Another week has passed and the signs continue to point to this being a truly fabulous record. I know it's obvious that I'm going to say that but believe it or not, I am one of easyworld's harshest critics and the first to yell "it's all shit" before descending into melancholic despair over the unpleasant placement of a bass drum or a shitty guitar tone. I still worry. Every track has been as painful as I would have liked but for my every grimace, there has been a solution which sounds fantastic. Of course there is still time to make it all utter rubbish but from this point, it would be difficult.
The outro of goodnight has become a fifteen minute rock opera... got a bit carried away over the weekend at the piano. I think good taste may intervene to bring it back within the realms of common decency.
We are being too well fed. I will emerge from this studio a 28stone walrus. To make matters worse, Cenzo (engineer) has taken to making missions to nearby Farnham to acquire obscene quantities of chocolate. Every waking moment is a struggle to resist the seductive music oozing from the fridge... and it's a long time between dinner and sleep.
And what would my studio report be without a word or two about the war?
Isn't it getting boring? I think in addition to military and financial miscalculations, the powers of liberation have overlooked quite how short the attention spans are of their citizens. There has been no fresh news for days now. We are no longer horrified by the friendly fire killings or astounded by the pictures of Baghdad ablaze. I think we always knew people on our side were going to die in this conflict, we were prepared for that... but when it ceases to make good TV, then will the masses rise up and demand the immediate withdrawal of troops from the Middle East and the commissioning of a series of Pop Idol for pets. When mass boredom sets in there may be more concern about the dropping of thousands of bombs, each one costing more to the taxpayer than a teacher's annual salary.
The countryside isn't even as impressive as Vietnam.
The protest songs are coming from George Michael.
Tank advances don't look so good on film as napalm.
The protests are peaceful.
The politicians are calm and uninspiring.
Whoever put this war together has been neglecting Hollywood in an unforgivable fashion...
How about: Colombia v Zimbabwe.
Better battlefields, more animated leaders, Drug barons, machetes and machine guns, two hard bastard nations engaged in a bloody fight to the death.
Sweden v Switzerland
A polite, blonde, good-looking looking army takes on a leather-shorts-wearing militia armed with multi-purpose pen knives on skis.
Monaco v The Vatican
Wales v Taiwan
Germany v the rest of the world.
Now these are wars we'd want to watch... how difficult can it be to make killing an entertaining spectacle?
Cut all the songs about war.
Back to cars, chicks and surfin'.
Hang ten bro'.
We're either becoming efficient or utterly slack.
The time spent each day in the studio seems to be decreasing as frisbee playing increases. And yet this, our third week of recording has yielded some important breakthroughs: Drive sounds great and I have finished the words to 2 new songs which have the working titles of "Leo Sayer" and "Wheezy Song".
The surreal war experience continues. BBC News 24 remains on all day in the studio lounge and the pictures always look the same: Various news correspondents looking nervous about a yard from the front line. The strange observation being that the soldiers are making a pretty good attempt at camouflage, wearing their sandy coloured khakis while the journalists stick out like a man in the desert wearing a green shirt and dark blue flak-jacket. You don't have to be the Elite Republican Guard to realise that if you can't see the enemy, you may as well aim for John Simpson and you'll stand a pretty good chance of hitting something American. And I notice that "coalition forces" are increasingly being referred to as "allied forces" like they were when we went and gave the jolly Germans a good kicking back in the forties. Before long, Saddam's regime will be getting called "the fourth Reich". And once more the world wonders at the unerring scope of the U.S of A to assume that technology and firepower will prevail regardless of the nature of the enemy or battlefield. If they didn't learn anything from Vietnam, it certainly appears that the Iraqi army have, pulling out the old "civilian clothes" manoeuvre while G.I's complain that "even though we're going to come to your country with billions of dollars worth of clever gadgetry designed specifically to kill you, you could at least play fair. And I know this whole shebang was at some point in the distant past to do with the evil threat to the world of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction or WMD's as they are now being called... like DDT, CJD, JFK and other cute names for dangerous things... But are we not to think that the accumulated Anglo-American allied liberation force with all the whiz-bangs at its disposal constitutes a far more immediate mass destructive presence in the middle east than an Al-Samoud missile able to fly 20 feet further than we deem sporting. And they found some chemical protective suits which are being hailed as concrete evidence by the good guys that the nasty regime indeed has a mighty arsenal of WMD's... somewhere... They sell condoms in most pub toilets but that's hardly conclusive proof that there's someone fucking in that cubicle.
Still, I have said before that it is not the place of we musicians/singers/writers to spout opinion on the web about the state of the world and then sing songs about how I never score with girls. The current global affairs have thus highjacked this album to the extent that in with the promised anthems of heartbreak and beauty, I can now offer you a slice of vitriol and disillusionment with leanings toward self-empowerment and a better world for all... if it is to happen, it may aswell start in the chair in which you now sit... if you want to that is.
My hopes for this record are high.
Don't mention the war
Don't mention the war
Don't mention the war
Don't mention the war
I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it.
I got a little side-tracked in my last diary entry and I realise I haven't really let on much about what we're up to here in the Surrey countryside. So this time I will try to stick to the plot... although I hope you will all appreciate that this war thing is a very important issue for the future of the world and involves us all no matter how we may deny it.
Well, so far, so good.
We have made a start to most of the songs for the new album. No significant arguments but a worrying tendency for all to discuss matters of the toilet at the dinner table. Our producer is David Kosten a.k.a Faultline, one of those insane genius types. The artist/producer relationship is a funny one. You never really know if it's going to work until you have a go. The first week was productive and a useful getting-to-know time but our second week has yielded some signs that this is going to be a great second album. The version we have recorded of celebritykiller is utterly different to the live version we have been playing since Reading Festival last year and for me it's become a favourite... it's kinda easyworld/Blur/Beck/Pixies/Dylan/Howlin' Wolf/Justin Timberlake/Human League in sound which has got to be a good thing. I can, of course still ruin it by adding a Pogues/Streisand vocal. Only history will tell.
Sorry to mention it again but if the Americans wish to deny the accusations of gung-ho war-mongering and recklessness with any credibility, shouldn't they stop killing the British?
Recording studios are not part of the world as we understand it. Despite being equipped with telecommunications and sky tv, it's as if when we emerge from this environment, history and evolution will have taken place without us. Consequently, every day somebody enquires whether or not we are indeed at war... not that it would change a damn thing in here other than providing a dinner table conversation starter originating outside the lavatory.
So, war then....
In a recent interview, I spouted a bit on the subject and have decided to condense all such ranting and filibustering into this simple declaration as to the state of the nation and the world as we know it or not as the case may be:
I'm of the opinion that wars are occasionally a good thing and the inspiration for far more good movies than baseball ever will be. This is a silly kind of war though because there are no good guys...
A large number of large people with large bank accounts have gone to a large amount of trouble to convince we, the people that what the world needs now is a bit of a war... or in fact, pretty much all of a war.
Although the only people using that word are those against it. Supporters of the war call it military action, forceful disarmament, serious consequences and other such sanitary terms while those against it refer to state sponsored murder, blood for oil and American imperialism... what you call it matters very little.
Somewhere in the midst of all this bollocks and counter-bollocks lies the truth but we've reached the stage where the truth is secondary to the message. We get bombarded with selective information with opinion thrown in which means everyone is telling the truth yet nobody is telling the whole truth.
The UN, the EU, the USA, the UK, NATO, UNMOVIC, the French, the Belgians, the Kurds, the Turks, the Israelis, the English cricket board... everyone's interested, everyone has interests.
That means unfortunately, you'd be foolish to trust anyone...
And this is the real clincher for me... With such a range of opinion and such a potential wealth of undeclared interests, agendas, alliances, deals and bribes: I wouldn't side with anyone and I certainly won't support the big boys because they shout louder. Someone is going to have to table a little impartial honesty before most of us sanction killing in the name of freedom.
But anyway, did Gareth Gates really shag Jordan?
I once remarked: "in a world without charts, easyworld would be number one".
Well this is a world WITH charts and we are number 40... a landmark... an
Now, i don't much care for charting music. If you like it, that's good
enough for me but for the ever-growing utopian community that is easyworld,
this seemingly fickle statistic represents something important:
We (and i mean all of us, all of you) have done something we had no right to
do... bands with our national media profile have no place in the charts. On
Monday morning, the majority of the country's record retail outlets will
have an empty space on the shelf marked number 40 because they never had
copies of Junkies in the first place. They only stock singles they believe
stand a reasonable chance of charting, having evaluated the industry's
trends - which is fair enough. All of which points to this conclusion:
We (and this time, i mean you) exist outide and independent of industry
trends. We do not do as we are told. We do not allow other people to do the
thinking for us before supplying our collective opinion. But now we are on
the enemy radar. We are a subversive entity. This is a goddam revolution
waiting to happen... it's fantastic... be proud.
So yes, i am happy on a shallow level to have punctured the top 40 for my CV
in years to come but the real reward is for us as a community, for everyone
who played their part because it all counts. I cannot thank you all enough
for the love and support you have shown us in the past month and the past
years. It has been a privilege to stand before you and sing.
Well that pretty much polishes off "This is Where I Stand". Thank-you for
being part of it. The next record promises to be another good one if i do
say so myself and while on the subject, I'd like to leave you with some
words from one of the new songs which strike me as apt in light of the day's
This lucky day
Has been a long time coming and
All that we've done
It won't be forgotten, goodnight.
I love you and goodnight.