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February 2002: Keith Reid interview from UCLA

Part Two

Guest DJ No 6 at broadcast his fifth internet Procol Harum marathon on Saturday 23 February, including this brand-new interview with Procol Harum's Keith Reid which was recorded on 4 February 2002. What follows is the conclusion: part one is here.

Sixth mp3 extract: Keith Reid talks about the writing, or discovering, of In Held 'Twas in I

In Held 'Twas in I was perhaps one of the first, sort of, rock operas, almost, and we're going to be playing that later today on the show. When it was written was the concept really to write it as a series of inter-linking songs? Was the concept to do this as a whole, initially or was it that you took some songs and tried to put them together?

No, no, no. We wanted to do an extended piece. And we also wanted to involve Matthew Fisher in writing some music as well 'cause he had wanted to write some music. So it was actually the wanting to include Matthew in writing some music that was one of the reasons we did that piece - and it was funny really, because it literally started at the beginning and we sort of just kept writing bits and adding bits on until we got to the end. We didn't have a grand view of how it was going to turn out, or even how long it was going to be or what the piece was going to represent in total, or anything. We just sort of started at the beginning. Had the idea of this little story thing and how to do that ... and maybe we could do that as a narration ... and then add a bit, and add a bit, and add a bit and we literally ... it kind of wrote itself. We sort of started at the beginning, followed the trail and got to the end ... sort of discovered the piece as we went along.

Seventh mp3 extract: Keith Reid talks about personal changes, and re-recording 'lost' Procol songs

In the early albums there was a lot written about death, disease, and sadness. And then some of the more recent work, Prodigal Stranger and the song Within this House - it seems a little bit more uplifting. Does this reflect a change in your own attitude?

Yeah. I think perhaps I was a bit morbid when I was younger. [laughs] Grown a bit more positive as I've matured.

Well good. I think that's good.


There's some unreleased Procol Harm demos that we've seen written about ... some from a session in Miami that occurred in 1976 prior to Something Magic. Any chance that you and Gary would open the vaults and release some of this unreleased material ... either on existing labels or Gazza or something like that?

Gazza - What's that?

That's the label for Gary's record company, I guess. G-A-Z-Z-A.

Oh right, Gazza. Well, there's actually not too many demos as such. Gary had this idea a while ago that maybe there were a bunch of songs that for one reason or another, when we tried to record them didn't turn out the way we hoped or couldn't get them finished, and I know he was toying with this idea of perhaps re-recording them. So I guess that's a possibility.

There certainly are some fine songs that you've played in concert ... So Far Behind is one for example that sounds really good in concert ...

I don't even know which one that is.

Well, that is one. And it was an old one I guess that he (Gary) resurrected. And there's one called Robe of Silk which I like, too.

Right. I remember that one

It would be neat if you would re-record those.

Yeah. I think he was toying with that concept.

Now, when I spoke to Gary on this show, actually, back in September, he hinted at the possibility of a new studio album. And I haven't heard any more about that. Have you?

I haven't heard anything about it, either.

You've not? ... Well - I certainly hope that there is still hope for the concept of coming out with a new studio album at sometime. The fans sure would.

Well as long as we're alive there's always hope - and maybe even after we're dead [laughter].

Eighth mp3 extract: Keith Reid talks about Procol continuing, and about Manhattan on September 11

Procol has had some very successful concerts over the last few years. There's a website now called 'Beyond the Pale' that's dedicated to Procol Harum that gets something like over 1200 visitors per day. And now a major U.S. University Radio Station ... we've been running a monthly Procol Harum radio show. So there's been a tremendous resurgence of interest in the group. What are your thoughts about the future of Procol Harum and will you continue to contribute?

Well, I'm sure that as long as one's still writing ... as long as we're continuing to write songs and make music and Gary and the other guys enjoy performing, you know, then we'll go on. The thing is, that we all do other things, as well as ... you know. When Procol Harum was going as a band for ten years we did Procol Harum to the exclusion of all else. It's not really like that anymore. So, it's kind of more ... one of the things that we do.

What are some of the other types of projects that you've been working on besides work with Procol Harum?

Well ... I continue to write. I write songs with sort of different people. I just continue to be a songwriter, basically.

You did also some work with Robin Trower?

That's right, that's right.

He's still very, very active.

Yeah. Robin, I think he tours quite regularly and makes records and - plays some great guitar, I know that.

Now, you live in Manhattan?

Yeah. I do, I do.

So were you there September 11th?

Uh - no. I was in London. In a weird sort of way, although it ... I mean although I was kind like in ... it was strange really, 'cause in a way, I thought I wish I'd been there especially as the part of Manhattan I live in is extremely close to the World Trade Center ... seven blocks.


Yeah. One block nearer to the World Trade and everyone was evacuated. So, no, it was really close to home. And you know I kind of really felt for the people ... that I knew in the area ... taking their kids to school and stuff. I was very concerned about it.

Sure ... is that something you'd write about?

Actually. I have written about it. Just a song, I had to write a song about it. I have written a song about it. And a friend of mine is setting it to music and yeah ... in a way that's one of the lucky things about being a writer - that you have some outlet for when these terrible things happen.

Who are some of the other songwriters you're working with these days?

I don't think anybody that you'd know. I mean, nobody particularly famous.

Okay, uhm, anything that you'd like to tell Procol Harum fans or listeners to this Procol Harum radio show?

Keep an open mind at all times (laughs).

Okay. That sounds like good advice. Well listen, thank you very, very much for agreeing to being on the show today. We really appreciate it and wish you all the best.

Thank you.

First part of the Keith Reid interview

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