Olivia stayed up all night last night to watch the election progress, I had to go to bed as I had an early sesh with Rohan in Sydney at 10AM. Then it was that last day in the pool today, it was really sad because if this lockdown stops on December 2nd we intend to go to Portugal on December 3rd and who knows when we’ll be back. I’ve been there three times a week for 10 weeks and today I hit 30 miles, I see the smiling faces of staff all the time and those lifeguards might save my life one day! Perish the thought! From the pool to the studio and finishing off guitars and vocals on the Ahad album, we have a cellist coming on Saturday and then brass to figure and we’re done, ready to mix. Another one in the queue after MOAT’s Poison Stream and Space Summit’s Life This Way. We’ll be continuing with Arctic Lake on Saturday too and that reminds me I must check in with Jerome Froese. It sounds like I work and have worked on a lot of records, well I read today that session bassist Leland Sklar had played on 2,500 albums, I’ve got some catching up to do.
The shops are busy in the town today because tomorrow they will all be closed. The food stores are open but for one month we will be locked down. That’s a lot of time for people to drive themselves and each other crazy. But I wonder if this has just been a time of frustration, many people have discovered the joys of working from home instead of being made to go to the office, jammed onto the commuter train, sitting under fluorescent lights and doing it every single day. I read somewhere that people that work from home do more work than they would if they went to the office, interesting. The bosses are starting to realise that they could get the same work done in their business without the cost of the expensive office in the city. Everyone wins.
I had to go to the pound shop today because that’s the place I go to get the flat batteries for the little tuners that clip onto the end of the acoustic guitars. You might ask why would you want to buy batteries that are flat when they need to be charged to work? I’ll let you think about that one. So it was the last day of open shops and both Dare and I, otherwise distracted by the studio, forgot that we had to pick things up from the shops that will be closed for a month, Dare a hoover and me the assembly for the broken studio door handle. Both the shops we needed to go to closed early. Why would they do that? They’re not going to be open for weeks anyway. Surely they’d stay open later? It’s that crazy human thinking – as we’re not going to be here, let’s not be here as soon as possible, it won’t matter. Instead, we should try and stay open as long as we can so people can get what they need on the last day before closing for a month. Plus there would be more sales! Humans.
I also picked up some £1 CDs at the pound shop today when I was getting the ‘flat batteries’. You can hardly give CDs away these days. There were some CDs I have already but these were in better condition, as in the jewel cases weren’t broken and the CD looked perfect. Turin Brakes, The Bangles, The Strokes, Beck, The Cardigans, Moby, The Dandy Warhols, Mansun, Coldplay. Nothing groundbreaking although that Mansun album Attack Of The Grey Lantern is sadly overlooked. Three CDs arrived in the post today, Marianne Faithful’s Negative Capability, Sting’s 57th & 9th and Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party, all for peanuts.
So from today, we have to try and keep our heads together with the lockdowns, the stress of the US election, the stress of Brexit, moving house (for us) and keeping hopeful that life will return to some kind of normal. But then, I’m just talking about us, the privileged few, what about everybody else? I’ll leave you with this. Today Arnaud the Frenchman, who I see at the pool now and again, came up to me as we were all queuing to get in (last day, it was busy). He walked up to me and said I‘ve baked you a loaf of sourdough bread and handed me a brown paper bag. A reminder to be generous and to be kind for its own sake, thanks Arnaud, very cool.
Music today came from Alice Cooper when he was still good and the Billion Dollar Babies album (1973). It was the album after the big success of School’s Out and followed the hits with more hits like Rolf Kemp’s Hello Hooray which reached No.6 in the UK chart (but who is Rolf Kemp?). The song was originally recorded by Judy Collins on her album Who Knows Where The Time Goes (1968). It’s also the album with Elected which reached No.4 on the UK charts. Alice Cooper nerds will know that this song is actually a reworked version of the song Reflected from their debut album Pretties For You (1969).
Then there’s the title track which however incredulous it may sound, is a duet with Donovan! They must have been golfing friends. The track and the album in general has lots of great guitars courtesy of Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce from the Alice Cooper group as well as Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter who would play with Alice Cooper on later albums. Marc Bolan is also on there somewhere. The album was No.1 in the UK and the USA. There was also another single hit, No More Nice Guy, No.10 in the UK. All these singles reached the Top 30 in America.
Along with Neal Smith on bass and Dennis Dunaway on drums, this was a great band with the best hair you have ever seen. There were so many great albums in the seventies: School’s Out, Killer, Love It To Death, Easy Action and Muscle Of Love. There’s some worthy albums too although they are without the original band: Welcome To My Nightmare, Alice Cooper Goes To Hell and later, From The Inside, co-written with Bernie Taupin.
Billion Dollar Babies was named as a surprise reaction to these crazy freaks getting successful and the album came with a removable Billion Dollar Bill. If you wanted to scare your grandma, this was the band to do it, they made Sex Pistols look like The Carpenters. The last track on the album was a paean to necrophilia called I Love The Dead. Hey Mum and Dad, I know what I want for Christmas.