(above) Serious-looking band pose for Paul Cox.
20-22 May 1991
Demos at Ric Rac Studio in Wortley.
Set off for warm up dates in a shaky van
Bath Moles Crowd stepping up on stage to reset Mike’s effects pedals. Apparently Hugh Cornwell was at the bar.
Crystal Palace Bowl.
As a sweetener for joining a new tour agency, we get on a major bill with the Pixies.
We picnic in the band enclosure, then have hours to wait for the Milltown Brothers and Boo Radleys to finish. We get no soundcheck. The audience are kept far away from the stage by a small lake but are still dancing. A large contingent have turned up with purple balloons. Carl’s in good voice but forgets the words to the first song of our short set but otherwise it went really well. We wander about afterwards while Ride play, and sign a lot of T-shirts (turns out we sell 395 on the day!).
Carl and I meet Robert Smith from the Cure and Miki from Lush then gather for Daily Mirror photos and an MTV interview with Paul King. We look awkward on the TV, all hand gestures and stroking chins. Our friends have got into the A&M marquee for free food and drinks. We watch the Pixies and enjoy the full rider.
‘Summer Ball’ at London Goldsmiths College, with Ian McNabb in support.21 June
Two more big shows with the Pixies. Tonight Teenage Fan Club are the extra support.
The barrier broke during the Pixies third song and the gig has to be stopped.
Chatted to Charles (Black Francis) for a long while. We talk about the chances of him coming up to Leeds to meet up with us and the Pale Saints.
Below us on the bill are The Real People who take the piss out of us by printing business cards for us: CUD – Cunts Under Disguise.
Our first A&R meeting goes badly. We get our wrists slapped for mocking A&M in a Melody Maker interview. Manager Jim and A&R Martin are kept out while we talk to the gnomish head of A&R, David Rose. He’s hard to relate to, set up from signing Sting but confused by our recordings and new music in general. He tunes into a country and western TV channel and fails to convince us this is the music of now.
We catch the Pixies last show at the Brixton Academy (and, it turns out, their last show for over a decade). Got invited backstage and got drunk.
Hungover we’re woken up and heavily made up to look alive for a photo session with Paul Cox. We look through his files at Betty Boo, and Stuart Adamson in his undies.
Meet up with prospective producer, Nigel Gilroy afterwards.31 July – 1 August
Two very tiring but useful days of pre-production with Nigel Gilroy at Woodhouse Studios, rearranging the first ep songs.
In the studio to record ‘Oh No Won’t Do’. The place is luxurious compared to what we’re used to, with four floors, satellite TV, free arcade games (Oh, the days before the PS2!) It feels a long session for a single and means a lot of hanging around.
CUD join Jim and Nigel for promoter, Jon Beast’s birthday party at Camden Underworld. It’s a chance to meet up again with our mates the Family Cat and New FADs.
The single isn’t finished! It’s down to Pete Townshend’s Eel Pie Studio in Richmond for mixing. It takes a lot of persuading for Nigel to make the band sound rock. His mixes are radio-friendly. A&M are happy but feel ‘Ariel’ is a better lead song.
I head to Stanfords, Covent Garden to select an antique map for the background to a single insert. Then I leave it on the tube and have to go back for another copy. Groan!