Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum : Surrealists of Rock

Index page for a long Gary Brooker interview, 1999

Steffen Graefe interviewed Gary Brooker for his radio-programme Surrealisten des Rock : Die Geschichte von Procol Harum ('Surrealists of Rock : the story of Procol Harum'): the talk took place at the Hamburger Kongre▀zentrum, January 1999. The German text, including notes on the music and German renderings of certain song-words, is here.

45 minutes-worth of this material was broadcast on Deutschlandfunk Rock et Cetera on 6 March 2000 at 10.05 p.m. (mid-European time). Steffen's questions, which occasionally use roundabout English, are shortened for this page; it's worth noticing also that Gary occasionally replies in quite studied terms, aware that he needs to make himself understandable to a non-native speaker.

We present this long, intriguing interview in four parts:

Part One
Early days, the Paramounts, collaboration with Keith Reid

Part Two
Nature of Reid, Brooker's prayer for success, personnel changes

Part Three
Sixties zeitgeist, drugs, later albums

Part Four
Procol break up, the Clapton era, The Prodigal Stranger

Steffen writes,
I have just finished the production of my 45-minute programme. It is not only the story of PH, but in a way a homage to PH. People can listen to AWSoP, Poison Ivy, Salad Days, Homburg, Look to Your Soul, Glimpses of Nirvana, parts of A Salty Dog (versions from 1969, 1972,1996), A Souvenir of London, Skating On Thin Ice, and Pandora's Box (symphonic).

Perhaps for the first time in German radio I have involved the German translations of parts of AWSoP, Homburg and the whole Glimpses of Nirvana (spoken by the narrator, who speaks the Gary Brooker translation too). I have split AWSoP in two parts. On first part I have worked acoustically on the original mono version to a (light) stereo-version. In the second part people will listen to the original mono-version. Also to Salad Days I've given "a touch of stereo".

As atmospheric background for the German translation of Glimpses of Nirvana the speaker's voice also is transposed with a strange effect, and I have arranged three seconds of the "hum" from the beginning, copying it many times and making an endless loop without a break, segueing into the original version of Glimpses. That gives a surreal, psychedelic effect.

More Procol Harum history at 'Beyond the Pale'

Gary Brooker's page at 'Beyond the Pale'

Gary presents his own choice of music on the same radio station

The German text of the broadcast based on this interview

Visit Steffen Graefe's website (English version) or mail him

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