Thursday, 21 July 2011

Bev Bevan On The Move! Archive Interview 2007

Bev Bevan interview August 2007

The Move was one of the most important rock bands to emerge in 1967. The band came from the Midlands and was made up of what people would call the cream of the local music scene. The band burst onto the scene with their first three records in quick succession, Night Of Fear, I Can Hear The Grass Grow and Flowers In The Rain the latter of which had the honour of being the first record played on the then new Radio 1.

In 2007 Salvo Records began the first in what is to be a series of Move reissues beginning with the self titled Move album and Shazam both of which feature outtakes and new expanded packaging. Jon Kirkman spoke to Bev Bevan who now leads a re formed Move along with fellow founder member Trevor Burton about the reissues and the Summer of Love in which the Move first flourished.

Jon Kirkman 2007 sees the 40th anniversary of the Move bursting onto the music scene. At the time you were billed as an amalgamation of the best musicians of the Birmingham music scene. Do you think that was a fair comment to make?

Bev Bevan Yeah I think that was a pretty fair comment. We were certainly amongst the best at least. I think the Move possibly could have been a different band. I think it was Ace Kefford and Trevor Burton who came up with the idea of the Move and they got Roy Wood involved. I believe at one stage they spoke to Jess Roden about joining. They also talked to John Bonham, so yes were definitely amongst the best but it could have been a completely different sounding band.

JK Your first two singles Night of Fear and I Can Hear The Grass Grow were great records that fitted in with the psychedelic times but the big one that everyone remembers of course is Flowers In The Rain. This record unfortunately didn’t make you much money due to an incident masterminded by Tony Secunda which backfired rather badly on the band.

BB Yes I must say it was a shame but it was never one of my favourite songs. I think I Can Hear The Grass Grown and probably Night Of Fear was as well. Flowers In The Rain is probably the one we are remembered for mainly because it was the first record ever played on radio 1. So, that just keeps coming up every time someone mentions radio 1. I think there is a radio 1 compilation album that features that song as well but only this time done by the Kaiser Chiefs.

JK Well I guess that moves it on a bit.

BB Yeah I am really looking forward to hearing it, they will probably do a really good job of it.

JK I think what a lot of people particularly in the UK don’t realise is that the Move were a bloody good pop band but in America you were seen as something a little heavier and more underground.

BB Yeah I think we made a mistake in not going to America because when we first started off we had a residency at the Marquee club in London and another one at a place called the Bird Cage in Portsmouth. We generally worked with bands like The Who, Hendrix, Cream and Pink Floyd. All those bands went off to America and did really well on what would become the stadium rock scene and we, I don’t know who was responsible for this, probably all of us in different ways, we got dragged more into the pop scene that the rock side of things. This was more instant success and enjoyable being on Top of the Pops all the time and having the girls scream at you all the time but looking back it was a big mistake. The Move should have gone to American in ’67. Then because of the music we were playing which was quite progressive, I think we would have slotted in really nicely along with the other British bands like The Who and Cream.

JK As regards the live element of The Move I think perhaps a lot of people were unaware as to how outrageous their live set really was. At times The Move live were a little reminiscent of The Who with Carl Wayne smashing up televisions sets with a fireman’s axe. Having seen photographs of The Move’s live set it looks like it was a really exciting live performance.

BB It was. The Move, particularly in the beginning ’66, ’67, ’68 were such an incredibly tight and well-rehearsed band. We had four or five part harmonies and great musicianship and on top of all that we had this really outrageous end to the show where Carl would put this enormous axe through some TV screens and on certain shows we would chop up effigies of Adolph Hitler. On one famous occasion at the Round House in London they drove in this huge Cadillac psychedelically painted with a couple of really nice strippers doing their thing on the roof and Carl just set about it with his axe and smashed it to pieces.

JK Of course a lot of people thought it was just The Who doing performances like that. In the seventies and eighties, many more bands took the staged violence a step further by blowing things up and of course we have The Move right in there at the beginning doing something very similar which would probably surprise a lot of people.

BB I suppose so but we worked a lot with Jimi Hendrix and he did a similar thing by setting fire to his guitar and then smashing it up so it was all part of this auto destruction that we and a lot of people were involved in. I think the idea behind the televisions was that we objected to this one eyed monster that lurked in your sitting room but basically when we had a night off we went home and watched the telly like anybody else (laughs).

JK Of course there was a huge amount of notoriety surrounding the release of Flowers In The Rain and whilst all publicity is good publicity it must have been frustrating because these kinds of things do tend to side line a band. Did The Move feel that way about this particular incident?

BB It didn’t do the band any good at all actually. Thinking back to it now we had all the court action going on in the High Court and although we put a brave face on it we tried to come across all rebellious. Actually we were just kids and we were pretty scared. We had the prime minister on our back and the secret service and all sorts of things. It seemed that the whole establishment was down on us.

JK I’ve seen news reel footage of The Move outside the court when the case came to court and Trevor Burton seems very light hearted and almost seems to be treating it like a joke. Really looking at it you can tell that he is very nervous.

BB Well Trevor was the youngest of all of us; I think he was only about seventeen at the time. Ace Kefford was a very fragile character anyway and I think the stress of the court case helped drive him over the edge. I know he probably did a lot of LSD which didn’t help but I think it was only a few months after that where Ace got to the stage where he couldn’t stand it any more and he had to leave. He just couldn’t cope.

JK I can remember seeing a piece of live footage filmed a few years later of the band filming Blackberry Way which is a song that Trevor said that he never liked and yet the band are playing really well. I think they came across, particularly on television, very well.

BB We were all really good players by that time. I’m sure that Trevor said that about the song as well but Trevor is now back in the band and we are doing all The Move songs not just that, the songs that we did back in those day. This includes covers by bands like Cream and Hendrix. We do definitely do Blackberry Way and Trevor is fine with it these days.

JK On the website there is footage with Trevor playing, do I take he is a full time member of The Move now?

BB Yeah he is back full time with us now. So basically it is The Move featuring Bev Bevan and Trevor Burton.

JK How do you feel about Roy Wood’s recent comments in the press about the band? He doesn’t seem very happy about the fact that you guys have decided to put the band back together. Personally I think he is wrong, it is great that you have got The Move back together and we are getting to hear these songs again.

BB I’m glad you like it. I don’t see anything wrong in it either. There are two original members and Carl Wayne would definitely been involved had he still been alive. What we are doing has the backing of Sue Wayne, his wife. She is 100% behind what we are doing. I’m just a bit disappointed in Roy that he has adopted that attitude because we did ask him to be a part of it.

JK I think Roy probably views it as being a bit retro but in fairness how much more retro is it to play ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ on the TV every Christmas.

BB Well yeah.

JK Personally I don’t see this as a cash in but an interpretation of what The Move did.

BB (laughs) Well its not much of a cash in because we are only really playing small theatres. It has come about mainly because of the 40th anniversary and also because Trevor and I have been working together in this theatre show round the Midlands called ‘Brum Rocks Live’ which is basically the story of rock in Birmingham since the sixties which obviously included two or three Move songs. Not necessary ones Roy had written, songs that for instance we played on stage like Something Else by Eddie Cochran and Shaking All Over. We just thought that this is sounding really good, why don’t we do some more. So it is as innocent as that really. We are not really on this big cash in thing.

JK How do you feel about the re-issues because the record company has done a great job on the packaging as well as the sound of the albums? They really look nice.

BB Well again Jon I am glad you like them, they are nice and I really like them. I am very impressed by the way they have turned out. There is an awful lot of work gone into them in fact there are tracks on there that Trevor and I can’t even remember playing on. There is a song called Move, which I think was a B-side and I had forgotten about. It is a great song and the harmonies on it are great and if I say so myself the drumming is great as well. I said to Trevor that I could not actually remember playing on it but I am so glad that this has been unearthed and people can hear it.

JK So I take it that you are pretty happy with what is out there and what is about to be released in the near future?

BB Yes, I love the first album and I have always loved Shazam. Again, that is out with loads of extra tracks on it. There is a box set coming out next year and also a live album from the Fillmore West from one of our few trips to America.

JK I think the album Looking On is also scheduled for release.

BB That is due for release too, there is a fair bit of stuff ready to come out.

JK I suppose when The Move finally folded and you moved into ELO you probably thought that you had heard the last of The Move and yet here we are 40 years on from the release of the first album. We are talking about the re-issues and you are out playing the songs again. That must be great.

BB It is great but it is this 40 year thing and it is not just about Flowers In The Rain. It is the 40th anniversary of the summer of love. It is much more interesting than went on in the seventies for me: the fact that we used to rub shoulders with people like the Beatles, the Stones and Hendrix and whatever, Carnaby Street and the flower power thing. There was all that anti-Vietnam war stuff going on; in fact there seemed to be so much going on at the time.

JK Good luck with the new releases and also with the live gigs as regards you and Trevor and The Move.

BB The reaction has been extraordinarily good. I am surprised at the level of interest to be honest with you.

JK I think perhaps The Move were more important than even the guys in The Move thought that they were.

BB Maybe you are right but it has been a nice surprise.

JK Thanks for talking to us today. All the best for the forthcoming live days and we look forward to the box set and the other releases coming out in 2008.

BB It has been a pleasure Jon. Thanks for being interested in what we are doing.

© Jon Kirkman 2007

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