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Blog: Back In The Studio

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Last year while I was in Leicester for the Comedy Festival I booked myself in for a SESSION in Snug on the Saturday, which is when we did a whole lot of finishing off of the album. THIS year I decided to go back to do some WORK on the NEXT album, the Dinosaur Planet Concept Album.

I was staying in The Ibis (IBIS JOKE: They Gave Me My Usual Room. Yes, I will say this EVERY time i stay there) which is MEGA HANDY for the railway station. Unfortunately this time I was staying in a room DIRECTLY in line with the tannoys, so got woken up at 6.30am by someone very eager to tell me which train was coming in to Platform 1 and that I couldn't smoke. I got up to wander out and get me a SAMOSA for breakfast, but the place I usually get one from is now CLOSED. It wasn't KNOCKED DOWN like most places I used to go to, but still: PARANOIA.

For some reason CrossCountry trains were going to Derby instead of Birmingham this weekend, so i had the dubious pleasure of one of their little shunty trains. They've got new ones now but they seem to be making every effort to make them as FILTHY and HORRID as i remember them being. NAUGHTY CrossCountry Trains!

Anyway, I got to Snug at 11.28 and at 11.29 Mr R Newman came a-strolling round the corner ready to get us started. I was a bit worried about my Delicate Instrument (MY VOICE. STOP IT) being DAMAGED by over-use (STILL MY VOICE) what with still being a bit coldy and having a gig later on, so I decided to make it GUITAR DAY. And OH! What a day of guitars it was, as we put guitars on EVERYTHING!

EVERYTHING i tell you! I did HOURS and HOURS of acoustic guitar playing, overdubbing it on nearly everything as well as doing the FINAL two songs that hadn't been started yet, The Theory Of A Dinosaur Planet and My Theory Of A Dinosaur Planet. These took AGES as they involve FINGER PICKING. I'm not, as anyone who's seen me can attest, any kind of expert of this ART but I can get by in the live environment by doing it quickly, SHOUTING over the top of it, and hoping people don't pay too close attention. Recording is a different matter altogether, however, as it sort of MATTERS if you play the wrong bit with your thumb and make it go CLUNK as it is a CLUNK that will last FOREVER. Especially i you then think it would be a good idea to DOUBLE TRACK.

Further trouble came on Dinosaurs Talk Like Pirates. "What IS that strange noise?" asked Robbie. "It's like there's an open string CLANGING away every so often." I was forced to confess that this was due to me trying to play the chord B FLAT. It doesn't appear in many of my songs because I have never got around to learning it properly and, as with FINGER PICKING, i try to DISTRACT people from this by SHOUTING over the top of it. This doesn't work in a studio, unfortunately, so we ended up OVERDUBBING EACH CHORD. Yes, we went through the song and EVERY time there was a B Flat i played it AGAIN, with my fingers PRE-SET into the correct shape. The indignity!

We finished off with MORE of the same, as I moved on to ELECTRICAL GUITAR for Here Come The Dinosaurs. Years ago I used to play my electrical guitar with The Validators, but got fed up with breaking strings ALL the time. There's other reasons why i use my acoustic for all gigs now - it feels nicer, and it's what I'm used to - but the inconvenience of every other song featuring a loud KER-TWANG and getting my fingers SPLANGGED was a big fact. I was reminded of this when, halfway through getting the guitar sound right, I went KER-TWANG on the (very nice) Gibson I was borrowing.

There were no spares for it, so Robbie got out his FENDER. I looked at this with FEAR - i have PREVIOUS with Fenders - but happily i got through to the VERY LAST CHORD before it went KER-TWANG and thus persuaded me a re-take would be unnecessary. During this we had a Studio Visit from Mr F A Machine, who was bringing me a copy of "Rabbit Themes" by Johnny Domino (my copy had gone missing, and he has a BOX full of them in his attic) in exchange for some photographs of our Germany Trip. A good swap!

There was a bit more tidying up and then it was time for me to leave - i was KNACKERED and wanted to have a NAP before the show, and also to get on the train before the football emptied out - so we said our farewells. There's STILL a couple of guitar parts to do, I didn't get round to doing the reggae section on (theme from) Dinosaur Planet, for instance, but I'm back in again in a few weeks to do that and some SINGING, so all should be well.

Which reminds me - while we were listening back to my efforts at guitar on the aforesaid (theme from) Dinosaur Planet and Robbie was diligently micro-editting my parts to make them be in TIME (i always feel GUILTY and UN-PUNK when he does this, but it does sound better!) he said "Ha! Like 'Live And Let Die' by Wings!"

"Yes, of course," i said, for, as anyone who's seen the shown will know, the inspiration for having a Cod-Reggae Middle Eight in that song comes DIRECTLY from the same in "Live And Let Die." Then I realised Robbie hadn't actually SEEN the show, and was making this link ENTIRELY out of his own BRAIN. I was SO pleased - we'd obviously done it JUSTICE!

With that GRATE joy in my heart I returned to Leicester, there to try and revive myself with a NAP, a SHOWER, and then HO! For the FINAL NIGHT!

posted 16/2/2010 by MJ Hibbett

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