The Magic Highway


Did you know that San Bernadino wasn't the first choice as a follow-up single to Yellow River? Find out what was in this interview from Disc and Music Echo magazine, November 1970.

Disc photo

By Rosalind Russell

CHRISTIE have found a hit formula. And for the moment they're going to keep on using it.
   It started with Yellow River and now the follow-up, San Bernadino, looks like having the same success. And Christie aren't worried about the similarity.
   "There is a danger of people getting bored," says Jeff Christie. "But that's a risk we'll have to take.
   "Time will tell. We're not purists and there's no point in putting out a non-commercial record.
   "You make a record to sell, not to put on your own record-player."
   But before San Bernadino was chosen, Jeff had thought of using one or two other songs from their album — either Inside Looking Out, or Put Your Money Down, which is more like a rock number.
   Christie do hope to make a transition from "pop" to "rock" very gradually.
   They already have a rock-oriented stage act, which surprises people who come to see them, having heard only their records.
   "I wanted something a bit different for the second single, but we are getting known more as a country rock band," Jeff says.
   "Pop groups are dying, there's nothing after the Beatles. But there's always a market for our music, even if it is limited."
   Christie feel that it's necessary for groups to compromise on principles to survive.
   "People tend to follow like sheep, just because the big wheel says the new rave is such and such a thing," Jeff says.
   "But sometime, people are going to want to hear nice, happy sounds again."
   Christie think their basic policy is to be consistent, although they plan to change their image, albeit slowly.
   "We are changing tempo, but we have to maintain a certain sort of sound," Jeff says. "We are changing all the time, trying to get a little heavier, putting a little more into the number.
   "We will be doing hard, aggressive, driving music, but no-one is trying to blow anyone's mind.
   "The album we have out now is very representative of what we were doing before. The next album will include similar things, but some harder numbers too."
   But before they go into the studios, they have to get a break in all the work lined up for them. Apart from the odd dates in Britain, Christie are scheduled to visit Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Australia, South America and the States.
   "Yellow River was a hit in a lot of countries — that's why we have to travel so much," Jeff says.
   "We work harder than the average man in the street. The whole business is blown out of proportion. We're doing an ordinary job.
   "To me a star is Barry Gibb, or the Beatles.
   "But it can be a vicious circle. If other artists act like stars to you, then you do too, because you don't want to feel inferior."