Back into the guitar comping Friday, it’s a long process of listening through performances and picking the best one, the most appropriate one, and which microphones work best on which amps. These details are what explains how long things take. For example, I’m playing through two amps simultaneously fed from an effects rack (Ibanez UE 405) that has two outputs. Each amp has two microphones and each microphone sounds different and whichever mic we choose to listen to sounds different to the one next to it. So we have many choices of sound depending on the combination of microphones. Then there’s the guitar, the effects pedals you may be using and any added effect from the computer including EQ which we also have on the mixing desk, and in the case of Jim Moginie’s mixing desk, an old Neve which enhances the sound. My point, sometimes it’s not quite as simple as switch on an amp, put a mic in front of it, play and record it.
Manly winter looks pretty summery to me despite it not being baking hot. Surfers, suntanned people sunbathing, it’s always people with tans getting a tan like it’s always people with short hair getting their hair cut. It’s a really beautiful place, with fantastic fig trees with incredible sci-fi trunks, exotic plants, palm trees and apart from the occasional dead bandicoot, the usual population of Australia’s exotic wildlife. You can see why people come out here and just fall in love with it although it seems like it’s become really expensive. Portugal is a much cheaper compromise if you are trying to escape Northern European winters.
The last couple of days I’ve been getting migraine eye distortion. It’s so frustrating. It’s not so bad that I can’t operate but it’s 25 minutes of half blindness and dancing diamonds that move across my eyes and leave my skull full of damp sawdust. I don’t even bother telling people when it’s happening anymore because I can still operate, it’s not like the old days.
I finished in the studio today at 11 PM, 9 hours with a short french fries break, I brought my own dinner today. DC came and got me this morning and we went via the local coffee shop where the woman won’t look at you. I’d hate for her to be a witness in a crime. Lawyer: “Madam can you confirm the suspect who walked into your establishment was wearing a yellow clown outfit and a bright blue parrot-shaped hat and carrying a machine gun, singing I Should Be So Lucky?” Girl in the coffee shop: “I didn’t notice.”
After the studio, I took an Uber back to Tony’s and arrived in time to do an interview with an old institution, Voice Of America, established in 1942 and broadcasting in 47 languages. Salim and I spoke for nearly an hour on Zoom to Lehka. We’ll let you know when it will be broadcast. But it’s about Salim’s latest See You In Marfa EP, the first physical release from our Nashville sessions, the album, A Nuclear Winter, will be released early next year.
To bed and blog in the morning, just too tired to do it after all this action. Music today has been Uriah Heep’s …Very ‘Eavy …Very ‘Umble, one of the most maligned bands in music history and the first band I saw, I was lucky enough not to succumb to being cool because of them. The other day when we were in the Enmore Theatre, I remembered seeing them there a few years ago. I met guitarist Mick Box after the show, super nice man. I think he even autographed something, the US album cover of VEVU, he seemed quite shocked to see it. Bowie’s Ziggy period bass player Trevor Bolder was in Uriah Heep for years before he died aged 62. I saw them in the seventies in Liverpool with bass player Gary Thain from New Zealand, he had chalk on his guitar to stop his fingers from slipping…I suppose. He’s a member of the 27 club after a heroin overdose. Original lead singer Dave Byron was dead at 38 after a life of abuse. They are still around today. Although without the keyboardist and original member Ken Hensley who died recently (2020) aged 75. Drummer Lee Kerslake was not on this album but played on subsequent important Heep records, along with Hensley he was in the band when I saw them, he also died in 2020 aged 73 (he played with Ozzy in the eighties). Nigel Olsson, long-time Elton John drummer, played on two songs on this album. Alex Napier played most of the drums, Keith Baker played on one song. Colin Wood played on a couple of songs as keyboard player. Paul Newton played bass. We saw them in Stockholm supported by The Zombies. Really? How did that work? That’s like eating pecan pie with onions.