Yay, 7 hours sleep. Dare and I got together for a Noctorum writing session today. We have to take every opportunity we can to work together, because I’ll be travelling a lot with various different projects from May and the days whoosh by like runaway trains. I was talking to Sessioneer Kevin in Atlanta on Sunday about how playing percussion along to songs with an easy beat can give you a better understanding of the rhythmic flow in your guitar playing. I mentioned Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train as an example of a song that you could easily swing a tambourine to. By chance he’d seen them the week before, just Dave Pirner left. Another song to try this would be REM’s Losing My Religion. Whatever happened to Michael Stipe? Just guest appearances, but no solo record yet. I suppose there’s a massive pressure on him to do something successful. As if it matters, as if sales or critics should have any bearing on your work. Too much success or outside opinion badly interrupts some people’s creativity. Leave them alone, let them breathe, encourage them always.
Today I was a bass player. It’s so interesting the turns writing sessions take. Dare’s idea today was to make a rhythm track, then have me come up with a bass line and then the two of us play guitar to get some nice weaving (as Keith Richards calls it). So Dare found some drum sounds and found a pattern which we tweaked together. But when I picked up the bass, the first thing I did was play a random bass line, nothing to do with the rhythm track. There was something about it that we liked and thought we’d better record it separately to the track we were supposed to be working on before we went back to the original idea. By the end of the day we had two tracks, one with drums, adding bass, the other with bass, adding drums. We never got to the guitars. You never know where things will lead.
We went up to Dare’s house for dinner and football, Liverpool lost 2-0 to Chelsea in the FA cup but the baked potato with baked beans was perfect. Dare cooked, I washed up. In the front room there was a glowing fire, a real fire, where we watched the game with room mate Martin. Olivia brought her computer and while we watched she organized another gig for us in Canada, she never stops. At one point in the evening I asked where was the cat? A short silence ensued, the cat was dead! When we left we met three cats on the way home, one extremely friendly, one weird and uncertain, the other scared, cats are so unpredictable.
I listened to some interesting records today, Chris Spedding’s album Joyland from 2015. Unsurprisingly great guitar throughout and guest appearances by actor Ian McShane, Arthur Brown, Glen Matlock, Robert Gordon, Bryan Ferry, Snips, Andy Mackay, Johnny Marr, Lane, and what must have been the last or one of the last appearances by ex Free bassist and songwriter Andy Fraser as he died the year the album was released. I also listened to Acid Folk band Forest’s second album Full Circle from 1970 (£600 for the original), German/English band Message from 1976 and one of the seventies Tremeloes albums, Shiner, that nobody bought, from 1974. German sixties band The Lords found its way onto the turntable, but left quite soon, a mixture of Beat group, novelty and oompah, they sold 7 million albums in Germany…to somebody. As we speak Olivia has found the fuzzy psych record collector’s dream album, Dark Round The Edges by Dark. Released in 1972, there were only 64 copies made. Apparently it’s the 17th most valuable record ever made (who decides these things?) and has sold for between £6,000 and £25,000. I bought my vinyl reissue with booklet for 25 euros at Concerto in Amsterdam…score.
I could of course just spend the rest of my life sitting in the archive with my nice stereo system, listening to odd records or even not so odd records, any records really, but I have to eat…and buy more records. There is one problem with music though, I can’t have music on and read at the same time. I love to read but can’t concentrate if there’s any music floating through the air towards me. I need to assign more time to reading, try and turn the music off. Good luck with that. I have a new Ian McEwan book to start (Machines Like Me) and the Tony Visconti book and the Patti Smith book and oh yeah the works of Shakespeare. But I suppose that archive/studio land is for music immersion. Oh damn, I have to sleep, what a waste, I could have listened to….