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Blog: Practice, Practice, Practice

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I emerged from the train at Derby last night full of EXPECTATION and EXCITEMENT - not only were we due to continue work on some songs for Dinosaur Planet, I was going to get have a CHIPPY TEA!

Imagine my shock and disappointment, then, when I came out of the station to find that the chip shop was CLOSED! DOOM! A lesser ARTISTE would, I am sure, have STORMED back to the platforms and got on the train back to London but I, BRAVELY, had a BAGUETTE (a new "mexican" one which was actually quite nice - SANDWICH REVIEWS!) and then went and consoled myself with a DELICOUS pint in The Brunswick. I was soon joined by Mr F A Machine and his wife MRS J Machine, who gave us a link to the practice rooms.

Here we were joined by Mr T Pattison, hot foot from Farnborough, then Mrs E Pattison and Mr T "The Tiger" McClure and, once the latter two had finished their chips (yes, THEIR CHIPS) we settled in for a GRATE practice.

Things were helped along, I think, by us ALL sitting down. I almost always stand up for practices and there's usually one or two others doing the same, for ROCKING OUT purposes, but last night we all sat down (in my case so i could more easily see THE WORDS) and it not only made things more RELAXED, but also allowed us to more easily debate what we were doing.

Not that there was much discussion required for our first song, Here Come The Dinosaurs which all came together VERY easily. The Pattisons had bought their camera with them to record sound AND vision for posterity - mostly so that we wouldn't forget everything before we record it next week, but ALSO for future CD-R extras - and so there was LARKING ABOUT waving at the camera. If we do ever use it for anything I think we'll probably have to re-record the song, as everything was A BIT LOUD for its tiny microphone, but if we ever need to know how we're supposed to LOOK while recording the music it will be INVALUABLE.

After a brief skip through that song's REPRISE, We Are The Dinosaurs we moved on to a song which I don't think The Validators had ever heard before, Please Don't Eat Us. I'd given them a copy of the bootleg of the show (which is available on the extras for My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once, if you fancy a listen) but this song isn't on there. I'd written it to replace It Isn't Nice To Eat Your Friends, which I'd always quite liked but which had DIED ON ITS ARSE every single time I ever played it. The new song was initially greeted with some suspicion as it seemed everyone had quite liked its predecessor, but these worries were soon forgotten as it came out GRATE. We were ROCKING along with it - there's a bit in the chorus where (STAND BY FOR MUSICAL AWESOMENESS) the timing CHANGES SLIGHTLY (i TOLD you!) and once we'd got it worked out it sounded BRILLIANT. We played this one SEVERAL times, so that it now features not only a VIOLIN SOLO (something which we do surprisingly rarely) but also MASSED RANKS OF WRENS, not heard from since One Last Party nearly seven years ago.

As I say, the fact that we were sitting down made the THORT PROCESSES flow much more naturally, and these came into play again for the next song, The Battle Of Peterborough. GOSH-A-MIGHTY but this one sounded good - the verses are SORT OF (KIND OF) [A BIT] in what I think of as a MEXICAN rhythm (NB note "what I think of") which is something I don't think we've ever done before. It goes DANG DA DANG DANG, DA DA DA anyway, but then smooths out when you get to the choruses. It sounds LUSH - one of the really nice things about recording these songs is that it's MEANT to be a bit outside what we'd usually play, and we all feel a bit FREER to experiment a bit with the kind of sounds that we usually might feel a bit DAFT playing.

This was NONE MORE TRUE than for our final song, Dinosaurs Talk Like Pirates. If you've seen the show you'll know that this is, at best, a bit of FRIPPERY used ALMOST ENTIRELY as an excuse for a) two Dad Jokes b) DINOSAUR DANCING, but in the hands of The Validators it came out as a MONSTER of a tune. The main song went through several minor changes until it was HONED to perfection but LUMME, the final HORNPIPE section was subject to some of the most INTENSE THORT we've ever applied to a song, and the end results... Well, I'll tell you this, if anyone ever needs a CELIDH BAND (who can only play one specific song, for about two minutes) then let us know, for WE ARE THERE!

Pleased with our progress we had a semi-skirt through "Strangely Attractive", mostly to prove that i HAD, as promised, written a LOVE THEME. I'd originally planned to record it solo, but when everyone LIGHTLY joined in it sounded LOVELY, so if there's time next week we might do THAT one as well. We then went back over EVERYTHING we'd done already, with Emma TAPING proceedings, this time on her mobile phone (we are SO MODERN) before it was time for an early packing up and then a SWIFT PINT. EXCELLENT!

It was all rather exciting - the PLAN is to go into the studio next Monday to record bass and drums for what we'd learnt last night. If I can find a free weekend day I'm then going to go back up next month to do proper vocals and guitars for them all, and then in January we can start OVERDUBBING in EARNEST. My DREAM is to have, by February, all songs BEGUN and some maybe even FINISHED so that we can then record the VOICE ACTING (with Exciting Special Celebrity Guests - oh yes!) and maybe - JUST MAYBE - be ready by May to start putting it all together.

Yes, I know, I ALWAYS think our albums are going to take about 25% as long to record as they actually DO, but a man can DREAM can't he? And when these dreams involve a ROCK OPERA about DINOSAURS and ROBOTS, who wouldn't want to join in?

posted 24/11/2009 by MJ Hibbett

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