SECRETS - THE FIAT LUX DIARIES

 
JANUARY 1984

Fri 3

New single “Secrets” is sent out to the press and plugger Sonnie Rae starts working on it for radio.

Wed 4
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.

Thur 5
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.

Fri 6
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.

Sat 7
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!

Sun 8
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.

Mon 9
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.

Tues 10
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 Night”.

Wed 11
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 Nightmare”.

Thur 12
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.

Fri 13
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 nearby house.

Sat 14
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 Chippenham hotel.

Sun 15

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!

Mon 16

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.

Tues 17

“Secrets” enters UK singles chart at 81. Peter Powell play on BBC Radio 1.

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.

Wed 18
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.

Fri 20
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.

Sun 22
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.

Mon 23
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.

Tues 24
Peter Powell R1 play.

Chart day – Secrets rises to No 72 in the UK Singles Chart. Drive band back to a rather snowy Yorkshire.

Wed 25
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.

Thur 26
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.

Fri 27
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!

Sat 28
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.

Sun 29
Annie Nightingale R1 play.

Mon 30
Interview in Electronic Soundmaker published.

Steve, Ian and David go to Leeds in afternoon to do an interview with Len from local fanzine Roar.

Tues 31
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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