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  #1  
Old 08-17-2005, 03:46 PM
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Default Jeremy Spencer interview 1974

I recently came across a copy of the British NME magazine for October 5, 1974. Inside there is an interview with Jeremy Spencer and he talks about various things including his departure from Mac and his involvement with the Children of God. I'm not sure if any of you guys have ever read it, or if it's a common thing, but I thought I'd pick out a few things that he said. I thought it was interesting because it seems like a real 'dark period' for Jeremy between his 'Children of God' album and 'Flee'.

The interview took place in London, where he'd moved to in July 1974 after living in Texas, LA and Seattle, and he was hanging out at The Poor Boy club, a Children of God meeting place in Finchley Road. With him were members of his latest band, Jeremy Spencer and the Mountain Children. All were American and members of the cult except the drummer, who was an ordinary English kid. Apparently none of them tried any conversion tactics on the interviewers.

On "Then Play On": "It wasn't complete. It didn't have that humour. It seemed to be where all the intellectuals were. That's why it didn't sell as well as the first one over here." But didn't Peter Green say it was the best thing he'd ever been involved with? "He said that about everything - it's what you have to feel about your latest thing, otherwise what's the point of going on?"

On his 'Children of God' album: "It's awful. It's horrible. For a start they mixed it on huge great speakers that had bags of treble. Finally when the record was pressed, it had no presence at all. It was just like mud."

On Elmore James: "I don't listen to all Elmore James any more. I used to think he was the end. I still like him but it's with more perspective."

On the "Kiln House" songs: "They were just... one was about the Lord. That song called 'One Together'.

On the Mac split: "I don't know what happened 'cause you see he (Green) didn't want to ride on a sinking ship. Like there was 'Albatross' and there was 'Man of the World' and there was 'Oh Well' which was like a peak. Maybe it wasn't a commercial type song but...really the peak was 'Albatross' in a lot of people's eyes. That's all they knew Fleetwood Mac for. Then there was 'Green Manalishi', his song about the devil. Generally people want music to lift them up. I don't think people want music that is down. If they did, blues would be in the top ten.

"He (Green) didn't want to be associated with Jesus really, and I think the rest of the band didn't want to have much to do with it. A lot of things they wanted to do clashed with my outlook on life, not just things they said. We got these disagreements over certain issues, moral things. That's the reason for the split.

"I don't know why he left exactly. It looked like it was coming up. He met some of these people in Germany - I didn't in fact have anything to do with it - but we took some acid and played some music. It was pretty weird. I didn't like what he was playing. He was jamming away kind of like on 'End of the Game'. There was no point in trying to stop him leaving. He wanted me to take over. I didn't feel I could do it... it was just too much."

On Mac after Green left: "There just wasn't the agreement. Everyone tried but it just wasn't working. All I could play was rock 'n' roll. Peter was a developed musician. I couldn't do the stuff everyone was coming to expect us to play. Danny could play, but he didn't have the stage presence that Pete had - to make people turn round."

On Los Angeles: "That's the worst place I've ever been in. I cursed that place - the rotten, stinking, filthy ****hole."

On the day he left: "I was at the end of my rope. We got to the hotel and I was just in a world of my own. I couldn't relate to the rest of the band. They were really nice to me. They really were concerned, but I just couldn't explain to them how I... what I was going through. I couldn't even explain to my wife."

Then came the walk to the bookstall, when Spencer was approached by a member of The Children of God. "This boy Apolus came up with a guitar and asked me if I wanted him to sing me a song. Of course I thought here's someone trying to push a song. He knows who I am. But he'd never heard of Fleetwood Mac. His band was the Beatles and that was it. He didn't seem like a regular freaked-out doper. There was something pleasant about him. So he sang a song, and said, 'Do you believe in Jesus?' I said, 'Yeh'. He said, 'Have you ever asked him into your heart?' and I said I hadn't - but I had a few times."

Spencer then prayed on the street with Apolus and went to a nearby skid-row mission where the Children were hanging out. "I just had the feeling that was it. He talked to me all evening and all my questions were being answered by the Bible." He says he realised that it was getting near the time he was due on stage at The Whisky but he nevertheless stayed at the mission. "By rights I really should have phoned."

He talks about the scene where Clifford Davis and the two roadies found him five days later and tried / failed to convince him to come back to the band. He didn't see the rest of the band till nine months later when they were doing a gig in Seattle. "They were OK. Mick was quite sweet."

"Last time I saw them they were recording 'Mystery To Me'. They were happy. I talked to them, gave them some of our literature which I think they get regularly. That's when I saw Pete. That was really sad. He could hardly play. He picked up a guitar to try and do something. He was totally out of it, just smoking and drinking." Have you seen him since? " No." Spencer sounds very despondent. "I talked to him a few times about the Children of God but he just doesn't want to know. It's almost like a they're-not-going-to-get-me attitude. He's Jewish and he thinks because he's Jewish any faith in Jesus is impossible. He probably thinks he can get enlightenment by doing lots of things. Doing things like working in a hospital, or digging graves or helping old ladies cross the street."
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:04 PM
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I hadn't read that before! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:18 PM
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Thanks very much for posting this, bretonbanquet! I've read small bits from this interview before, but never so much of it.

Seems like this is where Jeremy implies that he was with Peter Green in Munich house in March '70. Martin Celmins points this out in his book and mentions that this doesn't seem to have been the case, that only Peter and Dennis Keen from the FM crew went to the house and took acid with the Germans they had met in Munich. Reading Jeremy's account, it does sound like he's saying he was there, but I suppose you could read it as his just having heard Peter's "Munich LSD tape".
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:38 PM
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wow, that was awesome! How great to read his feelings on some of that stuff.

I suppose he didn't care for Los Angeles?



I think i've seen a few snippets of that here and there but i am printing out the whole thing for my files. This quote made me chuckle:

"Last time I saw them they were recording 'Mystery To Me'. They were happy. I talked to them, gave them some of our literature which I think they get regularly."

Guess he was spamming them w/ COG literature LOL.

Thanks very much for posting this!!!

-Lis
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:44 PM
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Yeah, that quote made me laugh too Also the bit where he knew he should have been on stage with the band but just didn't bother - "By rights I really should have phoned" duh...

It does sound like he was there with Peter in Munich when that bad acid was taken. It's not 100% clear, and maybe he wasn't clear on it anyway in his mind - but it's another person's angle we can put with the other versions of the story!

Glad you guys enjoyed it - I was really happy to find it
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Old 08-17-2005, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bretonbanquet
Yeah, that quote made me laugh too Also the bit where he knew he should have been on stage with the band but just didn't bother - "By rights I really should have phoned" duh...
Yes, that one cracked me up also!!! I doubt he was trying to be funny LOL.

-Lis
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:53 PM
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thanks for posting: an incredible read; heartfelt but slightly dogmatic too. Normally a rare existing combination.
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Old 08-18-2005, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shackin'up
thanks for posting: an incredible read; heartfelt but slightly dogmatic too. Normally a rare existing combination.
Yes, definitely. I think Jeremy Spencer was / is an incredibly complex personality.
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Old 08-19-2005, 07:54 AM
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Thanks!
Great to read some of that article.
It does sound like Jeremy was with Peter in the German commune.
Though he could also talk about how Peter played on that tour, which was
a bit like "The end of the game".
Also, the article has the only mention I've seen about Peter being at the
"Mystery to me" sessions. He played on one track on the "Penguin" sessions.
So now I'll look up Green guitar parts on MTM. Just kidding...
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Old 08-19-2005, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dino
Also, the article has the only mention I've seen about Peter being at the "Mystery to me" sessions. He played on one track on the "Penguin" sessions.
In Jeremy's defense, Penguin & Mystery To Me were recorded in such close proximity of time, I can see where he'd have gotten 'em mixed up.
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Old 08-19-2005, 06:23 PM
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That must have been totally surreal. Here's this band that lost its last guitarist from the blues days only a few months earlier and were probably still coping with everything that went along with it, and suddenly the other two original guitarists are hanging out with them. I would have probably snapped.
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Old 08-20-2005, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bretonbanquet
I recently came across a copy of the British NME magazine for October 5, 1974. Inside there is an interview with Jeremy Spencer and he talks about various things including his departure from Mac and his involvement with the Children of God. I'm not sure if any of you guys have ever read it, or if it's a common thing, but I thought I'd pick out a few things that he said. I thought it was interesting because it seems like a real 'dark period' for Jeremy between his 'Children of God' album and 'Flee'.

The interview took place in London, where he'd moved to in July 1974 after living in Texas, LA and Seattle, and he was hanging out at The Poor Boy club, a Children of God meeting place in Finchley Road. With him were members of his latest band, Jeremy Spencer and the Mountain Children. All were American and members of the cult except the drummer, who was an ordinary English kid. Apparently none of them tried any conversion tactics on the interviewers.

On "Then Play On": "It wasn't complete. It didn't have that humour. It seemed to be where all the intellectuals were. That's why it didn't sell as well as the first one over here." But didn't Peter Green say it was the best thing he'd ever been involved with? "He said that about everything - it's what you have to feel about your latest thing, otherwise what's the point of going on?"

On his 'Children of God' album: "It's awful. It's horrible. For a start they mixed it on huge great speakers that had bags of treble. Finally when the record was pressed, it had no presence at all. It was just like mud."

On Elmore James: "I don't listen to all Elmore James any more. I used to think he was the end. I still like him but it's with more perspective."

On the "Kiln House" songs: "They were just... one was about the Lord. That song called 'One Together'.

On the Mac split: "I don't know what happened 'cause you see he (Green) didn't want to ride on a sinking ship. Like there was 'Albatross' and there was 'Man of the World' and there was 'Oh Well' which was like a peak. Maybe it wasn't a commercial type song but...really the peak was 'Albatross' in a lot of people's eyes. That's all they knew Fleetwood Mac for. Then there was 'Green Manalishi', his song about the devil. Generally people want music to lift them up. I don't think people want music that is down. If they did, blues would be in the top ten.

"He (Green) didn't want to be associated with Jesus really, and I think the rest of the band didn't want to have much to do with it. A lot of things they wanted to do clashed with my outlook on life, not just things they said. We got these disagreements over certain issues, moral things. That's the reason for the split.

"I don't know why he left exactly. It looked like it was coming up. He met some of these people in Germany - I didn't in fact have anything to do with it - but we took some acid and played some music. It was pretty weird. I didn't like what he was playing. He was jamming away kind of like on 'End of the Game'. There was no point in trying to stop him leaving. He wanted me to take over. I didn't feel I could do it... it was just too much."

On Mac after Green left: "There just wasn't the agreement. Everyone tried but it just wasn't working. All I could play was rock 'n' roll. Peter was a developed musician. I couldn't do the stuff everyone was coming to expect us to play. Danny could play, but he didn't have the stage presence that Pete had - to make people turn round."

On Los Angeles: "That's the worst place I've ever been in. I cursed that place - the rotten, stinking, filthy ****hole."

On the day he left: "I was at the end of my rope. We got to the hotel and I was just in a world of my own. I couldn't relate to the rest of the band. They were really nice to me. They really were concerned, but I just couldn't explain to them how I... what I was going through. I couldn't even explain to my wife."

Then came the walk to the bookstall, when Spencer was approached by a member of The Children of God. "This boy Apolus came up with a guitar and asked me if I wanted him to sing me a song. Of course I thought here's someone trying to push a song. He knows who I am. But he'd never heard of Fleetwood Mac. His band was the Beatles and that was it. He didn't seem like a regular freaked-out doper. There was something pleasant about him. So he sang a song, and said, 'Do you believe in Jesus?' I said, 'Yeh'. He said, 'Have you ever asked him into your heart?' and I said I hadn't - but I had a few times."

Spencer then prayed on the street with Apolus and went to a nearby skid-row mission where the Children were hanging out. "I just had the feeling that was it. He talked to me all evening and all my questions were being answered by the Bible." He says he realised that it was getting near the time he was due on stage at The Whisky but he nevertheless stayed at the mission. "By rights I really should have phoned."

He talks about the scene where Clifford Davis and the two roadies found him five days later and tried / failed to convince him to come back to the band. He didn't see the rest of the band till nine months later when they were doing a gig in Seattle. "They were OK. Mick was quite sweet."

"Last time I saw them they were recording 'Mystery To Me'. They were happy. I talked to them, gave them some of our literature which I think they get regularly. That's when I saw Pete. That was really sad. He could hardly play. He picked up a guitar to try and do something. He was totally out of it, just smoking and drinking." Have you seen him since? " No." Spencer sounds very despondent. "I talked to him a few times about the Children of God but he just doesn't want to know. It's almost like a they're-not-going-to-get-me attitude. He's Jewish and he thinks because he's Jewish any faith in Jesus is impossible. He probably thinks he can get enlightenment by doing lots of things. Doing things like working in a hospital, or digging graves or helping old ladies cross the street."
The thing that struck me about that last paragraph is that even though Jeremy was pretty far removed from Fleetwood Mac, those bonds were wtill there
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Old 08-20-2005, 01:00 PM
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Wow, that was really cool, I'd never read any of that before! Thanks for posting it, it's interesting to see what was going on back then through his eyes.
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