You Know What You Could Be
Tuning into the 1960s
By Mike Heron and Andrew Greig
The story of an extraordinary moment in British music, and the ordinary boys who worshipped it
'Mike Heron, as part of the Incredible String Band, changed the way I looked at music. Read it!' Billy Connolly
'Mike Heron's lyrics always sparkled with wit and warmth and his prose is a delightful continuation. The book evokes a smoky, unheated eccentric Edinburgh that was a crucible for so much creativity.' Joe Boyd, author of White Bicycles
This singular book offers two harmonising memoirs of music making in the 1960s. Mike Heron for the first time writes vividly of his formative years in dour, Presbyterian Edinburgh. Armed with a love of Buddy Holly, Fats Domino and Hungarian folk music, he plays in school cloakrooms, graduates to rock, discovers the joy of a folk audience, starts writing songs, tries to talk to girls, wishes he was a Beatnik all while training as a reluctant accountant. When asked to join Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer, the Incredible String Band are formed - and their wildly innovative, astounding music became indelibly linked with the latter Sixties.
Andrew Greig was a frustrated provincial schoolboy when he heard their songs. It changed everything. Undaunted by a lack of experience and ability, he formed a band in their image. Fate & Ferret populated back-country Fife with Pan, nymphs and Apollo, met the String Band and caught the fish lorry to London to hang around Joe Boyd's Witchseason office, watching at the fringes of the blooming Underground scene. It was forty years later that he and Mike became friends.
These entwined stories will delight anyone who has loved the Incredible String Band; and their differing portraits of that hopeful, erratic and stubborn stumble towards the life that is ours will strike a chord with everyone.
Andrew Greig (Author)
Andrew Greig is the author of six books of poetry, two mountaineering books; two non-fiction books and six novels. He has been shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize, and won the Saltire and the Scottish Book of the Year awards. He lives in Orkney and Edinburgh with his wife, the novelist Lesley Glaister.
Mike Heron (Author)
Praised by Paul McCartney and Robert Plant, Mike Heron, born in Edinburgh, was a founder member of the Incredible String Band. As a solo artist he has worked with John Cale, Pete Townshend and Keith Moon. He is still writing and performing music, touring regularly with a host of musicians including his daughter Georgia and Trembling Bells.
- Other details
- Publication date:
06 Apr 2017
- Page count:
Mike Heron, as part of the Incredible String Band, changed the way I looked at music. Read it! — Billy Connolly
Mike Heron's lyrics always sparkled with wit and warmth and his prose is a delightful continuation. The book evokes a smoky, unheated eccentric Edinburgh that was a crucible for so much creativity. — Joe Boyd, author of White Bicycles
With his characteristic modesty and self-deprecating humour, Mike Heron recalls the beginnings of the British folk revival and, though he would never admit as much, the part he played in bringing folk to a new audience. Funny, honest, and vividly evocative of its era, You Know What You Could Be is essential for music fans, whatever their tribal affinities. — John Burnside
Heron and Greig's stories are distinct and personal, but they combine to create a warm, beautifully drawn evocation of formative years, hippie culture and key friendship — Mail on Sunday
Heron's turn of phrase and eye for detail extend...to every aspect of Edinburgh's mid-sixties beatnik life, realised in beguiling sensory images . . . Heron has to write a second volume, but at least this first instalment might help to secure the recognition the band so transparently deserve' — Mark Ellen, New Statesman