Busy B

Graham Bonnet newsletters

The Graham Bonnet biography is in the final stages we’re glad to say.  Simon was busy adding nifty design touches to the layout last week: “It’s nice to be able to add a bit of extra interest to the design. Until the other week we had to be careful as the content was still subject to change, but now it’s just about fixed, I can start to sharpen the pages up – indeed actually generate the left and right page numbering for the first time. This took two days to sort out, as I really wanted to have each new chapter start on a right-hand side.  One feature of the Easy book is the mass of photos and memorabilia throughout, which does create extra problems trying to match them to the text, but I really dislike those biographies which just stuff the photos into a block.”

We had a meet up with Graham and his manager backstage at the show in Manchester last weekend (they both refer to the book as The Dead Sea Scrolls, it having taken a good bit longer to finish than expected!), and watched the soundcheck. Graham was also interviewed about the book and his new album by Jon Kirkman there. We will go live with pre-orders very soon, and details will be sent to subscribers to the newsletter first.

Bonnet update updated

Graham Bonnet official biography

Had another very productive meeting with the author of the Graham Bonnet biography Steve Wright again last weekend and with the aid of squishy Club biscuits (new to me!) and baps from the local sandwich shop, we managed to get the final version of the book text sorted over a four hour stint, and all the odds and ends of scans which needed dropping in.  I have now taken this version away and will do the final tidy up; things like balancing the text columns, finalising the captions, doing italics for all the quotes, clearing the rights on the last few photos, etc.   So we are almost there at long last!

Bonnet update

Graham Bonnet biography Easy On The Eye booksIt’s been a while since our last update on the Graham Bonnet Biography.  The artwork was all laid out but came in about 30 pages over the projected page count on which all the production costs are based. As the book has already been publicised we can’t change the price, and neither of us wanted to lose any of the images or text.  So I spent some time juggling the typeface, trying different fonts but not reducing the font size. This looked like it would crack the issue, but threw out all the images from the right places, so there was nothing for it but to redo the layout to correct this.  It proved very tricky in some chapters, so I met up with author Steve Wright last week and we did some of the really difficult sections together on the laptop and this work sorted the problem. Steve has done me a guide for the rest of the changes, and so we should be ready to proof it again next week.

We all came down to Montreux

Chatting last week – in broken French and English – with the owner of a small Italian restaurant in the Swiss town of Montreux, we explained that it was Deep Purple which had brought us there. He suddenly and unexpectedly went all misty eyed, and quietly proclaimed that Montreux was the band’s spiritual home. He may well have a point.
Work on our upcoming book about Machine Head – Fire In The Sky – is well advanced, but there remained a number of difficult to check facts surrounding the album recordings. So when Deep Purple were booked to headline the closing day of the 2016 Montreux Jazz festival, we decided to draw a number of threads together and plan a visit; to see the concert, check out all the sites associated with the album and arrange a visit to the Grand Hotel where the LP was cut.

The corridor, Grand Hotel, Montreux, 2015

Bassist Roger Glover was keen to see it again, and a number of people who were there at the time were invited, plus a few fans and important local worthies, and some of the residents of the building (now apartments) who had little idea of how famous the building was before the gathering.
Researcher Stephen Clare and myself met any number of interesting people and were able to nail a number of questions as well as uncover new stories and anecdotes.  The trip was also to enable us to properly photograph the site, and the image above shows the exact corridor which Deep Purple sealed off and turned into their ‘studio’.
There have been a few changes; the end of the corridor is now walled off and become part of someone’s apartment, but they kindly let us in for a look as well.
One interesting outcome of all this is a plan to add a heritage plaque to the building, which has until now been hard for people to find and visit.
To keep up to date with progress on the book do use the subscribe button on the site and get your name on the exclusive mailing list.

Roger Glover, Simon Robinson, Grand Hotel Montreux, 2016

The other photos show Stephen Clare  (below right) discussing points with Roger Glover backstage after the show, and Simon (above right) alongside Roger Glover in the former foyer of The Grand Hotel where one of the crew there in 1971 recalls Ritchie disappearing into to record some of his solos.

Roger Glover and Stephen Clare, Montreux, 2016

Chess Masters

Nice to see some of Brian Smith’s photographs used properly and with permission on a new Blues CD. The disc in question is a compilation put together by Wilko Johnson from the Chess label archives, and is designed to present his fans with the sort of material which inspired him as a young guitarist. Titled The First Time I Met The Blues, it is out now on Chess – SPECXX2114.  Looking at the cover (below), I can see at least three of Brian’s photographs in there!  If you’re not up to speed, the material is from our upcoming book “Boom Boom Boom Boom : The Photographs of Brian Smith. American Rhythm & Blues in England 1962-1966“.  And there isn’t a time I type all that when I don’t wonder a] how we ended up with such a long title and b] how on earth I can fit it all on the spine…

Talking of “Boom Boom” I managed to screw up the newsletter subscription form for this title, so prior to the date of this posting, if you thought you had subscribed, the software did not capture your details.  I have corrected this and retested it, so if you go the the main page about the book, and hit the new button, it will all function properly. That way we can keep you fully up to date on the project and any special editions, etc.

I am meeting up with Brian in a few days to sort out the last of the hi-res scans for the book and caption them up properly.

Wilko Johnson Presents CD, Brain Smith cover photos

Vintage Rock

Vintage Rock magazine is one of those fascinating niche music monthlies which make choosing at Smiths so hard these days. They cover the 50s and 60s in detail, with plenty of emphasis on the UK scene back then and so when they heard about Brian Smith’s Blues photo book were keen to interview him and show some of his photographs.  The magazine is out now, Issue 25 (April / June) and well worth a look, although it tends to be stocked only by the bigger magazine outlets (though you can buy it direct from the publishers.)  Thanks to Rik and Jack at Vintage Rock for permission to reproduce a couple of pages from the article. The shot here is one of a series Brian took from the side of the stage during a Rolling Stones concert… what an experience!

Boom Boom Brian Smith photos