Monday, 21 May, 2012 - Modified on Monday, 21 May, 2012 at 10:10 am
Between 1971 and 1986 ELO released 11 studio albums enjoying huge success all over the world. The group achieved 20 Top 20 UK hit singles and also hold the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100, Top 40 hits in US chart history without ever having a number 1. They have sold over 50 million records worldwide.
This week Bev talks about his time with the band and sheds some light on his big drum sound.
Would it be fair to say that there was a point in the 70’s with ELO where you were just about the biggest band on the planet?
I’m not sure about that but we were certainly one of the biggest. Fleetwood Mac were enormous at about the same time, and Abba of course, but we were certainly well up there.
You used to double track drum parts for ELO didn’t you?
Yeah, it was a bit of a pain in the behind to be honest but we did get a big sound that way. We used quite old studio techniques and used to put down a basic track in the studio, probably with guitar, bass, drums and keyboards which would probably get wiped and be done all again, and then I used to go into the Musicland studios in Munich. They’d put me into the toilets area because it had got this tiling that gave a very live sound and then I’d have to copy exactly what I’d played before which is one of the reasons that none of the ELO drum parts are that over-complicated because I had to get them beat for beat so they could be double tracked.
That must have been a real feat of concentration and endurance?
More concentration really, it really was. We didn’t double track the bass drum,that would have been really difficult, it was basically just the top kit. If you were only a fraction of a second out it had to be done again so there were a lot of takes to get it spot on.
Might ELO have been even bigger had Jeff not been quite a reluctant live performer?
It’s unfortunate I think that he was quite a reluctant live performer because we could have toured a lot more really. I do understand where he was coming from because we did tour an extraordinary amount during the 1970’s. We toured in 72, 3, 4, 5, and 6. 77 we were basically recording Out of The Blue, we did a massive tour in 78 and Jeff had by this time become very successful and to be fair to him he never liked the touring. Even going back to his time with the Idle Race he was a studio person and a lot of guys are. You’ve either got a love of being on stage or you haven’t. There’s no way Paul McCartney or Elton John need the money but they still tour all the time because they love it obviously.
Do think Jeff might have been put off by an incident early on in his time with The Move?
I think it was his first ever gig with The Move and we were in Ireland and he did that routine where you check the mic by putting the guitar strings against it. As soon as he touched the guitar to the stand every string was broken and he was blown backwards. If he’d have done it with his lips on the mic at the same time he would have been electrocuted.
What are the downsides to touring?
The last major ELO tour, the “Time” tour, I got kidney stones in Europe and was flown back to England and I was in hospital for about a week. But for several days I was trying to perform and I played drums with kidney stones which was not recommended. Then when I was with Black Sabbath on my second American tour, I actually got viral pneumonia but still carried on playing! I went to hospital in Boston and the guy said ‘well you’re a young fit guy, you just gotta rest for a couple of weeks and you’ll be fine’. I said sorry but I’ve several shows to do across America in the next couple of weeks! So, you just carry on but it’s a miserable experience to be on the road and feeling unwell. It can be enough to put you off touring.
Was there ever a chance of you being involved with the Zoom album?
Was that from your perspective or choice?
Jeff and I haven’t spoken for about twenty odd years. Jeff has the rights to the ELO name now and it’s up to him what he does with it. There’s always rumours of a new album or tour and stuff but if it does happen I’m pretty sure it won’t involve me.
Next week Bev tells us about what he’s been up to post ELO and what the future has
Brewood Music Festival takes place between Thursday 12th July and Sunday 15th July with The Move and The Manfreds headlining the Festival at St. Dominic’s School on Saturday 14th July. Tickets are available from The Swan and The Mess in Brewood and also from the Festival website – www.brewoodmusicfestival.co.uk
For more information on the Festival check out our ‘Things to do’ page and calendar at www.villagetimes.co.uk/things-to-do.htm.