For some strange reason, a couple of people have asked me what I look like, so here's a really awful picture of myself looking rather red in the face, adjusting my own Mellotron, M400 #1145 at a ReGenesis gig, early 2001. All captions welcome; best yet: "Andy T tries to evict the family of hobbits living in his Mellotron" (thank you for that, Mark Rae...)
More captions from George Schwalm, Texas:
"Flywheel's connected to the....."
"DANG! Dropped that screw AGAIN!!!"
and, "So THAT'S what happened to Mike Pinder"
From Dave Etheridge:
"No, it definitely doesn't say 'this program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down'!!"
and Devan Gladden hit upon:
"Say AHHHHHHHH". Very good, sir...
Actually, while I'm about it, here's a pointless list of what my Mellotron's been up to in the (ohmigod) 20 years I've owned it:
Nothing, 'cos it was in bits, apart from a vague attempt to record it onto a 4-track at home. The motor board was so fucked that I had to tune it to play three-note chords; any more or less notes put it out of tune. I'd intended to use it on my own band, Hejira's demo in Spring 1987, but its sorry condition (and weight) put the kibosh on that one.
Summer 1996: unknown artist, two days in a small studio in Hampstead, north west London. Flutes used on a dance remake of Buffalo Springfield's 'For What it's Worth'. Results unreleased to my knowledge.
Spring 1998: Nervous, several months (!) in their own studio in Spitalfields Market, east central London. Bill "William D." Drake, ex-Cardiacs was the keyboard player and my contact. Results crept out eventually, though possibly only as a promo.
Summer/Autumn 1998: Cardiacs, or rather, Tim Smith, several months in his own studio, Chessington, south west London. Results released on Spratleys Japs album, Pony, 1999, several tracks, mostly strings. Mellotron broke down during recording, stopping it from appearing on the Monsoon Bassoon's In Bold Gardens demo. Pity.
Summer 1999: Boot-Led Zeppelin, Zed One Studios, Camden, north London. Raff, the guitarist with this Zep tribute outfit recorded three tracks with it; flutes, strings, string section, cellos, brass on 'Stairway to Heaven', 'Kashmir' and, intriguingly, 'Friends', two tracks released years later on Early Demos & Latter Gigs.
Autumn 1999: Ginger, ex-Wildhearts, studio in Waterloo, south London. Hired by Tim Smith, played by Bill Drake, results released on SilverGinger5 album Black Leather Mojo, 2000.
February 2000 (?): Bill Drake, a house in south London. Played by Bill, strings/flute/choir, results available on his Melancholy World EP.
Autumn 2000: Guapo, one or two days, Zed One Studios, Camden, north London. Played by Matt Thompson, strings on 'Mountain of the Five Elements'. Released on Great Sage, Equal of Heaven, 2001.
April 2001: Siberia (the band I was playing in at the time), one day, the bassist's studio, Worthing, West Sussex. Mostly strings, with a bit of choir, played by myself. Results (sadly) unreleased.
December 2001: Galahad, one day, studio near Bournemouth, Dorset. Played by Dean Baker, results released on Year Zero, 2002.
Autumn 2002: Guapo, a few days, Zed One Studios, Camden, north London. Mostly strings, played by Daniel O'Sullivan. On their 2004 release, Five Suns.
February 2003: Litmus, my front room, bassist's digital 8-track, played by myself, all strings. Cover of Hawkwind's 'Paradox', released on Daze of the Underground, 2003.
March 2003: Guapo, one or two days, Zed One Studios, Camden, north London. Extra tracks for Five Suns, flutes and strings, played by Daniel O'Sullivan.
late November 2003: Guapo, one day, Zed One Studios, Camden, north London. Tracks for Black Oni, sounds unknown at present, played by Daniel O'Sullivan.
late November 2003: Knife World, about two hours, my front room, north London. Tracks for their/his first album, Buried Alone: Tales of Crushing Defeat, flute/strings/choir, played by Kavus Torabi.
February/March 2004: Litmus, my front room, three days, bassist's digital 8-track, played by myself, strings/choir/flutes/cello. Several songs for our first album, You Are Here.
September 2005: Currently unknown, Zed One Studios, Camden, north London. One night, eventually, played by Daniel O'Sullivan, strings/choir/flutes through various effects/amps. Stuff for one of two projects, or possibly both (one album released, artist unknown).
February/March 2006: Litmus, Foel Studios, Wales, six days, played by myself, strings/string section. Several songs for our second album, Planetfall.
early June 2006: Matt Thompson, Zed One Studios, Belsize Park, north London, one day, played by Matt, strings. Material for his new album, eventually released as The Ruined Map (Film Music Volume 1), by Rashomon.
June 2006: Litmus, my spare room, several days spread over the month, played by myself, strings/flutes/choir. Several more songs for Planetfall.
2007-8: Litmus, Martin the bassist's upstairs studio, long-term, while I do work on my flat. Used on the third Litmus album, Aurora and a Gong cover for a tribute album, loads of sounds, including strings, 3 cellos and percussion.
February/March 2008: Diagonal, Toerag Studios, over two separate weeks, for their eponymous debut album later in the year.
late March 2008: Sanctuary Rig, a studio in Harlow for a day for their forthcoming debut album, Khnosti.
July 2008: Lay Low, Toerag Studios, four days over two weeks for their Farewell Good Night's Sleep album.
October 2008: Invaders (?), Toerag Studios, three days.
? 2008: Matt Thompson, Martin from Litmus' upstairs studio, material for the new Rashomon album.
? 2008: (?), two separate occasions in a Walthamstow studio, apparently for some library music (!)
August 2009: Chrome Hoof, a front room in Walthamstow, one day, played by Leo & Milo Smee and Emmett Elvin.
November 2009: Cathedral, The Chapel, Lincolnshire, a week, millions of sounds for The Guessing Game.
February 2010: Fabienne Delsol, Toerag Studios, two days, played by Ed Turner.
May 2010: Circulus, a studio in Brixton, one day.
June 2010: Matt Thompson, two days at my flat, material for the third Rashomon album.
November 2010: Litmus, one day at my flat, material for their fourth album.
December 2010: Martin from Litmus, two days at my flat, material for his side-project.
February 2011: Matt Thompson, one day at my flat, material for a side-project.
March 2011: Matt Thompson, one day at my flat, material for a side-project.
March 2011: Matt Thompson, one day at Zed One Studios, material for a side-project.
Summer-Autumn 2011: Andy & Matt Thompson, weeks on end at my flat, strings/flutes/choir, forthcoming project.
23rd June, 1996: ReGenesis, London Putney Half Moon, strings/flutes/choir, played by Doug Melbourne. Unrecorded.
17th April, 1999: The Flower Kings, Rotherham Classic Rock Society, played by Tomas Bodin, mostly flutes. Recorded unofficially, available via tape traders.
25th March, 2000: Radio Massacre International, Holland, played by Steve Dinsdale (or was it Duncan Goddard?). My tape set also used at Jodrell Bank, UK, a week earlier. Recorded, available on Concerts at Jodrell Bank 2000, layered over Jodrell Bank gig! There's consistency for you...
18th February, 2001: ReGenesis, London Putney Half Moon, strings/flutes/choir, played by Doug Melbourne. Possibly recorded on a video soundtrack.
28th November, 2002: Focus, London Astoria, strings played by Thijs van Leer. Not officially recorded.
25th August, 2003: Änglagård, Spirit of 66, Verviers, Belgium, played by Thomas Johnson, although my tapes were played by Anna Holmgren in their own machine. Not officially recorded.
20th December, 2004: Robert Webb of England's private party, string section/MkII brass played on a few blues numbers (!) by Robert.
22nd/23rd/24th January, 2005: Litmus, supporting Julian Cope on his UK tour, Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall/Sheffield Leadmill/Liverpool Carling Academy. Mostly strings, with a splash of choir played by my good self, marking my auspicious debut playing my own 'Tron live. Yippee! Oh, and it was taken to Exeter the previous week for our Ozric Tentacles support, but not used due to stage size.
7th October, 2005: Litmus, Walthamstow Standard, London, me, mostly strings with some flutes and a bit of choir.
26th February, 2006: England, Synth Service Centre rehearsal studios, London, in front of a small invited audience, Robert Webb played strings and brass from Lee Pomeroy's tape frame.
28th September, 2008: Thieves' Kitchen, Summer's End Festival, Lydney Town Hall. Strings, played by Thomas Johnson.
16th November, 2008: Mellofest, Fiddler's Elbow, Kentish Town, London. Played by Robert Kirby (Strawbs, string section) & Robert Webb (England, brass).
21st November, 2008: Sigur Rós, Alexandra Palace, London, string section, played by drummer Orri Dýrason.
2nd May, 2009: Mellofest 2, Kilburn Luminaire, London, strings and flutes, played by my good self.
12th September, 2009: Strawbs, 40th Anniversary bash, Twickenham Stadium, London, strings/flutes/brass, played by Blue Weaver.
14th April, 2010: Astra, Scala, London, strings/flutes/choir, played by Richard Vaughan.
29th April, 2010: Cathedral, ULU, London, strings/flutes/choir, played by Munch.
24th July, 2010: Cathedral, High Voltage Festival, London, strings/flutes/choir, played by Munch.
3rd December, 2010: Cathedral, Islington Academy, London, strings/flutes/choir, played by Munch.
3rd December, 2011: Cathedral, Kentish Town Forum, London, strings, played by Munch.
late November 2003: AK-momo, Hoxton, east London, 'played' by Änglagård's Mattias Olsson.
late March 2011: Japanese film crew, John Henrys, London, played by England's Robert Webb.