New Album Underway

And so it begins. 15 songs have been written and now they need recording. Tony Barber has moved lock stock and barrel to New York and taken his shed with him. He’s busy wiring a new studio together in Brooklyn but, even if he was ready, it wouldn’t be the most practical plan to commute across the Atlantic to overdub guitars etc.

So on June 3rd Karen will start laying down the drum tracks with the wonderful Sean Genockey at the helm and on we go from there.

The vocals will be a different matter, though. I’m recording those at home. I lost my voice twice recording Little Big Head as it’s a big strain singing for days on end making sure you get all the harmonies spot on. Much better to do it for a couple of hours at a time when I can pop in and warble when I want.

I’ve bought myself a proper £2,000 studio mike but, here’s the important point, you need to record in a room which is completely devoid of echos or the quality of the recording is rubbish. Something to do with sound waves cancelling each other out which is way beyond me.

Here’s where a duvet, towel and bath mat come in handy.

You see, my home studio is located in our spare room which also doubles up as coat room and houses the noisy central heating boiler. So, rule number one, no heating or hot water on while I’m recording. The wife is delighted.

The room has nice shiny wooden floors, a big glass window and plain walls. Great for making a big reverb sound when you clap your hand. Crap for recording.

So, I started off trying professional “bass traps”, which you can see glued to the walls, and a thing that wraps around the microphone to stop the sound going everywhere. They helped – but not enough.

So, to completely deaden the room I commandeered a step ladder from the garage and hung the duvet off our bed over it. I also took the bath mat from the bathroom and put a towel over it on the floor (we didn’t have a spare rug). I’ve also stuck a sheet over the window.

And now everything is great.

Well, I think so anyway. Liz isn’t quite so convinced especially when she goes in to get her coat and has to manoeuvre round the the duvet or when she gets out of the shower and wants to dry off.

DIY. It always was the punk way.

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They’ve Got it All -A Lost Treasure from Little Big Head

Children. Life changing aren’t they. When they’re young they think you are great. You know everything and, within reason and perhaps after a bit of coercion, they do what you say.

We’re all genetically modified to find them absorbing and would do anything to keep them safe and happy. As Billy Conolly said: “Kids are like farts. My own don’t smell bad at all”.

And then come the teenage years and you know nothing. “What do you mean?” said my 14 year old daughter, “of course I’ll be alright if go down to Camden till 3 am” and I was the fool for not letting her. But they have to do that. It’s part of the process of making you let go and accepting they’re growing up and will soon be gone. (For thoughts on a similar subject listen to “Long Long Gone” on the “Difficult 2nd Album”)

But for all the trials and tribulations, when you’ve got kids you really do have it all.

I wrote a song on the subject and recorded it for “Little Big Head”. It didn’t make the album so I gave it to a charity which supports Michael Sobell House, a Hospice for the terminally ill. They included it on the fund raising CD “A Tribute to Paul Fox”. Paul was guitarist in The Ruts and was helped by MSH before he sadly succumbed to cancer. I’m happy to say the CD, which features TV Smith, UK Subs, Chelsea, The Urban Voodoo Machine and many more, sold well and is worth checking out.

You can hear “They’ve Got it All” on Soundcloud and, if you are quick enough and get there before their free allocation runs out, download it as well.

Listen to “They’ve Got it All” here and download for free if you are quick enough

It Was Another Age

 

Oh Boy, will you take a look at this! Dunc the Hunk as they quite rightly called me. Why oh why did I do it? Publicity of course. The age old young musicians, desire for fame, fortune and girls. I wasn’t the only one either. Billy Idol and Paul Weller were regulars at the time in teen girl magazines like this and Jackie. The latter had a “Hunk of the Week” chart which we all featured in regularly with David Hasselhof and Jason Donavon.

 Oh Boy 1980b

I remember this photo shoot well. I went there with a young lady from our then management company who took along a bottle of vodka which I may or may not have sampled beforehand. In any case I had blood shot eyes the whole afternoon which caused near panic with the people from the magazine. Hunks don’t get wiped out apparently. Gallons of eye drops were bought from the local chemist and, true to the traditions of The Boys, I was never asked to be a hunk again!

 Oh “Youth”. Wasted on the young.