‘Take Me To A Doctor’ & ‘Stop Acting Like An Adult’
On the 28th December 1983, at 19 years old, I bought a Tascam ‘Portastudio’, which at the time was the last word in affordable home recording set-ups. It cost £550 and the old system of “hire purchase” had to be called into play. It took me 2 years to pay for it, but it lasted well into the 90s and I probably earned enough from recording other peoples’ music to pay for it as well as the gradual accumulation of ancillary equipment, so that wasn’t really an issue.
What it did do was free an enormous amount of creativity from myself and many others. Previously I had ‘bounced’ tracks back and forth from one tape deck to another, adding yet another layer of hiss each time to an end result that only made sense if played in mono.
The ‘Portaloo’, as it became known, was the best thing that had ever happened to me and on this disc is roughly my first year’s output. Some of it is thoroughly drug-soaked, some is highly misguided or random, but some of the pieces have little glimmers of greatness, if I say so myself.
I was in a band called ‘Panorama In Black’ and I know that many other East Anglians have as many fond post-punk memories of what we did as I do. However, playing with PIB didn’t scratch every itch I had and mucking about with keyboards was BIG at the time. A lot of this is music with no rules, no script and no inhibitions - and some of it really is quite good…
TAKE ME TO A DOCTOR:
1. Three Movements - . You’ll hear a lot of Joy Division/New Order influences on here, and this is no exception. What makes me laugh now is that at the time I wasn’t confident in my singing (with some justification) or lyric writing (ditto), so on this one I just sort of hummed and went ‘lah’, merely using the voice as an extra instrument.
2. Don’t Take Me - Improvised from top to bottom and every overdub is a first take, if you see what I mean.
3. City Of Shame - A Robyn Hitchcock song that I did because I couldn’t play ‘Acid Bird’ from the same album (Black Snake Diamond Role).
4. P.I.B. - Quite simply an instrumental, 12-string laden version of ‘Panorama In Black’ by Panorama In Black.
5. Snafu - Steve Jarvis from instrumentalist threesome ‘Nagamatzu’ and I with a Roland Drumatix, a bass, a guitar and a dismantled gas cooker. I played this to someone in the early 90s and he accused me of ‘inventing Acid House’. Hmmmmmmm…..
6. 291283 - That’s how I know when I bought the portastudio, I did this the day after. Exhaling and whistling was enough for this one, vocally.
7. Big Brother - I don’t know…I think I’d just read 1984 or something...it’s all a bit vague.
8. Go Back To Go - A cover of A Johnny Thunders song that is so blindingly awful that I considered leaving it off this CD. However it was on the original cassette, so in the interests of completeness it stayed. It features Ben Cuthbert on one of two equally badly-played guitars.
9. Cold - James Harding, PIB drummer, came over and did some drumming for me to record. I was fed up with using a drum machine all the time and asked him to “ just play” and I’d write something to over it later. There’s more from the same drumming-day later.
10. Potatoes - It doesn’t make any sense, none at all. Some friends called Adrian and (I think) Alison were over at my place, and I finished this off while they were there. The ’vocal’ track alternates is basically mad rambling as I tried to get the other two to join in...with anything at all. I love her laughing right at the beginning, it has great beauty.
STOP ACTING LIKE AN ADULT:
11. Soul Kitchen - The recording of this slightly lesser-known Doors song was a labour of love. I can’t play drums, never have been able to; so I put the original LP on in my headphones and recorded as I played along with various drums laid out on the floor, hitting everything with two broken drumsticks left behind by some more qualified skin-basher. With this jerky rhythm on tape, I added the other bits.
12. I Don’t Love You - Stream of consciousness ranting with peculiar grunting noises.
13. Operation Mindfuck - Three bass guitars, one backward guitar and two forward ones, all of which are faded in and out and panned left to right at various times. Still messes with my head, even now!
14. Could You? - Featuring Guy Ebbs, PIB’s other guitarist, on drums. I was so jealous that he could make a fist of it. The first ‘song’ of mine on here really, it rages against the violent ‘Gary’ culture that was so evident all over provincial England at the time.
15. Symmetry - Written about a good mate that wigged out very seriously on speed, and frankly never really recovered. Quite painful really.
16. What Do You Want? - An astonishing piece of music that ignores a great deal of what is important about writing and recording songs, largely because I wrote and recorded it in my front room during the small hours whilst still under the influence of a particularly long-lasting and effective acid tab.
17. Making Hell - Dave, PIB bassist wrote the bulk of this one, and as usual with his stuff I’m not terribly certain what it’s about. I know that you can’t hear his bass-playing very clearly. A most unusual mixing job.
18. I Feel (Alone) - Written in the shallows of despair with the fairly obvious influence of Patrick Fitzgerald, punk’s first poet with an acoustic guitar. This tune was revisited many time and was a staple of the band ‘Bane’ that followed these solo musings.
19. Enchantment - An instrumental that made good use of a Crumar StringSynth, a popular addition to any self-respecting New Order copyist. I rather like it.
20. What Do You Want (2) - Some time after the first, LSD-provoked version, I discovered that one of James Harding’s previously-mentioned drum rhythms could accommodate a more sane version of this if I turned it into a proper song. The song survived another year or so into Bane the band with yet another different rhythm. Many of the original themes from the first version remained right up to the last.
released September 27, 2012
T.M.T.A.D. Artwork - Dave Turner
S.A.L.A.A. Artwork - Jules Adams
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