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Message from Phil Bates
Message from Phil Bates
I have been thinking recently about my situation, my position, my status ...whatever you want to call it ...in relation to Jeff Lynne and ELO.
With this in mind, I felt I would like to clarify, to those who feel there might be some ambiguity, my feelings towards my current projects, The Music of ELO and ELO Klassik ...or variants thereof.
I play the music of Jeff Lynne and ELO for very clear reasons. Of course, I need to earn a living, and this has proven to be the best way for me to do this. I am like pretty much everyone else in the world ...I have a mortgage, I have bills, I have had kids to feed, clothe, support and educate ...and everyone knows how expensive and challenging that can be, especially when you are prey to the vagaries of the music business. Additionally, I have never, as some people might feel, ‘made a fortune’ out of my association with ELO Part2, the Orchestra, or my other ELO related projects.
The other key reasons that I do this are .... I love the music; I have the utmost respect and admiration for what Jeff Lynne has achieved; and I have been made VERY aware over the years that there are literally thousands of fans of ELO music throughout the world, and they want to hear ir played ‘live’. If this were not the case, we wouldn’t play to large and very appreciative audiences all over Europe. And I have to say that these fans have probably not been served as well as they could have been over the years. But, have no doubt, Jeff Lynne is up there with Lennon & McCartney, Brian Wilson, Ray Davies, Freddie Mercury etc etc as one of the all-time great songwriters in the pop/rock area ....no doubt about it.
My attitude towards Jeff Lynn and his music is ALWAYS respectful in the way I and my band arrange and perform the songs in a ‘live’ context. It could not be any other way because this is what I feel. Whenever it is appropriate, I express my respect and admiration for Jeff’s achievements, whether in my stage announcements, or during media interviews.
In absolutely NO way do I ever attempt to advertise or market my band/projects as ‘Electric Light Orchestra’. If this sometimes happens, it is ALWAYS as a result of a local promoter ignoring the instructions and intentions of myself and my representatives, Sounds Promotion. Sometimes we only discover this when we arrive in the town/city we are playing in. Anyone who cared to inspect the source material, i.e. our posters, handouts, flyers, press releases etc would see that this is true.
One other thing has become clear over the years, and this is that there is some confusion in the minds of music lovers and concert-goers, who are not perhaps ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ ELO fans, exactly who is who, and who did what in ELO, and also confusion over the difference between ELO and ELO Part2. This comes up time and time again, and it is not of my making. Rather it is partly because there was never a ‘face’ of ELO. The overriding visual image of the band is more to do with the spaceship, space imagery, laser light shows etc etc, and of course, the presence of violins/cellos within a rock band.....(not forgetting ‘beards’ .....facial topiary plays a large part in the ELO myth as well J) In this way, I have found, both with my current projects, and with ELO Part2 in the past, that the majority of people are predominantly interested in the music, how well it is played and sung, how good the concert looks etc etc.
My overriding impression is that it is those fantastic songs and arrangements that people have always loved, and continue to love.....over and above everything else.
Of course, everyone would be happy if Jeff Lynne decided to come out of his retirement from ‘live’ concerts and play this fantastic music to his fans all over the world, but while that is not happening, I see no reason why I, with my current projects, or the Orchestra, should not continue to play this music to those who want to hear it.
After all, the music industry is VERY much a market-controlled industry. If there is no market, the product will not be successful. So, as long I am physically able to stand up on a stage and do justice to this music, and as long as there are people who want to come and hear me do it .... I will carry on doing it .... alongside my own music, and other music that has made my live worth living since I was born 60 years ago.
To close ...I quote a Beatlesque bard ....’Peace and love ...peace and love ....’ to all.
Source: Phil Bates