(above) Outside Fish’s studio
Up to Edinburgh to record the album at Fish’s studios next to his country home. Fish met us and gave us the tour. He’s friendly, honest and generous and later takes us down to his local pub (complete with a Fish gold disc on the wall!) for whiskies and anecdotes till 1am.
We don’t achieve much the first day. We’ve all brought our bikes up to explore the quiet roads and cycle tracks. Steve, Carl and I chase rabbits on our bikes before returning for one of Fish’s wife, Tammi’s delicious home-cooked meals.
The studio is fresh with country air, natural daylight and houseplants, a most tranquil setting. We’re also, thankfully well away from the interference of A&M.
Carl is still up till late writing lyrics for the songs we are to record this month.
Five guides are done, still slow progress, but we’re getting it right.
All the guides and a couple of drum tracks in the bag. Carl discovers Fish’s satellite TV and surfs until he finds rated movies ‘Psycho IV’ and ‘Strange Brew’.
Steve’s got tonsillitis so I jump into to start recording bass earlier than expected.
4 down, 7 to go. With Steve still recuperating, I spend most of today on the difficult ‘Slipaway’, eventually compromising and looping part of the chorus to get it absolutely tight with the drum click track.
‘E.S.P.’ proves harder than expected. Despite wanting to continue into the night, Al and I join the others going to see Chumbawumba in Edinburgh.
‘My Need to hurry’, Al’s favourite, goes through changes and proves a tough bass part for me to play. It’s still not exactly matching the new guitar part to Mike’s satisfaction. Mike steps in to play the part himself to my discomfort. I put off attempting the toughest track of them all, ‘Tourniquet’ until I’ve had time to unwind and get over the low of being replaced.
(above) Al Clay and band pose by mixing desk.
Al flies to London to check out his next project, Pere Ubu while we go on a pub crawl in Edinburgh.
I get invited out by Fish to go bowling and watch ‘Falling Down’.
The Scottish Sun newspaper reports that the CUD band have been sighted cycling around Haddington. The Edinburgh Evening News comes over to take photos of us with a local lollipop lady as proof.
After the break, I’m refocussed and get ‘Tourniquet’ done and dusted. I’m in a much better frame of mind. In the meantime, lead guitar parts have been going well, with Al on the ball.
(above) Band on studio monitors
With Mike and Carl back in Leeds seeing their loved ones, Steve and I hang out with Fish and Tammi drinking whisky in Fish’s kitchen while he tells tales of Keith Moon.
Carl’s in a miserable mood and wants to take time off to see his girlfriend when he should be recording vocals. Al has a row with him.
Jim comes up to hear the songs. He likes them but is the bearer of bad tidings from A&M (when do we get good news from them?!) They don’t want to release anything new from us till next year. Sitting on these recordings for half a year, and not being able to tour in support is shit.
Steve and I fill time while guitar and vocals are being recorded doing a record review for Radio Forth. I get chastised afterwards for having negative opinions about the mainly Scottish bands. Fish is surprised I made it out of the car park alive. I was bored with the music and annoyed at the bland diplomacy of the other reviewers so I said what I thought about the songs.
We listen through the whole unmixed album and agreed on any necessary overdubs and alterations including deleting the abysmal backing vocals Steve and I recorded for ‘I Reek of Chic’.
A day is used up when the band can’t agree on a keyboard part Mike has laid down for ‘My Need to Hurry’. I think it sounds like Shakatak. It takes till midnight before everyone else admits they also think the time spent on the part wasted.
Fish organises a leaving party. (The mixing is to be done elsewhere.) Seven gallons of dodgy homebrew cider is unleashed and we dip into a barbecue.
Live at Leeds free Heineken Music Festival. A crowd, perhaps 15,000 strong are dancing right out of the tent, loud and up for up. Great to be onstage again. Don’t know when the next tour will be.29 Jul
The last week we have to stay close to the studio in case Al suggest any surprising controversial overdubs, like his own backing vocals (too late!) and synth parts.
We celebrate tonight the completion of recording with a bottle of Amarone di Valpolicella. It’s a sad farewell to Fish and Tammi and we never did agree to let him to do some backing vocals!
In Worthing with Jamie Hewlett and mates. He has an idea to start a ‘supergroup’ with model, Sarah Stockbridge as Tank Girl on vocals, Graham Coxon on guitar, me on bass and Senseless Things’ Cass on drums. (Shame it never happened!)
Meet up with CUD at Dave Stewart’s Church Studio in London Crouch End. Al has finished mixing ‘Waving and Drowning’ sooner than expected.
Join Carl and his old schoolmate, DJ Martin Green and his ex-girlfriend, fashion designer, Pam Hogg. Pam can get us into any members’ bars. Fred’s is exclusive high-priced rubbish. Hollywood Babylon in Mayfair is better. Kevin Rowland and Carl lookalike, Mick Hucknall are here as are Victoria and Maggie from Fuzzbox.
While Al slaves away on more mixes, we’re making the most of being in the capital. Tonight it’s a birthday party for Jez Utah Saint at the Embassy Hotel, then on to Martin Green’s Smashing Club, bumping into Victoria again and James from EMF.
Last day of mixing (We have found the time to listen – honest!). David Rose forbids Paul Adam from hearing the mixes. He doesn’t want anyone whose opinion we trust to get involved, and Paul is moving on to rivals Polydor. His new role offers us a potential escape route from the increasingly unsupportive A&M.
Jim, his new wife, Julie, and press agents, Mick and Louise join us for a listen in no particular order. In the £1,000 a day studio, we check out the quality on Steve’s mono tape deck.
Big event at Leeds Town and Country Club for the ‘Off the Street’ project. Only a small core of CUD fans sit through sets by Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Mission. They are outnumbered by goths. Despite this and a missile cutting Carl’s forehead, we play well. Here we are playing free for a charity gig, but the goths won’t cheer up! Still, it’s a good way to celebrate two months’ work on an album.22 Aug
On behalf of the band I buy a bike pump for Fish, a Yorkshire cookbook for Tammi and jewellery for the ever-helpful assistant, Moira.The band take a break.
CUD meet Jim at Da Marios Pizzeria to discuss the album title and sleeve. We fail to choose either but agree on a method of persuading A&M to agree with us.
Go to see The Breeders then hang out with the Weddoes and their various girlfriends.
CUD get back together again to rehearse and it’s like old times. Carl’s removed his mouldy possessions from the room, I fuck up the keys, Carl talks about sandwiches. We do, however, agree on an LP title, my suggestion, ‘Showbiz’.
No surprises… A&M are being awkward about B-side recording. They want them all run off in one go so they can arrange a sinister 2-CD single pack, which we hate as a chart gimmick not just because it rips off the fan but also because it swallows up so many songs.7 Oct
The band meet at Leeds City Art Gallery to seek inspiration for a sleeve. Mike suggests a neon-sign set up which we agree to investigate.
Carl buys an Italian house import 12” by Lost Tribe. It samples ‘Purple Love Balloon’!8 Oct
A&M decide that ‘Neurotica’ should be the first single. This track that shook us when we first heard Al’s ideas for a Def-Leppard-like chorus vocal has grown on us.
Jim comes over to our rehearsal rooms. He explains that our ‘glam’ image is confusing the heck out of America and the continent and we argue over control of our own look. Carl, rightly, is most vociferous. We never come to any conclusion. We never play much music today either. We’re ahead with working out B-sides however.
‘My Need to Hurry’ is dropped from the L.P. It’s a good song but I can’t say I’m not pleased, since Mike played bass on this.
CUD are invited to Leeds Metro University to watch Curve by Phil Ames, working for support, Swervedriver.
FON studios, Sheffield, to record six B-sides. Speaker amps break down, so no recording is done till 5pm. All the guides are put down.
Six basslines to do to stay on schedule, but by dinner, only one is complete. Mike has specific, demanding ideas on how the parts should be played and I’m asking myself, “What am I doing here? I’m not a bass player!” I catch up by midnight with four out the way, including the complex ‘Fabian Deed’. Mike records the bass for ‘My Keyhole Don’t Keep Secrets Anymore’. I’m not feeling up to the job.
‘1 W.G.S.’ has turned out pretty good and is the first of the B-sides to be completed. We will overrun.
Mike brings up my ‘lack of musicianship’ at a meeting with Jim, and it’s decided I should take lessons. Mike hits a nerve when he says I’ll probably quit playing the bass when the band splits. The experience of working with Mike makes this more likely.
Start rehearsals for our next tour, talking sequencers and gear to mimic the overdubs on ‘Showbiz’. A&M USA haven’t agreed on releasing ‘Showbiz’ yet. We felt we’d recorded our most commercial album yet they refuse to take it. The label don’t like the B-side mixes, but then we’re not so happy with them either.
The label wastes £3,000 on useless, piss-taking Mount Rushmore remixes of ‘Neurotica’.
Album photo session in Rodley with David Tong. Mike still dresses like a bouncer.
A&M Xmas party. Sting shows up but hides in the ‘Star Bar’, where we’re not invited.
Photo session in Leeds City Varieties. None of these ever get used.