My dear friend and long-standing German promoter, Fritz Rau, died aged 83 on Monday 19th August.
Fritz was the one who, along with his co-promoter Horst Lippmann, brought Jethro Tull to Germany for the first time in 1969 at the kind suggestion of Jimi Hendrix. Over the years we played many concerts with Fritz at the helm and only in old age did he relinquish the crown and give up work apart from occasional lecture visits where he spoke warmly, often to an audience of enthusiastic young students, of his life and times.
Dear Fritz – we miss you and will always remember your humour, inspiration and dedication to the live music industry. Always the music fan first and the businessman second. Rest, not in peace, but in the bosom of whatever music they play over there. Jazz bass? Could be time to take it up again.
(9th March, 1930 – 19th August 2013)
Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull
Tony Snow (1st June 1955 – 12th July 2008)
Some people ask me, usually vehement liberal Americans, how I could count amongst my few real friends, an arch-Republican spokesman for the Bush administration.
Well, Tony and I disagreed on most things political and came to robust verbal blows on the subject of climate change but that’s the charm of friendship. Life would indeed be a bore if all of your buddies agreed with everything you said and tap-danced to the same tired riff.
I like to think that Tony was a professional journalist and political commentator first and White House spokesman second. He could, I rather think, have filled the post of Press Secretary for an Obama or McCain administration with equal aplomb, dignity and bonhommie.
“An old-fashioned gentleman” is how my wife described him. Once, after Shona’s harassment by long-distance phone to his office in the White House, I asked Tony, “Did you ever get to meet Margaret Thatcher? “No, he replied. “Well, you just did,” I offered, to his great amusement.
With a family history of associated genetic risk, the long battle with colon cancer finally proved too much for even the ever-optimistic, ambitious T. Snow. His last email to me, less than three months before his death spoke of a planned family summer vacation in Italy, book deal, lecture tours and meeting up in August at our concert where I really wanted to get Tony up on stage at Wolftrap to have a flutey moment together, if only for one last time. Sadly, that will not now happen. But the memories of a good American, loyal to citizen and nation, will remain a treasure.
Tony badgered me for a couple of years to get a colonoscopy after my brother’s death from liver failure following his own colon cancer. I finally did just that and, although I never discussed the results with Tony, I am glad that I took his stern advice, not to put too fine a point on it. Good, solid advice to all middle-aged gents, especially where such cancer has been the unfortunately bountiful fruit of the family tree. Think on it, brothers. I shall renew my acquaintance with the one-eyed camera-snake later this year to check out that wondrous organ once again and will be thinking of the Snowman as I drift off into the land of nod, invitational buttocks gently parted. And, on waking, I will be all the better prepared for the outcome, whether good or not-so-good, having known and learned a little of life from Robert Anthony Snow.
June 1, 1955 – July 12, 2008
Scott Muni (10th May 1930 – 28th September 2004)
When I first arrived in New York in 1969 – fresh off the airplane from olde England – the culture shock of America, and especially the resonating clamour of American radio, had me reeling from the energy and gravitas of the Disc Jockeys and presenters.
On my first visit to the studios of WNEW FM for an interview with the already legendary Scott Muni, we tuned into the live broadcast from the safety of our car to have a prelimenary listen to my soon-to-be interrogator. The sound of the gravelly-voiced heavyweight mafioso bruiser – as I imagined him to be – turned me to jelly. What with Scott and Bill Graham, the blood and guts reality of the New York music scene seemed a far and frightening cry from the laid back UK equivalent. These men were HARD! No prisoners taken, no quarter given.
But on settling nervously into the chair opposite Scott, I immediately came to the realisation that here was a man who loved music, loved life and loved the people who would populate his radio-bubble world. He soon made me feel at home and calmed my fledgeling radio performer nerves.
A Beatles man in principle, he was quick to encourage the successive waves of UK rock musicians who came bearing gifts of song wrapped in their tight trousers, skimpy Carnaby Street t-shirts and high-heeled Chelsea Cobbler boots.
Over the years, we all became eternally grateful for Scott’s support and willingness to help promote concerts and new records. He always found time for his old pals and new pals alike.
They don’t make them like Scott Muni anymore. Like a 60’s Fender Strat or a vintage Harley Davidson, Scott breathed the American way. His later years at Q104.3 showed the elder statesman at work right to the end. His free and easy style and refusal to follow the pace and commercial dictates of contemporary radio earned him the title – for me anyway – as Scott Muni, the New York radio guy.
Rest in peace, Scott, with Sergeant Pepper, Tommy and Dark Side Of The Moon, as the soundtrack to your dreams.