It is with some
reluctance that I write this fan note due to some embarrassment
on my behalf as I've never been a teeny bopper or a fan idol and
never considered SAILOR to be the sort of band that attracted
that kind of attention.
Despite SAILORs uplifting style of music I always considered the band a serious group with something quite unique to offer the music scene at the time. Likewise, I liked Roxy Music, Brian Eno , Manfred Mann's Earthband, David Sylvian, Steve Harley & Cocknet Rebel and many other music groups of the time that I considered unique and apt for the loose description Art Rock/Pop or Progressive.
My liking for the band began nearly thirty years ago back in Australia as a teenager who was instantly hooked on the classic "A Glass Of Champagne" single. I recall seeing the film clip for this on our then "Countdown" ABC TV Sunday night pop program. At first I thought the band playing on the screen was Roxy Music as I considered then that Georg had a similar mannered and understated theatrical style like Bryan Ferry had. From then on my brothers and I were converted SAILOR fans and consequently bought every available record put out by the band over the years. Although Australia wasn't SAILORs biggest fan base, they nevertheless were very popular there and had a couple of hit singles on the charts.
My favourite SAILOR album is the first self titled album which I think contains such original instrumentation, quirky and strange but nonetheless appealing, combined with beautiful harmonic singing and honest yet riveting lyrics written by Georg about the red light district. I also consider "Hideaway" to be an underrated album, and although certainly more pop orientated than say the first album, I think the combination of all band members contributing songs to the disc, and Georg writing a couple of great songs like "Give Me Shakespeare" and "Ashes and Diamonds" make it an album certainly worth chasing after.
Well, now I'm 45 years old now living and working as an English Teacher in Taiwan and in some way I think SAILOR had some influence on my great love for travelling and seeing new places. I know that sounds a little cliched, and I'm wincing as I hit the keys, but seriously I travelled for several years in the early mid 1980's and often reflected on the images of different places that SAILOR evoked through their music.
Unfortunately, I've never seen SAILOR play live and would love to do so, naturally I would have liked to have seen the original lineup play but realise this is not possible and think that the new members of the band have done a great job.
Anyway, this was just my contribution to the fans tale section and I wish all connected with the band, fans etc all the best and to keep the communication going with fans worldwide. You're doing a great job.
Review: SAILOR in Linz (Austria) 20 August 2004:
Well, I finally made
it to a performance of SAILOR. Having been a SAILOR fan for
nearly 30 years now I thought it was my time to finally catch the
group performing whilst I'm briefly in this region of the world.
As a frequent visitor to the SAILOR website I was delighted to
learn of SAILOR's intended performance at the Linz 'Kronen-Fest'
and thereafter went about organising the trip to Linz.
On advice from others, including the ever helpful Katrin (from the SAILOR website) and author James, I booked my flight with Ryan Air for a departure on the day of the concert. Prior to leaving London, where I had been staying the night before, I visited the HMV shop in Oxford street and picked up a copy of SAILOR's "Greatest Hits" - I have all the band's recordings on CD and vinyl except that I don't have any of the tracks from "Dressed For Drowning" on CD and the only CD that does have any of these tracks is the afore-mentioned one. As an aside, I've always found it both curious and annoying that the record companies have always failed to include tracks from the original recording of "Hideaway" on their numerous compilation efforts. Is there a reason for this apart from expediency? I also picked up a copy of "Unkown Pleasures: A Cultural Biography of Roxy Music" by Paul Stump, a music writer for various magazines and the Guardian newspaper. In the book there is a rather disparaging reference to SAILOR as being plagiarisers of Roxy's musical style, - both an unfair and inaccurate accusation I feel, by the author. Whilst I agree there are some similarities in musical styles between the groups, - I am an equally enthusiastic Roxy Music fan as I am of SAILOR, there are differences and I consider the author to have done SAILOR a great disservice by this reference. Sure, he has the right to criticise or even dislike the group, - as he clearly does, however to be dismissive of the band on unjust or inaccurate grounds is reprehensible.
Anyway, I flew into Linz on the day of the concert, hurried to the Hauptplatz and found a pleasant enough hotel within easy walking distance of the concert venue. Linz's, according to the travellers bible -"The Lonely Planet Guide", main claim to fame is that it has the dubious honour of being Hitlers favourite town. However, I was more interested in being there for the concert, and perhaps time and weather permitting a brief wander around what I considered to be a charming old town located on the Danube. My German is fairly minimal bit I seemed to be getting by okay with most locals responding (in either english or german) in a kindly and helpful, if not amused manner.
I returned to the concert venue which was fast filling up with a generally good natured and happy crowd of both young and middle aged folk. The rock group on before SAILOR (sorry I didn't catch their name) were competent and entertaining. It had been organised for me to contact James by phone before the concert, but this was near on impossible considering the ever-ballooning crowd size and the noise that went with this. My apologies to you James for failing to catch up with you.
Finally, SAILOR came on stage and gave a great and entertaining 1 hour performance fitting in well with the festive nature of the crowd. I was disapointed that they didn't play longer or that I would have liked to have heard Rob Alderton's new contribution "Harbour Bar Bell", "Traffic Jam" (my favourite SAILOR single) nor Peter Lincoln's excellent rendition of James Taylor's "Frozen Man". I also understand the requirements of SAILOR to play to the type of audience they're in front of, but nevertheless feel that it's a pity that they don't use more of their own material in concert. That aside, SAILOR played extremely well and showed what consummate musicians they are.
Well, I'm leaving Linz now on a rather wet Saturday with few Euro's left in my pocket. Linz airport, amazingly has no exchange facilities open on a Saturday! It's back to London for a few days before I leave for Quebec City (Georg's old town,- via New York). Then it's back to Taiwan to meet up with my wife and resume my ESL english teaching there. It was great to finally see the guys in concert.
All the best
Last updated: 28 August 2004