Starry Eyed And Laughing
               Press - Now

· Review of 'That Was Now And This Is Then' by Eric Sorensen
That Was Now And This Is Then - a double CD compilation of Starry Eyed And Laughing's mid-70s albums, along with some excellent bonus tracks and very thorough liner notes.
Lead guitarist and vocalist Tony Poole, and his Aurora Music label, has done the pop music community a HUGE favor by re-mastering and re-releasing these terrific musical vignettes from an era when pop/rock was being suffocated by other genres of music. Tony's vintage Rickenbacker 12-string guitar sparkles throughout - whether it is chiming, ringing or jangling.
On tunes like "Lady Came From The South", the English quartet could be mistaken for Firefall. On other tunes - like "Meet Me Lord" and "One Foot In The Boat" - they pretty much nail the Byrds' sound. The double disc includes the band's own version of "Chimes Of Freedom", and it is every bit as good as the Byrds' classic version of this Dylan tune. Long may you run, Sir Tony (who is currently with another jangly folk/rock/pop band - The Falcons) . and thanks to fellow jangle-enthusiast Alan Sack, who alerted me regarding this wonderful release.        - Eric Sorensen       
· Shindig! Review of 'All Their Best' by Andy Morten
They were both perfect and wrong in every way. Starry Eyed & Laughing inhabited that mid-70s post-Glam pre-Punk netherworld like strangers in a strange land.
They cut their chops as part of the thriving pub rock scene of the day but singled themselves out with their amphetamine-paced blasts of '60s flavoured folk-pop - all 12-string Rickenbacker and 3-part harmonies.

By the time their self-titled debut appeared on CBS in '75 they'd already honed their firebrand urban powerpop to distinction.
'Going Down' is without doubt the finest three minutes of pop music recorded in that gloomiest of pop years and I can only implore anyone who counts themselves as a pop fan to invest in a copy of this song forthwith. 
That said, there's plenty to enjoy on this remastered 20-track pass through SE&L's 2 studio albums with no less than 3 Byrds covers added for your pleasure.        - Andy Morten       
· Maverick Review of 'All Their Best'
Brit Country-Rock at its best

A classic English band who played country-rock without playing at it, Starry Eyed And Laughing were doomed to fail. They were like The Byrds, but with a touch of Wishbone Ash, ringing Rickenbackers with a touch of twin-guitar lead. Like that other tuneful Brit rock band, Home, with an element of BJ Cole's West Coast-tinged Cochise (in fact BJ even makes an appearance here).
Elements of Crosby Stills and Nash and the Sutherland Brothers, with a bit of Beatles-like sitar-guitar, and yet while they were like them all, they were like none of them, a band who created their own sound.

This compilation covers their career from 1974-77, from a soaring look at Dylan's Chimes Of Freedom (an unreleased version that was touted as a US single), to Saturday, one of a pair of singles from an ill-conceived stab at having Flo & Eddie produce and give them a big name boost (the result sounds more like Sailor, while the other, Song On The Radio, resembles Abba's Dancing Queen). In betwen though, you have the bulk of two Dan Loggins-produced albums, a refreshing blast of song, and country-based rock, most of it self-penned.

There are also a couple of 1974 session tracks from Capital Radio's Night Flight, the trad but Byrdian He Was A Friend Of Mine and a lovely take on Dylan's You Ain't Goin' Nowhere.
Other guests include Loggins on harmonica, Lindisfarne's Ray Jackson on mandolin, and Argent's Russ Ballard on piano. - ND       
· Terrascope Online Review of 'That Was Now And This Is Then' by Nigel Cross
1974 - the dog days of rock - where you really had to dig for the good things; but there was hope on the horizon - the buzz was out for a bright new British quartet who had taken their name from a line in the Dylan song 'Chimes of Freedom' and were blazing new smoke trails based on the classic electric 12-string Rickenbacker guitar sound of the Byrds. They were called Starry Eyed and Laughing and for a while in 1974 and 1975 you'd have been hard put to find a better British band. Their two albums for CBS were joyous affairs full of youthful bounce, irresistible pop hooks, heavenly harmony vocals and the kind of smouldering psychedelic undercurrents that made LPs like 5D and Younger Than Yesterday so good.

Led by guitarists Tony Poole and Ross McGeeney, Starry Eyed were a one-off and it's difficult now to see how they fitted into any of the scenes that were happening in mid-70s Britain - SEAL came too late for the pyschedelic country scene of Bronco, Greasy Bear and Formerly Fat Harry of a few years earlier. Pop back then was at best 10CC, at worst the Bay City Rollers (or vice versa according to your taste!) - and they were only peripherally part of the pub rock scene, often sharing the same bills and venues with the likes of Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers. Of course had they come from the greater Los Angeles basin and been signed to Asylum, they would probably have become as big as The Eagles

Progressing from covers by the likes of Gene Clark, Jackie De Shannon, The Beatles and of course McGuinn & co, the group began to work up a formidable repertoire of original material - and with the arrival of bassist Iain Whitmore at the end of 73, the group boasted three fine writers. The classic SEAL line up gelled with master drummer Mike Wackford in early summer 1974 and they were soon recording their self-titled debut waxing. When it hit the stores that October it was a time for celebration.
Produced by Dan Loggins, it was a delight from start to finish, though it had turned out rather differently to how Loggins had planned it (cover versions of songs by Dylan, Jackson Browne and Mike Nesmith had been scheduled but ditched in favour of group material as the sessions rolled).

The band sang and played their hearts out and many of the numbers were instantly memorable - like the debut 45 'Money is No Friend of Mine' with its stomping chorus line, dexterous mandolin work (from Lindisfarne's Ray Jackson) and Poole's jangling Rickenbacker riff - or the gentler country rock of McGeeney's 'Closer to you Now' with BJ Cole's sweet pedal steel.
'Going Down', the opener meanwhile ripped along with intent and featured some powerful guitar breaks - the first of which by Poole especially was a cracker. Songs like the Moby Grape-style rocker '50/50' and 'Nobody Home' (the second 45 taken from the LP) should have lit up the radio and torn up the charts - some 33 years later it's hard to see why they failed to.

Undeterred by lack of sales and chart action, the band decamped to Rockfield Studios in March 1975 to make Thought Talk. This was a tighter, more together SEAL and Loggins' production was far more assured - Thought Talk was heavier, more arranged and had the bite that the first waxing lacked - a super record that took on some serious themes.
The sometimes winsome nature of that first LP was replaced by a far more confident band - it positively oozed with studio craft. 'Good Love' was the slow-burning, organ-dominated opener whilst Poole's 'One Foot in the Boat' was the kind of song that Roger McGuinn back then seemed incapable of writing after his Byrds heyday - and Whitmore's 'Fool's Gold' showed he was as adept as his other band mates at delivering the goods - an intricate acoustic number with a haunting cello arrangement and measured vocals, this was yet another highlight.

'Flames in the Rain' was the album's epic - the kind of song that showed that the band could match its West Coast counterparts - a rousing, windswept classic with raging guitars and righteously angry lyrics.
This still manages to leave me slack jawed three decades on. The original Thought Talk ended with its eponymous title track a lyric-less jazz-based groove with soaring harmony vocals and buzzing guitars that recalled the peaks of David Crosby's 1971 If Only I Could Remember My Name LP. Fabulous!

From this vantage point it might be easy for the uninitiated to put them down as mere Byrds copyists but Starry Eyed looked both back and forward - there was a certain innocence to their early songs that harkened back to the 60s golden age of pop, similarly they were developing that 60s sound and had they stuck it out I'm sure they'd have been at the forefront of 1978's short-lived power pop phenomenon - was it mere coincidence that The Records ace 45 with its spiralling 'Eight Miles High' riff was entitled 'Starry Eyes'? Listening now to these albums puts me as much in mind of the Soft Boys or the dbs and all those great 80s paisley bands as it does of SEAL heroes the Byrds or CSN.

This collection compiled by Tony Poole is your chance to revaluate them - bringing together both CBS albums, various Flo & Eddie sides and other sundry bits and bobs including at long last a version of their signature tune that does them full justice. I was a convert to them first time around but one listen to this now should have you equally hooked - what a fine band they were.        - Nigel Cross       
· Netrhythms Review of 'That Was Now And This Is Then' by Mike Davies
   When I recently reviewed Abbie Lathe's Avebury album I was delighted to note it was produced by Tony Poole, finally answering a whatever happened to question that had been nagging me for years.
Who he? He was singer and 12 string guitarist with Starry Eyed And Laughing, named from the opening lines of the last verse of Dylan's Chimes of Freedom and quite frankly the only band the UK's ever produced that came within a feather of being this country's answer to The Byrds.

   Formed in London in 73 and making their live debut as a duo with fellow singer/guitarist Ross McGeeney, come March 74 they'd finalised their full line up with Iain Whitmore on bass and Mike Wackford on drums and been signed to CBS, largely thanks to the huge enthusiasm of the label's then press officer John Tobler, former scribe for the legendary ZigZag fanzine whose founder, the equally legendary Pete Frame would eventually take them on for management.

   At the time I was co-editing an arts mag at university, in which capacity a copy of the band's self-titled debut duly came by way courtesy of Columbia's regional promo man. It was love at first jangle. If I'd been blindfolded and played Going Down, the opening track, I would have sworn it was an outtake from The Byrds 5th Dimension album. It got better as tracks like their debut single, the McGuinn-like Money Is No Friend of Mine, Lady Came From The South, See Your Face and Everybody soared from the speakers on the wings of close harmonies and Rickenbacker guitars. It didn't all sound like The Byrds though, Oh What for example clearly had its roots in the British mod movement while Living In London surely owed a nod to 10cc's Rubber Bullets.
   Reviews were good, sales less so, neither album nor singles managing to struggle into the top 75. Sadly the same fate befell the follow up, Thought Talk, released the following year and featuring the magnificent chiming One Foot In The Boat (which inexplicably CBS didn't release as a single), the gentle Since I Lost You, the folksy Fool's Gold and the epic Flames In The Rain which could easily give CS&N a run for their money.

   However, things began to rapidly fall apart. McGeeney was fired, Frame quit and the label from whom CBS licensed the band went bust. Ross briefly returned for the band's swansong gigs before the line-up disintegrated. Shortening the name to Starry Eyed (since no one felt much like laughing any more), Flo & Eddie were brought in to produce three planned singles, the close harmony but over orchestrated pop Song On The Radio released in Sept 76 and four months later the rockier Saturday where the McGuinn acid guitar met The Who and The Move. They flopped and the third single, Can't Help But Love Her got shelved as the band remnants finally parted company with CBS and pretty much vanished from sight.

   Finally regaining the rights to the masters back in 96, Poole's been working on this reissue which, in addition to the two albums and final three singles also includes three other unreleased tracks, among them (intended for a US single release that never materialised) Chimes of Freedom itself.
Inevitably it's not all aged as well as it might, but the glory of their finest moments remains undimmed and it's great to finally be able to listen again without the interference of scratches from my well worn vinyl. Plus the sleeve notes booklet comes with full info, old pix and full lyrics, If you remember them you'll do yourself a favour and get a copy for old time's sake, and if you think Teenage Fan Club were the first British outfit to pay tribute to the Byrds then it's time you had your ears opened.        - Mike Davies       
· Shindig! Review of 'That Was Now And This Is Then' by Jon 'Mojo' Mills & Andy Morten
They could have been The Beatles or more precisely The Byrds.
London's SE&L utilised the 12-string Rickenbacker at a time when jangle was out and loud was in.
Calling them Byrds copyists would be very unfair but damn, these boys sure did get the sound.
Even Mr McGuinn approved.
Despite this, they were unfairly lumped in with the mid-70s pub rock movement and served their apprenticeship with the likes of Ducks Deluxe and Kilburn & The High Roads.
Signed to CBS in '74, they cut two albums, Starry Eyed & Laughing (with its incredible opener Going Down) and the slightly less coherent Thought Talk which are both included here alongside pre-album recordings (including a spine-tinglingly Byrds-y The Chimes Of Freedom) and alternate takes from the band's own archive.
Ricky-toting '60s nuts The Flamin Groovies, Tom Petty, The Records, REM and The Rain Parade followed but SE&L were among the first revivalists and remain one of the best.
Sublime West Coast harmonies, astounding twin guitar attacks and a typically English pre-punk snottiness define their work and whether this was then or that was now, its wonderful stuff.
                                               - Jon 'Mojo' Mills & Andy Morten       
· Lost In The Grooves Review of 'That Was Now And This Is Then' by Kim Cooper
Incongruously chiming Byrd-like fringe through the polyester London pub rock scene, SE&L honed a gorgeous if familiar sound. This release comps their two hard-to-find CBS albums, plus bonus and alternate tracks from the band archives (including a lovely, topical take on Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom," whence their name). The self-titled debut is trad and fine throughout, with a touch of country rock tempering Tony Poole's high-powered 12-string runs and haunting road-honed harmonies. On 1975's Thought Talk, producers Flo & Eddie give the band rope enough to explore a more progressive sound, with many songs running on towards the five-minute mark and beyond. That's not necessarily a bad thing: the late singles sound like Queen meets the Raspberries!        - Kim Cooper       
· POPISM Review of 'That Was Now And This Is Then' by Goran Obradovic
   It's funny that sometimes some of the best music of an era takes the artist's own record label to be re-released for the first time after thirty years.
   Taking a line from "Chimes of freedom", Starry Eyed & Laughing chose the name that matches perfectly the sounds they were making, while their story was rather sad, being another well known loved-by-the-critics-ignored-by-the-record-buyers scenario. Their only two albums from 1974/1975, were enough for them to be dismissed as mere Byrds copyists, and in fact, they had so much more to offer.
   While they never tried to hide their fascination with McGuinn's 12-string jangle and the West Coast harmonies, it was never more than a couple (on each album) of obvious conscious tributes ...
... and a T-shirt saying : "I'm a Zig Zag Byrds freak".
   But even when they did it, they did it good, and it must've been quite refreshing to have them amongst all the glam and glitter. Songs like "Going down", "Closer to you now" and "Strangers all over again", or the Crosby-like outlandish eclectism of "Lady came from the South", would've surely been among my fave Byrds tracks, had they been recorded by them, and they even came up with their own (imaginary) Dylan covers ("Money is no friend of mine", "One foot in the boat", "Since I lost you" ...).
   When the inspiration was coming from a bit more recent past, it resulted in CS&N-like workouts, with heavenly harmonies and an occasional McGuinn pop up ("In the madness", "Everybody", "Thought talk" ...) and even when they came the closest to what was around at the moment, they did it most apropriately with Moby Grape-like ("Oh what?", "Keep it to yourself") or 10cc-een ("Living in London", "Don't give me a hard time") harmony-fueled rawk-outs.
   Other "flight" digressions include the equally jangly "See your face", sounding as if Moby Grape was swimming the Mersey river, instead of the Pacific ocean, "Nobody home" adds some of the Mancunian, Hermit-like feel, "Down the street" has a slightly softer, Boetcher-like sunshine-harmony mood, and "Believe" shares a bit of the Big Star feel from "You get what you deserve".
   The last, unsuccessful attempt at commecialising the sound, was done with the name shortened to Starry Eyed and two more singles, with Flo & Eddie trying to put them under their sweet-sounding "turtle-cover". Generally, Starry Eyed & Laughing remains the perfect British answer to the sounds of Raspberries, Big Star or Blue Ash ..... musically and commercially.
                     - Goran Obradovic / POPISM radio show; Serbia & Montenegro       
· Tony Poole Interview with Robert Pally
The English band Starry Eyed and Laughing had a great sound a little late. With albums like Starry Eyed and Laughing (1974) and Thought Talk (1975), their sound was unmistakably influenced by the Byrds.
Their guitar player Tony Poole tells all.
Robert Pally: Was there any particular song that inspired you to start music?
Tony Poole: It has to be "Mr Tambourine Man" by The Byrds - up to that point, I was like any other teenager following the charts - everything by the Beatles, The Stones, The Who, The Animals, all the english bands - but after hearing the Byrds, I got a Fender bass just to learn the intro! Ross pretty much showed me my first chords - D, G and A - (he'd had lessons) and soon after, we formed a band called The Chymes - Ross had a Hofner Verithin guitar which he tried to make sound like a Rickenbacker, and I played bass. Our first concert (at school), we played "Tambourine Man", "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" ... and "Wild Thing" by The Troggs !

Robert Pally: Were you or anyone else of the band in a band before SE&L? If yes, in which one?
Tony Poole: Only Iain Whitmore, who was in a band called Patches with Leo Sayer - who went on to have lots of hits as a solo singer. Apart from that, it was the first professional band for all of us.

Robert Pally: Starry Eyed & Laughing took its name of the Bob Dylan song "Chimes of Freedom". Were you a fan of him or did you just like the phrase?
Tony Poole: We were big fans of Dylan - Chimes Of Freedom was always one of my favorites, and one day during the period we were searching for a name, that phrase "Starry Eyed and Laughing" just popped into my head. It seemed perfectly to describe the experience of being in a band - you have to be an optimistic dreamer, and also take it all with a sense of humor.

Robert Pally: The early 70's were the time of prog- and hard-rock. What made you play 60's inspired music?
Tony Poole: We hated that 70's music - glam-rock, prog rock.. ! Looking back, some of it has stood up better than you'd expect, but at the time it was horrible ... glam rock was just showbiz, rather than music, and I preferred the Syd Barrett Pink Floyd to the 70's version, though I like it now, and can see how it had evolved into a valid English rock music with Dave Gilmour...our hearts were with west coast music - Byrds through to Crosby Stills Nash & Young - I can't explain why ... except to say that even today some english bands still try to sound american - so-called "americana" - in spite of the most success going to resolutely english-sounding ones - Radiohead, Coldplay - just as it did to Pink Floyd back then ... and though we were somewhat rockier or heavier, we never took any influences from the Black Sabbath school of hard rock ...

Robert Pally: Your 2 albums sound a lot like the Byrds. How concious was that?
Tony Poole: It was very conscious - the sound of the Rickenbacker 12 string was so powerful for both myself and Ross (he owned one that used to belong to Pete Townshend briefly before I got my own), and the spirituality of their songs was what we aimed for. Though we did start out doing covers of those songs, we were never just a copy band, as we wrote our own songs, and they took precedence, both on record and in concert. Also, we had other influences - Beatles, Who, Stones, Moby Grape - that made us much rockier then The Byrds, especially live.

Robert Pally: The SE&L lyrics talked about obsessions, desperation, suicide and oppression. That's quite an contradiction to the beautiful music. How conscious was this contrast?
Tony Poole: It was a conscious thing, the idea of say "Nobody Home", which is a put-down song like "Positively 4th St", but done in a very light way - it made it more sinister! With Ross's songs, the gentle way he sang about relationships gone wrong, and the melodies he wrote made them more effective - that resignation. It's probably something we unconsciously learned from the Byrds - they rarely, if ever, made ugly music, even when singing about terrible things ... there's the same resignation and stillness in something like 'I Come And Stand At Every Door'

Robert Pally: What inspired the lyrics?
Tony Poole: We had three writers in the group, so there were different inspirations. Ross almost always wrote love songs from a broken heart point of view, Iain wrote about real situations he'd experienced in a down to earth way, and I was probably most inspired by Dylan - I wrote about personal things too, but with a distance from them - One Foot In The Boat really is about the darkness of "to be or not to be", but each verse has an ironic punch line ... and my lyrics were probably the most surreal. None of us was really writing "pop" songs, lyrically, though mine were used as singles because they seemed the most catchy, that was a mistake ! We'd probably have done better with Ross's love songs - my lyrics were too weird ...

Robert Pally: Your 2 albums were remixed for an US release. How come?
Tony Poole: Our producer - Dan Loggins, brother of Kenny Loggins who was a big star - thought we needed a different mix for american radio. As he was experienced in that US market, we guessed he knew best. Personally, I'd been unhappy with the original mixes, so it was great to get a second shot at them.

Robert Pally: You played a lot live (299 concerts between 28th may 1973 - 5th april 1976). What is the best and worst memory from that?
Tony Poole: Best memories are some amazing shows - the Zigzag 5th Birthday Party at the Roundhouse with Mike Nesmith and John Stewart is one, another at The Nashville in London when we were at a popular peak (supported by Last Exit - with Sting on bass !) is another, the New York gigs with Flo & Eddie - we actually had many more great gigs than bad ones, there seemed to be a lot of goodwill towards us - even a memory of The Smiling Dog Saloon in Cleveland playing to the bar staff and a handful of customers isn't a bad one - we just laughed at the situation. The worst memory, really is of all the time spent traveling in cold vans that broke down - no luxury tour buses at that level !

Robert Pally: How much money did you get for one concert?
Tony Poole: In the beginning, we hardly made anything, and I don't think it ever got up to a good amount - even though we were always re-booked for more money. I don't remember actual figures, but for example, our US tour earned $28000, but cost $41000 ! CBS paid the difference ... which would have been peanuts to them ! We've never made any money from the band, CBS only paid for the recordings, no personal advances - it was a licence deal, after all.

Robert Pally: Your friend from school Ross McGeeney was fired from the band (75/76). What had happened?
Tony Poole: The US tour was a real melting pot for us - things were very badly organized by Columbia - and the pressures caused some serious disagreements, the worst of which was between myself and Ross, who were the leaders of the group. Strangely enough, I can't remember what we argued about now ! I'm sure we both wanted the same thing, and were frustrated in the same way, just couldn't find a common way to achieve it. Ross was a pretty overpowering character in some ways, sometimes contradictory, and the rest of us thought it would be easier to continue without him - a bit like Crosby and the Byrds, to draw an inevitable parallel...we were wrong, though.

Robert Pally: Your last 3 songs were produced by Flo & Eddie. Was this a kind of a last try to get some kind of recognition or success? How was it to work with them?
Tony Poole: Well, it wasn't thought of as a "last try" at the time, but it was an attempt to get a hit ! Totally misguided, but no regrets, because it was fabulous to work with those guys - they'd really seen it all, been ripped off, larger than life - and they were there in the 60's right in that West Coast scene, getting hits along with the Byrds. I remember Mark Volman (Flo) saying when we were recording my Rickenbacker parts, it was a dream come true for him, because he loved that sound ! He was quoted in the press as saying "This is the best thing the Byrds have ever done !" We'd supported them at The Bottom Line in New York, and hit it off - one night they had Lou Reed guesting, the next we had the Flying Burrito Brothers, they responded the next night with Patti Smith ! - it was a great atmosphere for those three nights. In London, they stayed at the most hip rock'n'roll hotel, I'd go and pick them up for the studio and they'd be breakfasting with Leonard Cohen, all kinds of famous groupies - once Harlan Ellison (a science fiction writer I was a big fan of) - it was mind-blowing ...

Robert Pally: At the end what made you change the name to Starry Eyed?
Tony Poole: That was a record company decision, though I like Flo's explanation: "Laughing" left the band ! It was a pointless thing to do, really - but the British pop scene is such a superficial thing, the publicists probably thought it would make a difference ...

Robert Pally: "That was now and this is then", that contains both albums & extra tracks, was released on Aurora Records as a CD-R. Didn't you get the permission from Sony? No worries I am not going to tell them!!
Tony Poole: Don't worry about snitching ! We got the rights back from Sony in 1996 - luckily our deal was through our own production company called Panda, who only did a licensing deal with CBS, as they were at the time. So they are out of the picture...the fact that we've only done a CDR so far reflects two things - 1) we weren't sure enough of the demand to invest in manufacture, and 2)these days CDRs are as reliably played in modern CD players as manufactured disks, and a lot of people rip the CDs anyway onto mp3s and hard drives - the actual CD is just a passing storage medium. We did want the artwork and booklet to be special, so that's pretty high quality with lots of info and history. We're probably going to manufacture sometime soon this year, as the demand has been amazing ...

Robert Pally: Why did the band split?
Tony Poole: Mostly for economic reasons - we couldn't sustain the band without hits - but also for personal reasons. We had a very intense 2 years playing and living together, and the different pressures affected us in different ways.

Robert Pally: What are the members of SE&L doing / working today (including you)?
Tony Poole: Mike Wackford (Drums) is an astrology expert, still a big music fan though I don't think he plays much; I believe Ross McGeeney (Guitar) still does sessions but I've lost touch with him - he did have a drug problem for a long time, so I hope he's clear of that now; Iain Whitmore (Bass) is a musical director and actor with the Chicken Shed Theatre in London, as well as playing in The Falcons with me; I've become a record producer mostly - recently worked with Steeleye Span, Maddy Prior and done some folk albums, the latest of which is "Avebury" by Abbie Lathe. She did one of my songs on there, and I helped her out with a couple of others. It's been getting some great reviews ...

Robert Pally: If you could start again with SE&L, what would you do differently?
Tony Poole: With all I've learned about the record business, probably used more resources on payola ! Seriously, I think the main thing would be to have released Chimes Of Freedom as a single, and possibly do more songs by some hip american writers - it would have pitched us more as a US-type rock act, rather than a British "pop" act. We simply weren't that, and so lost out in both areas.

Robert Pally: Can you tell me more about The Falcons? When came they together? How come Iain Whitmore plays in the band?
Tony Poole: Iain and I have played together consistently since those days, both as a duo and in bands, other peoples' and our own - we made some records as a trio called The Sun in the 80's. In 1998, we started writing country songs together as a project to get them sold in Nashville, but after playing some demos to people like Pete Frame and Pete O'Brien (Omaha Rainbow) who were very enthusiastic, we decided it would be more fun to form a band, and probably more rewarding than trying to break into that writing scene - and the internet has made it so much easier to connect with fans. So we started doing some small gigs, sometimes as a duo, sometimes with a drummer and another guitarist ... We came up with the concept for an album ("Fallen"), and finished the songs for it - the recording was done over quite a long period - and started selling it at gigs and over the net.
· Bucketfull of Brains Tony Poole Interview with Fernando Naporano
Why was such an amazing version of "Chimes Of Freedom" shelved at the time?
Thanks ! Although now it's thrilling to hear, and receive so many positive comments, you have to put it into the context of the year we recorded it - 1974, when it was thought to be too similar to The Byrds - only a year after they broke up. And although playing that kind of music got us noticed in the "pub-rock" arena, it was seen as very limited not only to have the sound, but do the songs too ! Also, we felt strongly we should only release original material - though Dan Loggins had us demo some great covers ... in retrospect, it was a crucial decision - credibility versus lost sales, but who knows ? I think that track would have more chance of being a hit now than then ... now there's a longer overview of rock music to hear it in ...
Why the band broke up? Consequence of the changes in the music scene? For not charting in the USA? Personal differences?
All those things, at different levels ! There was obviously an underlying change in the scene coming up - called Punk ! - when the audience actually became the artists for a while. For a major record company (CBS) act, we didn't sell enough records, never mind charting, (this was before the independent scene and charts that punk ushered in - we shared offices with Stiff Records in the band's last few months, so we saw it happening right there - (Nick Lowe's "And So It Goes" was just out...). It was a whole other game, being instead with a company based almost entirely on "Pop" - David Essex, ABBA, The Wombles - to being a popular pub and college live band. Both those new pressures warped the band dynamics.
Were you too late for The Byrds and too early for REM?
Both ! And neither - we just filled the need for that sound - which definitely has something spiritual and transcendental about it, so there's always a need to a greater or lesser extent - for a while when the need was lesser, maybe.
Years ago it was rumoured that your BBC sessions would be put together on a CD. Why did it not happen?
They probably decided it wasn't commercially viable! I tried to track down some unreleased songs ("Lay Down Your Weary Tune", "I Thought I Was A Child") for the re-issue, but no-one could find the tapes - even at the National Sound Archive, who won't let anything out of the building anyway. Apart from those, and a live concert the BBC recorded, the sessions were pretty much like the eventual album tracks.
Since you retain the rights of your recordings, and you played 299 gigs in your career why don't you put out a double live cd?
We only had one gig (Roundhouse Zigzag Party) recorded on multi-track ... I have very few live recordings ... However, it's something I'm going to do eventually - I agree with Bowie that people are becoming more interested in performance than in "records" - which they see more clearly as manufactured commercial products, thanks to "Pop Idol" etc - in the new download era ...
Now you got the Falcons, and the sound could be fitted into the Alt Country/Americana. Do you accept the label? (Are you preparing some surprises for the next Falcons album?)
Actually, the "Fallen" album tells a story, and that music fits its location - a mythical mid-America. I hope it's just good songs and good playing using certain aspects of a style I've always played, rather than a stylised thing - so much music of that label seems to come from "stylists" using historical genres, they're like meals already eaten - no sustenance left ... The next album is definitely NOT Country - would it be a surprise to say there'll be Rickenbacker 12-string and harmonies ?! It's that sound ... that need, now more than ever ...