|Article in Music Scene Magazine|
We had an appointment at 4 p.m. with Peter Hammill and his wife Alice. After a long drive through endless forests in the direction of Brighton we finally arrived at his house, Two Bushes. We were welcomed by a dog barking, and Dylan, Peter's Labrador was close to eating us out of excitement. To my surprise, Hugh Banton, organist of VDGG, was there, too. After some drinks I wanted to know from Peter, why the band, which topped the charts in Italy with Pawn Hearts and Theme One, had broken up.
PH: That's difficult to explain. We had neither personnel nor musical differences. But there comes the moment, where you feel that something isn't right anymore. Hugh said, the magic within the group had gone. If we had carried on, it would have contradicted the spirit of the band.
None of you has joined another band. What are your plans for the future?
PH: I am doing solo concerts, with guitar and piano. Then my second solo album, "Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night", has just been released, and next week I will do some radio and TV interviews. Some weeks ago I was again in Italy and I will maybe go there again in the autumn.
HB: After the split of VDGG I have worked for a long period in the electronics business. Now I'm preparing my first solo album ("The Night of the Acolyte"), which will be recorded some time next winter. It will be the maddest LP that has ever been released (infernal laughter). Guy and David are in the studio at the moment, and so soon every one of us will have his own album. For all that, the quality is totally unimportant, it's the quantity that counts (more laughter).
Hugh, have you also the intention to do any concerts?
HB: Maybe. At first I will play on Guy's albums, then he is planning - to promote the record - a tour with all the musicians that are playing on his album. Regarding me, I don't have any concrete plans yet. I only know that I'm not joining a band in the foreseeable future. That's just too strenuous for me. One percent of the time you are musician and the remaining 99 percent you are wasting time as a professional traveller and this of course is rather frustrating. I hate it to be frustrating.
PH: Playing in a band is really damn strenuous , physically and psychologically.
Have you played a lot on the continent, actually?
PH: We wanted to play in Europe for two years and couldn't, despite many demands. In our last year we finally played nearly only in Europe, so that the English audience demanded us in vain. But that's the way it is. Now, we all have much more freedom to do what we want. We don't have to take an "image" into account and so everything is much more honest. So for example Hugh, Guy and David are playing on my album, and on Guy's album, Hugh and David are playing.
How do you think that the music-scene is developing?
HB: That's difficult to say, in any case, the new Beatles aren't in sight. I think the glitter-scene will have passed by, soon, T. Rex are already on the descending bough. Slade will probably be here for a long time.
PH: But Slade have to get new ideas soon. You can't permanently release singles that all sound the same.
After an excellent supper I had the chance to get to know Peter from a different side. He has already recorded the largest part of his new album at home, and now he is producing a record by Chris Smith. Years ago, Chris Smith brought David Jackson into the band, and has co-written some songs on earlier albums of VDGG. What I heard was very positive and I think we have to expect several things from the former members of one of the most interesting bands that ever existed.
(Thanks to Adrian Haegele for the article and translation)