A lot of time has been and gone since I was last in the studio, recording. It has been over a year since I first walked through the doors here at Robinwood Studios. A long time ago now, with a lot happening in that time.
I met Steve a few weeks ago now, had a drink with him (soft drink for me) where he gave me the low down on what was going to happen. The plan has been that Steve is now concentrating on getting the drums down for the parts I have already recorded previously, with new drummer Grant Gilmour. At the meeting Steve reiterates what he wants from me.
“I want this to be as live as possible, I need to build everything from the rhythm section, I need you and Grant to lead the way and be tight”.
“Ok, what do you want me to learn Steve?” I asked
“Well, practice everything we’ve done so far but I’m going to be throwing a lot of new stuff at you in the studio, because I want that spontaneity.” Said Steve chuckling to himself.
My face went white. I literally wanted to throw the switch there and then. But Steve reassured me that it was well with in my powers and that if anything I should just enjoy the sessions and not worry. So I didn’t, I went away from the meeting and practiced and warmed up. It was convenient that I had just had a gig with Project Albin a few weeks before, so I was in a practice routine, I just had to up the tempos and get back into counting alternate, weird time signatures.
As I was leaving the meeting, to catch the train home Steve shouted. “Bring somert warm to wear, it’s like Antarctica at Billy’s studio”.
Steve and I met Grant and Billy at the studio, they had been setting up and placing microphones around Grant’s drum kit. Which let me tell you is huge, think Neil Peart’s kit from Rush, but without all of the exotic or electronic percussion. Lot’s of toms, from the really high pitched to the big floor toms, a proper prog kit.
Oh my, Billy and Steve weren’t wrong. Grant is a behemoth on the kit, an animal, he plays some of the most complex beats and drum fills as if it is effortless. I looked over a few times when we were playing, and I was absolutely astounded at his ability. I must also say, Grant is a great guy too. I had never met him before and he came over shook my hand and we fell into conversation straight away.
The forecast laid out by Steve was true to his word. The studio was freezing. Billy had put a whole host of heaters in the live room, which was nice and toasty, but if you strayed anywhere else in the building you needed the full north/south pole expedition gear.
There was a little tension in the air during this session, something that I hadn’t witnessed between Steve and Billy before. It all blew over once we started and was nothing serious, just funny to observe. Steve has a great sense of humour; he doesn’t take himself too seriously and has a penchant for the mischievous when surrounded by someone who is being serious. Billy is a great guy, who also has a great sense of humour, but has a business first philosophy, which is great. But, when these personalities don’t click like today there is the sense of a schoolmaster (Billy) and cheeky schoolboy (Steve) dynamic.
We ran over a couple of things then started recording a few of the sections. This music is difficult to play, but it was all variations of riffs that I had played before, so I felt in complete control.
After about an hour and a half into it, Grant started to look ill. He had mentioned at the beginning of the session that he felt really ill and that he didn’t want to let anyone down and didn’t want to cancel. Now Grant had reached a point where he couldn’t carry on, so Steve called it a day. I was quite disappointed, and so was Steve as we were really beginning to get into it. But it couldn’t have been helped, I hope that Grant can make a speedy recovery. We all made plans to come back and finish the recordings on 28/12, in that awkward period between Christmas and New Year.
Steve and I went to the pub, feeling sorry for ourselves a bit. Steve was a tad disappointed that he had not achieved what he wanted during the session. He stated that although it was very of noble for Grant to have made it, despite being ill. He shouldn’t have turned up. It would have saved us all some time and money, which is a fair way of looking at things. Not only could he have done himself some damage, making himself worse, but the session was a bit of a wash out.
Should this be the theme for recording Throwing The Switch? … Reschedule.