Monday, February 15, 2010

The Single I Was On

Third in a series of posts about 45s - I'm 45 this year, I had a party and played 45s all day, and wrote a zine about 45s for the people at the party, and these themed posts are reworked versions of the pieces in the zine.

It was always my dream to make a single, to contribute to the sum total of rock'n'roll happiness in the world, and I came close to this with my car-crash drag punk band Six Inch Killaz around 1998, but it was not to be - you can blame Wayne Morris. The only single I'm on is a hopelessly obscure record by The Legend aka Everrett True aka Jerry Thackray, recorded a decade before. In truth it's quite bad but I do kind of like it, just because I'm on it. I think this is the way of it with Legend records. I remember buying his 2nd Creation single Legend Destroys The Blues and being appalled. I complained about it to Alan McGee and he said 'well, I like it cuz I play drums on it', and Dave Evans who was in McGee's band Biff Bang Pow piped up with 'yeah - and I like it cuz I played bass on it'. At least I liked the cover.

So anyway - I was quite a close friend of Jerry in the '80s, after falling in with the early Creation records crowd, and shared a flat with him and a couple of other friends in north London at that time. I also played music with him as guitarist in the Legend band for a few years. We would occasionally play with bands he/we were friends with, and put out a couple of records. One was a 12" EP for John Robb's Vinyl Drip label, and one was a 45 for Philip Boa's new Constrictor label, in 1987. I co-wrote one side of the single with him I think, but it's the other side I like (or kind of like). I play bass.

It was recorded and mixed in a day at a tiny recording studio near Green Lanes in north London, where the TV Personalities recorded their Privilege album. The owner/engineer guy was only ever referred to as Wilson. Jowe Head from the TVPs produced and played melodica and toy piano. Amongst the other toy instruments and stuff on the floor was a snare drum with SWELL MAPS painted on the side, which was exciting! It was a treat watching him do his noise magic with admittedly quite weak source material. Alex Taylor, who had recently left the Shop Assistants, sang on it too. She had moved to London to launch her new band The Motorcycle Boy. It was a pleasant easy going day with plenty of time - most of my other studio experience is of rushing to record 7 or 8 songs in a few hours, including mixing.

Philip Boa was (and still is) an alt-rock cult figure in Germany, and his label is still going. He was a friend of Stephen Pastel somehow I think, and one of the many people + bands who slept on our floor when I shared with Jerry. Waiting for the bus at Golders Green one night he told me how his life was changed when he travelled to London to see The Damned after hearing their first single New Rose (which I don't have) in 1976…

No comments: