The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976
It was August Bank Holiday 1976 and I was back at Reading for the annual festival. By now a group of us went every year, usually traveling down in the back of a hired transit van. The line-up for this festival wasn’t as strong as previous years, and included a mix of reggae, classic rock, underground and heavy metal bands. Punk was on the horizon, but yet to break through. The other memories I have are of rain (some, but not lots in 1976, as I recall), mud, lots of drunkenness (by us, and every one else as I remember), and lots (and I mean lots) of can fights, which seemed fun at the time, but were probably actually pretty dangerous. If you got a half-full can of Watney’s Red Barrel on the back of your head, you really knew about it, and several people must have come home from the festival with pretty nasty cuts and scars. The festival was moving from a friendly, hippy vibe to a drunken, laddish, almost aggro vibe. This also matched the way the line-up and the music would develop, as it moved more to heavy metal in the late ’70s. The main attraction for us this year was Rory, who was the man, and a hero to us all.
Friday’s line-up consisted of Stallion (don’t recall who they were), Roy St John (American pub rock), U Roy (reggae), Supercharge (a Liverpool band fronted by singer and sax player Albie Donnelly, who had quite a bit of success in the mid-70s and played a lot up and down the country; I remember seeing them several times), Mighty Diamonds (reggae), Mallard (Cpt Beefheart’s original Magic Band, and pretty good too) and headliners the hippy, trippy and quite weird Gong. I remember watching Mallard and Gong, who were both pretty good.
Saturday had Nick Pickett (a folk singer, who I’d seen supporting Curved Air a few years earlier), Eddie & The Hot Rods (classed as pub rock as much as punk at this stage), Moon, Pat Travers (ace guitarist), Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum, Sadista Sisters, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Van Der Graaf Generator, Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, Camel and Rory Gallagher. Stand outs for me were Van Der Graaf who played an amazing extended version of Killer (John Peel: “Bloody marvellous, Van der Graaf Generator. Come on let’s here it for them”), Manfred Mann, and Phil Manzanera and the 801 band, which was seen as a pretty big deal at the time as Phil had assembled a stella line-up of himself (guitar), ex-Roxy compatriot Brian Eno (keyboards, synthesizers, vocals), Bill MacCormick (bass, vocals), Simon Phillips (drums), Francis Monkman (ex-Curved Air, piano and clavinet) and Lloyd Watson (ace slide-guitar, vocals). The 801 band released one album, and a live lp which was recorded at one of three gigs that they played, at the Festival Hall. They played a great version of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows. But Rory was the highlight of the weekend. We were all massive fans, and made our way to the front of the crowd for his set, which was just amazing. A recording of Rory’s set that night exist which shows that he played: Take What I Want; Bought and Sold; Everybody Wants To Know; Drinkin’ Muddy Water; Tattoo’d Lady; Calling Card; Secret Agent; Pistol Slapper Blues; Too Much Alcohol; Souped-Up Ford and Bullfrog Blues. The Rory Gallagher band was Rory (guitar, vocals), Lou Martin (keyboards), the great Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Rod de’Ath (drums).
Sunday featured: Howard Bragen; Aft; The Enid (who got the crowd singing along with Land Of Hope And Glory and became a festival favourite), A Band Called ‘O’; Back Door (very jazzy); Sassafras; Brand X (featured Phil Collins on drums); AC/DC (one of their early UK appearances, and just blew everyone away; Angus and Bon Scott on top form); Sutherland Bros & Quiver; Ted Nugent (had some arguments with the crowd who were throwing cans at him); Black Oak Arkansas (Jim Dandy to the Rescue 🙂 ) and Osibisa (who were billed as special mystery guests, which seemed a bit of a let down, but got the crowd going and went down well).
Another fun time had by all 🙂
Note; for the first time there was an official glossy programme, as well as the newspaper programme, produced by the local Evening Post. Both are pictured here.
Archive for the ‘Ted Nugent’ Category
The Reading Festival 27 – 29 August 1976
Ted Nugent in concert 1976, 1977 and 1980
Ted Nugent is, to say the least, outspoken and holds some strong views. When I first went to see him he was proclaiming: “It ain’t Rock’n’Roll if it ain’t loud” and “If its too loud you’re too old!” and indeed, loud he was. This was at the time of his “Free For All” and “Cat Sratch Fever” albums. He arrived in the UK just as punk was breaking. Now if Ted Nugent is anything, he sure ain’t punk rock. Ted plays straight ahead rock’n’roll and some pretty neat guitar. I first saw him at the Reading Festival in 1976, and then at Newcastle City Hall in 1977 and Newcastle Mayfair in 1980. Ted was wild and crazy on stage, with a massive mane of hair. One memory from the Mayfair gig, that my mate Norm reminded me of. Remember this was at the time of punk rock, when certain elements of the crowd would spit at the band. Well for some crazy reason a guy in the Mayfair crowd tried spitting at Ted. Ted didn’t take too kindly to this and had it out with the culprit, threatening to come down onto the dancefloor and sort him out. Ted played a big Gibson guitar, and wore lots of leather. Ted also had a big ego and would say some quite outrageous things, and continues to do so today. Some Ted quotes from the 1977 tour programme: “The sounds I make are all power, you’ve got to feel it when you’re blowing your rocks off. People think I’m deranged but it’s all about sex and audible, physical and visual recreation.” “There’s a ringing in my ears and I think that’s it the call of the wild. I got ears, I can hear it. The kids are going crazy, foamin’ at the mouth, ready to tear the legs off the security guards…and I should be modest?” “I can play real tasty too, all the time in fact. Sure I’m a show man, I’m the best entertainer of them all but listen to the classy way I do it”. “People were writing all kinds of shit about me. How I’d raped too women – one of them a nun. How I ate raw meat. It was vindictive. The only people I ever beat up were journalists.” and there’s more…”There’s no one to overshadow me, there ain’t nobody who can outdo me at my own game. I mean have you ever heard anyone who sounds like me?”.
And a few more I found on the internet: “Vegetarians are cool. All I eat are vegetarians – except for the occasional mountain lion steak.” “Americans have the right to choose to be unarmed and helpless. Be my guest.” “I am the Great White Buffalo and I play an American-made Gibson guitar that can blow your head clean off at 100 paces.” “Gibson has been making the finest electric guitars the world has ever witnessed for over 70 years. They are as American as God, guns and rock and roll.”
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/ted_nugent.html
Typical Ted Nugent setlist from 1977: Stranglehold; Just What The Doctor Ordered; Free for All; Snakeskin Cowboys; Cat Scratch Fever; Wang Dang Sweet Poontang; A Thousand Knives; Dog Eat Dog / Stormtroopin’; Hey Baby; Great White Buffalo; Hibernation; Motor City Madhouse.
The late Mick Farren reviewed Ted’s Hammersmith Odeon show for the NME, 12 March 1977, and said: “We’ve heard a great deal lately about how Ted Nugent abjures drugs and alcohol. Perhaps that’s his mistake. The occasional soul searching high might have produced some kind of sensitivity in him. Sensitive this boy is not. Compared to him, Lemmy and Motorhead seem positively pre-Raphaelite.”
I found a flyer for the Steve Gibbons band in my programme for the 1977 gig, so I guess they must have been the support act that night.