrifying shudders and grindings didn't give us much hope of ever reaching Reading. Fortunately, we couldn't have been luckier with our choice of garage and the helpful staff soon got to the cause of the trouble, a now toothless gearbox, arranged for a replacement and had Vic rolling again within a few hours.
During these hours, news of the stranded rock band had got around the local children, who soon besiged the garage, getting autographs and momentos. What could have been a total disaster had become a very enjoyable and not too expensive afternoon.
Returning to the motorways that evening, we eventually arrived at the festival site early Friday morning, thinking that that was the end of the mishaps. However, more panics were to follow later on in the day when the band got stranded on a non-moving train returning from an important visit to manchester Square, onyl returning to the site five minutes before the deadline. Then during the set, Niall's amplifier, hired for the occasion, decided to pack up during "Crown Of Thorns". Fortunately, the problems didn;t destroy the set, and by the closing number, the crowd had well and truly been won over. As the chorus of "Atlantis" reached its stunning climax, with the olympic torch blazing in the hands of Euan, the crowds roar of approval set the seal on the most momentous day of the band's career so far.
The Brave New World tour, featuring Pallas with Solstice and Trilogy, unfortunately didn't reach its intended conclusion due to illness. The dates which were played gave the band a chance to air the new numbers from "The Sentinel" adn to make many new friends around the country and renew old acquaintances.
Despite the various illnesses which afflicted both the Pallas and Solstice tour coaches, all the bands gave their best during their performances, and offstage, many a trick was played, to varying degrees of success. One real event which did have all the signs of an elaborate hoax was the loading of the P.A. crew's minivan into the back of the artic at Bangor University, due to the long overnight trip to Guildford. After many attempts, and having all but given up, G.C. the Pallas string-man, man-handled the van up the ramp by himself. At Guildford, the shocked stage crew were fooled into believing that the minivan had to be put on the stage as it was part of the stage-act. Hats off to the deluded soul who started directing the van into the hall.
Another highlight for everyone was at the Queensway Hall, Dunstable. After the end of the gig proper, the stage was invaded by all three bands, and a rousing "Happy Birthday" was sung for manager and tour organiser, Harry Maloney; this was followed by an impromptu jam with all three bands which certainly owed more to alcohol than music.
The Scottish dates went down especially well and Pallas had a well and truly rousing welcome back home. Unfortunately, Wiz the lighting engineer, decided to fall through a stage at Aberdeen which resulted in stitches in his leg. Later on, he fell of a lighting truss. Maybe it would be safer for him not to play at home.
Illness and disasters excepted, a good time was had by all, and thanks must go to: the two Pauls, "Mister Bastard", And, Chris the tour manager, Kevin and Tony, our two most travelled fans, and Andy and Brian our faithful Glasgow photographers.
THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME
The "Eyes In The Night" single is a reworking of "Arrive Alive" which was recorded in Atlanta with Eddy Offord in the producer's seat. The track has been a popular live number for some time and doesn't need any introduction. Whereas "Eyes In The Night" leans very much to the heaviest aspect of Pallas' music, the B-side is a marked contrast. "East West" is a slow dramatically poignant track with an anti-war message. The track was originally written as part of the Atlantis suite and was featured in the "Atlantis Arising" tour, so some of you will be familiar with it. Both "East West" and "Crown Of Thorns", the additional track on the 12" format, were recorded at Strawberry Studios, Stockport (well-known for its 10CC connection) in a mammouth 28 hour non-stop session during a day off on the Brave New World tour. The 24-track tape then followed the band around the country until the mixdown was completed at London's Roundhouse Studios. These tracks were produced by the band and engineered by a cast of thousands!
"The Sentinel" is the title of the album which had the working title of "Atlantis". It was recorded this Autumn with Eddy Offord producing. The sessions with Eddy were the first time that Pallas had the luxury of time to become fully acquainted with studio technique and the result is streets ahead of previous underfinanced and extremely rushed recordings. One avenue which was fully exploited was the use of vocal harmonies, and the creation of textural keyboard-scapes.
The end result has been the production of a sound that is unique to Pallas, which cannot be defined in a few words. The single is only a hint of what is to come on the album, being of such a short duration. The "epic" tracks on "The Sentinel" are "Rise And Fall", "Ark Of Infinity" and the legendary "Atlantis", which are showcases for the hi-tech symphonic rock which Pallas has become associated with. "Rise And Fall" was only played in an abridged form on the tour and the ten minute album version is a tour-de-force which also inspired much of the artwork for the cover.
The other tracks include "Cut And Run", already popular as the opener during recent tours, and the newest track "Shock Treatment", which certainly lives up to its name! "The Sentinel" will be released on February 13th.
No only is the music on the album breathtaking, so is the artwork. We approached Patrick Woodroffe, the science fiction artist best known for his "Pentateuch" collection of paintings and music, who had not done an album cover in five years. On hearing the demo for the album, he became very enthusiastic about working for us and has produced an album cover which is truly a work of art. The band insisted that "The Sentinel" should have a gatefold cover, which Patrick has used to full effect.
The amount of detail is phenomenal and the "Eyes In The Night" cover is a mere taster of what is to come. Obviously, we don't want to give the whole game away just yet, but we have included a variant on the new logo on the next page as an example. We have spent many hours already tieing in the different parts of the cover with the lyrics of the songs, I'm sure you'll do too.
March sees the band's first UK tour of the year, with a short tour of major concert halls. At the moment, the plan is for around eight concerts at key regional centres. Before you all cry out in protest, the reason for this is to allow the band to more into concert halls rather than clubs and universities. Firstly it enables the band to put on the size of show that they've always wanted, adn secondly enables the younger audience who can't get into clubs and uni's to see the band live, which obviously has been a complaint received from many of you.
Later in the year, we hope to do an extensive tour, taking in over twenty major cities once we have sufficient pulling power following the singles and the album.