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All Our Yesterdays: An Annotated Chronology

     This chronology is assembled from album liner notes, published and filmed interviews with Allan (plus a select few from bandmates), the Chris Hoard-edited book "Reaching for the Uncommon Chord", and the REH instructional video "Just For the Curious" (assisted by Aaron Stang).  The numbers in parentheses refer to the sources listed in the Bibliography.  Some dates are also sourced from the Calyx-Canterbury reference site, though the original sources of those dates are not clearly sited (these are marked with "CC").

Prelude: Formative Years with Debussy and Coltrane
Sam Holdsworth tries to make a living in London as a jazz pianist, but decides it's not worth it and returns to his family in Bradford.  He works a "day job" as a warehouseman, while his wife Elsie works as a cleaner at the local police station. (16)
1946.08.06: Allan is born.  He never knew his father, but instead is cared for mainly by his grandparents Sam and Elsie, whom he usually refers to as his parents (“my Dad”). (16)
(Age 3?) At a very early age, Allan finds himself emotionally moved to tears by Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” from Suite bergamasque (a musical portrait of a Paul Verlaine poem). (48)
(Age 5 or 6) Sam makes a record player for Allan out of a wind-up turntable. (27)
Allan is exposed to Sam’s jazz piano playing at home, as well as Sam’s record collection, which includes albums by Bix Biederbecke, Benny Goodman (with Charlie Christian), Artie Shaw, Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, Django Reinhardt, Art Tatum and Fats Waller, all the way up to Charlie Parker. Allan later also buys alot of Oliver Nelson albums, intrigued by his arrangements and by some albums Nelson did with Jimmy Smith. (16, 41, 68) 
From Sam’s classical collection, Allan also enjoys music composed by Maurice Ravel, Clause Debussy (as indicated above), Frederic Chopin, Bela Bartok (in particular) and Igor Stravinsky.  Allan later mentions works such as Bartok’s String Quartets, the “Concerto for Orchestra”, and “The Miraculous Mandarin”, and Ravel's String Quartet as having a major impact. (34, 53, 66)
1960: (Age 14, 15) Allan leaves school, and soon gets a job at a bike shop. (33, 1)
1961: (Age 15): Allan becomes interested in learning a blown instrument such as clarinet or sax.  Instead, he gets an acoustic guitar which Sam buys from Allan’s uncle (this guitar may actually have been (or been preceded by) his mother Vera’s acoustic Spanish guitar).  It lays around for a couple years unplayed, but years later Allan begins to noodle around on it. (16, 64, 35, 27, DD)
Allan's father buys him an f-hole cello (arch-top) guitar (probably a Hofner President). (16)
1963 (Age 17): After seeing an electric guitarist in a pub, he, his father and/or a friend of theirs attaches a pickup to his f-hole cello guitar. (16, 51, 5, 67)
Sam's friend builds an amplifier for Allan’s guitar.  Allan is intrigued by the building process and learns from observing the process. (51, 17) 
Allan gets a 15-watt amp from his parents (possibly the same one Sam’s friend built?) which produces a nice horn-like texture when it feeds back. (34, 7)
1967 (Feb?) (Age 21) Allan discovers (or rediscovers) his first John Coltrane record, “Coltrane's Sound”, which makes a huge impression on him (especially “Satellite”). (16, 48).  He gets as many Coltrane records as he can, including older records with Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley. (51, 48, 35).  He also introduces his father (Sam) to Coltrane’s music (although Sam actually already had some of Miles and Trane’s joint sessions on records). (27)
1967, July – Coltrane dies and Allan is shattered by losing this new-found hero of his. (27)
Allan becomes interested in some local Skiffle music. (51)
Allan tries learning some guitar technique from Ivor Mairantz' 'Exercise A Day', but loses interest and chooses to “follow his own nose”. (5)
Sam tries to teach Allan how to play the guitar using his jazz piano background.  From this, Sam teaches Allan closely-voiced chords based on piano voicings.  At some point Sam also advises Allan to avoid using open strings while practicing scales (in order to take advantage of the transposig nature of guitar). (34, 64, 66)  Sam later becomes an actual guitar teacher and skilled chord-melody guitar-player himself. (27)
Now playing some guitar (and inspired by Coltrane), Allan takes a greater interest in Sam's old collection of jazz guitar records, including ones by Jimmy Rainey ("Jimmy Raney In Three Attitudes"), Joe Pass ("Catch Me "), Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery ("Missile Blues") and Charlie Christian and many of these players become Allan's first major guitar influence.  He especially likes Jimmy Raney and Charlie Christian’s tones because their guitar tones are more lively, more “vocal” -  with more “sparkle” and not as “dumpy and rubber-band-sounding, like the other players”. (35, 51, 64)
At some point, Allan is influenced by Tony Hicks, from Manchester’s “The Hollies”. (70)
A guitarist friend leaving a local band lends Allan his Fender Strat during Allan’s audition for that guitarist’s position, and Allan is impressed at how it sounds like his hero Hank Marvin’s guitar (from the Shadows).  Allan buys his own (blue) Fender Strat, but 6 months later, in a Kitchens department store in Leeds, Allan is transfixed by a cherry red Gibson SG Standard, which he buys.  Allan’s preference for Gibson SGs continues for the next 10 years. (5, 7, 16, 51, 67). 
Allan plays in Top 40 pop bands and workingmen’s clubs.  A couple bands include “Jimmy Judge and the Jurymen” and “Margie and the Sundowners”.  Allan also plays in some blues bands.  While practicing guitar blues licks at home, an unimpressed Sam shows Allan an example of jazz (bebop-based) blues.  Allan decides to avoid playing any recognizable blues licks from then on. (5, 40, 48, 71)
Allan learns to copy Charlie Christian solos off of a record.  He soon realizes that he needs to concentrate on a soloist’s inherent spirit and individuality, not just their notes and rhythms, as he discovers that his own original solo choruses are lacking (“nowhere”).  He also begins listening to horn players. (16) 

1: 'Igginbottom
Inspired by the advanced harmonic concepts he hears in John Coltrane's saxophone playing, Allan begins exploring his own scale theories, including the use of synthetic scales which exceed one octave before they complete. (32, 39, 66) More on this here.
Harmony-wise, Allan starts to experiment with unusual chord sequences as part of his exploration of lead playing (ie - trying out solo leads over chord patterns).  Unhappy with the sound of traditional 7th chords, Allan systematically finds all of the 3, 4 and 5-note chords possible on the guitar (in all of their inversions) for 3 adjacent strings, and discards the ones he doesn’t like.  (23, 34)
Allan plays his Gibson SG through a Vox AC-30 amp (this SG/Vox combo is used for the ‘Igginbottom record).  (7, 61). (This fact was reported in a 1980 Guitar Plater magazine, but probably misquoted, as Mick Skelly only recalls 100w Marshall heads and quad boxes (Facebook post).)
Allan and Steve Robinson begin playing together (rehearsing) in what would become ‘Igginbottom (Steven Robinson (guitar), Allan Holdsworth (guitar, vocals), Dave Freeman (drums) and Mick Skelly (bass).  They work on playing simultaneous but different stacked chords (8-note polychords).  This is partly inspired by Oliver Nelson’s use of close chordal voicings. (25, 48)
1968-69: Mick Jackson, a friend of Steve Robinson’s (and bass player for the successful pop band “A Love Affair”) visits Bradford and is invited to a rehearsal with Steve’s band.  He is impressed by ‘Igginbottom (whose name is actually Mick’s suggestion), although ‘Igginbottom doesn’t really do any local gigging.  “The Love Affair” become ‘Igginbottom’s managers.  (70)
1969: A few months later, Mick convinces Ronnie Scott to host a “Guitar Festival” night at his Soho club, featuring John Williams, and Barney Kessel.  Ronnie Scott is impressed with ‘Igginbottom in the Upstairs room before the evening show begins.  ‘Igginbottom plays last, and but ends with a big ovation. (70).  
1969, Nov: ‘Igginbottom performs twice at the Marquee Club, opening for “Shades” and “Aynsley Dunbar’s Retaliation”. (CC).  At some point drummer John Marshall and multi-instrumentalist Karl Jenkins (both later in Soft Machine) see ‘Igginbottom perform as well.  (75)
1969: On one Marquee date (the band's album launch as per Mick Skelly), ‘Igginbottom joins Tony Oxley, Gordon Beck, Ron Matheson and the Ronnie Scott Big Band, with arrangements by John Cameron, Beck and Scott. (40, Dave Freeman)
Mick Skelly: "Ron's was the first double bass I had ever played - not in the show though. There was a problem: John Cameron's tape player was playing at the wrong speed so all of his arangements were out. So when we played his (tunes) we had to play every thing one fret up. So it was a bit tense as there was no rehearsal! (Afterwards) we did two gigs at the Farmers Arms in Bradford and that was it."
“Igginbottom’s Wrench” is recorded in a small studio located at the West End of London, (Allan claims Abbey Road, Mick Skelly cites a studio in Leeds).  The only major problem encountered is the engineer-mandated low volume employed by the group due to their noisy amps.  Allan is frustrated that he isn’t permitted to overdrive his amp tone in the recording sessions.  The instruments are recorded live to tape in one night, almost all in 1st takes, with the vocals added the second night. The band is unhappy with the recorded sound, but the record is released anyways on a Decca sublabel, Deram.  At some point the band do some demos at Matthias Robinson Studio (the Orange amps’ designer’s house) resulting in a somewhat better tone. (40, 48, 70, Mick Skelly)
Allan is commissioned to write music for a new promotion being launched by British Airways.  (70)
The ‘Igginbottom record does not sell and ends up in the cut out bins. (Discogs web comment)   ‘Igginbottom disbands.  
1969: Allan begins playing nights with the Glen South Band (a 12-piece dance/pop/Top 40 band) at the Mecca ballrooms of Sunderland (for 2 years, and then later 1 year at the Ritz in Manchester) (40, 67).  Allan gets to do 2 solos per song, the second an original one. (29)
Allan tries to play sax (as taught by the sax player from the Glen South band) and clarinet (as well as showing interest in oboe and English horn) but, due to the embouchure pressure necessary, has issues with blowing out/perforating his eardrums and getting ear infections, and abandons the idea.  Frustrated by these health limitation, Allan finds a violin in a junk shop which he refurbishes in order that he can somehow still explore the shaping of a note after its initial attack. (17, 22, 34, 40)
Intermittently during this period, Allan works days as an apprentice basket-maker, in a wool factory and possibly also a shoe factory. (1, 4, 13, 16, 33, 35)

2: London Jazz and Ian Carr
Allan attends a Musicians’ Union tour/jazz workshop at Newcastle featuring bassist Graham Collier, pianist Geoff Castle, trombonist Derek Wadsworth and alto sax player Ray Warleigh. After attending the first clinic/performance, Allan sits in with them on the next day (or possibly that same evening). (16, 29, 40)
The Glen South Band moves to the Ritz in Manchester.   
6 or 7 months later, sick of the Glen South Manchester gig, Allan moves to London and is hosted by Ray Warleigh.  Ray gets Allan on some gigs with him at Ronnie Scott’s, joined by pianist Pat Smythe.   While playing with Smythe, Allan also plays with drummer John Marshall (later of Soft Machine).  Some of these dates are Musicians Union clinics organized by Brian Blain. (29, 33, 40)  
At some point in the transition from Bradford to London, Allan is forced to sell his first SG Standard.  His next guitar is a Hofner Colorama with a bent neck and a broken truss rod.  Allan soon replaces it with another Gibson SG (Custom?) guitar, which sounds nice but is not as well made as his previous SG (3, 5, 33).  He is probably using the Vox AC30 or a Marshall for his amps.
(1972, June?) Allan does some casual improv sessions at Jamie Muir’s house with "Sunship", also including Alan Gowen, Laurie Baker, and Lyn Dobson. (36, 40, 41)  Sunship has one show at Goldsmith’s (although Allan doesn’t remember it). Allan also plays (very) briefly with Laurie Baker's band "Maze".  (CC)
1972.07: Allan records “Belladonna” with Ian Carr (contacted possibly through the Bradford Musicians’ Union clinic performance).   The record is produced by Jon Hiseman, who would soon be recording with Allan in Tempest , 4 months later.  Allan tours with this new version of Nucleus (including band members Dave McRae and Gordon Beck, whom Allen had met during the ‘Igginbottom days) in England and Europe. (40)  "Nucleus+" plays scattered dates from June to August. (CC)
(1972: Tony Williams records “The Old Bum’s Rush” with Laura 'Tequila' Logan (guitar/perc/vocals with Tony), Webster Lewis on organ & clavinet, David Horowitz on piano, vibes, and ARP synthesizer, Tillmon Williams (sax), and Herb Bushler on bass.  This group will later reassemble in 1974 with Allan in Stockholm, Sweden.)
1972 September - Ronnie Scott Club Guitar Festival: “Allan Holdsworth Trio” with Ron Herman (double bass) & Nigel Morris (drums), also John Williams and jazz guitarist Barney Kessel’s trio. (1, CC)

3: Tempest
1972, Oct: Allan is invited by Colosseum’s Jon Hiseman to audition for Tempest (from a recommendation from Derek Wadsworth, who’d seen Allan at the Newcastle Musicians Union clinic). Tempest is completed with Mark Clarke (Colosseum) and Paul Williams (lead vocals, some percussion, guitar and keyboards, from various bands including Zoot Money's Big Roll Band , Juicy Lucy, Ainsley Dunbar and John Mayall). (1, 3, 29, 40, CC)
1972, Nov: Allan records with Tempest using a Gibson semi-acoustic, after trying out and liking Paul Williams’ ES-335. He also records with an ES-175 (he doesn’t sell off the SG Custom, though).  (11, 33, 51)  5 of 8 songs have Allan as a co-or sole composer.
1972.11: Allan plays with Ian Carr’s Nucleus on BBC Radio.
1973.01.05: Tempest 1st show in Oslo Norway (CC)
1973.01.17 and 26 – Stockholm and Malmo, Sweden Radio broadcasts
1973.01.12- 73.03.xx Tempest tours Europe and the English University circuit (1)
1973, March: Tempest tours America (Allan’s first American trip).  They play 13 shows with Fleetwood Mac, including venues such as the Fillmore East. (10, 16, CC)
1973.05.27: Turned off by Hiseman's musical direction (towards a more Cream-style rock power trio), Allan indicates that he wants to quit Tempest.  Ollie Halsall (from Patto) is chosen as a new (additional) member, just prior to a May 27 gig (bill with Vangelis) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (London debut, CC).  Halsall’s tremolo arm technique makes an impact on Allan. (3, 5, 73)
1973.06.02: Tempest with Allan and Ollie play the BBC, which is the last time Allan sees Ollie Halsall. (73)
When Allan officially leaves Tempest,  Paul Williams also quits (due partly to the rigors of touring overseas).  Tempest continues with Ollie Halsall as a trio. (3, 74)
After Tempest, Allan continues jazz sessions with Pat Smythe and others. (7, 16).  
At some point after Tempest’s American tour, Pat Smythe’s group is scheduled to open for Chuck Mangione at Ronnie Scott’s.  Chuck is sick, so Pat and Allan sit in with the remainder of the band (Joan La Barbara and Pat La Barbara on drums and Alphonso Johnson on bass).  Alphonso Johnson is impressed with Allan’s playing, and would later tell Tony Williams about it.  (29)

4: Soft Machine
Brian Blain pairs Allan up with the latest version of Soft Machine (now including Allan's jazz combo partner John Marshall) for an Ilfracombe Musicians’ Union clinic (Nov. 10-11, 1973).  By December, Allan is invited to officially join the band and is intrigued by the complex time signatures employed in the compositions. (3, 4, 33, 65, 78, CC)
1974, Jan: Soft Machine tour Italy, Germany. (CC)
1974, Feb-Mar:  Soft Machine tour Canada and North America. (CC)
1974.07.16-18, 23-26 (CC) – Allan records “Bundles” with Soft Machine.  His solo on the song “Hazard Profile” (a reworking of Jenkins’ Nucleus song “Song For the Bearded Lady”) is one of his longest ever.  (33, 40).  “Bundles” is finally released in March 1975. 
1974, July-Nov: Soft Machine play the Montreux Jazz Festival (July 4), and other places in Europe.  In the video “Soft Machine – Switzerland 1974” Allan can be seen playing his white SG Custom.  (78)
1974.10.06: Soft Machine performs on BBC3’s “Jazz in Britain” (“BBC Radio 1971-1974”)
Sometime during this period, guitar luthiers Dick Knight and his son-in-law Gordon begin doing regular guitar-body work for Allan, sometimes at discount rates (although Allan still does his own wiring). (11)

5, 6: Tony Williams/ Velvet Darkness
In America, Tony Williams is looking for a guitar player (for a project with Jack Bruce and Lifetime “Bum’s Rush” players Laura "Tequila" Logan (v), and Webster Lewis (kb)).  Alphonso Johnson (who had seen Allan play at Ronnie Scott’s some months ago) recommends Allan to Tony. (48, 63)
1974.10: Allan joins Tony, Jack Bruce, Tequila and Webster in Sweden to record the “Wildlife” album (Allan at one point refers to it as more of a Jack Bruce date than a Tony Williams project).  The album is not released and Tony returns to the States.  Allan returns to England and continues with Soft Machine.  (48, 63, CC)
1975, Jan: Soft Machine begin touring Europe and the U.K. (CC)
1975.01.29: Soft Machine Radio Bremen performance (“Floating World Live”).  (75) 
1975.03: Soft Machine’s “Bundles” finally comes out.
1975, Late March: After Allan finishes the winter Soft Machine tour, Tony Williams asks Allan to join him in NYC to make a new Lifetime band and record under a new CBS Columbia deal.  Allan abruptly quits Soft Machine just days before a new tour to promote “Bundles”,  but leaves a note recommending replacements Ollie Halsall and John Etheridge (who ends up with the gig) to the Soft Machine.  (29, 40, 48, 63, CC) 
After arriving in NYC, Allan eventually ends up staying at an upper floor of Tony’s townhouse at 141st Street and Broadway, as they look for band members.  They audition many bass players, later including with Jaco Pastorius (Dec?) and Jeff Berlin, but neither are chosen.  Eventually, Tony Newton’s audition tape catches Tony’s interest.  Tony Williams plays with  George Russell’s big band at Carnegie Hall one night.  Allan points out Russell’s keyboardist Alan Pasqua and recommends him for the new Lifetime band.  With Newton and Pasqua aboard, the new quartet begin rehearsing new songs. (48, 65, 80)
June 5-8: Lifetime plays at the Bottom Line club, with opener the Joe Beck Group. (CC)
Allan’s favorite white SG Custom is repainted a couple times until it ends up as blue.  (62)  While Allan is “out in the country” visiting his girlfriend, he hears that it has been mysteriously sold off to a pawn shop by Tony’s tour manager to get back his/her fee.  After returning to NYC, Allan sees the guitar at a music store but can’t afford to buy it back, and so buys a black 1961 SG Custom. (35, 62)
1975.07: Lifetime records “Believe It!”.  Pasqua writes Proto-Cosmos.  Allan takes a ballad, “Kinder” (“children” in German) and renames it “Fred” (his 1st wife’s nickname) when the band speeds it up for the record. (16)  He uses an MXR phaser on some tracks.  While working with Bruce Botnick, Allan finds his preferred miking set up (“Neumann U87 placed between the center and the edge of the cone.”). (37, 61) Live, Allan can be seen playing his white Gibson SG Custom as well as a Small Stone Phaser with a Marshall stack (51, 64).  At some point in the next year, Allan acquires a 1973 Stratocaster, but is unhappy with the magnetic interference from the pick-ups on the strings (16).  
1976, Jan, Feb: (CC) Lifetime play a couple dates at the Bottom Line (19-21) and the Village Gate (2/2), George Benson and Joe Farrell recommend Allan to Creed Taylor’s CTI records.
1976, Feb-Mar – Midwest dates with Lifetime. (CC)
1976, May (24-26) (CC) & June: “Velvet Darkness” is written in 2 weeks and recorded in 9 hours at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in NJ (Allan Holdsworth – guitar, violin/Alan Pasqua – piano/Narada Michael Walden – drums/Alphonso Johnson – bass), but without Allan’s approval and eventually released on CTI.  Allan uses Tony’s girlfriend Tequila’s acoustic guitar.  (3).  The title track would reappear in future albums with Gordon Beck.  The song “Wish” returns later in “The Things You See” with Gordon Beck and IOU. 
1976, June: “Million Dollar Legs” is recorded in Colorado and Hollywood.
1976, July (CC): Mid-tour, the band are stranded in San Francisco with no money.  Tony returns alone to NYC to straighten out management and money problems.  Pasqua lends Allan money to get back to the East coast, but Allan is eventually forced to sell his beloved black 1961 Gibson SG Custom in order to get enough money to fly back home to London alone (but still with the ’73 Strat). (7, 35, 40)

7, 8, 9: Gong/John Stevens/Jean-Luc Ponty
Back in England, guitar luthiers Dick and Gordon Knight make a maple neck (with ebony fingerboard) for the $300 Strat Allan brings back from the States. He also replaces the Strat’s 3 single coils pick-ups with 2 PAF humbuckers salvaged from Allan's previous SG Customs (center position). This guitar is used from Gong (first heard on the Gazeuse! Album) thru UK (but is sold before the move to California).  Allan also acquires 2 more guitars: one made by the Knights with a maple neck attached to a Boogie maple body, fitted with Dimarzio (Gibson copy) PAF pick-ups (5, 16), and one with an ash Boogie Telecaster body fitted with a Jazzmaster neck.  He also owns an Ibanez cello guitar (L5 copy) and a 1938 Gibson Kalamazoo acoustic.  For lead  tones he uses Marshall 50 W heads with 4x12 cabinets and for clean, 2 Marshall 100s with a short Dynachord stereo delay.  He also uses a Burman amp for lead sometimes.
Harmony-wise, Allan experiments with stacked polychords built from both the same key and different keys. (5, 6)
1976, July (CC): Nikolas Powell, a friend formerly with Virgin records, begins to manage Allan, and hooks him up with the French group Gong.(40).  They tour Europe and the UK through Oct. (CC)
1976 (11, CC): Gong (Pierre Moerlen's Gong) releases “Gazeuse!” (or “Expresso” in the US) featuring Allan with Moerlen’s various percussion-based musicians.  2 are Allan songs.  “Velvet Darkness” is a reworking of a song from the CTI record.
Allan leaves Gong around the end of the year (or they break up?).
1977, May 9-13, July 4-7: Bill Bruford invites Allan to begin rehearsals for his new band. Neil Murray plays bass for awhile, but is eventually replaced with Jeff Berlin.  (CC)
1977.05.18, 19: In London, Allan records tracks for “Touching On” and “Re-Touch” with John Stevens (drums), Barry Guy (b), Ron Mathewson (b), and Jeff Young (p).  "Touching On" is assembled from band-approved tracks, and "Re-Touch" is essentially "outtakes". (36)
Tony Williams asks Allan to come back to America, but Allan this time defers. (40)
1977, June: Allan records with Jean-Luc Ponty on “Enigmatic Ocean” (in California (CC)) (16)
1977.08.08: Bruford sessions begin.
1977.08: Allan plays on 3 tracks on Gong’s “Expresso II” album (released March 1978).
1977.08.14: BBC2 Concert: Allan Holdsworth/Pat Smythe Quartet w Darryl Runswick (b) and Harold Fisher (d) (includes “White Line”)
1977.11.14: BBC2 Concert: Allan Holdsworth/Pat Smythe Quartet w Ron Mathewson (b) and Martin Drew (d)
1977.11.15: BBC3: “Conversation Piece”: Allan does a 3rd free improv with John Stevens, Gordon Beck and Jeff Clyne (b).  This grouping is sometimes named “Plough”, probably since they played The Plough so often (CC).

10-12: Bruford, U.K.
1977.08: Allan records as a quintet with Bill Bruford (Yes) and Annette Peacock in “Feels Good to Me” (released Aug 78).  Jewff Berlin plays bass, Dave Stewart plays keys, with guest Kenny Wheeler on trumpet. (16)  With Bruford, he adds a 50 watt Hiwatt top to his Marshall 4x12 cabinets, all with modded elements. He says he no longer uses a noise gate or an MXR phase shifter(3)
Robert Fripp invites Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson (Roxy Music, kb) and John Wetton (King Crimson, b) to be in his new band but backs out at the last minute.  Jobson suggests they carry on without Fripp, and Bruford brings Allan into the group, now called U.K.. (16)
1977.12 – 1978.01: Allan records with UK (released Mar 78), but musical conflicts arise (10, 13, 33, 36).  The Strat with “chiselled in” Dimarzio PAF pick-ups is still in use, with the Marshall 50W and 2 4x12 cabs. He also owns a Gibson 12-string and an Ovation acoustic, neither of which are used much. He mainly uses his Ibanez Gibson L5 copy. The album is recorded with overdubs (rhythm section, then leads).  The songs themselves are pieced together from fragments composed separately in rehearsals (4)
1978.04-05: UK gigs in UK
1978.06-08: UK tours Canada and the US
Allan meets Edward Van Halen when the bands’ tours cross paths in the Midwest (probably Aug 5 Summer Jam I in Kansas, CC).
1978.08: Bruford and Allan fired from UK but asked to finish the US and UK tour dates first.  Their final show is in October (CC)
1978.09.04-05: “Propensity” recorded with John Stevens (d) and Danny Thompson (b)
1978.11 (CC): Allan records a demo tape (Sherwood Forest demos) with Jon Hiseman (Tempest) and Jack Bruce (Wildlife), but it is not picked up by any labels.  It is sent anonymously to various record labels but fails to generate any significant interest, bringing the project to a standstill (6, 16, CC).  A tour planned to begin in April (1979?) for the Hiseman/Bruce group never happens.
1979.01: Allan and Bill Bruford quit UK and reform as a quartet (without Annette Peacock) to record “One of a Kind” (released June 79) (13, CC).  On this record the Vox AC30 amp is used again (46).  “One of a Kind” includes “The Abingdon Chasp”, a song originally commissioned by Virgin Records and recorded (1978.11.24, CC) by Bruford, Dave Stewart, French bassist Francis Moze (Gong), and saxophonist Ray Warleigh, but here rerecorded.  Allan is pleased with the ending solo in “Five G”.
1979.03.07: Bruford plays on TV: BBC: Rock Goes to College (Annette Peacock guests).  Other Bruford dates follow in the UK.(CC)
1979.05: “Holdsworth is involved in abortive sessions for Annette Peacock's new album, alongisde the likes of Bill Bruford, Dave Stewart, Jack Bruce and Jeff Beck” (CC)

13,14: Holdsworth & Co, Gordon Beck
1979.June(?): Allan records a demo tape (Sherwood Forest demos) with Jon Hiseman (Tempest) and Jack Bruce (Wildlife), but it is not picked up by any labels.  It is sent anonymously to various record labels but fails to generate any significant interest, bringing the project to a standstill (6, 16, CC).  A tour planned to begin in April (1979?) for the Hiseman/Bruce group never happens.
1979.06: Allan begins using the name “Holdsworth & Co.” for some adhoc groupings with Beck, Marshall, Warleigh, etc which play a few times a month around London (CC)
1979 Aug: Allan briefly reunites with Gong to record a few tunes on “Time is the Key”
1979, June/July: In Paris, Allan records “Sunbird” with Gordon Beck’s group (Aldo Romano – drums, percussion/Jean-Fran├žois Jenny-Clark – bass) (40, 41)
1979.10: Allan tours the UK with Ian Carr’s “Conversation with the Blues” (Nucleus+) (CC)
1979.11.04: Allan’s first gig with Gary Husband, also Gordon Beck and Ray Warleigh (CC). Sometime before this, Allan meets Gary Husband, a drummer from Leeds, and is blown away. The sessions remind him of the enjoyment of the Tony Williams Lifetime sessions.  This and the Hiseman/Bruce sessions convince him to (officially) leave Bruford and form his own band. (16, 33, 40, 48, 62)
1979.11.14: BBC3 “Jazz in Britain”: Holdsworth & Co. w. Gordon Beck (p), Ray Warleigh (saxes), John Aue (b) and John Marshall (d) (includes “The Things You See”, “Every Little Breeze” and “Sunday”)
The Gordon Beck Quartet tours Europe (sometimes joined by violinist Didier Lockwood), including dates at the Club River Bop in Paris (possibly 79.12.14). (16, CC)
1979.12-1980.01: Gordon Beck & Allan Holdsworth’s duo record “The Things You See” recorded in Paris.  The title track includes a melody rescued from “Wish” (“Velvet Darkness”).  Allan sings on an alternate guitars-only arrangement of “Things You See” as well.

15: I.O.U. (Mk. I)
Jacqueline Ferrari books Allan and Gary Husband at the River Bop club in Paris.  (40)
1980.01: Handlebars: Allan is impressed when he hears Husband’s guitarist friend Steve Topping.  Allan, Husband, Topping and various guest bassists form a free improv group named “Handlebars”.  Rehearsals through Feb (6, CC).  Hansford Rowe also records with them (GH).
1980.03.17: BBC radio: Ian Carr’s Conversation with the Blues (Allan shreds on “Sidewalk”).
1980.05.25: BBC Broadcast: Pat Smythe Quintet (w Allan Holdworth) w. Ray Warleigh (as, fl), Chris Laurence (b), and John Marshall (d) (includes “Letters of Marque” and “Out From Under”)
1980.06-07: Allan briefly records with Soft Machine for “Land Of Cockayne” (released 1981).
1980.07-10: Allan does a few dates with bassist Jeff Clyne’s band “Turning Point”, which includes Gary Husband and singer Pepi Lemer.  TP gigs include AH/GH/Clyne trio versions of “Where Is One?” and “Letters of Marque”. At some point, a demo of “White Line” is recorded with Pepi Lemer on vocals (9).  
1980, July, Allan is on a large group date with bassist Henry Thomas. (CC)
Handlebars plays the River Bop in Paris with Gary Husband and Henry Thomas.  (16)
1980.09: False Alarm: Husband doesn’t get along with Thomas, so Paul Carmichael replaces Thomas on bass.  Handlebars becomes “False Alarm” (13, 16, CC)
1980.12: Allan uses the Gibson SG Standard mostly, but also has an SG Custom, as well as Dick Knight’s latest Boogie-body/Knight neck guitar (Strat with the 2 DiMarzios) and the darker Strat he’d gotten while with Tony Williams for $300 (6, 7, 11). 
Unhappy with his clean tones on the Marshall 4x12s, Allan begins using a pair of Norlin Lab Series L5 amps for chords, each with their own 100W head, but still with the tight Dynachord stereo delay.  During this time Allan changed his Marshall 50 lead head first for a Burman Pro 501 50W head, and then a Hartley Thompson transistor amp.  
Effects-wise he uses noise gates and volume pedals to control the delay signal and the chordal signal line (no effects for leads).  One volume pedal is mainly for noise reasons.  (7, 11)
The rest of 1980 is filled with dates with Turning Point and Gordon Beck’s Quartet (CC).  
1981.01-09:  Sparse dates with Gordon’s qrtt, Holdsworth & Co, and False Alarm/IOU (CC)
1981: I.O.U.: False Alarm renamed to I.O.U. on Steve Robinson’s suggestion.
1981: Allan has a chance meeting with Paul Williams and asks him to join IOU. (8, 66)
Compositionally, Allan makes a conscious desire to avoid “tricky dick” unison lines such as he’d been doing in Bruford.  (66)
1981: Allan is mainly using his Strat body (1 tone, 1 vol) with a custom neck (with an ebony fingerboard bound for extra width) and black DiMarzio PAFs.  An extra switch kicks in brightness at low volume.  This is used for the recording of “IOU”.  He has an extra hybrid Strat as well with a maple fingerboard.  His L5 amps have limiters, which are his only effects.  At some point Allan switches to Seymour Duncan 59 pickups (8, 11)
1981 (early?): Nicholas Powell gives Allan free studio time (overnight shift) on the Barge to record the IOU album.  No one is paid on the session.  "Out From Under" is developed partly from a Steve Robinson tune.  The record is mostly live to tape, recorded in about 5 nights. (11, 33, 40)  Allan is forced to sell the modified Strat from the Lifetime days and his L5/Hartley-Thompson amps to finish (mixing) the record.  He still has some Hartleys tho.  (11)
1981.03.14: I.O.U. plays the 101 Club in London.
1981.10.20: BBC Jazz in Britain” – IOU trio with Gary Husband and Paul Carmichael (includes “White Line”, “Shallow Sea”, “Where Is One”, “Drifting Into the Attack” and “Letters of Marque”)
1981.12.02: BBC: Gordon Beck Quartet w. Allan, Gary Husband, and Jeff Clyne (b) (includes “Diminished Responsibility”)
Struggling to get interest in the IOU album, Allan earns a living by doing amp and guitar repair work. (16)
Late 1981? (24) Paul Williams moves to the US with his American wife.  While Allan visits Paul on a vacation, Sharon Sudall (a friend of Paul Carmichaels’) invites IOU to America.  Allan and IOU stay over Paul’s house and Mike Varney helps IOU get gigs in San Francisco and later the Roxy (in NY?).  (13, 14, 16, 33, 40, 67)
Grover Jackson makes Allan some basswood guitars with custom Seymour Duncan pickups when he arrrives in America. (16)
1982.04: (CC) Allan, Jeff Berlin and Gary Husband play an encore of Bruford’s “5G” with Edward Van Halen at the Roxy Theater in LA (also a clinic at GIT).  At a NY show, IOU opens for Larry Coryell.  (10, 11, 64)
Around this time, Allan is playing 2 custom made Grover Jackson Charvels with prototype PAF-style DiMarzio pickups in just 1 position (1 tone knob). He has 2 rack-mounted Hartley Thompson amps and some Fender Twins. (10)
1982: After looking for over a year for a label to release the IOU record (with no luck), IOU is released independently by the band. (16, 64)
1982.05-06: IOU tours US (CC).
1982.07: “A Gathering of Minds” at Montreux Switzerland (w. D.Lockwood, D.Sancious, J.Bruce, B.Cobham).
1982.08: IOU loses Husband and Carmichael and so Allan creates a States-side IOU featuring Chad Wackerman and Jeff Berlin. (11, 13, 64)

16, 17: Road Games & Metal Fatigue
1982.12: Plans to record Road Games with Berlin and Chad.  Allan is using 3 Jackson Charvels (red basswood w custon Seymour Duncan, white jelutong w Seymour Duncan 59N, and natural spruce w custom Dimarzio), custom made by Grover Jackson.  They only have a bridge pick up.  Amps are Hartley Thompsons and Fender Twins/Princetons/Super Champ.  Allan sometimes uses a Yamaha E-1010 for special delay effects.  (11)
1982: Allan moves to Tustin, Southern CA (27, 31, 40, 64, 67)
1983.01.22: Anaheim CA - Chad’s first gig with IOU (Allan and Jeff) (CC)
1983 (after April): Road Games recorded with Chad, Jeff, Paul and Jack Bruce. Allan has innumerous problems with Warner Brothers during the process. (13, 16, 23)
Allan uses a little Scholz Rockman for Three Sheets to the Wind, Also 2 ADA STD-1s,  2 AMS units, Yamaha E1010, Yamaha PG-1 preamp, P2200 power amps, S412 speakers .  Also Ovation and Chapman Stick (13)
From 83.11 Interview:  (IOU w Jeff & Chad) – Eddie Van Halen brings Mo Ostin to see Allan play the Country Club in Reseda.  They get a deal with Warner Brothers. 
Gearwise he has 4 Charvel Strats (blonde w 2 DiM, red w 1 SeyDun, white w 2 SD (middle/rear), blue w 2 SD) as well as a 5th Charvel prototype similar to an Ovation Viper all with brightness and selector switches.  Tremolo is Kahler.  He also has a Yamaha 335 type and a 1956 Gibson Super 300 (which needed work). Effects include A/DA stereo delay, Lexicon PCM41 and Dynacord DDL 12 and Yamaha E1010 analog delay (5 delay lines).  For solos he has a pair of Hartley Thompson 100 watt amps (shortly to be replaced by a pair of the 200 watt variety) thru four Yamaha 4x12 cabinets, and for chords a pair of Yamaha PI2200s, which are 200 watts a side, plus a pair of Yamaha PGI pre amps. (12)
1983.08: IOU tours with Steve Morse Band
1983.09: Jeff Berlin’s last date (?) with IOU (CC)
1984.01: Bassist Jimmy Johnson joins IOU. (16, CC)
1984, April: Road Games released by Warner Bros, and almost immediately deleted.
1984.05.14: IOU in Tokyo.  In an interview Allan cites that he is using a Charvel guitar as well as some Ibanez prototypes.  He is using Hartley-Thompson amps with the Gibson L5 amps (Tokyo Dream LD).
1984, Spring: Allan uses Warner Bros money to record a 2nd album demo with Chad, Jimmy and Paul Williams, which is rejected.  He records additional tracks at a later date (with the help of Gary Husband, Gary Willis, Alan Pasqua and Paul Korda) and sells it to Enigma as Metal Fatigue (27, 33)
1985, Jan: Allan experiments with alternate tunings on a Chapman Stick and uses these ideas when trying out a SynthAxe (15)
1985.03.17: IOU with guest Gordon Beck Tokyo concert. (CC)  
1985:04.27?: Eddie Van Halen joins IOU (Berlin on bass) on “Five G” at the Roxy Theater (possibly 1984?)
1984-85: Allan works with Ibanez to develop some new guitar designs (Ibanez AH10).  After trying out a green (?) Ibanez at a NYC show, he sticks with it for the rest of the tour.  He also begins using solid-state Dan Pearce rack amps. (14, 16)


18-20: Atavachron, Sand, Secrets
1985, Feb: Allan experiments with alternate tunings (in fifths) on a Chapman Stick and uses these ideas when trying out a SynthAxe MIDI-controller at a NAMM show. (15)
1985, March: I.O.U. tours Japan with guest Gordon Beck.
1985, April: Metal Fatigue released.
1985, April 19-21: Queen Mary Jazz Festival with Bob James, Michael Brecker, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Allan Holdsworth, Freddie Hubbard & Lenny White. Allan writes "Funnels" for the dates, but it is not played.
1985, Winter: Allan and Jimmy Johnson have a few gigs with Danny Gottlieb (from Pat Metheny's band) filling in on drums.
1985: "Reaching For the Uncommon Chord", a book cowritten by Allan and Chris Hoard is published.
1986, Early: Allan begins playing the SynthAxe on stage for "Atavachron", "Pud Wud" and "Looking Glass", ands then later "Non-Brewed Condiment". His 'Atavachron Tour' band consists of Jimmy Johnson (bass), Kei Akagi (keys) and Gary Husband (drums). "Funnels" is also added to the set list. In the U.K., old Handlebars bandmate Steve Topping joins in on a jam.
1986, Early: Allan begins using the Steinberger TransTrem headless guitar.
1986, Spring: "Sand" is developed as part of a live SynthAxe solo spot on live dates. Recording sessions for Sand begin.
1986, June: Atavachron is released. Billy Childs replaces Kei Akagi on keys for a few dates.
1986, Fall: "Distance Vs Desire" is added to the set list. Allan tours with Jimmy Johnson and Chad Wackerman as rhythm section (opening for Chick Corea).
1987, Spring: European tour with Chad Wackerman on drums, and Bob Wackerman on bass. A backing synth track is used for "Pud Wud" and "Looking Glass". While opening for Stanley Clarke's band, Allan gets Steve Hunt to sit in on those tunes, replacing the tape (June?). Steve eventually becomes a regular member of the band.
1987, June: Sand is released.
1987, Fall: Allan tours with Steve Hunt, Jimmy Johnson and Gary Husband ("Sand" tour).

24-25: Wardenclyffe Tower, Hard Hat Area, Then!
1988, Spring: "Jazz Explosion Super Band 1988" with Randy Brecker (ttpt), Stanley Clarke (bass), Allan Holdsworth, Bernard Wright (keys), Steve Smith (drums). The set includes "Pud Wud".
1988, Summer: Vinnie Colaiuta becomes the newest drummer in the band. "Maid Marion" is played live.
1988, Late Spring, Summer: Recording sessions for Secrets, as well as with Gordon Beck for a new duet album (With A Heart In My Song).
Secrets features song contributions from Steve Hunt, Chad Wackerman and Gary Husband. The track "Peril Premonition" inspires Allan to start recording his guitar parts before laying down the rhythm section.
With A Heart In My Song is assembled using mostly SynthAxe and digital piano.
1988: Allan guests on Stanley Clake's album If This Bass Could Only Talk, on a track with drummer Stewart Copeland on "Stories To Tell". He also contributes a SynthAxe solo to Stuart Hamm's Radio Free Albemuth.
1989, Spring: "Jazz Explosion Super Band 1989" dates with Stanley Clarke, Randy Brecker, Steve Smith and Allan Holdsworth.
1989, Spring: Allan tours Japan with Hunt, Johnson and Husband.
1989, Aug.: Secrets is released.
1989, Fall: Allan, Steve, Jimmy and Gary tour in the U.K.  
1989, Late: "House of Mirrors" is added to the live set list.
1989: Allan guests on Jack Bruce's album A Question of Time ("Obsession" and "Only Playing Games").
1990: Allan joins Level 42 for some album tracks (Guaranteed) and a few live dates.
1990: Allan starts playing DeLap baritone guitars.
1990, May: The album Then! (2003) is recorded live in Japan with Husband, Hunt and Johnson. 
1990: Allan contributes guitar solos to tracks assembled by Frank Gambale for The Mark Varney Project's Truth In Shredding.
1991: Allan records tracks for Chad Wackerman's album Forty Reasons.
1991: Work begins on Wardenclyffe Tower.
1991: Skuli Sverrisson replaces Jimmy Johnson on bass (who was already booked with James Taylor).
1991: Allan moves to a new home and so has to build a new music studio. Wardenclyffe Tower is recorded and mixed late in the year.
1992, Feb.: Allan records an instructional video ("Just For the Curious") which features several studio takes with Skuli Sverrisson, Steve Hunt and Chad Wackerman.
1992, Oct: Wardenclyffe Tower completed and released.
1993: Hard Hat Area is recorded and released with his touring band of Skuli Sverrisson, Steve Hunt and Gary Husband. For this album he uses some SynthAxe, Steinberger, and DeLap baritone guitars, but mostly employs a regular scale DeLap headless guitar, which becomes one of his main axes for the next few years (especially for overseas touring). He also experiments with the Starr Ztar for one track.

21, 26, 27: None Too Soon, The Sixteen Men of Tain, Flat Tire
1993-95: Allan is offered a spot on a Beatles cover album, produced by Steps Ahead's Mike Mainieri. Gordon Beck convinces him to do "Michelle" with Beck, Gary Willis and Kirk Covington. This leads to None Too Soon, an album of traditional jazz standards and some originals from Gordon Beck. This is the first album to be recorded entirely in Allan's new home studio. For the album he partly uses a Steinberger through a Mesa Dual Rectifier, as well as a Yamaha DG1000 preamp and a Marshall JCM 800.
1994: Allan begins working with Carvin to build a guitar to his specifications (although also still likes the DeLap headless guitar).
1994: Allan uses drummer Joel Taylor for a few live dates.
1995-96: Allan starts demoing the Roland VG-8 modelling system.
1996: None Too Soon finally gets released in America (released internationally the prior year).
1996: Carvin starts marketing their signature Holdsworth guitar (H1).
1996: Allan lays down guitar solos for Anders Johansson and Jens Johansson's Heavy Machinery.
1996: Allan starts playing with drummer Dave Novak and bassist Dave Carpenter and heads in a more "jazzy" direction.
1997: January NAMM shows with Dave Carpenter and guest Peter Erskine on drums.
1997, Feb: Tony Williams suddenly dies and Allan and Alan Pasqua play a few adhoc "tribute" dates (probably with the Novak/Carpenter rhythm section).
1997: After some European tours, Allan begins recording tracks for The Sixteen Men of Tain with "official" bandmates Gary Novak and Dave Carpenter. Most of his late '90s tour dates are with Novak and Carpenter. He uses his signature Carvin guitar, Steinbergers and the DeLap headless with Yamaha DG-80 amps and two Rocktron Intellifex processors for his tone (later also adding a Yamaha DG1000 preamp). He also experiments with  the Roland VG-8 guitar processor.
1997, Nov.: Gary Husband records an instructional video featuring Allan, Paul Carmichael and Steve Topping (among others).
1998: Gary Novak joins Alanis Morissette's band, so Chad Wackerman and Gary Husband return for various Holdsworth dates.
1999: Now with a new start-up label, Gnarly Geezer, Allan is finally able to finish and release The Sixteen Men of Tain. Trumpeter Walt Fowler and drummer Chad Wackerman sit in on a couple tunes.
1999: Carvin begins marketing new signature Holdsworth guitars HF1 and HF2 ("Fatboy" guitars).
1999: Divorce forces Allan to start looking for a new home (and studio).
1999: Drummer Joel Taylor joins Allan and Dave Carpenter for live dates.
2000, April: The Holdworth/Carpenter/Taylor trio record Live at the Galaxy, a promo concert for Gnarly Geezer, and later released on DVD (2002).
2000: Some new songs are partially recorded with Jimmy Johnson and Gary Husband.
2000-01: Without a stable home studio, Allan decides to record a solo SynthAxe album, Flat Tire: Music For A Non-Existent Movie. Dave Carpenter guests on 2 tracks.

28, 29: All Night Wrong, Soft Works, Blues For Tony
2002: Allan reforms his mid-'80s trio with Jimmy Johnson and Chad Wackerman. One September date in Japan is recorded and released as All Night Wrong. This disc includes new songs "Lanyard Loop", "Alphrazallan", and a new arrangement of "Gattox", now renamed "Gas Lamp Blues".
2002: Allan begins using Yamaha UD Stomps (later Magic Stomps) for all of his effects processing.
2002-04: Allan reunites with  Soft Machine/Holdsworth & Co. drummer John Marshall, joined by some "Softs" whom he'd never played with before: reedist/pianist Elton Dean and bassist Hugh Hopper. They record Abracadabra as "Soft Works" and do some limited touring through 2004.
2003: Ernest Tibbs becomes the new bassist when Dave Carpenter becomes unavailable. These concerts add the new songs "Leave Them On" and "Madame Vintage", as well as a trio version of "Bo Peep" (from Flat Tire).
2003: The Sixteen Men of Tain is reissued with 2 new tracks.
2003: Tracks for a new album (Snakes and Ladders) are recorded with Ernest Tibbs and Joel Taylor, although these tracks are never completed to satisfaction and released.
2004-07: Allan records with band members from Planet X. Later, Planet X member Virgil Donati will become Allan's main drummer for a few years.
2005: A "best of" compilation, Against the Clock is released, with 2 new tracks, "Let's Throw Shrimp" and "Shenandoah".
2006-2009: Alan Pasqua reunites with Holdsworth to form a Tony Williams Lifetime-themed quartet with Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets) and Chad Wackerman. A concert from September 2006 is released on DVD. Live recordings from 2007 are released on 2009's Blues For Tony double CD.

30: HoBoLeMa, Tales From the Vault, The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever!
2006-08: Allan tours with Jimmy Johnson and Chad Wackerman. New songs "The Insomniac" (?) and "Every 10th Man" are tried out on the stage.
2008, 2010: Allan plays several free improv dates with HoBoLeMa, a super group with Terry Bozzio, Tony Levin and Pat Mastolotto.
2011: Planet X drummer Virgil Donati assembles a quartet with Allan, bassist Anthony Crawford and late keyboard prodigy Austin Peralta to play in India.
2012, Jan: At a NAMM show, Allan, Virgil, bassist Jimmy Haslip and Dennis Hamm (keys) play through the two Planet X songs Allan is familiar with ("Desert Girl" and "The Thinking Stone").
2012: Allan continues touring as a trio with Virgil Donati and either Jimmy Haslip or Anthony Crawford on bass.
2012: The old Lifetime tune "Mr. Spock" is added to the set list.
2012, Feb: Allan sits in with the "Zappa Plays Zappa" band.
2013, April: Allan plays Madison Square Garden during Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival (sitting in with jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel's band). 
2015-16: Allan works with a Pledgemusic crowdfunding project to finish and release some old Snakes and Ladders tracks. Ultimately, an album of unreleased demos, lost tracks, remixes and some short solo pieces is released in 2016 (Tales From the Vault).
2017: A retrospective box set, The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever!, and a new 'best of", Eidolon, is released on Manifesto records.
2017: After a short West coast tour to promote the new releases, Allan passes away in his sleep on Easter. 
2017: A crowd-funding project to help Allan's family pay for expenses draws such a huge response from Allan's fanbase that mainstream news organizations pick up the story.
2017: Tribute concerts are held in New York City and Los Angeles in May and October.

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1 comment:

  1. Missing are the years he toured Europe and Germany where I met Allan and he as asked to be the singer and drummer in the very first Allan Holdsworth led band in 1966. He was touring with the Dave Arran Collection at the time. But no one seems to care about that era.