Sorry about the aural overload today. I’m digging into the archives for other reasons and realizing that some of this is in only one place without backups. I’ll start saving it elsewhere and spare you the additional overload, but I stumbled on this and thought it was interesting in terms of quaintness.
First, this was recorded back in 1992 or 1993 as an all-nighter impromptu music writing session. Mike, former lead singer/drummer for the goth band I was in back in 1987-1989 came over with a top of the line Korg (at the time) synth/sequencer one evening without warning. I had planned to just hang, maybe watch a movie, throw in the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis — but I hadn’t planned on writing music. As the former bass player for our previous act, he had me tap out some bass line on the keyboard with the clicker to give me tempo to show me how we could sequence it and stack the bars. Then, he added drums, following a similar routine.
The schtick with this device is it could sequence your playing on it’s own, but you had to live play it before you could bump and snap and all that. I was impressed with the fancy drum machine (IMO), but then he and I started playing with keys and sound effects and… well, after a couple of beers and even more hours, we had this song laid out without words.
It was fun, but we weren’t in a band together (he’d gotten “born again” in the meantime and couldn’t have it get out he hung with his old goth and godless bandmate) and I was ready to hit Sonic when he asked me to dig out the old 4-track recorder I had shoved away somewhere. So we did, bumped the sequenced tracks over to two of the tracks on the cassette recorder and then got down to writing some lyrics.
He was going through a “cooling off” period with the woman who was to be his future wife, so he wrote most of the verses, with me tossing in a few ideas when he got stuck. But he couldn’t think of a chorus to save his life, so I threw out “Whatcha gonna do when the love runs out,” and it stuck. I have since discovered that Simple Minds or someone along those lines had a similar chorus, but I assure you, it was was done with full ignorance about the other song. I just recall hearing something similar a few years ago and thinking OMFG, we unintentionally ripped off a hit! The other band’s song was likely before this effort, so maybe it ear-wormed into me when I wasn’t paying attention.
[Edit: Alive and Kicking is the song, Simple Minds, and it isn’t as close as I feared at the time, although the rhythm is damn close.]
Aside — Mike should have listened to me when I told him to lose that woman when they “took a break”. She ended up divorcing him for some of the most shallow reasons and those were the reasons I told him to let her go at the time ($money$ $fancy things$ $popularity$ $keeping up with her disgustingly rich friends$).
But, anyway — he was pretty bitter when he wrote the lyrics. All vocals, fore and background are his and he always did sound like whatshisface from Depeche Mode (to our benefit when we were playing together). We used two tracks, recording each in a closed, small, bathroom because that’s the kind of thing you did back then. Reverb was considered an unnecessary expense when you had natural echoes to leverage.
Oh, some of the shit we used to pull on folks when I was engineering and producing on recordings to get better recorded sounds might cause lawsuits these days. Bathtub singing was “mild”. That’s why compression still baffles me — we never had that fancy stuff.
I did the mix and the layering along with some of the keys and the bass.
Anyway, as I said, last song of the day. I think I need a nap after not sleeping all that well.