I’ve just written a comment on my last post in reply to Nick “The Drum Doctor” Lauro, in which I talked about my previous two (almost three) recording studio disasters. I told him about my last time in a recording studio, way back in 1990 when I was living in Watford and was the lead singer and primary lyricist in a band called The Big Kiss (think Rio era Duran Duran or the short-lived Then Jericho). The short version of the story is: we spent 10 hours in the recording studio, came home, listened to a tape of the rough mix, broke up the band, the keyboard player emigrated to California and I came back home to West Kirby.
The two tracks we recorded are some of the earliest examples of Gary Stewart Smith (I refer to myself in the third person only to boost my Google stats) as singer and lyricist. The first – Bullet to Heaven – is about a guy who falls out with his bandmates over some innocuous comment he makes in the pub, who then goes home and blows his head off. I wrote the lyric (to an existing band track) one night after we’d had a rehearsal, decamped to the pub for a cheery post-rehearsal chat, and made some innocuous comment… musicians are such sensitive souls.
The second track was called What you want me to be – there’s a story to this one too. And it goes something like this:-
Even though Nick Thomas (the keyboard player) and I were prolific songwriters, the other two members of the band – drummer Chris Steele and guitarist Jim Somethingorother – decided that they didn’t want to do Smith/Thomas numbers, but wanted to be a part of the whole songwriting process. Kind of akin to Harrison and Starr saying they didn’t much fancy playing on these songs that were only Lennon/McCartney compositions.
So Nick and I graciously took a step back and said off you go then, George and Ringo. At the last rehearsal, the four of us had recorded a basic backing track, based on a riff that the guitarist had come up with. We all came back to the flat that Nick and I shared, whereupon Chris (the Ringo to our John and Paul) locked himself in the bathroom for about an hour. When he eventually surfaced, he handed us the lyrics with a triumphant flourish, a sort of “take that, Lennon, you Jealous Guy! And that, McCartney, you err… Frog Chorus!!”
As I (John Lennon) read through the six lines he had composed in those 60 minutes, I really had to grit my teeth to stop myself from laughing out loud. “What do you think then?”, Chris asked expectantly. “Err, yeah… it’s really umm…” – I struggled to come up with anything that wasn’t going to make me burst out laughing – “doesn’t quite scan though, does it? Do you mind if I tweak it just a little bit, here and there?” Chris then disappeared for another hour to write the second verse, while me and Nick ran to the kitchen, clutching our sides and weeping with uncontrolled mirth.
I’m still grinning at the thought even now, some twenty-odd years later. You know, I think I may still have the original manuscript somewhere – I’ll see if I can dig it out. The words themselves aren’t funny per se, it was the whole bathroom scenario – you really had to be there.
I can tell you all this now coz I’m sure Chris doesn’t read my blog. But Chris, if you do read my blog: sorry, but.. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!