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The Live List
(including 2013!)
The Book
(Sold Out)
Forthcoming gigs and releases          A tribute to Tim Locke

Stop Press!!!
PH interviewed in Goldmine
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Peter Hammill and Gary Lucas have collaborated on a new album titled "Otherworld", released on 3rd February 2014.
Click on image to order.

Interview on The Progressive Aspect

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David Jackson appears on a new CD of contemporary chamber music released by Ricardo Odriozola. It is called "DRAGNING - CHAMBER MUSIC BY KENNETH SIVERTSEN"

It can be purchased here: www.amethyst-records.com

Further info

Image Peter Hammill made an appearance in Italy on January 18th 2014 (click on poster for details).

PH met the students of the local Conservatory (the lecture was also open to all musicians and music lovers) at 6pm for a lecture on music writing techniques and played a short live set in the Auditorium at 9pm:
My Room
Siren Song
Just Good Friends
Don't Tell Me
The Mercy
Unconscious Life
Undone
A Better Time
Traintime
House With No Door

Image Auditioning for Auntie

"Pete Paphides delves in the BBC archive to reveal audition processes for aspiring bands and artists to gain radio exposure in the 1950s and 60s, among them the Rolling Stones, Elton John, the Who and Pink Floyd. Plus, musicians including Peter Hammill of Van der Graaf Generator, Judy Dyble of Fairport Convention and Alvin Stardust discuss their recollections of these sessions."

BBC Radio 4 - Monday 21st October at 4pm
Radio Times listing

PH Winning Visionary Award (2012).

What prog-rock albums should politicians listen to?

COUNTDOWN 2 APOCALYPSE by Graham Smith, the sequel to At Risk... A Perfect World is out now on Amazon Kindle.
Click here for information
Image Another Italian Book!

"A philological and musical journey through the VdGG albums; as the subtitle of the book suggests: 'descent into the progressive maelstrom'. This book is not just the enumeration of events but a point of view about musical matters offering some secrets of one of the most original bands of the 70s. Coralli's musical transcriptions help the reader (and VdGG fan) to understand the Hammill methods of composition, as well as the instruments (as we can read through the Hugh Banton interview which discovers some forgetten background about the 'Pawn Hearts' sessions).

"Michele Coralli is a journalist specialising in music who deals with contemporary music and classic progressive rock. This is his second book following 'Swinginí Canterbury. Viaggio nella provincia del rock progressivo britannico 1967-1981'."
Click here to order (In Italian).


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Van der Graaf Generator June/July 2013 European tour!

See the Live List for the recent shows.

"VdGG will be performing a couple of long-form pieces at the core of their sets in their upcoming June dates.

"Flight", originally a PH solo/K group piece, has already been aired in North America and Japan last year. It's partly as a result of the reworking of this in the trio format that we've been tempted to go for something even more ambitious...or dangerous.

Our intention is to play "A Plague of Lighthouse-Keepers", from our 1971 album "Pawn Hearts" each night.

We will not be attempting to recreate the album version but hope to come up with a new, in-the-present approach to this important piece from our past, which has only been played live a handful of times before now.

It's a scary prospect, but very exciting!"

Judge Smith has a new album out called Zoot Suit. "Judge's 11th solo release is an album of songs, and only his third full-length collection of songs in twenty years. Featuring the spectacular arrangements and production of David Minnick, and some amazing American musicians, 'ZOOT SUIT' is perhaps Judge's most accessible and downright entertaining album to date."
Image Click on the image for a brand new, in-depth interview with Peter Hammill on Innerviews. "It's a comprehensive look at much of Hammill's recent and forthcoming activity, both as a solo artist and with Van der Graaf Generator."
VdGG were massive in Italy during the early 70s and there remains a thriving Italian fanbase. Paolo Carnelli: "Though 40 years have passed, there was still a chance to be able to track down some of the Italian people who were involved with the band at the time: musicians, opening acts, managers, writers and, of course, fans. As the work went on, it was clear that there were some pretty interesting stories to tell, especially the ones related with the collaboration between Peter Hammill and Italian band Le Orme, the very first years of Hammill's solo career and the making of the Long Hello album, which was deeply linked to Italy. The core of the book deals with the 1972/1975 period."
Contributions from current VdGG and David Jackson. In Italian.
(Click on image for more information)
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Graham Smith's first novel has a change of title and cover and is now called "AT RISK... A PERFECT WORLD". Those who do not have a Kindle can download a free app from Amazon. If anybody has the older version, there is no difference in content, apart from a few words; but they can obtain the new version by contacting tech@thepowerofgray.com and submitting their Kindle address.

Elbow's Guy Garvey talks to PH and others about sequencing: Listen here.

Image Sadly, former VdGG bassist Nic Potter has passed away.
More here including a link to an obituary and a tribute from Guy Evans.
Revolve Merchandise in the US have Grounding T shirts for sale. Click on the image for details. Image
David Jackson in collaboration with Le Jury has released a new album entitled "Jaxon Faces The Jury". Le Jury are a three-piece from Bergen, Norway that include Ricardo Odriozola, the talented musician who co-wrote "The Musical Guide to Pawn Hearts".
Buy the CD here (postage included in price).
HB gets in some practice in readiness for the 2004 reformation...
V is for Van der Graaf Generator!
(You can hear An Epidemic of Father Christmases on the Mp3 Downloads page.)
Peter Hammill wins "Visionary" award
at Progressive Music Awards ceremony.

BBC     YouTube     Speech

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Van der Graaf Generator's new instrumental album "ALT" released
on June 28th 2012. Buy the CD here, the LP here.
Check out the Live List for the tour of North America! Image
Van der Graaf Generator Live At Metropolis Studios was released as a 2CD/1DVD set by Salvo/Union Square Music on June 4th. Thanks for all the competition entries - the winners reside in the UK and France and have been notified.

SDT

SDT

SDT

SDT
String Driven Thing (above) featuring Graham Smith played a gig in Sutton, Surrey on May 13th to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their signing with Charisma. They have also released a live CD from the 72/73 Genesis Foxtrot tour. Details Here.

There is a 5 page piece and interview with PH in May's MOJO magazine.

PH's new album "Consequences" was released on April 16th. - Buy Here.

A new live box set release by PH: "Pno, Gtr, Vox Box" is out now - Details Here.

Book Scott Faragher's new book "The Hammond Organ" features a section on HB and VdGG. Click on image.

A new double CD live release by PH: "Pno, Gtr, Vox" is out now - Order Here.

"This Too Shall Pass", the new album from the Subterraneans, is available for free from Here.

VdGG in Record Collector

David Jackson appears on the new album from Stelios Romaliadis called Meadow Rituals.
Book A new book published is Paul Hegarty and Martin Halliwell's Beyond and Before - Progressive Rock since the 1960s.

Information and a downloadable sample can be found here.

A text version of Van der Graaf Generator - The Book
is now available on Kindle UK and Kindle USA.
For paraphernalia from the Spring 2011 tour,
visit The Live List - 2011
.

VdGG Italian Special on RAI 5.

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CD The new album from Van der Graaf Generator is out now and is entitled: "A Grounding in Numbers".
The Grounding page includes an interview with Peter Hammill who also did an interview for the Barbican website.
You can read about the making of the album on SofaSound and hear clips here.

There is an interview with PH and HB on the French Lost and Found website (in English and French).

The CD can be ordered from SofaSound.

For International Record Store Day on 16th April, Esoteric put out a limited edition single of "Highly Strung" with B side "Elsewhere".

VdGG
The VdGG trio     
London Nov 2010.  
The Van Der Graaf Generator
2011 Easter European tour
is over!
VdGG
VdGG at Propagation House studios in April 2010.
HB Planets Hugh Banton's new recording of The Planets by Gustav Holst has now been released on CD, as well as a download, along with his Goldberg Variations. Click Here for downloads
or Here for the CD.
The DVD of Peter Hammill's 1992 Passionskirche solo performance is now available on Voiceprint. Buy Here.

Also available from Voiceprint is the official DVD and CD of Van der Graaf Generator's show at the Paradiso in 2007.
You can Buy Here.

Interview with Peter Hammill on Voiceprint Web Radio

VdGG
John (ny "Rotten") Lydon likes VdGG?
Van der Graaf Generator's 2009 tours: Click here for tour photos etc.

Peter Hammill's new album is out. It's called "Thin Air".
Buy Here!

Piece in Mojo.

VdGG
VdGG in 2009
Private Eye Which '70s prog rock band does Gordon Brown remind you of?
(Private Eye - July 2008)
Time Vaults has been released in re-mastered form by Plastic Head Records.
This is much brighter and clearer than previous issues and worth the outlay.
LUUP David Jackson appears on the first solo album from flautist Stelios Romaliadis, "LÜÜP", entitled Distress Signal Code. Buy it Here.

Interview (in Greek)

LUUP

www.peterhammill.com Goes Live!
"...where, finally, some lyric-labyrinthine adventures await."

Van der Graaf Generator - The Book is available for purchase online from this website for £25 plus p+p. The front cover features a specially commissioned painting of the members of the band which has been produced as a poster, also available online - Details Here
The Book "Their research for this project has been diligent and wide-ranging and they've come up with a fascinating collection of interviewees and an even more fascinating range of photographs and other pieces of documentary evidence of all the lives and times of the band(s)."
- Peter Hammill

"I cannot recall being as excited about a book since Armando Gallo's Genesis book when I was 12 in 1978 or Mark Lewisohn's first Beatles Sessions."
- Daryl Easlea 5 Star review in Record Collector Feb 2006

"As a group travelogue and potted history of the era, it's a rollicking good read." - Keith Moliné The Wire Mar 2006

"Backed up by an abundance of documentation, photographs, and trivia... this thorough history balances the gravity of VdGG's music and their mostly difficult tale with a narrative of considerable exuberance."
- Ian Harrison 4 Star review in MOJO July 2006

"Spiccano poi le dichiarazioni rilasciate de preziosi del tempo come membri dei Genesis, degli Audience e delle Orme, ma anche l'opinione di fan insospettabili come Marc Almond, Graham Coxon e John Frusciante." - Mario Giammetti Jam (Italy) Feb 2006

"Een absolute must voor de echte fan." - Harold van Zessen ioPages (Netherlands) Apr 2006

"An immense amount of information is presented clearly and respectfully, without ever descending into obsequiousness, or becoming mired in details. The Book will obviously be of interest to fans, but it also provides fascinating insights into the culture of the times." - Guitar Player July 2006

"...un'opera straordinaria, che si colloca fin da ora quale punto di riferimento assoluto sull'argomento."
- Enrico Ramunni Rockerilla (Italy) June 2006

"No Van der Graaf fan should be without it." - Review in Ugly Things #24

"Such a band deserves a good book about it, and now it's got one." - ROCK'n'REEL Jan/Feb 2008


Forthcoming gigs:

VdGG in Milan
Van der Graaf Generator:
Tour over...

PH Gigs
Peter Hammill:
07 AUG 14, Romania, Sibiu, La Palatul Brukenthal din Piata Mare

New releases:

"Otherworld", plus a new solo album from PH and a VdGG live album expected soon...

POP2 You can now watch the POP2 TV show of May 27th 1972, that featured Van der Graaf Generator, on the French TV INA website (click on TV to the left). The clip features VdGG playing Lost, Killer and Octopus at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris. The show took place on March 18th 1972.

I am pleased to accept photographs and scans of artefacts for the website, but I would be grateful if you would contact me first before emailing very large attachments. I classify anything over about 10Mb as very large. Please keep sending stuff in, but bear this in mind. Thankyou.




-

This was not intended as a comprehensive PH/VdGG site but is rapidly becoming one. It started out as a personal journey through some very enjoyable times with my friends from the early to mid/late seventies but I have now incorporated much material donated from other sources to fill in gaps. There is material from 1967, when the band first formed, and onwards to 1978, when they finally split for what appeared to be the last time. If you are a Peter Hammill and Van der Graaf Generator fan then you may well find something of interest here.

early picsEarly Pictures (1968 to 1969)

The original band had actually split up by the time I got into the music and in fact the first album that I heard was "68-71", a compilation. The disappointment of not being able to see the band live in 1972 was tempered by the fact that Peter Hammill was by then a solo artist and performing around Europe, albeit sporadically. Often Dave Jackson, Hugh Banton or Guy Evans would support him, but long gone were Nick Pearne, Chris Judge Smith, Keith Ellis and Nic Potter.

The band's first release was the single People You Were Going To, released in early 1969.

IT AdThe Early Days  Read articles from the Manchester Independent and other publications from 1968 and 1969, and Hugh Banton's advert in the International Times of August 23rd 1968. Also Caleb Bradley and The Lost Demo Tape!

Aerosol Grey MachineAerosol Grey Machine  The album entitled The Aerosol Grey Machine wasn't originally released in the UK. It was the band's first album, recorded in 1969, but it only became obtainable in Britain in 1973 as an import, through Virgin (I think). I can't remember if I got it from Virgin in Brighton (the first Virgin store which was a great place to hang out until they pulled the building down to make way for Boots) or by mail order. Either way it was the final brick in the wall and a great album as well. It has a good feel to it and is so late 60's. This album, among others, was produced by John Anthony.
The CD, released in 1997, contains some interesting sleeve notes, penned by Peter Hammill, about the early history of the band; "you should get some flavour of the times". That sentiment fits well with the object of this site.

Early Press Release (1970)          The Mechanics of Van der Graaf

Pictures from 1969 to 1972

68-71 Compilation albumVan der Graaf Generator 68-72

6 bob gigs In the early part of 1971 Van der Graaf Generator embarked on a tour of the UK with Lindisfarne and Genesis, fellow Charisma Records artists. The ticket price for the Charisma Package Tour was 6 bob (6 shillings - 30p) and it was a risky venture for Tony Stratton Smith....

See also other pictures and live reviews from 1971 and 1972.

During 1972 Van der Graaf Generator toured extensively in Italy, had a Number One with Pawn Hearts and appeared twice in Ciao 2001 magazine, firstly in the 27th February 1972 edition and then later in June 1972.
Peter Hammill also appeared in Ciao 2001 Magazine in December 1972.

First Generation SplitFirst Generation Split in 1972

Today's History Lesson

In the interest of man's thirst for knowledge and for those VdGG fans with an enquiring nature I provide you with this link to Boston's Museum of Science. If you ever wondered where the band's name came from or where the inspiration for many of the early album cover designs originated then pay it a visit. There are some stunning pictures, even of Robert himself! You can cut straight to the photo's by clicking here.

Whatever would Robert have said? ("They spelt my name wrong" maybe!)

Hammill on Playaway? Can this be?

I don't remember all of the solo gigs but reckon that the first that I went to was at the Commonwealth Institute in 1973. Also in 1973 whilst at Brighton Poly, I introduced my room-mate, Richard McBride (Where are you Richard? - It's so easy just to slip away...) to Van der Graaf and to begin with, like most people, he found the music difficult to get into. One day I returned from college and heard "Refugees" wafting down the stairs. A new Hammill afficionado born. We went to several gigs together and had a habit of trying to get back stage to meet PH. On several occasions we succeeded and obtained the requisite autographs. The person to talk to of course was Gordian Troeller, Peter Hammill's manager (and later Van der Graaf's).
(Peter Hammill's brother Andrew was at Sussex University in Brighton at the same time but we didn't meet despite efforts on the part of my Sussex Uni housemates (inc Richard) to contrive for us all to be at certain parties)

Autographed bookAutographed Killers...

Killers, Angels, Refugees, Peter Hammill's first book published in 1974, contains lyrics for all the songs up to "Silent Corner", poems, drawings and other interesting stuff.

Solo concertsSolo performances attended

Richard could be quite funny and sent me this Christmas card many moon's ago that I came across recently. We, like many daft people still do, found PH/VdGG lyrics to suit any occasion. We knew all the songs by heart then, which would be difficult now with 40 albums to learn, and annoyed everybody with never ending renditions. In 1974 Richard moved to Hove to a 4th floor flat. Whenever we returned there from the pub just prior to staggering onto the final staircase we would chant "So onto the familiar top steps! in cloud-scud moonlight glow...the tower reels....". A bit silly really!

Richard's cardRichard's card


Peter Hammill's solo albums of the timePeter Hammill's solo albums 1971-1976

Interview with Paul WhiteheadInterview with Paul Whitehead, cover artist.

During 1973 the band, without Peter Hammill, but including Nic Potter, released an instrumental album called The Long Hello. The album wasn't released in the UK until 1976.

The Long HelloThe Long Hello

Melody Maker article

Peter Hammill answered some questions from a Melody Maker reader in the March 27th 1976 edition which included comments about The Long Hello. Click on the paper to reveal.

VdGG Reunion

Jubilation abounded when in 1975 the band reformed with the classic line-up of Peter Hammill, Dave Jackson, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans.

See Geoff Barton's interview of May '75.

VdGG

Following a couple of secret gigs in Wales, the band played in France and Belgium in mid-1975, then their "debut" in the UK being at the Victoria Palace theatre on the 27th July and a little later at the New Vic on August 30th. Great concerts.

See also Antony Thorncroft's review in the Financial Times.
Not quite as I remember it! It just shows how subjective reviews are. "There is a musical barrier which keeps out the trivial and the commercial, but also most of the threads that make for a worthwhile musical experience". Well, it was a worthwhile musical experience for me!

The Charisma press release announcing the Oct/Nov 1975 tour also contained a VdGG biography and an article that appeared in The Times Educational Supplement entitled Defying Classification.
The front cover sported an unusual picture, entitled "Band of Millions of Years", which was used to publicise the Godbluff tour and appeared on a compilation album cover.

UEA ConcertUniversity of East Anglia concert

At this time I was studying at N.E.London Polytechnic along with several friends from home, one of whom was involved with the union at the Barking (mad) precinct. He was a budding journalist and set up an interview with the band. I went along as photographer and there appears below previously unpublished photographs of the band and the text of Tim's article.

NEPAM ArticleMagazine article

Other photographsOriginal photographs

"The Machine that Cried" - Geoff Barton's piece in the Sounds of 25th October 1975.

An event that has become part of the Van der Graaf legend was when their gear was stolen in Italy.

BadgeVdGG Badge

v


Pictures from 1975 to 1976


Albums released in 1975 and 1976Van der Graaf Generator albums 1975 and 1976. Follow this link for Tim Locke's review of Godbluff and some photo's of the Still Life tour in 1976 with memories of the Sheffield concert, courtesy of Nick Huckle.

Reading FestivalVan der Graaf played at the Reading festival in 1976. I was a regular frequenter of festivals at that time but for the first time I summoned up some energy and fought my way to the front. I was worried that they wouldn't prove popular with the crowd but I was wrong. Reading at that time was undergoing a transition between quiet hippy scene and bottle throwing football hooligan mayhem and anything could happen. The band played brilliantly and went down well. I heard Killer played live for the first time. I should have taken my camera.

(Interestingly since I wrote the above words I found an interview by Geoff Barton, which mentions "old" Van der Graaf songs and in particular Killer, and whether the band would play them. The article has a certain relevance to Reading and you can cut straight to that section).

Various people have reminded me that the band had a false start at Reading. Water had got into the electrics and the sound system didn't work. See Reading Festival for more details.

Van der Graaf Generator gigs attended 1975-1978.

ImageThen in early 1977, disaster struck! Hugh Banton and Dave Jackson left the band. All was truly lost....but no, they were to be replaced by long-term VdGG stalwart Nic Potter (on bass) and new-comer Graham Smith (ex-String Driven Thing) on violin. A short while later Charles Dickie, a cellist, joined the group.

Pictures of the band from 1977 to 1978

VdGG third waveVan der Graaf albums from 1977 and 1978

The band also underwent a name change to Van der Graaf. Well, I suppose we used to call them that anyway.

And that's about it really.
After Vital became the best selling Van der Graaf Generator album, in July 1978, the band split up and Peter Hammill resumed his solo carreer.

Whilst putting this site together I came across a few mistakes that might amuse you, but Nobody's Perfect.


PHS

... but then on November 29th 2004, Van der Graaf Generator announced their reunion...

Site maintained by: Phil Smart 

"Pretty keen - yes, my hobby keeps me busy"

vdggmatters_at_vandergraafgenerator.co.uk
(Insert "@" in place of "_at_" and please put
something sensible in the subject line like "VdGG".)

Please note
Copyright exists on EVERYTHING within this website.
Do not reproduce ANYTHING without express permission.
- thanks!

I have not intentionally infringed any copyrights myself.
If you think that there is an issue then please e-mail me.