Down To Earth 1974
Nine years later, Nektar turned from itinerant rocksters fleeing the English scene
to one of Germany's most highly respected bands. Their new album,
"Remember The Future," which traces the story of a bluebird from
a distant planet who gives strange visions to a young earthling, was picked by Musik
Express, Germany's top trade publication, as a number one album of the year. Frank
Zappa chose them to tour France, Switzerland, and German with him. And in an article
on European rock, Newsweek magazine called their sound. "Theatrical, restless
in its changing modalities."
Nektar's schedule for 1974 was for tours of America, Spain, Scandinavia as well
as England and other European countries, combined with lots of TV shows. "You
know, we started off very slowly, just playing occasional gigs, and doing everything
for ourselves, including management. Then our name seemed to spread across Europe.
We’ve been steadily gigging around the continent, like last year when we toured
with Frank Zappa."
New songs were added to their repertoire that was due to be released over the next
few albums. They were played to the audiences and their reactions were watched.
Some of those songs were: "That's Life", "Show Me The Way",
and "Fidgety Queen". By the end of the year "Marvellous Moses"
and "It's All Over" were added as well. However, Bellaphon Records
had different plans. Bellaphon wanted Nektar to be more radio / commercial friendly
and Nektar wrote a single for airplay called "Astral Man." Nektar released
the Down To Earth album next. This move hurt
Nektar a lot, it killed off their momentum here in the States and their record sales
started declining. Instead of the extended jams of classic progressive rock they
were known for, now comes an album that consisted of short songs based on a circus
theme. 1975 "Down To Earth" becomes a gold album in Germany (Nektar's
second) but not here in the States. Nektar perfected the Down to Earth songs for
concerts and Mick kept adding to the visuals.
1974 Nektar extends its international following to America with the release on Passport
Records of "Remember the Future," (Nektar's first gold record) and
a tour of the States. 21,700 fans attend the first 6 shows. Four of those shows
held at the 3000 seat Ambassador Theater were sell outs due largely in part from
the extensive air–play from KSHE FM radio station
complete with a two–story gas balloon in Nektar's honor. Finally Nektar gets
the break they have been looking for. Nektar finishes their American tour on May
25 at Asbury Park, New Jersey then finishes out the year touring only in Germany.
Since the tastes of the American concert goers was more mainstream rock–n–roll
than their European counterpart, Nektar changed their format somewhat by dropping
all songs from their "Journey to the Centre of the Eye" suite and added
more hard–rocking songs like their
"Good Ole Rock–n–Roll" medley found on the Live In New York Cd to accommodate the Americans. This medley was composed of the following songs: Sweet Little Rock–N–roller, Johnny B. Goode & Whole Lotta Skakin’ Goin’ On.
Roye also added his guitar solo taken from the ending of "Do You Believe In
Magic" and tacked it onto the ending of
"Let It Grow" which can also be heard on the remastered Live In New York Cd
On stage "Taffy" uses a Hammond B3 organ as well as a Moog "satellite"
and a Thomas "Cameo Royale" organ through an acoustic 270 amp with a 201
speaker cabinet. Mo also uses acoustic amplification for his bass guitar. Ron sits
behind his expanded Ludwig double bass drum kit surrounded by nine microphones to
balance the sound out front. Roye now has his Epiphone guitar, refinished in white
and gold with eight strings, fed through a custom foot pedal board into is Binson
echo unit. At this time (July 1974) he pushes his sound into an incredibly small
"practice amp" which is amplified though the PA (his normal system is
a hi–watt coupled with an Orange cabinet full of Lansing Loud Speakers). The
sound is highlighted by a 2500–watt public address system that was custom
built for Nektar by Midas Amplification and Dave Martin. The system features eight
reflex bass bins in conjunction with four horns, two mid–range
horns, and eight "super-tweeters." The stage monitor system consists of
four 200 watt Martin monitors. "Vinnie" Schmidt controls this audio power
from the 24–channel Midas sound mixer situated in the audience.
In 1974 Nektar consisted of: 4 musicians, 1 light musician, once in a while painter,
1 sound engineer, 3 office freaks, and not to be forgotten, 5 roadies. Vinnie and
Tommi who are roadies for quite a long time with Nektar should not be underestimated,
because of their know how. Plus now a new light show: consisting of 4 light towers
supporting 3 screens, with new projectors at stage front and from behind Ron's drum
kit, plus four more effects projectors set up to project onto the two adjacent side
screens attached to the scaffold towers housing the PA speakers, a totally fantastic
light show, a totally fantastic light show. It has to be seen and heard before one
can say anything. Nektar are still experimenting with lights, yes with a 3 dimensional
laser and many other little goodies.
Nektar, however, will continue to keep Germany as its home base because they feel
a sense of freedom there that is, in turn, reflected in their music. "We want
to be commercial," concluded Moore, "but that's not our major concern.
We feel a responsibility to the audiences who supported us and kept us going over
the years. People are the most important ingredient in our music and we feel obligated
to treat them fairly."
Upon returning back to England, Nektar started to play songs that wound up on "Down
To Earth" and by the middle of the year "Recycled."
This biography is a rough translation of the with the following lineage. The original
version was written in English then translated and written into German then translated
back into English.