Extract from ‘Music in Dreamland’

Extract from ‘Music in Dreamland: Bill Nelson and Be Bop Deluxe’

With almost indecent haste, like a widower taking a new bride within weeks of having buried the last, Bill announced the formation of his next band, Red Noise. It was characteristic behaviour, of course, reflecting his eagerness to get on with the next thing, whatever that might happen to be.

So where did Bill find the name Red Noise? He says that he began with the concepts of white and pink noise. If white noise is random and pink noise yet more so, then red noise must be even more extreme… Among the new sounds to which Bill had been listening were certain ‘noise terror’ bands coming out of America. ‘Sound On Sound’ contained by far the noisiest music that Bill had recorded to date. And in the 70s, terrorist groups like the Red Brigades and Red Army Faction were operational in Italy and West Germany respectively.

‘Red Noise’ was then perhaps the perfect sobriquet for Bill’s own campaign of noise terror. The only obstacle was a nervous and sales conscious EMI. At the record company’s insistence then, Bill’s name was placed before that of the band, for the purposes of ‘product recognition’. And so a great name became a silly one. Bill Nelson’s Red Noise… it was all too easy for his detractors to turn into Bill Nelson’s Red Nose instead.

Track-by-track: ‘Don’t Touch Me, I’m Electric’

Bill placed Red Noises’s most brutal moment up-front to rough up any passing softies in search of mellow rock. You got battered by his thuggish drumming and offered a bit of rough sax by his brother, Ian on your way through. Fans who’d expected traditional guitar heroics or lush orchestrations could be seen rushing for the exit with cauliflower ears. Admittedly, ‘Possession’ and ‘Love In Flames’ had threatened a similar intent on ‘Drastic Plastic’, but now there were no gentler moments to soften the blows. The song is so fast-paced that it gets in and out in just over two minutes flat. And it’s a fitting introduction to the ‘wired’ narrator that Bill had created for the album. ‘Drastic Plastic’ had opened with ‘Electrical Language’. Here, electricity was transformed from a means of facilitating communication to something that discouraged contact. And Bill appeared to have gone sparko: ‘You can hold the wires,’ he sang, ‘But don’t you blow my fuse…’

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Click below for links to Music in Dreamland on Helter Skelter and Amazon:

http://www.helterskelterpublishing.com/item.asp?id=3562

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Dreamland-Paul-Sutton-Reeves/dp/1905139292/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340555102&sr=1-1

Music In Dreamland: Bill Nelson and Be Bop Deluxe

4 Responses to “Extract from ‘Music in Dreamland’”

  1. Philip Waller March 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    Hi, is this available as an ebook anywhere please?

    Thanks
    Phil

    • Paul Sutton Reeves March 17, 2016 at 8:03 am #

      Hi Phil and thanks for your interest. There is no e-book, I’m afraid. You can pick up a physical copy on Amazon, though.

      • pawaller July 12, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

        Hi Paul,
        Amazon seem to have used copies for an extortionate amount (£120 for a used paperback!) and a search on your publishers site gives no results.
        Any ideas where else I could buy a copy please?
        Regards
        Phil

      • Paul Sutton Reeves July 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

        Hi Phil. It does appear to be out-of-print at the moment. When it first came out as a limited edition hardback, copies were being advertised at over £800! It doesn’t seem to be available for under £120, which is strange as a friend bought a copy for considerably less on Amazon not all that long ago…

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