Sharing a cuppa with Alan Clayson
Sharing a cuppa tea with….
Alan Clayson of The Argonauts as he discusses Elvis and Elvis, monkeys, and new projects talks about fear, Beatles, and tattoos.
Well, as I grew up in the American cornfields, I never suspected one day I would share a cuppa tea with a genuine Argonaut. But here we are, chatting about Elvis and monkeys and whatnot. All things are indeed possible.
There are people around today who’ll tell you the legendary ALAN CLAYSON AND THE ARGONAUTS were the greatest group ever formed. Were they? Answers on a postcard please. Whether they were, or were not, they were certainly fabulous and even described by Melody Maker as being on the “Lunatic Fringe” in the 1970s.
In addition to contributing to publications such as Record Collector, Mojo, and Folk Roots. Alan Clayson also established himself as a prolific writer of music biographies. Among his more than 30 books are Backbeat, which details The Beatles’ early career in Germany, Ringo Starr: Straight Man or Joker, and biographies of Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Roy Orbison, Yoko Ono, The Troggs, and many others.
Let us stroll into the garden and share a cuppa with our favourite member of the Lunatic Fringe, for there is much to talk about.
So……Mr Clayson….All aboard! Tell me, do you sing in the shower?
Elvis Presley or Elvis Costello?
To ask my opinion of the King is like asking me about railway lines or donkeys’ false teeth – because I can’t say anything objective about him. He’s just there. As for Costello, I always preferred Wreckless Eric.
What is your first/earliest memory?
Gas rather than electricity lighting a kitchen with a rackety copper geyser hanging above a sink where my maternal grandmother would both bathe infants and wash up dishes from a dinner on a newspaper tablecloth
What is an Argonaut and why did you want to become one?
Haven’t you ever seen the 1963 film Jason And The Argonauts? I was christened Alan Robert Gordon, partly because my father was a keen cricketer, who treasured the sound of ‘A.R.G. Clayson’ being announced as I strode from the pavilion to bat for the school XI or, better still, the county. As it transpired, I developed an aversion to organised games, but it also turned out that, in the light of my leadership of Clayson and the Argonauts in a then unimaginable future, I couldn’t have been given more suitable initials.
Have you ever had a broken heart?
I refuse this question.
Where do you keep your moral compass?
Is there a dafter aphorism than ‘you can’t get into trouble for telling the truth’?
Singer-songwriter, author, or music journalist?
The first of these. However, my income depends more on doing what I want to do second-best.
What is the meaning of life?
What of the egomaniac whose self-adoration is entirely justified?
Who have you asked for an autograph?
Denny Laine was the first pop star I ever met. He signed the back of a boutique card after my 14-year-old self spotted him emerging from a Carnaby Street tobacconist’s in spring half-term 1965, just as his Moody Blues’ ‘Go Now’ was slipping from the charts. I came up to his shoulders then, but he came up to mine three decades later when he and I undertook a series of one-nighters in the north-east.
Do you like monkeys?
I feel the same way about them as I do Elvis Presley.
If you could have invited anyone, living or dead, to this wee tea party, who would it have been?
She knows who she is.
Tell us a secret.
This and other revelations must wait for my autobiography, Nut Rocker.
Did your dreams come true?
One I had only last week certainly hasn’t. I was at a kind of party in the assembly hall of my old infant school. Outside, instead of the asphalt playground, there was a thick lake of blancmange into which Dave Berry, Twinkle, and someone I didn’t recognise, were digging with great earnestness.
‘This Cannot Go On…’ the first non-compilation CD by Alan Clayson actually with The Argonauts – which will cast adrift on the discographical oceans on October. 15
Alan Clayson and the Argonauts launch ‘THIS CANNOT GO ON…..’. with a special concert on Friday, October 20, at The Dublin Castle, 94 Parkway, London NW1 7AN – see www.bugbearbookings.com
His record company is at
© JANE QUINN