from New Musical Express interviewed the boys about their
visit to South America in 1970.
CHRISTIE NON-STOP BLUES
By Roy Carr
"OH hell, here we go again, straight outta bed,
into a suitcase and onto a plane."
With these immortal words, drummer Paul
Fenton opened his eyes and greeted a brand new day.
was more than a faint ring of truth in his statement. It
was only a matter of a few short hours before Christie were
due to fly out to Milan to coommence yet another extensive
It was now preciselt 10.45am and I had
arrived unheralded at the group's expansive second-floor
apartment in Kensington for some friendly words and a cup
of coffee or two. But in order to do so, I had to literally
drag both Paul and Jeff Christie out of their respective
"When we're in the flat, which is
very seldom, all we seem to do is get our laundry done and
prepare for the next overseas trip," Paul mumbled as
he proceeded to rummage through a pile of clothes and assorted
souvenirs he had acquird on the group's recent South American
It's not that the boys are knocking their
meteoric success. It's just that the pace and continuously
jetting all over the world is beginning to show.
If in the eight short months since they
exploded up world charts with Yellow
River the eyes have become darker, the faces a little
drawn and the body movements slightly lethargic, then the
band as an entity has become much tighter and professional
with a noticeable improvement in direction.
Partly revived with strong coffee, cereal
and honey, Jeff wiped the sleep from his bleary eyes and
informed me "There's a whole new market abroad for
us. It's hard to believe but some places we go we are the
first live foreign rock band the people have ever seen in
their entire lives."
Transfixing his gaze on his mushy bowl
of cereal, it was left to Paul to continue the train of
conversation: "South America was absolutely gggrrrrreeatttt,"
he emphasised in his strong Leeds accent.
"The reception we got is what I imagine
the early Beatles days were like, with something like 15,000
kids all chantin' yer name while yer playing."
After showing me photographs of some of
the local beauties, Paul surprised me when he said: "The
voodoo cult is still incredibly strong in Rio. Out there
they call it macamba, and when you go down to the beach
you come across lots of circles of burnt-out candles where
they have been up to their voodoo tricks the night before."
He then went on to tell of their only
encounter with this primeval cult. "It was one night
when we were driving down a narrow street after a gig. It
was very dark and the rain was pouring down. Suddenly this
half-naked guy lurched in front of the car. And there he
remained, writhing with his arms behind his back and his
body bent forward in the glare of our headlights.
"Our driver jammed on the brakes
and then sat very quietly, obviously afraid of this guy,
who was in some kind of hypnotic trance.
"Then someone in the car told us
he was feared by everyone because he was a well-known macumba
worshipper. I tell you I was petrified," Paul admitted.
"As was I," Jeff interjected,
as he paused between mouthfuls of cereal. "We just
sat there motionless until he decided to sidle off into
the darkness. Then we drove off mighty quick."
If Christie are helping to pioneer new
frontiers abroad and open up lucrative markets for others
to follow, they are aware of a totally different situation
wich prevails in this country.
"The whole scene is quite new to
those we play abroad to, but here in England the kids have
had the very best bands for well over six years, so you
can't blame them for being a little bit blase.
"When the Cream and all those big
acts were on the road, they made a lasting impression, so
honestly, what chance do most bands have of following that?"
However, commit the cardinal sin of becoming
a commercial proposition and you are publicly pilloried
and ridiculed for selling out, no less.
"I'm not knocking our records for
one minute," Jeff said. "But I don't want our
records to carry our act. The act has to stand on its own
merits .. and believe me it does. Since Paul joined and
we've toured abroad, we've improved beyond all recognition.
"Anyway, without Yellow
River and San Bernadino,
I'd still be sitting home in Leeds doing nothing.
"I'll tell you one thing," Jeff began as he started
to pack his suitcase, "the third hit is gonna be much
harder for us."