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The Chaz Interviews - July, 2003
by Chaz and the artists

It was the summer of 2003 and's active message board community was heating up as well -- with flame wars. Along came Chaz Fanaro, looking to cut through the negative noise. He began to interview many of the musical artists who pitched a tent on the popular indie music forum. Others pitched in with questions of their own. July of 2003 could have turned ugly, but thanks to the interviews blanketing the forum, it became a home for insight and mutual respect. The forums were wiped clean by Vivendi in December, 2003. The interviews live on.

Bard of Ely

Artist description
Vocals and guitar on solo work, with a full band for some recordings and performance. Steve is not afraid to experiment and his music embraces very many styles from acoustic folk through to electronic techno and dance. His solo performances are always uniquely entertaining and involve a lot of showmanship and audience participation.

Music Style
Eclectic pop/rock/folk

Musical Influences
John Lennon, Neil Young, Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Marc Bolan, Bob Marley, Incredible String Band, Van Morrison, Roy Harper, Syd Barrett

Similar Artists
Neil Young, John Lennon

Artist History
The Bard of Ely has been writing and performing his songs for the last decade. He has had releases on all formats and has won much critical acclaim for his music and performance. He has played countless gigs including Glastonbury on three occsions. His music has received radio airplay all over the world and has alas been used several times on British Tv programmes including Family Affairs on C5

Group Members
Steve Andrews

Vocals and guitar

Kingfishing and More, Barleycorn Now & Bardic Vision

Press Reviews
Steve Andrews - "Kingfishing & More" - CD Album Review This is the kind of music that makes you stop and think, "Wow, that's real !". Steve is an accomplished singer/songwriter who has the unique knack of creating a real sonic mood in each of his songs. Each one is rich in emotion like the beautiful ballad "Girl Singer." Some make you smile, like "Rubber Ducky", and songs like "Peter" have an ethereal quality that silence the rest of the world to really make you think "Kingfishing" stands out in a class of it's own to shine as an example to any would-be composer. Excellent orchestration and a casual singing style blend in a unique way I haven't heard since Howard Jones. It's like a "Best Of" from works he has created over the years, and you can feel the life of experience in every lyric. Heartfelt music from the Steve Andrews, Bard Of The Realm, is definitely a CD you should own, as it creates it's own temporal timezone around the listener. Spellbinding stuff, nice one Steve !!! Review by BigHairyKev! @ Dizzy Lug'ole Records.Bard Of Ely Title: Kingfishing | Few artists have the nerve to add a kazoo to their music, but Steve Andrews, AKA Bard Of Ely does. I found that to be very cool right off. The thing is, Steve doesn't stop there. His music is filled with unconventional instruments and strange sounds. The music has a singer/songwriter appeal to it with a quirky sort of new wave pop feel. This is definitely music that is hard to label. That uniqueness is something that will generate much appreciation. There is so much going on with this music. It's sort of an experimental style of pop that is blended with a humor and substance. If there is one constant with the music on this album, it's the fact that it's definitely attention grabbing. The strangeness has a big part in that. - Michael Allison - THEGLOBALMUSE.COM Song Pick: Superhero - (Good song with quirky lyrics.) TAFFIA Don't cross this man: he holds a grudge for a very long time. Although we received this track some weeks back, it harps on about that memorable (for one reason or another) night in the Millennium Stadium on New Years Eve 1999! Taffia, along with 60 thousand other revellers, was so annoyed with the alcohol arrangement he felt compelled to right this song. And, as it takes the lanky, cross-dressing bass player down a peg or two, we thought you'd like it. You're A Liar. - BBC Radio One Session in Wales Reviews

Cardiff, N/A - United Kingdom

Chaz the Spaz
You mention your instruments used are guitar and vocals, but I can hear other instruments. Do you use back-up musicians?

It all depends! If I am playing 'live' it would normally be just me and my guitar, although I always get the crowd involved in some Glastonbury just gone I was doing my cover version of 'Stand By Me' in which I get the audience if possible to do that & to actually come up on the stage (if it's allowed LOL)& also to dance, sing or whatever...this time the Health & Safety people insisted on a barrier between the people and the stage so I couldn't do this and instead I made some comments about the situation and invited the audience to do whatever they felt like as near as they could get to me. One guy was banging his shades on a table and that became a new lyric: "bang your shades on a table by me!" I have in the past had bands and then it has been a 'normal' line-up of myself on vocals and guitar, a bass-player, lead guitar and drums. For recordings it has been a question of who is available, what they can do and what gear we have at our disposal and how the song can be arranged. A song is in its basic form just words and a tune. It gets added to in the arrangement and production. It's a very fluid sort of thing!

Chaz the Spaz
What are some of your favorite meals and do you like to cook?

Chaz, I do like to cook and am good at it I am told but I can never find the time! LOL I enjoy making curries, pasta meals, Chinese dishes and veggie & chicken stews. My fave meals are all of those, fish 'n' chips, seafood (all types & any way!), omelettes ( especially mushroom), pizza (with olives, anchovies, peppers as essentials!), cheese dishes, and I love fruit especially cherries, plums, apricots and kiwis! Chocolate (any type but I have to watch myself LOL), icecream (any type - again I must watch myself )& most yogurts. Also simple basics like cheese on toast and beans on toast! Fave drinks: spring water with added calcium, green tea, dandelion coffee, assorted herb teas, chocolate milkshake, Red Bull, cranberry juice, grape juice, cider, Stella Artois lager, some real ales and white wines.

one blue nine
How many hats do you own? Where did you tend to get them? Do most of them have sentimental value?

Obn, yes, I do like hats & I have about a dozen hats here but some have seen much better days if you know what I mean! hahaha! The mushroom hat was on loan from Robert's Emporium flea market run by Jah Taf of TAFFIA (the band I am in that is signed to Crai). My fave hats are a Johnny Cash baseball cap that Ted Lehman gave me and a workman's peaked cap that came from a skip in Israel. My friend Interesting Dave gave me it. Actually most of my hats are gifts. I never buy any! At Glastonbury just gone I was wearing a free Scrumpy Jack sun hat. Got some woolly grungy hats too! I used to have a Tibetan lama's hat & a top hat. The top hat was given to Piers a good friend of mine who was going back to Canada but his mom threw it out in disgust!

one blue nine
The Johnny Cash basebal cap sounds like it could be a pretty exotic item in your circle, I can see why it's a fave. And it's clear that a lot of these hats have plenty of sentimental value. I was thinking about just that issue the other day when I was looking at the beat-to-heck broad-brimmed homburg I got sometime in college... I know it's got a lot of sentimental value... I just can't remember what it is.

Obn, the baseball cap I really like cos I'm a Johnny Cash fan & was lucky enough to see him at Glastonbury several years back! Usually I would run a mile from wearing any item of clothing with a designer logos or promoting someone/something but with Johnny it's different!

chuckling at One Blue Nine's questions (:
'ere's another: Do you like to collect shoes? What colours?
Seriously, its great that you played Glastonbury, Bard!
envy you.
Has anyone interviewed Chaz yet??

Well, I do collect shoes but not as a collector more because I can't afford repairs and hang on to ones I like in the hope that one day I will be able to have them fixed. eg. Got some very Chelsea boots that need new soles and heels!

Chaz the Spaz
What are some of your hobbies?

Hey Bard, Warren Muzak here.
Were you ever into the "Madchester" scene? The likes of Inspiral Carpets, Stone Roses, and such? I loved those bands, and the Charlatans UK had some good stuff too. I recently bought the "White Stripes" Elephant cd, and found it sounded the "Prisoners", have you heard of them(the prisoners I mean).
Did you get my CD yet?

Chaz, my hobbies include growing exotic plants (eg. pineapples, kiwi fruit, stevia, wormwood, jacarandas & daturas), herbalism and growing herbs, rambling in the countryside, reading all sorts of stuff but mostly on paranormal, conspiracies, alternative histories etc and about nature & natural healing methods), some movies and TV, being online & bbs, attending pagan/druid events like gorsedds at Avebury, travelling when I can afford it, and music of course!
Warren, I was quite into a lot of those bands especially liked/like James. I'm a 60s fan and the Madchester sound was very similar to bands like The Byrds, The Doors etc. I did get your CD and have replied to you about this ages back both in a thread here and by e-mail...looks like you never saw either! I said that to me your sound is quality R&B unlike a lot of mass-produced & watered down stuff that is stuck in this genre these days! Thanx again & good luck with it!

What an interesting thread, idea, glad your back from Glastonbury safe. Me, still not around much. But...can I ask...
How long ago did you start playing music ? what age ?
and as for 'madchester'..I'm still in recovery.
Ste ( alive and limping)

Hi Everyone!
Ste, to answer yr question: I think I had my first cheap guitar when I was about 17 or 18 & I had visions of being another Dylan! I also remember that I never could figure out what I was doing wrong when I saw live acts playing slide and other stuff that I just couldn't play & whatever I did sounded awful...teach yourself guitar books just didn't help with this in those was all Bert Wheedon & strum and pick! Then someone told me about open tunings & I was away! I was writing poems in school hopefully to impress girls and they led on to my first songs and it sort of carried on from there. By the age of 19 I had played in local folk clubs and jam sessions. For the next few years I was writing a lot of songs but I didn't know anything about promoting yourself and music & just didn't push! I think I had some stupid idea that A&R would somehow find me! I got in a mess with drugs by the age of 21 & wasn't making any headway with my music. Then in my late '20s I became a single-parent and that took me away from the live playing scene for many years. It really wasn't until about 1986 that I made much of an effort as a singer/songwriter again but by 1990 I was going for it properly & making a name for myself!

Suppose ... i mean ... let's suppose ... for some reason or other also you, Bard, would be allowed to only put up three tracks on your artist's page. Even worse, you'd be allowed to change your selection only once a year ... Even worser ... there even are no online alternatives left ...
Which three of your current tracks would I then find to listen to ?
[Or would you maybe delete all of them??]

Good question, HarS!
Well, the songs I would choose wouldn't necessarily be my most successful commercially...I would omit 'You're a Liar, Nicky Wire' even though it got signed to a proper label and a lot of media attention including a rave review in NME, but I would include 'Harvest Home' which is also released by the same label. My reason would be that it has proved its worth not with controversy or a gimmick but rather cos people like the song! I would also have 'Johnny Rotten's still my Hero (Unplugged)' not because it is a top production but because I believe in it as a good song and it has been very popular. My last choice would be 'Real Love & Communication (live)' because it shows that I can deliver the goods with just a mic & guitar, because it has something to say & because a lot of people like it! It is actually selected to start and close a CD compilation release on Double Snazzy to be released in August to tie in with the Green Man festival at which I am the main compere! I think that selection is a good enough representation of my songwriting abilities!

Chaz the Spaz
You have listed your musical influences, what artists have you seen in concert?

A very long list: Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, the Doors, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, Culture Club, The Stranglers, Boomtown Rats, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Roy Harper, Incredible String Band, Edgar Broughton Band, Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, Donovan, Wreckless Eric, Patti Smith, Led Zeppelin, T Rex, Roxy Music, Manchild, Queen Adreena, Echo and the Bunnymen, Shakespeare's Sister, Nico, Tamsin Archer, Fairport Convention, Lorraine Jordan, Amy Wadge, Quintessence, Arthur Brown, Arthur Lee & Love, MC5, Kevin Ayres, Lol Coxhill, Bridget St John, Melanie, Manic Street Preachers, Richie Havens, Country Joe McDonald, The Shamen, Ray Davies, Juicy Lucy, Black Sabbath, Pina, The Scooters, Rocket Goldstar, Robin Williamson, Wendykurk, The Jam, The Clash, Sam Brown, Man, Medicine Head, Third Ear Band, The Flaming Groovies, Tim Hardin, Joan Baez, Martin Carthy, Katell Keineg, Jack, Catatonia, 60 Ft Dolls, Jonathan Richman, Lonnie Donnegan, Sha-na-na, Hawkwind, and many many more!

Chaz the Spaz
That's quite some list, Bard. The Shamen seem a little away from your style and more towards my electronic likings. It's a lot harder to do electronics live (unless you use tapes and play along live) then it is use traditional instruments, what did you think of them?

First time I saw them, they were amazing and played a big venue - the Newport Centre - to a packed house. I was one of many who danced most of the way through! Second time I saw them in a Cardiff dance venue - The Hippo Club - and despite local press coverage there was hardly anybody there & they only played for about half an hour after Mr C did a bit of DJing. It was very disappointing but goes to show the power of chart success and the music press...the first gig they had a hit album & singles & cover of NME & the second gig was some months later!
I had sent Colin Angus some of my music and he sent me a postcard which said "Real Love & Communication - yeah! Reminds me of Roy Harper meets Robyn Hitchcock!" I was hoping to meet him at the first gig but it was just too packed.
There are countless local bands I omitted from the list. A couple of acts I should mention: Madi, Nameless UK, Megaton Men, Captain Paranoid and the Delusions, Lucky Bean Tree (faves of mine from the local scene!) and The Afternoons.
And I've seen Pris live in her room and she is just as good as she sounds recorded...better actually cos you can see her too!
And a couple I forgot: Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Chicken Shack, Bay City Rollers, Racing Cars, Bon Jovi and The Idle Race.

The Lord Dog Almighty
Hi, Bard.
Heard from Chloe lately?

She is busy working and rehearsing new material. But I hope she gets back here soon! Thanx for asking after her!

And I've met Captain Beefheart but not seen him play. Also met Roy Harper and sold an album for him at his stall at a gig in Swansea Uni, met the late Marc Bolan briefly, met Van Morrison, and I worked for many years for Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band. I was corresponding with Katie Jane Garside ex of Daisy Chainsaw and now of Queen Adreena too!

Steve, What's your favourite guitar?

Well, surprisingly I have never really had one...I mean I have never had enough money to buy a top quality name and have played various cheaper models in my time. At present I have a Fleetwood Jumbo semi-acoustic & it does the job! That's what's important to me: can I get a good enough sound out of it to back my voice & if the answer is yes, then it's a enough guitar for me!

Chaz the Spaz
How did you first become interested in music?

Good question: I think I was about 10 or 11 and had seen and heard a lot of pop music on TV and radio & kids in school were all getting into music too...before that age I could take it or leave it so I wasn't born wanting to be a musician or anything!

Chaz the Spaz
What plans do you have concerning your recent educational accomplishment?

Well, actually I don't know what I'm doing next but I am looking for and applying for jobs and my new qualification gets added to my CV/resume in the hopes of impressing people. What I really want is to get back working on TV but whether this will help or not remains to be seen, in the meantime I am enjoying showing you all my recent new look!

Now the next question. Why have you got the biggest interview thread ? naaa only joking.
Do you regret not being able to continue music during your single parent lay off time. I know I flirted with Bass guitar 17 to 20 years and then sold up to continue 'real life' I regret that choice. What about you ? would you have done this part differently ? If you could go back as they say ?
P.s congrads on the BA. We are really all so very pleased for you here at Mansion Cobweb !

Thanx for digging that out, Ste! I don't think there's much point in regreting anything...what's done is done & there's only the now and the future! I believe in reincarnation anyway so I think maybe we all get another go at things in another life! I agree with you that we are who we are because of what we have gone through! BTW, I was watching an excellent documentary on Adam Ant earlier this evening on C4 - The Madness of Prince Charming - & I never realised all the problems he has had in his life & still has! I was always a fan but he has gone up in my estimation now!

Chaz the Spaz
What is your goal and what are you planning for your music?

I would like to get some proper attention for my music some day...I mean by that lots of radio plays, use on TV or film & some decent money coming in for it for once! I always seem to be just about to get somewhere...I get breaks for sure, but they are never that 'big one!' I have also had a desire for many years to get a 'hit' in the mainstream charts so I can get on Top of the Pops. I was watching an interview with Adam Ant recently & he was saying that this was what really got their records selling! Also, I am happy for other people to cover my songs...Daniel has already with 'Harvest Home' & my busker friend Pixi does 'Kingfisher' and 'Real Love & Communication' & I think it's a perfectly valid way of being a success in the music biz being a songwriter! Neil Diamond did it that way & he writes top songs!
I am about to do some more recordings over the next month & I just keep keeping on!

Chaz the Spaz
Practice makes perfect, do you practice?

Yes, but nowhere near as much as I should...I tend to practice before gigs or recording sessions and not so much at other times! I am not a perfectionist and can live with imperfections! BTW, MM once pointed out that there is a Native American belief that says that having something imperfect is a sign of respect for the Great Spirit and that you can never achieve such perfection & I like that idea & it gives me a good way to excuse any faults in my work! I do admire perfectionists though!

Chaz the Spaz
What conclusions can you share with us about your research into your book, Herbs of the Northern Shamen?

That herbs that have effects on the mental state of users have been in use in all cultures on this planet ever since the beginning of human history and that they have played a significant role in shaping our history, religions, art and general culture. Authors like Terence McKenna go as far as suggesting that magic mushrooms have played a role in our evolution and have provided us with knowledge/gnosis. I am not only meaning herbs that get you 'stoned' or produce some sort of 'trip' should be considered but also stimulants like coffee and herbal products ranging from tobacco through to opium. There is evidence in support of the first crops that were being grown being plants like tobacco and not food crops as many have thought. Ancient cultures that we may admire today like the Egyptians, the Aztecs and Incas etc all used a wide variety of psychoactive herbs and that the influence of these plants can be seen in their artwork and religious motifs. Herbs with hallucinogenic properties have undoubtedly played a large role in producing visions and inspiration for many parts of the world's religions & the soma of the Vedas and the tree of knowledge of good and evil are both some form of entheogen. Calamus, a herb that acts as a stimulant and produces a trip at higher doses is an important herb in the Bible mentioned several times and part of the holy anointing oil used by Moses. It is surely not surprising to find that it is also a herb of witchcraft. This herb also inspired Walt Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass'. Herbs that produce strong effects on us mentally can also be used for healing both physical and mental and emotional problems to various degrees...some can be used as painkillers and others as sedatives, tranquilisers and also anti-depressants like St John's Wort is currently being used for. Researching the subject I became aware of the vast number of publications available on the subject and the incredible amount of websites too and that psychoactive herbs are found all over the Earth.


  -- Rick Munarriz

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