Mellotron. We know it as an endlessly cool rock'n'roll instrument, all Led Zep, The Beatles, Radiohead, Tommy Saxondale, Chemical Brothers, Pink Floyd, etc. That's why this video is so wonderful. It's an early promo video for the Mellotron, presented by the instrument's UK promoters, "bandleader, radio celebrity and entrepreneur Eric Robinson" and his son-in-law, "magician David Nixon", revealing the the true face of the Mellotron Mk II as a home-entertainment auto-rhythm monster. Also, be sure not to miss the shot at the end of a woman sitting on an enormous gold cock. More here and here. (Thanks, Ricky)
Posted by Tom Whitwell.
Thats a pretty random frame of woman and giant "cock" Sweet video too. I thought the instrument they were playing was called a chamberlin and the mellotrons were the more common 1 keyboard beasts we always see for sale for ridiculous prices.
That was awesome. I was wondering about it being a Mellotron as well but he does call it by that in the video. Funny about the golden cock. For some reason I was expecting a Clockwork Orange moment. : )
An Optigan and a Mellotron are the two instruments I really want even though I have absolutely no actual use for them and can completely simulate everything they do via loops anyway (they were really the original loop synthesizers).
Simply marvellous. I'm wanting the trombone loop badly.
Sadly, I'm old enough to remember David Nixon as a magician. (He was of the trad rabbit and doves out of a hat variety, with a bit of patter). You wouldn't get David Blaine demoing Ableton, that's for sure.
This most definately is a Mellotron. It's either a MkI or MkII (probably MkI.) The Chamberlin is am American instrument and this is British. The single keyboard Mellotron is a 400 model.
All trons now are going for rediculous prices. A good MkII will likely cost squillions and a new model (the 4000) is just about to hit the market.
It's a common misconception and one that I held for a number of years but there are no loops in a Mellotron but an ingenious tape return system. They famously ran out of sound after 8 seconds after which you had to relase the key and the tape wouls zip back to it's starting point. People still refer to this zip sound in glowing terms (like key click on a Hammond). The good thing about this though is that you alway got the natural attack of an instrument and, if you let the tape run out, a natural tail off.
i'm guessing the film dates from around 1965, which would make David Nixon (the guy at the keyboard) about 36. everybody over 30 looked old in the 60s. my dad certainly did.
Other David Nixon trufax include: he was Patrick 'Steed' Macnee's cousin, and Basil Brush's first sidekick. All we need now is to discover that he did mescaline with Aldous Huxley and we have a true immortal.
An aside-isn't that a Ford Squarebird (Slang for the bigger ,heavier ,more conventional replacement for the original two-seater Thunderbird) framed in rosebushes in the first few seconds of the vid' ? Or do I just have a bad case of "Old enough to remember the Mellotron well" eyes? At any rate ,a fantastic slice of musical history. I'm not the least bit musical ,but iff'n I ever win that damned Califor-NYE-AYE Lottery I'm gonna snap up a passel of Corvairs AND a Mellotron or two. I am still passionately in love with the soul of that damned thing..I wish I could manage the investment of similar levels of energy into a proper human relationship. 8*). The video makes it out to be some sort of home entertainment centerpiece (as I believe was the intent of the American inventor of the Chamberlin) but it took the move across the Atlantic and all those young Englishmen we'd soon be hearing a lot from to realize the entire potential of this portender of the progressive movement in rock. And if that sounds pretensious ,so fucking what? The late 60's -Early 70's period in popular music would have been the lesser for the absence of that amazing instrument. It's the most beautifully lonely sound in the world.
Now where'd that bottle of JB get to? Damn....
"...Heaven Is A Place.....Where Mellotrons happen..."