I really didn’t know what to expect from today if I’m honest. I really didn’t know why Steve had invited me to this session in the first place. Yet, as I write this I am very thankful and grateful that he did. Today seemed to be all about getting back on track after the hiatus. Steve is clearly feeling the pressure, he is putting on himself to deliver this record. He has thrown away all self imposed deadlines as he stated that “Why should I impose a deadline on myself? This is an independent record, it will be ready when it’s ready.” Steve has started another teaching job, that coupled with a young family and an epic album, full of guest and session musicians to organise, I can see why he is feeling it a bit. But, I must say that my observation is when Steve’s back is against the wall, when the chips are down, he has this immense gift to be able to not feel the pressure and deliver to the highest order.
I caught the train into Todmorden and was met at the station by Steve, who introduced me to the extremely talented session vocalist, Elli Luha. We all piled into Elli’s compact car, which had TARDIS like space in the back for my large frame and long legs, and made our way to Robinwood Studios. My first impressions of Elli were that she is fantastic. Ok, by this point I couldn’t comment on her singing ability. But my first impressions are that she is a really lovely, warm and down to earth person, fallen on her luck with certain health conditions, yet positive, full of life and kind hearted.
Billy wasn’t expecting me, and quickly got a bit eager “We recording bass an all today Adam?”. I explained that I was just sitting in today observing Elli’s vocal session, that Steve had invited me and that I was very much looking forward to it.
I must confess that it was a bit of an unusual feeling, observing, tagging along on this recording session. It was a bit of a relief that I didn’t have to play to be honest. There were 3 guys here who had a lot more experience than me, who have a wealth of sessions on their C.V. Elli was telling me in between takes that she had gotten to the qualifying final of Eurovision in the 1980’s, telling me how charming Terry Wogan was. If I would’ve known Elli a bit better I would have definitely broken into my Wogan impression, that many have considered my party piece (my impression sounds nothing like him). Which led Steve to churn in, he has told me on a few occasions that he is going to compose a song for Eurovision. Steve struck a deal with Elli, that when he finished the song, would she sing it. All parties have agreed, so that is something to look forward to.
The session went really well, Elli has a fantastic voice, that I noticed straight away from the first DDR album, An Adolescent Fantasy Vol.1, where she sings the delicate composition Snowblind. Willing to experiment and try anything, Elli has the ability to sing anything and make it sound good. It was an honour to sit in and witness this performance and I thank Steve for giving me the opportunity to do so.
Halfway through the session a good friend of Steve’s Giles Hardwick came to tag along and observe the vocal session. Giles is real great guy, we started talking about music. He gave me some great things to think about, Alice Cooper for one. How Alice Cooper’s influence is there for all to see, yet he gets none of the plaudits. I think Giles is a musician, it was fairly obvious as he could hum different vocal intervals along to the music, mapping out harmonies alongside me in the control room.
After the session Steve, Giles, Elli and I went to the local pub. We were all talking about music and different things. The three of them have a lot of muso friends and network connections that are similar, which they were discussing. It did leave me thinking that music is a bit like the magic circle, in the sense that there are different levels of knowing people. It seems to me that to enter this circle you have to prove yourself, that you have the skills, that you’re professional, that you’re a nice guy, that you are willing to experiment and think outside of the box, that you are dependable. It also helps when someone vouches for you, like in the mafia. Giles and Elli have never heard me play, but as soon as Steve said here’s Adam he is a great bass player and musician I was accepted.