Nektar are appearing as part of the Cruise To The Edge event in March 2013. In 2004 founder member Roye Albrighton spoke to Jon Kirkman about the then current spate of reissues of the bands back catalogue.Here is that interview
Despite the Germanic spelling of their name Nektar were and indeed still are a British band. The band did however live and work in Germany for a long period during the seventies. The band like many from that era broke up at the start of the eighties although their albums continued to sell well to a hard core dedicated audience. The band were persuaded to reform for a gig at the Nearfest a couple of years ago and since then the band has decided to continue with the only change being in the replacement of original bassist Mo Moore. 2004 will see the start of a big re issue campaign of the bands back catalogue and Jon Kirkman spoke to Roye Albrighton about the forthcoming re issues and tour dates just prior to Roye flying out to America for a photo session and rehearsals with the rest of the band.
Jon Kirkman I believe you are going to America next week to have some photos done.
Roye Albright Friday yeah, it’s a long way to go to have a few photos. Well, we’re going to kill two birds with one stone really; there’s a photo session next Monday but I’ll be there Friday and Saturday/Sunday we’re just going to be in for a couple of days rehearsals which will be great, advanced rehearsals from London.
JK What I have noticed about Nektar of late is that there is an awful lot of interest; has this surprised you considering the roots of the band go back over thirty years?
RA Oh, don’t remind me! Yeah, this year is our thirty-fifth anniversary. I think a lot of it has been kicked off by the Nearfest thing really. It was bandied around for many years that people were hoping that we would get back together for a show and nothing really came of it: this is going back about ten years. We have got a web site that was started up by a close friend of ours in America and that was the unofficial site and he has just been pushing Nektar all the time for the last eight years and he got quite a good following really. I just happened to go on that site and I contacted Mo the bass player and suggested doing a couple of shows and he suggested talking about it and at the same time funnily enough the guy from Nearfest emailed me and asked if we would be interested in getting together just for one show – coincidence that was. So it started off from there really.
JK So a series of coincidences brought the band back to prominence? Let’s go back to the early days. I grew up listening to rock music in the seventies and when I first heard Nektar I made the huge mistake of thinking that you were a German band.
RA A lot of people do actually for several reasons. Firstly because we lived there but also because the name Nektar was spelled with a K instead of a C; that is exactly the way the Germans spell it.
JK But at the time, the kind of music that you were playing was very popular in Germany and there were a lot of German bands playing very similar music wasn’t there?
RA Yeah, we were influenced a lot by the German bands but also a lot of the Brit bands that were passing through at the time as well. Also we were influenced a lot by Stockhausen, he was coming through the Frankfurt area many, many times a year and we used to go to his concerts, sit on the front row and get our heads blown off! But a lot of the bands in Germany were influenced by us and vice versa.
JK The thing about these albums that are coming out now, they have actually been out on CD before but the quality wasn’t all it could have be. You had done a really good job on renovating them and upgrading the sound and also there’s going to be a lot of extra bonus tracks.
RA All I can do is apologise for those CDs that our old record company did. There was no excuse for what they did but I can’t take the credit for the re-masters really although I just had the final ear on it. Credit goes to our manager Mark Powell who has the expertise in re-mastering and he did a fantastic job; he really did.
JK The bonus tracks look pretty interesting for instance on Recycled there is the entire album, the original mix by Geoff Emerick who’s famous for producing Paul McCartney and being the recording engineer for the Beatles.
RA Yeah, we did the first mix actually at Air Studios and we also did one at the Chateau d’Hierouville where we recorded them. We were in two minds which one to use really and ended up using the latter but half of the first one was Larry Fast only doing some synths. The one that was released we just let him go to town on it and it was just full of carpets of synths and things. The two versions on that new CD, we thought it was good to put them both on because you see the different stages of the album being made really as opposed to completely separate albums. It will be interesting to see the variation. Also, as far as the bonus tracks go, I was listening to the latest re-master this morning, it is really funny to see how one extreme to the other can happen. I mean some of them sound almost demo-ish but if you listen to them now you think, “Well that is the production that is.” We have dug up some really obvious stuff I tell you! It is going to be interesting for those Nektar fans who like to listen to all that stuff.
JK Having listened to a lot of your stuff over the years, my favourite album is A Tab in the Ocean. What do you think it is that attracts the fans to that particular album because I know it is a big favourite with a lot of the fans?
RA Yeah it may be that we start the show off with that; we always have ever since the mid seventies. We started off with it because it is a natural opener for the show. As opposed to Remember the Future where it is really cut and dried, I think A Tab in the Ocean lends itself to flow a little bit more. Side one you can take it as it is, great piece of music and side two being broken up into several parts I would say it is more, not product for your money but like with Remember the Future in the old vinyl days it was a complete side, turn it over, complete side. At least with Tab in the Ocean you have got the options of either having twenty minutes of Wow there he is or turn it over and have several tracks. That may be why the album itself was popular.
JK There were a lot of bands doing a similar thing, I mean Pink Floyd did something like that, if you listen to something like Meddle; you had the one side with Echoes and then the other side with various tracks on it. I know for a fact that a lot of people who like Nektar really like that album so there must be something about it that stands out.
RA It is also what the album is all about; it is this sea type of thing. It gives the calypso, the sea and a Mediterranean touch to it and maybe that is what it is. Of all the albums I like to listen to apart from Recycled, Tab in the Ocean is the one I like to put on now and again.
JK There are some very famous fans of that album because Iron Maiden covered King of Twilight.
RA I met Steve Harris at Frankfurt airport years ago. He did say to me that they were thinking of doing one of our songs and I said, “Yeah, ok Steve!” I couldn’t imagine Iron Maiden doing a Nektar song you know and he said, “No, no, we fancy doing King of Twilight”, and after we said our goodbyes and he walked away I was thinking that yeah, I could imagine him doing that but in a very heavy sort of way.
JK Well I think they did a good job of it.
RA It was excellent, all power to Steve and the boys, I think what they did with it was fantastic.
JK Also I think that by their treatment of the song they are obviously fans.
RA I know Steve is, I don’t know about he rest of the boys but Steve is a fan of Nektar.
JK Let’s look at the current line up because there has been a change hasn’t there?
RA Yeah, just a small change, only one member has left which is Mo Moore the bass player and his place has been taken by Randy Denboes an American bassist. He is a big Rickenbacker player as well.
JK There has been no falling out; it is just that Mo’s other work has precluded him from his inclusion on the tour dates.
RA It has been a combination of things really, first of all his commitments and also his health is not what it used to be and touring for several years would be a bit much for him I think. He would be the first one to put his hand up and say that. Anyway we sat down and decided what we should do and came up with the idea of looking for another bass player.
JK So what have you got planned for the future then? I know we have got these re-issues coming out which will attract an enormous amount of interest with the fan base.
RA Well most of the re-issues including the ones at the end of last year will be out by the end of March which will coincide with our European tour which starts in April and goes through almost to the end of April. Then the last bunch of re-issues will be done in that intermediate time and we’ll be in the studio in the last two weeks of June to make a new album here in the UK actually at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire. It is then all steam ahead for the US tour, which will be starting in September. That will be two bands touring together Nektar and Caravan.
JK That is a nice mix really isn’t it?
RA It is yeah, I love Caravan they really are a great band and I think they will like us a lot as well. We are just all old farts really and get on with each other.
JK There is an awful lot to be said for experience.
RA There is actually. We’ve been there and done it, both bands have and we’re not out to prove anything. We just want to go out and play and do what we enjoy most of all. That’s all we want really.
JK Long may it continue, it’s been great to talk to you today Roye and I appreciate the time you have taken. I hope the trip for the photos and the rehearsal goes ok. No doubt I will catch you on one of your dates in the UK.
RA Thank you very much for your time.
© Jon Kirkman Rockahead Limited 2004.