Pye Hastings Interview in Classic Rock Magazine

Leading lights of the 70s Canterbury scene get set to revisit one of their best albums.

Guitarist/vocalist Pye Hastings, the band’s mainstay, previews the Canterbury scene
veterans’ 40th-anniversary celebration of their For Girls Who Grow Plump in The Night
album.

The press release says the band will be performing “a number of songs” from For Girls Who Grow Plump. Does that mean you won’t be playing the whole of the album?

Probably not, but that’s yet to be completely decided. One or two its songs – I can’t
remember which – aren’t really live material. We don’t want a lull in the middle of the
set. But that’s something to work out in rehearsals.

Do you consider that album, the band’s fifth, to be Caravan’s best?

Personally speaking I do, because I wrote most of it [laughs], but In The Land Of Grey And Pink [1971] is probably the most successful album.

For Girls Who Grow Plump was produced by David Hitchcock (of Genesis and Camel fame), but didn’t you try to mix the album yourselves – with disastrous consequences?

Yeah. That was a late night at Chipping Norton after some drinks at a local pub. Richard Coughlan [drummer] and I pressed the wrong button and thousands of pounds worth of tape flew off the spool. We had to wind it on again by hand and pretend that nothing had happened.

You and Geoff Richardson, the band’s viola player, guitarist and flautist who joined in
1972, are Caravan’s stalwarts. Tell us about the relative newcomers?

Jan Schelhaas has worked with lots of bands including Thin Lizzy and is more of a rock keyboardist than Dave Sinclair. Our bassist Jim Leverton was in Packet Of Three with Steve Marriott and brings a strong blues base. Mark Walker [drums] is the new boy. He’s young and really keen.

Snooker legend Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis is Caravan’s biggest celebrity fan. Does that
possibly say something about the perception of your band?

Oh, I don’t care about that. We just do what we do. Our fans have become like family to us. They’re the best in the world. You can waste time with observations like that.., we’ll just carry on playing.

Caravan have existed for 44 years now. Is it feasible for the band to reach 50?

Absolutely. I still write songs like mad, and I’d love to keep on going until the hands
don’t work anymore.

The tour begins at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on January 8.

DL

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