News Update: January 1999

Well, what can I say?  The web-site took a little longer than anticipated to get up and cyberspatially running. This was because web-meister Andrew Giddings was incapacitated over the Christmas and new year period with a bad case of the wretched flu near-epidemic which reduced all Brits of delicate constitution to quivering, pain-wracked, bed-and-floor-ridden, incontinent, dribbling and miserable amoebas.  Frankly, the boy was a mess. Didn’t light up a Marlboro for a week.

The pre-Christmas recording of three demos for the Tull album and the post-Christmas three weeks of work in the studio has kept him busy, so it is only now that you get to read the stuff so carefully penned in November and December last year.

But the good news is that there are now fourteen new Tull tracks in progress on good old analogue multi-track tape. They are, for the moment, minus the vocals, flute and guitar solos and, in some cases, Doane-drums and Jon-bass as well.

So, there is a good bit of work yet to do on this material as well as to write and record a few more pieces for the next batch of sessions due to take place in latter February and early March. In the meantime, Shona and I head for a week to the sunny Carribean on a cruise ship to hell and high water, Tobago.

I just hope they have satellite phones, so I can call Kenny Wylie while I am away to arrange all your back-stage and photo passes for the next tours.

Then, we just come back to the good old UK of GB, chuck out the bad stuff and concentrate on finishing and mixing the two or three good songs which are left.

Hopefully, only kidding……

The typical success rate over the years has resulted in about  two out of every three songs taken to the mixing stage being considered right for the album in question. This time around, we may have even more songs to work on and, ultimately, to choose from.  But better than too few.

With the more sensitive and appropriate to gentlefolk “Secret Language of Birds” solo record out also next year, the Tull album will feature mostly medium and up-tempo pieces of a moderately noisy sort.

Martin Barre has so many guitars in my studio, lined up and ready for rockin’  that I am moved to write that they are lined up and ready for rockin’. Not my sort of expression, really, but they look cool and sexy in a axe-wielding rock guitar god kind of way, sitting on their neat little stands along Martin’s side of the room.

Doane, the Prince of Crash, has pleasingly brought only three cymbals out of the drum store and the resulting simplicity with which they decorate his kit brings tears of joy and gratitude to the band-mates who must endure the metallic emphasis of his compulsive St. Vitus Dance approach to the world of contemporary drumistic adventure. I am not entirely sure about “drumistic” but it might be in with a chance.

Andy Giddings of the sick bed explosions has cast aside the rubber sheets, Immodium, and the aromatherapy suppositories. (Well, who reads the instuctions anyway?)  He has grappled with the quest for Hammond Organ authenticity with the purchase of the new Hammond-in-a-box bit of gear to provide the swirly significance which complements the Leslie cabinet (valve amp., Model 145) which I purchased last week. He has even had the squeezy thing *** out for a quick thing-fling on a track the other day, so he must be feeling better and more resolute, generally, in a squeezy sort of way. Or, at least he will be until he reads this before up-loading to the web-site.

(  ***  — The piano accordion, by Hohner, Germany, and not what some of you were thinking.)

Jonathan Noyce has, so far, recorded his first eight pieces of music as the official Tull bassist.  The boy done well, so the word goes. He has recently taken to speaking in tongues, for no particular reason, as far as we can tell, save for a fascination with mid-European destinations of a romantic and fulfilling sort.

He starts the usual recording day with a trip over to the house for a double espresso from the unbelievably expensive coffee machine which Shona bought for my birthday. Then, he works on several different European languages for a half-hour or so before 250 sit-ups and a pasta-throwing demonstration. Maybe then, are we allowed to begin the day’s musical excursion across the oceanic swells as creative cast-aways from the harsh reality of inevitable Euro-one-ness.

Yes –  since I last wrote, the Euro has become reality. The unit of new currency, set to rival the mighty dollar has finally flown. No more, the Franc, the DM, the Lire, the Peseta, the Guilder, the Dingbat and the Centipule. Well, at least after 1992.

The poor old Quid too, will soon be a thing a thing of the past, if I don’t miss my mark: and I probably will, in a punny sort of way.

Give it another decade or two, and we’ll all be dealing in Globos. “How much for that used ’06 Hyundai?”

“20,000 Globos and the change in cash, in Brazilian Reals.” — What a deal.

You know, I’m going to set up a new regime: when they don’t have an overdub to do, and that MB guitar solo seems to take forever, why don’t I just get the boys to the ‘puter, and put up their own news pages on the site? Or answer their e-mails? That kind of thing.

Wouldn’t that  be something?  Somebody please show old Martin Barre the “on” button.    Except (I forgot), he’s still working on that guitar solo.

Speak to you soon.

I.A.

January 1999.