Posted in: Jon Hiseman / Colosseum / News
“I’d like to use this very lively forum (Jon Hiseman’s COLOSSEUM – Fan Page) to thank everyone who came to the last few concerts – particularly the crowd at the SBE, who gave us such a fantastic sendoff. To those who couldn’t get to any of the last concerts, but have supported us around the world and through all the years, I thank you too. It’s been a great trip, our audiences have been and are wonderful people who really believed in the vision. The SBE management complimented me on a fantastic band, fantastic crew and fantastic audience, “ such great people” they commented. And they’ve seen it all!
It was also wonderful, as a proud parents, to have our daughter Ana Gracey on stage singing her own composition “Blues to Music” with Chris – ‘Beauty & The Beast’ ?
I’m not sorry that we’re calling it a day now, when, by general consensus we are still at the top of our game. Yes, to an extent our departure has been forced upon us, but actually, regardless of that pressure, I feel in my bones that it’s the right thing to do…and the right time to do it.
It goes without saying that my sincere thanks go to Chris, Dave, Clem, Mark and Barbara for their unflagging faith over the years; and the fact that, together, we have just made an album that was the easiest of all to make. ‘Easy’ does not always equate to good or better, but there is something indefinably “easy” about the new album which I like very much – I guess time will tell. Maybe, after all these years, we finally learnt how to do it.
I also want to mention our great crew, led by Miles Ashton at the mixing desk. He is an experienced and accomplished recording engineer in his own right, as well as being the sound and technical manager at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. He’s worked with Barbara and I for a long time and I dread to think what a gig would sound like without him. Barry Venn has commanded the stage for this tour, as he did on our reunion tour in ’95. Daniel Bergmann is the new boy on the Monitor desk. One should never underestimate the importance of those roles and the feeling of security we get as artists, with those guys supporting us.
In Europe, we had a fantastic tour manager, Gert Lange whose agency, Handmade Concerts has represented us for years. “Clockwork Tours” – thanks Gert. Thanks also to Barbel Kuhn, our unflappable merchandise lady on the European tour, who smiled her way through the vicissitudes of selling and accounting for a variety of stuff, often at breakneck speed.
On a slightly more serious note, I know that Dick Heckstall-Smith would have loved that last concert. He was always one for the big occasion and I’m sure that Arthur, his son and Dick’s former wife, Gary (both of whom were with us at the final concert), made sure Dick was looking over our collective shoulder.
Lots of people asked me at these gigs what I will do now that I’ve ‘retired’. My flippant answer was always, “get a life”, but actually I reckon I’ve got 10 years work to do before I wake up one morning with ‘not much going on’. Among other things, I have three houses to look after as well as making sure that Barbara’s Parkinson’s does not start winning.
Right now, I have to finish an almost completed album from Barbara’s band Paraphernalia, entitled ”The Last Fandango”. I have also promised myself to investigate ‘Linear Drumming’. No idea what it is, but it seems all the rage. You never know, it might just be what I have been searching for all my life?
Then there are the many, many recordings of broadcasts and concerts, right from the earliest days, that have to be rescued from the tape format, before they break down chemically, in order that I can get them up onto a website for free streaming. It’s quite an archive. It will take some time since many of the tapes have to be literally baked in the oven to stabilise them.
Also, I believe I have a few more videos in me (www.youtube.com/thedrummerjh) and Barbara currently has a lot of unfinished compositions nearing completion. Her saxophone concerto is being performed by the Strasbourg Symphony at the World Saxophone Congress in July, added to which I have to produce a recorded version of a piece that Barbara has written for new young saxophone star Jess Gillam (who was also at the SBE.)
I am, of course, still working on my aerosol drumkit that will revolutionise the way kits are set up and taken down. I’m making quite good progress – the kit comes out of the can and sets up ok, but I’m still having trouble getting it back in again after the gig. Maybe the solution is to lighten the whole structural concept and make it disposable!
On the Sunday morning, feeling somewhat drained, Barbara woke up with a hankering for a smoked kipper breakfast. So, out we went to buy a couple of packs at M&S. It was really strange – nobody recognised us at all!
After that, I decided the only way to wind down was to go into the studio and spend 6 hours mixing the music that Clem has created for a new BBC film that director Mike Dibb is making. It’s a documentary about a murderer, locked in solitary confinement for life in the American prison system and who, denied paints or paintbrushes, creates works of art using the colouring from sweets with brushes made from his own hair.
So who’s retiring?
I used to be Jon Hiseman, but I’m feeling better now.”
Playing the Band: The Musical Life of Jon Hiseman
Available to buy on Amazon
Thanks for your sincere words, John! Coming from Amstelveen (Holland) next to Amsterdam I was able to visit your last European concert in Oldenburg! Still after 47 years: the same inspiration and quality I encountered in that concert, although it was for me an too short experience that night, without the ’emotional sayings’. Maybe it is the German way, but I hoped for something more…..
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised concerning the condition of Barbara, she was astonishing good!! I wish her all the luck in the future, and the same to you! Hope to hear from you in the future, also misically (because there was no better band like Colosseum…….)
All the best, Oscar de Pater
Isn’t it great that Colosseum has, since its founding almost 50 years ago, determined its future and fate right up until the farewell song, the final applause and the long goodbyes. I know there are others like me – mainly players – who had admired and followed Colosseum since the first album, which really doesn’t seem to have been that long ago… I think the most exciting music on record is the opening tracks on ‘Colosseum Live’ – Rope Ladder to the Moon and Walking in the Park. To me they define ‘live’ in every sense. Sadly I never did see the band in concert, but have read and heard everything I could since ’69-ish. And despite the sad loss of Dick Heckstall-Smith, I’m so happy Barbara became a full member of the band. She’s a sensational player whose presence really brings a bright light of additional excellence to the band.
As for you, Jon, you are to be admired on many levels, personal and professional. Having watched your YouTube interview with the Mad, Bad & Dangerous crew I was reminded that your business sensibilities (and sensitivities) have played such a large role in the success and survival of the band.
Cheers to you. And cheers to the band.
Colosseum were the first band I went to see at the age of 16 & I will never forget the 11th May 1969 at the Nottingham Boat club. The whole experiece of that night & particularly seeing The Valentine Suite performed completely blew me away. That night played a major part in shaping my love of music & particularly seeing bands live. Many years on in my 60’s I consider myself very fortunate to have been at the bands farewell gig at Shepherds Bush Empire & the evening you all gave us there will live with me as memorably as the first.
Thanks to you all for giving people like me so much enjoyment
just found the site and well remember the concert the “Fabrik” in Hamburg in December 2014. Being a proud owner of the “Daughter of Time”-Vinyl, I simply forgot to bring it to sign.
The concert was fantastic, standing on the gallery and hearing the first tones of the operning – Walking in the Park made “time” for an abstract term…was it gone or not?
The presence of my 15 years old son, who started to play saxophone three weeks before and who was keen to come to the concert (normally he’s a listener to metal) after he heard the record showed me that time has passed, but is on your side 😉 .
Quality always has its value, and you proved it. Faced with Parkinson’s in my family, you can be very sure that Barbara’s performance has been most appreciated; not forget the other members, of course. My son has been additionally very impressed by Marks Bass play, as he told him during the signing hour.
Enough words, I am looking forward seeing you back in Northern Germany soon!
Best to you all and Colosseum
Juergen and Justus