Bridging the 20 year span of Camel's popularity, Camel on the Road 1982 is the latest official bootleg offering from CP. Joining Andrew Latimer on tour were friends David Paton, bass; Chris Rainbow, vocals; Kit Watkins, keyboards; Stuart Tosh, drums; and Andy Dalby, back-up guitar. Recorded on 13th June 1982 in Holland (once again), the set list, compiled from The Single Factor, I Can See Your House From Here, Rain Dances and Nude, includes: Sasquatch, Highways of the Sun, Hymn to Her, Neon Magic, You are the One, Drafted, Lies, Captured, Heart's Desire/End Peace, Heroes, Who We Are, Manic, Wait, and Never Let Go. Three tracks, Remote Romance, Rhayader Goes to Town and No Easy Answer, were beyond salvage and do not appear. Otherwise, the concert is as it was on the night, no dubs.
Originally recorded by a Dutch radio station, CP discovered the original master had been destroyed with no apparent copies. The charm and clear enjoyment of the band during this particular performance had CP searching to locate the only remaining tape recorded by sound engineer Pete Ward. Although Andrew Latimer considered the tape "less than desireable" from a production standpoint, the performance is a pleasure to hear and friends and fans alike convinced him to release it. "The bass end is not quite up to scratch because it was recorded directly through the mixing desk" Andrew says, "and this tends to lose the live ambience you get in the hall. But the gig itself was great fun and I think that shows." CP thinks so too.
ILLEGAL BOOTLEG ALERT
Two illegal bootlegs have been released using a new tactic. These double Cds are using legitimate, Camel titles: Never Let Go and Echoes. Both carry a hefty price tag of $75 and up and are of exceptionally poor quality having obviously been recorded with a personal cassette recorder from the audience. The cause for concern is clear. Using legitimate titles for illegal recordings is a clever deception. CP urges fans to verify the authenticity of their Cds before purchasing. The CP release of Never Let Go will have our official bootleg logo and copyright notice on the back of the Cd case. "Echoes" is from the Chronicles series with a Deram label copyright on the outside of the boxed set.
The amateur recording of Camel's 1992 concert performance continues to pose production problems that now appear insurmountable. The 20th Anniversary Tour performance was more than 2 hours in length, requiring two video tapes, thus increasing production time and costs. Both the visual and audio quality of the recording are poor and as CP goes to press with this fall newsletter, it is unlikely that Camel will wish to charge the necessary high price for such low standard production.
On a brighter note, initial negotiations have begun with the BBC for a license to release videos recorded during past televised performances of Camel. These sessions are from various periods in the band's career and CP hopes to release a compilation video of these treasured tapes.
STUDIO ALBUM 1995
Work continues to progress on the next Camel album and, although no specific date is yet forthcoming, CP feels confident a confirmed release date will be announced in the next newsletter. Mickey, Colin and Paul are expected to join Andrew in the new year to begin recording. Camel's crew have affirmed their readiness for a tour in the autumn of 1995 and more details will be forthcoming in our next spring issue of Nature of the Beast.
FROM US ALL...
CP will close from 15th December through 5th January. If you plan to do some holiday shopping with us, and we certainly hope you will, please order as early as possible. The post is overburdened at this time of the year and CP doesn't want anyone to be disappointeed. We are ever grateful for your support.
Whether you do or do not celebrate this time
of year, CP wish health, happiness and
peace to one and all.
Q: What did you do after Pressure Points was released?
Compiling the most often asked questions by fans, Paris Ford went to 'Downstairs at Harry's' with photographer Brad Owen and asked Andrew Latimer......
A: Well, a lot of legal problems had to be cleared up. Andy, Doug, Pete and I were being sued by our first manager, Geoff Jukes. Geoff felt we all owed him commissions from the early days. But he'd waited until 1982 to sue us. Doug had left in 1977; Geoff quit right after Pete left for Van Morrison and Arista in 1978; and Andy was with Marillion in '82, I think, but Geoff sued us as Camel, naming us each individually but as I was the only one left from the original line-up it was down to me to defend it. The other's didn't want to know. They felt that because they had left Camel and had signed away their rights to the band, they weren't responsible. That wasn't true, of course, because they were very much a part of Camel when Geoff was the manager, but I can't really blame them. They had gone onto better things and this was very stressful and expensive. So from 1982 until 1987, I fought with Geoff. We had all signed so many stupid contracts. We literally signed our lives away.
Q: Did you release any other material between 1985 and 1991?
A: No. I did some stuff with Ant Phillips which unfortunately didn't come to much, though I really enjoyed working with Ant. I played a few sessions and did a track on a Denis Quinn album but the lawsuit really effected me spiritually. I became very disillusioned with the whole industry. It seemed to be full of nothing but laywers, accountants and greedy people, that whole one-hit wonder business.
Q: Why did you leave Decca and what happened after?
A: Decca were being swallowed whole by PolyGram and changed their catalogue to classical music only. It was an amicable separation and looking back now, a good one for me. But there was still such a lot going on legally. The lawsuit was dragging on and then Susan Hoover discovered that royalties from our back-catalogue were being paid to Gama Records (the production company of Jukes and Max Hole) but not to Camel. I had no alternative but to sue Gama. I did finally 'win' both lawsuits but that meant nothing in terms of money. It was a moral victory really. The bulk of the income was gone but we all get our royalties now, regularly, thanks to Susan. Litigation is an exhausting and time-consuming process.
Q: Did you record a solo album?
A: No. I thought perhaps I should go 'solo', but my friends and family encouraged me to keep Camel going. I had written Dust and Dreams by December 1985 but wasn't really satisfied with the second half. I was still trying for that hit-single. Nobody was interested, except E.G. Records who seemed a good group of people. They had Eno, Fripp, Brian Ferry I think, and we negotiated for 6 months when they asked me why Peter Frampton wasn't in the band any longer... (sighs). Then they hired some hot-shot A&R man who told me E.G. weren't releasing "New Age crap" and gave me back the demo tape. And I thought I was disillusioned before this (laughs).
Q: Why did you move to America?
A: I desperately needed a change. I realised I couldn't get arrested with Camel material so a re-think was on the cards. After all the legal expenses were paid, I had just enough money to buy dinner for one (in a Bistro) so in 1988 I sold my house and moved to America because it's cheaper. It's as simple as that. Of course, nothing is ever that simple. Finding the right place proved really difficult and then California had this earthquake which shook everything up, including my gear. Inspiration was at an all-time low. Still, the weather was good and time really is a healer. I learned to swim!
Q: Why did you go 'Independent'?
A: Well, E.G. Records was a slap in the face or so I thought at the time. In actual fact, they did me a tremendous favour by forcing me down a path of independence. I realised that if I wanted to continue as a musician - and for awhile I had serious doubts - that I would have to take responsibility for my career. Susan Hoover and I set up our own production company, Camel Productions. I guess the name isn't very original but it works. We were going to call it 'Stress Records' as a kind of joke, but decided to just keep it simple. We finally found a place to build my studio. I re-wrote the second half of Dust and Dreams and we took the money from the sale of the house to finance it all. It was a huge risk. We had been told so many times that Camel had been off the scene too long, that no one would remember us or buy the album. We didn't believe that but it has a subtle, sort of corrosive effect on your confidence.
Q: Dust and Dreams seems such a personal album. Why do you think this is?
A: I think I had to go through a lot of soul - searching and overcome a lot of obstacles - personal, financial, professional - to complete the album. It seemed that every path we took there was a door slammed in our faces. Music is very personal anyway and the concept of Dust and Dreams was coincidentally so similar to ours, it really absorbed that in the music.
Q: Will we have to wait another 7 years before the next album?
A: God I hope not (laughs). No, seriously, no. Those years were important transitional ones. Had I been signed to a record company back in 1985/6 when Dust and Dreams appeared to be finished, I think Camel would not have survived. One of the best things about forming Camel Productions is the artistic freedom. We plan to have new albums out every 2 or 3 years with tours and live albums inbetween. Also, setting up our own company brought us back to the people who like Camel. We rarely received letters when signed to Decca, it's such a vast corporation. So we never had feedback except what the press had to say and that was more often depressing than not. The comments we receive are so supportive, often just a word or two, saying 'keep up the great work' and this is powerful. It sustains us and makes all the hard work worthwhile. I read somewhere that our lessons in life keep coming until we learn them. I've learned so much from my experiences, especially the ones that seemed the worst. I've come full circle. I love what I do again.
CP thanks everyone for their questions
Newsletter written by Harriet Stroud & Paris Ford
Edited by Roger Wells
Photos by Brad Owen