Excerpts from New Musical Express
September 7, 1974
Primitive bird tries new thing. Annette Peacock, erstwhile prisoner in the Bowie/DeFries camp, reveals big plans for what you're all been waiting for... Yes folks, it's the New Music.
"Do you think there's going to be a revolution here? I was contacted by the Worker's Party to do a benefit for the Worker's Revolution with Ornnette Coleman. 'No, no' I said of cause. But I sure told them I wasn't convinced it was the right step politically. But it's not happening... once they get momentum at least they're making progress."
And to explain this current interest in performing as often as possible, she recalls tales from her spell under Tony DeFries's management.
"He said no to everything for about a year and half. He turned down a Newport Jazz Festival, and a supersession with Al Cooper and Mike Bloomfield, a Radio City with Bowie and recording session with him. Which I didn't really want to do anyway. It just went on. So now I'm saying 'yes' to everything, just to balance it out. Because 'no' doesn't get you anywhere." "I'm the first female innovator to be involved in music as popular art form. And I'd like to be the writer of classic songs."
It was however, a result of becoming involved in the jazz of Albert Ayler ("a very big innovator", she says, "and the first person to have a totally free band") and then with LSD, through her interest in Timothy Leary, that her own music began taking shape.
"Then I started to write music, and it was just trying to describe the place that existed in my mind. I was trying to manifest it in a symbolic way through music. But there's no explanation for my music and songs. I can't explain why they happened, except that I felt there was a need for them at the time. There was no body doing it, I'd probably have made another music.
"I've always been confused between the evolution of music, and the market place, so consequently there's been a very big gap between the kind of expression that I was interested in and the kind people were ready for. But now I find it a challenge. I really do want to make a hit with a single. I think I can take my music now -- because I'm skilled enough -- and contract it into something, very very simple that'll work. And that's what I've gradually been working on for a year and a half. I've never done that before, so it intrugues me."
One is naturally enough, intrigued to inquire just why she didn't discover success under the guiding hand of DeFries, and how that unlikely liaison came about in the first place.
"Well, y'know David Bowie and I were recording for the same label and he came up to the studios when I was recording. But I have this policy about not having people there who're not necessary to the music, because musicians get distracted and it's very hard to create the right feeling on the studio. He was with Mick (Ronson) and I asked them both to leave. And I didn't think anymore of it. Then I was here in London to see Clive Davis, because they were having a Columbia convention at one of the hotels... and DeFries was there, y'know. He asked me for my phone number and he called at my hotel the next day, and I'd forgotten about him completely. Then he just started contacting me saying he wanted to manage me. And I met Bowie and he was like a fan of the music.
"He bought me an awful lot of equipment and took care of al the expenses for a year. My problem was that I was a jazz artiste, and had that image. He said he wanted to erase that. He said I was a torch singer."
But didn't DeFries have any plans to launch her?
"Ahhhh. Well, he said it was going to take a long time, but he added that I was very important to music. More Important than other artists. But I don't think he had any specific plans. He just wanted me to wait. He was very nice guy, but he's got Bowie and he was breaking Ronson then, and he didn't really have the time to devote to me. It was all right for Annette Peacock, but it wasn't all right for music. In the end it just became a deteriorating thing for me. It was like having my hands bound."
The problem that Annette has encountered throughout her career, and which she is now reviewing closely, is how to apply her unique song structures and unusual and often synthesized vocals to a commercial format.
"Everybody says I should just concentrate on one thing and not do everything at once. So my aspirations to be great are just unsuited for this era. But for me it's like a kick in teeth to have to have to work really hard and lug around all my equipment myself.. and nobody really likes it. I was very ,very surprised when I made that album ("I'm the One") that I had such a good response from the musicians. Perhaps there was basically a poverty of ideas around. When you have difficulty it either destroy you or makes you stronger. I've learnt about patience , haaaaha. And I found out that I believe in myself. Because I couldn't have survived if I didn't. But I sorta feel the reason I'm here in London is because I operate by instinct and intuition and I really feel there's change in music. And it's going to happen outa London, again. Because what's been happening is that has amassed thousands of dollars, which is all fairly similar, and they're just putting it out. It's not human. It's not real. That's the first step. there's going to be a lot of reality on records which come out in the next six months or so."
Excerpts from New Musical Express/May 3, 1986
"NO NOOKIE till the nukes are gone..."
Pardon? Annette Peacock is disappointed: she'd hoped to sing that song, 'A Personal Revolution' from her current album I Have No Feelings, at one of the Albert Hall Greenpeace shows.
"We have learned to live with the treat of nuclear annihilation. We have no personal control over our survival: we live in a Christian society and Christianity's only effectiveness is as a wedge for economic exploitation. That's what the album's about politically, musically it's about the right to be genuinely different. It's not difficult music; it's merely unfamiliar, but then it will be if it's genuinely new. Our only choices -- what we spend our money on, like a condemned prisoner ordering his last meal."
"I'm making music for the day on my calendar: everything else redundant, I can't understand why everybody else is in the '60s and '70s unless it's because they lack imagination, talent and guts."
Chapter I Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Chapter VI