Madfish is going to release a deluxe Box-set entitled “Nirvana Songlife 1967-1972”. It will include all 5 Nirvana albums plus an unreleased one, the legendary “Secrets” album! This release features great reviews among the press including Record Collector, Mojo, and Uncut! The “attraction” – if I may call it this way – is, of course, the unreleased mysterious “Secrets” album. But, for all you skeptical TimeMaZine readers, this album is no mystery! Patrick himself revealed everything all Nirvana fans needed and wanted to know. We chatted back on a hot June day of 2016. A summary of what we discussed was published on TimeMaZine Issue #9 (Autumn 2016). But, now I’ve got a first-class opportunity to discuss with Patrick about this Box Set release and particularly about “Secrets”!
TimeLord Michalis: Before we start I’d like a comment about these strange pandemic Covid days that we are experiencing…
Patrick Campbell-Lyons: Yassas Michalis! I feel that our planet which we should all love and respect is like a roulette wheel spinning out of control, black red numbers chips dice money (mostly dirty!) Mr. greed Mrs. big-spender and their cohorts, everything mashed up together… there’s no empathy in a casino, Mother Nature is very very angry, the pandemic rampant, everyone everywhere is vulnerable… we all have to do what we feel is the “right thing”, think outside the box sometimes and as Mose Allison sings… ”love the life you live and live the life you love” and never accept ‘No’ from somebody who cannot say Yes… get off the fence and move!!!!
TLM: I believe that you along with Alex wrote some very good songs back in the day! Your first 2 albums are always among the best or the favorite or the influential LPs of that magical era. Undoubtedly, there’s an impact here. There’s a legacy. A Nirvana legacy! How do you feel about the Box Set release? Are you satisfied with the final result?
Patrick: I am over the moon about it… our music has survived 50 years and will continue to do so I feel… the final result sounds great looks great, it’s my legacy! Island/Universal records describe the original Nirvana as a heritage act… “Songlife” is the reissue of the month in “Uncut” magazine and the Sunday Times review is a serious “one”… well you know what I mean!
TLM: I would like a small comment on each one of the included Nirvana LPs.
The Story Of Simon Simopath (1967): First album as writers recording artists… we were innocents just like Simon, were on our own trip like him… a purple patch in a parallel universe maybe?
All Of Us (1968): We were totally committed to going to another level… songs production mood artwork the “works”, we were peeling the onion finding new layers getting ready for “Black Flower” it’s proper title… ( I never call it Dedicated to Markos 3).
Dedicated To Markos III (1969): Black Flower! Our “masterpiece” if I may say so.
Local Anaesthetic (1971): “A bad trip” but many Nirvana fans like it… they say it is progressive, I don’t really know what that means.
Songs Of Love And Praise (1972): A redemptive process that still continues today… songwriting is a gift that keeps on giving.
Secrets (1974, Unreleased): A challenge that Alex Spyropoulos (we were back in the fold) and I took on… to write and record a musical stage show, very few songwriters go there, it is a very difficult creative process… but we made it, then hid it away in a “bottom drawer” for 45 years… who knows maybe the box set will bring it to the attention of a theatrical producer who will “put it on stage” or TV/film?… one day… sometime.
TLM: Before asking Patrick a few things about “Secrets” let’s have a look at the informative note that Patrick sent me a few years ago:
THE LOST MOVIE
(HAND-WRITTEN NOTES BY PATRICK CAMPBELL-LYONS)
BLOOOD – THE MUSICAL 1974. A Vinyl Recording written by Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Alex Spyropoulos recorded with cast members and musicians from the Original London (Stage Musical) “Hair”. After 45 years in the Nirvana “bottom drawer”, it now appears for the first time as part of the 6 Album Nirvana Classic Box Set “Songlife” on Madfish/Snapper records, as “SECRETS” (Release date. March 2021).
In 1974 we wrote a Musical, 12 songs, and a “storyline” it was called “BLOOOD” based on our original idea of a relationship/friendship between a social vampire ( he never actually bites anyone), a sophisticated male, named Victor age 45 and a 17-year-old kid a runaway from west London named Simon, they meet in Soho W1, they have an adventure, we used to refer to it as a “buddy” story…
Over the intervening 4 decades “Bloood” is what Nirvana fans “in the know” have asked and written about concerning our lost Musical… In the beginning, we had decided to find a scriptwriter to collaborate with but we were never happy enough with what was delivered, though one Ed Kelleher from New York (La Mama Theatre) did get close, in fact, we have two of his lyrics on the SECRETS songs, “Why don’t you like me” and “Livin in a blind spot”…
Over the next 3 years, scriptwriters came and went, maybe we were too demanding? We kept working on the songs and tried to develop our own storyline.
BLOOOD became The Story of Patty Hearst, the Californian heiress who was kidnapped for a ransom by the Black Panthers… then we switched back to London and “The Secrets of Soho”… which became the “Lost Musical” and then the “Lost Movie” and finally… SECRETS… around that time we were introduced to a couple of London West End Theatrical Impresarios, Frank Duggan and Eddy Koloukundis who decided to run with it, and raise money for a short promotion in a small theatre, they were not successful so we said goodbye and took “SECRETS” back to the “bottom drawer” where it remained, we forgot about it until 4 years ago when a series of events brought us back to the original tapes and cassettes.
Snapper/Madfish Records had made an approach to us about a 5 Album Box Set in conjunction with Island/Universal and asked if we were interested also “did we have any recordings” that were not released… coincidently around that time we had started listening again to the songs of Secrets which we mentioned to their people… some hard work in the studio and 3 years later “SECRETS” is the 6th Album of the Box Set with our story which you can read below. Long-time Nirvana fans from around the world are very excited about this… as are Alex and I… “SECRETS” has surfaced… the secret is out!
TLM: “Secrets”, a musical like “Hair” effort! “Secrets”, a concept, a movie, a soundtrack that crossed a thousand waves in order to reach FINALLY the Nirvana fans, or if you prefer the “music” fans all over the world! Started in 1974 and saw the light in 2021, after 47 years! After listening to “Secrets” I can say that musically it moves into Pop, Ballads, 50s, Disco, Broadway music…
Patrick: Strange and sometimes wonderful things happen when one lets fate be the “ Boss”… I know the songs are good whatever their genre that you describe… Yes, you are right! And Nirvana’s fans always had that as their connection to us… We are the “guys who always have good songs” they say.
TLM: There’s a song there, “Two Of A Kind”. Is it the same song as the one that released as a Vinyl Single in 1976? (The Single was released in France with “Jacqueline” on the B side and in the UK with “Before Midnight” on the B side)
Patrick: It is the same song… I am the vocalist on that French release… Aliki Ashman (singer for Ginger Baker Airforce and Ashton Gardner and Dyke) sang on Secrets “Two of a Kind”… different mixes also.
TLM: “Freedom Chaser”… A remarkable astonishing fascinated transformation of your classic hit! Tell us a few things…
Patrick: We felt we could transform the original into the plot of the show… give it another life in another location, without taking anything away from the original, it is such a catchy song that it will work anywhere anytime… that is why it gets played still on the proper radio today… BBC, etc…
TLM: Before we end this I’d like you to tell me about the other Wonderful project of yours, “Yesterday’s Sunshine Today”. The vinyl version is almost sold out although not a year has passed!
Patrick: The finished released project is a shining gem… from my concept of the idea with the people /artists I know in LA to having it eventually released on your Timemazine Productions with amazing artists from around the world who are fans of our songs… I thank them all for their creativity and inventiveness with the songs they chose and I thank you for the effort, time, and “good vibes” you gave to it all especially in the manufacture and delivery during a very difficult year due to lockdown restrictions. You are indeed a Timelord!
TLM: I almost forgot. Please tell us a few things about another project of yours called Planet Of Love and that brilliant song you released, “Don’t Make America Cry”…
Patrick: A side project I started here in Athens Greece again during serious lockdown… with guitarist engineer producer Dimitris Roman and musician/filmmaker Semina Borodimou, first single out “Don’t make America Cry” Planet of Love… check it out on Youtube, Spotify, etc… working on another song as we speak.
TLM: How Alex is doing today?
Patrick: Alex thank God is doing well, he keeps doing what he has to do to protect himself, I see him often especially recently in downtown Athens at his place as we have been doing Zoom interviews for the Box set and enjoying each other’s company…I live up north right by the mountains so it is easier for me to get down there to him as he has walking difficulties. We are waiting to be able to go out to a coffee house or a tavern together! Most importantly he is always thinking creatively which is wonderful.
Photograph by Gered Mankowitz © Bowstir Ltd. 2020 / mankowitz.com
♥ THE STORY OF SIMON SIMOPATH 1967
Wings Of Love
We Can Help You
In The Courtyard Of The Stars
You Are Just The One
I Never Had A Love Like This Before
Take This Hand
♥ ALL OF US 1968
The Touchables (All Of Us)
The Show Must Go On
Girl In The Park
Frankie The Great
You Can Try It
Everybody Loves The Clown
St. John’s Wood Affair
♥ DEDICATED TO MARKOS III / BLACK FLOWER 1969
The World Is Cold Without You
Excerpt From “The Blind & The Beautiful”
I Talk To My Room
Tres, Tres Bien
It Happened Two Sundays Ago
♥ LOCAL ANAESTHETIC 1971
Modus Operandi (Method Of Work)
♥ SONGS OF LOVE AND PRAISE 1972
Please Believe Me
Lord Up Above
She’s Lost It
I Need Your Love Tonight
Will There Be Me
♥ SECRETS (Unreleased)
I Don’t Care
Someone Stole My Mona Lisa
Living In A Blind Spot
It’s Good To Have A Heart
In The Shadow Of That Old Love Affair
I Want To Touch / The Big Fight
Two Of A Kind
Why Don’t You Like Me
What You Do You Are