Procol Harum

Beyond the Pale

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home

Procol Harum in the USA, 1968

Where's Leslie?

Gabriel Forza writes (January 2003) to BtP:

In 1968 my group, "The Hip Pocket", opened for Procol Harum in a concert I promoted in Waterbury, CT. USA.

Being an organist, the first thing I did upon arriving at the venue was to hurry to the stage to check out Matthew Fisher's setup: to my amazement I found no Leslies. Now at the time I was using two 147 Leslie cabinets, which flanked me about 8-10 feet apart, miked though two 300-watt power amps feeding four large Kustom cabinets. But I saw nothing for Matthew. I went over to his B3 and followed the cable out the back, across the stage and off and down a hall to a closed door. Opening it I found one Leslie, well-miked... A great idea, though one I would never pick up on: I needed those Leslies, one in each ear. MF had the right idea, though: by placing his Leslie off stage, he isolated it from all stage noise, and, because of that, his organ came though the system clean. It sounded perfect.

I'm wondering whose idea this was, does anyone know? For I never saw this done before or since.

Matthew Fisher responds
Yes, when Robin was in the band, SPL levels tended to be rather high. The only way I could be sure of hearing myself was to have the Leslie as far away as possible, with a Shure SM57 stuck in the top. This was easily arranged, as the PA rig would have had plenty of these mics, together with balanced mic cables of a suitable length. I managed to buy a low-to-high impedance-matching transformer which had a jack-socket on one end and a female XLR on the other. This enabled me to connect the mic lead to a guitar lead, which plugged straight into the Marshall amp I was using.

Gabriel Forza

At the time of the concert The Hip Pocket, ("Show Band" ... we did big production covers of popular rock hits like Vanilla Fudge's cover of You Keep Me Hanging On) were being managed by a strange man named Guggie.. He owned a Club in Waterbury, Ct, in which we became fixture; although out of NYC, we returned to the Club whenever we had an opening in our touring schedule. We also were regulars on the local radio station WWCO: we would walk in at any hour and take over ... we were quite insane.

I was known not only for my stage work, but also for my technical/theatrical expertise: I had designed a few NYC clubs and brought some bands into local prominence. Anyway, through the radio station contacts and Guggie's money, we decided to put on a few concerts that the Hip Pocket could open and at which we could rub shoulders (so to speak) with some name acts. One of the first was Procol Harum, but I really couldn't recall the particulars on exactly how it came down. I had contacts at Premiere Talent, Ashley Famous and other agencies and one of them helped, I'm sure.

Also as far as the date ... I'm lucky to remember the year! Keep in mind this was the heyday of the sixties. I did not trip, I WAS a trip ... sorry :-) As for tapes and photos, clippings, sorry again ... back then I believed I was on my way to bigger and better things and found no need to document the things that were going on. Whereas today I search the Net looking for old band members hoping to find a photo, a recording, something to prove I was really there ...

More features at BtP

More about Procol Harum equipment

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home