And Its Goodbye From Him: The Demos

These notes accompany the demos for “And It’s Goodbye From Him”, our last studio album. If you’d like to buy a copy please hit the following button:

The demos were all made in the same way and same place as you saw in the lockdown videos I made while writing “Can I Go Out Now Please”. If you haven’t watched those videos it’s worth it to understand my demo process. You’ll find them Here

This work which takes place in my small home studio is part of the song writing process. I’ll lay down a basic drum pattern using sampled drum sounds on the computer and add a simple guitar. Everything gets built up from there until I’m happy I’ve got a structure and arrangement, but leaving enough space for the guitarists and Karen on drums to add their personality and ideas.

I play everything on these demos and you’ll see some of my guitar ideas survive to the actual album,  but most are bettered and replaced.

Because the demos were mainly made during the two lockdowns I had enough time to complete the vocal arrangements and keyboard parts. To that extent this album has something in common with Little Big Head, where I sang everything, but is unlike the other three where there were many backing vocal contributors, not least Karen Jones and Nick Hughes.

Pump it Up

Lost Again

You can hear the synth work better on this demo than you can on the final version because there aren’t so many guitars. I deliberately thought I would write a song that goes down in intensity on the choruses. That’s arranging heresy and producer Dave Draper was having none of it. I argued my corner for quite a while but when he’d put a lead guitar behind the vocal I had to admit it added a dynamic which is better.

He also doubled up the riff I have as just a bass guitar and synth here by adding a guitar on top. Also an improvement.

If you strain very, very hard you’ll hear some oohs behind the lead vocal on the chorus . If we’d stuck with my idea on the final recording I would have brought those way more to the fore.

Otherwise the last song I’ll write sounds as good here as on the real thing.

Funaggedon Time

You can’t beat proper drummers and here’s a track that proves it. Quite a few modern songs use this glam rock drumbeat with programmed drums as in this demo. The guitars sound great but you lose a bit of life that real drummers bring and Karen certainly injected that later.

You can hear that the heavy metal ending isn’t here as it was another great Dave Draper invention.

The Demo Studio

Just Try to Be Kind

“What we did on our holidays between lockdowns”. The whole song is pretty much all there and fully formed in the demo, including my attempt to impersonate a pedal steel guitar with a slide.

Here’s a little video of an acapella version I put out after I’d finished. It’s notable for a few things. A: you get a glimpse of the heaven which is the Catalan country of France, the “mental refuge” referred to in my earlier song “I Can Fly” and part of the inspiration behind this song, being the spot where we “headed south for some sun and freedom, a little hope and a lot less boredom”. B: you get to hear the backing vocals more clearly.

I’d love to do an acapella mix of the whole album. The backing vocals are a work of complete genius and they get lost a bit behind all those noisy drums, bass and guitars.

And C: you can see my little demo studio where all these demos were made (except for “Beach Boys”) including the coats hanging up which are useful for “deadening” the sound (proper studios remove any destuctive echo with padding all over the walls) and the boiler for the gas central heating which has to be turned off if I’m writing in the winter, meaning before too long my wife is banging on the door complaining that she’s shivering and will I pack it in.

Can I go Out Now Please

I don’t need to tell you anything about this demo. It’s all HERE. 

I said in the video the keyboard sound in the instrument break would be better in the final master. It certainly is! An example of how the demos are just there to give a “road map”.

It’s Going So Well

The most “complete” demo in terms of being almost the same as the final recording, which isn’t surprising since the only instruments to be rerecorded are the drums and bass. Literally everything else (vocals, strings and keys) are lifted from this demo and transferred to the actual recording in the same way that you would copy and paste text from one Word document to another.

Of course Dave Draper then went to work with his box of tricks, polishing everything up and applying all sorts of effects, so that the violins, for instance, go from sounding like they are played in my shed to being a whole orchestra at the Albert Hall. This demo certainly has a lot of charm though.

Alex Musatov
Alex Musatov. The Russian genius who played all the violins

Oh My My

Sometimes tiny little changes can have profound effects. Do you listen to this demo and think “Hmmm. Drags a bit”? If you do you think the same as me, even to the extent that I thought this might be a track left off the album and saved to be the b side of a future single.

But, thanks to modern technology Dave Draper could speed it up just a tad without changing the pitch of the vocals. In the old analogue days you could increase the speed of the tape machine and therefore increase the tempo of the music, but everything went up a tone and the vocals could sound a bit Mickey Mouseish. Not in this Artificial Intelligence age. So the vocals here, like every other demo, remain the vocals on the album and we didn’t need to redo them.

Notice also in the final version, the harmony guitar which isn’t here and the drum stop on the final chorus. Both Dave Draper inventions which help turn this plodding demo into, lyrically and songwriting wise, one of the best things I’ve done.

Real Good Time

Another very well developed demo improved on the final version only by the superior guitars, drums and Maurice Hipkiss’ pedal steel being better than my slide guitar. Plus another great break in the middle from Dave Draper where he muted the drums to bring a different dynamic.

Goodness those are some great lyrics. Thanks Lemmy for the inspiration.

Everybody Knows It’s True

Without the amazing guitars on the final recording, this demo, with mainly just drums, bass and piano/keys, is much more like the jazzy “I Wish I Knew” by the Billy Taylor Trio which inspired it musically, At the end of the day I can’t get that close to jazz, it’s just not in me! So this is as near as it gets. Pretty damn good for something that failed to imitate its inspiration.

Bill Gates (Finland is a Myth)

It’s pretty much all there on the demo. In fact you can hear the guitar riff on the demo better than the final version where we put a “telephone” effect on the intro to make it more dramatic when the drums come in. Dave Draper’s great riff in the chorus is missing as is the “Lemmy” bass effect in the breakdown. With hindsight I like my lead guitar break but Heidi Cotton’s is better.

And if you don’t believe me that Finland is a myth, here is the proof 🤣

Would I Lie to You

Another one where it’s nearly all there. Just drums and bass replaced and pedal steel added on the final recording. A couple of things though:

  1. Note all the “popping” on the vocal at the beginning. Just bad recording technique by this amateur. Thank goodness modern AI can take that out.
  2. The end goes on a bit. A judicious edit was applied eventually!

And just to show how brilliant the backing vocals are on this album here’s what I call the “poms” on the last chorus with no instruments. See what I mean about an accapella album?

Play Video

It Rains on the Good

A song about “Trump Light” followed by this one about the real thing.

I was so pleased with the rhythmic synthesisers on the verses that we just copied them across to the final recording. Similarly, guitar feedback is so random it’s impossible to play it the same way twice so we just copied these from the second verse and polished it up.

I like the guitar solo here but the madness of Heidi’s note bending suits the song better on the final.

Otherwise it’s a bloody good demo, probably because it’s a bloody good song with genius backing vocals.

The Gilded Cage

I always struggle on my demos to get a decent guitar sound which I make up for by layering guitars over each other, playing a part in different places on the guitar neck and adding guitar harmonies. That’s what I did here and, through a process of randomly trying things, ended up with something I loved upto the word “Cairo” in the second verse and on the outro. So rather than play it all again, which I couldn’t do in the same way, I asked Dave Draper to take my demo guitars and polish them up. Boy it took him a long time, so much so that he was swearing like a trooper. But notice how when the guitars fade on the intro here a massive amount of hiss comes in. That’s there all the time but you don’t hear it when the guitar is playing. It has to be taken out for master quality, which Dave did, and that’s why the final master sounds so sparkly compared to this. Notice also how the vocal popping on the first verse is not there on the final. Thank goodness for that AI again.

To help cover up my technical recording hopelessness Dave also added a big piano bass note which isn’t here. I loved it so much I called it “the note of genius”, which tickled his ego, and I insisted he turned it right up in the final mix of the master.

The song’s here though, isn’t it? Everytime I hear it takes me right back to that dark February when I nearly cracked at the sight of these Argentinian tango dancers on my wall. They aren’t sprawling but that’s artistic licence. After all, you try and come up with a rhyme for wall! 🤣😉

Singing with the Beach Boys

A demo recorded by Nick at his flat. I sang the vocal but everything else is him and Heidi including backing vocals (and aren’t they brilliant. Very different lines from what I would have sung and a nice contrast to the rest of the album). I did originally record a bass for the demo at my place but Nick thought the sound was so crap he rerecorded it note for note from what I played.

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