Our studio house looks a little different now. We’re done with the live set-up and have turned our attentions to the lead sections. The baffles originally set up around the drum kit are now cocooning the guitar amps. We barely see Cleg anymore – he’s locked away in his special lair, perfecting solos and guitar harmonies (guitarmonies?).
We’re all rearranging a lot of the stuff we do live into something more suitable to the private listener (as opposed to drunk festival crowds). Some of the changes are a little unexpected: one of Cleg’s new lead lines evokes the opening strains of Smetana’s Ma Vlast – that’s something I never thought I’d say about one of our songs!
As much as we’re all happy with the progress, there’s something a little melancholy about this part of the process. Up until now we’ve all been playing together almost constantly. One person’s mistake is everyone’s mistake. Every step thus far has been taken together; now we’re all in different rooms working to our own schedules.
It almost feels like the end of Fellowship Of The Ring, as the adventurers go their separate ways to confront the common task from different angles…
At 6.00pm we packed down the drum kit and various amps to go play a show. We booked this particular gig to take care of general food and living costs while we’re here, plus petrol for a return trip to Manchester. We were also treating it as an opportunity to try out some of the arrangements we’d been working on over the last week and a half.
Yet we had mixed feelings about doing this gig, plus possible agoraphobia as a result of too much time spent working on the album. We’re all in recording mode now and didn’t want to break focus. I was also a little worried about whether I could still kick and leap with all the newly acquired baggage round my middle thanks to Christmas excess and too much sitting around.
It was good to get out of the house, though. Any remaining cobwebs that hadn’t been blown away by the drum recording were certainly more than adequately obliterated by our twenty song set. The new numbers went down well and we all had a good time letting (what’s left of) our hair down, enjoying a few pints and catching up with old friends.
And it’s good to know we’ve still got it.