Log of The Artist Shop/Talk City chat with Mark Griffin, author of the biography, Vangelis - The Unknown Man, on Sunday, February 22, 1998


WotanCCC: .
WotanCCC: . Welcome to tonight's
WotanCCC: . Artist Shop
WotanCCC: . Featured Artist Conference
WotanCCC: .
WotanCCC: . Mark Griffin
WotanCCC: . author of
WotanCCC: . Vangelis - The Unknown Man
WotanCCC: .
WotanCCC: . Presented by
WotanCCC: . @Music and TalkCity
WotanCCC: .

WotanCCC: Vangelis' mission has been to explore sound through electronics and push back the bounds of musical knowledge. Mark's book traces his career from his prodigal beginnings and formation of Aphrodite's Child. It reviews his live performances and work on over thirty five albums. Vangelis: The Unknown Man presents Vangelis' work, life and influences and showcases his breathtaking range of talent and achievement.

WotanCCC: Mark, we appreciate you taking the time out to speak with us today. Welcome to @Music and TalkCity! Thanks for joining us Mark.

MarkGriffi: Thank you ! Great to be here !

WotanCCC: We are running a moderated room today. Only the hosts and guest can type to the screen. To send a question for Mark Griffin type /msg ToniCCC and then type your question. Thanks!

GaryD: Mark, so glad to have you with us tonight.

WotanCCC: This is the second edition of Vangelis - The Unknown Man. How do you feel about the book now, are you happy with it?

MarkGriffi: Well. I think its a great improvement on the first edition from 1994. I think it would still be improved with some input from Vangelis himself. Buts its pretty tight now.

GaryD: What has happened since then that you wish you could have put in the book.

MarkGriffi: The book was released just after Oceanic so since then we've had the Caballe album and of course the amzing Athens concert.

WotanCCC: Very cool.

GaryD: Could you elaborate on those events?

MarkGriffi: The Caballe album featured two track produced and written by Vangelis which were featured in the Athens concert. In a way I think the former was of course an experiment of a grander future release.

ToniCCC: Mitch wants to know: Where can I purchase this book and for what price?

MarkGriffi: I'm 39. I live in Scotland around Aberdeen.

MarkGriffi: The book is priced at £10GBP or I think around $20US and is available from Gary's Artist Shop.

WotanCCC: . For more information on Vangelis and the book Vangelis - The Unknown Man go to http://www.artist-shop.com/newlabel/vangelis.htm

WotanCCC: How did you get involved with writing about the life and work of Vangelis?

MarkGriffi: Well. Its started back in 85/86 when I was asked to do a short piece in a fanzine about his work. I found out there was very little written about it and before I knew it I'd written about 50 pages... The thing is the work never stops. I can imagine certainly a thrid edition in another 5 or 6 years time.

GaryD: Mark, the Jon and Vangelis album Page of Life is finally getting a U.S. release many years after the import. Can you talk about why such a delay and why this U.S. version is so different from the original release.

WotanCCC: Great question.

MarkGriffi: Well I think the main reason is Jon's involvement in the US and the setting up of the label Higher Octave.

WotanCCC: Thats Jons new label?

MarkGriffi: I think the first release we put out quickly by Arista and Jon and Vangelis were not really satisfied with it. Jon's now revisited it and decided it would be worthy of rerelease, remixed with a couple of revised tracks. Yes. I think Higher Octave is owned by Jon and he's released a couple of CD's on the label already. His fan club Opio has of course already put out some prerelease editions.

GaryD: No, actually Higher Octave is not owned by Jon. It has been around as a New Age label for quite some time now.

MarkGriffi: That may be true. Certainly it was in the can for nearly two years before it saw the light of day.

WotanCCC: Has Vangelis given you his opinion on the book? Is he happy with it?

MarkGriffi: I've hear through his PA Andrew Hoy that Vangelis thinks its a "worthy representation" - he was conerned I think that it might dwell on his private life but I've focused on his music.

GaryD: It would seem that Vangelis has quite successfully kept his private life just that.

MarkGriffi: Yes he has.

ToniCCC: ****
ToniCCC: wildpepper wants to know. Who is your fav. singer in the world
ToniCCC: ****

MarkGriffi: My favourite singer ? I think either Jon Anderson or Geddy Lee from Rush - they're very similar of course.

WotanCCC: Two very good ones. What are some of the charities profits from Vangelis - The Unkown Man are going to?

MarkGriffi: Well originally the three charities were Riding for the Disabled, Cats Protection and The Coppice Cancer Hospital.

WotanCCC: Have you added others?

MarkGriffi: But now I've wided the scope and I've sent money to UNICEF through Opio. I've also suggested to Vangelis that money is donated to a children's Cancer Charity of his choice.

WotanCCC: Very cool Mark.

GaryD: Much has been made about the Direct Box, a piece of equipment Vangelis has been using for about 10 years now. What can you tell us about it? And is it true that there are only two in existance?

WotanCCC: I guess you mean something other than the direct boxes used in recording?

MarkGriffi: Direct was developed by Bill Marshall - a Scot who wrote software for keyboards in the mid eighties. Direct helps Vangelis through foot pedals to develop his music without pre programming. Its a clever machine that composes counter hamronies depending on what Vangelis plays.

WotanCCC: So its sort of an AI device?

GaryD: AI?

WotanCCC: AI= artificial intelligence. It almost has to be to create on the fly.

MarkGriffi: There are actually just three. Bill has one (in pieces now) and Vangelis has the other two. Yes. An AI device is a very good description. The clever bit is the software I understand. The album Direct was of course named after the box...

WotanCCC: Very cool

MarkGriffi: Bill's actually just finished his own album which partly uses Direct which should be out later in the year called Ankh...

ToniCCC: Mark, this is more a personal question, and a tad off topic... I'm quite a fan of Jon Anderson, myself...do you have a suggestion where I could I find a copy of his "Three Ships" on CD? I've been searching for years.

MarkGriffi: Three Ships is ultra rare now certainly on CD. About the only place would be record fairs. I could always put an ad in Albedo and see what pops up !

ToniCCC: that would be great! thanks :)

WotanCCC: We actually found a vinyl version, we need the CD though.

MarkGriffi: A few copies on LP do appear !

GaryD: I have a CD, but I'm not parting with it ;-)

WotanCCC: Ouch.

MarkGriffi: I have an LP but I'll gladly have a look out for a CD for you !

otanCCC: That would be great.

ToniCCC: Mark, that would be very cool!

WotanCCC: Who are some of your writing influences? Who's work do you really respect?

GaryD: Mark, do you feel that use of The Direct Box and other technological advances has help Vangelis go where he couldn't before? Or does technology make him take the easy road and not reach where he might have made the effort before?

WotanCCC: Sorry....Gary, you're first.

MarkGriffi: Vangelis aim has been to compose and hear what comes into his "soul" spontaneously. In the old days he would have to mess with his equipment to find the sound he wanted. With Direct he can experiment more and go DIRECTly to the sound he wants. I think there's something almost over produced about Vangelis albums before Direct...as if he was working hard to find that sounds...

GaryD: BTW, if it hasn't been mentioned already, Mark is joining us from Scotland.

WotanCCC: Too cool. Hows the weather in Scotland?

MarkGriffi: Onto the question of writing influences, they include Douglas Adams, Michael Moorcock and Terry Prachett....

WotanCCC: LOL. Don't Panic and always carry a towel.

MarkGriffi: The weather over here is a few degree above zero. Warm for the time of year ! I promise I won't do any Vogon poetry during the chat !


GaryD: Yes, God forbid my intestine should leap out and throttle my brain on the Vogon Poetry. LOL!!!

WotanCCC: Toni has another question from the audience.

ToniCCC: Bboy415 wants to know, WHAT KIND OF DRUM MACHINE Vangelis USES?

MarkGriffi: At the moment I think he uses a Yamaha RX5 and Roland R8 drum machine but he has returned to REAL drums of late. Apparently the kit was taken from the cellar and dusted off and Vangelis is using it to keep fit on.


ToniCCC: LOL..sounds great!

WotanCCC: Bought some new heads too I hope. B-{)}

ToniCCC: not to mention, fun

WotanCCC: How do you feel Vangelis' fits in to the music of the 90's?

MarkGriffi: I think there a bits of Vangelis that fit neatly into the 90's judging by the amount of sampling and remixing that gets done on his stuff. The most recent was the piece by the Verve that they've "borrowed" from Aphrodite's Child...

WotanCCC: Man, they borry from everybody.

ToniCCC: wow...the Verve borrowed from Vangelis too?

MarkGriffi: The track is on urban Hymns called Rolling People and they've borrowed a large chunk of the Four Horseman..

WotanCCC: The Stones weren't to happy with the Verve, I assume Vangelis is happier with it.

GaryD: I got an e-mail question from Jim Weld - "any concert date plans in the next year??? perhaps for the world cup in france????"

WotanCCC: ****
WotanCCC: .
WotanCCC: . For more information on Vangelis and the book
WotanCCC: . Vangelis - The Unkown Man
WotanCCC: . go to;
WotanCCC: .
WotanCCC: . http://www.artist-shop.com/newlabel/vangelis.htm
WotanCCC: .
WotanCCC: ****

MarkGriffi: There's nothing positive on concerts though I think he'll premerie his opera with Caballe in Athens during the summer.

ToniCCC: ****
ToniCCC: J has this question for Mark: Do you have any other
ToniCCC: examples of sampled material-and from which Vangelis
ToniCCC: ****

GaryD: New Opera???? What is it?

WotanCCC: Good question J.

MarkGriffi: Er. where do I start !

WotanCCC: Wherever you want.

MarkGriffi: Well, Enigma's first album has a whole track from Aphrodites Child. Future Sound used Rachels Song.

GaryD: from 666 and Blade Runner respectively.

MarkGriffi: OMD used JOn and Vangelis' I'll Find my Way Home. Enigma's 2nd album used a snippet of 1492...

WotanCCC: Is all of this in the book?

MarkGriffi: There been loads of techno remices of BladeRunner and Conquest of Paradise by loads of techno bands.

WotanCCC: And back to Gary's question?

GaryD: About the Opera that is.

MarkGriffi: I do hope the Opera doesn't get canned ! It sounds like it will be very impressive...

WotanCCC: Toni has another audience question for Mark....

ToniCCC: ****
ToniCCC: Phillip has this for Mark: I'd like to know what happened
ToniCCC: during the time there were rumors of Vangelis joining Yes.
ToniCCC: Thanks!
ToniCCC: ****

WotanCCC: 'Wow. That would be interesting.

MarkGriffi: Sure. Yes. In the summer of 1974 Vangelis had just moved to London and was beginning the setup of Nemo. He was already a good friend of Jon Anderson. Yes had just had a stormy tour with Tales of Topographic Oceans and Rick Wakeman had decided to depart to pursue his solo career.

WotanCCC: One of many stormy tours... B-{)}

MarkGriffi: Anderson suggest Vangelis join Yes in the studio and they rehearsed for three weeks until both parties saw that it wasn't going to work.

WotanCCC: It would be interesting to hear tapes of those rehearsals.

GaryD: Do any exist? Tapes that is?

MarkGriffi: Vangelis found that he wasn't really ready to return to a band format and Yes found Vangelis too independant. There were also some language difficulties. I think some of the rehearsals ended up as part of Gates of Delirium. And Yes. I'd love to hear some tapes from them !

WotanCCC: Wow. Toni has another audience question for Mark....

MarkGriffi: I'm not sure any do exist but Yes are playing Scotland next week and I'll ask Jon when I see him !

ToniCCC: oooh, Mark, that would be great!

ToniCCC: ****
ToniCCC: Radioman would like to konw, what are some of the
ToniCCC: things Vangelis has worked on with Jon Anderson?
ToniCCC: ****

MarkGriffi: Jon worked with Vangelis on Heaven and Hells So Long Ago..., the Jon and Vangelis albums Short Stories, Friends of Mr Cairo, Private Collection, Page of Life... Anderson also worked with Vangelis on a track on Opera Sauvage on which he played harp plus two tracks on See You Later (the title track and Suffocation)...Theres also a bootleg called The Sky and His Shadow which is basically Jon and Vangelis playing ambient type keyboards... There have been half a dozen writing collaborations such as Lets Pretend on ABWH, Easier Said than DOne from Three Ships and even Children of Light on the new Yes album. Lots !

GaryD: Vangelis seems overdue for a new album. What can we expect from him in the near future?

WotanCCC: You just made Toni's day.

ToniCCC: There's Three Ships again! <G>

MarkGriffi: Good question. I think the most likely is the Caballe Opera album which will probably be out late in the year. I'm also trying to research Vangelis' input into the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon....

WotanCCC: Ahhhhh, very cool.

MarkGriffi: I know his techies are working on the web site too and he's done some experiments into techno !

ToniCCC: ****
ToniCCC: Radioman would like to know if Vangelis is planning
ToniCCC: on any new collaborations with anyone else in the near future?
ToniCCC: ****

MarkGriffi: As far as I know he recorded the album with Montserrat Caballe and recorded some track with Jose Carreras...Don't forget the rerelease of the remixed Page of Life with Jon of course next month...

WotanCCC: Ok, Toni has the last question of the day....

ToniCCC: Are there other artists you've written about, or would like to write about?

WotanCCC: I'm curious as well.

MarkGriffi: I think there are a few. I'd like to write a bio. dedicated to Jon Anderson plus a work on Mike Oldfield. There was a book out some years ago on Mike but it was a little light weight.

WotanCCC: Wow. Great topics. I'll bet they both have some great stories.

MarkGriffi: I'm currently writing a novel which should be out later in the year called Wait State.

ToniCCC: thanks!

WotanCCC: Thank you very much Mark. Looks like our time is up... I'd like to thank everyone for joining us tonight. Mark, we appreciate taking the time to come and chat with us. We all hope you'll come back to Talk City again soon!

ToniCCC will be waiting for the Jon Anderson bio! ;)

GaryD: Mark, I want to thank you for coming today.

WotanCCC: Great conference. Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with us on this conference. We especially appreciate the efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to speak with Mark Griffin.

MarkGriffi: Thank You You'e Welcome. Good Night from Scotland !

WotanCCC: Don't forget to drop by the Artist Shop and explore all of their musical offerings at http://www.artist-shop.com

GaryD: And we'll have some other great chats coming up in the near future.

ToniCCC: Thanks Gary, Mark & Wotan! Great chat...super info!


Back to The Artist Shop IRC Page