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Blog: How Rough Does A Rough Demo Need To Be?

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Just got back from LEICESTER, where last night we gathered to record some DEMO VERSIONS. As i may perhaps have mentioned once or twice or 17,000,000 times just lately, this is the HOT NEW PLAN for The Validators i.e. learning the songs BEFORE we record them - HA! We are PIONEERS of NEW WORKING METHODS, right? So yes, that was our plan and by JIMINY we are following it, with me, Tim and Rob arriving at Memphis Studio last night to move to stage TWO.

I met Tim in Central London (he had been to THE MINISTRY beforehand, and thus was in his SUIT. I like to think we looked like a YOUNG ROCKER and his DAD when seen together, tho i feel he may have complaints about this. HA! Let him get his own webpage!) and we HIED off to St Pancras, and spent a JOLLY time up to Leicester arguing about when and where we had first done gigs together, and reminscing about the LAST time we got the train from London together. This was some EIGHT years ago, when we went down to the launch party for the Prolapase album "Italian Flag". It was a RIGHT ropey old do, with the band refusing to have the record PLAYED, let alone performed, the beer running out with EXTREME RAPIDITY, and pretty much everyone going to the pub next door instead - it even made the PAPERS how ropey it was, and that must be some sort of achievement. HOWEVER this did not prevent us from getting sizeably drunkened, and once we'd boarded the Old 23.22 Last Train To Leicester it seemed like a VERY GOOD IDEA to play CARRIAGE CHICKEN. This involves LEAPING off the train as soon as it gets into a station and then PEGGING IT along the platform for as many carriages as you dare before getting back on. OH the IMPETUOUSITY (sp.) of YOUTH! We had fun anyway, it were an LARF.

So yes, it was a Golden Memory, and soon we were in Leicester to enjoy the traditional pre-ROCK repast of CHIPS. We got to the studio just before Kev, and LO! joy and beauty shone around, as it turned out that YES actually he really HAD recently got married. Aaah! Our joy was slightly curtailed upon entering the CONTROL ROOM to discover it had been HOOVERED! And also had had the WALLS CLEARED!!!

Inside Memphis it is like a FAIRYLAND of bits of instruments, plants, comics, wires, and pictures of Club Singers and Elvis. I've been in your modern studios with SHELVES and SPACE and CLEAN SEATING and i haven't liked them, so was AFEARED with the idea that Memphis would be going that way - what next? ASHTRAYS? - but was reassured that it was just a necessary step before they knocked half of the wall down. The rancid stinking sofa, unfortunately, would have to go, but Kev said he would stand firm if anyone tried to chuck out any of his prized possesions. "If anyone tries to take anything else away, I'll cry," he said. GO KEV!

Rob arrived, said "Aaah - we're back!" and yes, we were. We then REMINISCED about Venues In Leicester That Aren't There Any More, and soon it was time to BEGIN. OOH! It was DEAD GOOD! As ever it took a few minutes to get going, but when we did we RATTLED THROUGH. Before each song we took a few minutes to remind ourselves of the structure, and run through a few bits, then BURST into action, usually getting it sorted in three or four takes - AMAZINGLY, bearing in mind that these are meant to be Rough Demo Versions, this is MUCH more care than we EVER took recording things before. We are MATURING into STUDIO VETERANS. It was GRATE being there with Kev also, who is Very Good at putting up with us messing up/about, and kept it all GOING at HIGH SPEED. It was ACE.

We did "The Gay Train", "Never Going Back To Aldi's", "Quality of Life Enhancement Device", "The Fight For History", "The Lesson Of The Smiths", "Girlfriend Alarmed", "Breaks In The Journey" and three quarters of "Zipcodes" (at which point Rob broke his first ever BASS string, thus a) inaugrating himself properly into THE BROTHERHOOD OF BASS and b) calling down the GODS OF ROCK, who spake "ENOUGH!"), and if you're asking me it sounded FAB. Mindful of what I said the other day about ORGANIC IMPERFECTION there were a good few mistakes left in, but this time it REALLY DIDN'T MATTER as they're just guide versions, to be redone later, as opposed to the previous scenario when we'd have to plonk fifteen violins, three trumpets and a kazoo over the top to DISTRACT ATTENTION from them in the final versions.

Lots of bits were my MOST FAVOURITE BIT: getting all STERN and SERIOUD during "The Fight For History"; thinking "WOW! We appear to be a tight rocking UNIT!" during the Exciting Dramatic "4 pounds 99" BIT in "Never Going Back To Aldi's"... and then distracting myself with that thought and so messing it up; the middle section of "Never Going Back To Aldi's" sounding BRILLIANT; and Tim saying, of "The Gay Train","It sounds awfully empty without Tom", and us all AGREEING that this was a REALLY GOOD THING. Tom himself turned up shortly after to Sit In On The Session, and only the absence of Emma prevented it being a fully quorate Validators New Year LOVE IN.

I had a LOVELY time, as you can probably tell, and we're back again in a fortnight to re-do a couple of vocals, add a little bit of guitar, and put in some violins. Then THE PLAN is to do some GIGS, then learn some MORE songs, then go off in the summer and RECORD them. Album Three AHOY!

posted 7/1/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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