New Post

So … a new post. It’s the sort of thing I can only get away with once — but I think we’re all getting a bit tired of the hamster… sorry, Guinea Pig.

Posted in Uncategorized | 73 Comments

73 Responses to New Post

  1. Susie says:

    That’s a Guinea pig not a hamster 😉

    • Bruce says:

      You’re right — I wondered who’d be the first to spot that! TBH I realized it after I wrote it. It’s a long time since guineas were legal currency.

  2. BorisBrain says:

    I’ve just been reminded of the promo video for ‘The Only Flame in Town’. Despite this being from what EC described as ‘Our worst ever record’, the video seemed like a lot of fun – albeit locked in a very 80s time capsule.

    The band seemed to grace some exotic locations (Hawaii, Spain etc) for its videos, and ‘I can’t stand up for falling down’ also seemed like a hoot. So what – if any – promo videos do you fondly recall?

    • Bruce says:

      The “I Can’t Stand Up” video was pretty good for its comedy value that’s certain. The one I most fondly recall is one that EC pulled because he felt it might not show him in a flattering light. I’m not being coy — I promise I’ll share it with you in due course. The one I least fondly recall was the proposed video for “I Just Wanna Be Loved” where the idea was for EC to sit in a photo booth while a queue of anonymous people took it in turns to kiss him on the cheek. Three of the anonymous people were going to be the Attractions. I toyed with the idea of sticking my tongue in his ear — but in the end elected not to take part and sneaked off while no-one was looking– and the other two also bailed out in the end. The feature roles in “Only Flame” were presented to make up for the perceived slight.

    • Bruce says:

      Yes sir, that is indeed me — as you can tell from the exquisitely delicate fingering and the playing ahead of the beat:) I know the guy who posted that — his name’s Paul Wolfe. Check out this isolated bass track for Paperback Writer — there are one or two small similarities I hadn’t realized were there until now.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNvzhJ5Ho_w

    • Mike Miller says:

      Usually those isolated tracks show up when the 2″ analog masters are transferred to digital for re-mixing purposes. Don’t recall any re-mixed releases from TYM, only remastered tracks. If the guy has software to isolate instruments, that’s pretty amazing.

      • Bruce says:

        Can’t add any more info on that I’m afraid.

      • Paul Inglis says:

        The Paperback Writer bass track comes from a computer game called Rock Band. To make the game work the original multitracks are used – essentially the player operates a virtual bass, guitar or drums and tries to “play” along with the song correctly. Crazy, I know. There was a Beatles version of the game with 45 Beatles songs all from the multi tracks. Although the music files are encrypted someone figured out how to get around that.

        Pump It Up was also featured in Rock Band. You can also find Pete’s drums, Steve’s keys and Elvis spitting out the lyrics & guitar … somewhere “out there” on the internet.

      • Bruce says:

        There was a fame like Rock Band where the track plays, but the frets you hit are random and nothing to do with the music or playing the part right — you just have to hit frets in sync with the display on screen — completely counter-intuitive …and pointless!

      • I have the Beatles Rock Band game – in fact, I bought the PS3 system just so that I could play it. It’s true that it doesn’t teach you anything about how to play an actual guitar, but I found that it was actually more than a little bit educational in terms of rhythm and composition. On every Beatles song you can “play” either the bass, guitar, or drum part, and thereby it really demonstrates exactly where those parts fit in, rhythmically, within the overall song structure. And if you screw up – if you hit the wrong notes or fail to hit any note at all – you’re penalized with silence where your part is supposed to be, and THAT is instructive in and of itself in demonstrating the importance of each melodic or rhythmic line. The game is also beautifully animated with very creative animated interpretations of the Beatles’ songs.

      • Bruce says:

        I come on here to learn something every day — Rock Band — guinea pigs — Thank You All.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Rock Band…Never thought about that. A profitable reason to spool up those multi-track reels. I wonder if EC owns or is in control of the masters?

      • Bruce says:

        Well — given that ‘they’ took down someone playing along with Pump It Up off YouTube — good luck.

    • Mike Miller says:

      I’ll have to check it carefully for punch-in’s.

  3. Jerry Cohen says:

    Another topic no doubt better covered in your memoirs: The Attractions were initially supposed to play on half of King of America but only wound up on Suit of Lights (and a B-side or two). T-Bone Burnett said “it wouldn’t have been fair” to The Attractions to play on more of the record, a comment that always rankled me. Did you do sessions for the other tunes, but EC decided to use the other versions, or were you only called in for the one track?

    • Bruce says:

      I recall playing on Suit of Lights and Baby’s Got A Brand-New Hair-Do — and an attempt at a protoype version of Tramp the Dirt Down (which was then called Betrayal) on which drummer Jim Keltner complained that I was pushing the beat! I’ve never heard that T-Bone quote — and I can’t say that I understand it even now.

      • Jerry Cohen says:

        I love Brand New Hairdo, and I think Suit of Lights is the best-sounding thing on the record. I also think the Attractions live versions of Brilliant Mistake that I heard are superior to the album version…one man’s opinion.

      • Bruce says:

        Thanks, but as you know — it was the other man’s opinion… etc etc

  4. Jerry Cohen says:

    I wanted to ask about the seemingly strange recording sessions for “Almost Blue” (album, not song). Is it true you weren’t particularly keen on the material? Billy Sherrill seemed rather perplexed/bemused by the entire exercise. Care to comment?

    • Bruce says:

      Well, country music is not the bass player’s forte is it? Clip clop clip clop. Just as Steve wasn’t particulalry fulfiled by the fact that his role on Get Happy was more functional than creative — where I had a major role. Billy Sherill was both perplexed and amused, you’re right — along with disdainful, regressive, and useless. I could actually write a lot more but it would take a chapter or two to do so — there were many factors at play at the time.

      • Jerry Cohen says:

        I’ve read that many times about Steve and Get Happy (my favorite record), but I don’t HEAR it. He’s positively brilliant on Possession, Opportunity, Clowntime, and many more. With Blood & Chocolate on the other hand he seems to have had a much more difficult time finding space to do anything.

      • Bruce says:

        Blood and Chocoalte was a sonic mess that the title aptly desribes. Recorded with stage amps virtually live in a huge room. Once again, it would need a chapter or two.

      • I can’t name a single country bassist or drummer. I wonder if even people who listened to a lot of country music could name more than a handful off the top of the head? It just seems like a genre of music in which the rhythm section is really relegated to the background, and everything revolves around the singer/guitarist. I admit I know next to nothing about country music, though.

      • Bruce says:

        Donkeys years ago, there was a record by a band called Area Code 615 which was basically Nashville studio musicians doing instruments that was quite funky and a good listen. Otherwise you’ve got to take whatever gems you can find. I like Vince Gill’s guitar playing, but after that, I’ve got to think. Odd that a lot of the best country music didn’t come out of the South but from Bakersfield CA.

      • I meant to add – I know next to nothing about country music, but I could still name some country guitarists.

      • Bruce says:

        That’s probably the best approach and pretty much echoes my response to your earlier comment.

      • Mike Miller says:

        The band did a recording prior to AB with Billy. Was he helpful and accommodating on that one?

      • Bruce says:

        Well it was all over very quickly I don’t think anyone had much time to form an impression either way.

      • Mike Miller says:

        I had read that the brass at CBS asked Billy to produce the record as a favor. No doubt a well paid favor. As we would say here: He seen EC coming.

      • Mike Miller says:

        I’m sure he had the “closed shop” mentality at the time. (And probably still does) Did he just show up the first day or two and then left it to the engineer?

      • Bruce says:

        No — unfortunately he was there for the entire duration.

  5. David Witherington says:

    Please, Mister Postman….sorry, couldn’t resist! Hi Bruce, I was wondering if you had a particular favorite TV appearance from the glory days? For me (in America), it’s hard to beat the one-two punch of the SNL debut. I still have the TV Guide from 1977 (I believe Dec. 14 or so) with “One Day at a Time” on the cover! The SNL listing says ” Musical guest: The Sex Pistols.” And, even though they were replaced by Elvis Costello and the Attractions at the last minute, we did get our first view of punk in America after all. The switching of songs, almost a full verse verse into “Less Than Zero,” to perhaps the most ferocious and driving performance ever of “Radio Radio.” And that was AFTER a brilliantly stark and very punk “Watching the Detectives.” Pete’s “Thanks, Malc” T-shirt said it all. I love the Pistols, but I’m grateful they had to cancel. Talk about a great break. I was knocked out by you guys, and went out the next day and bought “My Aim is True” and was there on release date for “This Year’s Model” and everything since. Looking forward to your musings and anecdotes on the blog this year! 🙂

  6. Mike Miller says:

    Please excuse me for a few days while my lovely wife Jan and I bask in the sunshine and experience the beautiful sand beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula. For our trip to the airport, we decided to rent a stretch limo and stop off for some fine cuisine:

    http://westendstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Limo.jpg

    Also hired a dandy driver:

    http://westendstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/images-3.jpeg

  7. Roddy Ring says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-RjmUFec40
    Knew most of them but for #47.

  8. Tim says:

    Glad he’s gone, he’s the most foul, cruel, bad tempered rodent I’d ever set eyes on.

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