At precisely two o' clock, with the timing of a Swiss train, up walked the talented Joel-Isaac with his compact saxophone packed in a black hard case. Earlier, Rob and I had just finished nailing our live renditions of Norway, Wake Up in the Morning Light and Wife of a Blues Singer ready for sax insertion. So the plan now was to record me singing with Joel-Isaac standing to my left blowing out his finest in as many sharp 'guitar keys' as musically possible. And what a fantastic job the young man did, honking his way through our 12 bar like he was taking a Mars bar from a toddler. This was exactly the start we needed to get the foundations of this ship steadied and ready to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilization, to boldly go where no musician has gone before.
Then we stopped off at The Union pub next door, with its outlandish selection of rock band names postered on the wall and its limited choice of either pork scratchings or pork scratchings to accompany your pint. Rob had a Guinness, I had a lemonade, and the youngster J.I. abstained from partaking of a beverage. Incidentally, my mother heard from someone that used to work at The Union that the pub is haunted, which we agreed suited the live music venue's penchant for bands with weird names. Following a chat about the future, past and present, off walked the accomplished J.I to new chapters and new horizons -- oh to be young again (okay, you're not exactly old are you).
It must have been about half past three when somehow my index finger stretched its way across to the overdrive switch of that solid old Marshall, and I'm glad it did because what we got was a couple of rock corkers from the old beast (check out Danish Desperado and Rock Star for Tonight if you get the chance when they're released). The great vibes J.I. had left behind, Rob's impeccable ear, and that 'just crunching at the edge' amp had started to have their desired effect. Out rolled the ballad Got My Love (On Winter Days), which I had demoed on piano for the band originally; then we kept it clean and swung for a couple more tracks -- to be heard on Happy Hour and The Sinner of Pinner -- until Rob needed the toilet, as did I need to also go for a slash (people do sometimes go to the toilet in stories).
Following our short stop on the extra-comfy black leather sofa of the New Rose Studios waiting room, we then returned to Room 1 for a bit more rock n' roll in the shape of Ferdinand or Abyssinia, Super Pretty Girlfriend, Sheila and the epic Nightingale. This was when Rob really came into his own: knocking out tom rolls like a footballer knocks out four foot passes; busting us a spontaneous drum intro without so much as a misplaced sextuplet; and finally, squeezing a much appreciated extra minute out of a song's middle bit. It was classic stuff, the man was on fire; and what's more, we couldn't believe how easy it had been to record twelve songs in six hours. Sometimes, the universe is aligned at just the right point when you press record, and this was most probably one of those very moments which defined us as musicians and people.
We looked at the clock. Quarter to six and running perfectly to schedule. Now a bit of packing up, a healthy chat to accompany our departure, and one last friendly bit of banter with rocker Charlie at reception. All was done, what remained was another quick pint at The Union (this time I did have a celebratory glass of ale or two), a short walk through the rain with our heavy gear in tow and the double bus journey home (for a change we hitched the 274 on leg two).
Now to record the rest of the band and produce one or two more guest appearances from the bag.
|Wood chippings on the floor: a perfect sign that you're in a rock studio.|