Jarre: "They were probably the craziest instrument you could imagine. I mean, the Mellotron, when you think of it, when you think of what it is - I mean, somebody thought to replace the string of a piano by a tape, and to replace the hammer by a tape-head. When you play a key, the tape- head, instead of the hammer, plays the tape. And then it was the first sampler ever and you could play chords and you could play orchestras ! It was the dream of any musicians of that time to be able for a pianist to play orchestra, full orchestra." Wakeman: "Ah yes, Space Oddity. Everyone seems to think I got paid a hundred quid for that session. Sadly, far from the truth - nine pound's closer. What had happened was Tony Visconti had done a string arrangement, and it tended to make Space Oddity sound, I know this is a bit of a contradiction in terms, a bit like a 'song'. They wanted to get it a bit more harsh and more rounded, so the idea was for me to come in and do Mellotron beside the strings. What happened in the end was the strings came off and we just double tracked this..." [plays 'Tron passage from Space Oddity] Froese: "We put our headsets on one ear and then we were listening to the tone of the Mellotron while already started playing our stuff. Then by listening to the 440 Hz out of the oscillator, we were tuning the Mellotron against it. So it was the only way of doing it, and that had to be done about ten times during the gig of two and a half hours. Looking back to those days, that sort of adventurous fear, not knowing if you will overcome a good, a bad concert, out of tune concert, or whatever. Today everything, it's much better tuned, it's nearly perfect, but it's not having a wild ride through the jungle any more." (440 Hz is the frequency of middle 'A', the common reference point for orchestral instruments to tune up to.) Froese: "A couple of hours prior to the start of the gig [Albert Hall '75], someone came along and said "They [the Musicians' Union] are asking for a couple of thousand pounds, for you're using an orchestra. You are not using THEM, you are using your bloody keys, here. THAT's an orchestra." So there was a bit of a fight going on backstage and so we had to pay something, that night." Jarre: (Apologies in advance for spelling mistakes !) "After having explored various ways in the '80s of, with digital instruments and computers and all that, I actually thought that these instruments may well become the Stadavarius of electronic music for the future. Classical musicians like Yhudi Menyuhin, for instance, they are not using a violin made in Japan with all the modern technology, they are still searching an instrument that has been built in the 17th century. It proves that time is not necessarily linked with craftsmanship that you can reach with one stage. With progress you are sometimes gaining things but you are also losing things. Such an instrument couldn't be done any more." There was no interview with Tony Banks, which surprised me, as he was responsible for most of my fave Mellotron moments (Fountain of Salmacis, Seven Stones, Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats, etc.) Perhaps most interesting was the revelation that the Mellotron was originally aimed at being a 'one-man-band' machine for social clubs and pubs - a Wurlitzer organ with built-in drum patterns, flamenco guitar licks and corny punctuations.