Drums and Wires
I remember buying the XTC album Drums and Wires years ago, 1978 I think it was; it’s the album with making ‘Plans for Nigel’ on it [XTC’s breakthrough single moment]. The track that ends side one, ‘Roads Girdle the Globe’, is a favourite of mine, and contains probably the finest guitar solo in the world. Researcher’s claim [it says so in the Chalkhills and Children biography…which is brilliant, incidentally] that it was played and recorded randomly, practically by accident, by Andy Partridge without him being able to hear the track in playback mode. I guess he was just mucking about as you do and it somehow managed to happen at the right time on the right track. It’s an amazing frenetic jaggedy take and it sits just so. It’s brilliant. I’d also like to think that we can get some similar reel to real gremlins working in our favour here at Analogue Cat Studios, so high on the hills above Mosley [where it rains every day of the year and the year after that so they tell me]. I’m all for happy accidents. I also like the rain, and it’s raining when Rob and I arrive just after tea but before supper.
We load in a set up the drums. Rob directs the microphone placements and revisits a few classic hand signals of old. Neil and I find great amusement in this and get to reminiscing upon the recording of previous VP records notably ‘Ironing the Soul’, which was the last time we worked and played together. We are now officially in the buzzed up to be here at last zone and enjoying it. The laptop syncs up and the tape machine kicks into action both with relative ease. We have a couple of dry runs, mark a few levels and then we’re off for food. I’m in the en suite room, the artist’s number one thinking room as I abandon the facts and return to Ambrosia once again. I’ve bought my lucky copy of Billy Liar for inspiration and prop it up on the desk in the control room. Rob forgot to bring his Elvis picture [which I’m glad about in truth though I’d appreciate if you didn’t tell him as he loves The King and wont have a word said against him…Oh well…at least its The King and not The Boss…that would would totally finish me off].