thursday july22 1999
thom arrives & plays a new song on the acoustic.
sounds great but has no name, so now on referred to
as the song with no name. we move on to "lost at
sea/in limbo" after only nine months work its starting
to sound like its getting somewhere. good in fact. The
others sound ok too.( everything, everyone/the national
anthem). highlight of the day is attempting 3 part harmonies
on "neil young *9"- not the harmonies themselves,
but phil cracking up because he feels a bit like that
drummer from the eagles. a fucking brilliant rehearsal.
its great to be in our band.
friday july23 1999
start by working on 'optimistic'. i really love the
words, especially the line "this one just crawled
out the swamp" reminds me a bit of PJ Harvey's
blues stuff. cool. a couple of interesting jams. one
of them is jonny's who bemoans the fact that his stuff
never turns into proper songs. its good but he doesnt
realise it, as hes already bored of it by the time he
plays it to us. finished by playing 'neil young *9'
or as cozzie calls it the 'phil is don henley' song.
It sounds even better today. don't go on too long as
its warm and unusually summery today so drive home and
get caught in the inevitable friday traffic jams.
tuesday july27 1999
a pretty frustrating day, but now we've been doing this
for so long, you realise it can't all be like last week.
it starts well with a different version of 'how to dissapear'
and 'everything in its right place'. we then get sidetracked
by a couple of loose ideas for songs (one is very like
the Fall). However we have definitely lost our way with
' you and whose army'- it was sounding great last week,
so what happened today? time to go home.
wednesday july28 1999
it may well be that because we are working on completely
new material it seems that we have not moved much today,
like yesterday. but we discussed ' follow me around'
and how we would like to approach it, rather than just
start playing and thereby fall into old habits. plank
says he likes the 'remain in light' style jam we had
which is good because we were pretty nonchalant about
it. 'de la soul'esque jam at end.
thursday july29 1999
warts and all, warts and all......... the last two days
were brewing up to this.....working on 'up the ladder'.
30 seconds into it & it sounds utter shite. thom
stops it. lack of energy. phil gets pissed off. we talk
a bit. start up again with a dose of the 'fuck you's.
sounds better almost immediately. funny that. oh and
the new song from 22nd is called 'move along' for the
moment. also played the cminor. lovely sunny day.
friday july 30 1999
spend the first 3hrs on 'up the ladder'. things are
happening; jonny brings in the 'missy eliot' chord??!!
thom starts singing lyrics from another song, cozzie
comes with a catchy riff for the chorus and phil is
..funking. with that going on its very easy for me.
working through something is such a cliche but if youre
in the right frame of mind its so true. finish by playing
"lost at sea/in limbo" , "optimistic",
"c-minor song". it would be great to have
another look at "you and whose army?" next
week, and rescue it for the 'lets leave it for a while'
pile. plank's not here today as he's in Lobo, Norway
with Mike Scott- they have no nights in summer.
SECOND WEEK OF WRITING
tuesday august3 1999
start by working on 'lost at sea'. thom thinks weve
already recorded the definitive version whilst in paris.
not sure about that, mind you he admits that thats because
of the way hes singing it (which hes only done with
a tape alone whilst driving). i really like this new
version, as much as anything for its relentlessness
and energy. anyhow move onto a new song 'cuttooth' -
its got a 'neu' thing about it - long and hypnotic....
finish with attempting to rescue 'you and whose army'...
wednesday august4 1999
first time since starting this that i have had absolutely
no desire to write anything about today. 24 hours and
a good rehearsal (thursday) later things are a little
clearer. yesterday or rather today (the 4th) there was
very little played but a lot of talk. the problem we
have found is that we are essentially in limbo - for
the first time in our time we have nothing to get ready
for, except 'an album', but weve been working on that
since january and nothing substantial has come of it,
except maybe a few harsh lessons in how not to
do things*. its like how do we start this - when we
made our last three albums, there were time restrictions
- we no longer have these. are we going down 'stone
roses' territory? the result of this somewhat frank
discussion is that we need a plan and something to aim
*not quite true in hindsight - we have recorded some
good stuff (not much, though).
thursday august5 1999
much better today... the sun shines in and out of our
rehearsal room and we get a lot done... start with 'optimistic'
(still sounding great - jonny tries some cool ondes
martenot on it - the high stuff is good, not however
when he follows the main riff). move on to 'up the ladder'
- sounds better with more space. segway into 'follow
me around' and a reworking of the 'cminor song' (in
a stax stylee). jonny meanwhile is attempting to put
the vocal mic through his analogue filters - which looks
like a remake of an old telephone exchange. "hello
vicar, yes ill put you through to mr kipling"...
so the last two songs are punctuated by sudden bursts
of unearthly noises, both extremely good and extremely
friday august6 1999
last day of the week and last rehearsal for a couple
of weeks as the eclipse takes place next wednesday.
so we run through most of the songs. i think that these
rehearsals will be viewed in hindsight as where we turned
a corner (or hope so). obviously working on the songs
and playing again has helped, but just as importantly
we have been forced to confront certain things - like
what the fuck are we doing exactly - how do we set up
the next bit of recording so that we dont start 20-odd
songs and not finish one of them. its taken us seven
years to get this sort of freedom, and its what we always
wanted, but it could be so easy to fuck it all up.
THIRD (?) WEEK OF WRITING
tuesday august31 1999
kick off with 'cuttooth', the song with little structure
and the only certainty is a bass riff. it makes you
wonder how 'neu' did their thing - it always sounds
spontaneous on those 12 minute epics, but did they have
to rehearse intensely? did it require a degree of editing?
then move on to the 'c minor song' - jonny thinks that
maybe it's getting a little too tasteful and nice and
he's right. it sounds too slick. finish with 'optimistic'.
wednesday sept1 1999
i read a rumour from the internet [never believe a single
nuance - sd] that we are supposed to be collaborating
with 'godspeed you black emperor' on 'how to disappear'
- this person cited a number of chance occurences, including
such impossible coincidences as 'they came to see us
at a gig'. if that were sufficient corroborating evidence
then, judging on the bands i've seen recently, you can
hear us with 'the divine comedy' and the mighty 'asian
twice around 'follow me around' - mmm. not great, but
salvaged by 'you and whose army' - jonny thinks that
voice and guitar are all that's needed until the end
part; and it sounds right; or at least it's definitely
a place to start. run through 'optimistic', cuttooth',
and 'up on the ladder' for nige, who's down for the
day to do some wiring and 'studio arranging'.
thursday sept2 1999
i have, up until now, never written a diary about what
we've been doing; largely due to lethargy, but also
because there are times when you have no desire whatsoever
to document a particular occasion. and anyway i've always
been suspicious of those who, like bill wyman, record
such daily details. great bass player, though. but what
has been interesting about this is that for me this
is first time i am aware of the cyclical nature of our
behaviour; patterns emerge. today was much like a day
four weeks ago. things came to a head. and although
you wish that there weren't days like this, it actually
probably aids the creative process. so maybe the next
few rehearsals will be great. time to swig back a bottle
of wine and contemplate the frail nature of it all.
friday sept3 1999
after only 2 months rehearsal and 3 months recording,
it's been concluded that what we should be doing now
is trying to get basic arrangements. we're like fucking
lasers, us. we spend almost the entire rehearsal working
on 'cuttooth' (the song with no arrangements up until
now) and surprise, surprise, it already sounds a lot
better. when you have a song that does not have the
usual distinction between verse/chorus/middle eight,
there need to be other markers that define the way the
song progresses. and we're getting there.
FOURTH(?) WEEK OF WRITING
tuesday sept7 1999
there seemed to be a lot of breaks today, which often
means that we're worrying about something. recording
worries over whether the 'canned applause' mobile setup
will be ready. management swing by to answer fraught
questions and generally alleviate anxieties. oh yes,
music is what we're about (easily forgotten sometimes)
and 'everything in its right place' sounds good.
wednesday sept8 1999
a good and long rehearsal. pick up where we left off
on 'everything' and move swiftly on to 'optimistic'
- it's blinding - definitely the most formed of the
songs to put to tape - it comes from the swamp. the
music is interrupted by the new bulletin board on our
all-new singing and dancing website. v. exciting. and
of course most of the messages posted are concerned
with the atrocities in east timor. what's the betting
that international forces fail to enter east timor before
mass genocide is once again committed. if this sounds
flippant - it's not meant to - sorry. back to the music
- return to 'up on the ladder' -thom has a new arrangement
- start stripping the song apart - already sounding
thursday sept9 1999
'knives out' sounding quite 'smiths-esque'. especially
phil who has got that mike joyce thing down to a tee.
on to 'optimistic' -must record that soon before we
lose it (remember 'lift'?). 'up on the ladder' sounds
pretty grim. 'say the word' (or c-minor song); great
drum, bass and vocals - personally getting a bit anxious
over it, as i can't find anything that works with it,
or rather i have an idea but can't get the sound right.
makes me a bit neurotic. finish on what i used to call
the 'jonny scott walker song' - very short and sweet.
last diary piece for a couple of weeks. how was it for
you? i'm finding it a little difficult to set the right
tone, but as i'm not a journo i guess that's fair enough.
hopefully this is going to be an ongoing thing throughout
recording and maybe even touring, so it will get better.
FIFTH(?) WEEK OF WRITING
SIXTH(?) WEEK OF WRITING
SEVENTH(?) WEEK OF WRITING
23/11/99 - Tuesday
not such a great
start to the week. of those six songs that nigel mixed
only one is right - kid a. but nigel is pretty optimistic
about the others, he knows what he wants to do with
them. so we draw up another list of songs to be worked
on in the next three weeks.next a meeting with chris,
bryce and brian (the management). they've left us alone
up until now, realising that we needed time - time basically
to sort our shit out. i think their aim was to refamiliarise
us with the workings of the this industry that we operate
in. for instance nowadays if we want to tour, about
five months notice is required, for booking the venues,
notifying our crew, etc. it seems like a long time for
just some gigs. part of the problem is we've really
given it no thought at all - and suddenly you're presented
with these facts of life. we want to do gigs,but we
have to make this record - and then we don't even know
whether they'll work as a live entity. sometimes it
seems like it's so fucking complicated.
phil is presently
putting down drums on 'how to disappear' - we're doing
a demo of the song to present the song to an 'orchestral
fella'. we've kind of shirked away from strings in the
past as they seem to have been recorded in the same
manner for the last 30 years (ever since the beatles).
jonny is particularly keen to use an orchestra but not
in the standard cliched way........more like the end
of 'climbing up the walls'. thom's vocal on it was jaw-dropping.
it's very strange to be playing that song again as we
played it frequently on the ok computer tour..........................
suddenly you're back there.
i've also included
a couple of bits from the last six weeks.
if you haven't heard
'hunky dory' in a while i suggest you give it a spin
- sounds pure genius to me in the bath.
-i've tried to write
something about what we've been doing in the last five
weeks - there have been the day-by-day accounts which
have been of the 'we did this and then we did that'
variety..........all incredibly boring to read. then
there have been a couple of 'essays' written whilst
stoned late at night, only to be re-read the next morning.
pretensious old tosh. all have been discarded. it's
easy to get extremely self-conscious doing this. we're
in london at present and nigel is mixing; he has been
for three days. which means that we have actually finished
six or so tracks. this has been our life for the last
five weeks - we had a list of about ten songs which
was then further narrowed down to six. they are definitely
different....................there's an eight piece
brass ensemble in a charles mingus style on one - eight
'jazzers' came down for the day and blew their stuff
all over 'everyone - the national anthem'. they were
fantastic............thom and jonny conducted. what
a day. there's 'optimistic', there's another which started
off as a thom doodle on the 505........there's also
the paris version of 'lost at sea'.........the batsford
'morning bell'.it is different. but that's what we do.
what has also become evident is that the summer panic
that led to two months rehearsal may have been a little
premature.....or at the very least a little on the hysterical
side.there was some good stuff recorded in paris, copenhagen
and batsford. i've been listening to alot of the copenhagen
tracks and out-takes and the overall sound is great.
pretty dark but then that session was hardly a chuckle-trousered
more work on 'how
to disappear'... after phil did his drums last night,
jonny came up with an outrageous martenot part - multitracked
it sounds like the string section from mars. jonny has
this uncanny ability to bring in weird chords, that
at first distract you but after a couple of listens
completely make sense...it's just a matter of getting
on his planet. brilliant. coz and i tied up our respective
bits and it's sounding fairly complete. not bad for
a demo. thom was immersed in protools/cubase land in
the other studio. the song now has a really strong arrangement
and the rhythm track is pumping...........onwards to
this diary is long
overdue - sorry - i'm not sure why it's been so hard
to post something. alot of it probably has something
to do with the way that we have been working over the
last six or so weeks.tracks have had to be completed
and approached in new ways so that up until last week
we hadn't actually played together in a room since thom's
b/day in early october. so at times the process has
felt quite disparate but then that's part of being in
so hopefully this
is now going to be a daily update.
spend a good hour
remodelling the live room for that authentic olympic
studios circa '66 vibe(....!??). not really..... simply
tidied it up. played 'i will' live but decided at the
end that the copenhagen version had something to it.
it's incredibly evocative of that whole time out there
minus all the baggage.so that's good. redid the loop
on it, thom even played some great drums and proceeded
to do the vocals. he hasn't sung like this for a while.............not
bad for a friday night when things tend to slow down
in anticipation of the w/end. time to go home.
it was my dear uncles's
funeral today, so i didn't make it to the studio until
late.........too tired and depressed so went home. there
was some good stuff done - cozzie put down his funky
bass part on a track. and apparently there was a bit
of a playing session in the evening.
spent an hour playing
around with cuttooth. came in and heard phil on drums
and thom on rhodes going through it. it's one of those
moments when you hear something being played and all
you want to do is pick up a guitar and join in. so i
did......it's only three chords so not too taxing even
on my very limited music theory. looked at 'you and
whose army' again from two weeks ago. tried this 'different'
vocal idea that thom and jonny had been going on about.....three
part but with a very low bass harmony, kind of inkspots-esque.
this is always dangerous territory ie there would be
nothing more fucking sad than this slick sophisticated
40's vocal group sound... mind you there's not much
chance it could be slick....but you know what i mean.
anyway sounds alright and the rest sounds better. thom
is now doing a vocal comp of 'i will'........it's 2am
and this is his idea of fun and relaxation..........strange
started by playing
'cuttooth' again - the song needs stamina - sounding
better than yesterday....just have to keep playing it.
one of those days when it doesn't feel as though we've
done much. maybe it's because everyone's tired. there
was some protool arranging on 'follow me around' and
an attempt to do vocal, piano and drums on 'egyptian
song'. was sounding ok. tried playing 'keep the wolf
from the door but it's too late and needs thom's rant
on it. a bitty day. time to go home. saw only four hours
of daylight - how do they cope in scandinavia during
first 'live' performance
in front of an audience for exactly (and strangely)
a year........it was early morning so it was the 10th.
it started with jonny (aka DJ REQUIRED) and thom's dj
set and then a last minute executive decision was made
to play 'knives out' around the xmas tree. 'amateur
hour' will hopefully become a regular night for us -
but will be different each time - there will however
be ongoing items like phil's puppet show. for those
who don't know what i'm going on about - we did a live
web broadcast to about 250 people - courtesy of tim
bran and those lovely people at the ninja tunes label.
phil and thom also
nailed a wonderful version of 'egyptian song' during
the day. thom thinks it's the best thing we've committed
to tape, ever.
still high from the
night before. you have no idea how excited we are about
this. it's a bit like having our own tv station for
three or so hours. there was little/virtually no planning
for it, so everything was done on the hoof. so refreshing
to do as it seems to take an eternity to get anything
done quickly in this business.....and yes it was completely
shambolic at times but surely there's nothing wrong
with that. i'd love to see more people doing this -
can you imagine tony blair and his boys and girls doing
a similar thing..........prescott on the wheels of steel:
"this one goes out to ken, this is 'going underground'........".
'egyptian song' sounds even better today.
last day and like
school we didn't do any work.....had a chat about what
we wanted to do next year, vis-a-vis gigs and recording.
finished off the day with xmas dinner, completely ruined
by the fact that there were only four crackers to go
around the eight of us.
hope you have a relaxing
xmas and new year.........and if it is bollocks, be
assured that you are not the only one having a shitty
time. it's the time when most families break up...........xmas
after all is for the high street................if it
was to celebrate the birth of christ they got it wrong.
xmas was an old pagan festival and christ was supposed
to have been born around september time. here endeth
the lesson. bah humbug.
i have just had a
thought........still excited by last thursdays live
webcast .and thinking about ways it could be developed......i
think it could be very cool to play new stuff by unsigned
bands, musicians, collectives (ie bands not on major
labels - small indie is fine).if any of you are making
music, have mates that are or you just think that this
music that you are in to deserves to be heard then send
it into me at our po box address, which is po box 322,
oxford, ox4 1ey. i like all kinds of shit so please
don't just send in guitar band stuff. anything. spread
the word. alright that's enough for now. happy xmas...
and a very merry millenium.....
10/1/00 - 19/1/00
happy new year and
many many thanks to all you lovely cardsenders.
i think we all arrived
at the studio with that same dread of starting where
we left off.to plough back into the old tracks seemed
like a daunting task. nigel suggested a different plan
of action to ease us back into it over the next couple
of weeks. the idea was to spend this time working in
a completely different way; no acoustic instruments
ie any guitars,drums or vocals......everything has to
be electronically generated. it means that we can't
fall back on what we've done before and forces us to
work this equipment. it's actually an incredible amount
of fun - which is not something we've had in abundance
over the last year or in studios in general. we've been
working on four 'bits' and because they are fairly abstract
it will be interesting to review it in a few weeks.
the important thing is that you are constantly learning
even if something doesn't necessarily work out. and
actually it's something we've been meaning to do for
a while. again it's the need to change the methodology
in how you actually make the music - only by doing this
will we actually produce stuff that sounds any different.
and conversely by finding another approach to recording,
it enthuses us in the way that we've worked together
as a 'live' band. the rehearsals last week were fantastic
precisely because we had not picked up those instruments
and recorded them.
this week we have
cast the experimental net further afield to include
material like 'true love waits' and 'feeling pulled
apart by horses'. the former has been kicking around
for about four years now and each time we approached
it we seemed to be going down the same old paths.........it
actually sounds like the start of something exciting
did an interesting
band version of 'bombers' which thom has attached to
what i used to call 'the neil young' song...we may play
it some time later this evening.
thankyou to everyone
who sent in their demos......maybe i was a little naive
to assume that a handful of people would send in theirs'
or others' offerings......what i realise has happened
is that various publications and radio stations have
visited this diary and announced that radiohead are
embarking on a fucking talent search or something. bastards.
it's probably pay-back time for being miserable and
contrary on our last round of interviews.....anyway
i've started going through it and will listen to it
all, eventually. it's actually very interesting as it
strikes me from what i've listened to so far that there
are alot of really good musicians out there, but what
distinguishes the good from the not so good is having
taste. ie for instance you could be simply red (apologies
for the easy target) and send in a demo and i'm always
going to think it's totally shit in spite of its technical
'proficiency'. having said that there's little that
sounds like that. but what i'm saying in an around-about
way is that it doesn't matter if i don't think something's
that good; if you really love what you're doing then
that is all that matters........there is absolutely
no point in making music that you think will help you
to get signed..........second-guessing what people want
to hear is a completely fruitless exercise as it is
almost completely impossible to predict what people
want to hear; by the time people actually get to hear
that music it's more than likely that it's old-hat and
most importantly you will never stumble upon something
that is truly fresh and exciting.
want to try and finish
the bulk of what we've started, which may sound obvious
but there you go.......so had what seemed like a pretty
unfruitful day on 'how to disappear'.......try and get
it away from that band thing with an acoustic guitar,
which may have been alright when we were making the
bends, but let's face it has been done to death by both
us and every tom, dick and harry guitar band. went down
a few cul-de-sacs.........all part of the process.
today however has
been a quite different affair. still on the same song.
jonny found the one chord thing; it's to be played by
the strings(to be recorded soon).....in fact jonny has
spent much of the last two weeks scoring and arranging
strings in his room; which is a huge undertaking as
24 string players are going to be playing precisely
what he has scored and these people are professionals....thom
has this evening just done a wonderful vocal and the
song is beginning to go another way. bad day, good day,
good cop, bad cop.
'dollars and cents'
is a track that originated out of a 'jam' from copenhagen
- it's good but because there was no arrangement, no
musical decisions could be made on it.........well now
it has an arrangement.....thom did some backing vocals
and a bit of guitar, jonny put his string arrangement
on, i did a little moog and the song is really going
somewhere. will write something more substantial over
slow day as it often
is on mondays. tape machine broke-down in the main room.
thom and jonny did some drum programming.....more work
in the other studio on 'dollars and cents' -- percussion
and a guitar. not that interesting but the following
might be....michael eavis knows how to throw the grandest
and greatest party in the world.....glastonbury is the
don of all festivals..........but alas we are not playing
this year. there have been a few rumours flying around
that we are, so we thought we'd better say something
sooner rather than later. it would however be great
to play it another year.................
as keef once famously said. and so it does. well it
did today...........it's difficult to say whether we've
been here before, possibly not. and of course i m being
deliberately vague about the whole thing ......but sometimes
you have to be. anyway before one kneejerks and starts
saying all manner of things you have to let the proverbial
dust settle. sorry but you can only be so open.
sore heads all round,
but things are being sorted out, i think. while we 'negotiate'
nigel has taken the opportunity to set the studio upstairs
for mixing. 'you and whose army' is put up and he starts
to mix. sounds good. have to redo my guitar which is
fun as it feels a little like playing live. thom continues
work on going through and sampling sections from this
dat of sounds that we made last night......nothing too
strenuous as i think we are tiring a little. it always
happens like this. some weeks seem way more productive
than others and probably are but the secret is not to
get freaked out.....just keep going and it will return.
meanwhile jonny 'haydn' greenwood continues to arrange
bits and pieces are
added to 'kinetic' - phil sets up his electric kit triggering
samples, it works well and could be the basis of an
interesting backing track. most of the day is spent
preparing for tomorrow's string day.
what an amazing day.
fantastic string arrangements by jonny and what players.
many many thanks are due to john lubbock(who conducted
and organised) and the string players from the orchestra
of st. john's, smith square. the whole session was the
complete antithesis to the ok computer experience; firstly
rather than de-camping to some london studio we used
an old abbey near us with the most fantastic acoustics
to record in. i think nigel was totally blown away by
the whole sound of it. but most importantly john and
the players were so enthusiastic about it all.....jonny
has certain things that he wants/wanted to try out that
aren't your usual string arrangaments. and rather than
dismiss his ideas ( which is what happened on the ok
computer session) they were open-minded enough to try
them. john lubbock even handed over the conducting reins
right at the end for jonny to try out an idea of his.
there is no way that he would have been allowed to have
done that at the abbey road session. brilliant players
we needed this session
after what has seemed an incredibly draining week.
monday morning and
everyone arrives looking completely fucked. got one
more week before we take a week off to recharge. nigel
wants to mix 'dollars and cents' now that there are
strings on it. he goes upstairs to work on it. downstairs
work continues on thom and jonny's drum thing from last
week. late night worries and weird symbiosis going on.
go on message board and someone asks us about 'innocents
civilian'. so once we get off the web we decide to put
up the master tape of it. can't find it anywhere which
is incredibly strange. it's got to turn up.
nigel got what seems
like a good mix of 'dollars and cents'. more work on
t+j's drum thing. did some playing this afternoon. upstairs
at the moment nigel and thom are doing 'something' to
kinetic. still can't find the master tapes to 'innocents
civilian' and beginning to worry. worst case scenarios
even being aired ie the u2 case when some of their rehearsal
tapes went missing and ended up being sold as bootlegs.cozzie
continues editing drums.
put 'true love waits'
up again....this is a song which has been kicking around
for four years or so, in fact we recorded a version
of it when we were making the last album and this is
something like approach number 561. but it is a great
song.....it's simply trying to find a way of doing it
which excites us. and we may have found a way, at the
very least we've found a new approach ........ basically
the track has the same vocal melody but the chords have
changed underneath it. so we'll come back to it and
see how it sounds. it may of course be utter crap and
we have so lost the plot on this song...............please
don't let that be the case........
days are a bit like being a child again...just throw
it all in and see what comes out. 'amateur hour' got
extended to four hours ....and dare i say it but i think
we're getting ever so sophisticated........the campfire,
the 'nice' logfire, the upside down table football,
the zx spectrum programmers. yes tonight all our two
hours of preparation came to fruition in this glorious
mess of a web broadcast. we had a few more cameras at
our disposal and our technical team has expanded from
one to two, so things were naturally going to be a step
up from the last time. we only wish that a few more
of you had been able to witness us getting wasted and
making complete and utter fools of ourselves........maybe
next time.....the great thing about these evenings for
us is that they are the antithesis of how i think we're
perceived ie angry, angsty young men....that's fine,
but you can't possibly be like that all the time (as
we've found out) because you'll be dead by the time
you reach your mid-30s which used to be a long way away
and is now still quite a way but certainly not unreachable.
about the demo thing as well .....i still haven't been
able to listen to everything sent............but there
is another idea, which is way more exciting, but i'm
not going to say what it is as i don't want the idea
we've got a week
off next week and who knows maybe in the next few weeks
we may even finish off the recording of the songs we've
been working on?.............
all back together
again, a week off and our studio tans have faded nicely.
everybody seems rested and refreshed for the next five
weeks..........nigel wants to get his teeth stuck into
mixing, so we decided to set up and record 'cuttooth'.
this at eight and a half minutes (by the end) is the
long one - did five or six takes of which a couple are
pretty good. will review further tomorrow. nigel and
jonny are at present getting stuck into going through
the various string parts on 'egyptian song'. good to
listen to 'cuttooth'
and it sounds fucking great. graham, our new engineer,
earns his spurs by doing some great tape editing......which
involves cutting the master tape at a particular place
in the song and attaching another piece of tape from
another version of the song. a bit more complicated
from the days when your tape recorder chewed up your
favourite 'madness' tape and you had to get out the
old tape splicing kit and when finally fixed there was
a section missing in the second chorus of 'embarassment'
......no very different from those days.
anyway coz fixed
up his fantastic driving bass thing....thom did a cool
synth pass...and it's quite fast for us.
more work on 'cuttooth'...........jonny
did his guitar thing...feedback,backwards guitar.......it
was good to hear. it sometimes seems as though not much
guitar has been played so far, which is probably bollocks.
there has been a fair amount, but in the quest for different
sounds we haven't first turned to the trusted and tried
six-string. thom did some work on a track upstairs,
which sounded great. lots of editing on the computer
to make the track in question more coherent. am i sounding
boring?....apologies, just tired that's all....on to
more good things
added to 'cuttooth'........sounds. its one of those
classic situations where the temptation is to continually
embellish whats on there and it's one of those songs
that you could get away with it. but in doing that,
you often lose the essence of what was great about it
in the first place. i guess the trick is to be absolutely
ruthless on what is added................so at five
in the morning having not savagely edited some of these
overdubs the track sounded too overcooked..............
please read "NO
LOGO" by Naomi Klein
had a funny old meeting
last friday..............definitely nursing a hangover
from it today.................
nigel was sidetracked
last week by 'cuttooth' so he really really wants to
do some mixing this week. 'egyptian song' then..........thom
plays bass and it sounds pretty much finished. i haven't
really been involved in this song so when i hear it
i think i'm able to be fairly objective about it.........it
has the feel of one of the tracks on the last mark hollis
album and it is definitely one of the highlights so
far. meanwhile downstairs.................jonny and
i are let loose on fucking up phil's drum sound. hours
of fun as coz might say. starts off by phil doing some
drums on 'kinetic'...................keep getting that
ground hogday sensation writing this diary. can't help
feeling that this must be an exceptionally boring read
except to maybe the diehard muso............
I froze up upstairs after Nigel has done a good mix
of 'Egyptian song'. pick up on 'i will' downstairs.......jonny
plays some cool organ on it. trying to do some rhythm
stuff on it.
thom and nige arrange some drums on 'morning bell' ...........downstairs
we continue trying to get rhythm stuff on 'i will'.
arranging it on the computer....taking a while to do,
but these things do.....
we spent alot of
time last week 'throwing shit' (jonny specifically said
he was sick of hearing these very words today) at 'i
will'. minor panics all round about completing things.....our
perennial fear/problem....'morning bell-copenhagen',
nigel did some very nice pro-tooling on some complete
gibberish that i played. phil did some drums downstairs
on the track that has no name.
heard a great story
on the six o'clock news on R4. great in the sense that
it reveals the true madness of one of our former prime
ministers......the pm in question is of course maggie
thatcher. ok.............so the spanish foreign minister
was reported as saying today that 'lady' thatcher should
undergo the same senility tests that senator 'butcher'
pinochet underwent a couple of weeks ago. this was triggered
by a particular event from last week; the aforementioned
butcher of chile was being wisked away by a chilean
airforce 707........the plane was apparently taxiing
down the runway preparing to take-off when with great
ceremony it was stopped in its tracks by a bearer of
gifts from thatch herself. she wanted to give a 'leaving'
present to the ex-dictator.......the gift in question
was a plate commemorating sir francis drake and the
english fleets' defeat of the spanish armada.........unbelievable.............or
maybe not so, as it's entirely consistent with the train
of thought that she's a pathetic anglophile, who never
gave a fuck about the rights of individual human beings.
and don't believe that bullshit that during the falklands
war she went to the aid of the islanders..........nothing
like a war to get a country behind you should you be
faltering in opinion polls and likely to lose the next
for the invective...it slips out occasionally, but when
you read books like naomi klein's 'no logo' you can't
help but feel that much of the mess we're in now is
part of the leagacy of the thatcher-reagan years.
good work on 'up
on the ladder' today...good drums and a much better
arrangement. will return tomorrow to things i am 'qualified'
to write about.
of the lurgee doing the rounds at the moment....but
also one of those days when the winter seems to have
been too long and you just feel like a bag of shit.
probably something to do with smoking more fags...gave
up for almost a year and am gradually being wheened
back on them. bollocks. this summer i'll cut down. the
thing is it's true what they say about giving up ....you
do feel so much better it's just that i have no will
power......better to mope around at home than around
here where good things are going on.
arrived at the studio
and some brilliant stuff had been done last night. cozzie
finished off his amazing bass thing on the song with
no name......bass musos won't believe it. jonny did
some cool guitar on 'up on the ladder'. after yesterday
it was nice to do some playing ...the sun shone and
it feels like spring is on its way. more things on 'up...'
what a fucking week........sometimes
i feel like the nature of this band is that we have
to do things the hard way......to use a terrible football
cliche......snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat................fucking
hell ron, thank god all weeks aren't like this, otherwise
it would be early baths.......not that i'm going to
elaborate any further...........the only thing that
need concern anyone is that the songs sound fucking
ace on the whole......nicely diverse.
i'll write much more
next week and apologies for the excessive use of the
there's a line drawn.....above
which are the names of tracks finished bar mixing.....and
below, those nearly completed. for the first time the
tracks below and above the line are equal in number.
that was the state of play at 5am friday morning. 'knives
up' was complete. i was telling a mate over the w/end
about 'knives out' and how it was started in copenhagen
on 10/3/99.......some 373 days later we finally finished
it.............a ridiculously long gestation period
for any song..........naturally my mate thought that
having taken so long on a piece of music it would be
some sort of magnum opus, a kind of paranoid android
to the power of ten..................... the song is
probably the most straight ahead thing that we've done
in years......and that might explain why we took so
long on it. i'm a real believer that bands as they become
more successful often lose the ability to do straight
ahead stuff well...... the need to embellish tracks
with melodies and sounds becomes imperative. and often
in doing so the song loses its essence especially if
it was written on acoustic guitar. but i think we've
done alright on 'knives out'.........
thom's got a busy
old week this week........most of the finishing touches
are vocal things. i'm trying to get my head around some
new software called logic which seems to be what all
the right programmers are using...........the manual
is about the thickness of a hardback edition of 'war
and peace'.........he's singing along to 'fastrack'.
he's hyperactive as well....it's 1.30am..fantastic..
it, no more..............not another drop of alcohol,
in this case vintage cava, is going to pass my lips
until next time............... i'm in the epicentre
of one mutha of a hangover................ in fact the
last time i felt like this i never drank gin again and
that was 14 years ago.............it's evil stuff. my
father rang to tell me i reminded him of himself when
he used to drink a bit.........maybe hangovers are hereditary..........alcoholism
probably is...........it was my birthday, we took the
evening off and drank....and drank. i did a run down
to majestic got the booze and issued strict instructions
that no one was to leave until everything was finished.................and
so it was......anyway enough of the fug.
we've been back a
week after a two week layoff. finishing the large number
of songs off
is the priority.......and would you adam 'n eve it but
we're so nearly there. nigel is booked into the studio
on wednesday to mix and we start playing together/ rehearsing
on wednesday week for the live shows, not knowing how
the fuck we're going to put most of these songs over
so what i'm actually
saying is that the recording part of this record will
be finished in a couple of days......but you know if
we're true to form in our behaviour over the last year,
then you might finally hear something in the autumn
of '01............after arguments over track-listing,
running orders, etc.........who'll be the first to suggest
the quadruple album mixed in surroud sound? ....................might
throw it in there myself to stir things up a bit.....the
running order for an album is so important...... i don't
think you have any idea how vital it is until you actually
fuck it up which we did big time on the first record.....for
'ok computer' it was a nightmare, agendas had been set
and at one time it was like bloody horse-trading.............
"if you want 'let down' on the record then it only
makes sense if 'electioneering' is on there too"......maybe
it won't be such a torrid experience this time........somehow
i don't think so and that's probably right anyway.
there's been a couple
of articles recently in the press speculating what's
up with us....the one in melody maker sent a journo
down to oxford to snoop around......he or she was apparently
outside each of our houses on a kind of indie 'stakeout'....
and the piece ultimately was very flattering, but you
know this is a non-story............yes we go food shopping
and fucking hell would you believe it we actually walk
down the street in broad daylight........and what's
more we've been known to sometimes break into a smile......the
other was in the grauniad on friday, entitled 'why are
we waiting?' again very nice and for the record, you
won't have to wait too long now. but please don't waste
column inches on mere speculation about when and what
the album will be like.........all we've ever claimed
is that the records will be different...... anyway if
the truth be told we don't actually know. i've gone
on way too long in this stream of alcohol induced consciousness
and i must end before i write something even more stupid
like offering that melody maker journo a handbags at
dawn duel - see you at shotover a week on monday with
your best louis vuitton..6am be there.
viva la lucha and
good luck and respect to all the anti-imf and world
bank protesters in washington this w/end, in fact go
to thom's page and there are a couple of links to some
relevant sites about what's going down.
to june 8.......a long time
well, well, well....it's
been a while .......so here's a short one to ease us
all back into it....i've written quite a bit but never
sent anything.........................it feels a bit
like that letter you never dared send ....the one you've
just written but you don't entirely trust it's very
words......so no point inflicting those words on anyone
else.......i'm sure we've all been there......of course
i realise that that conflicts with the very nature of
this 'diary', but it's all about confidence...some days
are better than others. actually the truth is that at
such a crucial time of the album........tracklisting,
rehearsals, titles, arguments and full on scraps......i
probably haven't been at my most objective........there
is however one cert in my mind....i fucking love this
record now........and that's not me attempting to whip
others into a kind of mass marketing aren't we great
type frenzy...........it's the god's honest truth, governor..........but
before i can write anymore i'm going to conflab with
the others so that we can get our story straight.........here's
an idea............... it looks as though alastair campbell
has made a few errors in judgement over the handling
of his pm's media engagements recently and might want
to seek further employment elsewhere in an effort to
save some of his rapidly dwindling credibilty......and
maybe, just maybe he could add some 'spin' to us radiohead
fellas...........that would be ace to see campbell doing
interviews for us.........tight-lipped, stern and fending
off the press ..............'listen sonny if you ask
this lot another question about why they always seem
such a miserable bunch of bastards i will personally
make sure you never hear another record of theirs again...........and
for the record meeting people IS easy.........................
ah yes that would be just fine..........no more questions
as to how you got the name of the band, or what you
thought of creep now some 7 years after its release....actually
to be honest the interviews done so far seem to be of
a different calibre compared to last time round........so
consequently they're not or at least have not been so
far too much of an effort ...........but that might
also have something to do with us and our new-found
spirit of glasnost.prost.
will write something
more at the w/end. we're off on tour on monday...................
apologies for the last entry
and the half-arsed attempt at some humour.......very
embarassed re-reading it. that's what comes from having
listened to the album twice in succession at half three
in the morning....... and deciding to post something
up...............so we leave tomorrow for france and
the first show in arles on tuesday........very nice....will
write some more from a tour bus in europe.
we had to cancel the vaison
show............so firstly apologies to everyone who
had tickets and were looking forward to the gig......we'd
even got the set list done with different new songs
from last night and soundchecked them..........and what
an amazing place.....a roman theatre like last night
in arles. the freak rain was of course to blame.......the
stage had a good three inches of the stuff from a twenty
minute downpour and with another storm forecast for
9.30pm and alot of the equipment still damaged from
last night's storm in arles the decision was made to
pull the show.........somehow we got away with it last
night but today just seemed as if it wasn't meant to
be.......sorry again to those in vaison .....
so we're now en route to barcelona
for the first show with a roof which may prove to be
a fortunate thing judging by the lightning storms we're
presently driving through....in spite of all this strange
weather i have to say that it is so good to be on tour
in southern europe.....quote of the tour so far from
coz who said yesterday whilst dining amongst the roman
ruins........"this is the best holiday i've ever
been on!".......which may not sound very unusual...
but within the context of radiohead touring again is
something close to extraordinary.....see you in barcelona.
it's sunday so it must be
milan and the royal palace - the king of italy once
lived here in this monza palace........... in fact we've
just been shown the theatre where he reputedly threw
huge orgies. it's quite a place. barcelona and last
night's show in frejus were immense......barca started
a little weirdly with us and the audience getting used
to the teatro tivoli, the most un-rock'n roll of venues(extremely
ornate however).......eveyone stayed pinned to their
seats until we returned for an encore. our day off in
barca consisted of eating and drinking vast amounts,
broken up by a two hour siesta...ideal.....the only
downer to the frejus gig was when i announced on stage
that england had beaten germany in the football through
a shearer goal.....bad move this was zidane country
and very partisan to boot.....nevertheless a great audience.
i picked italy in our euro 2000 sweepstake so as far
as i'm concerned we're playing on home turf tonight....it's
arrived this morning to play
the first of two gigs in the lycabetus theatre, which
is apparently near the parthenon. no site of any greek
antiquities as of yet, even from the top floor of the
hotel.........this city seems huge and apparently we're
situated in what a local described as a kind of no-man's
land......lots of traffic outside the window......and
parked cars everywhere which is explained by the fact
that they operate a system here whereby car licences
are issued for different days of the week in order to
alleviate the serious traffic congestion ie you have
a car and you're only allowed to drive that car on mondays,
wednesdays, fridays and sundays...........what happens
of course is that if you've got the dosh you then buy
another car that you can drive on tuesdays, thursdays
had an amazing time in florence..........played open-air,
right in the heart of the old town at the piazza san
croce..........it doesn't get better than this....went
on and played in thessaloniki last night at the earth
theatre..... a beautiful modern amphitheatre which had
actually been dug out of the hill that overlooks that
city.....a brilliant audience who exhibited great patience
at hearing a set with nine new songs and a band which
ignored repeated requets for creep(....understandable
on their part, the requests that is, as this was our
first visit) and pop is dead (..... cheeky bastards....)
getting a little worried about
how easy it is to drink vast amounts of alcohol on tour...kick-started
by the lovely laika people who apart from playing some
great shows with us also happen to make the greatest
margaritas outside of mexico itself......they are dangerous
the new songs are working
pretty well now in the set....'in limbo's still a little
tricky but it's more than made up by the way 'the national
anthem' and 'everything in its right place' is going
..........our crew by the way are doing an immense job
working outside in incredible heats while we swan around
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