Arzachel is the first and only release by the band Arzachel which was a pseudonym for the band Uriel comprised of members Clive Brooks, Dave Stewart, Mont Campbell and Steve Hillage. The album was made in order to capitalize on psychedelic rock which was in fashion at the time of its making.
[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]Dave Stewart on the history of Arzachel
What happened with Arzachel was this : we – the members of Egg, that is – knew a guy who had a demo studio in Gerrard Street, Soho. This chap, Peter Wicker, knew a foreign gentleman called Zack, who had a record label and was anxious to release some of this “psychedelic” music which was currently fashionable. We knew how to play this psychedelic stuff, having spent many happy hours at the Middle Earth Club listening to bands like Love Sculpture and Sam Gopal Dream. A deal was struck. We were to record an album in an afternoon – hey, no problem! – in exchange for a pitifully small amount of money that, at the time, seemed enormous. As we had just signed an exclusive deal with Decca, we thought it would be advisable to use a different name, so we settled on “Arzachel“, the name of a crater on the moon that Mont spotted on an astrological poster on the wall of his toilets. We also called in our old mate Steve Hillage to play guitar, sing and generally make things even more psychedelic. We rehearsed for a day, then whipped out the album in about eight hours. On side 2, most of the stuff was improvised, and we ended up banging away on a final chord for about five minutes, all of us watching the hands of the studio clock. As soon as it reached quarter past, we knew we’d recorded enough material for an album, and brought the piece – entitled “Metempsychosis”, yeah! – to a merciful halt…
The album was first released on the Evolution label and quickly became a collector’s item. It has since been rereleased on CD.
All songs by Uriel / Arzachel.
- Garden of Earthly Delights – 2:45
- Azathoth – 4:21
- Queen St. Gang – 4:25
- Leg – 5:40
- Clean Innocent Fun – 10:23
- Metempsychosis – 16:38
In the album credits, the members of the band used pseudonyms with fake biographies.
Lead guitar and vocals. Sim was born in Seatoller, Cumberland in 1948, and has been playing guitar for 11 years. His dark Northern ruggedness is offset by the coolness of his manner. These two qualities are reflected in his playing – heavy, emotional work, and soft, subtle sounds. He believes that music is the only really physical art form – and is in a lifelong search for the ultimate musical power, on the same scale as the rocky Lake District crags from whence he came.
Bass guitar and vocals. Njerogi was born in Mzumi Springs, a small border town in the north of the Kenyan Rift Valley. He trained to be a Manjanga drummer for the local Kyuma dances, but came to England with family in 1962. He lived in Brighton for five years, then moved to London, where he formed Arzachel with Sim, Basil and Sam. He believes that music stems largely from the sexual urge, both of which have an integral part in rhythm, having been taught this as part of his drum training.
Drums. Basil was born in Tottenham in 1947; as one would expect, he was an ardent Tottenham Hampton F.C. supporter in his younger days, but decided it would no longer be wise to go to football matches when his wiry bushy hair reached shoulder-length. He has been in seven groups, playing every conceivable style of music from dance band to skiffle. Basil is a heavy, violent drummer; he has been known to break fourteen sticks in as many bars. He believes that if it were not for Arzachel’s music, his violence would still be expressed in seat-slashing and toilet-roll throwing.
Organ. Sam was born in Lewisham in 1949 – he could play the piano when only two years old, and began to take organ lessons at the age of seven. He was expelled from public school, and spent eight months living on crusts, playing a battered accordion on street corners. This he refers to as his “hang-up” period. When the Psychedelic scene began to blossom, Sam joined various unsuccessful groups. Arzachel was a result of meeting up with Sim and Njerogi. Sam’s favourite artistes include Heinz; Mike Ratledge; Holst; P.J. Proby; Vincent Crane. He believes music to be an expression of one’s inner being – this expression, he says, will lead to the ultimate spiritual liberation of one’s personality.