Whilst Caravan headlined the Canterbury festival back in May 1990 with the first gig of what has been a very impressive comeback, the same bill also featured the low-key debut of another Canterbury band of equal pedigree billed for that festival as HUGH HOPPER AND FRIENDS. By October they had evolved Into GOING GOING, securing, a support slot to GONG MAISON at Brixton Fridge and putting on a performance that would have been very hard for Caravan themselves to follow.
The nucleus of Going Going is Hugh Hopper (bass), Richard Sinclair (rhythm guitar/lead vocals), Mark Hewins (lead guitar/ vocals) and Andy Ward (drums). Vince Clark was the drummer at that first gig and added percussion for the Brixton concert. One further gig has followed, and with the band not tied down by the commitments which allow Caravan only to gig at weekends, it is to be hoped that a Going Going tour might be in the offing.
Richard Sinclair and Hugh Hopper have followed parallel lines within Canterbury music over the years: both were bassists with Robert Wyatt, Gilgamesh and In Cahoots; and neither, despite involvement with pioneering experimental bands such as Soft Machine and Hatfield and the North, has ever abandoned a superb natural grasp of harmony and rhythm. For Going Going, it's back to the combination of Sinclair's guitar and Hopper's bass that graced the original Wilde Flowers as well as the unreleased Hopper/Sinclair album of 1983. But it''s, proved to be a band of renewed acquaintances all round. Hewins and Hopper appeared together in the Mad Axe Quartet; Sinclair and Hewins in the brief 1975 ensemble Sinclair and the South, Sinclair and Ward were once the rhythm section in Camel.The music, reflects this wealth of Canterbury pedigree: material is drawn from the classic eras of both Soft Machine and Caravan, whilst also finding room for many of the 'lost' songs of Richard Sinclair. As such, Going Going's sets are drawn from a much lighter repertoire than an initial glance at the line up might suggest, and this is clearly a band out to enjoy themselves. Instrumentals written by Hugh Hopper and Mark Hewins for other bands are also given a stage, but the band work best as a vehicle for airing the songs of Richard Sinclair. When you consider that Sinclair's songwriting continued throughout the Eighties without the outlet of a recording deal, it's soon apparent that Going Going have a hefty catalogue of material to fall back on (Richard Sinclair is reputed to have hundreds of songs up there somewhere!)
With a support slot to Gong at the Fridge, the name Going Going proved irresistible and has stuck since. Even amongst an audience of predominantly Gongfreaks, there was a very vocal approval of the band. Reviews of both of the autumn gigs appear elsewhere in this issue. There are no Going Going dates pencilled in the diary at the present, but it's interesting to note what each member of the band is currently up to:
Very much part of the CARAVAN reunion. Caravan played a storming gig at the Brixton Fridge in October, supported by 07RIC TENTACLES. This gig is also reviewed in this issue. Caravan are next set to appear live on 24th March, again at the Fridge, with DAEVID ALLEN and GRAHAM CLARK providing the support. Prices are £7 advance, and the Fridge phone number is 071 326 5100. The Bedrock gig involving Caravan which was reviewed in the last issue will by now have come and gone (Re-scheduling due to the Gulf War and ITV regional quirks permitting), but readers may wish to hassle CASTLE COMMUNICATIONS (081 8770 922) to buy the rights to the video of the show. Castle apparently have first option to buy all Bedrock material for general video release, and have done so to date with the GONG show, but not that of HATFIELD AND THE NORTH. Readers are also pointed towards the Caravan merchandise, an advert for which appears on the back page. Two rather splendid 7-shirts are on offer, which have got to be essential garb for any self-respecting Canterbury head, and it's good to see another homebased merchandise set-up at a time when Caravan are not receiving any royalties from the latest CD releases.
Richard Sinclair himself, meanwhile, has two recording projects 1n the pipeline: one is the album hinted at 1n the last issue, and is being funded by Eastside, an American company who backed the recent US tour by DAVE STEWART and BARBARA GASKIN. This project will be led by Richard, but he intends the album to provide a meeting point for a host of Canterbury types. The other LP will bring together some of his many unreleased songs.
Hugh continues to lead a very busy performing life in various parts of Europe. The Wayside/Cuneiform CD of the HUGH HOPPER BAND live in 1989 is now scheduled for release in mid-1991. It is taken from the Dutch gig for which an advert is reproduced amidst Hugh's words on P.12
Hugh is also involved in an intriguing one-off combo as part of the Le Mans festival in May. On the 12th of that month, one afternoon of the festival is given over to Trevor Watt's Drum Orchestra, ELTON DEAN'S UNLIMITED SAXOPHONE COMPANY, and a band featuring the astonishing line-up of HUGH HOPPER, PHIL MILLER, PIP PYLE and DIDIER MALHERBE. PHIL MILLER has also replace Patrice Meyer on guitar (temporarily) for the latest incarnation of the HUGH HOPPER BAND, which has recently toured Holland and Germany.
Mark Hewins recently had a CD of electric guitar music released on the Daagnim label. It is being distributed in the UK by Impetus, and is reviewed in this issue on P.32
Andy Ward is apparently playing drums in with various local outfits in the Canterbury area.