2020 reflection -----I loved making this album.Started
with what became "my schtick weighs a ton" being cooked
up by Greg Den Hartog. Then a friend called saying he had some studio
time as part
needed a band to make the sounds for his skills to be tested on. I thought
it wouldbe cool approach it like a "Jazz workshop" type thing.
A one off event. So I called Mark Fitzgibbon and the next day Clare and
into the studio with him. I played the bass. That was for "I
will have always been here before", "I've got dimensions", "Mr
he goes with his eye out". All pretty much improvised and
played out on the spot. Then I did the vocals. No editing later on. I
took the raw tracks home and mixed them, adding a few guitar licks here
The other tracks were all done at our studion, the Ponderosa.
My favourite lyrical moment..."I will be folding a mirror -
infinitely- in such a studied way I must've done it a thousand times
before! " (I will have always been here before)
There he goes with his eye out
Mark started playing the chord, I was on the bass and Clare on the drums.
He told me he was going to sit on the chord and I should just descend
from a note a half tone above it down to a G and then back up. We put
it down in one take and then I sang over the groove. I played the guitar
and Clare added the strings. Mark forgot about it and was surprised a
few months later when presented with the glam tune we'd worked up. The
title came from a book about London street market kids in the 19th century
East end. They would shout this out if they saw a toff walking about ,
looking for some kind of action. My schtick weighs a ton
Greg Den Hartog worked in a studio for many years with Bill. I was part
of the scene who would drop in for a tea occasionally. He called me up
and said he had a tune that sounded good for me. I went in and then sang
over the top. He was a bit surprised at the speed with which it happened.
I got the bug and threw the vocal down quick. He mixed it with his studio
patner, Dee, after Clare ahd also thrown down some live drums. The lyric
was inspred by an interview I read with Phil Silvers (
Bilko, below) . Greg plays all the instruments and sings the backing
I wanna get lost again
I played this song for about a year before recording it so I knew it backwards.
I sang it roughly once after a series of dates. I went back later to do
it again with a better mic but couldn't get the same ,relaxed feel.
I sent the rough mix to Warren Ellis in Paris and he laid some strings
I feel that this is one of my best ever tunes. I will have always been here before
Roky Erikson has always been a big inspiration. He did "I have always
been here before" I thought he was limiting things to the present.
I wanted to stretch out my dominion into the future and the past.I was
bagging my nephew and his mate about beiong inside playing computer games,
telling them they should get outside , with a ball or something. The little
9 yr old held up his hand and said, "CEASE MORTAL!" . Thats
how the song begins.
Mark on piano, Clare on drums and me on bass and acoustic. From the same
one night session that saw four tracks emerge. Again, I sent the rough
mix to Warren Ellis in Paris and he put down some flute.
Sometimes you can see yourself
I wrote and recorded all this and then Clare put the drums down. Kind
of a backward process but thats how it happened. I see it as a Marc
o' boogie. Everybodys gone (from somewhere)
More of an acoustic feel. I played everything except the drums. That
means the bass and the keys as well. Kind of a country folk song. Ghostly
stuff. lets live properly
Again, I played everything except the drums.The chorus reminded me of
something Bruce Springsteen would do, stretching out the melody over a
minimalistic chord variation.
I wrote the lyric about the way people try to appear totally straight
when they are so stoned. They are on their best behaviour and drive their
cars most carefully ( and slowly). I thought society would benefit from
everybody putting on their best, straightest face.
Only the stoned
I played all of this. One of my songs inspired by the writer Terry Southern.
He wrote about people being stoned so acutely. Check out his book, "Red
Dirt Marijuana", if only for "you're too hip, baby".
Mr Bad Luck
Me on bass , Clare on drums and Mark on piano. I laid the guitars down
later. It sounded like a Stevie Wonder track to me. I found the right
the guitars after a month or so. I love that brief period in the mid
70s when guitars were mixed incredibly low.You couild just hear them,
away under the surface.
I've got dimensions
I had a lot to say here. Again its all over one chord, just the way it
was done in the Moodists. Mark played the hell out of it, as did Clare.
I put the acoustic down later and Stuart Perera played the electric guitar.
Of course, we all have dimensions. I'm just talkin about mine. Saturday Night Bath
I played everything except the piano. A happy song to end the journey.