Words from god, and What's a mellotron anyway?

Found this by chance (?): a phone interview with Tony Banks. Not many words, but any words from (any) god should be communicated.

As a footnote, a brief phone interview was carried out with Tony a few years ago on the subject of his Mellotron use. The answers are, er, 'short and to the point', but a few queries are cleared up. Unfortunately, a few more are created, but that's another story...
Q: The first part of the intro to "Watcher of the Skies" consists of mixed strings and brass played on the right-hand manual of the Mellotron Mk II.
A: Yes, this is true.
Tony is presumably referring to the studio version here, although the same goes for the live version during the Foxtrot period, including "Genesis Live".
Q: Was the left hand playing single notes on the left-hand manual of the Mellotron, using a sound called "Bass Accordion"?
A: Yes.
Q: Was the bass part, which also consisted of single-note lines, played on the Hammond organ pedals?
A: No.
Q: Did part of the Mellotron sound go through the Leslie 760 rotating speakers for a fuller sound?
A: Yes, but only because everything went through the Leslie.
This is especially interesting; sometimes you can hear that the 'Tron is going through a Leslie, but most of the time it sounds uneffected. Was Banks only referring to "Watcher"?
Q: Was the second part of the intro, consisting of descending 3rd intervals, played using the strings/brass mix (left hand), and Hammond organ (right hand)?
A: Can't remember for the studio recording, but yes for on stage.
Q: Was the left-hand manual on the Mellotron Mk II used for any other parts?
A: Can't remember.
Q: The Mellotron 400 that was used for the "Selling England" tour had the Mk II strings and brass. Was the left-hand Mellotron part now played on the Hammond?
A: No.
There is video footage showing Tony playing the "Watcher" intro on the Hammond and Mellotron, so presumably he's referring to the bass part here, not the chords.
Q: Did he have a second tape frame for recording the flute parts on things like "Epping Forest" and "Lilywhite Lilith"?
A: Yes. He said he remembered having strings, brass, voices, flute and oboe.
So that clears that one up... the Mk.II (s) obviously went into retirement after the "Foxtrot" tour.
Q: Did Tony Banks ever use a Chamberlin tape replay keyboard?
A: No, but he did use some other type of tape replay.
What this might be remains a mystery. Surely not a Birotron?! A Chamberlin was found at the Farm (Genesis studio complex) by an equipment dealer, but presumably it was never used. Probably didn't work...
Q: What kind of string synthesiser did he use for the "Lamb" sessions?
A: Elka Rhapsody mixed with the Mellotron.
Q: Was the recording of "A Curious Feeling" (1979 solo album) the last time he used a Mellotron?
A: Unlikely, but not sure.
This answer is rather unclear. Does Banks mean that he used a Mellotron later (unlikely, it has to be said), or does he mean that it wasn't used on "A Curious Feeling"?
Q: Did the ARP Centaur prototype synth end up on any recording?
A: No. Never used it. (http://www.planetmellotron.com/revgenesis.htm)
In the same page it is revealed what the sound in Watcher of the Skies is: mixed brass/strings with bass accordion. Ok, now I know how to arrange this for orchestra...

1 comment:

  1. Yet the sound of Watcher of the Skies: "Strings and brass on the RH and a bass sound on the LH" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7PKMLIVXNs)