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Blog: A Hard Working Band

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I set off for DERBY again last night, for another of our regular band practices, LARNING up material for the new album. It's a GOOD routine I've got into with this - catch the train about 4 o'clock, get to Derby in time for Traditional Tea (chips and curry sauce from over the road from the station), trip to the offy to buy BEER and COCA COLA for the practice, then a swift PINT of Pedigree in the Brunswick. LOVELY.

Due to Pauly's COMMENT in the COMMENTS about the Brighton gig (when i DEMOLISHED the skin of my knuckles trying to open a bottle of beer) i am now the proud owner of a Key-Style Bottle Opener. Basically, it goes on your key ring, looks like a key, but is actually a bottle opener. IT WORKS! THUS i decided that rather than buying cans of nasty lager, i might as well go to Sainsbury's and buy some proper beer. It was a GOOD PLAN, and one i ruminated on happily whilst sat with my PINT, at which point Emma rang to let me know Tim was in FARNBOROUGH at a meeting still, and wouldn't be getting in until about 9.30pm.

Practice was due to start at 7.30pm, so when I got to The Music Shed i checked to see if we could go on a bit later than normal if need be. I've said it before and i shall doubtless say it again, but you don't half notice the difference in people when you get out of London. Everywhere you go once you leave the M25 behind people seem LOVELY, and Derby is a particularly good case in point. With this CLEARED the rest of us got started on some Vocals and Violins WORK. I had an INSPIRATION FLASH about Emma singing a verse of "Mental Judo" herself, so we worked at that for quite a bit. It took a while for us to notice that Tom and Rob had quietly LEFT THE ROOM while we did this, no doubt MINDFUL of previous ALTERCATIONS when we're doing The Vocals... all was WELL this time, and i got a Bit Excited about how GOOD it was sounding, also "Better Things To Do", which i predicted could well be the RADIO 2 HIT that Eddy The Manager has requested we record.

Best of all though was doing "We Only Ever Meet In Church", when we played like a BAND! I guess you would expect that being IN a band would make you PLAY like one, but this is not necessarily the case. HOWEVER, now we have been playing together for so long we seem to be reaching a new PLATEAU of bandliness - especially evident as all four of us put CHANGED at the same time as each other, without need for any communication beyond the BAND VIBE. Oh yeah! Anyone who's played like this will know what i mean, and when it happens it is BLOODY GRATE.

Also rather lovely was the fact that we really missed Tim being there - again, now we're so used to it being the five of us it doesn't really work the same when somebody's missing, and one YEARNED for a Trademark Pattison Fill to be heard. LUCKILY he arrived shortly after and after MOCKING him for the fact he hadn't yet seen Revenge Of The Sith ("What? So you don't know about CAPTAIN ANTILLES then?") we BURST into "Tell Me Something You Do Like", which sounds ROCK HARD, and then "Better Things To Do". "You know what?" said Tim after that one, "This could be that Radio 2 HIT we're after!" "That's exactly what i said" i said, because it was.

We also gave "The Other Rush Hour" a good seeing to - I'd been thinking about ABANDONING SONG on that one, but having listened back to the MP3 version of it i realised it could actually be QUITE GOOD, and had prepared a FACT SHEET for everyone. It's pretty much the same all the way through, with seven verses and seven choruses, so we needed to work out some DYNAMICS for it. It was quite funny seeing everyone GLANCING OVER at their FACT SHEETS throughout, but it seemed to work OK. No such things were needed for "We Only Ever Meet In Church" in it's full band glory, however, as that sounded BRILLIANT - especially the "Friends who only ever met in church" bit, as there's a STOP halfway through the line, and it all comes back in a VERY EXCITING WAY INDEED.

Ooh, i can't WAIT to get it recorded, it is DEAD GOOD. At this point Emma had to go home at the Previously Appointed Time as their babysitter had an 'A' Level exam the next day (see, this is the sort of detail even MOBY doesn't give you), so we had a go at RESCUING "Zipcodes" from the LAST CHANCE SONG SALOON. We got a little way, but we were tired, the song wasn't really working, and as i said, it doesn't really work when one of us isn't there.

Back at Rob's house afterwards we discovered there had been a MAIL DROP from the AAS PO Box, so we spent a very merry hour or so opening jiffy bags and listening to the contents. I can report that whereas a couple of years ago about 80% of bands sending us Demo CDs DESPERATELY wanted to be Oasis, it now appears that they all want to be BLINK 182 instead. Levels of really quite bad NIRVANA wannabes remain constant, as do Over-Produced Solo Lady Singers From Small European Countries.

It was all pretty rubbish I must say, although i did bring ONE CD back with me for further listening. Sometimes it SADDENS me that we get so little music that's any good sent to us, but I think this may be just because AAS comes high on the alphabetically arranged list of record labels. This is the ONLY explanation i can think of for most of the stuff we get sent - if only people would actually LISTEN to something (anything!) we've ever put out, or even read the website, they might save themselves a bit of postage.

Or maybe there's a Label out there somewhere called AA(a)S records or something who are EVEN NOW thinking "Why do these idiots keep sending us brilliant, quirky, catchy, lyrically inventive pop music? DAMMIT! We want to release loads of records that sound EXACTLY like Blink 182 on a bad day and/or tuneless gothic metal! Especially if recorded by photogenic ladies from Switzerland!"

This would explain a LOT.

posted 25/5/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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