(above) Mike at Woodhouse for the Asquarius sessions.
13-17 Jan 1992
After rather a long break and bunch of meetings, CUD are sent to Jacobs Studios in Farnham, Surrey for a week to record the next single, our choice, ‘Through the Roof’. Langford’s first mix lacks the airy acoustic guitar of the demo that lifted the song. We try again with satisfactory results. (The Langford ‘Strongroom mix’ appears later on a Leeds charity compilation, Off the Street.) Despite this hurdle, we’re getting on well with ‘Jon Boy’. Other recordings ‘Easy’ and ‘Pink Flamingo’ are turning out just great.
With a lot of time to spend hanging round waiting for rough mixes, Carl and Steve choose to stay in bed. We over-eat with home-cooked dinners, watch a lot of crap TV and rack up a £250 bill at the local off license.
Farnham proves a bit of a bore. It’s a 45-minute walk to this, England’s third richest town and there’s not much to do when we get there. Friday night we coax our way into the Art College where they have a late-opening bar (till 11.15pm!) A boring jazz band play, the crowd sit around, then the police raid.
Jon’s mixed ‘Possession’ while we’ve been away. It seems weaker than we expected. Then we realise an important guitar part is missing.
We’re back in Castleford Woodlands for the recording. Steve’s finished his drum parts. ‘Spanish Love Song’ proved a tough one for both Steve and Carl to complete for personal reasons. The recording seems so much more moving knowing what was going on at the time.
Seven of the 12 basslines are under my belt – two recorded for the first time with fingers rather than plectra. ‘Possession’ makes me sweat, nostrils flare and I’m feeling hyper afterwards. Mike shakes my hand and admits I played it better than he could (though he also remarks that he’s out of practice on bass.) It meant a lot to me to hear this.
We hear that apparently it’s 99% likely we’ll get the NME cover for the next single. (Doesn’t happen!)
Secret show as support at Leeds Duchess of York. It feels we’re on far too early, too sober and the gig feels average as a result.
Another long but successful day in Woodlands. Mike’s brother, Mark comes in to record harmonica on ‘Soul Food’.
Recording ‘Once again’.
Just me, Jon and Dave in studio on Valentine’s Day. Something’s lacking in ‘Magic Alex’. We borrow a brass section from another studio. The ‘Fantom Horns’ are just what the song craved. Well, we think so, and wonder what the rest of the band will think when they come back in a few days time to hear it! Langford adds his own voice as the sound of Leeds ‘Acme’ Taxis.
‘Rich and Strange’ and ‘Magic Alex’ are sounding great. ‘Possession’ still lacks the oomph it has live. Susie Honeyman from The Mekons adds violin to the gentle ‘Once Again’.
Martin Tower and David Rose from A&M A&R turn up to say next to nothing. We assume they don’t think much to the recordings.
Steve and Mike are back to help ‘mind shop’.
Carl returns to keep everyone up late. We head out to what we understand is Jimmy Page’s local pub. He doesn’t show up. Afterwards the atmosphere is buzzing when we play all the rough mixes loud in the control room.
Carl absent-mindedly scratches ‘CUD’ into the quarter-of-a-million pound automated Neve mixing desk. Duh!
Last mixes for the album at Metropolis Studios in London.
Philip Bond, Glyn Dillon and Si Spencer from Deadline comic turn up to do a CUD interview. Glyn insists we add to his cheesy collection of toenails in a jar. (For some reason, this jar is actually stolen later!)
David Rose turns to hear the album so far and this time he seems much more satisfied.
We still don’t have an album title. The band stay up till 2.30am debating it. Contenders are ‘Square Hole’ (with a photo of a squirrel as the cover), ‘This is not a pipe’, ‘Super Pipe’, ‘Ignore the Hobbit’ (a not-so-veiled joke on the gnomic David Rose), ‘Pure Class and Sheer Perfection’ (as a fan letter described us!), but none of these are agreed. I come up with a title mixing ‘The Square Album’ and Carl’s current enthusiasm for the original soundtrack to ‘Hair’ – ‘Asquarius’.