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INTERVIEWS WITH RUBICON
PHOENIX FANZINE

1992

One sunny afternoon Pete and Tony very kindly agreed to answer a few of our questions. They didn't realise we had 70 of the little buggers. Fortunately Nod and Andy helped us as well after hey had come back from the pub - so I suppose the next round's on us!

Why the name Rubicon, what does it mean and who thought of it?

Pete: Ah ha. We looked for a name for the band for about six months, and it was harder looking for a name for the band than it was writing the album. We had hundreds of names, hundreds. It just kind of turned up at the right time. It means lots of things but literally it's about a river in Italy and there was a battle when Caesar crossed the Rubicon and he wasn't supposed to cross this area of land to whatever was on the other side of it, and he did and there was this battle so, symbolically it means going across what you're not supposed to do and breaking new territory. Something that forces change.

Tony: It's moving forward and not looking back.

And that's what you're aiming to do?

Pete: It ties in with what's happened with us.

Tony: Yeah, it takes a long time to find something that sums it all up in one word and that does. The other thing is, the only context I've heard Rubicon used before is on a Tangerine Dream album and they're a really ambient sort of spacy band, we didn't choose it because of that but for what it meant.

So it just popped out of the dictionary one day?

Tony: I think Pete actually found it, we had all found lots of different words and it was one of a few that we all actually agreed on. It's got to sort of capture everyone's imagination. But it's weird when you're trying to think of a name for a record or a band, like the name of the album, we had nightmares about the name of the album, it's got to be something that everyone agrees on, it's quite difficult.

Did Carl think up all that before?

Tony: Yeah, well Carl's whole basis for writing lyrics, the feel of the band, the whole thing was the Nephilim. Where they come from and magic, it was all just one big exercise for him. We just liked what Carl did along the top of it, we just wanted to play the music. That's the truth.

Do you feel that Rubicon is a band effort with each member pulling his own weight?

Tony: In the past Nephilim was a band effort, but it split into two camps, Carl and the band, and he'd have his own ideas for lyrics, artwork and whatever, we carried on writing music. If he liked a particular piece of music that we wrote then he'd sing on it. It was still a band effort but in a different way. This is a proper band effort, the reason you get into a band for.

You look happier on stage, much freer. Is this an indication that you're more confident with the music and the direction it's going?

Pete: When the Nephilim started it was quite a democratic thing but in the end it was turning into a one-man show. That's why it finished so it's probably a combination of all things - I feel happier on stage.

How did the live gigs go down?

Pete: The live gigs, considering no-one had heard a thing, were brilliant, really good. We really didn't know what would happen. We could have gone on stage and been booed off, we just didn't know. Tracks like Brave Hearts, which we played live are really hard to grasp. It began as a jam basically and we just learnt and recorded it. I think it's one of the best things on the album, it's very experimental. People were very patient when we played live because they listened to it and got into it, which is quite a hard thing to do.

Were you nervous?

Pete: Yeah! But really excited, it was this new thing. We knew it was good, you have to have confidence. You can't go out thinking that it's a bit dodgy, so yeah. I think they went really well.

How did you find Andy?

Pete: Well, Andy's been in bands for about nine years and he just heard that we were doing auditions. We put an advert in Melody Maker 'cause we thought that'd be the fastest way of finding someone and all we put was, 'named band seeks vocalist and seeks frontman' that's all we put because then we thought we'd get loads of different people, we didn't want to give too much away. Just about 98% of them were in sort of jazz/funk, soul or dance and stuff, we didn't get any rock singers. Andy knows Nod and Paul's brother and he spoke to him in the pub and said, 'Oh I hear they're looking for a singer, I wouldn't mind a go' you know, and this was quite late on and we were starting to wonder if anyone would turn up who was any good, he just came up and sang. We'd recorded Rivers without any vocals and he just sang over that and what he sang over that on the day of his audition is, I mean it's not the same tape, but it's pretty much the same melody that he sang and we just thought you know, this is great, really good, it really works.

Tony: We've given him a new angle, 'cause all the bands he's been in previously were all sort of heavy rock, sort of blues orientated and I think we've just given him a new angle on things. He reckons he's never pushed himself so far before. He was more traditional kind of blues singer and so it's a cross and it's really good. It's given him a lot more ideas than he's ever had before, I think he always used to sing in one particular style, but now, with the music that we gave him to sing on, we've stretched him a lot more. He's gotten into it.

So what sort of image and direction are you aiming to achieve. Are you trying to move away from the Nephilim image?

Tony: Not totally consciously, there are certain things we don't want to repeat for the sake of it. Andy's a lot different to Carl so it's not going to be hats and glasses. Andy's never worn them in the first place.

Pete: You can create an image or you can become whatever image you are. A lot of bands that are happening now just wear T-shirts and jeans and whatever they wear in the day, like Faith No More, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Nephilim actually sat down and thought of an image, whereas this band I hope will be more natural.

Is there any direction in the music?

Tony: I think we want to be more natural about things. I think the music's freeer, we're doing certain things now which wouldn't have been used before. We might have come up with the tunes but they would never have been used. At the end of the day we're just out to cover a lot more ground than we used to. We like the idea of covering a wider range of music, we only used a certain type of stuff that we came up with before.

Pete: There was a Nephilim formula. As much as we wanted to diversify, I don't think we did it as much as we wanted to and I think this album is what we wanted to do. If it sounds good then do it.

If you're in a good mood will it come out happier?

Pete: Yeah, can do. We have written stuff when we've all been really pissed off and it came out as a really slow and depressing thing - but there are times when we've been pissed off and we've had a lot of energy inside us and it's come out quite heavy.

Is the music still as atmospheric with the same contrast and drama?

Tony: Yeah, I think so. It's the way the music is written, contrast is a big part of it. We like to go down to something so small and then burst out again full of power. You can be powerful without being, say WASP, it's not just volume.

Pete: Yeah that's right, making something that moves you without volume which is where a lot of metal fails. You can blow anyone across the room with volume.

Is the past completely dead and buried and how do you fee; when comparisons are made?

Tony: Well there are going to be comparisons. There's got to be. You need a reference point for any band, even with a completely new band. If you haven't heard the music you're going to need comparisons. If people compare us to the Nephilim then they've got to make the obvious distinction between us and what we did before. You can still tell where we came from. It's not as if we've turned our backs on everything that we did.

Do you see other bands?

Pete: Last band we saw was Swervedriver at Bowes.

Tony: Before that we saw Soundgarden and before that we saw Soundgarden and Swervedriver. That's all we've been to see really. Oh, and Ride.

Pete: Oh yeah, we actually went to see Ride.

Do you like Ride?

Pete: No. I liked 'Leave Them All Behind.' It's a well-known chord progression. We got some free tickets. We go down to London to see bands, but not lately, we've been busy working. Oh, I went to see Silverfish and Hair & Skin Trading Company. Hair and Skin were one of the best bands I've seen lately. I really liked them. Silverfish were ok.

That's all for now. More in the first issue.



Issue 1

Whilst at Bristol, Andy, Nod and Pete spent some time to answer a few questions whilst the support band sound checked. Here is what we believe was said.

How's it been going then?

Andy: It's had its ups and downs, but I think more ups than downs. It's going alright.

What have the crowds been like?

Andy: Glasgow was strangely quiet, lots of people there, it was packed out.

Pete: Bit bamboozled in Glasgow.

Andy: very.

Pete: I think we had two people walk out at Glasgow and that's the only time that I've heard that people haven't enjoyed it. I think mostly everyone has had a really good time, the response has been good.

Have the crowds increased as time goes on?

Pete: It varies. It's picked up, yeah.

Have you noticed people singing along?

Andy: Yeah, there's definitely new people every night that I've noticed in the crowd that have known the words.

So has the LP sold more?

Andy: I think it's sold more since we've been out.

Pete: It's really hard to say because sales figures are always two weeks behind so we won't know what effect the tour has until maybe a month's time.

Andy: It's gone up on the indie charts so it must've sold more.

On average, how many people have been turning up?

Pete: Er, it's been between 4 and 5 thousand all told.

How do you think it's been going down with the Neph fans?

Pete: Well as I say, I've only heard two people say it's not the Nephilim, but obviously it isn't. You don't have to come to the gig to find that out.

Does it annoy you with all these posters advertising you as ex-Fields?

Pete: No, because if no-one knows who Rubicon are then no-one knows our history. And we think that people who were into the Nephilim would be into Rubicon, so you've got to give those people that opportunity to hear it. There should be no reason to go out as ex-Nephilim next tour.

What's been the best night so far?

Pete: Day off was pretty good. Best night... Edinburgh.

Andy: The Grand.

Pete: The Grand for its space and sound.

Andy: Cambridge, Milton Keynes.

You seem to be getting tighter.

Pete: Yeah, our sound man said the same. That every night we get better.

What do you think of the crowd that follows?

Pete: To be honest I think they make the tour. All the people who follow us to all the gigs are the ones who get dancing in the middle and up on the shoulders and they are the ones that get the whole audience going. I like to see the pyramids. If we're on stage and we've got 200 people standing there and they've all got their arms crossed, then it's a pretty boring gig for us, so we need these people to get them all going. And, I'd just like to say that it isn't an exclusive club, it's something that if people want to jump around and get involved and get into the circle, then it's not a closed club.

It's open and friendly...

Pete: Absolutely

What's the merchandise response been like?

Pete: Well, we've sold out.

Andy: Mind you we only had 25 T-shirts made.

Pete: Ssh.

Andy: We've sold off all our old stock from the other four dates and when we had a load done and thought they'd sell and they didn't.

Pete: We've still got some band photos.

Andy: Yeah, generally people like the music but not our faces.

Pete: The beaded Rubicon car seats have been going down really well! We based our T-shirts on ten a night and I think we've done about 25 on average which is OK.

Andy: Got to say thanks to everybody who's been selling the t-shirts, it's a grand job.

Is there a video with the single?

Andy: It's a visual feast of visualness.

How do you feel about that as you haven't done one before and do you mime?

Andy: Well, you actually have to sing it because if you mime it doesn't sync up properly. So, I had to sing it about 30 times and I was a bit sick of the song by the end. We did it at the top of a big old building. The room used to be the company ballroom. It's done out in 1930s style but it's been completely gutted out. The roof's really amazing, it's come out really well on the video. There's just lots of images laid over, simple really, but effective. It was bloody hard work.

Pete: Yeah, we had to be up at eight in the morning and then Nod got stuck in the lift with all his gear. He was stuck between the ground floor and the caretaker's office, with the whole production crew shouting 'Nod, where are you?' But he did so well, he put his cigarette out because he didn't want to use all the air up.

Why did you cut 'What Starts, Ends' from the set?

Nod: Some of the PA couldn't handle it, it's quite a heavy song, so it takes quite a fair PA system to be able to pull it off. It's a bit sort of hard to play. You need a big power on stage just to be able to pull it off.

Pete: It's very much a listening song and people aren't always at gigs to listen.

Andy: once it's really well known it'll be alright.

What's been the highlights so far?

Pete: Me throwing up in the bog on the coach at 90mph, that was pretty good (joke). Just all the people who have turned up and gotten into it.

What about hang-ups and hitches?

Pete: Middlesborough was a bit of a hitch.

What happened?

Pete: Nothing. It was a big void.

Andy: Ain't never going back.

What happened at Bradford?

Pete: Bradford was great, went for a swim at Bradford.

But what happened to Nod's drum?

Nod: That was a bit of a lowlight actually.

Andy: Big build up, came on, got through the first song and then we stopped and Tony started a sort of Jazz fusion band up with Pete and Paul and had a little jam.

What have the support bands been like, any good ones?

Nod: No, they've all been crap. The band at Brighton were alright.

Pete: Lafaye. They supported The Cure. There was a band in Edinburgh called 'Big Guitar Yeah,' I really liked the band but the singer was pretty awful.

Andy: It was his first gig with the band.

Pete: It was his first gig but he was awful and he should retire now!

Who's playing with you in Europe?

Pete: Band called 'Love Like Blood' who are German and we know nothing about them whatsoever. The size of the venues will be up to 1000 I'd have thought. But the clubs in Germany are really brilliant, really sorted. I think we'll probably get more people just because we had a bigger following.

What events stand out?

Pete: The bus turning up at Ashwell. Leaving Ashwell. Scotland. A big hello to Donald McCloud in Scotland who was the best promoter on the tour, he was brilliant. He took us out and was the top man. It's just been really nice to gig again, excellent. Our road crew, for being there!

So, another album next year?

Pete: I think it'll be nice to get something out in the spring, like an EP or another single or whatever. I think it'll probably be another year before the next album. It's important that now we've got to keep it going. You can't disappear for ten months and then expect everyone to remember what a good tour it was, so we'll do a few one off gigs, a tourette.

Are you going to America?

Andy: Hopefully, by about March time one hopes.

Peter: It's hard to say at the moment. I think it'll be really good to go to America and do a support tour. You can get really lost in America. There's a circuit and you can do with gigs about the equivalent as here, and you can do them for five years and still no-ones heard of you, so I'll think it'll be nice to do a support. It's just nice to get out and play, we don't mind where we are. We might even do a tour of Poland or Scandinavia next year, which would be great. I'd like to play anywhere, I wouldn't turn anywhere down, except for Middlesborough.

Musical influences on the album?

Pete: At the end of the day, you're just playing off everyone else in the band. That's a pretty naff answer, but it's true. You're not sitting there thinking 'Oh let's write a song like...'

Andy: Maggie May.

What did you do on your day off then?

Pete: We went to Durham. Went to look at a few buildings and had a look at a few cafes and a look at a few pubs.

Andy: Then we went to Newcastle.

Pete: Went to a good pub in Newcastle called the Barley Mow, then we went down to the gig and they had a sort of disco thing on, and we all got drunk and watched the lights and it was alright. Days off aren't very productive really because you're just going to the next gig.

Andy: Borrowed 20 quid off Nod that took me the whole tour to pay back.

Pete: Lack of pds. We wanted to go to the Yorkshire Moors but our driver wouldn't take us there, so we went to Durham instead. He said it wasn't in the petrol itinerary and he happened to live in Durham.

Do you find that your own personalities are swallowed up in the image of the band?

Nod: I think that since Smokey and The Bandit left, everyone else's personalities have flourished.

Do your personalities come across in the music?

Nod: It always has been how everyone feels. You're getting a new song together and if someone feels shit, they get out the way because if someone plays something good then it won't stick, it just won't hang around. Whereas if someone is feeling really good and more productive, then you latch onto it and you've got the basis of a song, to play, we've all got a voice.

What's it been like, living together on the bus?

Nod: well, we've been stuck in a cellar for ages, so it's not different at all. You've just got these fellas around (the road crew). It's like living in this tiny room is Ashwell and sticking it on the back of a lorry. The only difference is that you get to see people's underpants every now and then.



Pete's account of recording 'What Starts, Ends' August 1992

Beggars Banquet insert in Watch Without Pain 12" and also in the Rubicon Fanclub fanzine, Phoenix Issue 1

Spotlight

Here we have, as promised, Pete's account of recording 'What Starts, Ends' Some of you may have already read it, if so why not read it again? If you haven't then prepare to be entertained... What Starts, Ends.

Alarm call? What alarm call? I looked over at the RCA clock, the small dog cycling around the face, half asleep at five in the morning. Outside it was a different story. Whoever had woken me up was revving a car engine as though it was some kind of end of the world emissions test. I stumbled out of bed, the warmth of an early sunrise hitting me in the face, to see Andy taking a leak in the middle of the lawn, whilst the perpetrator of the noise pollution sat in his death-black Dolomite underneath my window. I would have shouted at them but they wouldn't have heard... NOD!!!

Several week earlier the five members of Rubicon had sat patiently in the sinking sofa room upstairs at Beggars Banquet as various producers climbed the spiral staircase to meet us. As the day wore on it began to feel as though we had met the entire spectrum of humankind. It's a strange thing, choosing someone to interpret and record forever something so abstract and personal and special as a collection of musical pieces. Some would even call them songs, but they haven't seen what we go through to get to the finishing line. The last man through the door got the job, for his outrageous enthusiasm and a rather splendid DAT tape he'd brought with him that knocked us all sideways, down the spiral staircase and into the Slug and Lettuce. His name was Mark Freegard and we were going to Wales for four weeks.

It's a small world, as they say. There was the Freddy Mercury AIDS awareness concert on TV and a couple of rooms away was the mixing desk that 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was recorded on. It was also the mixing desk that four of us had recorded 'Moonchild' on some four years earlier as The Nephilim, 'though we had yet to have the honour of Guns'n'Roses belting out an R&B version of the song at Wembley Stadium. That was when the desk and the two Ward brothers, Charles and Kingsley worked at Rockfield Studios, just down the road from Mannow Valley where Rubicon were now resident. Since then, it seemed, Charles had almost single-handedly converted this large, rambling house into a recording studio, with its vast wooden doors, stone pillars and glass walls that looked over the river as Nod assaulted his drums in the live room. Sandra said there were trout in the river, but all we all managed during our stay was one snapped fishing rod and a lost football that bobbed up and down as it headed for Monmouth Central. Paul tried to shoot it as some kind of Charles Bronson style act of vengeance; after all, he did own half the ball and he hadn't even kicked it yet.

Breakfast, now there's a concept. For the first week everybody had everything. Cereals. You couldn't have seen more cereals if you'd stacked the shelves in the central aisle of Tesco's. By the time we'd got through the Full English (or, in this case, Welsh) breakfast, toast, fruit juice, tea and coffee, there was no option left other than to go back to bed and try and sleep it all off. Unless, of course, IT WAS YOUR DAY TO RECORD!!!

Nod seemed to be miles away as we watched him from the control room at the other end of the studio. Sitting in his glass domain, surrounded by wood and steel and whatever else they make drum kits out of these days. A small but ever growing pile of wood shavings grew at his feet as the days progressed. Nod is not a big fan of varnish on drum sticks, so he whittles it away with his ever-present Swiss Army Knife. It's a kind of hobby that he's developed between takes, whilst the rest of us argue about who played an F# when it was supposed to be a G. They may tune their toms, but they still lose out when it comes to a good traditional argument about the first seven letters of the alphabet.

Meanwhile, Tony had found a small room/large cupboard in which to house his bass cabinets and, fearing permanent deafness, had opted to play in the control room. This smart move gave him an advantage over the rest of us, in that he now had the power of the talkback microphone on the desk, which meant that we could always hear him if he wanted to talk to us, but, being in the same room as Mark, could also have the whole damn racket turned off if he wanted. Some days later Paul was to move out of the middle room that he shared with me and into the control room too. I thought about marking out a five-a-side pitch in the middle room to try and encourage more players into my space, but eventually decided I liked it in there with my own personal choice of lighting levels and close-up view of Nod shouting through the three ton doors. It was quite funny if you took your headphones off. The main priority of the early stages of recording was to try and get the bass and drums down together. To the uninitiated this may sound somewhat overfriendly, but we knew what was going on. Hopefully we would be able to keep some of the guitars as well, so, with this in mind Andy was sent behind a couple of solid doors to separate the sound. This meant... of course, that he could be heard but not seen. It actually turned out to be quite a useful; bit of vocalist placement because when Lexley turned up to cook the evening meal it meant that Andy's vocal microphone picked up the sound of pots and pans being rattled in the kitchen. Dinner was imminent and there was a sudden urgency to try and get a good take before we all had to go and lie down again for an hour.

We were halfway through and things were sounding good. One track in particular, 'Brave Hearts,' had been the result of a jam that we'd had in the cellar at Tony's house where we'd installed our demo studio in the summer of '91. I don't think that anyone doubted that we couldn't do it again, but I for one had expected it to pose more problems than it did. Inevitably it was a couple of tracks that we thought would be plain sailing that took some working on, not because they were inherently difficult to play but for unquantifiable reasons that occur in studios. At the end of the day the riff in 'Before My Eyes' was a piece of cake, but for a couple of days it seemed like a three-course meal. If you listen very carefully you can hear the onset of a suntan in that track. 'Before My Eyes' had an extended bass and drums section at the end, which we wanted to experiment with. The choppy guitar over the end section was recorded at half speed, like playing over some kind of heavy industrial noise, which gives it its weird sound. If anyone still possesses a record player that plays at 16rpm then they can recreate the effect in the privacy of their own home to hear what it really sounded like as it was recorded. Of course, with the advent of compact disc such eccentricities are denied to us, but then whoever heard of listening to records at the wrong speed?

Mark had an idea for Andy to do some talking over the end of the track, but as Andy began to recite the lyrics Mark jumped into the air like some kind of demon, grabbed the microphone and began screaming them at the top of his voice, his face going a startling shade of purple before he collapsed and someone rang the Samaritans and called for a priest. A fine vocal performance if ever there was.

Once the basic tracks had been recorded and we were into overdub mode there were long periods where only one person was working at any given time. This meant that we could take advantage of the soaring temperature and risk a bit of exposure to a few ultra-violet rays out on the lawn. We even attempted some swimming in the river, although Andy won first prize in the Duncan Goodhew stakes by swinging on the willow tree and plunging into the water fully clothed. I seem to remember his last words were 'Of course it will take my weight'. Some kind of mix up between Archimedes' Principle and Newton's theory of Gravity, I think.

Every now and then we were granted bail by Judge Freegard and embarked on a brief visit to a local watering hole. Sitting in The Nag's Head one Saturday with Nod, the idea of a small wager struck me as we watched the landlord filling out his betting slip. It could have been some form of implicit suggestion brought on by the name of the pub, it could have been the idea of passing a couple of hours in the company of the insane tipster on Channel Four racing (the one with the subtle sideburns). Anyway the nags came in and I won the handsome prize of some forty pounds. I had doubled my wages in the space of two hours. Unfortunately, my tip to Nod had an uncanny fear of heights and failed to negotiate a particularly large fence. It was not to be an auspicious debut in the world of gambling, but I'm sure the bookmaker enjoyed every penny of his stake.

When we first arrived in Monmouth we were advised against going into The Robin Hood, so being curious cats we headed straight in the public bar to find out what we were missing. They had Johnny Cash on the jukebox and all the haircuts in town seemed to drink in there. Within five minutes we could have put an order in for all the salmon and venison we could have eaten, but we politely declined this kind offer and stuck with the beer instead. It was the only place I heard a true Welsh accent during a card game between four old boys who were all cheating like crazy and looking at each other's cards at every available opportunity. It was also the pub where I sat and waited while Nod had an MOT carried out on his death-black Dolomite only to see him return an hour later with 'failed' written all over his forehead for the second time in three weeks.

It wasn't only Nod's car that had woken me early during our stay. One morning at about eight o'clock I woke up to hear somebody stomping all over the ceiling. It sounded as if they were wearing clogs, but to my knowledge New Model Army weren't planning on visiting the place. In fact, the closest we got to another band was when one of EMF's road crew knocked on the door to ask where Rockfield was. Anyway, whoever was walking around upstairs couldn't possibly have been in a band. It was far too early. Later that day I asked Sandra (Charles' wife) if Charles had been upstairs early that morning. No, he hadn't, but apparently I had been witness to the ghostly wanderings of a servant girl who had worked there a couple of centuries ago. I didn't know that the Scholl sandal had been around that long. Sandra said that room seven (my dwelling) sometimes inexplicably filled with the smell of lavender, but I was to be left disappointed and had to leave the windows open to remove the smell of socks as usual. Andy, especially, wasn't particularly enthralled at the prospect of meeting a ghost on the stairs, so we decided to send Tony's Jack Russell, Zeb, up the stairs and into the room where the noise had come from. Zeb was having nothing to do with it; she took one look around the corner and scarpered. This was a real ghost, but the one we invented for Andy's benefit was much better.

Towards the end of the recording time, the emphasis was on vocals, so one particularly dark evening Tony and I took it in turns to stand outside the window through which we could see Andy singing, with Mark at the controls. Tim Lewis, who was assisting Mark with his ancient synth and perfect pitch, was also in the studio. We borrowed the most hideous mask in the world, a frightening collection of rubber and hair and were taking it in turns to stand in the drizzle and try and catch Andy's attention. Eventually, Andy and Tim leaned towards the window - they'd seen something, but of course when they came into the lounge to let us know, we were all sitting comfortably in front of the TV. Later that evening, the office door (the office was separate from the main building) mysteriously swung open of it's own accord. There was no way that Andy was going to investigate.

It was impossible to resist. Being only five feet two inches and with a sheet wrapped around her, Julie (who worked at the studio) made quite an impressive ghost. When she jumped out from behind Andy's bedroom door, for a split second, I thought I saw the headline 'Singer collapses in bedroom with girl in a sheet,' but then I remembered the tabloids don't use sentences that long.

Some of the songs were finished now. One of the greatest pleasures of being in the studio is being able to listen to the songs at great volume on expensive speakers. Late one Saturday night, after work had finished, I sat in the control room and listened to 'Dark Star' (later to become the title track of the album 'What Starts, Ends') at full volume in the dark. I could work the desk but I couldn't find the light switch. It was quite a moving experience.

Another of the great pleasures of recording is the capturing on tape of spontaneous events that make the song that extra bit special. The demos that we had made for the album were good, but it's not hard to spot the things that happened in the studio that weren't there before. Andy's vocal in the middle eight of 'Rivers' only happened once and it was perfect ("can't keep my head above the waves"), Tony's bass in the middle of 'Inside Your Head' where it sounds as though he's going to run out of frets, Paul's swirly guitar on 'Killing Time' and Nod's bowel moving sample on 'What Starts, Ends' and every bold drum fill he pulled off. I like the squealy feedback that came off my speakers in 'Killing Time' as well, where it sounds as though someone has just dragged a protesting hog into the studio. Oh yes, and the night that Paul decided to shave half of his hair off. That was pretty spontaneous too.

So, back to the early morning alarm call. Fuelled by the discovery of where the studio wine collection was kept, Nod and Andy had decided to celebrate by staying up all night and practising drag racing up and down the drive to the studio in the death-black Dolomite. When Nod finally went to bed the sun was beating down and the death-black Dolomite sat bruised in the driveway. What starts, ends. Indeed.