By MIKE CHAIKEN
Fifty years ago, the bands began to play.
And along the way, they built a template that still survives today.
Last year and this year are notable for representing the 50th anniversary for a large number of seminal classic rock bands. In 1968, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Deep Purple, and Jethro Tull launched their careers. In 1969, The Allman Brothers entered the public eye and the Beatles released “Abbey Road.”
The year 1969 also saw British rockers Wishbone Ash take shape.
Wishbone Ash, and its seminal twin lead guitar sound, comes to Daryl’s House in Pawling, N.Y. on April 25.
Andy Powell, Wishbone Ash’s leader and long-time lead guitarist, said 1968 and 1969 proved to be so fruitful for launching classic bands because it was a “perfect storm.”
Rock music had come of age at the time, said Powell, who is joined in Wishbone Ash by Bob Skeat, Joe Crabtree, and Mark Abrahams. The audience for the music, made up of the Baby Boomers, was massive. There were music festivals all over the place. Stadium rock was in its nascent stages. FM radio was developing its power as a musical tastemaker.
Additionally, said Powell, bands like Wishbone Ash were encouraged to be unique and eclectic – and rewarded for their individuality.
Powell said record labels also were patient, allowing bands to develop and grow.
Today, Powell said he it’s doubtful a group like Wishbone Ash could find a foothold in the music business.
Listen to the radio now, Powell said there just aren’t creative bands mining intriguing ideas. Even if there was a band at the grassroots level that explored something new, Powell said he didn’t think record companies would get behind such a band.
“People are really conservative about the ‘Next Big Thing,’” said Powell.
In the 1960s, Powell said rock music had the market of rebellion all to itself
“There’s not a rock culture anymore,” said Powell. “Rock bands in the 1960s were rebellious, they were on the edge.”
“Now everyone can be a rock star,” said Powell, including fashion models, gamers, and so on.
When Wishbone Ash formed in 1969, Powell said he never considered the possibility that 50 years later the group still would be an ongoing concern and he’d still be playing with the band.
“We just lived in such a great period of time, you assumed this stuff would be just fleeting,” said Powell.
In the early days of Wishbone Ash, said Powell, “I thought if I could play the Marquee Club (which gave birth to the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds), I would have made it.”
While some of his peers have stepped away from touring, Powell isn’t ready to hang it up any time soon.
“I do actually love the life (of a touring musician),” said Powell, who speaks several languages. “There’s something about it… I’m so perfectly attuned to traveling.”
“I just love the community we’ve created around the world.”
Wishbone Ash is currently laying the groundwork for a new album, said Powell. They have set aside some time to travel to France in May to begin writing new songs. Then once the songs are complete, Powell said the plan is to record them throughout the course of 2019. Powell said Wishbone Ash is hoping to build upon the good press it received from its last effort, 2014’s “Blue Horizon.”
Wishbone Ash comes to Daryl’s House, 130 Route 22, Pawling, N.Y. on Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m.
For more information, go to DarylsHouseClub.com or WishboneAsh.com.