As the recording diary shows, Focus had a big influence on this album. Not because it sounds like them, but just because they reminded us what was possible. We saw them at, of all places, a blues-rock festival in Bude. We were on the bill in the afternoon and they were headlining.
Thijs van Leer and Pierre van der Linden were there from the early days and there were two new guys we didn’t know: Udo Pannekeet on bass and Menno Gootjes on guitar. I only had one Focus album, one of those brilliant Polydor Flashback compilations with the spray can title. I’d just never got round to them, I got distracted by the blues. Bob, however was a massive fan, Focus III being a formative album for him. He was utterly starstruck.
You’re always worried of course. Will it just be a shadow of what it once was, will it be the same without Akkerman, all that stuff. And of course it was soaringly brilliant, a band still in evolution, still finding new things to say but without ever losing its essential… well, Focus. We were exhausted, intimidated and inspired.
Next morning, we all agreed: let’s not try to do a blues-rock album. We’d all compromised a bit to find common ground, me being the slightly hysterical blues purist and metal fan, Russ being the punk, Bob being weird and into all kinds of odd things, Derek being an actual proper musician from when rock was rock, and Ian being utterly inscrutable. But he definitely has a touch of Rick Wright in there somewhere.
So we decided to just let it happen and out came Different Horizons. Not a blues-rock album, but bluesy and rocky and whatever else. I think you can hear the best of five individuals working as a band. Only one harmonica song and that owes more to War than to Sonny Boy. And sound effects and everything.
Not just because Focus re-engineered our consciousnesses in Bude. But it didn’t half help. And I now I have all eleven Focus albums and Focus XI is just as much a kick in the face as Moving Waves.