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Blog: A Very Busy Weekend

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You find me WORN OUT after an extremely busy weekend - Friday feels like a REALLY long time ago. First off all I headed out to The Badlands Of Essex, specifically Creative Studios in West Horndon. This was where the nice chaps from Phoenix FM's Brentwood's Only Alternative were recording SESSIONS. It seemed a crazy plan to me, they were getting about 10 bands in throughout the day to do an hour long session each. I foresaw DOOM and TERROR as people in bands are not the MOST punctual and reliable in existence (NB TACT), but this was the third Saturday doing it and apparently all had gone really well and everyone had even been PLEASANT! I was amazed!

It was a dead nice place too, and I did my songs with GENTLE EASE, although the first song took me a while to get GOING on. This was "The Back Of The Sofa", which is one of the songs I am RE-LEARNING so's i can do a bit more varied set this year. I then did "Breaks In The Journey", "The Symbol Of Our Nation" (featuring Steve and Paul from the show on backing vocals), and then, as we had some time left, a version of "Dino At The Sands" with a multiple Hibbett chorus of La La-ING. I really enjoyed it, especially getting the chaps in to sing, and after a quick Recorded Chat I was off to the train station and home again. The station's back on air in a few weeks, when they'll playing the sessions, and there should be a CD featuring some of them out later in the year. GROOVY.

My next destination, after a brief stop off back home, was LEICESTER. Tom, Tim and I congregated in Stayfree to work out how we were going to play "Leave My Brother Alone" and "Dino At The Sands" when we recorded them, and also to practice "Better Things To Do". This we did with ELAN, getting STRAIGHT back into our normal working methods of Tim coming up with lots of good ideas, me saying they are daft, and then suggesting them myself a few minutes later. IT WORKS! We stuck an extra INSTRUMENTAL BREAK into "Leave My Brother Alone" and got "Dino At The Sands" sounding RATHER lovely. I was pleased.

We also debated, heatedly, some of the finer points of the TIMELINE i am putting together to help me write my book. If anybody can definitively say IF and WHEN Voon supported Prolapse in Leicester in the mid-1990's it would save us all a lot of grief, and would specifically mean Tim doesn't have to go into his loft. The DEBATE continued when we went to the PUB to celebrate the birthday of Dr Neil Brown, and indeed later on STILL when we went for a couple of Sneaky Extra Beers in what WAS The Vaults but is now a Groovy After Hours Place. It was a LARK!

I must have caught a BUG or something in there, because next morning I didn't feel very well at all. Strange, as i feel fine today. Anyway, I woke FAR TOO EARLY, and Tom and I headed off to DERBY and to The Hive, where we were booked in to record. Tim had got there at 10am to set up KIT, and before too long he, Mr F Machine, and I were ROCKING OUT. We recorded the three songs mentioned with some EASE, especially considering the fact that it was BLOODY FREEZING. There was only one small heater for the entire place, which was usually in the recording room to prevent instruments detuning, so we spent the whole day in our coats feeling CHILLY. We looked like Oasis.

The day went VERY WELL, and we SWUNG into action like the well-oiled ROCKING MACHINE that we are. Francis Albert picked up the new arrangements easily, and then I went in a did my acoustical guitars and vocals. Remembering previous experiences I did the singing SITTING DOWN. I know that this is HERESY for most Recording Artistes, but if i stand up to sing i get a bit carried away and start throwing my arms around and SHOUTING, whereas if I sit down it's all a lot calmer and, indeed, BETTER. This worked WELL and - HA! - i did THE LOT in one take, except for the very start of "Dino At The Sands", which Tim suggested sounded like i was Telling A Story To The Tots. As you will hear when it comes out, this begins with SOLO VOCAL (NB BRAVE), so i did it again to get it SORTED.

NEXT Tom went in and he and I enjoyed our usual methodology of him trying something and then me shouting at him through the glass. "It sounds like you're not playing, but I want it to sound like you are, but we can't hear you" is pretty typical of the sort of NOTES i provided. With that complete Tim added his PERCUSSION (excellent Tambourine work, by the way), I did my ELECTRICAL GTR OVERDUBS (everyone was DEAD impressed, i could tell), and then Emma arrived for her vocals, with two small girls in tow, one of whom was A Bit Poorly, who soon went off again with Tim, once he had participated in the obligatory Male Voic Choir Overdub, this time happening on "Leave My Brother Alone". We sorted out what she'd be doing, and she DID it, with my favourite being her lines on "Dino At The Sands". By heck, when she sang "I found you dancing with the dancing girls" i wanted to CRY, and expected a rendition of "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" to erupt at any minute.

FINALLY we conquered one of my phobias and did a HANDCLAPS overdub on the end of "Leave My Brother Alone". I have avoided these ever since the time we had The Durham Ox Singers in at Memphis Studio and tried to get them to do handclaps along to one of the songs on "Say It With Words". It was APPALLING - they are beautiful people but MY WORD some of them have a dodgy sense of rythm, it sounded like a shoal of TROUT being dumped in a car park against their will. HOWEVER, i could HEAR handclaps were needed, so Tom and Frankie and I went in and did them, and did them GOOD.

With all this done we thanked young Robbie the Engineer (who's also in the very ACE Plans & Apologies) for his STIRLING work - he was an absolute PLEASURE to spend the day with - and headed back to Leicester, where i was once more KIPPING in order to have Engineering Works and Tube Strikes. Tom finished the rock and roll weekend in the only way possible - eating a Chinese Takeaway, drinking tea and watching Doctor Who. We are SO ROCK!

And now I'm back at work a bit pongy and WORN OUT, but RATHER pleased with how it all went. I am back on the ROAD OF ROCK once again, and i LIKE it!

posted 9/1/2006 by MJ Hibbett

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