Save Me Album Cover

I suffer for my art...

Goodness me, this takes me back. As part of my archival process, where I convert my old computer files into a format that I can access now (and hopefully in the future), I have finally come to this collection.

These are “proper” songs, singy songs where I attempt to warble at the microphone and capture a performance. During this period, I was learning how to use my computer recording setup (Quartz Audiomaster software fed into a specialist audio card for my PC) and using a Yamaha RGX121FP guitar, Digitech RP10 guitar effects, an Alesis HR16-B drum machine and my old Yamaha bass, whose heritage escapes my memory.

The shameful thing is that I was using a £20 microphone from Tandy (remember them?) to record my vocals. The microphone was a piece of rubbish and lost a lot of the frequencies from my vocals, so this time around I have used plenty of EQ to fix that. Mind you, in the old days of recording I knew bugger all about tweaking the EQ – mainly because my software had such a poor implementation of a virtual recording console.

But yes, these tracks have all been remixed and remastered for 2011, using Cakewalk Sonar X1 producer and sweetened using IK Multimedia’s T-RackS 3 mastering software. In the old days, I mastered everything to either tape or minidisc and then recorded that back into my PC for editing and assembling to CD. For some reason the ability the bounce down escaped me, probably due to ignorance, so this mastering process added an extra layer of audio grim to deaden the sound.

Now everything is sparkling and, once again, I have done my best to polish a turd…

The album sleeve was created using top-class digital editing for the time. I remember using a Sony VX1000 video camera to capture two shots of myself. The first featured me laying under the car, the second of me behind the wheel. Then using my video capture software, I grabbed two still frames from that footage, loaded them into my photo editing software and carefully cut around the windscreen of the second frame and transposed it on top of the first frame. This was before digital cameras still cameras were widely available and nowadays it would be a lot easier to make the same edit. I remember it took a lot of time and faffing about to achieve the composite of me running over myself.

The photograph was taken at the car park on High Beech Road in Loughton.

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01 Intro
This is just a little ambient noodle to ease the listener into the album. A gentle introduction to…

02 When I Was Young
This song is just about growing up and changing. I must have been 26 or 27 when I penned the words and I was looking back to what I felt I was like when I was 17. You calm down a bit and stop being a pain in the arse. Now looking back to that 27-year-old, I realise I was an even bigger arsehole then. I am probably an arsehole now and by the time I figure this life business out, it will be a millisecond before I draw my last breath, such is life.

03 Gone
This is a song about grief and losing someone. I think I wrote it for losing both my grandparents in quick succession. They helped raise me and losing them in my early 20s was a big thing and something don’t think I’ve still gotten over. It’s about walking through a crowd of people or having a dream and thinking you’ve seen someone you miss dearly and wishing for another ten minute’s with them.

04 That Is The Way It Is
This is my Alfred E. Neumann “What, me worry?” song. Life is shit and bad things happen to good people. It never gets any easier and sometimes it is easier to ride the tide rather than attempting to swim upstream. When someone asks you why there’s injustice or hate or misery in the world, you answer: “That is the way it is”. Makes life simpler, no?

05 Sister
This is a song for my half-sister, who I have only seen a handful of times in my life time. It is a romanticised notion that you are both essentially on the same side pushing in opposite directions. I have tried my best to reconcile with that part of my family, but sometimes you’ve got to stop. As the Missus says: “If someone wants to do something, they’ll do it. If not, they won’t. Simple.” With hindsight, I wasted my time writing and recording this.

06 London Boy
This is a joyous celebration of being from the greatest capital city in the world. Part Bonzo, part Queen, part vaudeville, part Steptoe and Son – this is my first attempt at doing a funny song. I still like especially the bell solo from “Big Ben”.

07 1999
I thought the future would arrive in 1999. It didn’t. And this song is a steaming pile of badness. Added the vocoder effect this time around to mask the truly awful singing.

08 Now
This was based on an instrumental track I recorded for “Fade In/Fade Out” and while mixing that track, the words came to me and so I recorded this. It doesn’t work, the vocals just sound so fucking twee and the lyric means nothing.

09 You’re Going Down
Sometimes a phrase enters your lexicon that becomes a semi-catchphrase and during this period using this phrase (with work colleagues too) to announce your displeasure. “He’s crossed the line, he’s going down”. Of course, it was a big joke and no-one ever did get knocked down. But the phrase was so strong, I decided to use it in this song which I about betrayal, about those people who you think are on your side, but under close scrutiny you realise that they were fucking you up behind your back without you even realising it. A song for those fucking awful game-players out there.

10 The Damage Done
When you are a kid or a teenager, you often say things to those closest to you that you don’t mean. You can be pretty vicious with your tongue or just lack the maturity that your utterances have an impact on those on the other end. This is about wounding with words and how it is so very hard to heal the damage.

11 Save Me
I am my own worst enemy. Save me, save me from myself for I know not what I do.

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