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28 Sep 2008

The Eltonite's Day: My special guest is... TheFox1981!!!!

Well, this is the “Live (II)” Tour. When I wrote this week, I thought about inviting an eltonite from one of those countries that meant something special in Elton’s career. I thought about the 1979 “A Single Man Tour” because Elton tried to play in places that hadn’t been before, where he had great fans following him, where it was difficult to buy his albums, and it was the first time that a western singer performed in one of those: it’s Russia. So I’ve been in touch with an special guest, from there... welcome TheFox1981. I am really happy you accept the invitation. Thanks!!!

First... Could you tell us, please, who are you and where are you from?

Hello! My name is Ira. I'm from Moscow, Russia, and I'm a BIG Elton fan, just like you.

Right. When did you became an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton's music and what moves you to buy his music?

I've been crazy about Elton and his music for 21 years since the very first time I saw one of his videos on TV when I was only 6. That time I didn't know English at all and of course couldn't read the name of the artist. It took me a couple of years to learn that my fascination was Elton John. They didn't often broadcast foreign videos here those years, but if I managed pitch upon some EJ clip on TV or a song over the radio, I rushed to my VHS recorder or inserted a tape into my radio/cassette recorder and later on had much fun watching and listening to those masterpieces. I still have them :) Elton's music charms me, and what I like most is that he improvises in various music styles.

Wow!!! Which is your Elton's item that you really appreciate, for being hard to get or for the happiness you've got to have it?

I can't say I have many EJ items, I'm not a collector, and it's music that I care for in the first place. But I've got a pretty bunch of clippings (articles and pictures), some photos (one is signed but I can't say for sure it's authentic), a poster of Elton from the 90s (from Hi-Fi & Music), of course all albums, VHSs and DVDs with Elton's concerts, clips and interviews, and some books about our Captain. I've got 2 gramophone records (Soviet Union Melodia edition 1987) with songs from 1969-71 and 1971-72, guess these are the only rarities I possess lol. I love the t-shirt (black, Rocket Man the Definitive Hits) my partner presented me with when we went to the St. Petersburg gig. The only problem with, it is that the t-shirt is XXL but I am M, though S fits me better LOL. But the items I really appreciate are the concert tickets 'cos they remind me of the wonderful time I had at the gigs.

Hahaha. Nice story!!! And what it was like seeing Elton for the first time and how many concerts have you been? And also, could you tell us if you ever have been in touch with him? Have ever exchanged words with him?

I've been to only two EJ concerts (sob). The first time Elton came to Russia was in 1979, but it was before I was born. Then he came in 95, 01 and 03, but I was too young and my parents didn't allow me to go. I remember banging the doors and refusing to talk to them lol

The last time he came was 2007, and this time I was like no matter what it costs me I go! and had a run of two gigs, first St. Petersburg July 6, and then Moscow September 18.

St. Petersburg had something special in storage for us EJ fans. In the morning and afternoon the weather was great, the sun was shining. The gig was to begin at 7.30. At approximately 7.15 the blue sky turned to black (no, not grey, it was black!) (exactly above Dvortsovaja Square where the stage was) and the pouring rain washed away all the VIPs lol only real fans stayed there wondering if the gig will be postponed. The stage staff covered and uncovered the piano, tried to repair one of the big screens in which lightning hit, securities ran nervously to and fro 'cos fans jumped up onto the plastic seats and all together moved closer towards the stage. We all were drenched to the skin, umbrellas were useless. ELTON, YOU ARE THE GOD!!! When it was pouring hard and thunder rolled across the sky, Elton sat down to his piano and the magnificient sounds of "Funeral for a friend/Love lies bleeding" hit the air. Now imagine the weather, and you will understand how terrific those sounds were... Then it was a solid wall of sound, Elton rocked his best. It seemed he felt sorry for us and tried to cheer us up with rocks and particularly passionate performing. He played us some extras. The list: FfF/LLB, The Bitch is Back, Hercules, Madman across the Water, Tiny Dancer, Daniel, Rocket Man, Honky Cat, Sacrifice, IGTWTCitB, Burn Down the Mission, The Bridge, SStbtHW, Candle in the Wind, Benny and the Jets, Philadelphia Freedom, Are You Ready for Love, Something about the Way You Look Tonight, Sad Songs, I'm Still Standing, Crocodile Rock, SNAfF, DLtSGDoM, and Your Song. Euphoria was in the air. What a gig it was!!!

A month later it was Moscow. Well...the Kremlin...a beautiful historic sight... and definitely NOT a place for a rock gig. (Why does he like performing there so much??? =\ ) The gig was half an hour late, the first rows were full of fat cats and celebrities most of whom had no idea who Elton John is. Securities said they were filming something and didn't allow us stand up from our seat (already boring). Thank god, there was a group of EJ fans who dared go nap and when Elton was playing "Saturday Night's..." they rushed to the stage. I was among them with a huge bunch of flowers for Elton and a letter I wrote to him. Now it was much better standing there in the aisle dancing and singing together with other like-minded people. I was lucky enough to present Elton with the flowers and he was very kind to come to me once again to pick the letter wow I didn't pluck courage to call him for a third time to get his autograph lol Despite all the problems with the spotlights which blinded Elton and the audience, not very good sound from the dynamics, the hall full of people who came there only to show off, Elton perfomed perfectly, and mentioned Rastropovich, a Russian musician who was his friend.

That's great!!! And... how was the success of Elton John in your country? Which references had russians about Elton, specially after the 1979 gigs? Was there a regular market of western pop music? And are there so many eltonites now?

I can't remember the Soviet time very well, I was still too young. But what I know is that Russians (especially youngsters) were always crazy about foreign musicians. I guess Elton was not a top priority (everybody loved Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, ABBA of course, Chilintano and others). It was extremely difficult to find a tape of just any foreign musician, so if some lucky person was allowed to go abroad he would bring some records and re-record them for friends, they would do the same for their friends and so on. So you can imagine the quality of those records the country was listening to lol And of course if some foreign star came to our country people did their best to get to the concert. So, when Elton came in 1979 I guess everyone wanted to be there. Most tickets were given to Communistic Party workers, and very few were available for ordinary people. There were Elton fans those times but I don't think there were many of them. Then it was like 'bring us something foreign and we'll buy it' lol Now everything is different, and yes here are lots of EJ fans. But Russia is not a country where you'll see people wearing EJ t-shirts even when it's his gig, very few of us would make some special sign to show Elton our love, we won't wear oversized glasses or pink jackets with green stripes and blue buttons. Most people adore him ...hmm...silently. I bet everyone knows at least two or three of his songs even if they are not EJ fans. But Elton, dear, don't make us sing la-la-la-la-la-la in "Crocodile Rock", we just can't remember the words LOL

Perfect. Had Elton's record company published some compilations in your country, over the years, particularly different from other countries? If so, which were the name of the compilations and the tracks in?

Hm... I'm not the best sourse of information of this kind... I can only tell about the ones I've got.

1. A tape "Ballads", no info about the publisher. Side A: Sacrifice, Nikita, Easier to Walk Away, Blue Eyes, Sad Songs, Song for Guy. Side B: You Gotta Love Someone, Your Song, Rocket Man, Daniel, SStBtHW, Too Low for Zero.
2. CD from GrandCollection (1 of 18) by KvadroDisk (1997) (lots of typos): Believe, It Ain't Gonna be Easy, Big Dipper, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest (and that's it, no Word), Blessed, The End Will Come, Crocodile Rock, I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That, Theme From a Non-Existen TV SERIES, Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Runaway Train, Good BUY Yellow Brick Road (LOL), Have Mercy On the Criminal, We All FOOL in Love Sometimes (LOL), The Big Picture, Candle In the Wind.
3. CD King Of Great Music (Elton John) by Alba Records (2001): Take Me to the Pilot, Madman Across the Water, Honky Cat, Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters,Levon, Your Song, Country Comfort, Ballad of a Well-Known Gun, Son of Your Father, Amoreena, Tiny Dancer, I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself, Rocket Man, The Greatest Discovery, Empty Sky, Skyline Pigeon.
4. MP3 (4 discs) from Domashniaya Kollektsia (Home Collection) by Delta-MM Corp / Navigator (Programma 2000) (2001) contains EJ's bio, pics, lyrics and 36 albums (among the others: Rare Masters 1,2; The Lion King, The Muse, Aida, The Road to El Dorado).
5. Gramophone record "Honky Cat" by Melodia (1987). Side A: Levon, Razor Face, All the Nasties, Daniel. Side B: Madman Across the Water, Rocket Man, Honky Cat, Crocodile Rock.
6. Gramophone record "Your Song" by Melodia (1987). Side A: Your Song, Son of Your Father, Where to Now St. Peter, Talking Old Soldiers, Ballad of a Well-known Gun. Side B: Border Song, Tiny Dancer, Country Comfort, Amoreena, Goodbye.

Thank you!! You know this is "Live" week. Which could be a great set list, in your opinion? Is there any song that Elton hasn't played yet, and you think that he should do it? And you prefer the Elton's solo tours or better with band? With the same musicians as his current band or you miss someone of the past?

I love Elton's rock songs, those fast ones, you know. I really loved the list he played in St. Petersburg. Though I like almost every song of Elton, still I must confess I'm fed up with Greatest Hits! I wanna hear him play something rare, old and new. I'd love him play "And The House Fell Down", "Rotten Peaches", "Val-Hala", "Screw You", "Teacher I need You", "Where to now St. Peter", "I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself", "Slow Rivers" (oh, don't get me started, there are hundreds of songs I wanna hear live!!!!!)

I like it more when Elton plays with the band, I like guitars and drums. With the band on stage he plays more rocks. But if it's solo tour he brings here someday, be sure I'll go :) it's a different experience and I wanna have that too.

I loved Ray Cooper a lot, a genius.

He is, sure!!! Finally, could you tell me your five favourite Elton John's songs in running order, for my AllSongsList, please?

Oh no, this torture again! lol Really difficult... I know! I'll cheat you! :)

1. Everything that is rock-n-roll and dancing (yeah, yeah, I'm old-fashioned)
2. Songs with religion and politics in them (don't know, just like them)
3. Humorous songs
4. Duets
5. hm.. Love song?
At least this is the list of today, tomorrow it can be different :)

Hahaha Thank you!! Would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to other eltonites?

Being an EJ fan I've met a lot of interesting and nice people. EJ fans are like a big family and that's cool! Keep on rocking!

Yes, we are a great family!!! Oh, what do you think about recent news of Elton going to studio again for a 2009 album? What type of album would you expect? And the record's company release of more DeLuxe editions, without forgetting an special box of Elton's duets and rock numbers, and so on?

Oh, if it's true and Elton finally cuts a new album. What can I say... GREAT!!! He should have done that a couple of years ago LOL Will buy it no matter what it is, but I don't want another Songs from The West Coast, maybe something from the east this time? lol no seriously I would love something like The One.

I haven't bought any of Deluxes yet and not sure I will. Here they cost pretty a lot and I don't understand it why pay such huge sums for two or three songs which I can listen to on the Net. If they release a disk with rarities and songs which haven't been released yet I will pay for that for sure. I've got Dream Ticket, Rocket Man and MSG 60 and they are worth every rouble I paid :)

Thanks a bunch, TheFox1981. Really a pleasure to chat with you. I was funny doing this interview with you, it was an enjoyable and worth experience for me and you did it very very well.Thank you. Take care.

Thank you Miquel for inviting me. You know I didn't fancy it at first, but the interview was really great and I enjoyed every minute of it. You made me cast my mind back to the times I can't remember lol, and thanks to you I lived through the fun times again. Thank you. Cheers.

Cheers!!!

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