Welcome to Raja's Pretension Palace
  ...built for those in relentless search of eternal damnation

"I'd call that a bargain, the best I ever had" - The Who (from the song "Bargain")

Hopefully, you are reading this page after reading the holy masterpieces page. If not please back immediately and read it in the right order - first the holy masterpiece page; then holy songs and then this page. I have the links in the right order; why would you not follow them? If you disregard my request, you end up reading, inadvertently, a big spoiler on one of the main stories on the holy masterpieces page. Anyway, the idea with this page is to take the only twelve artists that have multiple albums on my holy masterpiece page, and add more personnel to these bands to make them even better. Many would argue that there is absolutely no need to tinker with those bands when they were at their peaks and adding more musicians will only destroy the band chemisty. Yes, I agree; its a valid point. But I am assuming the additional musicians can get along with the original band. In my opinion these additional members were inherently compatible to the original band at that point in time and also had similar artistic vision, goal and ambition.

The idea here is not to drastically change the band's sound. It is to get these new musicians as additional contributors to enhance the band's sound. In fact none of the twelve ensembles have more than seven full-time members. Each of the twelve ensembles will have tweleve musicians each. I know a twelve-member ensemble sounds ridiculous and there has never (or hardly) ever been an twelve-man band. I don't expect tweleve men or women to get on stage. The idea is to use the some of these additional musicians not as part of the touring band, but as ocassional guest contributors in studio or live. Most of the time the additional members play an instrument different than what the original band members played. In cases where the new members plays same instrument as one of the band member, he or she plays that instrument in a drastically different manner. In many cases, the band musicians may have expressed a desire to work with the additional musician or may have worked in side projects or may have expressed admiration. Most of the musicians being added have been session musicians who have worked with many artists.

I am not picking names out a hat. I have given some thought into this. I have short stories on how these lineups were formed. Most of them are formed before any of the band have either recorded anything at all or before they found commercial and critical success or before recovery from a setback or after they have broken up in the real world. Bands typically do not add new members unless they are in a state of turmoil or just starting out. The stories have to make some sense; shoudn't they? I will appreciate your input on whether this will work or not at all. Please note that I do take some liberties with the stories like most hollywood fact-based movies do. Many of the musicians play multiple instruments here. There is no way to find out when they started playing which instrument. I assume that all the musicians were skilled and interested in playing around the same time as the major instrument they played in their career.

I have tried to keep this list as diverse as possible. Many countries are represent and so are both the genders. I promise that every one of the tweleve ensembles will have a female musician and many of them play instruments. Please note that this is by no means a collection of greatest, best or most technically sound musicians out there. There were many musicians I really liked (from some from my most favorite bands) and I really wanted to fit them in one of the twelve ensembles. But they simply did not fit in or did not fit in any of the stories I had for the ensembles. I had to make some hard choices!

Anyway, enough chit-chat; lets do this...

(PS: Gold color background means original band member; purple means the musician is being offered permanent band membership; and orange means guest musician)

Led Zeppelin (October 1968) - Wasn't this band already perfect at peak? Their first six albums are rightly considered classics by most of the world. They were firing on all cylinders in their first four albums which in my opinion were almost flawless. The next two albums were only slightly lesser. Robert Plant did lose some of the power in his voice around mid 1971 and could only ocassionally hit the high notes from since then. But the rest of the guys were in top notch form until their sixth album. So, how could I make this band better? Led Zeppelin were excellent in achieving all their artistic goals. What I hope to do though, is expand their goals by increasing the scope of their music by bringing in musicians who were influenced by genres like avantgarde, electronic, Western classical, Middle-Eastern classical, Indian classical, jazz, and flamenco - genres which Led Zeppelin did not venture into or venture deep enough unlike say blues, psychedelia, folk and funk.

Since Led Zeppelin were overnight successes once the debut album was released, I am going to add musicians to the band is when the lineup of Led Zeppelin was just being formed in mid-1968. Jimmy Page, then, had a tough task of adding musicians to fullfil tour commitments to the soon-to-be-dissolved Yardbirds after everyone had quit with bassist (converted from rhythm guitarist) Chris Dreja being the final one to bail. He ended up with singer Robert Plant whom he found out through word of mouth. Plant recommended his drummer friend John Bonham. And then finally, John Paul Jones who knew Page from the session days approached him at his wife's behest. And thus began the Led Zeppelin ride.

But what if in a parallel universe, the sequence of events were a bit different? Let's imagine for a second that Chris Dreja did not leave the band before he ended up getting a new band member in. While havign breakfast in a cafe, one morning, he spots a completely rehabilitated Syd Barrett (forced into rehab by concerned friends and relatives once he quit Pink Floyd in March 1968) and mentions to Syd that he is thinking of leaving Yardbirds to pursue photography. Syd had heard Little Games (Yardbirds' final album) just recently and was impressed with Jimmy's guitar work, especially his use of feedback on electric guitar, the Davy Graham inspired Celtic-Arabic-Indian classical tuning on acoustic guitar on the song White Summer, and bowed guitar on a few songs. Syd wondered that with the right people, Page could form a revolutionary band built around his guitar heroics. Syd himself had experimented with psychedelic sound effects on his guitar during his days with Pink Floyd. Syd ends up meeting Jimmy the same evening and asks if he can join Page's new band as guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. Jimmy, however had already met Robert Plant couple of days ago, and was considering giving him and John Bonham the offer. This put Jimmy in a dilemma as Syd was already a big name and a songwriter he respected, and was also someone whom he would have loved to work with. Jimmy had always liked Syd's unconventional psychedelic guitar work with Pink Floyd. And he was sure this would broaden the scope of Led Zeppelin. He signs up Syd on the condition that Syd will help write songs and play guitar but will not be the primary lead vocalist; that honour would go to Robert Plant. A deal is reached as Syd was never too keen on being the sole vocalist (Rick Wright had sung on two and Roger Waters on one of the nine non-instrumental songs on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn). Page offficially gives the offer to Barrett, Plant and Bonham the next day.

The bassist role is still left to be filled. Syd requests that they find a organ player as well since he had always played in tandem with an organ player (Rick Wright) before. Page and Barrett place an advert in the Melody Maker newspaper looking for a bassist and keyboardist. They get several responses; but the most professional sounding musician was one young organ virtuoso called Rick Wakeman who had read the ad in a London pub. Wakeman needed the money and was pretty much broke at the time. The band member liked the young kid's sense of humour, dexterity on keyboards, and quickly signed him. Rick being the only classically-trained musician in the band, would add another dimension to the band's still developing sound. Rick was not only adept in playing church organ and hammond organ; he was a virtuoso on mellotron and was also skilled in playing the then recently produced Moog synthesizers. They also receive a call from ex-Tommorow guitarist Steve Howe who was with this group called Bodast at the time. Bodast coudn't get anyone to release their material and Steve was frustrated with the situation. Steve primarily played guitar but he told Jimmy he was ready to switch to bass. Page who had heard Tommorow's album liked Steve's playing and had heard a lot about him, but was not sure he needed another guitarist-converted-to-bassist situation and politely declined the request.

For the bassist role, Rick suggests they meet this German multi-instrument who is not just great on electric bass, but also sitar, baglama and electric guitar. Rick had met this guy (Eddy Marron) during one of his drinking sessions, when Eddy was on a short visit to London. In the meanwhile, John Paul Jones comes to know of the bassist position from his wife and contacts Page. Rick tracks down Eddy who was just about to head back to Germany and brings him the same night John Paul Jones joins the band for a jam session. The jam session goes well. Eddy is a full-blown virtuoso on electric bass, electric guitar, sitar and baglama. Page is fond of the sitar and is enamored by the idea of having a permanent sitarist in a band and also likes the fact that Eddy has jazz background. Page says he can offer Marron a permanent position if he sticks to sitar and baglama and let Page and Barrett handle the guitar and Jones, the bass guitar, and only contribute electric guitar on songs he helps them write. The band is formed. The line-up is finalized now. The band is a seven member band (Plant - vocals, Page - electric guitar and acoustic guitar, Barrett - slide and rhythm guitar and ocassional lead guitar, Marron - sitar and baglama and ocassional electric guitar, Jones - bass, organ and mandolin, Wakeman - organ, mellotron and moog synthesizer, and Bonham - drums and percussion).

The band acquires few more musicians as guests. First, Jimmy Page decides to call up Steve Howe who had phoned him earlier and tells him he cannot give him a permanent job but Steve is welcome to contribute on a few paid sessions. Jimmy had heard the unreleased Bodast tape Steve had sent to him, hoping Jimmy will change his mind. Jimmy liked Steve's confident and uniquely diverse style of guitar playing that seem to reject blues for the most part and embrace jazz and classical. Jimmy thought have four completely different guitarists on the album (Syd, Steve, Eddy and him) would be truly novel. Steve comes in and plays some Flamenco guitar and Jimmy is very impressed. Steve accepts the guest musician position. Page had a fondness for the medieval instrument hurdy-gurdy which has a droney sound. Page wanted that sound on the album. Page after some research finds a great Irish musician Andy Irvine who was in London touring with his band Sweeney's Men. Andy could also play mandolin and the Greek guitar-like instrument bouzouki. And he was an asset, Jimmy couldn't let go.

The next addition was a surprise. It was none other the Dr. Who theme-creator and electronic pioneer Delia Derbyshire. Delia was then in a band called White Noise who were about to record a revolutionary electronic album made without any synthesizers (which were in mass production only a year before) but with tape editing, splicing, primitive oscillators and audio generators. Jimmy had met Delia in early 1968 when Yardbirds were doing a BBC session. Jimmy, then had a discussion with Delia about the sinister sounds he was trying to produce on the theremin and how he would love to replicate the Dr Who theme on it. Delia has expressed interest in developing a album full of electronic music with Jimmy if he had any such plans in future. Jimmy while recording a song on theremin for the new album, remembered that conversation and decided to ring up Delia. Delia was delighted to be invited as a session musician.

Four of the songs on the album had Indian classical elements, Eddy suggest they bring in his friend Reinhard Karwatky for the sessions. Reinhard is a German multi-instrumentalist who can play bass, double-bass, guitar, cello, sarangi, rebec, trumpet, piano, sitar and synthesizer. He also played a recently invented called superstring which made this incredible sproing sound. He was from a classical background but also liked jazz and electronic music. Page saw a potential for including instruments like sarangi, cello and rebec on the album and ended up using Katwatky (who gladly accepted the offer to work with a band which had Eddy on it) in many of the songs even ones that did not not feature Indian classical music. He also played bass guitar on songs in which John Paul Jones played the keyboards or the mandolin.

Jimmy had one more musician to add on Eddy's suggestion. Eddy had written some jazz rock songs for which he needed a jazz oriented drummer. Jimmy suggested they look for a young rock drummer who played jazz style instead of a seasoned jazz musician (thinking that would not fit into the band sound) to play as a session musician alongside John Bonham who could play percussion on the song. They didn't have to search too much. Their Altlantic label mates Yes had recently formed around the same time and they had a drummer who played who a mix of jazz styled drumming and rock styled drumming. Yes were more than happy to loan Bruford for a few sessions on those jazz rock songs. He also played on an string-laden chamber music-like song which incorporatec classical forms from all across the world. On that song he played drums with John Bonham (both bringing their much different styles into it); Jimmy Page played Celtic-tuned acoustic guitar; Barrett played bluegrass-styled lap steel guitar; Howe played Spanish Flamenco guitar, Eddy Marron played sitar and baglama, Irvine played bouzouki and hurdy gurdy, John Paul Jones played mandolin, Karwatky played rebec and sarangi, Wakeman played the harpsichord, Derbyshire played the audio generator, Plant on harmonica and tambourine. The song was a twelve-minute instrumental epic and would be the most well-received song on the album.

Page and company started recorded a sprawling double album in October 1968 in break-neck speed. The only thing that was left was naming the band. The name The New Yardbirds which they had at the begining of the recording did not make much sense as the new music they were working on was far more adventurous, heavier, virtuosic and exploratory than anything The Yardbirds. Recollecting an old incident that happened before one of the recording sessions from May 1966, in which Page had played with Jeff Beck, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins and Keith Moon (which would yield the very first heavy and progressive song Beck's Bolero), Page decides to name the band Led Zeppelin. Keith Moon and John Entwistle (who never joined the session) had remarked that starting on a new project like this would go down like a lead balloon. Jimmy thought that the name Led Zeppelin (with the 'a' dropped from lead) would make an appropriate name for the new band. The project was mighty as the mighty Hindenburg after all!

The double album was simply titled Led Zeppelin and released quickly in October 1968. It had elements of blues, folk, Indian classical, Middle-Eastern classical, Western classical, avantgarde, psychedelia, Celtic, jazz, and even flamenco! The album is considered a landmark album which is among the very first heavy psych and progressive rock albums predating Black Sabbath's heavy psych/rock debut and King Crimson's progressive rock debut by an year.

That was quite a story, wasn't it? Now let's do the rest of them!

Yes (November 1969) - This fictional lineup is only possible because of two fictional events in our alternate universe - 1) It is not just guitarist Peter Banks who is vocal against use of orchestra while they were recording their second album. It is the keyboard player Tony Banks as well. As the result of the tensions in the band both of them get fired and plans to make the sophomore album with an orchestra are abandoned 2) Ahmet Artegun, the Atlantic label chief hears of disarray in the Yes camp and also of plans from other label executives to drop them (because the first albums sank without a trace and second album got cancelled) and decides to help them.

So in our alternate set of events Artegun decides to reach out to Led Zeppelin who are Yes' labelmates to help them, since he likes the music of Yes and thinks they have potential to succeed. He arranges for a meeting between Chris Squire and Jimmy Page, who quickly become friends. Squire tells Page that he and Anderson have already composed few songs but they needed guitar and keyboards on it. Page says that he wants full songwriting credit on those songs if he were to play guitar on it. He also said he can get John Paul Jones to play keyboards on it but this would be in no way a merger of Yes and Zeppelin and both Jones and Page would be on the album only as guest songwriters and musicians. A deal is reached. They still needed permanent guitarist and keyboardist though.

Squire mentions to Page that they were courting a talented keyboardist called Rick Wakeman who had made quite a name for himself as a session musician with David Bowie. But Wakeman was not sure he wanted to stop being a session musician and join the band. Page mentions that he knows an electric bass player from an unknown jazz band that opened for Led Zeppelin while they were touring in Germany that March. That bass player also played guitar, mellotron, sitar and baglama very well. Page says their guitarist and keyboardist problem could be solved in one stroke. Squire decides to respect Page's opinion flies to Germany to meet this guy. The guy in question is virtuoso guitarist Eddy Marron who was playing bass for the Jochen Brauer Sextet. Squire meets him and instantly takes a liking to him. Eddy is much older than Squire though (born in 1938, 10 years older than Chris), but Squire is quite sure he got the right man. He convinces Eddy to leave the Jochen Brauer Sextet who were not having success. Eddy who had always played in jazz bands says to Squire that he will only join a rock band on one condition - that they recruit a jazz drummer. His choice is Swiss jazz drummer (based in Germany) called Peter Giger, with whom he had jammed at the Frankfurt jazz festival that year. Peter not only plays drums; but is a maestro of percussion playing percussion instruments from Africa, Middle-East, India and Carribean. Squire and Eddy meet Giger and Chris is mighty impressed with Giger's collection of percussion instruments and his sorcery on them. He still has doubts while heading back to the UK; his concerns being whether the other Yes members will accept much older Giger and Marron and also whether Bruford will accept another percussionist.

Back in England, Bruford personally goes to meet Wakeman aand convinces him to take up the Yes offer. Squire gets the visa for Marron and Giger and gets them to the UK paying for the travel with his own finances. They meet Page, Anderson and Bruford. Anderson is ecstatic after hearing Marron play (guitar, sitar and electric sitar) on the rehearsal of the song Perpetual Change. Bruford, also, has no objections to adding the much older Giger whom he did not see as a threat but more as a guru. Bruford who always wanted to play jazz is infact thrilled to have another jazz drummer and a jazz guitarist in the band. This would pull the band into more jazzy direction. The lineup seemed to be finalized but Anderson who was very keen on getting another guitarist he knew, urged everyone that they should listen to this guy called Steve Howe. Steve could play guitar in a variety of styles (classical, flamenco, country, ragtime, rock, blues). He was then with this band called Bodast who were not going anywhere and failed to get any of the labels to release their recordings. Squire and Page thought it made sense because both Bruford and Squire had picked the band members and it was only fair to let Anderson to exercise his power as well. Steve is brought in for audition. Everyone in the band is stunned with his expertise on various guitars. He also brings in some original compositions he had recorded with Bodast and the band is certain they can rework them into their songs. So Steve is added as the final band member. The seven member band (Anderson - vocals, Squire - bass, Wakeman - mellotron, organ, moog, Howe - guitar, Portuguese guitar, electric sitar, Bruford - drums, Giger - percussion, Eddy Marron - sitar, baglama, mellotron) is finalized with Page and Jones as additional guest musicians.

The band start recording a massive triple album called Close To The Edge. They add three further musians as guest musicians. On Jon Anderson's suggestion they nab Greek keyboardist Vangelis Papathanassiou who was with the Greek band Aphrodite's Child at that time. Anderson had heard the their single "Rain And Tears" and was sure Vangelis could contribute greatly to the few psychedelic-tinged songs on the album. Vangelis accepted the guest musician role and played organ, piano, flute, vibraphone and percussion on the album. Vangelis also helped Squire and Page in the production department. Page suggested that they invite the recently recuperated ex-Pink Floyd guitarist Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd to perform on slide guitar on few of the weird psychedelic and avantgarde oriented songs that Squire and Bruford had wrriten, and on which Page played the theremin. Syd had recently released his fairly successful first solo album after splitting from Pink Floyd in 1968. Syd was suffering from mental and nervous breakdown when he quit Pink Floyd. He had checked in to rehab and fully recovered by then. This move would prove to be a masterstroke as would drive loads of fans to this album especially Pink Floyd. Led Zeppelin fans also flocked due to the presence of Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. The album was adverstised as Yes with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Syd Barrett to build up the hype.

Yes didn't completely drop the idea of recording songs with an orchestra. Jimmy Page using his name was able to get the London Symphony Orchestra to play (only on sides 5 and 6 of the triple LP) on a concerto for strings and other instruments written by Anderson, Howe and Wakeman. Anderson played harp, Wakeman played harpsichord, church organ, moog synth and mellotron, Howe played Portuguese guitar, Chris Squire playing the 12-string guitar and bass, Eddy Marron played the sitar and baglama, John Paul Jones played mandolin, Syd Barrett played pedal steel and slide guitar, Vangelis playing piano and organ drones and Jimmy Page played the theremin and Peter Giger played tabla and other percussion and Bruford played the drums. They also got female virtuoso pianist Martha Argerich who was recording with the London Symphony Orchestra to play a capella solos on it.

The resulting triple album called Close To The Edge is truly marvelous and one of a kind. Few of the songs like I've Seen All Good People, Roundabout and Siberian Khatru are massive hits (even thought not released as singles). Even the epic title song and the concerto get a lot of praise and become fan favorites. Close To The Edge goes on to be considered as the first world fusion album - a mix of rock, psychedelic, classical, jazz fusion, ragtime, avantgarde, electronic, Middle-Eastern classical and Indian classical.

Pink Floyd (September 1967) - Anyone who is a serious fan of Pink Floyd know the Pink Floyd early saga with Syd Barrett and then with Roger Waters taking control eventually to the point of dictatorship which ultimately led the band to its artistic doom by the 80s. In my alternate universe, some of the events in Pink Floyd history are slightly changed. Our alternate history ends up saving one life and one career (more about that later) and also saves a great talent from being destroyed. This alternate history is based on one fact. After Syd agreed to leave the band, Rick Wright considered leaving the band himself and joining Syd. So in our alternate world, series of slightly different events result in Rick Wright leaving Pink Floyd soon after Syd Barrett leaves spurring a series of events which results in this marvelous ensemble I have envisioned for them.

In our alternate world, Pink Floyd's producer Norman Smith who produced Pink Floyd first two albums and the fourth album, is the key to changing history. In the real world, Norman Smith didn't completely understand what sort of band Pink Floyd were and kept pushing them towards standard '60s pop even though they did not always listen to him. He did keep the band focused during the The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn sessions but had issues with Syd Barrett not following his suggestions and turned to Roger Waters for support considering him the real leader (though Syd wrote most of the songs). Norman's presence empowered Waters and the rest. It was Norman Smith (along with the rest of the band) who opposed (Syd and Pink Floyd managers Andrew King and Peter Jenner) against the release of Syd's song Jugband Blues as a single. In our world Norman Smith gets frustrated with Syd enough during the recording of The Piper At The Gates of Dawn that he quits midway through the album, leaving the band to produce the rest of the album. This doesn't alter the the sound of the album as the engineer, Pete Bown, was truly responsible for the exquisite production, anyway. The result is the content of the album is somewhat different compared to the real world version. Our version of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn has a slightly longer version of Interstellar Overdrive and includes the real world single See Emily Play (which is not released as a single).

With Norman Smith out of the picture, Pink Floyd get more creative control and the pressure is somewhat off on producing catchy singles. By end of May, Syd's mental health due to LSD abuse slowly starts deteriorating. They release their second single Remember A Day/Apples And Oranges in July. The single is successful. By August, sensing that Barrett is quickly spiralling downward, Waters and band managers King and Jenner convince Barrett to meet Scottish pyschiatrist R. D. Laing, who convinces Syd to enter rehabilitation. Syd enter rehab on one condition that all the songs he had recorded until August be released as an EP as they were planning to include it in their second album (EMI was opposed to it considering it uncommerical). The EP simply titled The Pink Floyd EP contains the Syd penned songs - Scream Thy Last Scream, Vegetable Man, and Jugband Blues, Wright's song Paint Box, Water's song Set The Controls At The Heart of The Sun and the group instrumentals In The Beechwoods and Reaction in G. The EP would be successful as well. Syd enters rehab on August 12th 1967. Pink Floyd immediately announce to the press that Syd is on a break due to health issues (without announcing the state of his mental health). Rogers Waters hires his old friend Dave Gilmour as the guest guitarist within a week to play Syd's parts for the upcoming tours. Rick Wright voices disapproval about hiring Gilmour without informing Syd and tells them they should just cancel the tour dates. He mentions to the band managers King and Jenner that if Syd is not welcome back to the band, he will quit in protest. King and Jenner learning of this, quit the band. Syd is extremely annoyed when he hears that Waters has hired another guitarist (even though Gilmour is his old friend as well) without consulting him. He has an argument with Waters and quits the band. Syd's departure is announced to the press on August 28th 1967. Rick threatens to quit but EMI executives urge him to stay on until their second album.

Pressured by EMI to quickly salvage the fall out from fans because of Syd's departure, Pink Floyd with Gilmour as full-time member, now, start recording their second album and their third single on September 1st. The single Corporal Clegg/Let There Be More Light quickly released in mid-September 1967 tanks. The recording sessions turn out to be unproductive and problematic as Waters and Wright are out of ideas and Gilmour and Mason not confident enough. The band works on a epic song called A Saucerful Of Secrets but Wright is not satisfied with it. The only other song recorded in three weeks is the Wright song See-Saw which Waters hates. Wright and Waters are no longer in speaking terms. While in rehab, Syd meets another pyschedelic musician Brian Jones of Rolling Stones there (Brian Jones quit the Rolling Stones in May 1967 in the midst of recording the album Their Satanic Majestic Request after he had a fight with Keith Richards over his ex-girlfriend who dumped him for Keith in March 1967). The two having recovered after a month in rehab by mid September 1967 quickly become friends and discuss ideas about how to start a new band with elements of blues, psychedelia and Indian classical. Brian suggests recruiting John Paul Jones with whom he had recorded his last song "She's A Rainbow" with the Rolling Stones. John Paul Jones is a talented session musician who could play many instruments very well just like Brian Jones and both were friends. Syd accepts. All they needed is a keyboardist and drummer now.

Before they could find the drummer, Rick Wright who had quit Pink Floyd on September 21st because of acrimonius sessions with Waters for the second album, approaches them. Syd welcomes Wright to the new band. Brian says he can play drums and percussion and there is no need to add another member. The four-member band (Syd Barret, Brian Jones, John Paul Jones and Rick Wright) of talented underrated musicians call themselves Stars. Brian Jones approaches EMI to sign up Stars. EMI executives who are puzzled by the new development think the best thing for them to do is merge Stars with Pink Floyd. The current incarnation of Pink Floyd were supposed to record the second album and they were not seeing any results. They approach Waters. Water is okay to bury the hatchet. Syd Barrett, however is not sure he wants to merge with his old band. Gilmour and Mason tell Syd it would be better to use the Pink Floyd for his new project. None of them Pink Floyd members have any objections to the big name Brian Jones and the mild mannered virtuoso John Paul Jones in the band. Syd says he will accept the merger on certain conditions. He is planning a concept album and he would hire guest musicians to record on the album, especially a female vocalist. He was also thinking of getting guest virtuoso guitarist on few songs on the album since none of the three guitarists (Gilmour, Brian Jones and himself) were virtuosos. He was also planning to explore sounds outside of rock and psychedelic rock and he wanted the band to be open to it. Roger Waters, Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason have not much choice; they have a short discussion within themselves and decide it is best for Pink Floyd to merge with Stars, as they were running out of songwriting ideas and Syd was a great songwriter and Rick Wright was a big part of their sound. And addition of Brian Jones and John Paul Jones would only make the band stronger. They all shake hands and the deal is reached. The new Pink Floyd has seven musicians!

The new Pink Floyd quickly records a double album simply titled Pink Floyd in late September 1967. Brian Jones uses his communication skills and influence to get an important guest musician for the album. He manages to encite Jimmy Page of Yardbirds to record some Celtic and Indian classical flavored folk songs on acoustic guitar. Syd had listened to Yardbirds' song White Summer released in July that year and liked it very much. He accepts Jones' proposal. Page plays theremin and bowed guitar on few of the space rock songs. And also assist engineer Pete Bown in production. As per Syd's idea they decided to add female vocals to the album. The female vocals are provided by Syd's choice - Judy Dyble who was then the lead singer with the then recently formed electric folk band Fairport Convention. She also plays autoharp and recorder on the album. Brian Jones says he likes the band Tommorow and their single "My White Bicyle" which was released in May 1967 and suggests that they should get their virtuoso guitarist and sitarist Steve Howe to record on a few songs. His opinion is backed by Jimmy Page. Syd after listening to "My White Bicyle" is convinced and so is the rest of the band. Steve is called in to play some sitar and acoustic guitar. e

Brian has one more suggestion. He tells Syd that on the Indian classical based epic song which Barrett had composed with assistance from Page, Brian Jones and Howe, they need to have tablas on it. Brian had met this German bassist Reinhard Kawatky when on tour with Rolling Stones in Germany, a year before. Reinhard was adept in the moog synth which was then recently released and was proficient on bass, guitar, sitar, rebec, trumpet and sarangi. Page said that bringing in Karwatky would be a good thing as he could bring in new ideas for the Indian classic epic they were envisioning. There was another blues rock jam which Syd had written with assistance from Brian Jones who was very much a blues fan. Brian suggested they get his friend blues guitarist Peter Green who was a blues guitar legend already and had recently formed a band called Fleetwood Mac (and had played in John Mayal's Bluesbreakers replacing none other than Eric Clapton). Jimmy Page who had always admired Peter Green was more than happy to jam with him. The jam had Green and Page on lead guitar, Howe on sitar and Portuguese acoustic guitar, Barrett on slide guitar, Gilmour on pedal steel, Brian Jones on rhythm guitar, John Paul Jones on bass and mandolin, Karwatky playing rebec with a rhythm band of Wright playing piano and organ and Mason playing drums. Roger Waters did not participate and Judy Dyble sat out on the song as this was a pure instrummental.

The album goes on to be a monumental psychedelic rock (which woud be massively influential to both progressive rock, space rock, jazz fusion, folk rock, blues rock and heavy metal subgenres in future) masterpiece which even surpasses The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn in terms of importance and impact to the rock music world. The album generates a lot of hype due to presence of Jimi Hendrix who was extremely popular in 1967, though he is present on only one song. Also the return of Brian Jones and Syd Barrett generated a lot of press. The result is that album is a massive success in the UK and also breaks throught to the US. Brian Jones would continue with Pink Floyd and quit psychedelic drugs. Syd Barrett would also stop taking drugs as well and have a much longer career than in the real world. l said I would save a life, didn't I?

Tangerine Dream (June 1973) - Tangerine Dream were doing something unique in the 70s. They started out as sort of an experimental rock band who were marrying the concepts of avantgarde and psychedelic rock music with their debut album. With their sophomore album, they slowly moved more into spacey electronic space music with a tinge of rock. With their third album they eventually completely moved outside of rock music into pure space ambient drone music. They brought back a bit of rock for their third album while still being ambient. And with their fifth landmark album they setlled on their classic (and commercial) sound where they started making use of sequencers and slow rhythmic melodic ambient music. They were among the very first electronic bands to make extensive use of synthesizers. At their peak they were a power trio. So extending their lineup to 12 is a tough ask. Well let me try.

As of June 1973, Tangerine Dream has had a stable line up for more than a year and they have released 2 albums (Zeit and Atem) which are monumental ambient albums. Those albums are critical successes but not commerically successful. Edgar Froese was planning to move the band's music to a more structured and melodic direction that would be more commercial. They had their fans but needed to expand their fanbase without selling out. On a plane trip to Berlin, Edgar Froese and company ended up meeting Klaus Schulze and discussed the current state and future of electronic music and rock music. Klaus has this idea of making an electronic album with synthesizers but also include rock instruments processed electronically. Edgar had tried that with Zeit (recorded cello parts and treated them electronically) and Klaus had tried something similar on the Irrlicht album (electronically treated organ and classical orchestra music played backward). But those albums were focussed on processing mostly acoustic and electric music instruments with primitive electronics or acoustic keyboard instruments to sound like electronic music. And The Who and Pink Floyd were using modern synths with rock instruments to create rock music with electronic flavor with albums like Who's Next and The Dark Side Of The Moon. But the reverse was never done. Use modern electronics to process rock instruments and play that in tandem with modern synths to create electronic music with a rock flavor (sort of what trance, techno and house music will do in the 90s in the real world).

Edgar liked the idea but suggested that they do a double album - one LP devoted to pure electronic music produced mostly by electronic synthesizers and other keyboard instruments like mellotron and organ and another LP devoted to processsed acoustic and electric instruments in tandem with modern synths and electronics. Egar invited Klaus as a guest musician to perform drum parts on the rock-oriented LP. Klaus and Edgar decided they will get guest musicians to record other rock instruments like guitar, bass guitar, organ etc. They started inviting musicians they knew. Klaus had played with guitarist Manuel Gottsching in Ash Ra Tempel. He was the first to be invited. Gottsching himself was moving more into an electronic direction but he still played guitar. So he gladly accepted the offer to record with Tangerine Dream. Christopher Franke suggested that they meet with his ex-band Agitation Free and get them to release electric bassist Michael Gunther for a few jam sessions. That worked out too. They also borrowed their synth player Michael Hoenig who was already experienced playing electronic synthesizers in a proper rock band like Agitation Free. He was more adept in playing the moog synthesizer than anyone in the band and always played the instrument not with an classical or psychedelic bent like most synth players did at that time, but more in an avantgarde and ambient fashion like Brian Eno. He was a lot more technically skilled than Eno, though and fit the band better.

Since Chris Franke and Klaus Shulze had invited band members from their older bands to perform on the album, Edgar was keen to get his picks in. He thought he could get one musician each from Tangerine's Dream first and second albums which were definitely more rock oriented than their previous two. His two picks were Conrad Schnitzler from the first album to record violin and cello parts and Steve Shroyder from the second album to record organ. Conrad joined but Steve who was not too keen on the project declined but suggested they could get Rick Wright of Pink Floyd who was vacationing in Berlin at that time and whom he had known for some time. Rick Wright, fresh off being an important contributor to the success of The Dark Side Of The Moon, was interested but not sure Pink Floyd and their management would allow him to record with Tangerine Dream. Edgar called up Roger Waters and Dave Gilmour and asked them if they had any issues with getting Rick to record a few organ parts. Waters and Gilmour who were themselves on vacation did not see anything wrong with that. Rick would eventually also play xylophone, vibraphone, piano, electric paino and celesta on the album.

Rick suggested to Edgar that they get ex-King Crimson's Ian McDonald who not only played saxophone but also a multitude of instruments like flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, mellotron, harpsichord, piano, organ and vibraphone on King Crimson's landmark progressive rock album In The Court Of The Crimson King. McDonald to everyone's suprise decided to contribute as a multi-instrumentalist. Ian brought in some classical music element to the album. Edgar and Rick discussed about getting a seasoned saxophonist who could solo on a few songs. Pink Floyd had used a saxophone to great effect in Dark Side Of The Moon. Ian McDonald could play the sax but Edgar wanted a real virtuoso who could play complex parts. Rick who liked Canterbury music and was fan of Soft Machine and Caravan. They got the guest musician who played with both Caravan (their group lead guitarist and singer Pye's older brother Jimmy Hastings) and Soft Machine. Edgar was interested on also getting Theremin player. After much research they ended up meeting Russian theremin inventer Leon Theremin. Leon suggested they meet Lithuanian-American Clara Rockmore who worked with him in their younger years. Clara was 62 at that time but still active. She, after a great deal of hesitation, offered to help on the electronic space rock epic song.

And so it was all set - a potpourri of musicians from different background. The resulting double album called Phaedra made by Tangerine Dream and friends is a landmark album in the field of electronic and ambient music. This was the first Tangerine Dream album to use sequencers and it made up a trance-inducing steady rhythm based hypnotic experience. This would turn up to the best album Tangerine Dream ever made. This album also brought them closer to the rock listening audience as it was advertised as the first electronic rock album, though only one of the LPs sounded anything close to rock.


Kraftwerk (Aug 1978) -
For each of the five bands above, I have chosen a seperate phase of their career to create the fantasy all-star lineups - Led Zeppelin (formation), Yes (first lineup change pre-success), Pink Floyd (turmoil - key member having nervous breakdown and eventually leaving) and Tangerine Dream (pre-commercial breakthrough). For Kraftwerk, I am chosing a different phase. I am chosing the phase when they are already very successful (especially for a German experimental band) and entering their peak. So our story begins when with the lineup of Ralf Hutter, Florian Schneider, Wolfgang Flur and Karl Bartos, Kraftwerk had already started recording their next album - one of the first synth pop albums, The Man-Machine. It is at this time they run into Giorgio Moroder who was producing American glam-pop band Sparks' album No. 1 in Heaven next door. Moroder suggested that Kraftwerk increase the scope of their album (which he liked very much when he listened to the demos) and incorporate some pop, disco and rock influences into it. Kraftwerk members liked the idea and they decided they would make a sprawling double album instead of the planned single album. Moroder joined up as a guest musician and producer for the band.

Moroder and Florian needed some bass, guitar and real drums on a few songs. Kraftwerk first decided to bring back Klaus Roder from the Autobahn album sessions to add some electric violin touches on the few rock oriented songs. For drums, they got French disco icon Marc Cerrone whose album Supernature aka Cerrone 3 released the previous year was a big hit. For the guitar and bass, Moroder phoned up American disco band Chic. Chic members Nile Rodgers (guitar) and Bernard Edwards (bass) were recruited. Moroder wanted some Kraftwerk to do more disco-oriented songs. Moroder who liked Bee Gees music liked the bass on their disco albums of the late-70s and thought it would be nice to get their synth bass player Blue Weaver to perform on few of the songs. Kraftwerk accepted Moroder's proposal.

One of the most suprising guest artist on the album was Indian tabla player and percussionist who played tabla with a style which had infuences of Indian classical as well as African polyrhythms. Moroder had heard fellow Italian act Aktuala (with whom Gurtu had played on the album La Terra) and thought Kraftwerk could sample some tabla sounds to make a synth-raga of sorts. Hutter and Schneider liked the idea. This addition added another dimension to an already diverse album.

The final piece of the puzzle was the punk/new wave band Blondie who were moving to a pop and disco direction with producer Mike Chapman in charge. They were already recording their masterpiece Parallel Lines when they received a call from Moroder. Moroder wanted their lead singer Debbie Harry to contribute vocals on a few songs which Kraftwerk had written. The band had listened to the previous Kraftwerk album Trans Europe Express. They were more than happy to loan Debbie to record with Kraftwerk and Moroder.

And lo it was born - The Man Machine, the disco and computer music laden electronic-pop masterpiece with hints of new wave, psychedelia and funk by Kraftwerk and friends.

Popol Vuh (Mar 1974) - So we have had five ensembles before this and they all were formed at different phases of the bands' careers. This one is going to be no different in being different than the rest. This time I am going to form the imaginary large ensemble in between 2 different peaks when in my opinion they were going through some what of a transition phase between ambient classical of Hossiana Mantra (1972) to ambient rock of Letzte Tage and Letzte Nachte (1976). As of early 1974, Popol were having a mini set back. They had lost three members (Connny Veit - guitar, Klaus Weise - tamboura, Robert Eliscu - oboe) and guest musician violinist Fritz Sonnleitner with only electric guitarist and drummer Daniel Fichelscher and vocalist Djong Yun alongside group leader Florian Fricke. Florian decided to break up the band and Daniel Fichelscher went and rejoined Amon Duul II. At the same the psychedelic folk band Broselmaschine leader Peter Bursch was looking for a new venture. Broselmaschine had released just one album in 1971 and had broken up. Florian Fricke and Peter Bursch ran into each other while attending a Ravi Shankar concert in Berlin. They both meet with Ravi Shankar and end up discussing how much their music influenced they were with Ravi Shankar's Hindustani classical ragas. Ravi Shankar had worked with jazz and Western classical music before but had never thought of mixing Indian classical with folk, psychedelia, rock or electronic music. Ravi Shankar wanted to explore it but did not want his name on it. Ravi agreed on one condition that if they can convince his dear friend sarodist Ali Akbar Khan to join the project, he would join as well. Ali Akbar Khan who was also in Germany to join Ravi for a few concerts was available going to be in Germany for a month like Ravi was to be, and agreed to the project when Bursch and Fricke told him that Ravi was interested in it and was only waiting on Ali to join to confirm.

This new band Florian Fricke on piano and harpsichord, Peter Bursch on guitar, sitar and flute, Ravi Shankar on sitar and Ali Akbar Khan on sarod. Now the idea was to bring in guest musicians who played a variety of instruments. The next thing to do was to find a percussionist who could play a mix of styles which sounded like the spiritual style which Florian Fricke was into, but was also compatible with the idealogy of Ravi Shankar. After a lot of digging and listening to many current world music records, they ended up with a husand-wife team of Walter and Laura Maioli who were with the Italian world music group Aktuala who had released their debut just an year ago and were then working on their second album. Laura played the tamboura, percusion and whistles. Walter was a true multi-instrumentalist who played oboe, flute, harmonica, the India bamboo flute (bansuri), piccolo, djembe, naj, maranzano, and percussion. Peter suggested that they recruit Willi Kismer who played guitar and waldzither (a type of German mandolin) on the Broselmaschine album.

Another great world music like album which was released an year ago was German band Embryo's We Keep On which mixed jazz, Arabic classical and Indian classical. Bursch suggested they get their percussionist Christian Burchard who was the leader. Burchard played drums but also was very skilled at marimba, vibraphone, hammered dulcimer and mellotron. When Bursch contacted Burchard and asked him if he would like to record with Ravi Shankar and Florian Fricke, he was more than thrilled. The next addition was none other than high profile jazz bassist and cellist Eberhard Weber who had just recently recorded a milestone ECM chamber jazz album called The Colours Of Chloe. Eberhard's style owed as much to Western classic as to jazz. On Eberhard's suggestion they got female classical pianist Brigitte Engerer to play alongside Florian Fricke. Eberhard said that Brigitte's relaxed piano style complemented Florian's introspective and spiritual sytle of piano play. The rest agreed. Ravi Shankar seeing how the new group is a melding into a mix of jazz, Hindustani classical, Arabic classical, Western classical and folk, suggested they get synthesizers on the album to get an electronic feel to the album as well. Florian had abandoned electronic music so he did not want to play the synthesizer. The engineer Dieter Dierks with whom Popol Vuh were recording had heard this really odd Swedish band called Algarnas Tragdad. He was really impressed by their album Framtiden which had elements of psychedelic rock, space rock, electronic, raga, folk and avantgarde. He thought their keyboard player who could play moog modular and mellotron would be nice addition. Ravi Shankar gave his blessings to the addition and Florian eventually agreed as well.

Florian wanted to get his violinist Frtiz Sonnleitner back. Fritz had guested in the classic Hossiana Mantra and also the previous album Seligpreisung. But Fritz was unavaiable during that period because of a family emergency. Bursch suggested using Trond Villa of the Norwegian folk rock band Folque. Trond played the Norwegian hardanger fiddle, an instrument which is similar to regular fiddle except it has more sympathetic strings and is more resonant. The addition of hardanger fiddle, used in Norwegian folk music, added another exotic instrument to the album. The final addition was Danish jazz trumpeteer Palle Mikkelborg whom Eberhard Weber knew very well and who played a very relaxed slow hypnotic style of jazz music called ECM style jazz. Eberhard was sure that Mikkelborg's style would fit in well with the sound of the album. Mikkelborg also played piano and flugelhorn and also electronic instruments like then recently released RMI keyboard computer.

Fricke and Bursch decided it is best to call this new incarnation as Popol Vuh as Florian did more composing than Bursch. Ravi Shankar played as a guest musician and co-composed one epic song with Fricke. Bursch was added to Popol Vuh as a band member, so were Jan Ternald (whose band had broken up after one album just like Broselmaschine) and Willi Kismer. Palle who did quite a bit of co-composing with Fricke on the album also added as a full-time member once the recording sessions were over. With a wide array of instruments used on the album, the resulting double album Einsjager Und Siebenjager was a landmark album which fused ambient, neo-classical, Indian classical, Western classical, Arabic classical, drone, psychedelia, chamber jazz, electronic and folk music.

Caravan (Apr 1971) - Caravan hit its peak with two masterpieces (If I Could Do It All Over Again, I Would Do It All Over You and In the Land Of Grey and Pink) in a row and then suffered a sudden setback which would result in the band never reaching the peak again. In 1971 after the release, keyboard player David Sinclair abruptly left the group disgusted with the lack of commercial success. This would prove to be ironic given that Caravan would be the only band in that whole subgenre (Canterbury scene) to have any commercial success. But that's besides the point. They would recruit fellow Canterbury musician Steve Miller to join as keyboard player who would pull the band in a different more jazz oriented direction; this would also destroy the band chemistry. The next album Waterloo Lilly is not as good as their previous two. For the followup For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night which was more artitistically successful, they would gain back David Sinclair but lose his cousin, the bassist Richard Sinclair. So essentially their third album - In the Grey and Pink would be the final album to have both the SInclairs together. And the last time they had that winning combination. As they say never fuck with a winning team...

In our alternate world, before David Sinclair quits, group leader Pye Hastings decides that they need to reproduce their studio sound while playing live and also improvise upon it. So they get his elder brother who had contributed a lot on the previous albums to become a full time member. Jimmy's hiring would alter the band's history. Once David Sinclair leaves the band, Jimmy suggests they do not replace David Sinclair immediately but get someone to try reproduce David Sinclair's sound live. They decide to get keyboard player Steve Miller as a salaried musician (instead of a band member) for their live performances. The band while touring quickly realize that Steve, though extremely talented is quite a different type of keyboard player than David Sinclair. David Sinclair played organ in a primarily psychedelic style while Miller was intent on playing jazz styled piano and electric piano. The keyboardist role would become a bit of a question mark as they ponder if they should get someone else as a full-time band member than Steve Miller.

The four band members with the guest keyboardist decide to record a studio album in April 1971. Right before the recording of the album, Jimmy suggests that the new album follow their prog rock peer Yes' idea of everyone soloing together. Yes had released The Yes Album that February and it was the most successful prog rock album thus far. Since Pye was not very confident playing solos, the band decided to hire another guitarist as a guest musician. Steve suggested his younger brother Phil who was a talented guitarist and had played with him in the rock band Delivery in 1970 and was not afraid to solo. Delivery had already broken up. Pye liked the idea and Phil joins as a session guitar player, playing on all songs. Pye and Richard wrote a few songs that required presence of soprano saxophone. Jimmy who primarily played tenor and alto saxophone suggested they recruit Soft Machine's bassist Hugh Hopper's older brother Brian Hopper who was with The Wilde Flowers and who could play both guitar and soprano saxophone. Brian who played on Soft Machine's second album as a guest musician had retired a year earlier. Pye and Jimmy promise him this would be a one-off and lure him for one final gig in the music business. Once Brian joins, he informs his younger brother about the massive double album project Caravan was developing. Hugh offers Caravan some songwriting contribution and ocassional bass and joins as another guest musician. He mentions to Caravan that they need to get back David Sinclair in the band as he completed their sound and takes the responsibility of convincing David to rejoin. One of the reasons, David had left because he felt he was becoming stagnant playing with the same musicians. With so many new musicians involved in the new Caravan album, David accepts Hugh's request and joins the band once again.

Now Caravan are a 5 man band (Pye Hastings - guitar and vocals, Jimmy Hastings - sax, flute, Richard Sinclair - bass and vocals, David Sinclair - organ, mellotron, harpsichord, Richard Coughlan - drums) with 4 guest musicians (Phil Miller - guitar, Steve Miller - piano, electric piano, Brian Hopper - saxophone, guitar and Hugh Hopper - bass). And things seem all set until the recently recuperated (from mental illness) Syd Barrett who was friends with Soft Machine walked into Advision studio, offering Soft Machine any help they need. Soft Machine had already recorded their fifth album simply titled Fifth. Hugh Hopper who was in the studio doing post-production on the album sugggests he meet with Caravan at Island studio in London, where they had just started recording the album. Syd was comfortable doing this as Hugh was already helping Caravan with the album. Pye who admired Syd's songwriting skills traded ideas with Syd and it soon become apparent that getting Syd into the band would be a great boost and also good for publicity. Syd had recorded 2 solo albums before but had largely disappeared from the public eye. He was still well-known among rock fans he being once part of Pink Floyd after all. Pye in fact decided to make him a full time member. Syd ends up co-wroting about fifty percent of the songs on the album providing some lead and slide guitar. This would eventually end up drawing lots of early Pink Floyd fans to Caravan.

Syd who was then dating female singer Bobbie Watson of the freak-folk band Comus (whom Syd had opened for in the few live gigs with Soft Machine as backing promoting his solo studio albums) live in early 1971, tells Pye he could like to have some of the songs he has written to have female lead and background vocals and Bobbie had a beautiful voice. Comus had disbanded by now and Bobbie was free to appear on this album. Since Pye liked the idea of female vocals on the album, she was recruited. Pye Hastings who was very impressed with Dutch band Supersister's (who sounded the closest to Caravan and were even considered Canterbury Scene inspite of being from nowhere near Cantebury, UK) debut album, suggested they get their keyboardist Robert Jan Stips who was proficient on moog and vibraphone to record for a few songs, as David Sinclair and Steve Miller were mostly proficient with organ, harpsichord and mellotron. The other three group leaders - Richard Sinclair, David Sinclair and Syd Barrett had no objections.

The double album recorded in April 1971 was the biggest success Caravan would have. This was met with generated great anticipation since Syd was now part of the band. It also featured the best musicians from Canterbury playing at their peaks. The line up was also unique because it had three pairs of brothers and one pair of cousins. This album also brought the Canterbury scene music into mainstream. It was progressive rock but far more whimsical and jazz and psychedelic based than the mainstream ones. This album also resulted in pushing the hey-dey of progressive rock longer into the late 70s.

Dzyan (May 1977) - This, I say is my by best of the twelve imaginary line-up here. I saved the best for the month I was born, haven't I? In fact I say they started recording this album on May 18th, my birthday. And not just that, I also have got a musician born on May 18th in there. Anyway, back to this ensemble - If not the best, this line-up is certainly the most technically skilled one. In fact I would say there is not a single musician in this line-up who is anything short of a full-blown virtuoso. It also has collection of musicians who play my most favorite stringed instruments - the instruments coming from all across the world like sitar, sarangi, tanpura and santoor (India) , baglama (Turkey), guitarra (Portugal), flamenco guitar (Spain), kora (Mali), harp (Ireland), hurdy-gurdy (somwhere in Europe or Middle-East), bouzouki (Greece), mandolin and mandola (Italy), lute (most likely Midde-East), hammered dulcimer (Germany?), rebab (Iran) and Zither (Germany). It also features my favorite keyboard instruments - harpsichord (somewhere in Europe), hammond organ (USA), church organ (Greece), minimoog (USA) and mellotron (England). It has features many reed instruments (played by a certain musician who plays string, reed and percussion instruments from all over the world) and many percussion instruments (played by another drummer who collects percussion instruments from all over the world).

Dzyan (pronounced dhyan) broken up once they released their third album Electric Silence which is honestly one of the most insane albums I have ever heard. It features a variety of percussion instruments and string instruments played in a free jazz kind of music with a world music bent. The album was truly world music because it had instruments from Africa, India, Middle-East and the Carribbean apart from the usual drum, bass and guitar. Every member of the power trio was a multi-instrmentalist. Its not just a display of skills though. There are improvisations and experimentations on the album but on the whole the music has the smoothness of a composed chamber music recital. Unfortunately the band would break up as the only original member would quit the band. Their second album was great as well but it was more in the jazz fusion mold. Their debut had only the bassist and was not as good and can be considered a work of an entirely different band. So the classic Dzyan was two out of two when it came to album perfection. If only they had made that third album and made it three out of three and also making the sequene of album progressively better! Well in our alternate dream world, anything is possible.

So what did Dzyan members do once they broke up in late 1974 after they recorded their best album? Group leader and the only original member in their classic period - Reinhard Karwatky seems to have done the disappearing act. Peter Giger released the amazing percussion loaded album in 1975 in which he used about 40 different percussion instruments from all across the world. And in 1977, Giger and Marron regrouped with German jazz fusion bassist Gunther Lenz to release their self titled album. When in our dream world, things are a bit different. Giger and Marron never meet Lenz. Instead they run into Karwatky once again, who has some bright new ideas. Karwatky had just heard the German Stephan Micus' album Implosions released in March 1977 and is blown away with Micus' composition skills and also his ability to play different instruments from all across the world. . He also liked the immaculate production on the album with every instrument shining through and having the resonance of most ECM recordings. What Micus was beyond jazz. It was like bringing the music of the world together. Karwatky had met Stephen and requested to work with him as a side-project. He thought it might be best to call his ex-Dzyan mates and make this another Dzyan recording. Karwatky made Giger and Marron listen to the Implosions album and convinced them to reform Dzyan again.

Micus becomes the key for this new ensemble. Micus once he meets Marron suggests that they record songs which have different types of string instruments on it apart from the sitar both can play. Marron could play tamboura and baglama very well and had used them on the previous two Dzyan ventures. And Karwatky could play rebec and sarangi. There was already Middle-Eastern and Indian classical instruments on the album. Micus suggested they can get some latin music on it. After a lot of auditions, they couldn't find any German flamenco guitarist they liked. Micus suggested that they apporach the legendary flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia if he was open for a collaboration. Paco was on a high recording two great albums in a row (Fuente Y Caudal and Almoraina). They all flew to Spain and decided thinking even if Paco did not join them, they could find some other guitarist to join them. Paco liked their idea especially after being made to listen to both Implosions and Electric Silence but was not sure he could work with jazz musicians yet. He said he was comfortable if they were presence of another Latin musician on the album. Since Micus and the Dzyan folks did not want another flamenco guitarist, they decided they would get a guitarra (Portuguese guitar) player on the album. The guitarra player needed to be of Paco's calibre to satisfy Paco's ego and also be able to effortlessly work with him. Since everyone in the lineup was a virtuoso, it made sense to add another virtuoso who could compete with the rest in the showcase of abilities. The only guitarra player they could think of was old man Portuguese Carlos Paredes who was the most popular Portuguese guitar virtuoso. He was semi-retired already at 52 in 1977 and had not recorded for the last 6 years. Howevever, when he heard of Paco being part of this lineup, he jumped in. This would be the only album in which both the Latin guitar greats would collaborate together.

Micus had this idea that musicians from the three old continents (Europe, Asia and Africa) need to be represented. Micus was very much fond of the Malian 21-stringed instrument called kora and decided to travel to Mali alone in search of a kora player. The greatest exponent of mande music based on the kora instrument was Sidiki Diabate who had recorded the first kora album in 1970 with his friend Djelimadi Sissoko. Micus convinced Sidiki to come to Germany to record some kora for the Dzyan album by telling him that they are getting virtuosos from all over the world on this project. Micus played the Western hammered dulcimer and was envisioning dulcimer parts in for several songs but wanted a musician with expertise in the Indian version of hammered dulcimer - santoor to sort of have a duel between the Wester hammered dulcimer and the santoor. So, Micus next stop was Bombay, India where he went in search of the santoor maestro Shivkumar Sharma. Shivkumar had hardly worked with international musicians before but he was well-known outside India because of his 1967 collaboration with Hariprasad Chaurasia and Brijbushan Kabra in the album Call Of The Valley. Micus informed Sharma about this project with the jazz band he was doing where they were collecting musicians from different parts of the world to make an epic album which had music from many parts of the world. Sharma was hesitant but once he heard Micus demonstrate his playing on sitar and hammered dulcimer, was convinced that this would be something he should try. Shivkumar Sharma suggested that if they really wanted to capture Indian classical music entirely, they need to have Carnatic classical music as well. After Sharma showed him tapes of the few live Carnatic performances he had, Micus was convinced he needed they needed a veena player. Travelling to Chennai, he met a variety of veena maestros, and finally was able to convince only one person - the female veena player Padmavathy Ananthagopalan for a short trip to Germany. Padmavathy who is the sister of famous violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman (violin) was among the most prominent veena players who also played the nagaswaram (reed) and mridangam (percussion). She was also 43 at that time and had been playing veena for 30 years. But she was willing to try this global project.

While Micus was travelling to Mali and India, Giger, Marron and Karwatky had gone to France and convinced the harpist Alan Stivell who was a master of the Celtic harp. Alan played the bombarde and bagpipes too. They also had recruited Irish hurdy-gurdy player Andy Irvine who also played the Greek instrument bouzouki and mandolin. With this huge ensemble of elevan musicians, Dzyan and co were ready to record their massive triple album of world fusion music. However, Marron and Karwatky felt they had a lot of string, reed and percussion players on the album, but they were missing a keyboard virtuoso. Both Karwatky and Marron could play the mellotron but they were not masters of it. They were especially looking for a keyboard virtuoso who could play an array of keybaord instruments especially the harpsichord and pipe organ which would bring ancient sounds to the album. On May 18th 1977, when they were just about to record, Marron had this bright idea of getting a mainstream (to the Western audience) musician to generate interest and he could think of none other than Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, having heard the Yes album Close To The Edge and having been impressed by various pipe organ, hammond organ, mellotron and harpsichord solos on it. Wakeman was suprised to get a call from Germany by relatively unknown musicians but was in a very good mood considering it was his 28th birthday and decided to drop everything - including the celebrations, and hop on a plane to Germany.

And thus this fascinating lineup was formed. And it had some of the best virtuosos on the planet. Dzyan recorded one of the best albums ever made and they made sure they got each of the virtuosos to shine. The triple album was a massive project and it was not only successful for the band but also brought all the guest musicians into the limelight in the West.

Can (Feb 1970) - This is going to be the most incredible and outrageous ensemble conceived ever in fantasy. But what good is a fantasy if it is not outrageous and incredible. I do save two precious lives here though, one better than what I did with the imaginary Pink Floyd. The idea here is that though these musicians are from far different backgrounds they were all into psychedelic music. So they find something to agree about!

So this lineup happens after original Can singer the American nutcase Malcolm Mooney quits Can because he was losing it and the psychiatrist told him that Can's chaotic and psychotic music was making his condition only worse. This would turn out to be good for Can as Malcolm had a terrible singing voice and was only holding them back. So Can were left without a singer. The Can members in the real world met another nutcase (but a slightly saner one) the Japanese Damo Suzuki busking outside a restaurant. But with Damo's case he had a decent if not the most pleasant voice and he was able to channel his eccentricities to the Can's music better. Also the Can members started experimenting more especially with African polrhythms, funk music, avantgarde and jazz. In the dream world they meet a nutter outside a restaurant in Munich but it is not the Japanese nutter; its the American nutter Jim Morrison. Morrison was losing it with his steady diet of drugs and alcohol and convictions of indecency and the band (The Doors) decided to vacation in Bavaria for a month. Jim was spotted with his girfriend Pamela Courson. The Can members on recognizing Jim introduced themselves and told him they were huge fans of his music. They have a beer drinking session and ultimately Jim decides he wanted to pay a visit to this crazy German band while they are jamming and trying to record their second album Tago Mago. Morrison likes the music and the band invites him to record a few vocal improvisations in few of the jams. The recording sessions went well but Morrison told Can that he was still with The Doors and he was not planning to disband them. So they need to find a regular vocalist for the album they were recording. He suggested they get vocalist and guitarist Jimi Hendrix to join the band as a full time member. Jimi's Cry Of Love tour was not going well (his earlier band Band of Gypsies had broken up earlier that year and there were plans to make a new Jimi Hendrix Experience but nothing materialized). Jimi was going through his troubles just like Jim. Both were into LSD, other drugs and alchohol.

Jim invited Jimi for a drinking and smoking session who was coincidently on tour with his backing band in Germany playing old Jimi Hendrix Experience songs. He got him together with Can and they have another jam session. Jimi played some improvise guitar on few of the songs with Jim Morrison singing ad-libbed vocals and the insane jam sessions went great. The jam sesssions recorded mostly well and then all decided they will record the album at Schloss Norvenich, a castle near Cologne. The castle owner there allowed them to rent the place without paying any rent for the entire year! The jamming got intense and the jamming sessions went on for a good couple of weeks with no one from The Doors management or the Jimi Hendrix management having the slightest clue as to where the guys were. The castle owner had one rule - no destroying the place and no pyschedelic drugs. So everyone was sober for a couple of weeks. Morrison was really enjoying making music after a long time. No pressure, just fun time with his pal Jimi and some strange German guys. Jimi was also in good spirits and seem to respect the German musicians who were supremeley talented. He had never seen a drummer like Jaki Liebezeit. Michael Karoli switched to violin on songs in which Jimi play leads. On songs where Karoli played the guitar, Hendrix played slide guitar with weird guitar effects he hadn't tried before. They all were learning a lot about recording from the elder man Holger Czukay who apart from playing bass was secretly recording the jam sessions without anyone knowing and then later using tape editing to splice them together. Hendrix was seriously considering joining this band full-time.

But all good things must come to an end. Morrison's band members got wind of these secret sessions and informed their management and the management put a full stop to it. Morrison did not want to hurt his old friends so had to leave the sessions mid-way and the fun sessions with his girl-friend by the side and his American pal and new German pals had to come to an end. The Doors were supposed to start touring again. Morrison did want whatever he recorded with Can to be released. The Doors management had no objections in Can releasing an album which lists Morrison as a guest contributor on a few songs. Hendrix and Can now started recording few songs but they needed a vocalist. Hendrix vocals were not fitting the funky avantgarde songs. Czukay suggested that they try out a Japanese busker he had met alone outside the Munich restaurant they frequently hang out usually. He had invited the Japanese guy Damo Suzuki to join the band. Damo seemed to be interested but he had to meet few of his friends. Czukay was supposed to meet Damo in a week at the same spot but that never happened as Can had already travelled to Cologne with Jim and Jimi. Czukay said he will go to Cologne for a few weeks while a personal friend of his who lived in Cologne will sub in on bass. That friend was bass virtuoso Helmutt Hattler of the recently formed band Kraan. Kraan were playing jazzy and funky music like Can but their music was relatively straightforward and not as experimental. They did play high voltage music though. Helmutt Hattler's presence on the few songs made the songs even funkier. And he would play these insanely long bass solos in tandem with Jaki's rhythmic drumming. Jimi especially was blown away with Helmutt's skills. And was wondering how good the Jimi Hendrix Experience would have been with Helmutt and Jaki in it as a power trio. Helmutt gets his band member - the saxophonist Johannes Pappert one day with him and they jam with him as well. With Czukay gone, they keyboard player Irmin Schmidt does the recording.

In the meanwhile, Czukay does get hold of Suzuki and convinces him to come to Cologne. When he is back and listens to the recorded material, he is amazed with the chemistry the band had with Hattler. He also liked Pappert sax contribution on the one day he was with the band. He says to Hattler he can stay with Can for a few sessions and also get Pappert to show up more often. Hattler is thrilled and says he won't even demand payment for those sessions. Pappert agrees as well. Now the band had more than a double album worth of material. Jimi suggested they record further to make it a double album. Jimi was not doing any of the song writing but he was a musical contributor in the jam sessions and the band agreed to share credits with him on songs in which he had significant contributions. However they couldnt finish the triple album with another lineup change. Both Pappert and Hattler had to leave as soon as they started recording materials for the third LP. The other two Kraan members - the Wolfbrandt brothers called both Pappert and Hattler to Munich to start recording their debut. With Hattler gone, Czukay started playing bass again (he was mostly doing tape editing and ocassional bass on the jams they had with Hattler). The band felt they need to replace Pappert with another saxophonist because some of the songs featuring guitar, violin and saxophone as lead instruments were really going well. He called Hattler and Pappert who were already in Munich and asked if they can find a saxophonist. Kraan were playing at the Munich festival and they had seem the obscure British band Van Der Graaf Generator play and they were inspired by their saxophonist David Jackson who had this habit of playing two saxophone at one and had a loud guitar like sound on his saxophone. Pappert himself an unconventional saxophonist who played his sax like a synth thought Jackson would do justice to Can's material. The group met with VDGG's leader Peter Hammill and convinced him to let Jackson to contribute as guest for Can and help them finish their album.

Jackson agreed as well and travelled to Cologne. With Jackson joining in the Can sound changed a bit as it became a bit rawer. Jackson also played the flute on somewhat mellower songs. The group took a break from recording to attend the Munich festival themselves which was highly praised by Hattler and Pappert. There they met two groups they liked and were performing there - Soft Machine who were making Canterbury scene style music which was a mix of psychedelic rock and jazz with complex transitions, and popular krautrock band Amon Duul II. They ended up getting one musician from those band each and jammed on one song for the album in a basement in the house in Munich they were renting. The guest musician the saxophonist Jimmy Hastings then touring with Soft Machine who played flute and saxophone and the female singer of Amon Duul II had an excellent powerful and dynamic range voice, sort of like Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Hastings played piccolo and flute in the jam with Renate providing background vocals and tambourine. That song would turn out to the last song recorded for the triple album as when the group headed back to Cologne they found they had now enough material for the third album.

Contractual obligations would block Hendrix from getting fulltime status in Can or get any credit eventually when the album is released. Hendrix would join the band eventually for the next album. He would sober up and stop using drugs as Can's music required a high degree of concentration as well as hard work. The Can experience would open Morrison's eyes and he would quit drugs as well and sober up and become more professional and become a frequent guest artist for Can as well as Amon Duul II on their follow up albums, though never becoming a band member of Can or Amon Duul II, while continuing to lead The Doors. As for Can, the triple album would be a massive success and eventually break krautrock and German rock into a mainstream both sides of the Atlantic. They would never made such a massive album again. I told you I will save life's here. Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix would escape the age 27, just like Brian Jones did with my imaginary Pink Floyd.

Hawkwind (Dec 1972) - This is probably going to the shortest story on the ensembles I have. It was easy to add members to the Hawkwind lineup which already had 7 members. So I had to imagine only 5 more guest musicians - a lot more than say Popol Vuh in which I had to 11 members not belonging to the band in the real world. So this story begins when Robert Calvert imagine this double album with live performances of songs mostly from their third album along interspersed with spoken word poetry written by him about space. In our imaginary world, group leader Brock requests Calvert to create additional poetry so that they can include more songs from their sophomore as well as debut. The plan was to release two double live albums in a row in a space of 2 weeks - Space Ritual 1 released in early May and Space Ritual 2 in mid May 1973. The recording would be done on December 31st 1972 in London as a free concert with 177 minutes (roughty 3 hours) of music which they could fit into two different double LPs. The idea was they would start performing from 7 to 12 midnight celebrating new year with a one hour gap in between. The 7 to 9 pm session featured the seven-man lineup which performed songs from their third album - Doremi Fasol Latido and the 10 - 12 am sesssion featured a twelve-man lineup which performed songs from the first and second albums (which include an acoustic sequence of songs as well).

The tour began early December so that by the time they will have enough rehearsals and practice to sound like seasoned pros on New Years eve. Calvert wrote more spoken word poetry in November 72 which would connect songs from first two albums to the third album. Space Ritual 1 would have the same content as the original real world Space Ritual LP released in 1973 except for the song Master Of The Universe (the only song from the second album) being replaced by the extended live version of hit single Silver Machine (which funded this whole tour and which ironically they left out in the real world version of Space Ritual). Space Ritual I had the same lineup as the real world lineup. Space Ritual 2 on the other hand had five additional guest musicians, some of them very much unexpected, even including a female co-vocalist on some of the songs. The songs chose for Space Ritual 2 were every song except The Reason Is?. The songs Paranoia - Part 1 and Part 2 were performed together without pause. In fact the songs were combined with Be Yourself and Seeing It As You Really are (as it was original intended to be when they were recording the debut) as one song called Sunshine special. The other two songs Hurry On Sundown and Mirror Of Illusion were stretched to be longer and also the unreleased song from the first album sessions Kiss Of The Velvet Whip was also performed. This would be Side 3 and Side 4 of Space Ritual 2. Both sides would have spoken word with weird electronic and guitar effects just like Space Ritual 1. Side 2 and 2 would have every song from In Search Of Space except Adjust Me. Side 1 and Side 2 would also have spoken word poetry some of which are performed by the guest musicians. The acoustic songs on the Space Ritual 2 would be only on Side 2 the songs being You Know You Are Only Dreaming, We Took The Wrong Steps Years Ago and Children Of The Sun. The story that follows is about how those five musicians joined Hawkwind for the live shows including the one on December 31st.

There were 18 tour dates in December with the 18th being the one recorded for the two double albums. The first 6 until December 13th had the same musicians (as the real world) performing all the material even the ones on Space Ritual 1 and 2. Dave Brock was not very satisfied with the acoustic set. He was good on acoustic but not nearly as good on rhythm electric guitar. He also wondered if they needed a lead guitarist for Sides 3 and 4 which featured the debut album (the leads were performed by Huw Lloyd Langton) a more funky bassist (John A Harrison) and a more jazzy drummer (Terry Ollis was the drummer). Their rhythm section was astoundingly powerful (Ian Kilmester on bass and Simon King on drums), but Simon King did not have much jazz in him and Kilmester did not much funk in him. The chances of finding those three members from the debut was out of the question as they had all simply disappeared from the music scene and in case of Huw Lloyd Langton completely gone missing. But in the morning of December 17th - the day of their seventh concert date (this one was in London) all his problems will be solved. Brock was approached by German band Frumpy's singer (Frumpy were opening for Hawkwind) Inga Rumpf (who loved the music and the Hawkwind fans) asking him if some of the songs of the massive three hour set could use her vocals. Brock was not sure he wanted to share the spotlight (he being the singer in all the non spoken word songs). He said he was actually thinking of getting a different guest guitarist, bassist and drummer for the acoustic set and songs off of the debut. Inga thought for a minute and immediately baited him by saying she can at least get him a guitarist if she gets to perform on some of the songs and that guitarist is one of Brock's favorites. Surprised and amused, Brock decided to take the bait telling Inga she can sing on all the songs from the sophomore album with her being solo on the acoustic ones and her singing duets with Brock on the electric ones.

To Brock's and everyone's surprise the guitarist Inga brought with her was none other than the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, whom she was dating at that time. Page was on vacation but she convinced him to come and perform that night. They practiced the set during the day. Page suggested for the next day (the 8th concert date also in London the very next day), he will get John Paul Jones to perform bass on the songs he performed and play mandolin on the acoustic songs. Page ended up performing on all the songs for Space Ritual 2. The crowd went beserk after Space Ritual 1 ended and Brock announced that they would have Page come in after a hour break to jam with them. The next night John Paul Jones came in and played on the songs for Space Ritual 2 with Ian Kilmester switching to rhythm guitar (Ian or Lemmy as he was called had tremendous respect for Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones and he was initially a guitarist anyway) and he had no problem with Jones playing bass on songs which were written and released even before he joined the band.

They still needed a different sort of drummer for Space Ritual 2 though. The idea was not to replace Simon King but have another drummer to add more subtlety to the proceedings. They were sharing the bill with their buddies who were also formed in Ladbroke Grove like them and who were also radical like them. Pink Fairies and Hawkwind regularly performed free concerts. Dave and Calvert consulted Paul Rudolph a good friend of theirs who would also play with Hawkwind as a full-time member. Paul said he could not loan their drummer as it would be too much for him to play with two bands the same night but he suggested him why not try get their ex-drummer John "Twink" Adler (who had played on their debut album before quitting). Twink was a well rounded drummer who had also recorded with pyschedelic bands Tomorrow and Pretty Things (both albums being psychedelic classics in fact). The next tour date in London was only (they were going to do three gigs in Liverpool) was only on Januray 22nd (their 12th gig in December) and they had enough time to get hold of Twink and convince him. By 22nd morning, they got a call from Twink saying he will come down to Brixton Sundown that afternoon. He also said he is going to bring a surprise guest with him who is as talented as Jimmy Page himself. Jimmy and Dave wondered who could that be.

Well the suspense didn't last long. By 1 pm Twink showed up with none other guess who... Syd Barrett. Yes, the reclusive Syd, who had quit Pink Floyd in 1968 while having some mental issues and recorded two failed solo albums. He was all well now having checked into rehab for the last six months. Twink and Syd gigged together in early January as Stars with few other musicians but it never got off the ground as Syd was still not normal. This was Twinks way of reassessing if he can get back Stars again and he also got to jam with the likes of Hawkwind, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page. What else could he ask for! Twink played in tandem with King on all the songs on Space Ritual 2 except the acoustic ones which did not have any drummers. Syd did not play in any of the acoustic songs either. He played on all the songs off of the debut mostly contributing slide guitar. On the tracks from the sophomore he played slide and bowed guitar with Jimmy Page doing the same. Page also brought his theremin for Seeing As

Faust (Jan 1975) - This is going to be a motley crew of insane weirdos. Well not all twelve of them; two of them are fairly normal guys who worked for bands with insane music. But anyway when these twelve got together, they all brought out the weird within themselves. In the real world Faust recorded a fifth album in 1975 which was rejected by their label and they promptly split. We tweak the history a little bit. Their fifth album was indeed rejected by the label but they did not split. Instead they decided to do a final concerts tour in London where they had record their fifth album anyway. Instead of the fifth album they would do a live double LP mostly consisting of old songs from the first four albums. Virgin agreed to releasing a live album. Faust had a significant cult audience in London, so they booked few underground clubs in London for them to record the live album. They also financed the band for couple of weeks with rental equipment to record the performances. They even got the drummer from the first album to tour with them to show it as proof that they were indeed going to perform material from their earlier albums. But Faust being Faust were planning to fool the record company. The idea was to intersperse all the material from the fifth album within the songs from the first four and make it as radical as possible with the song not resembling any of the original songs. An elaborate sinister scheme to con the label was watched.

There was one problem though. All the songs from all their five album were done with a lot of overdubbing and tape editing. To perform the song efficiently live and get all the weird sound effects (and considering they were essentially recording a new studio album live) they wanted a professional yet improvised sound, not a raw sound. They needed two guys straightaway. On many of the songs Rudolf Sosna had overdubbed synthesizer and guitar and Gunther Wushtoff had overdubbed saxophone and synthesizer. Rudolf just wanted to play the guitar and Gunther just wanted to play synthesizers. So they needed a synth player and a saxophonist. They hunted for a saxophonist session musician and the best one they could is Jimmy Hastings who had guested on Soft Machine and Caravan. Jimmy was a virtuoso so he could play the sax parts easily. He was a bit hesitant initially after listening to the weird material but took it up as a different sort of challenge for a large sum of money which Virgin funded. The unreleased fifth album had some crazy percussion which drummer Werner Diermaier had overdubbed in conjunction with his drumming. So they needed another percussionist to reproduce the sound. Werener liked this Swedish band Samla Mammas Manna and their drummer played an assortment of found objects for percussion. His name was Hasse Bruniusson and Samla Mammas Manna happened to be touring the UK and were going to come to London for a three consecutive nights playing with another Rock In Opposition group Henry Cow. Henry Cow was with Virgin as well. Faust ended up getting one musician from both band each - Hasse Bruniusson from Samla Mammas Manna and the female bassoonist Lindsay Cooper. Henry Cow and Samla Mammas Manna were by far the weirdest European groups out there apart from Faust. So it made sense that all three bands had a part in this.

Faust decided they still needed two more musicians - a proper synth player and a guitarist. The reason being that Gunther did want to play his saxophone part on few songs and Rudolf wanted to play his synth parts on the few old songs. They ran into none other than Pink Floyd's keyboardist Rick Wright. Pink Floyd was in Abbey Road studios recording their album Wish You Were Here and Jimmy Hastings was initially called in for a sax solo. The whole thing never worked out and Pink Floyd got back Dick Parry for the same part but Jimmy and Rick had stuck a friendship. Jimmy mentioned to him he was playing some interesting gigs with Faust and they were looking for a VCS3 expert. Rick said he can be summoned anytime if really needed. Virgin thought it would be a great idea. They could sell this album saying Faust live featuring Rick Wright. They even paid Rick Wright heftily for the few sessions he did with them. The guitarist parts went to the King Crimson(having broken up in late 1974) prog guitarist Robert Fripp who was into experimental music like the kind Faust makes. Fripp played guitar on all the songs Rudolf played synthesizers. On certain songs like the song Krautrock and Giggy Smile off of Faust IV (and few others from their unreleased fifth album), they were going for a heavier sound. So with Wright assistance they were able to lure none other than Black Sabbath's Geezer Buttler to play bass solos (in conjunctions with bass and drums) for a few gigs, some of which made it to the live album.

Virgin did release the album saying Faust featuring Rick Wright, Tony Iommi and Robert Fripp. The album was the most successful Faust album yet and Faust continued on for another five years releasing few more classics.

Between (Jul 1976) - In the real world Between recorded two masterpieces in a row - their second album And The Waters Opened and third album Dharana in 1973 and 1974 respectively. Their fourth album was a disappointing spoken word experiments called Hesse Between Music and they recovered releasing two more lacklustre albums disbanding in 1980. Between were a multi-national band with almost every member of the band being a different country. The idea here is to come up with a twelve man ensemble with artists from twelve different countries of various backgrounds but who are inherently compatible by the droney psychedelic Indian classical influenced sounds of Between.

Having been disappointed with the reception the previous album Hesse Between Music got Between group leader Peter Michel Hamel wanted to get something more mainstream sounding. With most of the musicians from the previous album, Between had only three musicians left - keyboardist and leader German Peter Michael Hamel, guitarist, motocello, harp and bass guitarist Argentinian Robert Detree and oboeist and recorder player America Robert Eliscu. They decided to make a new album of live recordings of both new and old songs instead of releasing a new studio album. The group was then based in London and they had a small following in London. So the idea was to record few of the gigs in small clubs in London. The problem was Between's music was extremely studio based with a lot of overdubs and everyone of the three playing many instruments. So they had to get more musicians. First and foremost they needed a bassist, drummer and a tabla player. Hamel thought he could replace the conga (used in their third album DharanaO with tabla for live performances.

Hamel auditoned many drummer first. To their surprise one of the adutionee was none other than Ian Paice of Deep Purple who was disgusted that Deep Purple had broken up just recently and was looking to work with a non-rock band. The members of Between seemed like nice chaps, wer not making any sort of rock music and Ian Paice did not want to deal with ego of rock musicians. Hamel was surprised to see that Paice was multi-talented and could play with the same pace and tempo of Between music. Paice was hired as a full-time member for the live shows. Hamel got an idea now. They could get musicians from rock backgrounds who no longer have bands and have played pyschedelic music before. They auditoned for a tabla player now. And they had a Swedish tabla player whom all of them liked. He played tabla, drums, zink and jewish harp. Zink is an old instrument with a droney sound. His name is Dennis Lindh and he was with a band called Algarnas Tradgard which had recorded a classic album in 1971 and then another one in 1974 (which remained unreleased) and had then broken up.

This could have been it to play the live shows but Hamel was developing new material which was more and more Indian classical and Middle-Eastern classical based. He needed some virtuosos to play them live. Though the band was set, there was always room for guest musicians. He didnt have to travel too far to find out a Middle-Eastern musician. Having heard French musician Andre Fertier's debut album Clivage, he was eager to get their santur (Iranian hammered dulcimer) player to play with them for the live concerts. Hamel located the santurist (Mahmoud Tabrizi Zadeh) in France and got him to come back to London. While in France Hamel met Fijiian bass guitarist Mike Howlett who was bass player for the werid jazz-influenced French space rock band Gong. Hamel borrowed him for the live tour as Gong were inactive after just recording their album Shamal last December. Hamel's new material featured more drones. Roberto Detree used a strange instrument called motocello to achieve that effect on their second album. But Hamel was looking for something more. While in Paris, he met his dear friend French dronologist Eliane Radigue for a coffee and asked her if she knew a drone expert who can collaborate with him on his live album project which already had musicians from all backgrounds. Eliane, to Hamel's suprise, offered to play synth drones for him. She also suggested they use true drone instruments on the album like hurdy-gurdy, the Indian instruments like tambura, veena, sitar etc. For tamboura Robert Eliscu suggested the Dutch tamboura player (who also played tablas) who performed with him in Popol Vuh as guest musician. For hurdy-gurdy he ended up hiring Celtic musician Andy Irvine.

Next step was adding a sitar player and veena player as per Eliane's suggestion. Hamel found a guitarist who played sitar as well. He was the Japanese Hideki Ishima who played both sitar and guitar very well. Hideki used to play with heavy psych band The Flower Travelling Band, but they were no longer together. He played the guitar with an oreintal feel almost sitar-like. And he was proficient with sitar as well. For the veena, Hideki suggested they listen to this great veena player from South India called Sundaram Balachander. After listening to Music Of India album released by Sundaram Balachander in 1965, Hamel was convinced the sounds of Balachander's veena fit Between's music well. Hamel had to travel to India to get Balachander but it was worth the trip as he gained a lot of knowledge of both Hindustani classical and Carnatic classical and wrote few more songs on the way back home. Balachander was a multi-talented open-minded musician who like Hindustani classical and Western music even though he was knee-deep into Carnatic classical music. He was also a great movie director and actor during his younger years. When he heard of this massive project which sought to bring Indian music together with synthesizer drones, German experimental and rock music, he was more than thrilled to lend a helping hand.

Once all the musicians were together, they decided they will record more music than intented. So the original intended double LP of live album became a triple LP. This was Between's breakthrough album. Though the album did not much radio-friendly material, it became popular through word of mouth. Between soldiered on until the end of the 70s releasing few more classics.