Despite planning the weekend’s recordings here at the studio for quite a while it still took me slightly unawares.The realisation that I needed some sort of monitoring for the vocal had an emergency call into the FTC in Wales on Friday.Stress levels escalated when the Clown Carrier blew up and hire cars had to be found as Shaun had two monitor wedges to deliver back to the studio that had been with him for repairs.Friday night I wrapped myself in cotton wool and dosed with wine on an early night.The FTC wouldn’t be here until Saturday and just before the “gig”. Everyone else was on line.Saturday morning I was up early and ready for Andy and Geoff, the advance AVP crew to start occupying the space with tripods and rails for the “dolly”.
Calum Malcolm arrived soon after with his equipment and we discussed the placement of band.The FTC was scheduled for 5 arrival.
Foss had told me he was checking his keyboard out the night before and wanted a “play” before he came down.He turned up with the keyboard and a dodgy connection that soon transpired into a major overhaul and a write off in a matter of an hour.The afternoon started to whither away and there was little chance of any advance recordings as Frank had to take him home for a replacement which was going to have to be linked on midi to the unplayable carcass in order to get sounds.The replacement was a monolith of a machine with heavy action that wouldn’t help his fingering. Frank also had tendinitis as a result of an injury from a couple of weeks back and my nasal membranes were reacting badly to the dust falling from the rafters as the fans swirled on heavy rotation dislodging ancient particles from above!
I was distinctly nervous.
The FTC was going to be late and predicted a 7pm arrival on site. I put the show back and tried to relax as invited guests started to turn up.
He arrived and we quickly sorted out a “PA” and monitors while the assembled company patiently waited on the show.
Candles were lit, incense burned and the cameras whirred.We switched on and started to go through the paces.”Somebody Special”, “52”, “Family Business”, “Zoe”, “Incubus”, “Vigil”, “Fugazi” all accompanied by a few fluffs and a singer who struggled on occasion including singing the first chorus on “Kayleigh” twice! We all winced and tutted coming down hard on our own mistakes.
The Saturday performance was difficult. I hadn’t realised just how strange it was going to be playing in my own house and being “properly” recorded in front of a crowd.
The problem was I had to concentrate on my singing rather than the audience, focusing on a microphone and the delivery of the song rather than the entertainment factor!To be honest it really threw me on a weird curve!I was tense and it showed in my voice.We managed to get quite a few decent renditions but at the end of the night I was slightly depressed.
Calum was reasonably happy and we knew we could repair some mistakes but the F’s weren’t on form and suffered from a lack of playing together for over a month.
The audience were on a high and it was tough to call the night to a relatively early close despite the collective will to party.I was exhausted.We’d played around 2 hours and the concentration levels were a lot more intense than on a normal show.
Sunday was another day and lunch at the Tyneside was good prep.
Afternoon was repairs to a couple of songs mainly caused by glitches on the recordings rather than performances.Vocals were untouched.I had to retire to bed for an hour to catch up on sleep that had evaded me through stress rather than anything else.
With all that has been going on with the recordings around the Fishheads project there was a lot at stake this weekend.
It was a far more relaxed trio that took the carpet that night.The songs rolled out with a lot more confidence and we captured a lot more than on the previous night. As well as the fore mentioned songs repeated there were the additions of “Lady let it Lie” (twice after a boob on the front end), “Raw Meat” and “State of Mind” and we ended up playing for close to 3 hours. I enjoyed the Sunday night but as we finished with “The Company” I was mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the session.
Calum was happy, the AVP guys happy and the audience happy.It was in the can.
We were all relieved we’d pulled it off after the false start on Saturday and even though it was weird experience having people there during a recording session it most definitely added a positive curve and we’ve decided to repeat it another time in the future.
Calum will be mixing the session in the next few weeks and sending the audio to Geoff and Andy to add to the camera footage with the prospect of getting this out at the beginning of May.
Now all I have to do is sort out the Polish documentary, the weeks of stereo mixes, the available multi tracks, the other film footage and deliver it to the world at large.