Procol Harum

the Pale

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Brooker on Fisher

'... a great asset to the band'

In April 2003 Gary was interviewed by Dan Campbell for the Washington Times during which he said ...

Matthew has very strong ideas, but at the same time, he is very open to what I am feeling or wanting to do and the direction that the band might take. Hes a great musician. You know when he plays the Hammond, its going to sound like him not just like a Hammond, but him. And he is the Hammond sound of Procol. Everyone else is an imitator. I mean, Chris Copping played organ in the band for years, but he was only playing it like Matthew would have played it.

In January 1992 Procol Harum played the Saga Concert Hall in Copenhagen and part of the concert was broadcast on Danish Radio. Gary Brooker was interviewed for that show and this is how he touched on Matthew Fisher's contribution to Procol Harum.

GB: Matthew in 1969 or whenever it was decided that he didn't like life on the road, he liked life in the studio. And sort of twenty-however-many years later, he's decided that he's fed up with life in the studio and he wants to go on the road.

You know Matthew might have turned round after we'd made the album and said, 'Yeah, I enjoyed making the album but ... thanks, I'm going to go back home now to my studio'. But, luckily, he didn't, and he's enjoying himself and he's a great asset to the band.

And in fact ... yeah he's an important part ... Matthew adds a lot ... I mean really organists in Procol Harum through the 70s only carried on Matthew Fisher's tradition really of the way ... of what he adds. He left such a strong mark on the band that everybody's ... you know, there is a way of playing organ that Mathew invented: and that's how you play it in this band!

Thanks to Axel Leonhardt for sending this excerpt

Excerpt from Henry Scott-Irvine's 3 October 1992 interview with Gary Brooker, Shine On, April 1993, p 25

HS-I: One of the many elements that go to make Procol Harum distinct amongst others is the particular sound that comes from Matthew Fisher's Hammond organ playing. It really is one of the distinct features on the album. Some of his playing 'live' quite surpasses anything I've heard from Procol Harum.

GB: Matthew has always been the sort of player that finds a brilliant piece of organ to play to a song. It's almost unchangeable. Sometimes it becomes so much a part of it that you could not do without it ... Matthew does have a touch. It's a feel and a touch, surprisingly. You know you can play exactly the same notes as he does and it would not sound the same.

Thanks to Joan May for sending this 'Perfectly Articulated Praise for Matthew from Gary'

In the liner notes for the Repertoire re-release of Home, Gary Brooker reminisces ...

GB: He was an immaculate player, but he wasn't enjoying it like everybody else.

from Diane Rolph to BtP - October 2002
"Matthew Fisher has recently acquired a Hammond C3, which Gary feels is marvellous news. There was a round of applause from the band when the Hammond arrived for its first rehearsal! Gary declared it to have 'a lovely sound' but then said, 'Or is it the way he (Maf) plays it?' 

Gary Brooker interview in Sweden's Musikermagasinet, summer 2003

If Procol Harum has a sound, it lies in the combination of instruments. The other is the organ. I think Matthew Fisher has the right Hammond sound. Georgie Fame plays the same instrument, Steve Winwood plays the same instrument, but none of them sounds like Matthew Fisher. Even if I use the same organ and the same settings as Matthew, it doesn't sound the same anyway. (read the rest of this piece here)

Gary Brooker on other fellow-Procolers

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