When and where were you, Tony Mansfield, Tony Hibbert and Phil Towner born?
Clive Gates: Westminster London 11/3/56
Tony Mansfield: Clapham London 20/1/55 [his father is also named Tony Mansfield!]
Lee Mansfield: born in 1968 (Tony's younger brother)
Tony Hibbert: Tooting London 20/12/56
Phil Towner: born 1955 - don't know where.
When did you first meet Tony?
I meet Tony in pub in Wansdworth in November 1972 through introduction via mutual friend. I am classically trained pianist, Tony into Rock music - an interesting combination. We start jamming in my bedroom at home (much to my mother's annoyance). Eventually we form a band called "Reeman Zeegus". Pub gigs, etc. After a year I leave band.
What were your first impressions of Tony?
Nice bloke - looked like he had a cold as his nose was red.
What is Tony Mansfield like (personality)?
What's he like working with?
I am currently [Feb 10th 1997] working on a Spanish Artist [Meccano] with Tony for BMG. He brings out the best in you, so is good to work with.
I once read that he's Jewish. True?
No - Church of England
You once told me that he's a hard man to get some straightforward answers from.
Only when it comes to things like interviews. Musically, there is no problem.
Tony often uses a kind of synth sound that could be described as a background waveform (undulating) sound that has a peculiar atmosphere of sadness and beauty to it, for example in ‘24 Hours from Culture’. To me at least, that sound is really touching and I don't think I've heard it anywhere else. Could you say that it reflects his personality in any way?
I would not describe Tony's personality as such! He just likes atmospheric sounds!
Were you two the only members of Reeman?
No - Various members - our first gig was at NE London Polytechnic in 1973 (I think) Bass was Simon Croft. Drummer refused to play on the grounds that we were "not rehearsed enough".
What instruments did you play?
Eventual line up was Alistair Scott/bass, John Gaster/Drums, Paul Tattersall/Mellotron & Fender Rhodes, Me/Wurlitzer Korg 700S Synth and Logan String Synth, Tony/Guitars Vocals.
What kind of music was Reeman?
T Rex and King Crimson influenced. Plus lots of pub standards.
What happened after this?
In 1977, Tony begins playing with Tony Hibbert and Nick Scott on drums (all of Spencer Park School). Band is called "End of the World". In 1978 Phil Towner does some studio work for Tony when he begins demoing first songs along with Tony Hibbert that will eventually become "New Musik" In 1979, I join the band.
Were these just demos, embellished by the rest of you later on for the LP, or finished songs?
Nothing was ever intended as a demo but some eventually end up that way because they are not strong enough tracks. What was used on the "A to B" album were the strongest.
I'm looking at an old interview right now (Smash Hits August 1980) and there are some photos of you all (natural, not posing). Tony had a bad cold at the time, grabbing Kleenexes. Remember??
Tony always used to have bad colds - I remember it well!
TMC Studios at 118 Mitcham Road, Tooting, London SW17. Was that the place where you recorded ALL of the early tracks, or only the tracks that made it to the ‘From A To B’ LP?
All of the early tracks and A to B. In order to get a record deal, we had an agreement with Bernie, the studio owner, who gave us down-time in return for a few points on any record deal.
Is the studio still there?
Yes but not used. I work nearby and there is still a cartoon sign of Bernie, the previous owner, on the outside.
When did those those sessions take place? All of them in 1979, or also earlier?
Tony started using the studio in 1977 up till 1980.
A = earlier session prior to A to B main sessions - mono synths - acoustic piano.
B = A to B session recorded later. Mono and poly synth (prophet 5 and some Yamaha CS80) Backward reverb effects, eventide harmoniser.
C = I [Clive] played on track.
A On Islands
A Sad Films
A Missing Persons
AC She's a Magazine
AC Love Train
B Magazine Musik
BC Chik Musik
BC Straight Lines
BC Living by Numbers
B A Map of You
BC This World of Water
BC Dead Fish (Don't Swim Home)
BC The Safe Side
[Clive could not remember the instrumental track ‘Tell Me Something New’]
Tell me generally about those sessions for the first LP: memories (good and bad), details, whatever comes to your mind.
Very exiting. Ideas were flowing, and there was a real sense that something would come from all of this. The best bit was when we got hold of a Prophet 5 synth- up until then we had used my old (but now fashionable) mono Korg 700S and had to layer up chords a track at the time. Incidentally, that was the synth that provided the base and submarine noises on "On Islands". Another thing - we were never told that "On Islands" reached No 1 in France until Tony and I wandered into a Paris record Shop and saw it listed in the chart.
Also during those sessions, Tony made use of all the available toys at the time-for instance putting his vocals in "World of Water" through an Eventide Harmoniser (an early sampler) then playing them back via a keyboard connected to the Harmoniser. Also, credit should go to Pete Hammond, the Engineer, who was also very creative at the time.
Do you remember any tracks that were never released?
‘Love Train’, can't remember the others - will check that out and get back to you.
Who owns those tracks now?
It's easy to figure out who plays what, except for one thing: both you and Tony Mansfield played synths/keyboards. Was there any special sounds that any one of you had as a "trade mark", if you see what I mean?
Tony favoured the synth washes and Octave single notes. I tended to use harsher sounds. Tony would be the first to admit that he was not a "proper" keyboard player so tended to leave trickier bits to me.
Do you have any idea where Phil and Tony (Hibbert) are now? I'd like them to join in on this interview later on!
Have not seen Phil for years. He was always more reclusive. I see Tony Hibbert [now working as a cab driver] regularly - we're good mates, both 40 and newly single so are playing the field a bit at the moment. I shall show this e-mail to him.
I'd very much like to meet all of you, if possible?
Will speak to the guys and see what they say. Tony M is very private these days [1997-03-27], even with close friends!
(I did send further questions to Clive, but unfortunately he never replied.)
Copyright (c) 1997 Clive Gates and Jonas Wårstad.
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