David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas + Mark Ellen's early review

Pretty self-explanatory
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Otis Westinghouse
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David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas + Mark Ellen's early review

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:37 pm

Don't believe this was ever mentioned here, but the demise of my beloved The Word mag has led me to download 217 Word podcasts from iTunes and listen through them all. For some reason at the time they aired, from 2007 till this year, I was less interested in listening to editors in chief Hepworth and Ellen and guest staff members, musicians and otherwise cackling over rock anecdotes and sharing their decades of insights with us than just reading the mag. Now, though, I listen to a couple a week.

They end each one with the HORA, i.e. Hoary Old Rock Anecdote. Word Weekly 9 from june 6 2007 is a classic one re Elvis. Back in '77, Hepworth was a record company plugger, and at one point this involved driving EC round London to appointments. At this stage, EC was a hot property, and was keeping all info about his background, real name and identity very much a secret. At one point they were talking about old time singers on the telly, and Hepworth said the worst ever was that godawful Ross MacManus singing Out Of Time (like his son years later!) in a frilly shirt over a pair of bongos. EC made no comment. A while later, someone else revealed to him 'I've just found out who EC's father is!'...

He's met and interviewed EC several times since, but the conversation has never been recalled.

Wonderfully excruciating. I recommend a download to hear Hepworth tell it much better than I can, though of course I've ruined the punch line.
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Re: David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas

Postby Jack of All Parades » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:47 pm

Priceless[and he kept a 'civil' tongue in his head which is probably more then I could have managed given similar circumstances]!
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

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Re: David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas

Postby Man out of Time » Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:42 am

David Hepworth and Mark Ellen interviewed EC for their Word Podcast, when EC was in London last month for the Royal Festival Hall interview and HMV Book signing. You can hear the results here:

http://wordpodcast.co.uk/2015/10/31/word-podcast-245-elvis-costello/

Chat about the memoir is much as usual, and no mention of that "faux pas" although EC does mention the R White's Lemonade Advert as being the one thing that allowed him to feed his family one Christmas.

MOOT

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Re: David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:08 pm

Well found, I have 0 recollection of that story or that it was me who posted it, though I recall well their love of the HORA and can hear Hepworth laughing as he reaches the punchline. Must listen to that new one.
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Re: David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas

Postby WindUpWorld » Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:55 am

Thanks for alerting us to this MOOT. A good listen, even if some stories are getting a touch over familiar in these last few golden weeks. EC seemed very relaxed in Hepworth / Ellen company and made good banter.

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Re: Mark Ellen reviews Elvis Costello at the Nashville Rooms in 1977

Postby Man out of Time » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:30 pm

As a companion piece to David Hepworth plugging Elvis , but bad-mouthing father Ross, I came across a section in Mark Ellen's recent book "Rock Stars Stole My Life" (Coronet, 2014) in which he describes being asked by the Record Mirror to review Elvis and The Attractions at the Nashville Rooms, in West Kensington. He does not give a date for this, it could be August 1977 or December 1977. He lists The Soft Boys as the Opening Act, but the EC Wiki has The Pop Group opening the concerts at the Nashville in December, and the Soft Boys only opening for one show (at London's Roundhouse) in January 1978.

Here is the relevant passage from the book (pages 78 - 82):

"One day, surely, the dam would break. And it did, though not quite in the way I’d imagined. After ten days of keen copy delivery, I summoned the courage to ring Record Mirror and a muffled conference took place. An anxious voice asked if I could review Elvis Costello and The Attractions at the Nashville Rooms in four hours’ time.
‘No problem!’ I was flabbergasted. ‘Am I on the guest list?’ I squeaked, trying to sound professional.
‘Should be, mate. Five hundred words by first thing, all right?’ Or maybe second thing if it all gets a bit out of order,’ he added with a knowing chuckle.
Second thing. Out of order. Costello presumably adored Record Mirror and the great man and I would be carousing all night. I might even get an interview. But one thing puzzled me: The Attractions were the biggest story on the block so why were they sending someone they’d never met? Rock journalism, I assumed, was so exotic they were all out of town – in California with Jefferson Starship or on the M1 with X-Ray Spex – and couldn’t even rustle up an office junior for London’s event of the week. And this was enormous. Costello’s first album had arrived in a great whirlwind of publicity. Stiff Records made their fast-rising star seem dark and dangerous, and his shadowy manager, Jake Riviera, was universally reckoned to be terrifying. I bought a spiral-bound notebook to look the part and steamed off to West Kensington on my first commission.
A long queue spilt from the venue onto the Talgarth Road. It had sold out weeks ago but they were hoping for returns. Strangely my name wasn’t on the door and any mention of Record Mirror seemed to make things worse, my big break and not the ghost of a chance of even getting in. I wandered back outside to find a teenager in a leather jacket gazing fondly up at a giant poster of Costello taped to the pub window.
‘My brother-in-law,’ he said proudly.
‘You’re related to Elvis?’ This was quite some claim to fame.
‘He’s married to my sister, Mary. See this?’ He held up a finger with a signet ring. ‘Family crest.’ He pointed at the picture, the knock-kneed Buddy Holly pose of the album cover. Sure enough, Elvis was wearing the same ring. I saw my chance.
‘Mark Ellen from Record Mirror!’ I shook his hand warmly. ‘The Mark Ellen, yes, indeed! Look mate, seems to have been a bit of a mix-up in the old ticket department, holding the front page and all that. Don’t suppose you could ask your brother-in-law to stick me on the door, could you?’
He dived obligingly into the venue and reappeared seconds later with a familiar wiry figure in glasses and a black trilby. The crowd surged around him, panting for autographs.
‘Press?’ Elvis eyed me suspiciously. ‘Follow me.’ I was whisked inside, thrilled to the point of explosion. I spent two hours filling my notebook with everything from the quality of the bar snacks to the finer details of the keyboard sound, then bowled along to the backstage area where I assumed I should get some quotes from the band. The dressing room, smoke-stained and tiny, contained a steaming Elvis, his Attractions, a couple of Ian Dury’s unsettling Blockheads, Graham Parker and two of the Rumour: the most terrifying collection of individuals I’d ever seen in my life. A man fitting the description of Jake Riviera was holding court by the entrance – drape coat, boot-lace bow-tie, silver tips on his shirt collar. His hair was gassed back like a rockabilly and he had very sharp boots. Someone was asking him what he’d thought of the support act, the Soft Boys, some rarified dream-weavers from Cambridge University.
‘I smell A-levels,’ Jake scoffed, tapping his nose, and the whole place fell about. He looked up, saw me and shot an arm across the door frame. ‘What you want?’
‘I’m from the press,’ I stammered, ‘so I just, you know, wanted to check a couple of facts about the set, which I thought totally amazing incidentally, and –‘
‘Press? His eyes narrowed. ‘Which bit of the press?’
‘Record Mirror.’ I licked the tip of my pencil.
The notebook hit the deck and a sharp pain suggested the back of my head had made contact with the wall. I’m pretty sure my feet were off the floor. The room spun noisily, then stopped in a chilling silence. Jake had me pinned by the lapels and was banging me rhythmically against the brickwork while bawling like a drill sergeant.
‘We HATE’ bang! ‘RECORD fucking MIRROR!’ Bang! Bang!
‘Fair enough,’ I spluttered.
‘And do you know what else we hate?’
I didn’t, no, and the banging continued.
‘We HATE fucking HIPPIES’ bang! ‘with LONG HAIR and GREEN VELVET fucking JACKEEEETS!’
And I was out, kicked out of the door and stumbling down the North End Road.
As I wobbled towards Battersea Bridge, various thoughts battled for supremacy in my overheated head.
1. I owed Elvis’s brother-in-law several drinks: anyone sent to review a concert they fail to attend is unlikely to make much professional headway.
2. There must be less life-threatening outposts of the music press than Record Mirror.
3. Perhaps velvet jackets were a bit ‘Byron Ferrari’ circa ’74.
4. This whole writing caper was a far cry from the soft-pencil, sleeve-gartered notions of journalism I’d picked up from watching Jack Lemmon in The Front Page.
5. Maybe this was what they’d meant by ‘a bit out of order’.

Shell-shocked, quivering and looking for something to blame, I ripped off the offending jacket, hurled it into a bin and walked four miles in the freezing cold back to Applecrumble Street. I had my hair radically shorn first thing in the morning and, second thing, delivered my glowing review to the newspaper’s Long Acre bunker, where, for once, I was allowed past reception.
‘Hallo’ friend. How’d it go?’ Quite a crowd had gathered, eyeing me with interest.
‘Brilliant!’ I announced. ‘To these ears, Costello’s hard-working four piece gave a good account of themselves, even foisting a brace of crack new tunes upon the unsuspecting public. Never in the history of rock’s rich tapestry… ‘
‘Any trouble?’ someone cut in cautiously.
Assuming trouble was par for the course, I gave them the whole nine yards, the head-bashing sequence already at that transitional stage between soul-scarring trauma and passable pub anecdote. Was there, I wondered, any particular reason for last night’s violence or was it just the rock equivalent of a warm handshake?
They stared at their feet and did some shuffling. There was, they admitted. Following their snivelling dismissal of Costello’s My Aim Is True, they’d been rung by Riviera, incandescent with rage. He’d told them he would ‘personally murder’ anyone from Record Mirror if they dared set foot in the Nashville.
‘Good work, mate,’ one of them said, patting me on the back. ‘You should do more stuff for us.’ "

So whilst Hepworth managed to offend Elvis way back when, Ellen was himself sinned against (being the sacrificial lamb sent to the slaughter by the Record Mirror).

Does anyone perchance have a copy of the Mark Ellen review from Record Mirror circa 1977?


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Re: David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas

Postby verbal gymnastics » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:20 am

I don't have a copy of the review but thanks for posting this.
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Re: David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas

Postby johnfoyle » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:57 am

I reckon it may be in this issue of Record Mirror-

Record Mirror, December 31, 1977


http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... r_31,_1977


.....and I've just ordered a copy via ebay. More when I get.

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Re: David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas

Postby johnfoyle » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:08 am

Image


http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/index.php/Record_Mirror,_December_31,_1977


Record Mirror, December 31, 1977

Mark Ellen reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Thursday, December 22, 1977, Nashville Rooms, London, England.


Elvis Costello And The Attractions
Nashville Rooms, London

Mark Ellen

Elvis, clad as ever in ill-fitting suit, shirt and tie, clutching at the mike, arms jerking wildly — an earnest, deranged — looking geek burning his way through "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes." Why so successful? — Cos he writes good songs. Good, powerful, harmonic, sincere songs. Every one a winner.

He played "Waiting For the End of the World." As in the other numbers, nothing detracts from the vocals. No solos, no digressions. The backing is focused down to an exact, balanced support for his spasms of desperate lyrics, varying with his expression, and controlled by the excellent, but unobtrusive, keyboard playing of Steve Naive.

They worked through some different styles — from rock and roll to ballad to the thin, reggae feel of "Watching The Detectives." A longer and more varied version, with Pete Thomas, drums, and Bruce Thomas on bass, fading out to just hint at the rhythm, and Elvis, not very much at ease, letting loose his forceful and emotive vocals.

Last, and best, was "I'm Not Angry," played to an ecstatic audience. A more defiant stance, more sweat, more accusing glares, more harsh, torn guitar chords — always impossible to anticipate his changing moods. It's amazing how compelling his anti-hero image is. I hardly took my eyes off him once in the whole set.

No doubts as to whether Elvis was missed while touring the states. Anyone who returns to play their first gig on borrowed gear, plagued with PA problems, and still get that kind of reception, isn't going to have to start busking In the near future. A truly great and imaginative new musician.

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Re: David Hepworth's awful Costello faux pas + Mark Ellen's early review

Postby Man out of Time » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:51 am

johnfoyle wrote:.....and I've just ordered a copy via ebay. More when I get.


Thanks to John for sourcing this Mark Ellen review. Above the Mark Ellen piece, intriguing to see a review of a Ramones gig in Manchester by "Steve Morris". There is a good chance that this is the same Stephen Morris who went on to join Warsaw, then Joy Division, then New Order.

MOOT


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