I sat inside today, I didn’t open the blinds, I just heard the wind howling outside and flashes of rain beating against the window. As I was in the studio Saturday, I was thinking about how you work and work and work on an album and by the time you’ve written all the songs, recorded them, recorded all the overdubs, the singing, the solos, the strings and by the time it’s mastered and you’ve listened to it at Aunty Flo’s house and on the car stereo and by the time it’s released you’ve simply heard it so many times that the last thing you want to do is hear it again. You will understand the problem from hearing the same song on the radio a thousand times, even if you once liked it you simply don’t want to hear it again. The same thing happens for bands playing live, they get sick to death of playing the same set even though the audience in each city only hears it once.
I think the first album I heard a thousand times was Ziggy Stardust, followed closely by Led Zep – 2 and 3, Black Sabbath – Vol. 4, Deep Purple – Machine Head, In Rock and Fireball, Alquin – The Mountain Queen (weird one I know), Golden Earring – Moontan, Hawkwind – In Search Of Space, Space Ritual, Do Re Mi, Hall Of The Mountain Grill, Blue Oyster Cult – Secret Treaties, Alex Harvey – Next, Genesis – Selling England By The Pound, Pink Floyd – Meddle, Queen – Sheer Heart Attack, ha ha I could list a thousand records, but initially it was lots of Rock music. All this of course after The Beatles and The Kinks and The Small Faces and sixties bands (due to having an older brother). But my parents went mad for the same records, too, Mum played the same Glenn Miller album, my Dad the same Holst album (The Planets) and the same couple of Sinatra albums, Come Fly With Me and Sinatra’s Sinatra. How often do we want to hear the same song? Do we enjoy a song more when we’ve heard it so much? Where’s the time for all that other amazing music out there? Motown was always on the periphery, in the charts. I branched out as the years rolled by.
What’s this thing about being more connected to music when you were younger? This thing about the place you were when you first heard it? What you were doing when it came out? And yet with age, this geographical location or era in your life seems less important. If you think about the albums you bought recently, will there be any kind of romantic connection? Or do you have to be 20 when you are still being made. I’m still very excited by the discovery of new music or new old music, but whenever I hear The Snow Goose by Camel or Another Nail In My Heart by Squeeze, music from my teenage years, I get a tremor. Luckily I also get a tremor albeit a different one when I hear Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey or anything by FKA Twigs. I also get a tremor when I hear Colin Blunstone sing either then or now, it’s as wonderful now as it was then.
Today was a busy day of sessions. I spoke to Tony in Sydney at 10AM and then went back to bed straight after, five hours sleep wasn’t cutting it. I’m a night person, I see mornings from the other side. I love the still of night (so does David Coverdale apparently). You hear the stories about The Stones never getting into the studio till super late and working till the morning. It makes perfect sense to me. The later it is, the fewer distractions. When the world’s awake I want to join in for part of it. When the world’s asleep I want to listen to loud records and play guitars, write, draw inspiration from the silence.
After all the days’ sessions it was time to write and listen to some records in the archive. Tonight it was Emitt Rhodes’ debut solo album. A cross between Todd Rundgren and Paul McCartney, a forgotten skilful singer-songwriter and instrumentalist. Olivia pulled out The Kinks’ Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire), a lovingly compiled compilation with the original album and an extra disc of all kinds of curios, including some great Dave Davies tracks. These are records I‘ve heard a few times and return to, like Olivia’s next choice, Cockney Rebel’s The Human Menagerie. This one and the follow up The Psychomodo are approaching worn out grooves status.
Listening to records, making records, what a luxury. This year the new MOAT album Poison Stream will arrive in the universe with ten brand new songs, Nightjar will be re-released on vinyl on Record Store Day, Salim Nourallah’s record A Nuclear Winter Feels Warm is at mix stage. The Wild Swans is at vocal stage. As soon as we find a release date for the MOAT record we will do a campaign with a more trustworthy platform. Grrrr! I can’t wait to get all this music out, I can’t wait to play live, I can’t wait till the next record store and I can’t wait till Tuesday when Dare and I will be in the studio again, continuing to work on the latest Noctorum album. Then there’s the drawing board of unrealized part projects for 2021. I may have to stay up late.
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