Karda Estra - the Mellowest Prog on the Planet

No Comment - Post a comment

There's a new group in my progressive vocabulary - Karda Estra and they're possibly the most 'symphonic' band that still falls a shade over into the progressive genre.

For those who like the classical guitar pieces from Steve Hackett you are at low-risk when listening to the compositions performed and written by Richard Wileman, accompanied by a distinguished group of femme fatals who make up the orchestral and vocal ensemble heard on all Karda Estra albums (11 of them) since 1998.

Peforming as a studio band, Richard Wileman in his incarnation of gothically inpired Hammer horror ghoul-master, has created adventurous symphonies of the melodramatic to delight the heart and the senses. Indeed he is celebrating a decade of Karda Estra by releasing a series of free mp3 singles over the coming year. The first new free mp3 single (November 2007) is entitled 'The Atom Age Sense Of Impermanence.

Taken so fully by the otherworldliness of this surreal 'chamber-prog', I immediately wrote to Richard and offered to create an appreciation page which represents a safe haven to indulge in the works of Richard Wileman; band radio is available for both of his groups; "Karda Estra" and "Lives and Times".

Richard and I would like to invite all lovers of symphonic prog to visit the new Karda Estra appreciation page.

Credits: Richard Wileman (composer, producer, classical, electric and bass guitars, keyboards, percussion, rastrophone), Ileesha Bailey (vocals), Helen Dearnley (violin), Caron Hansford (oboe), Amy Hedges (clarinet).


Message from Ton Scherpenzeel (Kayak) about the new album

No Comment - Post a comment

Ton Scherpenzeel, of KAYAK fame contacted me today and asked if I would share a link with you!

It's a clip they've put on YouTube to promote the new Kayak album, 'Coming Up for Air' that's due for release in January 2008.

Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUHBMjtvtos

Read what Ton has to say about Kayak 2007 in my other interview.


Diary of a Roadie: Working with 70’s Springsteen, Dylan, ELP, Procol Harem, Stones, BOC, Yes…

1 comments - Post a comment

by Don Carrico and ProgRockTV1000

At Tom Field in Somerville, Massachusetts as a Spotlight operator, I worked more than 100 different Rock and Roll Groups from 1972-1975. I will try to remember them and the halls that we worked, and some interesting stories ‘from the road’ to share.

How I became an accidental roadie

The story begins in the Anti-War movement of the Vietnam War.I had been involved with the Vietnam Veterans Against The War. I actually had my 15 minutes of fame - as one of 15 Vietnam Veterans who occupied the Statue of Liberty in 1971 for 3 days:

Seizing the Statue of Liberty 1971: Three Days With A Lady By Don Bristow-Carrico (from ‘The Veteran’ Spring/Summer 1999)

[1] http://www.vvaw.org/veteran/article/?id=195

National Parks Service website, Statue of Liberty CHAPTER 1:THE STATUE OF LIBERTY: MONUMENT TO AN EXPANDING SET OF IDEALS (photo: Members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War leaving the Statue of Liberty, which they had occupied for two days. The demonstrators emerged in response to a court order, December 28, 1971)

[2] http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/stli/adhi1.htm

In the Beginning there was Light (1972)

Bill Raeder (who turned Boston’s current ‘Orpheum Theater’ into a Venue for Rock and Roll Shows when it was called the Aquarius) was a supporter of VVAW and offered us the Stage for a show to benefit a Vietnam Veterans Drug Recovery Center. I was in charge of putting the show together and had Bonnie Raitt, James Montgomery Band, Screemin’ Jay Hawkins, Bill Colwell Band...we had a great show, but we didn't make much $... anyways Bill liked me and asked me to work for him...

I worked with Robert, his Stage Manager and learned how to run a fly floor, hang lights run the Boards and load in load out, run super troupers and everything else to run a show from an empty stage and rigging!!! I helped run shows every weekend for about a year working incredible groups such as:

The Kinks, Procol Harum, James Brown, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, J. Geils Band, Cars, Boston, .... many more I'll try to think of..

But, the Aquarius lost money and it got sold to Don Law..(I personally hated him... I was looking for his support to throw our show, but, instead he scheduled a major event at the Music Hall up the Street and hurt our attendance)... so I left with Robert and went to Tom Field Lighting...That is where I again "did it all" I have many stories that I would like to share, but I am going to go back and answer your questions...and look forward to telling you more of some amazing times...

Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt

For a while at Tom Field I carried Spot lights to auditoriums and theatres up and down the East coast from Long Island NY to Moncton Canada. I would travel with the lights, load in, set up, run shows, strike and load out every night for months at a time. They all look the same and everything is closed by the time we got back to the motel!! So we drank ‘til we moved to the next town....

I did a tour with Jackson Brown and Bonnie Raitt. Every night Jackson Brown would sing to his roadies with the song Load Out!! We would go nuts with the lights!!! Then Bonnie would come on and say "get that spot outa my face!(I LOVE Bonnie in spite of that!)… she too got recovery and then recorded ‘Nick of Time’...a lot said there!!

‘Discovering’ Bruce Springsteen at the Harvard Square Theater

I did the lighting for Bonnie Raitt for a while. One night she performed at the Harvard Square Theatre. The Harvard Square Theatre was amazing… That is where Bruce Springsteen started and I was lighting him the night that he opened for Bonnie Raitt. So this unknown band from NJ opens for her, and Bonnie allowed Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band to perform the entire set.

He drove the crowd nuts! Jon Landau was in the audience and wrote in Rolling Stone that he had "seen the next Bob Dylan". Six months later Bruce Springsteen was on the Covers of Newsweek and Time - the same week.

She let him play the entire set.

Workin’ for the Boss?

Bruce Springsteen..I have a whole story on the Boss...I told you about the concert at the Harvard Square theatre/ well he came to us for lights for his tour.. I got a friend of mine a job at Tom Field. He (Rick Seguso) gets the job to drive Springsteen on the tour in a small motor home.. and after the tour, Rick becomes The Boss' tour manager!

I was still doing one nighters!! Rick came to me the next year when I had left Tom Field in 1975 and asked me to do the tour. I had just got married, was going back to school at Emerson and declined...I wonder where my life would have gone if I had taken that job...

I did get to ride in the Limo with Rick and the Boss to the show at the Boston Music Hall 1976... Rick lost his job when Mike Apel got canned...Rick is an artist now in Florida...

Bob Dylan

I did work a Bob Dylan Concert after I "retired" from Tom Field. A friend called for help to run a spot for a show at the Harvard Square Theatre, so I had fun lighting up Bob Dylan and Emmy Lou Harris (Dylan was in white face and strange) in such an intimate setting as a small theatre.

The Super Trouper Spotlights from Woodstock

One interesting side note: The Super Trouper Spotlights that I used at Tom Field had been the spot lights used at Woodstock. I saved a knob from one as a keepsake. I was still in the Marine Corps during Woodstock.

Carl Palmer’s Revolving Drum Set

I worked at the Orpheum Theatre (it was the Aquarius, run by Blind Bill Raeder until Don Law took it over in 1972). I moved to Tom Field Assoc. in Cambridge, Ma. -moved to Somerville Ma. and that is where we built the drum riser. I worked there until 1975. We were a Stage Lighting Company and provided the lighting for all the major tour groups of the early 70's including Chicago, ELP, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan.

For weeks in between tours, we would work at the shop in Somerville Mass. That is during the time we were building lighting trusses and sets for Chicago, Emerson Lake and Palmer and the Stones and others. Once the shows were set up they left our shop and went to ‘union houses’. Sometimes, I would deliver extra lights or cable and sit in the seats and get paid to watch a show...

Arena Rock at the Orpheum and Boston Garden

We did set up lights for Genesis and Yes tours, I was not involved directly. The Orpheum has always been a great Boston venue. I worked the lights at the Orpheum stage for such greats as the Kinks, Procol Harem, Joe Walsh, Chic Correa, John Mahavishnu MacClaughlin, Bonnie Raitt, J. Geils Band, Boston, Cars, James Brown, and many more...

I worked as a Lighting technician and helped set up the shows for Chicago, ELP, Rolling Stones - omg, there are so many more, I need to rack my brain. I went out to the shows when they were in town and spent time backstage at the Boston Garden (not working) for the ELP concert and the Rolling Stones (I delivered equipment along that tour, to Buffalo NY and Long Island).

Tin Foil for James Brown

I did most of what you mentioned. Some stories stand out… James Brown was doing an anti-drug show as a Public Service for a drug bust he had, his road manager asked me for some tin foil...I was like a gopher, I did everything… I finally found some tin foil... so he takes it and rolls it into a pipe! So much for the anti-drug message!

Greg and Duane Allman’s Drug Feud

Another quick story...Greg Allman asked me for coke...I found someone in line that had some and got them into his dressing room and show (I regret!) Later that night in his motel room Duane came in furious that Greg was doing drugs...and was bullshit at all of us- Sorry that was the last time I saw Duane..

The J.Geils ‘Tree Stash’

Touring with the J.Geils band, when we hit the Canadian Border we found a tree on the US side to hide our MJ ... it was there when we got back!

Assistant Stage Manager and Lighting Tricks

Define your services; When I was Assistant Stage Manager, Robert really knew a lot about Theatre so I was fortunate to have a good teacher. I ran the big knife switch lighting boards (piano boards) and we used the house lighting of fresnels, leikos, Pars and Spot lights to each band without much prior knowledge. Robert didn't know a lot of the groups (actually, he didn’t know most of them - he was a real nerdy type) so he would ask me for opinions on the lighting design he came up with. He would let me do the opening act design and run the show. One of them was Peter Frampton!

Lighting Designer

We would set up the lights for the lighting designers of the groups, but, the opening acts didn't usually have a designer so I handled it many times. I also provided lighting design for one night shows, including: Chic Corea, Peter Frampton, Dave Mason, The Cars, as they didn't have a designer on site. It was awesome to run a show. Dave Mason showed up at a show in Cape Cod without a lighting designer, so I did it. But I was generally a "gopher" and spot operator (grunt!).

On the Road – Up and Down the East Coast

I worked Primarily the Northeast from Moncton Canada, to Long Island, and as far as Buffalo. I carried Super Trouper Spotlights and ran the follow spots for the shows. None of t I worked primarily the Northeast from Moncton Canada, to Long Island, and as far as Buffalo. I carried Super Trouper Spotlights and ran the follow spots for the shows. None of the halls and theatres we went to had their own follow spots, so we provided them. I told you that one of the spots was from Woodstock.

We would start working on a show weeks before we went on the Road. About 3 weeks of pulling instruments (lights - mostly PAR cans) make sure they work, paint them and stencil our logo (a leiko light that spelled ‘Tom Field’). We would put together trusses, road boxes and sets, make sure they were clean or painted. The road manager would figure out how to pack the truck(s). The whole show would be put together in pieces, broken down and packed up.

We would all go to the Irish Bar behind the shop for last minute talk and bash. Then get on the road for the tour. Either fly out, drive a truck, or a van and off to the first gig. The first show, we would set up ahead and tune everything and fix what is needed. The lighting plot had been made by lighting designer and we would rehearse to canned music. Later we would work a live rehearsal with the band and often run a live show the next day.

Bigger shows would rent a hall for a week or two to hone everything. The Orpheum was used for J. Geils Band rehearsals, so I got to go back there, for a bit. Once the first show was over, we would go on to the next show, either the next day or shortly thereafter, not much time between. Every city looked the same.

Jackson Browne sings to the Roadies

I worked for Jackson Browne for a while...his songs, "Running on Empty" and "the Load-Out" tell quite a story of the road. He would always recognize the roadies! We would do special effects with the lights (flash on and off) when he sang Load-Out! It was awesome, most bands hardly knew we existed, until they didn't have lights.

Once he toured with Bonnie Raitt. He would praise us and then Bonnie would come out and say "get the lights out of my face!" (But I love her anyways..I know I wrote this before did you get it?)

Every Town Auditorium or theatre looked the same. The same groupies were there...(very few for the crew, however) We would pick some guys to help us load in (when it wasn't a ‘union house’). If it was a Union House, we would back the truck in and watch the show!! We were scabs... but, got paid pretty good... We would set up around noon, run a show at 8, load out at midnight and be finished by 2, hopefully a bar would be open, but usually we ended up in a Motel room with some beers, get up the next day and do it all over again.

Hot Tuna plays all night

I can't remember the names of all, but OH Yeah, I lit Hot Tuna in the Nassau Colloseum. They played all night! The crowd never sat down, so they kept playing...I was about to drop the next day, but we had to go to Providence and do the same thing over again! By the time we got to Bangor Maine… the show was out by midnight!

Trashing it up with Aerosmith

Once I left the Aquarius/Orpheum, I went to work at Tom Field, which was an incredible place in Somerville Mass. Tim Mahoney was the boss, I worked with his brother Pat Mahoney... who has been a roadie for the BEST groups in the world over the past 30 years, if you could get a hold of him, he will remind you of the time that he and I went to a University show at UNH with two Super Trouper Spotlights to light Aerosmith.

We did not bring enough cable to reach to the power supply so we used some extension cords, when the two of us cranked up 30amps each at the same time WE HAD A FLASH ACROSS THE ENTIRE BALCONEY of burning zip cord! It was funny but could have been deadly!

That was the same show that Aerosmith destroyed the dressing room and caused thousands of $ in damage! The entire group went into rehab a few years later. I found that out, because, I went to the same rehab in Pennsylvania (Galen Hall) that they went to a few months after them. There was always drugs and drinking on the road. I stuck most to drinking, but, got into trouble with that.. now I don’t drink. I like doing recall, because it was an amazing time – EPIC because we all thought we were gonna change the world through music.....when you see that all we got was George Bush you realize we didn't listen to the words! Excuse the politics…

Losing the Truck in NYC

I was about to go out on a major tour with David Bowie in 1975 but, I ended up getting drunk and forgetting where I parked the truck in NYC - well , but Tom Field drove me around trying to find the truck somewhere in the Village of NYC. Found the truck, but was sent back to the shop to cleaning instruments (lights), and working local shows.

Rehab and Bicentennial Pyrotechnics

My boss suggested AA, so I went. I only worked one more tour after that. I worked the 1975 Bicentenial for the National Park Service. We toured all the National Parks... this is a whole ‘nother story... but it is pretty good: I was the pyrotechnician for the re-enactment of the Revolutionary War.

I got to be the entire British Army! I set up simulated musket fire from a hidden area in the woods. The actors (from college of the arts-NC) were the Americans and they would come at me as I fired off about 25 rounds every nite. We went from Concord Mass to San Francisco, hitting many of the National Parks. After this tour, I went to Emerson College, but decided Stage lighting wasn't my future. I ended up at UNH with a degree in Environmental Conservation 1980... working in Solar Energy now.

I love your last comment –Yes, now I am working with the Big spotlight in the Sky, or perhaps the real "Boss"!

List of Groups: Anyways. between the Orpheum and Tom Field and some gigs I did on my own...I have to say it is probably 200, or more. I will rack my brain but there are some groups that I don't even know their names! It was from 1972-1975 so I will do some youtube searches... I did not physically light the Rolling Stones or ELP. Besides building the Lighting trusses and Sets, I went to a number of the shows, backstage and helped with load out and delivered equipment. After I left the biz, I used to go to lots of concerts because I could find someone I know to get a complimentary ticket.

Plus I did Revival shows where you get 8 or 10 oldies groups in one night....but, I will have fun re-collecting:

Electric Light Orchestra
Marshall Tucker
Tom Rush
Johnny Winter
Edgar Winter
(Bob Hope! in Newport)
Dave Brubeck
Tommy James and the Shondells
Seals and Crofts
Jim Messina
Hall & Oats
Van Morrison
Earth Wind and Fire - that reminds me. I ran the lighting for Earth Wind & Fire on a College tour in New England,they had no designer with them so I had a ball, and I knew the music... usually we set the shows up,and then someone from the band would "call the show" -In fact, I would miss hearing the concerts, because I was always on a headset listening to commands, but this show I just listened to the Music and designed as we went!

Beach Boys
Blue Oyster Cult
Cheap Trick
Alice Cooper
Dr. Hook
Rick Derringer
John Fogarty
Three Dog Night
Loggins and Messina
O'Jays Bread
4 Seasons
James Taylor
Liv Taylor
Seals & Crofts
Judy Collins

The rest of the groups names are obscure.. You have to realize for all the name acts, there was an opening act. And some of the Festivals (Freedom Jam-I remember in RI, for one) had multiple groups. Also not counting Bob Hope(!) - I also Lit Opera, Ballet, Magic shows, Royal Lippazon Stallions,etc. All fun but not all Rock and Roll!

One group, The Moody Blues, I didn't work for in the 70's, but know more recently, because Norda Mullen (flute &vocals) is a friend. Just a coincidence...

Nowadays I operate a myspace site: rockandrollreturn - my daughter set up when I was running local Band Rock shows at the American Legion a couple of years ago. I hope to do some more when I get back to Maine...

I have no pictures left from that era (70’s), except for three that are on Myspace (View My: pics) from when, prior to the roadie era, I was with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War "taking over" the statue of Liberty 1971. The picture of John Lennon is signed "merry christmas war is over John and Yoko"- they sent one to each of us, but mine burned along with all my belongings in a fire at my Beacon Hill apartment back in the 70's. I was on the road at the time. I got these copies from one of the brothers that was in the Statue with me. There is a picture of me today on my website www.photovoltus.com/ on the Who we Are page, scroll down.

Don Carrico


Prog artists Jethro Tull, Annie Haslam, Asia, Support Serenity House CD

No Comment - Post a comment

All proceeds to benefit Doylestown PA. community hospice program

There are times when an idea rings true like soothing music, comforting to all who listen.

The founders of the ‘Serenity Hospice Program of Doylestown’ are startled by the outpouring of sympathy and offers of support at both the international and local level, including some very special progressive rock personalities.

Seventeen outstanding artists have contributed their songs for a limited edition benefit CD, including
Annie Haslam, Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer & John Wetton of Asia, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge, Jann Klose, Robert Hazard, ‘Think of 3’, Pat DiNizio from ‘The Smithereens’, John B. Austin, Dave Rentz Quartet with Bob Miles, Tony Repici, Sterling Koch, Fran Jones & Kevin Mackie, James D. Harvey, Mickey Litt, The Luck Brothers, and Steve Pullara.

This is their story.

Annie Haslam standing next to the banner of her painting 'Serenity House'
created for the CD cover.  Photo by Krista Wallhagen

The Serenity House Hospice Program

This program was created by registered nurse and Doylestown Borough resident Nina McKissock, whose dream is to create which she describes in comforting terms as, a ‘bed and breakfast’-type facility for the terminally ill”.

The mission statement from the program reads:

"Honoring last wishes of the individual, listening to life stories, providing support for the caregivers and ensuring safety and soothing for the dying is our motivation"…

The non-profit program will offer free services to the surrounding municipalities. It is based on five core values: compassion, comfort, privacy, dignity and cooperation. The goal is to raise 1.7 million dollars by spring of 2008 for the building of the new hospice facility in the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside.

A site has been selected and as soon as enough funding is generated, the construction companies are ready to do the work.

The Serenity House CD

The Serenity House CD is the brainchild Kevin Mackie, one of the founding partners of East Coast Recording Studio in Warminster, PA.

Kevin Mackie learned of Nina’s program one day from an article for the Serenity House hospice in a local newspaper. He said: "Until my own grandmother became terminally ill, I didn't know what a hospice was. I was very impressed with the specialized hospice environment we had chosen for the care of my grandmother until she passed on."

Kevin is the bassist for the band ‘Think of 3’. His own band donated the song ‘Somewhere’ for the CD, written and sung by Alexis Hoover, who administers the MySpace site where the CD can be purchased.

Kevin had previously produced a CD for the fund-raising project, Enviro-Aid and was looking for a worthy cause. He found it in Nina McKissock’s program and immediately started contacting musicians.

The Musicians join in

The Serenity House CD itself was a labour of love involving a community of musicians who banded together for a common purpose. Kevin managed to get aid from international recording artists such as Asia and Jethro Tull.

Says Kevin: “I decided to start contacting (from information I obtained through the Internet) artists that I felt would be interested in this kind of project. Early on, Annie Haslam (who is from the Bucks County area) agreed to be part of this project. Soon after that, I was talking to my friend Steve Pullara (Cool Beans Music) and he suggested I contact a woman named Anne Leighton (Media Relations) for help.”

“Anne quickly got permission from Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) to use one of his songs, ‘Brown Mouse’. She also recommended other national acts which included Jann Klose, whom she manages.”

Annie Haslam

Kevin has been awed by the passionate support he has received from the artists who donated to the new CD. Annie Haslam, the golden voice of Renaissance, in particular, went over the top and surprised everyone by volunteering to paint original artwork, a semi-surrealist rendition based on the actual architects’ plan for "Serenity House".

Giclee copies of Annie’s painting on canvas, are available through her website http://www.anniehaslam.com/ah_letter.html. She is donating all proceeds to the 'Serenity House' fund.

Annie designed the whole CD package with graphic artist Krista Wallhagen, as well as contributing a song for the CD and being involved in the creation of a very special video (more about this below!).

Kevin: “Annie Haslam became more involved with the project and helped me get other artists, too. Both Annie and Anne are caring individuals and saw that this was a cause that they believed in.”

Annie said, “The actual CD is wonderful - an unusual array of musical styles that are quite diverse but fit together so well because of the sentiment behind them.”

The Serenity Centrifuge video

Kevin had another trick up his sleeve as well. A video was filmed at the brand new facilities of the East Coast Recording Studio and released on YouTube to create awareness for the Serenity House project. This is not an ordinary video by any means!

What you will see is Annie Haslam singing a rendition of "'Michael' Prince of Angels" (the song that she and Rave Tesar donated), in a centrifuge chamber.

What's that about a centrifuge chamber? Well, you'll have to watch to believe it!

The idea for recording a video in the centrifuge is a great attention getter - the video description reads:

East Coast Recording company makes an amazing discovery in their new facilities: the Original Centrifuge used to train the Apollo Astronauts!

Kevin said: "I thought using the centrifuge, for extra publicity, for the CD was a good idea. Annie Haslam and Anne Leighton were talking about it and came up with the idea for putting it on YouTube."

In fact, the East Coast Recording company had only been at the new location for about a month when the video was shot. They don’t have any plans to use the centrifuge itself, as the equipment takes an enormous amount of electricity to run and it has to be operated by a team of professionals. But the chamber itself does have wonderful acoustics!

Kevin: "I do know that it is the original centrifuge used for training Air Force pilots and Astronauts. Sam Cravero (Jim Cravero's brother. Jim is one of our partners) owns the building and is restoring it for future use. He’s also looking into the idea of trying to find a museum for the centrifuge to find a new home in"

Kevin mans the control console in the video while Annie jokingly refers to herself as a 'nuclear physicist' – yet the clarity and emotion of this unique performance will send shivers down your spine.

(Learn more about the centrifuge here).

Release Party

A CD listening party emceed by Grover Silcox - Producer/Reporter for PBS Channel 39 featuring live music from local musicians that took part in the CD was held on September 6th, 2007 at PUCK  (85 Printers Alley), in Doylestown. The event was covered by local newspapers/radio stations. Photos are here.

Media Support and Internet CD Sales

This special CD is being marketed on the internet. All proceeds go directly to the 'Serenity House and Hospice Support of Doylestown, Inc.'

To make a donation, purchase the benefit CD or to meet the wonderful people involved in the program and learn what you can do to help, visit http://myspace.com/serenityhouseCD.

For information, call Serenity House and Hospice Support of Doylestown at 267-880-3480.

To learn more about the proposed hospice facilities, click here.

My thanks to Kevin Mackie for assistance in providing information on the program. May you reach your goal in the shortest time possible!

Release party photos by Krista Wallhagen

This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any ezine, newsletter, blog or website to show your support of the 'Serenity House Hospice Support of Doylestown'



No Comment - Post a comment

One lucky young lady, Nina Mayerhofer, has found a way to combine her two main passions in life; her love of drawing and her devotion as a YES fan.

The drawing part we can understand, but how did an 18 year old teenager, whose hometown is Burghausen in Bavaria, (near the border of Austria) become such a total YES fan, collecting anything and everything from a 40 year old progressive rock band?

ADD NINA'S CHANNEL (6 videos and a slideshow) to your page

In the beginning, there was YES

Actually, Nina’s obsession lies mainly with one member of the famous group; Mr. Rick Wakeman.

Nina has been drawing since she was two, and places her first exposure to the music when her mom would play Yes songs in the car on their way to kindergarten.

Tales from Topographic Oceans

Nina finally became a hard-core YES fan at the age of eleven, loving TfTO right from first listen. She heavily favours the classic lineup of Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White – and indeed these are the characters that found their way into her artwork several years ago.

Nina describes her first band cartoons:

“They didn't look like YES... until I changed the eyes. At first, the eyes were a circle with a point. Then I tried a little bit of Japanese manga-looking eye. Later I changed the contours from small lines to thicker ones.

And now that's my style until today. And I'm not going to change it, even though I could draw much more complex stuff, because I love the way it looks."

"I always prefer drawing them (the members of YES) as young ones, I don't know why, maybe because most of my stories involving my ‘Yes boys’ are set in the timeline of the 70s.”

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

In 2006, Nina started work on a very ambitious project: a hand-drawn animated cartoon movie good enough to share with the public. Each picture was drawn on a single piece of paper (not like in a comic strip, every picture in a square) and the most difficult part was to colour everything virtually.

Nina chose as the theme, Rick Wakeman’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ and developed her own storyline and corresponding speech bubbles (in English).

Nina puts tremendous passion into her projects with a highly self-critical eye, working late at night until the drawings and production work are perfect. Selecting the right music to accompany the various scenes is demanding as well, as it often takes an entire day just to make the music fit.

New World of Yes series

After completing her first animated movie, this young artist knew there was more love of YES still to be expressed, and that meant another project, ambitiously titled 'New World of Yes' series, recently launched on YouTube. This series features a full animated intro, which took one month to draw.

The Real Rick Wakeman

So how did a clever girl like Nina manage to get Wakey’s attention? Nina tells it this way:

“This was one of my greatest wishes ever, and makes for a long and wonderous story. First I met his (Rick Wakeman’s) son Ben on Youtube, I talked with him online and after some days he told me that Rick is his dad…

Wow, how embarrassing for me...because at first I thought he was just another fan and I had told how much I love Wakey... aaawww...”

Here comes the next part:

“Wakey's (Rick Wakeman) got a weekly radio show on Planet Rock, where you can send him emails and he reads them live on the air.

This was my chance, I tried it very often and one day, not so long ago, he read my mail.

He actually read out all of the URLs to my websites live on the air and said my paintings are absolutely brilliant. I had also sent him the links to my ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ movie and he watched it after the show.”

Wakey, Wakey, and more Wakey

Yes, it seems that Nina is a huge Wakey fan...her room is full of posters, merchandising and other rare stuff of Rick and Yes. She says that she will always love their music, but wonders what will come next?

Her greatest wish since being a little girl is to become a famous cartoon artist and create her own animated cartoon movie or series on television someday.

Update: A Backstage Message

Some weeks ago when Rick Wakeman was playing in Canada a friend of Nina’s met Rick backstage and inquired if he knew ‘Nina’...to which Mr. Wakeman replied

“What, my ex-wife?”

“No, the young girl...”

“Aaahhh, the cartoon artist! Yes I know her, her work is brilliant”

Going for the One

Nina has yet to meet Rick in person, but was so encouraged when her friend told her the 'backstage story' that she started with her "World of Yes" series that very day and is already working on the second episode.

She also corresponds regularly with Billy Sherwood of Circa, and says that he's a great guy. She sent him a Circa painting which he loved. She writes Mr. Sherwood quite frequently and says:

”He's a big fan of my work and I am a big fan of his music”


Nina has got her feet in the right place. She knows what she like and does it with a passion.

The icing on the cake is getting recognition for your work and meeting your idols at the same time. Nina’s love of progressive music and art may soon lead to a provocative career in the entertainment industry, let’s hope!

Nina Mayerhofer on MySpace, YouTube, Flickr



1 comments - Post a comment

Ton Scherpenzeel and Kayak hit the Dutch progressive rock music scene starting in 1972. They achieved a slow but steady series of European hit singles including ‘Lyrics’, ‘Mammoth’, and ‘Wintertime’ while pursuing the mainstream success that their musical contemporaries, YES and GENESIS were enjoying in the international limelight.



Kayak's Ton Scherpenzeel
Photo by kind permission of Ton Scherpenzeel

KAYAK's latest, ‘Kayakoustic Live’ CD 2007 is available from www.kayakonline.nl

KAYAK 1972-1981

Such worldwide fame eluded the group at that time as they went about their business of making and performing their own brand of symphonic progressive pop/rock while rising to the top of the Dutch music scene. With the release of critically acclaimed albums such as ROYAL RED BOUNCER and STARLIGHT DANCER, the big breakthrough always seemed to be imminent.

However, repeated lineup changes, lukewarm American record buyers, and the evolving disco/punk scene eventually downgraded Kayak’s hopes for commercial success. Indeed, the music of Kayak was well-known to prog rock aficionados during this golden era. Ever hopeful, Ton Scherpenzeel went back to what he does best; composing and playing in their home market, mainly Belgium and The Netherlands.


In 1981, in an outburst of fantastic creativity, Kayak’s writing team of keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel, his wife and backing singer, Irene Linders, (but minus drummer Pim Koopman, who had left the band in 1976) returned to their symphonic roots and composed the album that many fans consider to be the high point of their career: ‘Merlin’.


Fans will be excited to learn that the ‘Merlin’-suite was recently resurrected by the writing team trio, 22 years later, and transformed into Kayak’s first fully blown rock opera; ‘Merlin – Bard of the Unseen’. There has since been another Kayak rock opera, 'Nostradamus – the Fate of Man', in 2005.

But as fate would have it, the original ‘Merlin’ in 1981 marked the end of Kayak’s first incredible nine year run, for due to numerous reasons, both financial, personal, and managerial – Ton Scherpenzeel disbanded Kayak in late 1981.


The original founders, Ton Scherpenzeel and Pim Koopman restarted Kayak in 1999 after Dutch band De Kast invited Kayak to their TV-program "Vrienden van Amstel Live" to perform their biggest hit, a lovely ballad called Ruthless Queen.

Since then, Kayak has released seven albums and are currently working on their eighth. A new Kayak album, "Coming Up For Air", is scheduled for late 2007. Ton Scherpenzeel and Kayak will also tour after the release to celebrate their 35th anniversary.

Kayak, 2006
Photo by kind permission of Ton Scherpenzeel.


I caught up with Ton Scherpenzeel in September 2007. He talks about the new album, what makes him happy, and about moving forward:

Hi Ted,

Thanks for your interest in Kayak and the promotion on your Myspace site. We're in very good company indeed.

How is the latest album, 'KAYAKoustic Live' being received?

- Very well amongst fans who have seen the show, better than I expected even. Like the tour, we've kept it small, unpretentious and intimate, and look upon the result more as a document, a souvenir for those who were there, than as an official release. We only recorded one show, and that was it, really. It's been a learning and confronting experience for us too, playing our songs this way.

What are your favourite tracks?

- Always a difficult question, as the songs I enjoyed playing do not necessairily have to be the best tracks on the album. But here you go: Only you and I know, When Hearts Grow Cold.

A few thoughts about your 35th anniversary?

- Time flies.

Which excites you more, composing or performing?

-Without composing I probably wouldn't perform. Composing is what I do best. But I appreciate performing more than I used to in the old days.

Are you winning new fans?

- I don't know, I'm not counting. But I can say that the age range of our audience is surprisingly wide, we have a lot of younger fans that weren't even born when we started, and probably got to know us through their parents (well, they couldn't have heard us on the radio, that's for sure).

Of course our fan base dates back from the 70s. And with so many lineup changes, it's obvious that you can't please everybody. Especially older fans hold on to the past. And I can understand that, but life is about change.

Current Lineup: Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards, vocals) Pim Koopman (drums, vocals) Edward Reekers (vocals, percussion) Cindy Oudshoorn (vocals, percussion) Rob Vunderink (guitars, vocals) Joost Vergoossen (guitars) Jan van Olffen (bass)

Official myspace site: www.myspace.com/kayakonline
Offical band website: www.kayakonline.nl



No Comment - Post a comment

The video for the BOC song, Divine Wind was created in the wake of September 11, 2001 by video producer and BÖC fan, Daryl Maxwell. Originally written in 1980 as a reaction to the Iran Hostage Crisis, Blue Oyster Cult's "Divine Wind" once again provides a relevant backdrop to current affairs. Assembled from news footage, it is a compelling and emotional reflection on America's new Day of Infamy.

Daryl Maxwell's: Divine Wind - Blue Oyster Cult

I was curious to know more about this intriguing video and if creator Daryl Maxwell (he's on MySpace) had any connection with BOC. It turns out that he certainly does...

Daryl: Thanks for posting DW

"I've known the band almost 15 years now. In the hours following 9/11 I, like almost everyone was glued to TV coverage and 'Divine Wind' was playing in my head. The evening of 9/12 I started putting together footage to BOC's 'Divine Wind'. A few days later I spoke to Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser and told him that I was almost ready to share it.

A couple of days later Donald and wife Sandy called and said we must do something with it. Sandy and her daughter Dani hand delivered copies, along with a lyric sheet and letter signed by Donald to NYC firefighters.

A couple of months later the video went over with troops to Afghanistan.

The video is still up on the Official BOC website".

Artist: Blue Oyster Cult
Song: Divine wind
Album: Cultosaurus Erectus

Blood of bat, tail of newt
Wing of metal, bone of steel
Vial of health, flask of pain
Staff of life or poison rain
If he really thinks we're the devil
Then let's send him to hell
Fast food, fast cars
Fast women, movie stars
Time of trouble, time of trial
Turn to Memphis, pray a while
If he really thinks we're the devil
Then let's send him to hell
Anxious mothers, bums in the street
Jackals in waistcoats, men in sheets
Purple mountains, waves of grain
Grace of God, thy will be done
If he really thinks we're the devil
Then let's send him to hell
If he really thinks we're the devil
Then let's send him to hell
If he really thinks we're the devil…
Then let's send him to hell!


MySpace Players

No Comment - Post a comment









No Comment - Post a comment

Review my videoblog at Mefeedia