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The CUD Story, pt.29
(above) Sandie Shaw gazes at William. Perhaps it's his necklace...
11 Jan 1993
The first rehearsals of the new year. Fingertips are soften by the recess. Mike has two good new songs. Carl still has no lyrics but two others are nearly complete, one sounding a little like ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ (This is ‘Slip Away’), the other popier (‘The Mystery Deepens’).
At today’s rehearsals, Mike announces he and Maria are expecting a second child, due in September when CUD will be at their busiest!
Jim Tracey and Martin Tower come over to Old Chapel to hear the new songs and like them. Martin’s looking for new producers now.
Carl doesn’t show up for band practice today. He was out late last night but is also put off by Mike telling him to “get a fucking move on” with lyrics.
Jim comes over to tell us about our chance to be involved in a charity project, ‘Gimme Shelter’ where several bands and artists are brought together in odd combinations to record the Rolling Stones song for the homeless charity, Shelter.
Do we want to work with Samantha Fox? I’m dead against it and persuade the band to agree. We offer other names – Lulu and Marc Almond, amongst others. (Sam Fox ends up recording with Hawkwind.)
David Rose at A&M is being a typical pain, hating our latest demos when everyone else is being positive about them, and so they are not getting passed on to producers. Mike, Steve and I get our frustrations off our chest meeting up with Martin Tower again, at a local band night in Harehills.
We get the message that David Rose has no confidence in us – that he thinks we will need a year to come up with an album’s worth of songs he thinks fit for release. We’re, to say the least, wishing him ill and meetings in London are arranged while we continue to work through new material.
Mike calls to say Sandie Shaw has agreed to work with us on ‘Gimme Shelter’ but is only free on Wednesday (4 days’ time!). I rush out to buy a CD of the Stone’s original to get familiar with the bassline.
Keith Utah Saint has a birthday party at his flat across the road. The party ends up in the jacuzzi. Great night!
The impasse is broken. Rose has approved some songs, enough for tapes to go out to producers at least. We’re practising ‘Gimme Shelter’ in a hurry. We’re off to London tomorrow.
Producer, John Fryer, meets us in the Columbia but none of us really know which direction to take the song. Sandie calls and talks to Mike. We fax her the lyrics.
We’re set up in Ray Davies’ Konk Studios, a bit of a maze, and chilly. We put on a loop of the Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’ then record Steve’s drums along with it. Then I put down a basic bass part to give it structure. It sounds terrible so we replace it with a guitar loop and guide vocal. Sandie arrives and is lively and fun, easy to get on with. Turns out she’s teaching now and asked her students if they’d heard of CUD. When she got a positive response, then she agreed to the session. Carl has a great time gassing with her between vocal takes.
The harmonies agreed on push Sandie into a higher range than she’s used to while Carl is singing lower.
It’s a very long, drawn-out day, with photos and video needing to be taken for the project’s publicity. At one point Sandie gets irritated by constant postponements and retreats for a 10-minute mantra meditation.
I lay down a superior bassline. More guitar and vocals are added before a mix we’re happy with is prepared in time for Sandie’s return, this time with her daughter. They try to work out which Monty Python member I resemble. (I fear it is Eric Idle.)
Does our version of ‘Gimme Shelter’ really sound like The Sisters of Mercy’s ‘This Corrosion’?!
Steve has to go to hospital with a pain in his lower leg. It turns out to be a tendon problem he has to rest for a week. And, so do the rest of us. (Well, I’m always working on the Space CUDet fanzines...)
London, ‘Gimme Shelter’ launch at Camden Parkway cinema. Sandie is there, in a shirt Morrissey gave her. There are lots of TV interviews to do, especially for Carl and Sandie. She says how much she enjoyed the recording and finished track. I declined the offer of joining her for a Buddhist Introductory session, opting for boozing at the Good Mixer.
My turn to skip rehearsals. I’m wincing every few seconds with head pain linked to a shoulder rash. Turns out to be shingles. Need drugs...
Back at work. Now my only new song is being treated as a joke. Steve is asked to write the lyrics. It will be a Potter/Goodwin composition. It turns out to be the B-side 1 W.G.S. (William George Samuel). So much for a confident return to songwriting!
More London meetings to try to move recordings forward. We meet Polygram head, Lucian Grange who eccentrically stares away from us, out a window and bashes a length of green hose pipe on his desk. Still, he promises to work on our behalf to convince A&M head, Howard Berman to let us get on with a new album.
Meet David Rose. We’re warned that it would be confrontational. Instead it was just bemusing with Rose changing his mind every few minutes, saying nothing specific except that he does like something between two and four of our new 10 songs, none as singles, though. He wants to put in a studio for cheap with one of his manager friend’s clients, Al Clay rather than pay for the big name production we’re told we need to break new territories. We leave the meeting confused but determined to get our demos finished and wishing Rose would drop dead.
We rehearse without Carl, who is meant to be at home writing words. More songs are coming together. Even 1 W.G.S. is improving
Jim tells us the impression given during our London visit was that Carl was lazy.
I get an acoustic bass, supposedly so I can join in acoustic sessions for the radio. The bass is never used on any recordings. It would probably be inaudible on the radio
Carl is back, but still not with full lyrics. He spends much of the band practice flicking through his new thesaurus though.
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