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Bob Dickinson, John McGeoch and Magazine in '77

We have just learnt that we erroneously wrote that early Magazine member Bob Dickinson disliked performing live, which was certainly not the case. Bob has kindly provided more detail of those early months in the band’s life.


My brief encounter with Magazine back in '77 was very much a sabbatical from my doctoral research into live electronic music at Keele Uni. Performance-wise I'd previously worked on live projects with Cabaret Voltaire, Dick Witts (founder of The Passage) and a few European avant-garde composers. Magazine was quite different from this creative performance-work, a taste of the 'other side'. My first impressions of John in rehearsals were of a serious-minded, technically skilled guitarist willing to push harmonic and melodic boundaries but with a certain warmth and sense of humour which created a sense of inclusion for this 'outsider'.


I recall those early workings of my musical ideas for 'Motorcade', playing the chord sequence like a repeated mantra in rehearsals and on each repeat John bringing sonic elements out of that structure in an organic, free-flowing manner yet at the same time always in control. So very different from the more experimental performance work I was engaged in at the same time with Dick Witts, pre-Passage, at the Manchester Musicians Collective. In the ritual of live performance with Magazine, John was so focused and 'in the zone' as I observed and interacted with him, especially in those improvised sections of 'Motorcade'.


Following my departure from Magazine I returned to my research and a different form of performance, more rarefied and gentle in its minimal focus, as in a concert of some piano works with the composer Gavin Bryars only six months on from those intense rehearsal sessions and live performances with Magazine and more especially with John, a master of the guitar

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