ARMBAND (THE MYSTERY SONG) b/w GHOSTS (THE SUBWAY STRUMMER) Red Shift Records (RS01) 1979
Recorded on an 8 track facility built into a garage in a back garden in Hounslow in 1978, I took this around record companies but got so frustrated by the track being rejected that I went DIY and self-released it on Red Shift Records…to then have the satisfaction of finding some of the same A&R men who had rejected it now parking in their cars outside my flat in Redcliffe Gardens, wanting to sign the track to their label, after John Peel had played the record a couple of times on his show..thank you John.
ARMBAND b/w METAL URBANE Blueprint Records BLU 2001) 1979
I was a great fan of Charlie Gillett’s show on Radio London in the mid 1970s and had contacted him looking for his advice. He liked the Red Shift version of Armband and signed me to his company Oval Records before the other A&R men came calling (see above), and then fronted the money to record a less rudimentary version of Armband at 16 track Riverside Studios for an Oval Records release, but he wasn’t keen on this more sophisticated approach so I was able to leave Oval, and was signed to a new label Blueprint/PRT who released the track in late 1979 as the first release of the Blueprint label.
We shot a video on 16mm film to go with the song. The video featured me running around a bombed-out area of East London waving a Sten gun and dressed in tattered but fashionable urban resistance clothing. I saw some of the rushes but I've never seen the finished video, if it ever was cut together.
THE EYES HAVE IT b/w METAL URBANE DUB Blueprint Records (BLU 2005) 1980
Recorded at 24 track Parkgates Studios in Sussex as a track for the Still Life album…
The first time I heard it being played on any radio station was on BBC Radio1..it was on a sunny morning and I was heading down Brixton Hill into town, feet up on the dashboard of a Citroen HY van … what a buzz.
(Here’s a bit of pop trivia…on 5th Nov 1979 “The Eyes Have It” was threaded up on the multitrack to check out what to do with the middle section, which was musically complete but felt a bit empty. No great ideas came to mind so after some food and wine we went out to watch the local feu d’artifice.
Brilliant show…lots of huge bangs, the crowd going OOh and AAh…and the lightbulb came on!...so a rush back into the studio afterwards to put explosions and OOhs and AAhs into the middle section...and that was the track completed.
So if you were part of the crowd at the Battle fireworks display on 5th November 1979, thanks for providing the inspiration)
FILE IN FORGET b/w EXUDE WHEN I'M BRUISED Blueprint Records (BLU 2014) 1980
The A side was an edited version of the album track with the office noises insert taken out. Almost aptly named for where my recording career seemed to be heading, the release coincided with the demise of Blueprint…
EAT DRINK DANCE RELAX b/w LOOKING FOR A HEAVEN Carrere Records (CAR 271) 1983
Recorded at RMS Studios in Thornton Heath. Ranald MacDonald, the studio owner, played the sax solo.
I can't remember how this got to Carrere Records, or why they signed the recording and then dropped it in the first or second week of release. Dean Ross and I had been doing a lot of writing together at that time (we aspired to be the new Becker and Fagan) and were constantly in and out of record companies and publishers.
HEY MATTHEW b/w THE THINGS I SAW IRS Records (IRM 140) 1987
I wrote Hey Matthew on a toy Yamaha keyboard but needed better sounds and also a way of recording those instrumental parts and vocals…I met Nick Magnus at a friends birthday party and he, as well as being an exceptionally nice guy and a superb musician, had some mouth-watering music gear including great rackmounts and a Fostex R8, …and a Roland mc500 sequencer…the first I’d seen.
Nick put in the great bass line and always gets big thanks for the time, energy and expertise he gave me on this track and on other later projects.
I was stony broke at this time and working as a gardener near Newbury to keep my family fed and housed but I was convinced of the commercial potential of the song and so I used the first lump sum of money I received to pay for a cheap 24 track studio which had been recommended to me. This was The Old Barn Studios in Croydon which was owned and run by Matthew Fisher who had played keyboards in Procol Harum.
EAT DRINK DANCE RELAX b/w EAT DRINK DANCE RELAX TOO IRS Records (IRM 148) 1987
The second single to be taken from Human Animal, it was an airplay hit in Germany but didn’t feature in the UK.
(Dean and I had booked a studio for 16th October to do a 12” extended re-mix, what became called The Shimmering Waitress Mix. Driving through London was like driving through a battlefield with fallen trees littering the roads and pavements as there had been an unexpected hurricane with winds up to 196 km/h during the night of the 15th. To add to the mayhem, on the way to the studio our taxi got T-boned by a car jumping the lights)…
The B side was written specifically to be the B side of Eat Drink Dance Relax and was recorded late one night in a front-room 8 track facility under the owner’s bedroom in a South London flat..so we had to do everything, recording and mixing, on headphones…and leave quietly. Rock n Roll!
YOU BE THE JUDGE b/w UNDERCURRENTS (LIQUID MIX) IRS Records (IRM 168) 1988
I liked the floaty summer breath quality of this track, but Kylie Minogue, guesting on the panel of a new release radio show on BBC Radio1, didn’t like it…so this threw the IRS promo people into flat spin and promotion was dropped immediately.