[Interview] Exclusive interview with Edgar Broughton

It is with great pleasure that we offer you in this article an interview with a UK artist and protagonist of the counterculture performing Rock music with a social conscience. We welcome Edgar Broughton.

You were a key player in the UK rock and counterculture scene at the turn of the 60s and 70s, what memories do you have of that period?

Free concerts, free concerts where we ended up in confrontation with the police wonderful journals like Oz and international times a newspaper founded by the wonderful Hoppy Hopkins who wrote the sleeve notes for Wasa Wasa. We lived just off the Portobello Road with friends when we first went to London. It was there that we started to experience and become thoroughly immersed and enjoyed ourselves in the scene around Portabello Road and All Saints Church, the jams there non Thursday evenings and all the diverse kinds of people that lived in an around Coalville Terrace which was mixed kind of area really with Hippies moving in as all over..

Then whole place is extremely gentrified now and I guess most of those properties that we lived in then are worth millions now.

Moving from the Midlands was an experience we had not known the like of before at all. The world was changing and we living the dream.

With the Edgar Broughton Band you played Psychedelic Rock with personal traits and a mixture of other genres, how did your passion for these sounds start?

We began as a blue band. We began to hear music from the West Coast of America. Albums like balaclava by Pearls Before Swine. The music scene in the UK was changing instead of the all powerful ANR man at a record company arranging which songs band would play and record for an album, bands were beginning to write their own material and slowly be more autonomous in the way that they could carry out the business. It was during this embryonic period that we started to write our own material first kind of blues stuff and then things more psychedelic as we all became familiar with the possibility of not only using a new pallet of sounds and ideas but actually creating new ones and slowly the technology evolved towards that goal including new pedals for guitar new effects for keyboards and in fact new keyboards, superb instruments like the mini moog.

You were featured in live appearances at the legendary Hyde Park Free Concerts, what did festivals and concerts represent for bands like yours?

They represented and facilitated the opportunity to join with a big crowd sometimes with a huge crowd like in Hyde Park. We were never phased by large audiences. It always gave us more energy and more opportunity to revel in what we did best which was to involve people in a cathartic coming together that allowed us all to achieve some experience of altered states in unity.

How do you think the way of gigging has changed since the ‘70s? What has changed for you?

The main difference for me is that I am very happy playing solo. I do exactly what I want. My latest album Break the dark is what happens when some one like me is freed from the ill fitting democracy of a band like the EBB where I am in control and there is no dilution of what I want to make. In terms of gigs there are so few of them now so few places for young musicians to begin their careers. This is partly due to a government that has destroyed much of the fabric of the culture of our society and has completely ignored the contribution that contemporary musicians make to the life blood of this country not to mention to the economy.

You have released numerous albums over the course of your career, how has your sound evolved over time?

I’m a better player and singer. That helps. Equipment has evolved to enable the musician to have more control over sound and volume and balance. I think my songs have evolved into something more accessible not so head banging old school rock ‘n’ roll and something that I hope is much more tuned to the present time. I’m not a museum.

Your music is punchy and your lyrics very challenging, what themes do you deal with in your tracks?

I write stories. I’m a storyteller. I comment on political situations and I make suggestions as to what I think might be a good way forward but I’m a minstrel really. Now I am in essence a contemporary folk musician.

After your experience with the Edgar Broughton Band, how did your artistic career develop in the following years?

The first issue was how to fill the gap. What should I do next? I remembered an old slogan from the trade unions when I was a kid. it was a fair days pay for a fair days work. I decided that I would play anywhere in someone’s back garden in their house in their local pub anywhere for one day of their pay, a bed for the night and some food, very much in the way of the minstrel. This was to prove to be fascinating experience as I travelled all over the UK and Germany and Norway playing personal concerts for people. I also begun to play a variety of shows in conventional venues.

What advice would you give to young artists approaching music by proposing something like yours?

Play to enjoy it, see what happens, take your time finding your own way. Be true to yourselves.

Music is constantly evolving, how do you see the modern rock scene?

Modern music is exciting there is no reason why it won’t always be exciting if you look beyond the big sellers and massive streamers. Often the best Music is not to be found in the stadium but in the back room of some little pub somewhere.

Many of our readers and your bands wonder if there will be a chance to hear your music live, do you have plans for the near future?

I’ve just finished a nine day tour and I will be playing a very few gigs from time to time. I’m not in a position where I can select what I want to play and when I want to play.

Do you have any other activities or artistic passions outside music?

I’m passionate about politics, even in these politically disastrous times. My recreational passion is fishing with lures, writing and painting.

I thank Edgar for the interview and wish him all the best for the continuation of his artistic career.

The Edgar Broughton Band |Official Website|Facebook Group|X (Twitter)|Spotify|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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