Saturday, November 17, 2012

Keith, Kanreki & Karate

Keith was the drummer with ARB and he and JJ have been friends for many years. Keith was having his 60th birthday party gig in Tokyo at the Shinjuku Loft on 5th February and JJ made a commitment to play with him at the gig.

Keith told JJ that he wanted to play some Stranglers’ songs and JJ knew that there’d be no keyboard player in his Japanese band. Instead, there’d be 2 guitarists.

JJ met his band for the first time at their only rehearsal in Tokyo. Keith had had an operation on his right arm last year but he’s now back behind the drums and looking good. One of the guitarists, Shin-ichi Fujinuma, was familiar as JJ had met him once before. The other guitarist, Koya Naito, also played with ARB and, although JJ had toured with ARB in the past, it wasn’t with Koya so they had never met.

Before JJ got to Japan, the band had practiced six of the Stranglers’ tracks in exactly the same way they were recorded in the original albums. They seemed a bit nervous at the beginning but, as they started playing, the atmosphere soon became more relaxed with JJ speaking to them in Japanese. It wasn’t a problem for JJ to play those tracks, of course, but it must have been a lot of work for the others as all of them were going to play in other bands as well on the night of the gig. In fact, Keith was playing with all of the bands so he had 30 songs to practice!

The rehearsal lasted for three hours and they were ready, well almost. They only did a bit of backing vocals towards the end of the rehearsal so I was wondering what it would be like at the gig… On the day of the gig, they got together at the sound check at the Shinjuku Loft. It was just a short time and they were done. No worries.

The door of the Loft opened and it was jam packed with fans of Keith and various other artists and they were there to celebrate Keith’s Kanreki! I knew there’d be other Stranglers/JJ’s fans there not only from Tokyo area but also from other parts of Japan.

“Konbanwa.(Good evening)” With JJ’s greeting in Japanese, they opened the set. The band sounded great. You can actually hear the keyboard line played by the guitars! They seemed to be enjoying themselves too and you can see it on their faces. Before the last track, JJ started singing Happy Birthday and so did all others with the audience for Keith. Keith was smiling and raised his arm high to respond to all. It was a real bonus to hear JJ sing No More Heroes as it was the first time he’s ever taken the lead vocals on that! At the very end of NMH, JJ was looking at Keith smiling and putting his tongue out as if he was going to go on forever. Then JJ turned around back to the audience and shouted 1,2,3,4,1,2,3! in Japanese to end the song. A big applause and they all came to the front of the stage. Enjoy the video
After the gig JJ was met by Mr. Maeda, the director of the popular anime Gankutsuo, friends from Shidokan and fans who patiently waited.

Keith and JJ after the gig

Keith was very happy that JJ actually took the time out of his busy schedule for this special day for him. He said that he appreciated so much and was very touched by JJ’s friendship. JJ said that he just wanted to be there to celebrate his friend’s birthday.



A person's 60th birthday is special in Japan. It’s called KANREKI. It’s the recognition of a person’s second infancy. The Japanese characters in the word KANREKI literally mean KAN = return (or cycle) and REKI = calendar. It is based on the traditional, originally the Chinese calendar which was organised on 60-year cycles. The cycle of life returns to its starting point in 60 years therefore KANREKI celebrates that point in a person’s life when his personal calendar has returned to the calendar sign under which he was born.

When celebrating KANREKI, people traditionally give red clothing as birthday presents. That is because in olden days, a new born baby was given red swaddling clothes as colour red was believed to ward off evil spirits.

Also, 60 years was a very long life in the olden days as the average life expectancy of a person was around 50. So it was to celebrate the long life although we have much longer life these days and 60 years is not considered old at all. Well, we know that well!

By the time he arrived in Japan, he had other appointments for Karate. Shidokan HQ recently opened a new gym/dojo in Tokyo where he visited one day. They then took him to a nearby shrine “Hiei Jinja”. Before walking up to the main shrine, you first clean your hands, left and right, then mouth. There was a kind of stage being built in front of the shrine and that was for Setsubun (3 Feb.) After visiting the shrine, they had a casual update meeting on Shidokan.

Setsubun (February 3 or 4): the day before the beginning of spring according to the lunisolar calendar. On the evening of this day, people open the doors of their houses and drive the demons (i.e., bad luck) out of their homes and gardens by throwing handfuls of beans and shouting, "Demons out! Good luck in!"


JJ with Shihans at Mr Maki's memorial

There was another event for JJ which was Mr. Hisao Maki's memorial ceremony. Mr. Maki started Kyokushin Karate under Mas Ohyama’s instruction and later founded his own style. He was very diligent Karate master as well as a writer, and JJ had met him a few times in the past.

He suddenly passed away in early January and all shihans and masters of related Karate were to gather at the ceremony to say goodbye to Mr. Maki. There were JJ’s master Kancho Soeno and lots of Karate related people, his students, publishers, celebrities, and his fans. It was the first time for JJ to attend such a ceremony in Japan so unexpectedly he had a chance to experience another traditional aspect of Japan.

During his stay, he learnt another fact about Japan. It was a very cold day and he was sitting in a train when he felt his bottom was on fire… It was the train seat which was heated by the heater underneath. He also noticed that there were many Japanese people with blond hair. I told him that Japan is much more international so there are more blonde. He just grinned.

Yuka Takahashi, SIS Japan/17th November 2012

Photos Yuka Takahashi/video Mr. Kato

Yuka has also posted this ratter on the SIS Japan site here

Friday, September 21, 2012

No More Heroes-track by track

Thirty five years after the release of the band's second album No More Heroes, JJ revisits the album's tracks:

I can't actually remember a thing about I Feel Like A Wog! Hand on heart, I don't know who originated it. It feels like a JJ bassline as it's an easy bassline on the E and the A. The lyrics were Hugh's and they were based on our experiences when we went to Hamburg. After we played a gig there, we went to a club in St Pauli, which is quite a cool part of Hamburg where the Reeperbahn is. Something happened and we were made to feel very alientated. The term 'wog' is a fantatstic word, very emotive. When we played the Roundhouse five years ago, the Guardian reviewer said he felt even more uncomfortable about the word now than he did 30 years ago. It's a very emotive word, it works...One thing I can remember is that the National Front had a magazine called British Bulldog and apparently, in one issue, they said that we were a cool band because we had a song called I Feel Like A Wog. Completely misunderstanding the point of the song! It's the antithesis of that. That's all I remember now...

Bitching was written after our visit to Amsterdam with Fred Grainger (landlord of the Hope and Anchor) who tour managed us when we went there for a week. It's about our experiences with the produce that you can purchase in Amsterdam and various aspects of that trip, about being impoverished and having copious amounts of grass. I do especially remember that one night in a pub there that Dave was sick. He puked up into three pint mugs perfectly without spilling a drop and it was all purple!

Dead Ringer was my riff with Hugh's comments about all the hypocrites in the scene at the time including 'Saint' Strummer and people like that who were turncoats. People who'd been mates only a few months before and then suddenly they didn't want to know us because we were successful and it being politically incorrect to have anything to do with The Stranglers. It was about that bullshit...

Dagenham Dave was my lyrics about a guy who was our earliest mentor. Unfortunately, on one amazing night, he took on the whole of the Finchlies at the 100 Club. We did see him a few weeks later at Aylesbury, where they had all made up. After that he wasn't right, he threw himself off Tower Bridge and into The Stranglers' mythology. Enough's been written about that over the years...

Bring On The Nubiles was funny and very clever. It was my riff which I nicked off Miles Davis' Bitches Brew album. It's a seminal album as it's the first album where jazz & rock combined. I nicked that bass riff unashamedly. Hugh's slightly tongue in cheek lyrics were very funny and annoyed a lot of feminists all over the world. They took it at face value which so many people did all the time with Stranglers' lyrics. Irony?

Something Better Change was my lyrics with Hugh's riff. This was written in the summer of '76. It was about the zeitgeist that was happening around then. Something was obviously afoot...

No More Heroes probably epitomised the feeling of Something Better Change perfectly. I did the music for Heroes while I was still living at Wilko's (Johnson-Dr Feelgood guitarist) flat. It was Hugh's lyrics.

I wrote Peasant In The Big Shitty a few years earlier. I wanted it to be a Beefheart type thing. Absurdist but the lyrics meant a lot to me, I knew exactly what I was talking about which were events that happened to me on acid. It's a 9/4 rhythm which is not very rock and roll. I had the idea in the ice cream van coming back from somewhere. I could hear the rhythm of the engine which was about to blow up at the time and wasn't running straight. I remember asking Jet 'what's this rhythm?' and he worked it out and I said 'Great, I'll write a song with that...'! Peasant In The Big Shitty was all me.

Burning Up Time was all my lyrics. It was all about burning ourselves out, taking speed and dying young! Doing everything very fast and to the limit with the Finchley Boys and everything.

English Towns was kind of a filler. For No More Heroes, we needed one more song. But, in fact, it kind of summed up my thinking about life in England for us at the time.

School Mam was my riff but Hugh's lyrics about his experiences at a prep school in Guildford. He was sacked for being too friendly and taking acid with his students which might be frowned upon! It was a nod and a wink to a song by the Velvet Underground called The Gift, which was about someone receiving a gift in the post, little knowing that there was a person wrapped up inside. They couldn't open it so they just stabbed it open with scissors and killed the person inside.

Straighten Out was about the impending doom that was going to befall us all and the atmosphere at the time-kind of nihilistic...

Five Minutes were my lyrics and Hugh's riff I think. It was about what happened at the apartment I was sharing with Wilko and a girl. She got raped one night. There were five black guys who did it and the main point, in the middle eight, was 'some say that I should hate them all' about all black people which was absolutely ridiculous and obscene. I just wanted to find those guys, I didn't use it as an excuse for hating all black people. How would you? I mean, if you have a bad experience in France, you say 'French bastards!' I find that all the time, I don't think they really mean it but it is easily done.

Rok It To The Moon was a B side which I can't remember anything about! It was my riff though and it was prepared way after No More Heroes at Bearshanks at the end of '77.

JJB/21st September 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summer festivals and beyond...

It has been very successful summer campaign! By today, the last day of August, it has been twelve victories and no defeats.People have been conquered all over the world... It's gratifying that we are still in such demand and I think it is a direct reflection of the work that we have put into the last few albums. It's also confirmation that somewhere there's a little place in everyone's heart for The Stranglers!

Jim (MacCauley-our stand in drummer) has been holding his own. He's done his homework and we're very grateful. When Ian (Barnard) asked us for the chance to work with Bombay Bicycle Club for the summer, after all these years with us, you can't refuse his opportunity. Our crew become like family and The Stranglers isn't a shut thing so if a guy wants to work elsewhere then we can respect that.

There have been quite a few interesting gigs. Estonia was great, the people were lovely there. In the drizzly rain in the Baltic in the very early summer and they were still there. The Isle of Wight was fantastic considering the bullshit and bollocks about the organisation. The island was in gridlock, 10,000 people were evacuated from the tent because of the weather. An hour later we were on stage playing-that was quite exciting.

There have also been some memorable gigs. Berlin was amazing. Those Nazis certainly new how to build things! The Waldbuhne was quite impressive, the ergonomics of the whole place and how it was built. It was built for the 1936 Olympics for the gymnastic competitions I think. It's right by the Olympic Stadium in a wood in central Berlin. Die Arzte are the second biggest grossing band in Germany and I was touched that they came on stage before us and explained why we were there. They said they wouldn't have been there if it wasn't for The Stranglers! I was really touched that they, in the position they are in, were still very humble. Cool as fuck...

Nuremberg was another Nazi construction which was shown in early Nazi propaganda films of their first rally when they came to power in 1933. Now it's a venue for rock concerts. The Nurburgring is a famous racing circuit that has killed more drivers than any other track in the world. In Brussels, as the gig was in the gardens of the royal palace, I got booed as I asked everyone to make so much noise that the king would come out on his balcony! He didn't come out so I said he must be still asleep. People booed me and it was fantasic-god save them! The V's were great as lots of young people had never heard of The Stranglers got to see us. Cognac was a fantastic setting with charming volunteers helping to make the town festival a success.

After the summer dates are over, I want to start writing as I've got lots of things that I want to explore. Personally I've also got to go to Japan and do some karate. The band need to take a bit of a break and assess what we want to do. We want to write and we want to record, but I don't want to take six years about it, as half the band members won't be around. I'd feel like Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea playing the organ by himself on the Nautillus as all the old veterans have died off one by one.

We are hitting on a huge creative strata, which resonates with a lot of people, both young and old, and I'd like to exploit that creativity. I have a great writing partnership with Baz, which is both creative and productive. I'd rather try and have one last gasp...

JJB/31st August 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Giants tour debriefing

It's only two weeks ago that we completed two months of touring in the UK and Europe. It seems a lifetime ago already.

After what was described by SJM, our promoters, as the most successful tour in the UK so far this year by any artist, we embarked on a European jaunt. Before we actually started the tour it was evident that there was more interest in the band, and more precisely Giants, than there had been for many years. The number of interview requests and reviews is a fair indication and we didn't have the time to fulfill them all.

Looking at the schedule I should have realised that it was going to be a hard slog but I didn't really think too much about it. It's only when you have played six shows consecutively and five nights on the trot, twice, that you appreciate a night free in a real bed as opposed to travelling on a bus from venue to venue and often from country to country.

It was incredible to me to recognise the number of Brits who would appear at the different venues in the various countries and who would really affect the vibe of the gig. In a most positive way. I don't think there was a night when there wasn't a Brit who had made the journey to some part of Europe to see us. The gigs were all packed, apart from Italy, which, interestingly enough, was the only country where we didn't have any promotional requests from. And even there, they were noisy too!

During the tour I lost five kilos (about 11lbs) and my jeans could slide over my arse without undoing a thing by the end!

Eating becomes an issue since we don't want to eat later than 6pm if we are on stage at 9pm. Lack of sleep also becomes an issue but the response from the audience reinvigorates you. I think that we changed the set list more on this tour than any other ever. Because we could. We had rehearsed more repertoire than ever before.

All in all a great tour, knackering but great fun. My only regret was that Jet wasn't there to enjoy the warmth and appreciation from the people we played to but, in his way, he had prepared Ian to cover for him during his absence.

By the end I was thinking "How long can my body take this gruelling schedule? How many more years can I keep doing this?" and now there is talk of doing something similar next year because the promoters in the various countries have all voiced an interest.

I say bring it on...

JJB/15th May 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rattus Norvegicus-track by track

Thirty five years after the release of the band's debut album Rattus Norvegicus, JJ revisits the album's tracks:

This was one of my bass riffs. The opening line was about Hugh's inability to control his temper with his girlfriend at the time, Caroline. If I recall, it was based on a Doors song 'Love Her Madly' from the LA Woman album. It's kind of that feel...

It was mainly my lyrics, it was Hugh's chords. It was a 6/8, a kind of weird double-waltz time. I wrote the lyrics. There was a nuclear power plant near Toulouse and, at the time, we were swapping all our Nostradamus books around each other. He claimed that there was going to be an explosion in Toulouse. Then I wove in some medieval story about some beautiful girl in Toulouse who was paraded on her balcony. The lyrics were mine.

London Lady was a Hugh riff as well with my lyrics. It was a synthesis of a few ladies that we were meeting at the time, one of them being Caroline Coon. She was a journalist for the Melody Maker who was a champion of the Pistols and the Clash, who'd come on to me at some point. It wasn't about one particular woman, it was a kind of synthesis of lots of women.

Princess Of The Streets I wrote entirely. I thought Hugh's guitar lick on it was brilliant. It was a bluesy thing about my ongoing relationship with Choosey Susie at the time. She'd dumped me again, once more!

A lot of people thought that whoever sang the song, wrote the lyrics, which was not the case, certainly not on Rattus. I wrote most of the lyrics to Hanging Around, and the chords. Hugh came up with the actual 'hanging around' lyric but I did most of the verses. I wrote it when I was staying with Choosey Susie in Finborough Road in Earl's Court, when she was doing her nursing training. Just around the corner, in Brompton Road, was the Coleherne Pub and on the other side was Boltons. The Coleherne was more for the leather gays and Boltons was for the traditional campy ones. Outside the Coleherne, there was a bus stop and you'd see guys coming off the bus with motorcyle helmets and leather jackets. Susie and I walked in there one day to be confronted by the doors being locked after us by a huge guy in a leather jacket and leather cap who was blocking it. There was no turning back! We had half a pint in there getting stared at. The first time I walked in there, by accident, I was quite impressed and slightly intimidated actually.

We had a little 500 watt PA and, just to augment any income whatsoever, we hired it out for a reggae night which I think it was in Acton Town Hall. We went there with Choosey Susie on Saturday afternoon to set it up alongside another PA which had loads of bass speakers. I remember distinctly that we were the only whites there. While we were setting up, the was a whole group of black guys passing a spliff around. We hung around them but the spliff got passed by us as if we were invisible. My over-riding impression, because it was dub and toasting, where they talk over a bass and drums rhythm, with a delay on the snare. I remember going back to Chiddingfold and thinking I'd never heard bass so dominant before. I thought it was fantastic, it blew my mind. It was all about space. Lots of bands were doing lots of notes very fast. Next day I came up with this riff as I had to do something similar in that vein. Over the next few weeks, we developed it and Hugh wrote the lyrics suiting his penchant...

Get A Grip On Yourself was entirely Hugh... You can refer to the 'bible' (Ed: Song By Song) if you want to know.

I think I wrote Ugly entirely, the riff and the lyrics. I wanted it to sound like a Dr Feelgood thing at the time. Of course, every time we tried to emulate something, it ended up being Strangled! We always missed the point. With Peaches, we missed the point as well. We wanted to make it a reggae thing but the snare wasn't on the reggae beat, the third beat. We always got it wrong but somehow it worked. Ugly was just a rant about money and poverty and about how the ugliest blokes in the world, as long as they've got lots of money, always end up with glamourous women. I don't know how that works!

Down In The Sewer developed over quite a period of time. I had the original riff, which was more like a Beefheart thing. I remember writing that when Choosey Susie and I went to Normandy for Christmas to visit my grandparents. I had my bass with me in a really heavy wooden case that Jet had actually made for me. I took that with me and came up with the original Sewer bass riff. I wanted it to be more like a Beefheart thing like Rockette Morton did. Then we added bits over the course of about a year. I added the melody. Hugh wrote the lyrics which were great I thought.

That's an old story. I wrote it when I was fifteen. It's a marriage of Hendrix's 'Hey Joe', which was a big hit when I was fifteen, and the Beach Boys and I stuck them together. It was about one of those sad little school dances that we used to got to when you tried actually making contact with a female and they'd look down their noses at you!

Choosey Susie was about my then girlfriend Susie. It's based on a riff which we've used before 'All Day And All Of The Night'. It was also nicked from the Kinks by the Doors for 'Hello I Love You', which they got sued for. Choosey Susie is the same...

JJB/23rd April 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

From The Beginning To The End

I can say I knew him for many long months, but perhaps on reflection, and with the passing of an entire lifetime, I should say, a few short months. He was the most extraordinary musician I ever knew personally. His name was Roy Budd.

I can’t claim to have been his friend or confidant, but we talked often at the time, mostly by way of my putting questions to him and he replying and probably - in truth - with some reluctance.

I’m guessing here, but I was somewhere around 21/23 by the time in question, which would have meant that Roy would have been correspondingly around 12/14. Now that sounds improbable and also likely to have been an infringement of some law or other, but by then, he had already made his first television appearance and played London’s Coliseum theatre, so perhaps it’s not so extraordinary, at least for Roy Budd.

The venue was a rugby clubhouse, not, a clubhouse in the town of Rugby, but a clubhouse on a field of rugby, the game. I was never particularly interested in rugby myself but my friends at the time were, these would have been my early music associates to whom I have often referred. Many of them being rugby players, this may have been the reason we had arrived on that first evening to see the young Roy Budd. On the other hand - since I don’t recall exactly - we may equally have arrived at the club for reasons more to do with rugby and booze than to marvel at the talented piano player. I’m not now actually sure if we had gone to the venue knowing we were going to see the young Roy either, it was all so long ago. Anyway, by that time, he was still completely unknown, a wiry and spotty teenager.

Within less than a minute of witnessing the skill of Roy Budd for the first time, we - my friends and I - were completely mesmerized. He would sit at the piano with a glass of Coke and a pile of KitKat bars perched at one end of the keyboard.

At this young age, Roy was already a sensation by any yardstick, not in terms of fame but simply the fact of his astonishing ability, and it was as if he had the skill and experience of a mature professional of international repute.

We returned to the clubhouse many, many times to thrill at this boy’s talent. Being musicians of more modest accomplishment ourselves, we would throw challenges to him to play this or that number and even nursery rhymes to try and wrong-foot him, but undaunted he would immediately launch into a masterful rendition of said piece with astonishing complexity along with various key changes, time signatures and tempo changes. It was truly breathtaking. It’s difficult to comprehend now, that he was entirely self taught.

It is a sad fact of musical life that Roy isn’t really what you would call a household name, but he should be. Many of you reading this will probably have never heard of Roy Budd, however, it is unlikely that there are many of you that have never heard some of his music.

Although he soon established himself as a recording artist and popular performer as both soloist and ensemble player, the greatest body of his working life was as a writer, performer and director of movie music. Amongst some of his most notable works are his musical contributions to:

‘Get Carter’
‘Fear is the Key’
‘Steptoe & Son’
‘Man at the Top’
‘The Black Windmill’
‘The Wild Geese’

To mention only a few.

Roy has been compared to some of the all-time great Jazz giants like Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum and without doubt he was up there in that league, but he was also unique.

I was brought up in an age when jazz was far more popular and relevant that it is to-day and that was in part at least, because the wide spectrum of music styles we know to-day hadn’t yet evolved.

In the beginning, jazz followed a simple formula but evolved into an area of ever increasing complexity, far too complex for the masses and accordingly considered by many as ‘musicians’ music’. I, along with an army of deserters, lost interest in the way jazz was evolving. It all got too clever to retain my interest, much too clever for it’s own good. Perfectly fine for those that liked it and many did, and do, but I always felt that the essential element of melody got lost along the way; and so it was, that new trends of a pop and rock genre succeeded in attracting the attentions of former jazz audiences.

One of the defining elements of Roy’s mastery, was his ability to traverse all the technicalities of the jazz idiom whilst still retaining that - for me at least - essential integrant of melody. It was this all too rare ability that so endeared him to me.

Why or how Roy came to move into the arena of film music I don’t precisely know, but his first such score was completed as early as 1970 when he was a mere 23. His score for what is probably the most widely known movie with which he was associated (Get Carter) came the following year when he was just 24. During my own life in music I had an eye on Roy’s parallel and illustrious career. One which us mere mortals could only envy.

One day in 1993 I was in the London suburbs to attend a domestic birthday bash and it was suggested we might all go out for some entertainment. I got the job of organising something suitable.

When I scanned the papers for an eye on what was happening in town, I soon discovered that Roy Budd was appearing at the ‘Bulls Head’ at Barnes Bridge, less than four miles away. A noted venue on the jazz circuit and one he probably played hundreds of times over the expanse of his career.

Most of the party had never heard of Roy, nevertheless, they were not disappointed. The funny thing is that you don’t even have to be a jazz lover to enjoy a Roy Budd performance. Watching him work, is, was, a joy in itself. I think it was just three days later that I heard on the news that he had died suddenly aged a mere 46. What a great loss............

Check out ‘I’ll remember April’ at:

jb/16th January 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Giants track by track

Giants is nearly upon us and I thought I'd give you a few details about each of the album's tracks:

ANOTHER CAMDEN AFTERNOON This was originally inspired by an article JJ read about a mugging that took place in Camden where the assailants actually ran down a woman in their car to get her bag…we wrote the music then eventually shed the lyrics apart from some backing vocals…there’s a lot of guitar in this…very greasy…very British…

FREEDOM IS INSANE You should never throw anything away…this was an idea JJ had that was left over from the Suite XVI writing sessions. We rented a house in Cornwall for two months and wrote 30 songs…I came down one morning and he’d been up for hours staring at the sea and writing this…I think it’s one of his best vocal performances ever…

GIANTS A song about captains of industry and how the world we live in today was shaped…and it’s pitfalls…”I’m glad my fathers’ not here to see what happened to men like him”…great line that says it all…and a nice guitar riff too…

LOWLANDS This was inspired by the first acoustic tour we did with Neil Sparkes in Holland and Belgium in 2007, and one mad night in particular when we were driving back from a gig to the hotel we were using as a base. We had plenty of brandy and primo Dutch weed and started to record ourselves accapella making up a song. Dave was in the front singing the keyboard parts, I was singing bass parts, JJ was singing the melody and Sparkes was keeping time on a champagne bottle with a broken drumstick…our tour manager Gary Knighton was laughing so much he could hardly drive and was getting secondarily stoned…you had to be there really…very funny…

BOOM BOOM A different feel from anything the band has done before…a sort of Stonesy rhythm with a jangle and a bit of swagger… about a girl…well there had to be one didn’t there?

MY FICKLE RESOLVE Some lovely laid back brush work from Jet here and Dave doing his trippy Euro Female style thing…JJ played acoustic bass on this and as with most of the album we tried to keep it as stripped back as possible…I like the lyrics on this one too, and Daves’ solo at the end is sublime…

TIME WAS ONCE ON MY SIDE JJ sang the lyrics down the phone to me when he first wrote them and I knew we’d have to make a song out of them…great words and Neil Sparkes providing some tremendous conga work, especially at the end…one of those songs that just barrels along and feels great you know?

MERCURY RISING This song reminds me the most of mid 80’s period Stranglers with a bit of production and a lovely swirling keyboard riff…JJ provides a ‘motif’ bass line which keeps the whole thing together and I do my best Beefheart impression on the vocals and slide guitar…don’t know how to describe this one…wacky? One of my favourites so far…

ADIOS (TANGO) This a heavy metal tango sung in Spanish…no really…I love this…

15 STEPS We’ve spent, off and on, nearly three years down in Bath preparing, sifting, rejecting and writing these and many other songs…there are loads that didn’t make it, and at times it was gruelling and very difficult…On these occasions when I went upstairs to bed I found myself counting the number of steps to the landing…and there were 15…15 steps to heaven and the salvation of my room…This song is purely about the wonderful old house we lived in writing this album…and some of the things that occurred there…

I hope you like it, I'm sure you will...

BAZ/ 13th January 2012