New single “Secrets” is sent out to the press and plugger Sonnie Rae
starts working on it for radio.
Spend day moving equipment into Smithy Brook Farm in preparation for
rehearsals for a BBC Radio Saturday Live session. The premise of these
sessions is that they have to be done with no backing tapes, so David
works on programming and basic sequencing and the Ian & Steve arrive
for first run through with this equipment in the evening.
Smithy Brook Farm – more rehearsing. Some of the songs have to be
rehashed to work without the tapes. Splurge gets a new organ sound and
Ian has to be especially dexterous to cover lots of keyboard and
sequencer parts live. It seems to be working though.
Smithy Brook Farm – the day before the broadcast. Final rehearsals.
Then packing gear ready for dual trips to BBC Broadcasting House and
subsequent trip to Amazon Studios, Liverpool. David rather usefully
cuts his finger on a razor blade just to add that last minute tension.
Live session “Saturday Live” BBC Radio 1 - Set off for London at 11am
in a rather cramped Escort estate. Arrive at the BBC at 2.45 pm and
get taken to studio SR1 in the basement. Engineers Ted and Mitty are
very efficient and we get a good sound check. Plugger Sonnie is in
attendance as is producer Mark Radcliffe. Presenter Richard Skinner
spins the first play of Secrets on the radio before the session. Then
there is an interview before the band plays “The Moment” live. Later
in the show they do another live track “Splurge” which accidentally
finishes spot on time for the news junction.
Afterwards all in attendance go for drinks at The BBC club bar. Leave
around 8.30 pm and stop for take away food en route. Unfortunately Ian
and Steve choose something poisonous!
Amazon Studios Liverpool - First day of demo session with engineer
Keith. Steve is too ill to attend. Ian and David work on basic parts
for two songs “In The Heat Of The Night” and “Crazy House”, but Ian
puts some massive effects on the drums that David is playing and the
later song becomes something completely different.
Mike Smith plays Secrets on Radio 1
Amazon Studios Liverpool - Engineer Geoff in
charge. Steve is now in attendance he and David write “Hold Me While
You Can” on the studio piano while Ian is in the control room devising
“This Sporting Life”. A guide track of “Hold Me While You Can” with
Steve singing to drum machine and David’s piano is recorded at the end
of the session.
Peter Powell play on BBC Radio 1. He absolutely raves about it. Steve
phones him and the DJ is apparently in raptures about “Secrets”.
Amazon Studios Liverpool - Fleshing out and vocals
on “Hold me While You Can” and more work on “In The Heat Of The
Amazon Studios Liverpool - Most vocals are done today. Backing vocals
for “This Sporting Life” are notable as they have a chorus aided by
Steve’s wife Gill, the band A Box Of Toys who were recording next door
and visiting local fan Haseena. David has come up with new words for
“Crazy House” to go with Ian’s drum sound and with the addition of
various minimoog and guitar parts it transforms into “Sleepless
Amazon Studios Liverpool - Sax overdubs are done on the tracks where
needed. Then the tracks (“Hold Me While You Can” “In The Heat Of The
Night” “This Sporting Life” & “Sleepless Nightmare) are mixed down.
Billy from Polydor arrives to listen with news of reviews and adverts
for “Secrets” in NME and Record Mirror. Also we take delivery of
“Secrets” sweat shirts. Return to Yorkshire in evening.
Official release date for “Secrets”.
Single reviewed on BBC Radio 1 Round Table.
Gig: North Staffs Poly - Sharing the bill with
Passionate Friends. Arrive at 4pm. Sound check is good but have bad
sound problems during the performance. Quite shambolic but the band
still convey a sense of good fun. For instance at one point David
accidentally switches the tape machine off with the headstock of his
bass. We all stay in sleeping bags on the floor of my friend Alan’s
Janice Long plays “Secrets” on Radio 1.
Gig: Bath Moles - This is one of those gigs favoured on the
circuit that everyone plays, so it is surprising just how tiny this
cellar bar actually is. After the sound check take the guys to BBC
Radio Bristol for an interview. Lose David and engineer Paul and have
to go looking for them. Turns out they are in a nearby restaurant
doing a good job of failing to get served. Ends up being a cracking
gig, although Ian didn’t like the proximity of his keyboard to the
toilets. Took some photographs to prove it. Afterwards stay in the
Drive back to Yorkshire. Steve decides it would be fun to drop in on
one of the fans - Elaine Garrish on route for a cup of tea. This we
do, but no one remembers engineer Paul who ends up waiting an hour
with the van of gear at Smithy Brook – oops!
RG Jones Studio Wimbledon - With Hugh Jones recording vocals for “Blue
Emotion” - mostly Steve’s main vocals and then David’s backing vocals
are done in the early hours. Billy and Rita from Polydor visit. Plans
to do a mix are abandoned at 6am. There is a mix up at the nearby
hotel and Steve ends up sleeping on the floor in David’s room.
“Secrets” enters UK singles chart at 81. Peter Powell play on BBC
Take Hugh back to RG Jones studio to start mixes at 11 am. Band go to
Polydor who take them to lunch. They then do an interview for “Rock
Over London” in Soho before meeting Chris Carr at Gilroys. David goes
with Chris to see The Woodentops and Big Self at Dingwalls they are
joined by agent Mick Griffiths and Steve from Asgard . The rest of us
convene and check into the Everad Hotel in Bayswater.
Polydor at 11am for meeting with product manager Steve Lowe and sleeve
designer Neville Brodie about ideas for Blue Emotion cover. Also sort
out times for recording it. Polydor take us out to Masons for lunch
where we are joined by Chris Carr and Claudine and a journalist from
No1 magazine. After wine we take him back to Polydor and play the
Secrets video. The boys then do a lengthly interview followed by
photos on the roof. Return to Wakefield in the evening.
Gary Davis BBC Radio 1 play.
Gig: London School Of Economics - Another joint show with Friends
Again. Pick up band at 11am. Friends are late so we get first
soundcheck. Well attended by the industry. Most of Polydor there,
Janice Long, Sonnie and Melody Maker’s Helen Fitzgerald, plus lots of
London based mates. It’s a storming gig even though one of David’s
amps blew. After a short post gig party I drive everyone back to
Wakefield but we get stuck in fog around Derby and do not complete
journey until 4.30am.
Adrian Juste R1 play.
Normis Rehersal Studio London - The producers of Whistle Test wish to
hear the band so I book two days here to prepare and perform for them.
Arrive early evening apart from Steve who is in a van that has lost
its indicators (don’t ask). As a consequence I have to stand in (or is
that “stand out”) for Steve on vocals while a mix is set up which is
all we can do until tomorrow.
Peter Powell R1 play.
Normis Rehersal Studio London - Get the band to the studio by 10am
then go and sort out Steve’s indicator problems. Run through songs for
the audition all morning then Billy from Polydor arrives and takes the
guys for lunch. Sonnie brings two producers from BBC 2 TV’s Whistle
Test to the studio in the afternoon and the band play the current live
set to them. Afterwards Billy takes us all for a Chinese meal then
onto Polydor for a meeting with sleeve designer Neville Brodie and
stylist Ray on the topic of the next single design. All then recant to
Gillroys for drinks with head of A&R Alan Sizer and Chris Carr. We
stay the night at The Columbia Hotel.
Peter Powell R1 play.
Chart day – Secrets rises to No 72 in the UK Singles Chart. Drive band
back to a rather snowy Yorkshire.
Kid Jensen R1 play.
Band meets Bart Bartle in Wakefield in the evening for NME feature
interview which is conducted over beers and curry at the Raj Poot
restaurant in Northgate.
Simon Bates R1 play.
Gig: Lancaster University Sugar House - Because of
snow and threatened M62 blockages I get us on the road by 11am. The
roads are completely clear and we arrive by 2pm. Have a walk round and
pick up a copy of this weeks Melody Maker which has a review. Get into
venue at 4pm. The house PA is a bit naff and faulty, to make matters
worse I realise I should have picked Ian’s sax up from Wakefield
station and have to go back there to get it. Gig starts at 11pm and in
the meantime the band tell me they did an interview for something but
couldn’t remember what. As feared the poor PA delivers a bad sound and
the guys are not too enamoured with this venue.
Mike Read R1 play.
Polygram Studios, London - Mixing Sleepless Nightmare. Arrive 1pm
after delay with fog getting down the motorway. Graham from Producers
Workshop (same stable as Hugh Jones) is our engineer. First task is to
do a new vocal with Steve, then a 7” mix is completed. Wakefield
musician friends Mick Stanley and Choc pop in. There is a brief
respite at Gilroys then Ian and David return to work on a 12” version
until 4.30am. Retire to the Columbia Hotel.
Also today I take delivery of the Polydor marketing departments latest
innovation- the Fiat Lux torch! This is to be handed out to radio. The
trouble is, the smart “Secrets” logo is only printed on one side – the
side that is not visible when the torch is in its plastic packaging.
Great work guys!
Janice Long R1 play.
Gig: Loughborough University - Up at 11am and breakfast in Paddington
before heading for Loughborough. Got there at 1pm and discover that we
are top of the bill and Passionate Friends who were to be have been
nudged down. Friends from David’s home town join us. Do a successful
sound check then David plays me the mixes of Sleepless Nightmare. We
then get invited for drinks with Passionate Friends at their hotel.
Return to the gig in time to see opening act Big Self. Fiat Lux closes
the night and get a great audience reaction, but there is a 12 o’clock
curfew at the venue so we can’t do an encore. After an hour of
backstage entertaining hit the road for Yorkshire at 1am.
Annie Nightingale R1 play.
Interview in Electronic Soundmaker published.
Steve, Ian and David go to Leeds in afternoon to do an interview with
Len from local fanzine Roar.
Mike Reed & Gary Davies R1 plays.
Have difficulty contacting anyone at Polydor about chart position, but
eventually get Sarah at Chris Carr’s office and we are at up to No 65
in the UK singles chart.
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