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Thread: Camel's Colin Bass- New Interview

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Camel's Colin Bass- New Interview

    I had a chance to catch up with Colin Bass today and take a look back at his career over the years. I should mention up front that Camel's future and any new music from them wasn't a question Colin could answer, only Andy. He did mention that some ideas have been swapped around since the last official album, but don't read anything into that. Instead, check out his new collaboration with Daniel Biro "Still - a collaborative project between Colin Bass (Camel) and Ambient composer Daniel Biro - is a collection of meditative songs that range from intimate personal stories to global human topics".

    We go over his early musical memories, inspirations, gear (including his iconic Wal basses) and bands. Including playing with Steve Hillage in support of his L album. How he came to work with Camel and a close look at each album he was on is included, and even a couple he wasn't on. He points out some of his fave tracks from each. We look at his solo album An Outcast of the Islands (with Andy on it) and wonder if it could be a lost Camel album. We look at his work with world music catalysts 3 Mustaphas 3 and his surprise Indonesian crooner hit Denpasar Moon. A tune that became a standard covered by over 50 artists.

    Last edited by Sean; 1 Week Ago at 02:39 AM.

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    I added time stamps in the comments if you want to skip around a bit.

    If you have yet to Subscribe, drop by and hit that button- https://www.youtube.com/c/SOALNightLive/videos

    Upcoming shows- Nektar, Todd Sucherman (Styx), Randy McStine (McMinnemann/McStine), The History of Yes Part 2 w/Henry & Aymeric. + More in the works.
    Last edited by Sean; 1 Week Ago at 03:24 AM.

  3. #3
    "Take it to the fridge!"

    nice interview, but all through the part where Colin's discussing 3 Mustaphas 3, you're showing the cover of Camel's Rajaz album--for shame!
    To rectify this i will now play my LP of Shopping my favorite Mustaphas record!

    (speaking of 3 Mustaphas 3, a friend of mine was watching an official video of a 'recent' PiL show, when i exclaimed "hey that's Lu Edmonds playing the electric bouzouki with John Lydon!?!" )

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    Member Top Cat's Avatar
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    when we have 1 to 2 hour plus interviews, the addition of the time stamp is much appreciated Sean.
    Thank you, and I hope you don't feel slighted if we DO jump around, but I have to say I love having it.

    I really love Todd Sucherman's drum playing and think he's a highly under-rated drummer, most likely due to being in a "popular" band, which is wrong in my view.
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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by syncopatico View Post
    nice interview, but all through the part where Colin's discussing 3 Mustaphas 3, you're showing the cover of Camel's Rajaz album--for shame!
    To rectify this i will now play my LP of Shopping my favorite Mustaphas record!
    Agreed. I put together the slide show in like 5 minutes before the show. I usually don't do one at all unless it's a themed show like The History of Yes, but now I realize if I am gonna go there in the future, go all the way. I should have rounded up all the covers for the Mustaphah albums too.... Thanks for tuning in!
    Last edited by Sean; 1 Week Ago at 07:58 PM.

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    Member Firth's Avatar
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    For some reason, I got the impression that Kit Watkins only toured with Camel. Colin Bass set me straight. Wow, how did I miss this studio effort with 2 songs he is credited with. One is a Happy the Man song (Eye of the Storm).
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I tried listening/watching but could only hear Sean clearly. I could barely hear Collin.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

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    Actually this is the Kit - HTM tune:
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

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    Wow, thanks alot Sean. I love it and this was just what I've been longing for. Now.. Imagine another one with Andy.. *just dreaming*..

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    Glad you enjoyed it! I don't think I've ever run across a chat like this with Colin before so I learned quite a few things myself. I'd love to chat with Andy sometime. Greg, sorry the balance was out of whack. Gotta crank it a bit to hear Colin, and tune me out best you can.

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    Glad you enjoyed it! I don't think I've ever run across a chat like this with Colin before so I learned quite a few things myself. I'd love to chat with Andy sometime. Greg, sorry the balance was out of whack. Gotta crank it a bit to hear Colin, and tune me out best you can.
    No problem Sean. Thanks for doing the interview!
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

  12. #12
    Colin was in last month's Bass Player magazine as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    Wow, how did I miss this studio effort with 2 songs he is credited with.
    Better late than never, as they say. Although that album is somewhat divisive amongst the punters. It's sort of Camel's Abacab. I think they were feeling the pressure to commercialize earlier than most of their peers. But I personally like it a lot (coincidentally I also am a big fan of Abacab!)
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    Better late than never, as they say. Although that album is somewhat divisive amongst the punters. It's sort of Camel's Abacab. I think they were feeling the pressure to commercialize earlier than most of their peers. But I personally like it a lot (coincidentally I also am a big fan of Abacab!)
    I have to listen to the whole album, but I don’t get the comparison to ABACAB on the two tunes I posted here, especially the HTM tune, Eye of the Storm. I understand how some don’t like Camel in general because it’s tendency to be atmospheric and new age-esque, but for me it depends on my mood. Look at the difference between HTM 1 which I will extrapolate and say it sounds Kit Watkins dominated and atmospheric , as compared to Crafty Hands. Seems to be a consensus that HTM2 is enjoyed more than HTM1 because of the harder rock edge the record has. My opinion swaps occasionally, it’s weird, but I think it is my inherent need for different and how recent I have heard something. Camel is like that to me, too.
    Last edited by Firth; 1 Week Ago at 07:46 AM.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

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    Hmm...WAS “Eye of the Storm” a Kit Watkins/HtM tune?? I thought it was strictly Kit only?

    (I have asked Rick Kennell, bassist of HtM about that...I’ll let ya know.)

    Thanks for this and all the great, recent interviews, Sean. You are on FIRE!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotron View Post
    Hmm...WAS “Eye of the Storm” a Kit Watkins/HtM tune?? I thought it was strictly Kit only?
    According the information on Better Late... it is indeed a Watkins-tune.
    B.t.w. Watkins also co-wrote Docks from Nude.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotron View Post
    Hmm...WAS “Eye of the Storm” a Kit Watkins/HtM tune?? I thought it was strictly Kit only?

    (I have asked Rick Kennell, bassist of HtM about that...I’ll let ya know.)

    Thanks for this and all the great, recent interviews, Sean. You are on FIRE!

    That tune has the Kit Watkins and Camel sounds merged, which is cool.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

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    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    According the information on Better Late... it is indeed a Watkins-tune.
    B.t.w. Watkins also co-wrote Docks from Nude.
    The Camel credits are for Kit Only, but it is clear to me, the Camel sound is there.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  19. #19
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    From the Wiki for the album:

    "Eye of the Storm" (Kit Watkins) – 3:52 – this was an updated version of a track that Watkins had played with his previous band Happy the Man
    Andrew Latimer – guitar
    Kit Watkins – Hohner Clavinet, flute, Solina and Moog synthesizers
    Colin Bass – fretless Wal bass
    Andy Ward – drums, massed marching military snares
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

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    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    B.t.w. Watkins also co-wrote Docks from Nude.
    More precisely, that tune included part of a composition Watkins had offered for the album, which appeared as "Mount St Helens" on his solo album Labyrinth in its full form. I understand Kit was a little, let's say, disappointed that Latimer only used part of it, but by that point, as Colin underlines in the interview, Camel was Andy Latimer's baby so it was up to him what made it to the album. This, I also understand, is why Kit isn't on "Nude" although he (and Jan Schelhaas) returned for the tour.

    Colin failed to mention Jan Schelhaas, mistakenly stating that it's Kit playing grand piano on "Ice". I'm sure that's no malice on his part, though - indeed Jan was going to be part of the resurrected Camel line-up in 2013 until it became apparent he couldn't combine this with his Caravan commitments.

    It was interested seeing Colin mention Mick Fincher has the drummer in one of his early bands (Velvet Opera). Mick went on to join Kevin Ayers & the Whole World for a brief spell, but no one seems to know what happened to him after that. I wish I could have jumped in and asked Colin if he knew of his whereabouts.

    Otherwise, as others have pointed out, it was cool to hear Colin discuss his long career. I'm sure there could have been an entire interview with him just discussed the bands he saw perform, either as a teenager or sharing bills with in his early bands.

    Another thing he forgot to mention was that his first gig with the Steve Hillage Band was opening for Queen at Hyde Park to several hundred thousand people. (And my fellow Frenchman, the late Christian Boulé, was on glissando guitar.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    I have to listen to the whole album, but I don’t get the comparison to ABACAB on the two tunes I posted here, especially the HTM tune, Eye of the Storm.
    This is all IMO...

    I think Rupert Hine's production on ICSYHFH compares to what Genesis were doing on Abacab. Also, while Abacab has some nods to Genesis past ("Dodo/Lurker", "Like It Or Not"), it's the uptempo and spikier songs that define it relative to what had come before. The same can be said for ICSYHFH, IMO. There are nods to the past ("Ice", "Who We Are", "Hymn to Her"), but the songs people always bring up when talking about it in context of Camel's catalog are things like "Remote Romance" and "Neon Magic". The difference between the two bands is that while Genesis plowed forward toward a more commercial sound with each new album, Camel kept bouncing back and forth throughout the late 70s and early 80s.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    The lineup from the Nude tour did a great job with that album. Watkins adds a ton to the live version of City Life, for example. The esoteric version of Nude is worth getting for the abridged live version of the record.

    *Does anyone know if that is the same exact performance that was released on their Camel on the Road '81 album?

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    B.t.w. Watkins also co-wrote Docks from Nude.

    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    More precisely, that tune included part of a composition Watkins had offered for the album, which appeared as "Mount St Helens" on his solo album Labyrinth in its full form. I understand Kit was a little, let's say, disappointed that Latimer only used part of it, but by that point, as Colin underlines in the interview, Camel was Andy Latimer's baby so it was up to him what made it to the album. This, I also understand, is why Kit isn't on "Nude" although he (and Jan Schelhaas) returned for the tour.

    Colin failed to mention Jan Schelhaas, mistakenly stating that it's Kit playing grand piano on "Ice". I'm sure that's no malice on his part, though - indeed Jan was going to be part of the resurrected Camel line-up in 2013 until it became apparent he couldn't combine this with his Caravan commitments.
    Thanks. I knew someone would jump in on my first move (I know about Mount St. Helens, although not the complete background).

    Kit also plays the grand piano on Ice, but only on the beautiful intro. Although many see one of the live-versions of Ice as their favorite, this studio-version is my favorite, because of it's wonderful arrangement, Kit's Mini Moog and the emotional guitar-solo.

    Funny story about Colin: he was on tour promoting An Outcast Of The Islands and someone asked me to review the album for a information-booklet which was sent out to promote one of the concerts. After some time the organisazion asked me to rewrite the review, because Colin thought I had been too critical, especially about his singing. Well, normally I wouldn't do that, but because this was to get as many people to the concert as possible I was willing to do him that service (although I still don't think his vocals are very good on that album). Anyway, when the booklet was printed it turned out they mistakenly used the original version of my review! Colin wasn't happy about it, but the concert was fine and the crowd was satisfied with it.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post
    The lineup from the Nude tour did a great job with that album. Watkins adds a ton to the live version of City Life, for example. The esoteric version of Nude is worth getting for the abridged live version of the record.

    *Does anyone know if that is the same exact performance that was released on their Camel on the Road '81 album?
    The Nude-bonustracks are recorded at Hammersmith Odeon on February 22 1981 for BBC Radio One "In Concert".
    The On The Road 1981-recordings come from the concert from April 2 1981, also at the Hammersmith Odeon.

  25. #25
    On The Road 1982 also features Watkins. This was The Single Factor-tour, with quite a different line-up (no Colin Bass!).

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