Today was studio day with sessioneer John from and in Brooklyn. We were at Vice & Virtue Studios on Franklin Ave owned by Rocky Gallo who worked as an engineer at the famous Cutting Room Studios in New York for many years (he has a great old Neve desk). I arrived at 11.59AM but getting there from Jersey City was a series of unlikely obstacles. I left the house with Jeanne, Olivia left a little later on her own adventure. We took the Path train to Manhattan where we parted, Jeanne to work, me to make my way to Brooklyn. The problem was that my MetroCard needed refilling and I only had a $50 bill, the machine didn’t like it and after ten minutes of inserting it asked me if I wanted to put $50 on my card, “No”, so it spat out the money. Apparently, it wasn’t going to give me change for a $20 purchase. I went upstairs to Starbucks, I’ll buy a coffee and get change, Starbucks wouldn’t take my $50 bill either. So, I used my debit card for a coffee and a think. Why not use my debit cards (Portuguese and English) in the machine? Obvious, except it won’t accept foreign cards. I called John, he told me to get a taxi, no taxis, I walked to Broadway and eventually found one, $35 instead of 4$ on the train and a lot of nonsense, stress and bother before I even started, at least it was a beautiful day.
Rocky had some amps set up for me already (a newer Vox and a Fender Princeton in one format, a Marshall quad box and heads in another) and John had ordered some guitars for me to play which soon arrived from S.I.R. hire. A newer Gretsch (not bad actually), a newer Strat with high-powered pickups and a Rick 12 with old strings that were tricky to keep in tune, bad intonation and strung thick string first. The sound was there but it was a struggle, hired guitars are a crap shoot but there is no alternative in the present circumstances. I played on four tracks throughout the day and night across nine hours. David who played on the record and drummer Conrad, who I already knew from playing with Ed Rogers and The Silos (we did gigs in Germany with The Silos when I was in The Saints), visited. It was a good day, lots of ideas down, great to work with John and Rocky.
John and I left to meet Olivia in Bedford Ave for dinner. She had been galavanting around Manhattan, walking along the Hudson, hitting Battery Park, the 9/11 memorial and finally going to The Late Show and sitting in the audience watching Stephen Colbert and guests in the flesh. These are our last days in America and it was nice to be in Brooklyn as I used to live there, a slightly longer hike back to Jeanne’s in Jersey City and Olivia’s MetroCard was playing up but we made it back, long day, great day, musical day.
Music today has been Stackridge’s fascinating debut album, released in 1971. Catchy, experimental, thoughtful, funny, arty, great songs, great players. One of my favourite eccentric English seventies bands. By the way, it’s another Hipgnosis album cover.