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Van der Graaf Generator I

Manchester Independent, May 7th 1968

Progress of a pop group


The Van Der Graff (sic) Generator, a three-piece group, is a genuine University product. The three members of this combo have been together since, as a much larger group, they played Saturday nights at the Union. They have now landed a contract with American Mercury, and these columns will be following their progress with interest.

The line-up is as follows: Peter Hammill, Liberal Studies in Science, guitar and lead vocal (Peter played with several groups at his Catholic public school, including the quaintly titled "Hex"), Nick Pearne (also Liberal Studies in Science), who has conducted part of the Boston Philharmonic in his time as well as being a classical music expert (Nick plays organ), and Chris Smith, Drama, who makes films, also is a public school product, sports a beard and plays drums and an assortment of obscene (sic) wind instruments; most of them genuinely thrown in clay by peasants in Peru.

After playing a disastrous gig at Owens Park, and more successfully at the Magic Village, the hippie den in town, the Generator sent off a tape to American Mercury. This tape was very much home made, having been amplified by two television sets, accompanied on a harmonium, and involving Peter quite literally in the rain as to put him out of doors was the only way to get the acoustics really working.

This tape they sent to Lou Reiznei, the England boss of American Mercury. He liked it, despite the thunder in the background, and asked them to come up. Accompanied by guitar, they sang a few of their (then) repertoire of eighty-five songs, and were given a contract.

Keep looking, folks. There's more next week.

Copyright © 1968 Daviona Burman - Manchester Independent

[This review comes from the Pawn Hearts' archives.]

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