Andrew Latimer at soundcheck(photo: Colin Clark)
Camel's 20th Anniversary
"....the best ever."
Culminating at London's Town and Country Club Theatre, Camel ended their 20th Anniversary tour and yet again stunned the audience with their power and freshness. "The crowds were amazing in every country, every night" said Andrew Latimer. "They made this tour the best ever. There were moments when the entire band were so overwhelmed by the emotional response from the audience that our whole group, crew included, got very teary."
Putting a tour together is an enormous undertaking. Susan Hoover started working on the tour in February 1992. "We kept running up against a brick wall with promoters" she said at Camel's Mountain View office. "They didn't quite believe the fans would come".
Although at one point she "called the whole thing off", it was only a matter of hours before it was all on again. "The cost of touring is phenominal, not to mention the organisational problems, but once I'd called it off, I realised how much we wanted to tour. We had the finest crew and tour management possible and they made it work."
There's more to touring than meets the eye.
Camel were fortunate to work with the UK's
Paul Boswell of The Agency on this last tour and
Paul feels the next one should be "even better".
But unless an agent can attract the attention of
numerous promoters, gigs can suffer through
lack of promotion. Many people learn only after-the-fact that Camel have been and gone and this is hard for the band and disappointing for fans. Most bands have little control over who promotes their tour. The promoter looks strictly at the ticket sales from past tours and will not book the band if sales are consistently low. Both the UK and Germany suffered due to this. Because the German promoter did not settle on the venues until the last moment the release of Camel's newsletter was delayed so much that many fans were given only a few days notice prior to the performances.
Halls are booked months in advance and are not always available to coincide with the bands schedule. A venue may seem the perfect place for Camel to perform but if the chain of events cannot be linked, the band will not be booked. Although there are no dates planned at present, CP will never stop striving to reach as many places as humanly and financially possible.
Never Let Go,
The success of Camel on the Road 1972 has made it patently clear that fans want more live recordings. The band is now reviewing older recordings for possible future release - the outcome of which depends entirely on the condition and quality of the recordings as magnetic tape deteriorates with time and can't always be salvaged. Rest assured, if at all possible, Andrew Latimer will release it.
Camel's 1992 live recording.
Never Let Go will be CP's Official Bootleg No.2. A double CD, it begins the moment Camel step onto the stage and finishes to the shouts of the last encore. Never Let Go was recorded at Enschede (pronounced EN-ska-day so we're told), Holland on the 5th of September1992 and is scheduled for release in July 1993.
CP has a video recording of one entire performance from the last tour taped by an amateur enthusiast. The tape is poor quality but CP is considering releasing it as the first 'Official Camel Video Bootleg' and will ensure a fair price tag. Let us know if you're interested.
Being independent in the music industry has many challenges. Dust and Dreams, Camel, and Camel on the Road 1972 remain scarce and expensive in many territories, particularly the UK and Germany. A deal has just been secured for UK distribution and CP's releases should be in the shops by July. We hope to inform you of German distribution in the next newsletter but CP can always be relied upon to directly offer all of Camel's up-coming releases.
The challenge of an Independent label.
PolyGram to release
This summer, PolyGram Records will release an anthology of Camel tracks entitled Echoes. Camel have no control over the handling of previous recordings but have had the pleasure of working closely with Bill Levenson, PoliGrams' Executive and 'guru of the boxed-set'. The anthology will contain tracks from every studio-recorded, authorised release of Camel and looks to be a terriffic way to introduce new listeners to the versatility and superb sound quality Camel are proud of. Two tracks - 'Mother Road' and 'Whispers in the Rain' from Dust and Dreams will be included to complete the authenticity of the chronological track-listing.
Offering merchandise for sale is the most effective contribution Camel Productions can make to the future of Camel. Any profits from the sale of merchandise are immediately channeled back into the band. But too many orders have been lost due to the disappointing service of 3rd class (surface) post and CP must now request all international orders be shipped air mail, which will require an additional 15% above the total order amount. CP apologises for this imposition, but feels you will be happier with faster, more reliable service.
keeps the band making music.
Camel Productions appreciates that many promising musicians enthusiastically send in their tapes. However, CP is operated only for Camel, and does not have the capablities to handle other bands. To protect your copyright and Camel, we are urged by our legal advisors "not to open or listen to unsolicited tapes". This is a sad but necessary state of affairs. CP urges all musicians to take great care when sending out tapes and, most important, to not give up.
Camel at the Cabaret at San Jose, California (Photo: Brad Owen)
Mickey and Sarah Simmonds welcomed the birth of their second child this past February and Mickey has been working and touring with long-time friend Mike Oldfield. Colin Bass returned briefly to his home in Berlin, Germany, before taking off for Jakarta, Indonesia where he has produced an album by Sabah Habas Mustapha for Japanese release. The album is called Sabah Habas Sings Dangdut - Amongst Other Things. The 'banging and crashing department' -- Paul Burgess -- plays every opportunity possible, often with Magna Carta, Doug Mortar, and The Backroom Boys. Last, but certainly not least, Andrew Latimer has produced Never Let Go with tour sound engineer Andrew Jones. Fans who missed seeing Camel on tour will find Never Let Go a superb substitute.
On a Personal Note
1992 was a truly fine year for Camel. Andrew Latimer was successful in bringing the band back together to record and perform after 7 very long years. It was a triumph over adversity and worthy of all a 20th Anniversary celebration should be.
The greatest pleasure of working with Camel and their crew is that I come in contact with so many truly kind people. The cards and letters we receive are often very moving and always filled with encouragement. This support gives us all energy and determination. The generosity of so many people who share their thoughts is quite remarkable. The distressing part is that we are often unable to reply, though we do give our best efforts and Camel, Andrew Latimer and I thank everyone who has written. All letters are passed on to the relevant individuals so even if you don't get a reply, your letter or card definitely reaches the person you intended. Our newsletter is our way of answering letters by dealing with the questions we receive and we do not charge for it but we certainly do appreciate the financial contributions many of you have made. We hope to release a newsletter twice a year and special events -- tours, releases, etc. -- will be announced by post card.
During the tour, there was only one act which dismayed the entire Camel entourage -- the registration book placed by our merchandise stand was stolen. If you know of anyone who signed the book, please tell them of our
predicament. It is very frustrating to know that more than a thousand people are expecting to hear from us and will not. We would be most grateful for the return of the book, no questions asked.
1992 was also a test for us. Inevitably, situations arise which prevent us from dealing with matters as quickly as we would wish and we ask your patience and understanding. We are a small company and our operation is affected by personal matters. The releases of Never Let Go and our newsletter were delayed when, sadly, on the 5th of March, 1993 Stanley Latimer passed bravely and gently from this life. Andrew was at his father's bedside to give him comfort in his passing. I, and all at Camel Productions, wish to mention our fondness for Stan's charming and amusing spirit. We are especially indebted to him for his foresight in sending a young Andrew to guitar lessons, which now, is a lifetime ago.
Stan Latimer 1916-1993
Mtn. View, Ca. (USA)
Newsletter written by Harriet Stroud
Edited by Roger Wells