odds and sods

About six years ago I relocated to Edinburgh. I’m including on this page some of the bands I worked with during the first few years here.

I recorded an album by an Edinburgh band called The Stagger Rats and I also did a bunch of recordings with the most brilliant of  all our national treasures….the one and many, Madness. There were also bands such as Suicide Dolphin Bombers (hello Scotty), Towns and bizarrely, The Kaiser Chiefs. I’m putting tracks by all of them on this pages playlist….just incase anyone’s interested.

Actually, I had a good time…. a very different time….recording The Stagger Rats in sunny Budapest. Much and many thanks to Peter Grundberg, William Clothier and Bob Wallace for making it all happen. Most of anything I’ve got to say about The Stagger Rats album is to do with Peter and Wills hotel and private members club “Brody house” in Budapest. It is one of the best places to be. Anywhere on the planet. Brody house is right up there. At the very top.

And then I got put in the studio with the living leg ends that are Madness. I recorded five tracks with them. I enjoyed recording Madness.

Having been in the studio with Madness, I can now fully understand why they suited the “two producer” model that was Langer and Winstanley. Basically, Woody would turn up, ten in the morning, totally alive and buzzing…..like a little terrier: far too much energy. But wonderfully charming and funny. Woody would play his drums….very few takes needed. Then Chris would arrive……with cameras strapped to his head….amusing himself…..bung a guitar down, and then bugger off as soon as he got bored. Next was Mike: thankfully he didn’t turn out to be the completely mad bastard I’d been warned about. Recording Mike was a happy and relaxed experience for me: we got the sushi and sake in…..and I kept pressing play and record: honestly, on Circus Freaks, he hammered away at the piano for about four hours solid (nice chords, Woody!) until there was literally blood all over the keys. This is 100% true. Ok, Mike could be fairly intense. And then at (ahem) sometime later in the evening, young Suggs and the most beautiful Cathal Smythe would decide to join the proceedings and sing away till the extremely wee hours. It would start all over again at ten in the morning with Woody…….

The Stagger Rats session was also interesting because we ended up in a derelict, old communist state propaganda film and recording studio. I’m posting some photos on this page. It was actually a brilliant recording room……it sounded amazing. One could imagine the communist state orchestra playing over the radio to the proletariat, whilst two floors below in the interrogation cells a lot of interrogation was going on.

But times have obviously changed for the better in Budapest…..though I still feel sorry for poor Viktor and Zsolt for having to endure listening to The Stagger Rats endlessly, cruelly, inhumanely playing their wretched songs again and again.

By stark contrast, I recorded Madness, in the main room at Metropolis Studios, West London…..which is one of the last standing bastions of balls out, capitalistic free enterprise….foolishly built by the coke addled,  twentieth century music biz. Metropolis Studios probably cost more to build than the entire Hungarian education, health and social services budget to date.

I really like a bunch of these Madness songs. Circus Freaks is my favourite. I’d been warned by all concerned about my impending recording session with Lee Thompson….everyone said he’d be totally uncontrollable..”crazy”……all sorts of stuff. As it turned out, Lee turned up, the most prepared out of the whole bunch….a complete and utter gentleman. We had a great little session. Oh…..Woody and his brother wrote the music for Circus Freaks, and Lee Thompson wrote all the words. I said to him “I like this song cos it reminds me of me and the wife…..is that how you got your inspiration Lee?” He said no, it was about Amy Winehouse….

Anyway……Brody House is an amazing and magnificent place to be. That is the only real important thing to take from this page.

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